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. Let’s jump right on into things.

1. Cody Reed | LHP | Previous: #5

The first two starts of the big league career for Cody Reed haven’t exactly gone as smooth as he’d like, but that doesn’t change what he’s done in the first half of this season. The left hander jumped to Triple-A to begin 2016 and performed well, striking out 63 batters in 64.2 innings with just 17 walks. He’s shown the same kind of stuff that he had last year, but taken it to better hitters and gotten quality results. Stock: Up

AAA 3.20 64.2 59 6 17 63
MLB 6.75 12.0 15 3 5 15

2. Jesse Winker | OF | Previous: #2

The 2016 season hasn’t been the greatest one for Jesse Winker. He’s currently on the disabled list with a wrist injury for Triple-A Louisville. He’s hitting .286 and his on-base percentage is sitting at .381. The lefty has walked one more time than he’s struck out and his strikeout rate is the lowest of his entire career. The one thing that’s been a struggle this season has been hitting for power. Winker is slugging just .367 – but he’s still arguably the best hitter in the system and certainly the one most ready to step into the big leagues. Stock: Slightly down

AAA 236 10 0 2 0 33 32 .286 .381 .367

3. Nick Senzel | 3B | Previous: College

The Cincinnati Reds drafted Nick Senzel 2nd overall in the 2016 draft, so he’s got no professional experience in the past and very little professional playing time since being drafted less than three weeks ago. He’s already one of the more advanced bats in the system and should move quickly through the minors. He doesn’t seem to have a weakness in his game and stands out in several areas.

4. Robert Stephenson | RHP | Previous: #1

It’s been both a good and tough season for Robert Stephenson. He’s reached the big leagues, making two starts for the Cincinnati Reds this season and holding his own. Most of his season has been spent in Triple-A where he’s posted a 3.93 ERA. He’s struggled to consistently find the strikezone, walking 40 batters with 60 strikeouts. That’s a rate that must improve if he’s going to have success at the next level. Stock: Down

AAA 3.93 75.2 61 9 40 60
MLB 3.00 12.0 9 2 4 4

5. Amir Garrett | LHP | Previous: #4

Left hander Amir Garrett jumped out to a great start in 2016, dominating in Double-A over his first five starts of the season, walking just six batters with 32 strikeouts in 29.2 innings while posting a 1.52 ERA. Things have slowed down some since then, particularly with his control as he’s walked 28 batters in the 53.0 innings since then while striking out 50. He was just promoted to Triple-A last week, where he’s made one start so far. Stock: Up

AA 1.75 77.0 51 0 28 78
AAA 4.76 5.2 1 0 6 4

*disclaimer* Despite Amir Garrett dropping from #4 to #5 on the list, his stock is up. I believe he’s a better prospect today than he was coming into the season, and on an overall prospect list in the minor leagues he would rank higher than he did coming into the season. He just hasn’t moved up in the Reds rankings despite that as Cody Reed jumped ahead of him and the addition of Nick Senzel pushed him down a spot.

Scouting Reports


1. Cody Reed | The biggest weakness for Cody Reed right now is that while he can usually find the strikezone, he doesn’t find the spot that he wants nearly as often. His biggest strength is that he’s got swing-and-miss stuff and generally throws strikes. His slider is a plus pitch and his fastball has above-average velocity where it sits and plus velocity at the top of it’s range.

2. Jesse Winker | The biggest weakness, at least this season, has been the lack of power hitter. If he hadn’t shown power in the past, this would be a bigger concern overall. Still, the lack of power in the first half is still concerning on some level. Despite the lack of power output, he’s still shown himself to be the most advanced bat in the system. Triple-A pitchers haven’t figured out a way to get him out, even if they have limited his power output.

3. Nick Senzel | The biggest weakness for Nick Senzel right now would probably be his current home run power. He’s more geared towards line drives than generating loft with his swing right now. The power is likely to come as he continues to mature. His advanced plate approach and pitch recognition skills should allow him to hit for a high average and get on-base at a high rate.

4. Robert Stephenson | The biggest weakness for Robert Stephenson is his inability to consistently find the strikezone. He’s got the best pure stuff of any starter in the entire system, but isn’t able to use it at times as he struggles with finding the zone. His fastball velocity is up a little bit from last year, and his curveball and splitter still both show up as plus pitches at times. He’s still got the potential to be a true #1 pitcher, but without improvements in his ability to throw strikes whether or not he can even remain a starter at all is in question.

5. Amir Garrett | Similar to Robert Stephenson, Amir Garrett’s control can be an issue at times. His walk rate on the season looks ok-ish, but it’s trending in the wrong direction this season and was already something he needed to improve on coming into the season. He really struggled to repeat his mechanics in his first Triple-A start, much worse than I’ve ever seen from him. On the flip side, he’s been able to jump from A-ball to Double-A and continue to really miss bats. His fastball velocity is above-average for a lefty but he doesn’t really reach back for plus velocity too often. He’s shown improvements with his change up, but it’s still an offering that will need to improve to work at the big league level as his arm still slows down when throwing the pitch some. His slider is among the best in the system and will already play at the big league level when thrown near the strikezone.



24 Responses

  1. Colt Holt

    With rumors around bruce beginning to accelerate, i started thinking about what the ideal trade would look like. The general consensus seems to be that the 2017 option is not a value add, but has potential to be exercised. With that in mind, should cincinnati consider adding a certain amount of cash to the deal (say six million). If bruce were under contract for 2017 at a cost of 6 million, could elite prospect names begin to enter the discussion? If we are considering blowing the intl pool and paying 100% penalty, wouldnt it make just as much sense to divert that money to increase the prospect haul on a trade, particularly if the light hitting short stop is the only big signing rather than spreading risk?

    • DaveCT

      Might deliver prospects who are more ‘known quantities.’

      Or might not deliver what we’d like to see.

      But nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    • Hoyce

      Yes colt. It would. Especially when some mid market teams could still be in for playoff push. And may be cash strapped. Seems to me the Reds could buy a better prospect at deadline for cheaper

    • Bill

      Absolutely! While the Reds can probably get a couple of quality prospects for Bruce without the money, they should definitely explore opportunities with mid-market teams that would bring better (or additional) prospect in exchange for cash this year and/or next.

  2. Greg

    Robert Stephenson is at about 4.8 BB/ 9. What ratio does he need to be at to stick in Reds rotation?

    • JB

      *Looking up Alfredo Simon’s stats…ah! 4.9. He’s almost there!

      IMO, over the course of 2 years Stephenson ends up as a high leverage bullpen arm. That’s why I have him really dropping in my own list.

    • Patrick Jeter

      Probably no more than 3.00 BB/9, in my opinion. It’s hard to be a successful major league starter walking 3-4 guys every other start. The higher the K-rate, though, the more appetite there is for walks. Unfortunately, looks like Stephenson’s K-rate is going in the wrong direction.

    • Doug Gray

      Something under 4.00 to stick. Something around 3.00 or better to be more than a middle of the rotation type.

  3. Steve

    Have noticed that some recent signees have still not made it into games and some are not even on active rosters. Could you update the status of Webb, Kuhnel, Adams, Stallings and Yari? Saw that Webb, Adams and Stallings are on the Mustangs roster. Is it that they just haven’t been put in yet? Also, what do you think our chances are of signing Moss? Traver should be on board soon as TCU got eliminated by Coastal Carolina recently.

  4. Philer Up

    Wow!! Bleacher report has Garrett at #1 , what a big difference. I didn’t think Garrett should have been promoted to AAA ball , but certainly not drop to your 5th rated prospect.

    • Doug Gray

      He dropped, but his stock improved. That’s why I included the disclaimer in the article. He’s a better prospect today than he was at the start of the season, just had Cody Reed jump ahead of him as well as Nick Senzel. Are either of those two things really a surprise?

      And there really isn’t that much of a difference. Cody Reed is probably a Top 25 prospect in the game. Amir Garrett is probably a Top 50 guy. There’s not really much of a difference there – it just seems larger because there are three guys between there who also happen to be in the same system.

      • Ryan

        If you believe Garrett will be a TOR arm then Doug probably has him low for your taste. Stephenson is still viewed by many to have a decent shot of becoming TOR material, so with that in mind I don’t think it’s crazy Doug has one over the other.

    • RFM

      Bleacher Report isn’t a particularly reputable source, and even their writer admits in the article that he’s higher on Garrett than most. Garrett did just earn his first promotion to AAA, despite being a year older than Stephenson and Reed. It’s not like Garrett being ranked at #5 is unreasonable.

  5. dale

    I think this is fair. The one caveat would be if Garrett dominates at Louisville.

  6. Mike

    Garret dominated tonight. Antonio s. 10 strikeouts thru 4 ip. He should move up as well

    • DaveCT

      Santillian hasn’t made it to 5 innings yet (in 3 starts) so a promotion may be rushing it.

      He did have 12 K’s out of the 14 outs he recorded, with the other 2 outs being ground outs.

      82 pitches in 4 2/3 innings needs to improve but it looks like his stock is promising.

  7. Mike

    Dave, my bad I meant moving up in doug’s rankings .

    • DaveCT

      No problem. This kid must have a huge arm. He’s what, 18-19, killing a rookie league with loads of college players.

      The Great Santillian

  8. Steve

    Only 11 games into the season, but our $6M dollar man is hitting .120. $2M man not doing too well either at .107. Coincidentally, our last drafted signee(36th round) is hitting .571. Small sample size I know, but it is what it is. Hoping for a turnaround soon from that $8M investment.

  9. Alex Reds

    Here’s my top 17
    Robert Stephenson
    Antonio Santillan
    Rookie Davis
    (Top 100 MLB overall above)
    Tyler Stephenson
    Scott Schebler
    Tyler Mahle

  10. Road Ranger

    Whoa Nellie. Senzel at #3 is comical. A top-5 ranking should be earned not bestowed upon a player. Same with Trammell. Winker’s propensity for the DL has to be a concern and should have a #5 ranking, at best. This list just goes to show you just how bad the top of the 2012, 2013, 2014 drafts, and overall drafts, have been for the Reds. Very, very few position players succeeding. First 4 players selected:
    2012- RHP Travieso, OF Winker, 3B Rahier (the criminal), RHP Langfield (who)
    2013- OF Ervin (bust), RHP Lorenzen (bust), 3B Franklin (bust), RHP Armstrong (who)
    2014-RHP Howard (HUGE BUST), 3B Blandino (bust), 3B Sparks (bust), RHP Strahan
    Too early for 2015 and 2016.

    • Doug Gray

      Rankings are based on two things: Skills and likelihood of reaching said skill. The weights of each are different for various players based on where they are in their development.

      You’re going to have a hard time finding any prospect list that takes top draft picks and just says, sorry, you have to go out there and perform before we are going to rank you anywhere near where your skillset says you should be. Just doesn’t work that way.

      And man, you love that bust word. Bunch of 22-23 year olds and you’ve already been convinced they’ve got nothing.

      I remember when Homer Bailey was a bust. And when Devin Mesoraco was a bust. And Todd Frazier. Well, except that they weren’t, but people don’t have the patience to let guys develop. Not all of these guys are going to develop, but you’ve got to show some patience.