Top 30 Reds Prospects: No. 25

Top 30 Reds Prospects: No. 25

Josh Fellhauer cracked .300/.400 AVG/OB at the AA level last year to make a case for further promotion up the Reds outfield pipeline. The 25 year-old has shown good on-base skills and plate discipline with a polished all-around game could earn a spot in a MLB outfield rotation one day.

Josh Fellhauer has been a consistent hitter while advancing up the Cincinnati system the last four years. Cal St Fullerton has a reputation for turning out players with polished skills and he supported that when he hit .280/.351 AVG/OB in his professional debut at Dayton at the age of 21. That success dipped at Carolina the next season but he returned back around those numbers when he repeated high-A at Bakersfield in 2011. Last season at Pensacola he broke through the .300/.400 barriers.

Next up on his agenda is contending with competition at the higher minor league levels. Over the offseason the Reds picked up free agent Derrick Robinson, re¬-signed Denis Phipps, and converted top prospect Billy Hamilton to center field. Also returning is Felix Perez who hit .302 at Louisville.

The first thing that pops out when looking at Fellhauer's performance is that he knows the way to first base because his lifetime OBP over .350. He also showed exceptional plate discipline last season with an impressive BB/K ratio of 54/54. He flashed some solid leather, making only two errors over the past two seasons. Should he keep it up in 2013 the LH hitter could eventually work his way into conversation if Reds fifth outfielder Xavier Paul falters.

That conversation likely won't happen anytime in the near future. Still, with a little luck Fellhauer could beat out competition for a job in Louisville's outfield. Even if he starts off at Pensacola he'll turn 25 before opening day so the Reds will be keeping an eye on him for a promotion later in the season. It would help his cause if he could improve versatility by showing enough range in the outfield that they would feel comfortable playing him in center. In 2012 most of his action was in right and his body does not project power desired for a corner position.

Fellhauer is a low ceiling/low risk player who could wind up as a backup outfielder at the MLB level. He's not on the 40-man roster so some juggling would be needed if the Reds reached down deep enough for him in 2013. Still, high on-base guys are good to have and though Paul provided a good LH bat off the bench last year he did it over less than 100 plate appearances. Also, Chris Heisey reduces the need for their fifth outfielder to play a lot of innings in center. Though Fellhauer lacks any eye-popping skills to lift him higher on this list he doesn't have any glaring weaknesses either. At his age it will be important for him to show that he's ready for the highest developmental level because other outfielders in the system will pressure him from behind. The Reds farm turned out a solid fourth outfielder when Heisey reached the show in 2010 and Fellhauer is a candidate for another one.

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