Much like the International League rankings, the Cincinnati Reds only landed one player in the Southern League Top 20 list. And just like the International League rankings, their lone player ranked 6th in the league. Tony Santillan was the lone Pensacola Blue Wahoos player to make the Top 20 as compiled by Baseball America.

It needs to be noted that the league rankings are based more on the opinions of the managers and coaches within the league. These rankings are not based on what professional scouts who cover the league have to say. Sometimes the two can by on the same page. But there are certainly times when they aren’t. While it’s unlikely that in this specific case that someone will rank ahead of Tony Santillan when the team lists come out who was eligible here, you can and do see that at times.

Tony Santillan was the 4th ranked pitcher in the league. The pitcher ranked directly behind him was Kyle Wright, who was the 5th overall pick in the 2017 draft and reached the Major Leagues with Atlanta this season. Santillan began the season in Advanced-A with Daytona. At the mid-season point he was promoted to Pensacola and the Southern League. In 11 starts he posted a 3.61 ERA in 62.1 innings. He walked just 16 batters and he struck out 61. His walk rate remained the same that it was while in the Florida State League, but his strikeout rate jumped up to his career rate after being down a bit in the first half.

When it comes to other prospects that were in contention, it sounds like only Jose Siri was considered for the list. In the Southern League Top 20 Chat a question early on addressed it.

Classy Freddie Blassie (St. Louis): The Reds only had one player make the list this season. Was there any talk about a guy like Jose Siri or Shed Long making the latter half of the Top 20?

Matt Eddy: Pensacola CF Jose Siri received consideration for the SL top 20. His combination of power, speed and defense in center field are intriguing. However, his poor plate discipline (24 BB, 91 SO in 66 G), poor on-base skills (.294 OBP) and troubling lack of effort could hold him back from reaching his ceiling.

Jose Siri and Shed Long seem to be the two guys other than Santillan that would warrant consideration. The Southern League has 10 teams, so an even division would be 2 per team. The league had good depth this season. But it wasn’t so great that big time prospects were left off the list completely.

The numbers with Jose Siri are certainly not great. He hit .229/.300/.474 in the Southern League this year. That’s big time power. But the hitting and on-base skills were lacking. It was the contact rate that was a big concern. He struck out 91 times in 283 trips to the plate (32%). That’s too high and will need to come down. He did post his walk rate of his life, and did show real strides in that area during the year. But it did come at the cost of making contact. The tools, however, jump off of the page at you.

Shed Long had better overall numbers. He his .261/.353/.412 on the year. Long walked 57 times and had 123 strikeouts in 522 plate appearances. He also stole 19 bases in 25 attempts. The power isn’t the same as it was for Siri, but the hit-tool played quite a bit better and he showed a bit more patience at the plate, too. The tools are solid or better for Long, and particularly when it comes to controlling the strikezone and overall hitting ability, his current skills are more advanced. Depending on who you ask and what they prefer when ranking a prospect, you could see someone rank either guy ahead of the other. If they prefer that ultimate upside, they’ll lean toward Siri. If they prefer the combination of ceiling and floor, then they will be leaning towards Long.

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5 Responses

  1. BurgRed

    I’m hoping what is perceived as a lack of effort is only Siri’s confident attitude showing. I still believe in this kid. I think he could play CF in the majors right now. Think Billy Hamilton with power! I think we could live with that right now.

  2. AirborneJayJay

    What top prospects on the top-25 prospects list had good seasons at AA Pensacola??
    Santillan was it. TJ Friedl had a pretty decent run after his promotion, but it certainly wasn’t top-20 in the league noteworthy. Vladimir Gutierrez had an up and down year. He had a nice run from June 6 to July 17 where he went 7-0 over an 8 game stretch with 53 K in 50 IP. But he finished up at 9-10 with a 4.00+ ERA. Long had a good first half but crappy second half. Siri was overmatched by AA pitching. Aquino has never gotten over that AA hump. And thus, the Reds lackluster AA showing in this category.
    Some of the players that made Daytona a first half winner will be in AA Chattanooga next year. Trammell and Scott Moss could be on this list next season.

  3. Patrick

    Having only 2 guys make the top 20 of there leagues in AAA and AA is concerning to me for the future. Hard to imagine that this really is a top 10 farm system. Lack of pitching prospects is another huge concern only 8 in Doug’s top 25