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)*

11. Jeter Downs | SS | Age: 18

2017 Team: Billings Mustangs | Acquired: 1st round, 2017 Draft | Height: 5′ 11″ | Weight: 180 lbs

The Cincinnati Reds picked Jeter Downs with the 32nd overall pick in 2017. He was said to be an advanced hitter for his age and from an approach standpoint, that held true. The Reds sent Downs to Billings for his first assignment. The teenager hit .267/.370/.424. Most impressive, though, was 27 walks and just 32 strikeouts in 50 games. After a three week slump from mid-July through early August, Downs hit .328/.412/.552 over the final 20 games of the year to finish out his debut in a big way.

Biggest Strength: His advanced approach at the plate. He’s got a strong understanding of the strikezone. He also uses the entire field in his approach at the plate.

Biggest Weakness: While most believe he can remain at shortstop defensively, there’s work to do. He made 18 errors, posting a .911 fielding percentage for the Mustangs in 2017. 15 of his 18 errors were of the fielding variety.

Team PA 2B 3B HR BB K AVG OBP SLG
Billings 209 3 3 6 27 32 .267 .370 .424

12. Jose Garcia | SS | Age: 19

2017 Team: Did not play | Acquired: Free Agent, 2017 | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 170 lbs

Cincinnati doled out $10M to sign Jose Garcia in June of 2017. Half of that money went to Garcia, while the other half goes to Major League Baseball as a penalty. There were some conflicting reports given to me on Garcia. Everyone seems to think he’s a quality prospect, but some sources were higher on him than others. The best reports equated Garcia to a Top 15 prospect in the draft. Strong hitter, strong arm, can remain at shortstop and shows good speed. The other reports were concerned about how raw he was both at the plate and in the field, but generally did like the overall set of tools. Speaking with multiple people who did see him in 2017, they were far more impressed with Garcia than those who had seen him when he was still in Cuba/playing with the Cuban National Team.

While he was assigned to the Dominican Summer League Reds in June, he never played with the team. He would eventually arrive in the Dominican after getting things in order, but by the time that happened the season was winding down. He remained in the Dominican Republic to participate in their version of the instructional league. It’s expected that Jose Garcia will be in the United States to start next season.

Biggest Strength: His plus arm strength combined with short arm action and quick release really let’s his arm play well.

Biggest Weakness: There’s still a lot of unknown with Garcia since he hasn’t played in a while. From reports, though, there are concerns about him sticking at shortstop. Not everyone has those concerns, but some do.

13. Stuart Faichild | OF | Age: 21

2017 Team: Billings Mustangs | Acquired: 2nd round, 2017 Draft | Height: 6′ 0″ | Weight: 190lbs

With the 38th overall pick in the 2017 Draft the Reds took Stuart Fairchild. After a big season at Wake Forest he was assigned to Billings. With the Mustangs he showed off a well-rounded skillset, but his power didn’t quite show up. He hit 17 home runs for the Demon Deacons in 2017. In the Pioneer League he hit just three over 56 games played and slugged just .412. Fairchild would hit .304 and he walked 19 times with just 35 strikeouts. That also came along with 12 steals and quality defense in center field.

Biggest Strength: He’s a strong defender in center field where his speed plays well and his arm is plenty for the position.

Biggest Weakness: While there’s plenty of raw power to tap into, he struggled to do so in his debut. Despite playing in a very hitter friendly league he showed next to no in-game power.

Team PA 2B 3B HR BB K AVG OBP SLG
Billings 234 5 4 3 19 35 .304 .393 .412

14. Miles Gordon | OF | Age: 19

2017 Team: Billings Mustangs | Acquired: 4th round, 2015 Draft | Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 175 lbs

The 2016 season came to an end for Miles Gordon after just 22 games due to a shoulder injury. After crashing into the outfield wall, he separated his shoulder. The now 19-year-old returned to Billings in 2017 and made up for lost time. In 61 games played he hit an impressive .319/.389/.530. The Canadian product had 15 doubles, five triples and eight homers on the season. In the field he split time between center and right field, though he can handle center field just fine.

Biggest Strength: Nothing with Gordon truly jumps off the page at you as a plus tool, but the closest one may be his speed. He’s a fast runner who can use it well in center field.

Biggest Weakness:  With his speed you would like to see him steal a few more bases than he has to this point in his career.

Team PA 2B 3B HR BB K AVG OBP SLG
Billings 263 15 5 8 27 55 .319 .389 .530

15. Andy Sugilio | OF | Age: 20

2017 Team: Billings Mustangs | Acquired: Free Agent, 2013 | Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 170 lbs

Andy Sugilio had a breakout type season in Billings during 2017. The switch-hitter posted a .345 line with 17 walks and 33 strikeouts in 254 plate appearances. The splits were pretty even, hitting .344 and .347 from each side of the plate. He would double 13 times, triple four times and hit three home runs. That also came with 20 stolen bases in 24 attempts. In the field he would see action in all three spots, and he’s capable of handling all three spots defensively.

Biggest Strength: He’s a very good athlete who has a full array of tools to work with.

Biggest Weakness: It’s tough to find a stand out weakness, but getting more of his raw power potential to turn into game power is probably the biggest step forward that he needs to take.

Team PA 2B 3B HR BB K AVG OBP SLG
Billings 254 13 4 3 17 33 .345 .390 .472
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40 Responses

  1. Simon Cowell

    11. Jeter Downs | SS | Age: 18
    if his problems aren’t with throwing I think we’ll have a fine shortstop on our hands. I have observed the defensive side of shortstop comes down to range and ability to throw. Seems like that is not an issue at all with Jeter. This guy just might be on the fast track at a position we are fairly weak at.

  2. Kap

    Really like our depth in the outfield. Makes it even better that they can all play center in a crunch. Out of three mentioned here, I may like gordon the most. There’s ability that still can be unlocked with him I believe

  3. Wes

    So much talent 20 and under. That should fair well for reds when needing a second wave of talent as current roster gets more expensive

  4. The Duke

    My Top 15:

    1. Nick Senzel, 3B
    2. Hunter Greene, RHP
    3. Taylor Trammell, OF
    4. Jesse Winker, OF
    5. Tyler Mahle, RHP
    6. Tony Sanitllan, RHP
    7. Shed Long, 2B
    8. Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP
    9. Tyler Stephenson, C
    10. Jose Siri, OF
    11. Jose Lopez, RHP
    12. Alex Blandino, 2B
    13. Jeter Downs, SS
    14. Scott Moss, LHP
    15. Stuart Fairchild, OF

    I’m super excited about Gordon and Sugilio, but i’ll temper expectations a bit until I see something in full season ball. I was high on Gordon when we drafted him and have him higher than Sugilio still.

    Most might not agree with Blandino this high, but I just like his overall game and versatility, plus he’s near MLB ready. I could see him as an .800 OPS 2B still, and that’s more upside than most give him credit for I think. His excellent plate discipline will give him a good OBP even if he is more of a .250-.260 hitter, but I think the capacity is there to be more .275-.280, which in turn would make him an ideal #2 hitter since he’d likely have a .340-.360 OBP if the average can get that high.

    Jose Lopez was my highest riser this year (excluding draft picks). Just very impressed with the progress he made this year and the improvement he showed going from A ball in a pitcher friendly league to AA in a more neutral league mid season. The stuff will play if the control he showed in the 2nd half is for real, I think he can be a mid rotation pitcher.

    I’ve been on Moss’ bandwagon since we took him. His experience was extremely limited because of TJS in college, but I think getting through this year healthy was huge. He’s sat 93-95 in the past, and I think he could regain that velo as he gets more experience and further away from his injury past. Great mound presence.

    I liked the Downs and Fairchild picks quite a bit. Downs in particular could find himself as a top 5 guy come next year if he does what I think he is capable off in full season ball next year. Sure, we gave Jose Garcia $5 million, but come April, I think we see Downs manning SS in Dayton. I want to see something from Garcia before I put him too high.

    • Cguy

      I sure do like your Lopez & Moss picks. I have them both about 3 slots lower, but both solidly in the top 20. Problem with Lopez is that he appears to be effectively blocked from promotion to the Bats rotation. If you assume (however unlikely) a Reds rotation in 2018 of Bailey, DeSclafani, Finnegan, Castillo, & Stephenson; Lopez appears about 8th in the pecking order to get an sp job in Louisville behind Romano(10), Mahle (10), Garrett (14), Reed (20), McGuire (ML), Stephens(25), & Wojciechowski (5). # in parentheses is starts in Louisville last year. That’s not including Adleman, Mella, & Ross. It’ll be interesting how the Reds handle their AA & AAA rotations because Lopez is about ready to move up.

      • Norwood Nate

        It would be something to see all three of Bailey, Disco, and Finnegan healthy and in the rotation. Barring that unlikely scenario, the picture becomes a bit clearer in my mind with Stephenson and Romano filling out the back end of the rotation with 2/3 of the veterans + Castillo.

        At that point I would expect to see Mahle, McGuire, Garrett, Reed, and Stephens in the AAA rotation. Meaning Lopez begins at AA until injury/promotion. But I would expect Lopez to the be the first man up in case of need. I don’t expect Wojo to be back with the organization as he’s elected FA. I expect Adleman to either be a long-man in the pen, DFA’d or operating as a swing/long man in AAA. I just think that’s his most natural landing spot at this point.

        At the same time the Reds may remove McGuire from the roster, may make a trade from depth of one of those starters, or may move someone like Stephens/Reed to the bullpen full time. (Not to mention I wouldn’t mind seeing Finnegan in the bullpen to start the year if all are healthy). There’s a lot of possibilities for how all this shakes out and depth is never a bad thing. There was a ton last season as well between AA-AAA and we ended up needing to sign Wojo in April and put a guys like Ross and McGuire in the AA rotation due to injuries etc.

      • The Duke

        I’m not really worried about a scenario where the entire MLB, AAA, and AA rotations are healthy. Even if it somehow starts that way, it won’t last.

  5. Billy

    Doug really likes that Billings outfield. Doug’s list was nearly identical to what I would have thought through the top 10 (flip Mahle and Trammell and flip Siri and Gutierrez). Here’s how I see the system right now:

    Elite Prospects:
    Senzel
    Greene

    Top 100:
    Trammell
    Mahle

    Next tier:
    Winker
    Stephenson
    Santillan
    Long
    Gutierrez
    Siri
    Downs

    Next tier:
    Ervin
    Aquino
    Gordon
    LaValley
    Fairchild
    Blandino

    I don’t know enough about Garcia to know what to do with him, and Sugilio would have been on my radar in the 20-25 range, I think. I feel like it gets a lot harder from this point on. We’re getting into lower-level prospects and rookie ballers, and I’ve got less of a feel for them.

    Is Ervin eligible? I assumed so, but I thought he’d be off the board by now.

    • Doug Gray

      With Garcia – I talked with several people with the Reds who have seen him and while of course they are going to talk up their own guy, some of the people are more honest than others. One guy who doesn’t just shine everyone up was very complimentary of him. That gave me, along with some reports from outsiders, as well as what I saw in some video, the confidence in ranking him where I did.

      Ervin is eligible.

      • MK

        After 2 years in Billings Alejo Lopez has got to play somewhere I assumed Dayton at 2B.

      • Doug Gray

        He can play there every few days. He can DH. He can get some time at 3B every so often. With all due respect to Lopez, who I think should get playing time, he’s fighting an uphill battle with those two guys.

  6. CP

    The potential/ceiling of many of these guys seems great, but having only played in rookie ball makes me hesitant to get too excited about any of them yet. I’ll be looking forward to seeing how they perform next year. It will be interesting to see how the new minor league team will help with finding spots for all these guys to play in their highest value spots.

    For example, if Sugillio, Gordon, and Fairchild all have the potential to play CF, I would love to see them get the chance to keep doing that until it’s proven that they can’t in order to maximize their value. Fairchild is a little order, perhaps he will get a more
    aggressive assignment next year? Same thing for the SS of the group. Downs and Garcia will need to be on different teams I would think, in order to let them continue to develop. Garcia is a bit older, maybe he goes straight to Dayton?

    Duke, I agree with you that I tend to value what Scott Moss and Lopez have shown up to this point, and would think they could just as easily find themselves in this 11-15 range as any. If they end up in the rotation as a mid or even backend guy that is huge. Then again many of these guys on this list are probably consider potential future starters for up the middle defensive positions, which is about as valuable as it gets. So there is a great problem of having too many good options here. I just lean more in the direction of the guys that have shown a bit more above rookie ball…

    Doug, great stuff man! Keep doing what you’re doing!!

    • Doug Gray

      With Downs and Garcia, it’s one of the more interesting questions I’ve got for next year. Do they both go to Dayton and just split time between 2B/SS/DH?

      • CP

        Is the new minor league team close in competition to Dayton? Is it another rookie level type or closer to A ball? Would it be enough of a challenge for Downs? If so, I would think splitting him and Garcia up to both play at SS full time would be more beneficial.

        I’m with you though, and am eager to see how the assignments play themselves out.

      • Doug Gray

        It’s going to be viewed as between the AZL and Billings. With that said, from a pure competition level, it’s on par with Billings.

  7. Norwood Nate

    It’s interesting to see some other’s thoughts about who should be ranked here. I don’t think many of us would disagree much with the top 11. After that, I think it is easier for some of us fans to look at production (especially at higher levels) and more certain projectibility to a ML role when we think about where players fall. There’s just so much time and development between guys in RK ball and guys in AA or above.

    I spoke to this a little yesterday when I stated I had a hard time differentiating between guys like Garcia, Hernandez, Clementia, Gordon, and Sugilio (funny that three of them were listed today) versus guys like Ervin and Blandino. Like on Duke’s list, a guy like Lopez falls into this category for me as well. Maybe even a guy like Friedl.

    My top 11-15 would be: Downs, Fairchild, Lopez, Ervin, Gordon.

    A little bit of a mix between high floor and high ceiling guys. I would like to see more from Sugilio and Hernandez (although I’m excited about them both) as well as seeing Garcia play at all before putting them above guys that have produced at the higher levels.

    • Jasonp

      I like your point about Ervin and Blandino compared to some of these younger players. I would think it is a bit about knowing what Ervin/Blandino are now (bench players to borderline starers) and the possibilities of what Garcia, Hernandez, Clementia, Gordon, and Sugilio could be.

      The younger players may not end up as good as what Ervin and Blandino are now but there is still development time for all of them that one or more could turn out better.

      Both Ervin and Blandino did better this year then I thought they would. If I thought they could repeat or come close to the years they had last year in MLB I would have them ranked in this area. I am not sure if they can do that so I would rank them at the lower part of the next group. We have a ton of depth in our minors now.

  8. Krozley

    Of these, Sugilio is a bit of a head scratcher for me being this high. Yes he had a great year, but his previous three were not noteworthy and its not like he was young for his league or highly touted before this year. A guy like Friedl had a better Billings season and then continued his success in full season ball and I have him more 20-25 range, if that. I guess I put more stock in players like Ervin, Blandino, and Aquino (all of which I would have in the top 15) who have both pedigree and some actual success in full season ball.

    • Doug Gray

      From a tools perspective, he’s on a very different level than a guy like Friedl. I got a very, very interesting comp on his tools when talking to people about him. I originally had him a little bit lower on the list (still in the Top 25), but the comp pushed him up a few spots for me.

      I figured it would be the one ranking that would have people a bit on the “where is this coming from”, and in three years maybe it’s a laugher. But, based on what I heard from people, it seems like the right spot to me.

    • Stock

      Good post Kroz.

      I think Ervin, Blandino and Sugilio are all good comps and have them all in the 15 -20 range. Aquino strikes out far to often to be with these three. I don’t feel there is much difference between 15 and 20 except that 15 is on Wednesday and 16-20 don’t show up until Thursday. Then again maybe Doug has reasons for not ranking Ervin and Blandino in the top 20. We will see.

  9. Arnold Ziffle

    How on God’s green earth can you place Jose Garcia this highly if you have never seen him swing a bat or play? This is just preposterous. This really hits at your credibility and this list’s credibility.
    At least Duke sees it smartly, “I want to see something from Garcia before I put him too high.”
    Jeter Downs had a good last couple of weeks, but that is certainly a small sample size. You seem to discount small sample size when a prospect has a bad period you chalk it up to small sample size. But when they have a short good period of play, you get all giddy and overly excited over small sample sizes. You are very inconsistent with your evaluations.
    For me it is still:
    1. Senzel (AAA)
    2. Winker (ML)
    3. Mahle (AAA)
    4. Trammell (A+)
    5. Tony the Tiger Santillan (A+)
    6. Siri (A+)
    7. TStephenson (A+)
    8. J Lopez (AAA)
    9. Greene (R)
    10. S. Long (AA)
    11. S. Moss (A+)
    12. LaValley (AA)
    13. Gutierrez (AA)
    14. Aquino (AA)
    15. M Gordon (A-)

    I am not buying into the hype of the 2017 draftees just yet. They have to show something first. I could place Fairchild around 18th. Downs about 23rd.

    • Doug Gray

      I have seen him swing a bat on video. I’ve talked to multiple sources that have also done so – people who are literally paid by Major League Baseball teams to scout players, and they’ve seen him in workouts and games. So, there’s that.

      And, well, the Reds paid $10M to sign him. They certainly saw him swing the bat and play, too.

      As for the “small sample size” thing regarding Jeter Downs…. just because I wrote about him finishing strong doesn’t mean I’m only looking at the small sample size there. I simply wanted to note that he did, indeed, finish strong. He also started strong. He had a slump for a few weeks in the middle where he really struggled. When I’m writing one paragraph about an entire season, don’t take the thing I wrote as the only thing that matters. It’s impossible to fit the entire thought process into what is being written in these blurbs. It’s why I do the season reviews and scouting reports after. If I had to put every last thought into these, I wouldn’t have the rankings ready until January.

      But, Arnold, if you don’t like my list or the credibility of it, you don’t have to read it.

      • Stock

        Exactly Doug. This is a great week and most of us love your write-ups and analysis of the week. I know I do. I will disagree with you (especially on Homer Bailey) but still show up here when I have the time because you put so much time into this your thoughts are worth incorporating into my knowledge bank. Thanks for your hard work and thank you for this week every year.

      • Bill

        BTW, I really love the format you are using this year. Thanks for the great work you do–I really enjoy reading this site each day!

      • RFM

        Are you telling me that in the 21st century there’s way to gain information on and see players without seeing them in games? Scouts are a thing? Video is accessible? And that players careers are not entirely defined by recent performance?

        At least he was consistent, ignoring all common sense with rankings of Hunter Greene and others :)

    • Colorado Red

      Prospects list are based on Potential, they may or may not make it.
      Since you do not have Greene on our list, I do not trust it.

  10. Alex

    I agree with placing the young guys over erivin and blandino. While I do like blandino neither one of the guys has really shown a lot to think they can be everyday players in the majors. Still to early to tell but with Gordon sugilo Stuart and the young short stops as well are all just young athletic and improving at premium postions. We need to see more from them but they all have potential to be a top 100 prospect in the next year or two.

    • davidmac84

      I would strongly disagree with Blandino. I have him as the Reds most underrated prospect. His only average year was 2016 when he was dealing with injuries and even that year he was right at league average. Otherwise he has been a consistent 130 plus WRC and while he cant play SS- he can be a player that can play 2nd, 3rd and the corner outfield positions. To put it in perspective of the Billings players- the best was Gordon at a 119 WRC. Blandino minor profile looks a lot like Suarez a very productive minor league player that just need ABs at the MLB level.

      • Doug Gray

        Except that Suarez was in the Majors at 22, and Blandino is going to be 25 next year without ever playing a big league game.

  11. Stock

    You seem to be quick to be critical of Doug’s picks (Greene, Gutierrez and now Garcia) because their performance does not match the placement. But your own picks indicate you should be critical of your own picks. After a solid first two months, Tony the tiger Santillan had an ERA of 4.50 and walked 4.5/9 IP. Hardly deserving a top 5 pick. Hunter Greene had a 12 ERA but in one game the 6 batters he faced that didn’t strikeout all got hits. Over time you would expect 2 hits and possibly 1 run. I will take Greene over Santillan any day. Surprised Moss is on you list that looks at performance. Like Santillan he got off to a great start but was miserable the second half. Aquino didn’t wait until the second half to be miserable. LaValley was pathetic after his promotion to AA. Not sure why you would knock Greene and Gutierrez down so much but for others such as Aquino, LaValley and Santillan you say no problem. Even then I have no problem with your list. It is just that I don’t understand why you are so critical of Doug for placing potential above performance when you do the same with your ratings. Greene has one unlucky outing, boom down 7 slots. Gutierrez struggles in first year, boom down 7 slots. LaValley struggles after promotion, boom up 7 slots. Aquino struggles all year, boom up 7 slots. I disagree with your placement of Santillan but many others agree with you.

    Maybe you just don’t like people when their last name starts with G (Greene, Gutierrez, Garcia, Gray) ?

  12. KyWilson

    I have no issues with anything on this list, seems like a great mix of position players and pitchers. Lots of upside in the top 15 that hopefully can continue to develop. To me the best part of your rankings from a future stand point, is almost all the positional talent is up the middle. Elite athletes can move around and create roster roster flexibility.

    • Stock

      Great point KyWilson. and of the two in the top 15 (my list) that aren’t Senzel could probably play 2B if needed.

      • Champ Summers

        Senzel could play just about anywhere except C and CF. If he needs to move to the OF for a time or 2B I’m ok with that

  13. Stock

    11-15 for me are Miles Gordon, Jose Lopez, Wennington Romero, Jose Garcia and Andy Sugilio. I know these came from nowhere to top 15. The one that no one has in their top 25 probably I have at 13. The 5 ERA is high but his BB rate was less than 2/9IP. The home runs really came out of nowhere. He was very young for the league. I have him higher than Santillan because I believe control is so very important. It is what is holding back Reed, Garrett and Stephenson. I am really hoping that this time next year Gordon follows in the footsteps of Trammell (maybe Sugilio also). Time will tell. Here is my top 15.
    1. Senzel
    2. Greene
    3. Mahle
    4. Trammell
    5. Winker
    6. Long
    7. Siri
    8. Gutierrez
    9. Downs
    10. Tyler Stephenson
    11. Gordon
    12. Lopez
    13. Romero
    14. Garcia
    15. Sugilio

  14. Michael B. Green

    Doug:

    Do you see any CIN prospects jumping a level? For example, Cedric Mullins of BAL jumped from A to AA in 2017 and had a very nice season (especially if you account for a hamstring injury). Do you see anyone making that kind of leap for the Redlegs? I would assume some may skip Billings and go straight to Dayton.

    • Doug Gray

      The Reds will skip guys over Billings at times, and sometimes they’ll got from Billings one year to Advanced-A the next, but they rarely ever skip guys over a full season level once they start in full-season ball. In fact, I don’t ever remember it happening outside of Luis Castillo. At least in a permanent setting. Guys are promoted to fill short-term needs from A to AAA or A to AA, but it’s not a forever kind of move.

  15. Mustang John

    Sugilio reminds me alot of Siri .Plays the game the right way.Always plays hard.

    • The Duke

      Looking forward to seeing the Fairchild, Gordon, Sugilio outfield in Dayton in 2018. Those three along with Jeter Downs will be the heart of the team. Maybe Jose Garcia too if they rotate Downs and Garcia through SS/2B/DH, albeit I’d like to see Downs get at least 60% of all the SS starts next year.

      Dayton could have a pretty interesting batting order next year:

      1. Andy Sugilio, LF
      2. Jeter Downs, SS
      3. Stuart Fairchild, CF
      4. Miles Gordon, RF
      5. Leandro Santana, 3B
      6. Justin Bellinger, 1B
      7. Hendrik Clementina, C
      8. Jose Garcia, 2B
      9. Alejo Lopez, DH (Inf utility off the bench, can play 3B/2B/SS)

      Bench:
      Mark Koloszvary, C
      Satch McElroy, OF
      Montrell Marshall, 1B