All week long I’m going to unveil the Cincinnati Reds midseason update of the Top 25 prospects. Every day will have five new additions to the list as we work through things until Friday’s completion. You can see the entire list here (once completed).

6. Jose Peraza | SS | Previous: #7

Jose Peraza has been pretty much as expected so far since joining the organization. He has spent a majority of the 2016 season in Triple-A where he hit .274. His walk rate is up from the previous two seasons, though still on the lower side of things. He’s continued to be a strong contact hitter and run the bases well. He’s currently in the big leagues, perhaps for good. Stock: Unmoved.

AAA 246 9 3 1 12 9 14 33 .274 .318 .354
MLB 44 0 0 0 2 5 1 6 .256 .273 .256

7. Tony Santillan | RHP | Previous: #24

Tony Santillan impressed me when I saw him in spring training. The raw stuff just stood out and he was dominant in the brief action he saw. He didn’t make his 2016 debut until the Billings season began but he’s now made three starts and has been about as dominant as one can be on a limited pitch count. In 13.1 innings pitched he’s racked up 27 strikeouts with just four walks to go with a 2.70 ERA in the hitter friendly Pioneer League. Stock: Up.

BIL 2.70 13.1 11 1 4 27

8. Taylor Trammell | OF | Previous: High School

The Cincinnati Reds drafted Taylor Trammell with their competitive balance lottery pick and signed him to a $3.2M signing bonus. The outfielder has gotten out to a solid start with the Billings Mustangs, hitting .281 through eight games with three walks and three steals. He’s got one of the top all-around packages of tools in the entire system and his speed is already playing very well in the early part of his career.

9. Tyler Mahle | RHP | Previous: #14

Two starts ago Tyler Mahle went out and threw a 9-inning no-hitter for Daytona. That, along with the rest of his first half, earned the 21-year-old a promotion to Double-A Pensacola. He’s posted a 2.88 ERA in 14 starts this season. The right hander has shown excellent control, walking just 19 batters in 84.1 innings to go with 84 strikeouts and a 0.98 WHIP. His control puts him in a different category than most of the other starters in the farm system. Stock: Up

A+ 2.50 79.1 58 6 17 76
AA 5.40 5.0 6 1 2 8

10. Nick Travieso | RHP | Previous: #3

It’s been a tough first half of the season for Nick Travieso. His 4.91 ERA is the worst of his career. A large part of the problem this season has been his struggles with throwing strikes as his walk rate is easily the highest of his career. The righty has 35 walks in 62.1 innings this season to go along with 57 strikeouts in 62.1 innings. The strikeout rate is the highest of his career. He’s never had control issues before and the last two starts have been a step in the right direction, but overall this season it’s really held him back. Stock: Down

AA 4.91 62.1 61 9 35 57

Scouting Reports


6. Jose Peraza | The biggest weakness for Jose Peraza is built around the question of whether he will get on base enough to remain a viable everyday player. His low walk rate will likely leave that question open ended for a while. His biggest strength is his speed, which he struggled to use well on the bases early in the season with Louisville, but has provided plenty of value on the bases since April ended – both in the minor and Major Leagues. Defensively he’s moved back to shortstop in the minor leagues, and while he probably won’t shine there defensively, he looks like he could stay there. If not, second base or center field are also an option.

7. Tony Santillan | The biggest weakness at this point is tough to pinpoint. Coming into the season the biggest question was how his control, which was an issue coming out of high school, would be after working on his mechanics for the last year. So far things in that area have been outstanding. His change up could use improvement, which can be said for nearly all 19-year-olds. He’s still working on a pitch limit of 85 pitches, so building up stamina and showing he can handle a full season workload are still questions he will have to answer in the future. On the flip side, he’s been utterly dominant working with a fastball in the 94-95 MPH range that’s touched 98 MPH in each of his starts this season. He’s mixed that in with a potentially plus slider as well.

8. Taylor Trammell | The biggest weakness in the game for Taylor Trammell is his fringy arm, but it should be enough to remain in center field. At the plate he hasn’t shown any power yet with all of his hits on the season being singles. The power should be there in the future, and it’s way too early to really worry about the lack of extra-base hits. He shines defensively thanks to big range with his plus-plus speed and he’s able to use that speed on the bases as well. One of the best athletes in the organization, he’s got a chance to be a four-tool player (the arm being the only one that doesn’t stand out) that can play a premium defensive position.

9. Tyler Mahle | The biggest weakness for Tyler Mahle is tough to find. He seems to do everything well. None of his stuff jumps off of the table – he doesn’t have a plus pitch to work with, but he’s got four average or better offerings and he can throw them all for strikes. His fastball is working in the low 90’s and touches the mid 90’s on occasion. Mixing in a slider and curveball gives hitters two looks from a breaking ball and a solid change up gives a fourth look.

10. Nick Travieso | The biggest weakness for Nick Travieso has been his inability to throw strikes. As noted above, it’s never been a problem for him in the past, particularly with his fastball which is an area that he’s stood out in the past. It’s not an issue of facing better competition and guys laying off of the stuff less advanced hitters used to chase, he’s simply not finding the zone like he has in the past. The stuff hasn’t really changed much, though his velocity is down a tick or two – but he’s usually a guy who has thrown harder in the second half of the season than the first. The control is going to have to improve if he’s going to be able to find success moving forward.


20 Responses

  1. Nick

    Great list. Santillian has been otherworldly in his few starts. I’ll be interested to see where Aquino ranks. Now second in the Florida State League in slugging and seventh in OPS.

    • bellhead

      His last 30 day split is obscene for the FSL.

      .337 Average/ .375 OBP/ .977 OPS

      4 Walks to 15 Strikeouts is where the improvement could come from.

      • Nick

        That is insane! And you are right, the walk to strikeout ratio needs to improve some, but he has walked more this year so far. I’m encouraged!

  2. Fish

    From the scouting report, Santillan sounds like aright handed cody reed with a tick more velocity. What he is doing at 19 is ridiculous. I guess that is why teams draft guys with big arms. If they put it together, they can flat dominate.

    • bellhead

      Heard from a credible source, the league is looking at him for using an illegal Nintendo cheat code in the game.

      12k’s out of 14 batters sounds like a tecmo baseball game.

  3. Herzog

    I’m just wondering if Shed Long is gonna creep into this list. He’s becoming one of my favorite prospects right now.

  4. Guy Evans

    Still too early to judge, but would you have taken the White Sox package for Frazier or would you have stuck with the Dodgers?

    • Doug Gray

      I never alter my opinion on trades once it’s made up. Either you made a good decision at the time or you didn’t and no matter what happens after that changes anything because everything after that is based around information that was not available when you made the decision.

      • wes

        What was your initial thoughts on the trade then? In my opinion, reds seem a lot higher on peraza than most scouts did at that point in his career. Kinda like the carribean kid they are about to way overpay for or jiggalo whom they got in chapman deal- reds like a guy so they go get em at any cost. How do you feel about that strategy too?

      • Doug Gray

        I don’t think you’re correct about Jagielo in that the Reds overpaid for him because they loved him more than others. They pretty much said the exact things about him that every other scouting report suggested – has power, needs to fix his defense at third. They probably were higher on Peraza than others were – I still prefer him over what the Dodgers got. Trayce Thompson got out to an incredible start and he had a bunch of Reds fans thinking about just how much the Reds screwed up – but he was NEVER ever thought of as some high end prospect. A good one, sure, but a flawed one. His first 6 weeks this season: .307/.358/.614. The 6 weeks since: .184/.285/.351.

        My reasoning for always liking the Reds package better was that I believe Jose Peraza is an every day middle of the field starter. Whether that’s at shortstop or second, I didn’t know, but it was one of them and those guys aren’t the easiest to find. He’s got his flaws, but he’s going to be an every day guy. The Dodgers package was built around Frankie Montas, who I’ve seen in person, and the guy’s got reliever written all over him. He may be a closer one day, but that’s not nearly as valuable as an every day shortstop or second baseman is unless they are Chapman caliber good – and well, Montas probably won’t be that. Trayce Thompson was a throw in with a mediocre minor league career who got off to a very good start to his big league career – but nothing suggested he’d be able to keep that going.

        End of the day, and just about everyone agreed with this part: The Reds got the best player in the deal among the prospects moved. Some people preferred the overall package for the Dodgers. I get that side of it, but I don’t agree with it because I just don’t hold the same kind of value with Montas as some other places did.

  5. wes

    I read somewhere that reds were gonna take jagielo but yankees took him a pick or 2 before so reds took phil ervin. So he seemed like the centerpiece, to me atleast, in the chapman deal. It also seemed like they could have gotten more for chapman, but instead took a guy they were higher on than most. Just my opinion though based off something i read compared to the way the reds go about their business.

    And i agree on peraza. I am prob higher on him right now than stephenson or winker.

    • Doug Gray

      I think you’re letting past thoughts influence what happened. I’m not sure anywhere had Jagielo as the center piece of that deal.

      The Reds were doing anything to get rid of Chapman – and some teams weren’t even willing to take him on at all because of what had happened. The Reds wanted to A), distance themselves from him, and B), shed that salary.

      • Bradkon21

        That being said, Rookie Davis and Caleb Cotham have a chance. Tony Renda could be a bench piece wildcard. Will be interesting to see what Yankees get for Chapman, not sure it will be better.

        Bigger question is what Reds do with the money saved on Chapman…

  6. James K

    When the Reds drafted Santillan, one scout described him as, “First round fastball, first round change up, first round curve ball, fortieth round control.” Now that his control has improved substantially, wow.

  7. Norwood Nate

    Nice updates so far. Nothing really to dispute, although there will always be different opinions when it comes to rankings, even the “experts” don’t agree too often on top 10s. I’d have the top 5 ranked the same, maybe ordered differently, but I think those 5 are the clear top 5.

    I don’t know if I’d have Trammell or Travieso still hanging around, but both would be just outside. Personally, I’d keep Ervin in the top 10. I think he’s put together a good season so far, has shown the ability to get on base at a high clip, has shown good pop in his bat, and he’s been able to continue playing some CF. All in AA, which is said to be the toughest jump in competition from level to level. But, I’ve always weighted production (especially at higher levels) more so than tools that haven’t shown out yet. Aquino is another one, based on what he’s done this year, it’s really been impressive in the FSL. Rookie Davis is the other name I’d consider for top 10, but he’s tailed off slightly since his incredible start.

    • Doug Gray

      Rookie Davis didn’t really have an incredible start, he just had a low ERA.

      • gaffer

        I may call you out Doug on a potential bias (with all due respect). You ranked Nick Travieso higher than any other national list before this year, which is your perogative. But, you may have let this cloud your current ranking. Based on his current performance (and overall makeup) do you really think he is the 10th best prospect we have? If he is 10, where is the rest of the AA rotation? Ervin? Once you get to 10-15 its all similar but it just seems you want Nick to be better than he is (which is probably not a MLB regular starting pitcher).

      • Doug Gray

        If I didn’t think he was the 10th best prospect we have, I wouldn’t have ranked him as such. The rest of the AA rotation is either ahead of him (Mahle) or behind him (the rest of the guys). I’m not throwing everything aside over 2 months of control problems. He’s got to get beyond that issue to get back to where he was, but he’s a guy with 3 pitches, who before the last two months, showed good control and offered two potentially plus offerings. The control issues he’s shown this year are the reason he’s dropped. I don’t care much about what other national rankings do – they aren’t following these guys like I am. With all due respect to them, they just can’t. There’s not enough time in the day.

        I stand very firm on my rankings at the time coming into the season. I stand firm on the ones released this week, too.

        Who should be ahead of him, and what’s the scouting report and reasoning for why?

      • gaffer

        With the plummeting of other prospects 1) stevenson 2) blandino 3) jagielo 4) howard (if its even worth thinking about him anymore) and the poor performance of Sal Ramano maybe he is 10 by default. Man I just got disapointed.

      • MK

        I think it is easy to disregard the difficult jump to AA, especially for a pitcher of Travieso’s style. The hitters are just better and no longer swing at those marginal pitches which become balls at this level rather than the swing and miss strikes they were used to before. Robert Stephenson struggled from it as have many in the past. Makes the rise of Garrett all the more impressive.Nick T has also suffered some injuries the last 12 months and certainly would not rate any lower than Doug has here.