The amount of money allotted to each team for foreign free agents each year is affected by their parent team's record the previous season. Cincinnati's 97-win campaign in 2012 gave them the second smallest pool last year and they invested nearly 40% of that on Dominican southpaw Jacob Constante
Constante has an impressive physique, standing 6'4"/215# with a fastball challenging the mid-90's. He also has an impressive cutter that comes he throws in the high-80's, a slider in the mid-80's and a changeup that is a work in progress. One curious question is how the youngster who will turn 20 this month went unsigned until last year with the number of scouts combing the Dominican Republic for talent. It appears the Reds will either benefit from finding a pitcher that fell through the cracks or soon discover an oversight that prevented him from signing earlier.
It's still early, but after his debut in the Dominican League last year they are looking more like beneficiaries. He had innings limited in twelve appearances which is common for young pitchers and prevents them from accumulating many wins. When he was on the mound he kept his ERA under two over almost forty innings pitched. He avoided a lot of fair balls by striking out an impressive 55 hitters and, like most other young pitching prospects, needs to work on command after walking 22. The hitters he didn't walk were held to an average below .200.
Constante's signing came soon after he impressed in an International Prospect League all-star game where he showed good mechanics and a couple of mph increase on his fastball. Young players in the foreign leagues can be huge wild cards and even though it was his first professional season he was still older than most of the batters he faces. Still, some of them will make it and a southpaw with good velocity and solid build is a good candidate to join that club. His age may motivate the Reds to fast-track him a bit stateside, but he probably won't see any action in 2014 until the start of the short season, whether it be in the Dominican, Arizona, or Billings.
The Cincinnati pitching pipeline has reaped benefits from mining Caribbean talent. Last year nineteen year-old Jacob Constante put his name on the list of future impact players after the Reds signed him for $730,000. He's still raw, but in limited duty last season he showed plenty to make him an interesting prospect to watch in 2014.
Top 30 Cincinnati Prospects: No. 28