It’s that time of year again. It’s prospect ranking season and every day this week we are going to unveil five more spots on the list as we work our way through the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospect List for the 2018 season. You can see the entire list here (once it’s completed at the end of the week). If you were supporting the site on Patreon you would have gotten the entire Top 25 list last week and had early access to this, and all other scouting related articles that show up on the site. Click that orange banner above to see what all you can get for helping keep the site alive.

Just as a reminder, these write ups will not feature full scouting reports. Those will be included with the Season Reviews, which will start in a week – first working my way through the Top 25 prospects before then branching out into another 75 interesting prospects through the remainder of the offseason.

*To be eligible for the list a player must have 2017 Rookie of the Year eligibility (Fewer than 130 at bats in the big leagues, fewer than 50 innings pitches or less than 45 days on the active MLB roster that doesn’t include September)*

6. Tyler Stephenson | C | Age: 20

2017 Team: Dayton Dragons | Acquired: 1st round, 2015 Draft | Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 225 lbs

After struggling with a wrist injury in the 2016 season, Tyler Stephenson returned to Dayton in 2017. Healthy again, he would starting showing the tools that led to him being a 1st round draft pick to years earlier. That is, until he injured his thumb in the middle of July and was shut down for the rest of the year. Originally it was believed he would need surgery, but further evaluation revealed that he just needed rest to allow it to heal. Stephenson played in 80 games and hit .278/.374/.414 with 22 doubles and six home runs. He also had 44 walks and 58 strikeouts, showing strong plate discipline during the year. Behind the plate he only threw out 21% of opposing base runners.

Biggest Strength: The biggest strength for Tyler Stephenson is his bat at the catcher position. While his bat would look fine at other positions, that it comes at the toughest position to find hitters at on the field is a huge asset.

Biggest Weakness: As noted above, Stephenson threw out just 21% of opposing baserunners in 2017. While stolen bases are more on pitchers than catchers, and Stephenson shows above-average pop times more often than not, it’s an area that he will need to continue working on.

Team PA 2B 3B HR BB K AVG OBP SLG
Dayton 348 22 0 6 44 58 .278 .374 .414

7. Tony Santillan | RHP | Age: 20

2017 Team: Dayton Dragons | Acquired: 2nd round, 2015 Draft | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 240 lbs

In 2016 Tony Santillan pitched well in eight starts for Billings before being promoted to Dayton for the final five weeks of the year. It was a tough transition as he posted a 6.82 ERA in seven starts where he struggled to throw strikes, walking 24 batters in 30.1 innings. The 20-year-old right hander returned to the Dragons rotation in 2017. Things were much better for Santillan, who posted a 3.38 ERA with 56 walks and 128 strikeouts in 128.0 innings. He flashed some of the best stuff in the organization during the season, too.

Biggest Strength: Fastball velocity. While there were times during the season where Tony Santillan threw in the 92-95 range, more often than not he was throwing in the 95-98 MPH range.

Biggest Weakness: Consistency. When Santillan is at his best, he’s unhittable. But, at times he simply struggles to find the strikezone or crispness with some of his pitches. Seven times in 2017 he walked four or more batters. He also had nine starts where he walked zero or one batter.

Team  ERA  IP  HR  BB  K
Dayton 3.38 128.0 104 9 56 128

8. Shed Long | 2B | Age: 21

2017 Teams: Daytona Tortugas, Pensacola Blue Wahoos | Acquired: 12th round, 2013 Draft | Height: 5′ 8″ | Weight: 180 lbs

The 2017 season got out to about as good of a start as it could for Shed Long in the first half. With the Daytona Tortugas he hit .312/.380/.543 in 62 games. That earned him a promotion to Double-A where he got out to a slow start. That slow start was compounded by a wrist injury that cost him four weeks of playing time. He returned for the final week of the season, and the playoffs – finishing strong. Between the two stop she would hit .281/.358/.477 with 22 doubles, three triples and 16 home runs in 104 games played. He also walked 46 times in 94 strikeouts, showing off a solid plate approach.

Biggest Strength: The pop in his bat really plays well for a second baseman. And he’s got some pop to all fields. He had eight home runs to the opposite field and three more to dead center field.

Biggest Weakness: He’s definitely improved on the defensive side of the baseball, and it’s not a negative, but it may still be the weakest part of his game as the offensive side all looks to be above-average.

Team  PA 2B 3B HR BB K AVG OBP SLG
Daytona 279 16 1 13 27 63 .312 .380 .543
Pensacola 160 6 2 3 19 31 .227 .319 .362

9. Jose Siri | OF | Age: 21

2017 Team: Dayton Dragons | Acquired: Free Agent, 2012 | Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 175 lbs

After struggling mightily in Dayton to begin 2016, Jose Siri was sent back to Billings for the second half. He performed well with the Mustangs and returned to the Dragons for the start of 2017. After looking outstanding during spring training, Siri struggled in April. He began to turn things up a notch in May and never looked back. He set a new league record with a 39-game hitting streak. The outfielder finished the year with a .293/.341/.530 line that came with 24 doubles, 11 triples, 24 home runs and 46 stolen bases. And he did it while playing an outstanding center field.

Biggest Strength: For a player with the best all-around set of tools on the farm, it’s the power that stands out the most for Jose Siri. It’s not that it’s off-the-chart power, though it is quite good, it’s that it comes from a center fielder. Plus power potential from a true center fielder isn’t something you see too often.

Biggest Weakness: Jose Siri took big strides forward in his pitch recognition skills in 2017. He’ll have to continue to do so, though. In particular his struggles with the slider and recognizing it quick enough to lay off of it when it’s out of the zone.

Team  PA 2B 3B HR BB K AVG OBP SLG
Dayton 552 24 11 24 33 130 .293 .341 .530

10. Vladimir Gutierrez | RHP | Age: 21

2017 Team: Daytona Tortugas | Acquired: Free Agent, 2016 | Height: 6′ 0″ | Weight: 190 lbs

It had been nearly two years since Vladimir Gutierrez last pitched in a game when he joined the Daytona Tortugas in April. Signed after defecting from Cuba, the Reds first assignment for the 21-year-old was in the Florida State League. Gutierrez had an interesting season. In his first 10 starts he walked nine batters and had 65 strikeouts in 52.2 innings and allowed just three homers. Great rates across the board, but his ERA was 4.44. Over his final nine starts he posted nearly the same ERA, 4.47, but walked ten batters with just 29 strikeouts and allowed seven home runs in 50.1 innings. The strikeouts declined and the homers went up, but the ERA remained unchanged.

Biggest Strength: The entire arsenal. Vladimir Gutierrez has multiple pitches that at their best can be above-average and he is able to use them from different arm angles, giving him even more looks.

Biggest Weakness: Stamina, maybe. He didn’t pitch for nearly two years, and when he was pitching in Cuba, granted it was as a 17 and 18-year-old, he worked a bit of a long reliever. Gutierrez is going to have to answer questions not only about can he physically hold up for 175 innings, but can he do so while also having his stuff remain over that long of a stretch. Most pitchers his age have larger workloads under their belts and less questions about being able to hold up at this point in their careers. Not that it’s necessarily his fault, but it’s certainly the biggest question he needs to answer.

Team  ERA IP H HR BB K
Daytona 4.46 103.0 108 10 19 94

35 Responses

    • MK

      Look at the correction. Doug miscalculated service time and made Winker eligible and slotted him back in at 5, moving Tyler to 6.

      • Doug Gray

        Doug updated it around 1pm. Because he’s an idiot.

        Stupid disabled list.

      • Kap

        Lol yeah I orginally looked at it in the morning and just other comments in the evening. Didn’t reread it

  1. MK

    Have to wonder if some of Gutierrez stamina issues could be cultural based. Probably no way of knowing about his nutritional background. I remember when Livan Hernandez came he had never seen or tasted McDonalds and almost Bic Mac’ed himself out of his uniform.

    • Doug Gray

      Possible, but I’d guess it’s far more likely that it was almost 2 years between seasons.

  2. Kap

    I like 6-10. Solid but not outstanding. First, I can see Shed Long being trade bait with all of the other options the Reds have at 2nd base. Second, I can see Vlad going the same rout as Iggy. I know it’s early and I hope I’m wrong and he can stay a starter, but I have my doubts. Not a bad contingency plan though. Doug, would you say that Vlad’s stuff is similar to Iggy’s?

    • Doug Gray

      Tough to say with the comp to Iglesias, at least right now. As a reliever, Iglesias is throwing significantly harder than he did when he was starting for that brief period of time. With that said, if one day Gutierrez has to move to the bullpen, I feel very confident that he’s got the stuff to be an 8th/9th inning type of guy.

  3. Jim Delaney

    If Guttierrez can have a career as good as Livan,, I will take it and bring him Big Macs everyday!

  4. donny

    Siri at 9 kinda surprises me. I don’t think i would have him that high.
    There is every reason to believe he is going to struggle at double aa like Aquino did. I know he hasn’t reached AA yet, but his walk to K ratio is very similar if not worse than Aquino.
    To me if your going to move Aquino out of the top ten. I think in the future when Siri goes to AA, i will predict will do the same.
    I guess i am predicting a little further into the future, instead of predicting or assuming how he is going to do this year. YES, he has a lot of skill set, but so does Aquino, and his skill set didn’t help him with his OBP, and walk to K ratio.

    • Doug Gray

      There’s a huge difference between Aquino and Siri: One guy is an elite level defender in center field who can steal 40 bases. The other one is a solid right fielder with a big arm. The bar to be a starter between those two guys, as far as hitting goes, is massively different because of their defensive capabilities.

      • Doug Gray

        Let’s put it like this: If Jose Siri can OPS .700, he’s probably significantly more valuable than Aquino at an .800 OPS. That speed makes such a significant difference because of what it brings defensively/on the bases (more defensively – but I think there will be real value added on the bases, too). Being able to play up the middle at SS/C/2B is just a huge boost in value compared to other positions on the field.

      • MK

        Think Siri could be similar to Taylor in Washington but people are going to need to be patient. He has a lot to learn, especially breaking ball recognition, and emotional maturity. Took big steps this year but still has a ways to go and will probably be a one step or level a season guy.

    • donny

      That’s just me, not trying to be a butt Doug. I think i am just predicting it and it’s got me down a bit.

      • donny

        With that all said. I would agree with you about ranking Siri ahead of Aquino, because he has more speed,and plays cf but i don’t think i would have neither in the top 15.

  5. The Duke

    I have all the same players, just in a different order:

    1. Nick Senzel, 3B
    2. Hunter Greene, RHP
    3. Taylor Trammell, OF
    4. Jesse Winker, OF
    5. Tyler Mahle, RHP
    6. Tony Santillan, RHP
    7. Shed Long, 2B
    8. Vlad Gutierrez, RHP
    9. Tyler Stephenson, C
    10. Jose Siri, CF

    T Steph’s injury history and general size possibly being an issue to sticking behind the dish bumps him down a bit for me. He’ll rise if he can stay healthy, hit, and stick behind the dish.

    I’m a little more bullish on Vlad Gut. I think with a full offseason in the states with a good year of experience behind him takes a step forward in 2018. I think his frame can add more muscle which will help with longevity as well. The stuff is there, and I’m willing to give a little leeway for 2 non-injury related years off.

    Siri’s a guy who I could see near the top of this list next year, but I could also see him off the list all together. A real boom or bust prospect that all hinges on the plate discipline and contact rates.

    Our top 10’s are very similar, but we’ll be diverging a bit more 11-25.

    • James K

      I am less worried about Tyler Stephenson’s past injuries. I am old enough to remember that when Johnny Bench first came to the majors, Si Burick of the Dayton Daily News said he was talented but “injury-prone.” During a long major league career he was seldom on the sidelines.

      • Colorado Red

        If somehow, Tyler is 1/2 the player of Bench, I will be elated.

      • donny

        I know he’s been injured a lot. He is known for his power and arm behind the plate. I think he only threw out 23% of base runners or something, with out looking it up and only had 6 hrs in almost 300 ab. 600 ab equals 12 hrs. He does have a good walk to K ratio though.

        James K, you mention Johnny Bench with injury issues, but i am seeing a similar path of Devon Mesoraco . Who also had injuries through out the early stages of the minors as well and really didn’t take of until his second year in A+ ball in the first half. As long as he continues to have a good walk to K ratio though i have good feelings of him being a better than average catcher.

    • MK

      Surprisingly I think Tyler would say his second best position would be on the mound.

    • donny

      I like yours pretty well Duke. Except i would switch Mahle and Winker.
      Winker is just a 1 dimensional player who can hit and has a good OBP and good walk to K ratio but a DH in all reality . Mahle i feel can be a complete pitcher who i feel will still develop a plus slider and change up in the near future.

      Am i just being to negative here. Doug help me out. I would also have Siri out of the say top 13.

      • Doug Gray

        Winker’s more than a DH. His defense isn’t THAT bad. But if you’re going to be a “one dimension player” being able to both hit for average and get on base is the dimension you want it to be.

  6. Norwood Nate

    I as well had the same guys, different order. I had Jeter Downs at 10 until I realized we were still counting Winker. Here’s how it would play out now for me:
    Senzel, Greene, Mahle, Trammell, Winker, Santillan, Gutierrez, Stephenson, Long, Siri

    My next group is going to include Downs and Fairchild but after that it got really hard to differentiate. Part of that for me is that there are so many guys I just don’t know enough about, like Garcia, Hernandez, Clementina, etc. It’s also a hard task for me to sort between high upside and high floor. Ervin for instance, has the floor of a 4th OF type, or Blandino is likely a utility guy in the near future. Those are fine pieces to have but neither likely projects at this point to be playing everyday without some progression in their skillsets. A guy like Miles Gordon or Andy Sugilio may never make it, but may also have a higher ceiling than Ervin or Blandino.

    Tomorrow is where it will get interesting to me. Thanks for doing the Doug.

    • Stock

      I agree the next three days gets much more interesting. That is why I like Doug’s new approach of starting at 1 on Monday and ending on 25.

      A lot of Mustangs were very impressive this year. However, stats in Montana often do not translate to Dayton. Difficult to mix and match them with a low ceiling guy such as Blandino. And then you have Debby Santana who never even made it stateside this year.

  7. Stock

    Santillian BB/9 scare me and I have him all the way down to Thursday’s list (17). Siri actually had a very serviceable BB% of 9% in August while matching his season long K% (24%) which is very reasonable in today’s world. I know sample size but at least promising.

    I matched Doug yesterday but today I went Long, Siri, Gutierrez, Downs and Stephenson.

    Tomorrow I will be different than most when I open up with Gordon, Lopez and Romero.

  8. CP

    Good stuff Doug!

    Watching Springer for the Astros gives me hope for the ceiling of Siri. I think Siri has a little more speed and less pop than Springer, but man what a difference a guy like that makes at such a premium defensive position. It just makes your lineup so much deeper to have quality bats at high value defensive positions.

    Any chance that if Siri does well the first half in High A, that he gets a look at AA later in the year?

    • Doug Gray

      If Siri performs in Daytona in the 1st half then yes, he’ll very likely go to Pensacola for the second half.

  9. Colorado Red

    As an aside, the Giants claimed Micah J, from the Reds.

  10. Kap

    Random question, but could Mallex Smith be a decent option for centerfield? Makes nothing, had better offensive numbers and a higher WAR than Billy, and is younger than Billy. They could be is a market for a 2nd baseman as Brad Miller struggled this year. Maybe could pry Brad Boxberger or Dan Jennings to offset the Salary differences. Smith can keep the seat in center warm until Friedl, Siri, Trammell, or Fairchild takes it at the very least.

    Always thinking of ways to upgrade the center field position. Billy simply is not the answer

    • Doug Gray

      I think I’d shoot higher than Smith, who would only be a marginal at best upgrade to Hamilton.

  11. DaveCT

    When you look a bit deeper into the system and see guys like LaValley, Blandino, Acquino, Dixon, Trahan, Friedl, as well as Herrera, Ervin, and Goeddell (while no longer) prospects, it’s very encouraging. While none can boast elite or high level talent, each has something to offer a ML team be it a good hitting approach, athleticism or defense, or versatility. I can see one or two of these guys sneaking into the 11-20 range, with others 21-25.

  12. Arnold Ziffle

    This is the group that Hunter Greene should have been included in. Gutierrez is a tad too high and probably should go a few spots down in the next group. again with this group, you can’t quibble much about the who, just the wehre on a few.
    I saw your twitter picture of your costume and candy. Like the Justin Verlander t-shirt. While you have 3 of my top-5 candies, that is pretty insensitive not have anything for the peanut allergy kids. No Milky Ways or 3 Musketeers or Tootsie Pops or even Skittles? At Halloween, you always have to have one bag of Skittles for such cases. Hope you have some EpiPens handy. We don’t want to see a headline in tomorrow’s Nasty Enquirer that reads “Doug Gray kills off neighbor kid with a Snickers”.
    Go get you some Skittles before it is too late.

    • Doug Gray

      It’s too late. There’s zero chance I’m going out at this point.