The Cincinnati Reds land two prospects in the Baseball America Top 100 Doug Gray February 19, 2014 20 Comments Stephenson ranked as the highest Reds prospect on the Baseball America list. The Baseball America Top 100 Prospects List has been released. It was originally unveiled on MLB Network on Wednesday night at 9pm and is now live on their website. The Baseball America Top 100 list is the oldest one around and goes back to 1990, so it is viewed a bit more as a standard than the other lists around for that reason and several others (other places tend to be a one man show and most of those places have had that one man become another over the years and some places have had more than a few). While Baseball America has had writers come and go, it is never an entirely new look because writers aren’t all new from one year to the next and have been involved in past rankings. The Reds have had four guys show up in various other Top 100 lists from ESPN, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com. The guys over at Baseball America though only included two of the Reds top prospects in the mix as they ranked Robert Stephenson 19th overall (5th highest pitcher excluding Japanese pro Masahiro Tanaka – Who I personally don’t count) and Billy Hamilton 43rd overall. Here is what the short blurb on the free list had to say about Robert Stephenson. Aside from gaining experience, staying healthy and learning to the nuances of the craft, Stephenson just needs to stay ready. He’s already acclimated to the major leagues and is likely an injury away from a Cincinnati callup. Here is what the short blurb on the free list had to say about Billy Hamilton. Hamilton is expected to win a big league job. As Cincinnati’s center fielder, he doesn’t have to replace Shin-Soo Choo’s production; he just needs to make good use of his transformational speed. I am both surprised and unsurprised that Phillip Ervin and Jesse Winker weren’t on the list. Ervin was in that close range of the Pioneer League list that has gotten some guys ranked in the top 100, and I thought that his outstanding debut would get him pushed up a bit. At the same time, Baseball America has historically held onto draft position for rankings for at least that first year, so that is the part that is unsurprising. With Jesse Winker, while I don’t want to say that he is “all bat” because he isn’t a bad left fielder, his being a left fielder does not do him any favors. That hasn’t always hurt players in the past, but more often than not guys at the lower end of the defensive spectrum have to be raking at the higher levels. Still, Winker fell in the area of the Midwest League list that has been right on the edge of inclusion into the Top 100 the past two years, so I thought he could fall either direction. 20 Responses The Duke February 20, 2014 Ervin should have made it imo, there are several guys in the 80-100 range that I’d take Ervin over them in a heartbeat. I can see Winker being left off, but also expect him to jump up the list significantly this year. He could put up some gaudy numbers in the Cal league x where he will likely spend most of this year. redsfandan February 20, 2014 I’ll second that. There are players in the 2014 BA 100 that project to be really good … role players, or backups, or #3 sp’s, or defensive wonders, or players with “a high floor”, etc. There’s a lot of value in those kind of players. But, I’d still take a guy like Ervin over any of those guys. MK February 20, 2014 We should remember one thing about Phillip that works against him is size. At 5’11 he does not have the prototypical body of a top prospect. Fair or unfair this is a truth. Scouts, college coaches etc., when I was coaching one of their first questions was what kind of size does he have? In these cases size does matter. redsfandan February 20, 2014 Yeah, except size can also be overrated. Scouts, coaches, girls (especially them) should know that. Nick February 20, 2014 Hahaha your comment made my day, redsfandan. I don’t care how big Ervin is if he hits and plays solid outfield defense. His short time (no pun intended) in pro ball last year was impressive. MK February 20, 2014 You know Nick no doubt when he played he played well. The scouts tell you their concern about smaller bodies is that they will break down over the rigors of a long season and career. Unfortunately Phillip did nothing to dispel this by missing the last three weeks with hand/wrist issues. redsfandan you force us to assume you speak from experience? redsfandan February 20, 2014 “redsfandan you force us to assume you speak from experience?” huh? uhh i’m not a baseball player. but, if you pay for my beer i’ll try to fake it. Nick February 20, 2014 I think MK was referring to your girls overrating size comment. And MK, I can definitely see the injury concern. Good point. But I am still excited by the plate discipline and overall hit tool. Stock February 20, 2014 lol Alan Horn February 20, 2014 Mk, that may be true about smaller bodies breaking down sooner for pitchers, but I’m not so sure about everyday players. I know that in football the big men go first. I think that is true in general for non athletes(general population) as well. Randy in Chatt February 20, 2014 Andrew McCutcheon is not the biggest guy in the world and yet was NL MVP. hmmmmm! You think the “experts” wold know by now. Doug Gray February 20, 2014 The exception doesn’t prove the rule though Randy. While there are certainly guys who can and have gotten it done at 5 foot something, most Major Leaguers today are 6′ 0″ or taller. The Reds 40-man roster position players have three guys under 6’0″ and two of them are catchers and the other is Skip Schumaker. Obviously there are guys who can get it done who are a bit shorter than that, but they are a lot rarer. Perhaps that goes into some scouting bias, leaving some guys without a chance who deserved one. The Duke February 20, 2014 Ervin is solidly built though. He may be 5’11”, but he is also close to 200 lbs. It’s not like he is Billy Hamilton skinny abd this isn’t the NFL where he’d get blind sided by a guy who weighs 250 and runs a 4.5 40 time. I’m a big believer in the approach and the contact rates, he may be a prototypical #2 hitter. Doug Gray February 20, 2014 Ervin is built like a college level running back IMO. That isn’t a bad thing. While Billy Hamilton is certainly taller, I think Ervin has the better body type for not breaking down. I think you nailed it with where Ervin could fit in a lineup. If his power develops a tad more, maybe you could argue for him being somewhere else (maybe not on a team with Votto/Bruce, but on some teams). KyWilson1 February 20, 2014 I get the height thing with pitchers and it being easier on a taller bigger body, but as a position player i don’t see how a shorter body doesn’t hold up as well. It might be harder to generate loft with a swing, but i don’t see how it would lead to more injuries. In general a smaller body has less stress on joints, and are typically quicker. Ervin is put together pretty well, so i dont see how being an inch shy of 6′ makes a difference. Talent is talent. Alan Horn February 20, 2014 They say they want the taller pitchers to get the better angle when the ball gets reaches the plate(harder to hit). I had a friend in high school who was 6′ 5″ tall and threw in the mid 90’s. He had a 10 cent head and his fastball was straight as a arrow. Needless to say, he got hammered regularly and it was small class A high school baseball. Stuff, including movement and control, go a long way in my opinion. Alan Horn February 20, 2014 I might add that he threw straight overhand. DaveCT February 20, 2014 The BA issue with Ervin may be reservations regarding his size, but they may also be waiting for him to put in an injury free season. The last 3-4 years he’s had the wrist, an ankle that forced him from CF, and a knee. Could be as simple as needing to prove he can stay healthy. This was one of their issues with Loktzar, when they admittedly stayed high on him too long. MK February 20, 2014 Don’t think my comments were to imply he would not be successful my only thought was his size might be one of the things keeping him from being an “Elite” Top Prospect in the eyes of the “experts”. I imagine half of these top 100 won’t make the big leagues and somebody rated #350 will have a great career. Alan Horn February 20, 2014 How true. That’s why I am not into ratings at all. You never know if a player can carry it forward to the next level. Granted, if he has gotten to AAA the chances are better, but that last level is the hardest to conquer because of the superior competition level. The players don’t graduate to a higher level than the majors and have most of their careers to improve at that level.