Cincinnati Reds Midseason Top 10 Prospects Doug Gray June 19, 2014 34 Comments Billy Hamilton is the only prospect from the Cincinnati Reds system that has graduated from the ranks, so nearly everyone else in the system still qualifies to be eligible for the Midseason Top 10 Prospect List that was on the list to begin the season. There are some guys that have moved up, a few that moved down and one quick riser that has really jumped up from his preseason ranking. 1. Robert Stephenson | RHP Stephenson has had some struggles this year, but he has also had plenty of success. From a stuff point he is unrivaled in the system. He came into the year ranked #1 and nothing from him or anyone else has changed that. Year Age Lev W L ERA IP H HR BB K WHIP 2014 21 AA 3 5 3.99 70.0 54 7 38 73 1.31 2. Jesse Winker | OF The guy I called the best bat in the system coming into the year has done nothing at all to change that and no one has stepped up to challenge him. While he has spent his time playing in the hitter friendly California League, he has done everything you could ask from. He has hit for average, he has hit for power, showed outstanding plate discipline and played good defense. Year Age Lev PA H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB K AVG OBP SLG 2014 20 A+ 249 65 15 0 13 49 5 40 46 .317 .426 .580 3. Nick Travieso | RHP When the Reds drafted Travieso out of high school, he had very little experience as a starter, starting only in his senior year. Last year he wasn’t always consistent, but showed his upside at times. In 2014 he has found a lot more consistency, both in terms of stuff and in carrying that same stuff from game to game and improved his numbers across the board. Year Age Lev W L ERA IP H HR BB K WHIP 2014 20 A 6 2 3.29 65.2 57 3 12 50 1.05 4. Michael Lorenzen | RHP The supplemental first round pick from 2013 has been nothing short of outstanding in his transition to starting pitcher. Where he struggled last year has not been much of an issue this year as he has cut his walk rate in half and despite his rawness on the mound, he has posted a 2.41 ERA in Double-A. His stuff is elite in the system and can only be rivaled by one or two other pitchers. Year Age Lev W L ERA IP H HR BB K WHIP 2014 22 AA 4 4 2.41 71.0 61 3 21 47 1.16 5. Phillip Ervin | OF Offseason wrist surgery set things back for Ervin to begin the year and he really struggled for the first two months of the year, but he has begun to turn things around. All of the tools that he showed last year still show up, but he has seemed a bit less advanced this year overall compared to last year. Year Age Lev PA H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB K AVG OBP SLG 2014 21 A 281 57 15 4 1 28 17 22 60 .227 .295 .331 6. Yorman Rodriguez | OF Yorman Rodriguez has essentially had two halves of the 2014 season. Before he had an oblique injury he was hitting .325 with a little bit of power. After returning from the oblique injury he has hit .160 with no power at all. He still has a strong toolset that hardly anyone can match in the system and is among the youngest players in the Southern League, but he may have come back from his injury a week or two early. Year Age Lev PA H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB K AVG OBP SLG 2014 21 AA 209 44 4 3 2 14 5 11 56 .224 .264 .306 7. Jon Moscot | RHP The right hander is probably one of the more underrated players in the system. He is back in Pensacola after six starts there last season and has been rather strong, posting a 2.56 ERA in 14 starts. The stuff is good and he knows how to use what he has, mixing pitches well. Year Age Lev W L ERA IP H HR BB K WHIP 2014 22 AA 4 5 2.56 84.1 70 5 24 67 1.12 8. Ben Lively | RHP Not many players have gotten off to a better start in their careers than Ben Lively has. Despite pitching in a very hitter friendly league and a very hitter friendly park he posted a 2.28 ERA with a low walk rate and a high strikeout rate. His pure stuff doesn’t match the numbers, but he uses four pitches very well, has some deception and on most nights, very good control. Year Age Lev W L ERA IP H HR BB K WHIP 2014 22 A+ 10 1 2.28 79.0 57 6 16 95 0.92 9. Carlos Contreras | RHP After spending over a month on the disabled list with back problems he has returned and been moved to the bullpen where the team thinks his future will be. He has closer quality stuff to work with, where the key to his overall success will be linked to his control. Year Age Lev W L ERA IP H HR BB K WHIP 2014 23 AA 2 1 2.84 19.0 15 0 11 26 1.39 10. Sal Romano | RHP The fastest riser to crack the top 10 and one of the fastest risers in the system overall, Romano has increased velocity this year and found consistency with his stuff in 2014 after just flashing it during the past seasons. His walk rate is nearly cut in half and his strikeouts are way up. Year Age Lev W L ERA IP H HR BB K WHIP 2014 20 A 4 6 3.77 76.1 83 4 19 68 1.34 Where do the 2014 Draft Picks fit in? Once the College World Series is over and the Reds get the first three pick signed and into the system they will be eligible for prospects lists. Without getting a chance to see them play, or having them playing at all against other professionals, I have to rely on secondary scouting reports from around the draft. Based on that information, first rounder Nick Howard seems to be the only guy from this years crop that looks like he would currently crack the top 10 list. I could make an argument for placing him anywhere between fifth in the system and seventh in the system and feel pretty comfortable with that placement. Guys to watch for in the second half that could rise Carlton Daal | SS As I wrote last week, he is probably the highest riser in the system so far this season, having broken out offensively for Dayton in 2014. The highest rated shortstop in the system right now could continue his rise with a strong second half. Amir Garret | LHP The left hander has battled with some consistency this year, but he has really turned things around over the last few weeks. A lefty with quality stuff, if he finds more consistency he could push himself further up the lists. Aristides Aquino | OF A very toolsy outfielder had a breakout year last season, he is just beginning his 2014 campaign with Billings this week. If he continues with good performances, the combination of tools and performance could move him up. Jose Ortiz | C I wrote back in January that with time to reflect on it, I may have underrated Ortiz on my end of the season prospect list. He will begin his 2014 season with Dayton tonight after spending the first half of the year in extended spring training. If he can perform in full season ball and continue to show off his offensive tools while holding his own defensively, he could find himself fighting for a spot in the top 10. Jeremy Kivel | RHP A right hander who can touch 99 MPH and sit in the mid 90’s with his fastball is always someone to keep an eye on. He made his first start of the year earlier this week with Billings. If his secondary offerings can show improvements and he has success in the Pioneer League, he too could find himself on the move upward in the prospect rankings. Share this:FacebookTwitterRedditPocket 34 Responses Brad June 19, 2014 System is impressive when a guy like Tucker Barnhart who is nearly assured of having a solid major league career as a 2nd catcher is not top 10, top 15, really even mentioned. RHSP, OF and 3B depth is pretty impressive. Strahan, Sparks may add to that. Doug Gray June 19, 2014 Barnhart might still be in the top 15, I just don’t think he has a chance to be a big riser in the system either. He is one of those guys that is just solid across the board. Daryl June 19, 2014 Surprised SMB isn’t on the list anywhere. I think I’d bump Yorman at this point. Doug Gray June 19, 2014 I think if I had gone six players deep in the second half watch list he would have been on it. I’m very interested to see how the power plays outside of the Cal League, though right handers do tend to hit for power in Pensacola, the ball just flies out to left field. Alan Horn June 19, 2014 I tend to agree. I think Yorman’s tools are impressive, but not his results. He won’t be young much longer. Doug Gray June 19, 2014 He could repeat Double-A next year and still be one of the 10 youngest players in the league. I really think people don’t understand just how young he is. He is younger than Phillip Ervin is. Jimmer June 19, 2014 Doesn’t really matter if he never translates the tools into production. Doug Gray June 20, 2014 Well of course not. But when guys are 21-years-old, I’m willing to dream on the tools still, especially when they are playing in Double-A instead of Low-A. Sometimes the tools don’t translate into skills. Sometimes they do. There’s a risk, but honestly, with his current skills, he’s a 4th/5th outfielder in the big leagues right now because of what he can do for you as a fielder and runner without ever bringing up the bat. Randy in Chatt June 19, 2014 Hey Doug, any reason that you know of why Ortiz was in EST all this time? Working on something? Injured? Also, check your e-mail about the BW’s coming into Chattanooga. Doug Gray June 19, 2014 He wasn’t injured, I think that there just wasn’t room for him at the time and with his age, they had the option of keeping him back there and playing and letting others play things out. Terrence Meranda June 19, 2014 Was Arias near the top ten before he got hurt ?? Doug Gray June 19, 2014 Not really. He had a good start, but he needs to show that over a much longer period of time than he did for me to buy into it being more than a locked in streak than an actual change in skillset. Brad June 19, 2014 I saw the Reds were able to sign HS C Mitch Trees (11th rd). Who are the tough signs that could be addressed with additional dollars? OF Bynum, OF Palacios, 3B Byckowski? any 30-40 rounders? Kyle June 20, 2014 I read an article about Bynum from an Alaskan newspaper that said he has already decided that he is going to go to college. MikeD June 19, 2014 Wow, how does Kyle Waldrop get left off this list whatsoever? I understand his stats might be inflated due to the park, but he is a fairly high pick that has improved each season. No love! Doug Gray June 19, 2014 Because the top 10 of the system is stacked, and he plays left field where the offensive bar is very high. If he goes to Pensacola and performs very well, he will continue moving up (he has moved up since the start of the season). The players listed in the “keep an eye on” section are not prospects 11-15. They are simply guys who I think have a chance to move up the most from where they currently rank. Alan Horn June 19, 2014 Someone needs to relay that message to the Reds(offensive bar is high for LF). DaveCT June 19, 2014 Doug, I commend the addition of Romano a) he is a CT guy and b) beginning with his renewed focus in spring training, he’s put together a solid year so far. He too is very young, in spite of his shoe size (19?). He’s a horse, and has overcome adversity such as taking a line drive in the head before turning pro. I imagine he is interchangeable to some degree, ie Garret, Guillon, CGonlalez. But I like his commitment and focus especially for a 19-20 yr old. Darryl Sanchez June 19, 2014 I have just noticed Yorman Rodriguez day night stats are extremely split(.370 day to 180 night) I know it’s probably a small sample size and was trying to find previous years splits for it but cannot seem to do so. I was just wondering if he had problems with his eyes at night possibly from glares or something and that maybe it had something to do with the low contact rate. Shchi June 19, 2014 Blandino has signed @ slot value (already up on the draft tracker-good deal Doug!) so that leaves I think about $275K available over total pool value for the Reds to sign Howard & Sparks. CoachD178 June 19, 2014 Doug, Honest question about Rodriguez. I know he is very young, as you mentioned. He’s only 21 and in AA, like you mentioned. But at what point do you think it becomes that his potential won’t ever fully be tapped. He did very well in a short period of time as a 17-year old in Billings and showed some flashes last year, mostly in Bakersfield. But in 458 games and 1775 at-bats he’s a .255 hitter and has only hit 33 homers. He’s had as many seasons with an OBP under .300 than over .300. He’s struck out once every 3.5 at bats during his career. He’s never really tapped into the power most think he has. If he’s going to break out, when would one expect that to happen based on projecting him relatively to players of similar backgrounds and skill sets. Then I look at Waldrop, who is only 9 months older than Rodriguez. In only 386 games and 1480 at-bats he has hit for a far better average (.286) and hit for much more power. He has more career doubles (96-90) and homers (40-33) than Rodriguez in 72 less games. He’s also walked at a higher rate and struck out at a lower rate (once every 4.5 AB’s). What about Rodriguez makes him such a better prospect than Waldrop? I’m not arguing that Waldrop is better. I have only seen Rodriguez in ST and have never seen Waldrop in a live game situation. So this is an honest question, not an attempt to say you are wrong or there is something wrong with the list. Thanks in advance for the feedback! Doug Gray June 19, 2014 The difference between the two guys is the projection of their tools. Rodriguez has much better speed, better defense and a much better arm right now. The bat makes things a little bit murky. Waldrop has hit better, but he has always been older at a lower level too. With that said, he may be a better hitter today. But if we want to look at how each project, I don’t think there is a difference between the two when it comes to hitting for average and I think some would argue that Rodriguez has a chance to hit for the better average because of his ability to use the entire field. When it comes to power, it again is more about that potential. Waldrop has good current power. Rodriguez has the power potential to match him. Rodriguez doesn’t hit for as much power as his power potential suggests because of his approach where he tries to go to right field so much. When he learns to pull the ball a little bit more, the power is going to blossom. The ball jumps off of his bat. It carries further than you think when you see him make swings. But really, the biggest difference between the two guys is that Rodriguez provides a lot more leeway because of his ability to play all three outfield spots at the big league level,where he would be very good in the corner spots and probably hold his own in center. With Waldrop, his bat absolutely has to be good because he is a future left fielder. With all of this said, Rodriguez needs to start hitting again in the second half. He can’t hit .230 without dropping significantly. Right now, I’m giving him some leeway because of how his first half played out with the injury. CoachD178 June 19, 2014 Really appreciate the response. Thanks Doug. Jim t June 19, 2014 It may be time for Amir G to re-evaluate his choices. He really looks like a prospect who could really take off. He is on a nice roll. Really can’t fault the kid for following his dreams but it may be time to make a choice. MK June 20, 2014 I have gotten to know Amir pretty well. We have talked about his basketball. He is going to play basketball. He is really a top notch kid. Jim t June 20, 2014 Hope it all works out for the best for Amir. illya June 20, 2014 First time here… Nice site. What’s up with this Silverio kid? He was BA’s No. 8 prospect for the White Sox at age 21… Reds got him in a steal for Cody Puckett. He hit last season. He’s hitting this season… Where’s the love? Is he still trying to outplay the scouting scandal stigma? Doug Gray June 20, 2014 The list only went 10 deep and he just isn’t in the top 10. Solid prospect, good tools. Top 25 guy. Needs to show better plate discipline. Improvements have been there compared to last year, but it still needs to be better to work in the big leagues. drews4runner June 20, 2014 Doug, how many players you think will make the top 100 prospects next yr? I’m thinking 6 guys possible 7 Doug Gray June 20, 2014 Three or four, though second half performances could change that. sultan of swaff June 20, 2014 It’s funny how I’m down on Travieso because of the lack of strikeouts (seems like an indicator that his raw stuff is lacking, that he should be more dominant at low A), and yet I’m high on Lorenzen because of the lack of strikeouts (shows he’s focusing on refining his secondary pitches which bodes well for the future). Am I wrong on both accounts? Doug Gray June 20, 2014 I think you are wrong about Travieso and his raw stuff. I don’t know what to say about Lorenzen and the lack of strikeouts that have you excited. The stuff is very, very good. That’s what I do like. charliefunny June 20, 2014 Any other MLB team, have a player on the 40-man roster that’s in A ball? I’ve looked at about 7 40-man rosters (Ari-Cle) and found only Dylan Bundy and he pitched for Balt the year he was drafted so they HAD to put him on the 25 man. I’d be very surprised if any other teams do at either High or low A that are not on rehabs. Doug Gray June 20, 2014 Just looking through the Cal League rosters, the Rockies squad has three, the Giants have one, the A’s have one and the Reds have one. Funny enough, all of those teams are in the Cal League North. No Cal League south team has a non-rehabber 40-man guy on their roster.