John Sickels has been creating prospect lists as long, or longer than any other writer out there. His work goes back into the mid-90’s, and for as long as I can remember, he’s been doing his work at I’ve even contributed a handful of articles over there in the past. Earlier this afternoon he released his version of the Cincinnati Reds Top 20 Prospects list.

Like we saw last week when Fangraphs released their prospect list for the Reds, Sickels also broke the rules and included a player the other rankers hadn’t within his Top 10. Jeter Downs, the Cincinnati Reds compensation 1st round pick in 2017 came in at #9 on the list. That, however, was the only “out of the norm” top 10 player. Of course, Downs was 11th on my own list, so it’s not really out of the range, either.

Nick Senzel was the top prospect on the list for Sickels. You’re shocked, right? He was given an A- grade. For Sickels, that’s his suggesting he’s an elite prospect. He also noted that most Grade A prospects develop into stars. High praise for the Reds top prospect.

Senzel isn’t the only A- prospect in the Reds system, though. Hunter Greene was also given that same grade, and ranks second in the system. Sickels suggests that he’s got all of the requirements to be an ace in the future. Jose Siri ranks 8th on the list. I really like what is said here, even though the possibilities as so wide rangings:

8) Jose Siri, OF, Grade B-: Age 22, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2012, hit .293/.341/.530 with 24 homers, 11 triples, 46 steals, 33 walks, 130 strikeouts in 498 at-bats in Low-A; electrifying tools with 70-speed, 55 or 60-power, 60 throwing arm, had few problems with Midwest League pitching despite contact concerns and aggressive hitting philosophy; Midwest League sources loved his tools and there’s little to argue with in the numbers but also expressed concern about how he’ll handle higher-level pitching; an exciting player with a wide range of possible outcomes; if he keeps hitting like this when he reaches Double-A, stock will rise quickly. ETA 2020.

How valuable is the Cincinnati Reds farm system?

What makes Sickels list stick out is that he has grades for players. In the past we’ve been able to use his grades to assign a monetary value to players. Using that same system and the grades given out to the Reds players, the Reds system value would be $217.1M dollars of surplus value. That would generally rank a farm system in the Top 5 farm systems in all of baseball based on past results.

Of course, all of the rankings aren’t out yet, so we don’t know how the team stacks up just yet. What we do know, though, is that it’s still pretty strong. Being anchored at the top by two A- grade players goes a long way, but the depth really came into play, too. We also know that compared to the rankings by Sickels last year, the team is significantly better off on the farm. Last season’s grades were only good for $170.0M dollars of surplus value.


26 Responses

  1. Kap

    Really liked his input on every prospect as well. Helps puts things into perspective in a different way

  2. Gilbert Keith Chesterton

    Doesn’t sickels do projections too? I’d be curious how last year’s projections matched up to the real thing. Not sure if that’s been done already?

    • Doug Gray

      No, he doesn’t.

      It is possible that someone else who wrote/writes for Minor League Ball does/did do them, though.

  3. Stock

    Was hoping Senzel would be an A vs. A-.

    Surprised no Red received a B grade. I look at is as A, A-, B+ are his top 100. B is 101-200. Was hoping several from Siri, Gutierrez, Stephenson, Santillian or Long would be B’s.

    Wide spread the last week for Siri. Last Friday he is ahead of Winker and in the top 100. Today he doesn’t make the top 200.

  4. Wes

    He’s got 9 of 20 making The Show this season. 6 pitchers 3 position players. Don’t think there’s room for all those guys even w injuries.

    If you crack the line up you better produce. Plenty guys behind you ready to take your spot.

  5. Shawn

    I was surprised Herget was a C prospect. He should make the ML this year and has a good chance to stick around a few years

    • asinghoff

      Hard to give a higher grade than that when he’s limited to the bullpen.

  6. Brad

    I realize all 30 teams going through different levels of this feeling, but sometimes, it is tough to be a Reds fan. Like today, I read MLB Pipeline’s top 10 Catchers article. I dont generally believe in their rankings, but it is nice when Reds are mentioned. Tough to see Tyler Stephenson, a former 1st round pick, not listed. Harder to see guys like Sean Murphy and Jake Rogers, drafted after Chris Okey in 2016 (and signed for far less) included in the top 10. Im not sure if it is drafting or developing but sometimes it can be frustrating.

    • Wes

      Catchers don’t ever pan out. That’s why reds draft so many. No other position has so many guys reach top 25 prospects then just end up being another guy w decent d who hits 230 and 20 homers. I’ll also take Stephenson over a couple guys on that list.

      Best thing that happen to reds last year imo was Barnhart. His breakout season and contract was huge for reds! If he maintains his D and continues to hit it’s a contract you can build a winning team around!

      In all catching for reds is a big positive

      • Brad

        Solid point. I am a big Barnhart fan/believer.

        Just seems like Reds take guys with signing bonuses higher than slot value that dont work out. Yes, it is too early, but guys like Okey, Hanson, etc sign for a lot and guys who get picked after sign for less and out perform/prospect them quickly. Interesting case study.

      • Wes

        A million or even 5 mill is nothing for amateurs. After they sign you pay em peanuts and then u get 6 years of control once you make to the show.

        What will discourage me is a terrible trade or a quality player we need that gets traded to another team or a bad and expensive free agent signing. 1 or 2 of those moves and then it’ll be hard to be a reds fan because they have no room for error

      • 44Reds

        Reminds me of QBs in the NFL draft. Seems like the later round guys pan out as often as the top picks, so why waste a high pick?

      • asinghoff

        Wait, what? Out of the 32 starting QBs in the NFL, 24 were drafted in the 1st or 2nd round. Out of the remaining 8 teams, only 3 of those teams made the playoffs (Bills, Patriots and Vikings.)

        Drafting an early round QB in the NFL Draft is the best way to field a consistently winning team and teams have a very hard time at maintaining any sustained level of success if they don’t.

      • Moses

        This is a reply to Asinghof, not to Wes. The data that you present about quarterbacks, where they were drafted and the playoffs doesn’t prove your point, but it actually disproves it. You state that 24 teams have starting quarterbacks drafted in the first or second rounds and 8 do not. Of the 8, three made the playoffs. That means that of the 24, 9 made the playoffs. Guess what? 3/8ths and 9/24ths are exactly the same percentage! And, if we want to take it a step further, the group of 8 did better in terms of reaching the Super Bowl…

  7. Stock

    Most interesting ETA to me was Senzel. Late 2018.

    If Gennett and Suarez are raking similar to last year it is tough to bring up Senzel. If one of them is traded at the end of July do you bring up Senzel the last 2 months or do as the Cubs did with Bryant and leave him in the minors for the last 2 months and the first 2 weeks of 2019 and gain another year of control?

  8. Norwood Nate

    Nice to see that he thinks Trammell has enough arm for CF. Others aren’t as high on his arm. That, to me, is the biggest question mark in his game. Does he have enough of an arm to play CF? If not, he’s not nearly as valuable as a LF only guy.

  9. Michael Smith

    44reds, I get what you are saying about qbs but the reality is the opposite. I looked at the top 10 for qb ratings this season and it breaks down 7 first rounders, 1 second rounder, 1 third rounder, 1 sixth rounder (brady) and not sure when Keenum was drafted or if he was.

  10. Michael E Parker

    2020 Lineup looks awesome!
    C Barnhart/Stepheson,
    1B Votto,
    2nd Senzel,
    SS Jeter,
    3B Suarez,
    LF Winker,
    CF Siri,
    RF Trammell.
    SP Castillo, Greene, Mahle, Bob Stephenson/Romano, Santillan/Lopez and Iggy your closer.
    Plus we still have the #5 draft pick and if we go college route, the prospect may be ready to play. Let’s Trade Shed Long, Stuart Fairchild, One of our current outfielders (Billy) plus another pitching prospect (Herget) to get yellich. Or we stick with our out prospect outfield and use those trade chips for stud SS.

    • Michael Smith

      I dont think that offer for Yellich even gets a response. Not one top 100 prospect in the bunch.

    • Arnold Ziffle

      De plane, boss, de plane. You are living on Fantasy Island.
      This is so ridiculous on so many levels.
      Is Derick Jeter coming out of retirement and selling his interest in the Marlins to play SS for the Reds? Are you referring to Jeter Downs? At SS in 2020? Please child. He’ll be lucky to be at AA in 2020. He was a high school draftee, not college.
      Hunter Greene as a SP in 2020? Again, he was a high school draftee, not college. Why are you rushing these players?
      How many rookies do you have starting? TStephenson, Jeter(???), Siri, Trammell, Greene and Santillan? That is just preposterous.
      Delusions of grandeur.
      Trade Long, Fairchild, Billy Hamilton and Herget to get Yelich? The real Derek Jeter and Michael Hill are laughing so hard a medical unit will have to be called in. That package wouldn’t even get the aged reliever Brad Ziegler from the Marlins.
      Leave the real trades up to the Reds front office and you can go back to playing Dungeons and Dragons in your mommy’s basement.

      • Michael E Parker

        Agreed this is a major rush on all accounts but can’t a guy get excited.. I mean it’s ‘hot stove’ time… Be lucky to have 1/4 that work out but was playing fan boy for a little bit.

  11. William Kubas

    “16) Tanner Rainey, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25, compensation round pick in 2015 from University of West Alabama; posted 3.19 ERA with 104/33 K/BB in 62 innings between High-A and Double-A, only 29 hits allowed, saved 13; legitimately clocked as high as 98-99 MPH and matches it with a nasty breaking ball; K/IP and H/IP are not lying about the quality of his stuff, but his control is mediocre on a good day; didn’t matter much in minor league competition but it might in the majors; Herget will have first crack at a bullpen role and has superior control but Rainey is not far behind and has more pure upside. ETA late 2018.”

    Shout to to the Bank Street Bank of Nova Scotia Cincinnati Reds’ hot stove