The Cincinnati Reds promoted outfield prospect Kyle Waldrop to the major league roster yesterday. He appeared briefly in the majors last year, getting one at-bat. Can he take a larger role? Let's take a look.
Waldrop (not to be confused with the former major league pitcher of the same name) was drafted by the Reds in the 12th round in 2010 from high school in Fort Myers, Florida. He had a breakout season in 2014, hitting a combined .338/.385/.516 between High-A and Double-A with 37 doubles and 14 homers. 2015 was much different: he hit just .235/.267/.338 between Double-A and Triple-A with 19 walks and 115 strikeouts in 447 at-bats. He struggled particularly badly in Triple-A at .185/.211/.229.
From the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
Kyle Waldrop, OF, Cincinnati Reds
Bats: L Throws: L HT: 6-3 WT: 195 DOB: November 26, 1991
2011: Grade C; 2012: Grade C; 2013: Grade C; 2014: Grade C; 2015: Grade B-
I bought into Kyle Waldrop after his impressive 2014 season but 2015 was disappointing. He hit pretty well in Double-A but could not handle the jump to Triple-A, falling back into old habits and chasing too many pitches outside the strike zone. Waldrop has good power in the bat but has always fought lack of selectivity in his approach and big league moundsmen will carve him up without significant adjustments. He is a solid corner outfielder but has struggled during brief trials at first base. Waldrop could still be a useful role player but I was too optimistic about him last year. Grade C.
2016 hasn't been much different: .228/.294/.380 in 92 at-bats in Triple-A with eight walks and 29 strikeouts in 92 at-bats.
Waldrop has the physicality to be a fine major league hitter. He doesn't have a problem with bat speed or raw power and his swing seems mechanically sound, but his impatient approach is a significant handicap. That may or may not improve with time. He showed what he can do in 2014 when he's locked in, but maintaining it against advanced pitching is another matter.
Here he holds in well against a lefty and knocks a homer.