The Cincinnati Reds‘ organization really must’ve liked then 16-year-old outfield prospects Yorman Rodriguez and Juan Duran when they doled out signing bonuses of $2.5 million and $2 million respectively more than six years ago. The rich bonuses were right up there with the $2 million given to a major league ready college player in Yonder Alonso, who was the seventh overall pick of the 2008 MLB draft.
Now that money is looking like it might not have been wisely spent.
In his sixth minor league season, Rodriguez is hitting just .257 at Double-A. His career minor league numbers feature an unimpressive .251 average and a .697 OPS.
Duran has shown some pop during his seven years in the minors, including 17 long balls this year at Double-A. But overall Duran has also failed to live up to expectations (.240 BA, .713 OPS).
Both Rodriguez and Duran are swing-and-miss strikeout machines. Rodriguez has struck out once every 3.5 at-bats, and Duran strikes out once every 2.8 ABs. And this is at levels no higher than Double-A.
Yet both Rodriguez and Duran still command 40-man roster spots for the Reds, who just dumped injured outfielder Ryan LaMarre (former second-round pick) from their 40-man to make room for Cuban pitcher Raisel Iglesias.
If the Reds remain in contention for a second Wild Card spot in the NL at the start of September, it’s hard to believe they would call up Rodriguez and Duran since they haven’t shown enough aptitude to play in the minors.
Rodriguez turns 22 on Saturday and Duran will be 23 next month. Despite their young age, the Reds should drop both from their 40-man roster, because the pair are taking up space that could be used to keep other players who do seem to have a better chance to advance to the big leagues.