Baseball America released their 2018 Farm System rankings on Monday afternoon. They ranked the Cincinnati Reds farm system as the 9th best in Major League Baseball. That’s the top spot among all teams in the National League Central division.

After the Milwaukee Brewers traded for Christian Yelich, it’s no surprise that the Reds took the top spot in the division. But, they still came in at #11 on the list despite losing two Top 100 prospects and some good depth behind that. The write up for the Reds notes that they’ve benefited from drafting near the top. That’s helped them bring in Nick Senzel (and the money with that slot value, also Taylor Trammell) and Hunter Greene.

ESPN releases their Top 20 Reds prospects

Keith Law, who despite being shown that Jesse Winker is still a prospect days ago (and eventually accepted that he was incorrect when Jonathon Mayo told him), forgot to go edit his article on the National League Central farm systems that was released this morning. In it, he still notes that Winker is not eligible for the lists.

You can see the entire list for the division, and Reds here. But, you will need to be an Insider to see any of it. The biggest thing that stands out from what Keith Law wrote, though, was about Chris Okey.

Chris Okey was the Reds’ second-round pick in 2016, but the Clemson catcher broke his hamate bone in March and didn’t tell anyone, playing through it to a .185/.265/.249 line in 93 high-A games.

That could go a long way to explaining most of the things that happened in 2017 for Chris Okey. Power was a selling card for the catcher coming out of the draft. And while the Florida State League is a place that saps power, Okey hit for no power at all. On the bright side, while his bat was clearly struggling, his defense took big steps forward. If his bat can recover, and his defense stays, or even improves, he could rocket back up the prospect rankings within the organization.

14 Responses

  1. AirborneJayJay

    That is encouraging news on Okey. You just had to figure that something was amiss and not just a bump in the carpet in development for Okey. That hamate bone sometimes requires surgery to heal correctly. Glad that wasn’t in Okey’s off-season plans. Something to keep an eye on in spring training.

    • victor vollhardt

      Also note That Garrett had off season hip surgery. That something was wrong with his “gait” (he limped going from dugout to mound) was obvious on TV last year before and after his stint in the minors. I wrote about this on this website a couple of times. Now we have Okey not saying anything when he is hurt and it too drags on. Maybe it should be “company policy” through out the system –that a medical check is mandatory anytime a skill set has a drop off for a prolonged length of time. I am not talking about “baseball slumps” that happens to everybody, but surely long time coaches and trainers (especially at the minor league level) can spot this sort of thing and that is where the mandatory medical check comes in. One other aspect of this comes in —what if baseball people and/or trainers have been turning in their concerns and have been rebuffed or ignored–that would be an even worse problem than the injuries.

      • bellhead

        I’m wondering if the Reds knew about the injury, and told him look this year your gonna get a mulligan on hitting. Work on your receiving & throwing on the defensive side.

        He’ll be at AA & probably has a 1 to 2 year window there to show his stuff, before either making way for Steph.. or moving up.

    • Kap

      If it was for one year, I would be ok with it. But two, ugh…….

      • CP

        Might prove to be a solid enough move. Less risk with it only being for 5 mil. Also, the Reds could flip him for potentially a little more of a return with him having that extra year of control at a low cost, if he produces well in the first half.

        By the All-Star break there very well could be several guys really ready for a shot at the bigs, and they could trade away Hernandez/Hughes for a bit of a return to make room.

      • CP

        His K/BB ratio was also pretty solid last year. The peripherals outside of ERA look as promising as anything. He had a 9.2 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and a 47.3 percent ground-ball rate with the Angels and a 15-to-1 K/BB ratio in 18 2/3 innings with the Diamondbacks.

        It’s an encouraging sign to me, because it feels like a Dick is doing exactly what he said he would, “be advantageous”. At 2.5 mil a year, this guy would be a steal if he simply repeated his production.

      • Kap

        I would have said sign him or someone else to a one year with the intention to flip him at the deadline so a prospect (Herget, Rainey, Weis) is ready to go, similar to what they tried with Storen last season but will be successful at this time . Not to mention all of these starters (Reed, Garrett, Stephens, Davis, Mella) needing a new home in the bullpen when the team decides that it is the permanent home.

    • Stock

      Great pickup. Introduced a slider in 2017 which made his Curve and FB much better pitches. He threw the slider 24% of the time so more than a show me pitch and it was above average offering too.

      I think they are buying low here and kind of wish it were a 3 year deal.

  2. Justin Howard

    Given the weight of a top prospect like Senzel, I wonder what our farm system would rank at without him being factored in. Any thoughts, Doug?

    • Billy

      Not Doug, but based on the BA list, if you were to remove Senzel, you’d have #29, #48, #90, and #98. The closest comparisons to that, I think, are the A’s (#30, #43, #64, #88), Rockies (#22, #63, #99), and the Tigers (#35, #50, #78). Those organizations were ranked #18, #20, and #21 on BA’s organization rankings, so I’d think they’d be somewhere in that range.

    • Matt Bruggeman

      It would be an obvious hit. I assume we’d drop back below the Brewers.

  3. CP

    That makes me feel alot better about Okey, knowing he was hurt and not telling anyone. Gives me hope that he can recover next year and be another option for the Reds at catcher in the future. Maybe he and Stephenson form the next catching tandem later down the line….

    It’s also encouraging to see the Reds getting the credit for their farm system that they seemed to not be getting as much in the past. I think having the high end guys like Senzel and Greene finally made the difference. Their depth is great, but projectable All-Star types have been harder to come by.

    Here’s to hoping several of these higher ceiling guys can take steps forward next year and replace the guys graduating off the Top 100 this year. I would love to see the system keep being in the Top 10 well into the Reds starting to be competitive. That would go a long way to extending this next window to last longer than the last one.