Baseball Prospectus Reds Top 10 Prospect List Doug Gray January 5, 2017 27 Comments The guys and gals over at Baseball Prospectus have unveiled their Cincinnati Reds Top 10 Prospect List this morning. Here is how their Top 10 played out: Rank Player Pos 1 Nick Senzel 3B 2 Amir Garrett LHP 3 Jesse Winker OF 4 Robert Stephenson RHP 5 Tyler Stephenson C 6 Taylor Trammell OF 7 Aristides Aquino OF 8 Tony Santillan RHP 9 Shed Long 2B 10 Ian Kahaloa RHP Compared to my list, and the list at Baseball America – there are a few new entries. Second baseman Shed Long and right handed pitcher Ian Kahaloa were able to sneak onto the back end of this Top 10. They did not appear in the other two. It is worth noting that Baseball America is the only one that includes Cody Reed as a prospect. He’s not 2017 ROY Eligible. Tyler Stephenson finds himself at his highest ranking spot, coming in up at the 5th spot as well. Some of the scouting information on the players, particularly outside of the Top 5 spots, differs a little bit from what I’ve had on them. Nothing major, but some guys are a grade high, or low on a given tool from everything I’ve seen. The one thing that really jumps out, is that they included write ups on six players beyond the Top 10 and Vladimir Gutierrez wasn’t one of them. That seems like a mistake to not even mention him. Not mentioned was Alfredo Rodriguez, though that one is far more understandable given the scouting reports combined with the play in 2016 (small sample size, of course – but, yeah, it wasn’t good in any sense of the word). Bryan Grosnick begins his long conclusion about the system, and organization with this: It’s not too thrilling, is it? The exciting guys–Senzel, Garrett, maybe Winker–already got coverage by Jeff and co. above. The rest of the bunch feel, well, pretty Cincinnati. The Reds have somehow fallen out of the national baseball conversation over the last few years–just ask Ben and Sam–by producing perfectly good ballplayers and trading them other teams for average-ish returns as part of a drawn-out pseudo-rebuild. Something is keeping this team from going whole-hog into a Phillies-and-Braves-style rebuild, for better or for worse. Jay Bruce is gone ahead of free agency, but what about Zack Cozart? Could a Billy Hamilton deal finally bring back the sort of impact prospect they haven’t had since the Mat Latos trade? While sometimes it makes sense to bet big on a mediocre core that could shine with a few lucky breaks, it feels as if this Reds team requires a few lucky breaks just to break even, never mind having to share a division with Chicago and St. Louis. Let’s hope for 85 wins next year! Blah. I won’t say that I completely agree with everything he says there, but I think there’s some truth to it. I’ve heard more than a few very smart people say very similar things as well. 27 Responses Kourage Kundahl January 5, 2017 Jumping in here to mention that I wrote the essay that precedes the list. I set out to answer, “How should should a rebuild take?” Depends on when you want to start (2014 offseason picking up Disco/Suarez, 2015 deadline, 2016 as first season with Williams at the helm). It’s stuff you already know and maybe some things you don’t, but I’m fairly optimistic. Another six names and write-ups are available to BP subscribers. Wes January 5, 2017 I don’t mind how the reds are doing it. They seem to be targeting a single prospect vs a group in return and I’m ok w that. Seems to have worked out very well in the peraza deal. That’s their guy and they went and got him. Seems same situation w Disco, Herrera, and AlfRod (which prob won’t pan out) but I don’t mind the strategy of targeting individuals you believe fit into your team structure vs trading for a handful of guys who others seem to rank higher and hoping to strike gold. That being said- I think reds overall management strategy is poor to below average. They had everything in place to rebuild around votto but chose to dish out to many big contracts so they had to scrap everything and rebuild. Guys like bailey and Phillips should have been traded and only trade chapman when u can get market value. Build a team around cuato and votto and trade everyone else for younger guys who can potentially step in. Then they are at least competitive every year w a chance to put it together at right time and make a run for a title. But that’s life as a reds fan. I tried picking a new team but that didn’t work so I found Doug and now i just wait patiently and dream lol. Kilday,Rich January 8, 2017 What about Ryan Mattheus. He had a really good year in Texas in the independent league. Learned a lot. Put him in the bullpen where he was before. Would be a good addition… sultanofswaff January 5, 2017 I have to largely agree with the overall assessment about the nature of the rebuild. Combined with JJ Cooper’s analysis, the Reds have an abundance of high floor talent, but aside from Senzel, the impact talent is sorely lacking. It complements my thinking that the Reds need to consolidate some of this talent into one or two impact players. There are only so many at-bats and innings available on the big club—to give every ‘worthy’ candidate a 3 month tryout would set the rebuild back years. Just not feasible. This year is probably not the year to do it because we could have multiple players break out and completely disprove the experts and me, but if things plod along like they have the last 3 seasons, bigger moves must be made. Greenfield Red January 5, 2017 I would add Taylor Trammel to the list of potential impact players and Vladimer Gutierrez. I also believe they will draft either Greene or Kendall in June. Either would make that list too. I’m not completely thrilled with how they’ve done this rebuild. Look at the last few moves. Giving SD a good catching prospect who could have been the 3rd catcher on a bad ML team this year with potential to be a good ML in the future. Giving up on a high ceiling pitcher to sign a retread. Signing said retread rather than Ruiz or Perez. None of these moves show they are all-in on the rebuild. But, I do recognize they’ve gone from a really bad farm system to one that is slightly above average and is a little better than that when you consider all the years of club control on higher ceiling guys on the roster who aren’t eligible for the prospect lists (Reed, Peraza, Herrera, Disco, Suarez, Lorenzen, Duvall, Hamilton, Schebler, and others). Just my opinion. AlphaZero January 5, 2017 I tend to agree with the consolidation angle. The Reds have done a nice job assembling solid, everyday pieces. Peraza, Schebler, Herrera, Reed, Desclafani, and Suarez all appear to be capable of delivering good value. But I don’t think any of those guys are stars. They’re all 2-3 WAR players, probably not 4-5 WAR and beyond. Assuming some progress from the pitching corps and an improved overall performance by this team, I’d like to see them take on a buyer’s role at the 2017 deadline not unlike what they did when they acquired Rolen in 2009. Now, I’d like the target to be younger than Rolen was when they nabbed him, but they need to get a guy who is a bit more proven and can complement Votto. Then you hope that you kept the right pitchers and that Senzel develops into something special. You already have the other solid but unspectacular pieces in place as I mentioned before, and you’re ready to roll in 2018. sultanofswaff January 5, 2017 Nice to see Shed get some love!!! Big believer in this little guy. Arnold Ziffle January 5, 2017 Bryan Grosnick hit the nail on the head regarding the Reds Rebuild. It is like most of the things the Reds have done under Walt Jocketty, half-assed everything. Dick Williams is not much different than Walt Jocketty. Jocketty-lite. With Dick Williams at the helm and with the Cubs, Cards and Pirates in the same division, fourth and fifth place finishes are going to be common in the Dick Williams era. Doug Gray January 5, 2017 So, in three months on the job, you already know that Williams is like Jocketty? What on Earth are you basing that on? Jer-B January 5, 2017 Dick Williams = new scapegoat I don’t think the Reds rebuild is as doom & gloom as Grosnick puts it. Sure the front off held on to guys longer than the should of, but if you add in recently graduated guys: Peraza, Herrera, Reed, Finnegan, Igleseas, Duvall, Scebler That’s a decent talent pool. Not win a World Series type of talent pool, but a good start none the less. Arnold Ziffle January 5, 2017 Williams has been GM for 1 year and 1.25 months and President of Baseball Ops for 3 months. Williams is like Jocketty in the regard that when there should be some activity to improve the team, there is little to no activity. You seriously cannot be impressed or satisfied with what Williams has done so far, can you? For arguments sake, let’s put the trades of Frazier and Chapman in Jocketty’s column. What has Williams done to improve the Reds? He drafted Jake Cave and Chris O’Grady in last year’s Rule V draft, and then returned both to their original teams. Last year during spring training, he picked up Ross Ohlendorf and Dan Straily off the waiver wire and signed a terribly out of baseball shape Alfredo Simon to a 1 year ML deal. 1 out 3 ain’t bad. Last year he stood by and watched a bullpen invent new ways of melting down into one of the worst bullpens in ML history. Levels of flames and conflagration that haven’t been seen since that 1970’s movie The Towering Inferno. I don’t advocate making trades for the sake of trades, but keeping the status quo of running out JC Ramirez, Jumbo, JSmith, Cingrani, Wood, Sampson, Peralta, and AJ Morris bordered on GM dereliction of duty. Leaving Cozart and BP on the 25 man roster this long also borders on GM dereliction of duty. There is still time, but what will the 25 man roster look like on Opening Day?? More stale status quo? Or something new and fresh? Greenfield Red January 5, 2017 I’m all for giving Dick Williams a chance, and I don’t have a preconceived notion against him. I really don’t. BUT, these last few decisions are head scratchers for me considering this is supposed to be a rebuild. First, he DFAs a pitcher who has had control issues but has a reasonably high ceiling to replace him with a retread pitcher on a 1 year contract. The money spent on said retread pitcher could have been used to fund most of the bonus needed to sign 1 of the 2 remaining (until recently) high end international pitchers (Ruiz and Perez). Before that , in the Rule 5 Draft, he drafts a Catcher with major league potential and then gives him to San Diego. Then he drafts another Catcher in the Rule 5 draft, in whom he has so little confidence that he is still looking to sign a back up big league Catcher which will mean more money that could have been used for Perez or Ruiz. I believe in order for a rebuild to be successful for this team, they have to be all-in. Recent decisions have shown they are not all-in. Doug Gray January 5, 2017 Tyrell Jenkins didn’t really have a high ceiling though. When he used to throw 100, he had a high ceiling. But his shoulder surgery scrapped that a long time ago. The catcher move in the Rule 5 was agreed upon before the draft even happened, much like when the Reds got Josh Hamilton. Greenfield Red January 5, 2017 Doug, I agree with all you say, but Jenkins had a lot more long term potential than Stores does, and they didn’t have to trade Torrens to SD. He could have been the 3rd Catcher they wanted (emergency use and maybe 1 or 2 AB’s and innings a week. Could have stashed him in the DL in times of other need. Doug Gray January 5, 2017 They would have never selected Torrens if San Diego didn’t want him, though. He was never in their plans. Jenkins may have more years there, but he’s a very long way from being any kind of productive at the big league level right now. If he had never been a 100 MPH guy before he got hurt, but was only the guy he’s been since he had surgery, I can’t imagine anyone would be talking about him at all. Maybe I’m wrong there, but his production has never been good since he got hurt. gaffer January 5, 2017 Its impossible to know what Williams is like. If he agreed with the Aroldis trade and chose not to trade Cozart to Seattle then I agree, but we don’t. Castellini almost certainly had his mits all over the last 2 years of decisions. His impatience is the real issue. What in the world could the Reds do right now that would make any difference? If they traded BHam or Disco that would put us back 3 years (not that its wrong) and the fans would revolt. They are trying to balance a mediocre MLB team with a long term hope. Norwood Nate January 5, 2017 I wouldn’t put anything on Williams pre-November. That’s probably about the time he got final say on decisions in the FO. And since that time I’ve liked a couple things, such as the Shaffer pick up, and the overall details the Storen signing, (years/amount). I think it’s low risk high reward deal that could net the Reds something useful at the deadline if he pitches well. I also like the organizations promotions/hires as well. There seems to be more focus on analytics and more public acknowledgment as about using them as well. Some of the roster churning has been confusing to me, but we were able to add Guerrero to the system. He’s a lotto ticket, but why not take the chance if you lose nothing by doing it? I don’t know if VanMeter was worth picking for the Padres at #2. I really think we could have added an interesting arm to the bullpen with the #2 pick this year. But he’s young and doesn’t even have to be on the 40-man yet and could maybe end up being a cost effective bench piece down the road. I haven’t understood everything, but incrementally I think the system, and roster have gotten a little better since he’s taken over. Now let’s see if he’s serious about opening up the MIF for Peraza and Herrera. sixpacktwo January 9, 2017 Come on!, Williams is just starting. Because he does NOT have unlimited money, his upgrades will come from trades that, then we can judge. Norwood Nate January 5, 2017 Probably the most confounding list I’ve seen with three guys listed in top 10 that probably won’t show up in any other legitimate top 10s. T. Stephenson at #5 is just hard to grasp, even if it’s almost entirely based on 2015 numbers. gaffer January 5, 2017 Agree, Tyler has been injured, played terrible defense and hit mediocre. Doug Gray January 5, 2017 Any “play” that occurred in 2016 shouldn’t be held against him at all. Cam. January 5, 2017 T. Stephenson is a tad higher than I would put him, although I don’t think it’s egregious since he was Top-5 prospect before the 2016 season and nothing that happened should change any opinions of him directly due to the injuries. The improvement and acquisition of others would move him down on my list. A little surprised by Shed Long and Ian Kahaloa sneaking in at the end of the top 10, though it plays with the idea that the strength of the Reds system is its depth. I disagree with the idea that the Reds haven’t had impact prospects since the Mat Latos trade (I think they’re talking about when they acquired Latos from San Diego). Say what you want about Billy Hamilton, and he still has room to grow, but I would definitely consider him an impact prospect. gaffer January 5, 2017 BHam was never assumed to be a big time prospect as no one thought he would hit. Its an odd statement about Latos. You could read it as we gave up impact prospects or maybe he is referring to Disco being impact. He was Marlins #2. Cam. January 5, 2017 Nobody expected him to have a huge bat, but he also had a good enough track record in the minors before he got to Louisville when he was also learning a new position. In a perfect world, he probably would’ve gotten more upper minors time. Not saying he was thought of as a Moncada level prospect, but he was pretty highly thought of. Was the Reds #1 going into 2013 and was a consensus top 50 prospect from 2012-2014. Maybe not a thumper, but I would consider him an impact prospect. Krozley January 5, 2017 Fangraphs top 30 is up as well. Some weird placements there. Who knew Juan Perez is a prospect? The interesting part of their list is the detailed write ups including what was viewed at instructionals for some players. Doug Gray January 5, 2017 Yeah, I have already written the piece and it’s ready to publish. But, I wanted to spread things out a little bit, so it won’t be live for the full discussion until 430. The rankings are a bit strange, but most of the information in the write ups is solid. theRickDeLux January 5, 2017 The BP write up is classic internet amateur snark. I don’t disagree with what they are saying, it’s just written poorly.