Checking in on the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospects Doug Gray May 13, 2019 27 Comments The minor league baseball season is roughly 25% of the way through. Teams play a 140 game schedule in the minors – their seasons end in early September each year before the playoffs begin. The four full-season teams for the Cincinnati Reds have played between 34 and 37 games on the year. That felt like a good point to take a look back at the Top 25 Prospects in the organization are performing. 1. Nick Senzel | Center Field | Cincinnati Reds Nick Senzel began the year on the injured list after an ankle injury late in spring training after being sent to the minor leagues. But he returned and played just over a week in Louisville before being called up to Cincinnati. He’s now played in 10 games with the Reds. At the plate he’s reached base in eight of them, and is hitting .233/.313/.512 with 5 extra-base hits, 5 walks, and 13 strikeouts. Defensively the sample size is small, but he’s performed fine outside of his error the other day when he dropped a routine fly ball. Interesting stat on Nick Senzel: He’s 3rd in Major League Baseball in terms of Barrel %, at 14.3%. 2. Hunter Greene | Right-Handed Pitcher | Injured List Unfortunately for Hunter Greene, he tore his UCL in spring training and underwent Tommy John surgery and will miss all of the 2019 season. 3. Taylor Trammell | Outfielder | Chattanooga Lookouts Despite the season being just 25% of the way over, it’s been an up-and-down one for Taylor Trammell already. He posted an OPS of 1.122 over the first 11 games of the year. In the 22 games since he’s hit .209/.341/.239. Overall his season has been solid, hitting .260/.398/.375. What’s been impressive, though, has been his plate discipline in 2019. He’s walked 25 times and struck out 35 times on the season. Interesting stat on Taylor Trammell: He leads the organization in walks with 25. No one else in the farm system has 20. 4. Tony Santillan | Right-Handed Pitcher | Chattanooga Lookouts There have been some good and some not-so-good thus far in 2019 for Tony Santillan. Starting with the good, he’s made 7 starts and posted a 3.34 ERA in 35.0 innings and allowed just 2 home runs. He’s also struck out 40 batters along the way. All of those things are good. But on the flip side, he’s walked 20 batters in those 35.0 innings and that’s not a good step after his improved walk rate in 2018. Interesting stat on Tony Santillan: Among the 28 pitchers with at least 20 innings in the organization, his swinging strike rate of 15.1% is 5th best. 5. Jonathan India | Third Baseman | Daytona Tortugas The 22-year-old Jonathan India is hitting .260/.350/.439 in Daytona with 5 doubles, a triple, and 5 home runs. His OPS of .789 is 126 points better than the league average in the very pitcher friendly Florida State League. His strikeout rate currently sits at 25%, which is a tad higher than you’d like to see – even from a guy with power. Interesting stat on Jonathan India: His 5 home runs account for a third of all the home runs hit by Daytona, who has 15 as a team on the season. 6. Tyler Stephenson | Catcher | Chattanooga Lookouts Things have gone well for Tyler Stephenson in Chattanooga this season. He’s played in 23 games – all as a catcher – this season and he’s hitting .284/.348/.432. Stephenson has caught fire a bit of late. Since April 22nd he’s hitting .333/.385/.563 with 5 of his 6 extra-base hits this season coming in that span. Interesting stat on Tyler Stephenson: His swinging strike rate of 6.3% is 3rd lowest in the organization out of 56 hitters with at least 20 plate appearances this season. 7. Jose Siri | Outfielder | Chattanooga Lookouts Returning to Double-A, Jose Siri is having some success early on in Chattanooga with the Lookouts. He’s hitting .279/.343/.410. His improved walk rate has carried over from last season, with 13 walks in 138 plate appearances. But his strikeout rate remains very high, too – 31.9%. He’s stolen 9 bases and has 10 extra-base hits in 34 games played. Interesting stat on Jose Siri: His BABIP is currently at .403 on the season. 8. Vladimir Gutierrez | Right-Handed Pitcher | Louisville Bats It’s been a tough start of the year for Vladimir Gutierrez for the second straight season. He rebounded well down the stretch last season. This year through 7 starts he’s posted a 7.84 ERA in 31.0 innings with 14 walks and just 21 strikeouts. The strikeout rate has dropped off in a big way from his past seasons. His walk rate has also jumped up quite a bit, too. Interesting stat on Vladimir Gutierrez: Among qualified pitchers with at least 20 innings in the farm system he is second to last in swinging strike rate at just 7.6%. 9. Mariel Bautista | Outfielder | Dayton Dragons Like many of the players mentioned before him, there’s been some good and some not-quite-as-good in 2019 for Mariel Bautista. Overall the outfielder is hitting .246/.321/.404 in 131 plate appearances for Dayton. He’s showing power once again this year, hitting 5 home runs already this season – but strangely he’s also only had 1 double and 1 triple. He’s been bitten a tad by a low BABIP, which is .261 currently. Interesting stat on Mariel Bautista: His home runs have an average distance of 401 feet this season. 10. Michael Siani | Outfielder | Dayton Dragons It’s been a struggle in 2019 at the plate for Michael Siani in Dayton. Through 121 plate appearances he’s hitting .165/.283/.223. His BABIP is very low, just .219, but he’s also hitting for little power – he’s got 1 double, 1 triple, and 1 home run. His strikeout rate is also up, sitting at 24% to go with a strong 12.4% walk rate. Defensively he’s shown to be an outstanding center fielder with a strong arm. He’s currently on the injured list with a shoulder injury suffered making a catch against the wall. It’s not expected to keep him out for long. Interesting stat on Michael Siani: He’s gone the other way 41.3% of the time this season, while pulling the ball 32% of the time. 11. Lyon Richardson | Right-Handed Pitcher | Dayton Dragons It’s been a mixed bag in 2019 for Lyon Richardson thus far in Dayton. Overall he’s posted a 4.99 ERA in 30.2 innings. But the 19-year-old has allowed just 3 home runs, he’s walked just 11 batters, and he’s racked up 32 strikeouts – all strong numbers. In his last two starts he’s given up just 1 earned run over 10.1 innings and struck out 10 batters. Interesting stat on Lyon Richardson: In his last start he set a new career high with 7 strikeouts in a game. 12. Jose Garcia | Shortstop | Daytona Tortugas The infielder began the season on the injured list as he recovered from a shoulder injury, but he’s now played in 15 games for the Daytona Tortugas this season. Jose Garcia is hitting .246/.313/.377 on the season. There’s some good in there – his walk rate is up, his strikeout rate is down slightly, and his power is up despite moving to a league that is far tougher on hitting for power than the one in which he played in last season. Interesting stat on Jose Garcia: In 2018 it took him 36 games to walk for the 4th time of the season. In 2019 it took him 10 games to reach the mark. 13. Miguel Hernandez | Shortstop | Dayton Dragons The shortstop is hitting .256/.281/.342 on the season with the Dayton Dragons. Miguel Hernandez has shown a little bit of extra-base pop, hitting 8 doubles and a triple thus far in 2019. His walk rate and strikeout rate both need to improve from where they currently are. Defensively he’s stood out with good range, soft hands, and a strong arm. Interesting stat on Miguel Hernandez: He’s only one of 2 Dragons players that has yet to homer this season. 14. TJ Friedl | Outfielder | Chattanooga Lookouts On the backend of his stats, TJ Friedl is having a better season in Double-A than he had in 2018. But thanks to a .247 BABIP, he’s hitting just .218/.340/.345 in 26 games played. His walk rate is up to 13.1%. His strikeout rate is down to just 14%. And his power is up, too. Interesting stat on TJ Friedl: His strikeout-to-walk ratio is the 3rd best in farm system. 15. Keury Mella | Right-Handed Pitcher | Louisville Bats The 25-year-old starter has made some strides this season in Triple-A. His strikeout rate, which fell apart last season when he reached the level, is up to 20.4% this year. But he, like most everyone else in Triple-A, has watched the Major League Baseball explode their home run rate, and in turn his ERA is sitting at 5.77 on the season through 7 starts for the Bats. Interesting stat on Keury Mella: His 18.9% home run per fly ball rate is the 4th highest in the Reds organization. 16. Stuart Fairchild | Outfielder | Daytona Tortugas The beginning of the 2019 season has been a tough one for Stuart Fairchild. Through 22 games played he’s hitting .207/.270/.305 on the season. His walk and strikeout rates are worse than they were last season after he was promoted to Daytona – though the differences are small. It’s been just 89 plate appearances, but he has taken small steps back compared to 2018 at the same level. Interesting stat on Stuart Fairchild: He’s been hit by as many pitches in Daytona in 2019 as he was in 63 games for the Tortugas in 2018. 17. Aristides Aquino | Outfielder | Louisville Bats The 2019 season was out to a nice start for Aristides Aquino with the Triple-A Louisville Bats. Over the first two-and-a-half weeks of April he hit .298/.346/.660 with 9 extra-base hits in 12 games played. But his final three appearances of April were all pinch hit appearances where he went 0-2 with a walk, before being placed on the injured list with a shoulder injury. He hasn’t played since April 21st. Interesting stat on Aristides Aquino: His 1.006 OPS in April was his best month since July 2016 when he had an OPS of 1.007 for Daytona. 18. Andy Sugilio | Outfielder | Daytona Tortugas For the 22-year-old outfielder the 2019 season has been a mixed bag thus far. He’s hitting .280 with a .330 on-base percentage in 29 games played. But he’s also slugging just .324 on the season thanks to just 4 extra-base hits – all doubles. His walk rate is up from 2018, and so is his strikeout rate, though not by much. The drop off in power, though, has been large. Interesting stat on Andy Sugilio: His ground ball rate of 65.4% is the highest in the farm system. 19. Hendrik Clementina | Catcher | Daytona Tortugas The first two weeks of the season went about as poorly as Hendrik Clementina could have imagined. In 9 games he hit .121/.147/.152 for Daytona. It was rough. But in the 15 games he’s played in since he’s gone on a tear, hitting .317/.339/.533 with 7 extra-base hits for the Tortugas. That’s helped boost his line on the year to .247/.271/.398 – right in line with the league average OPS. The walk rate is down and will be something to keep an eye on moving forward this season. Interesting stat on Hendrik Clementina: His spray chart is quite even, with 30.1% to 37% for each of the pull, center, or opposite ways. 20. Jimmy Herget | Right-Handed Pitcher | Louisville Bats For Jimmy Herget, 2019 hasn’t been like any season he’s had in the past. The highest ERA he’d ever posted in his career was the 3.47 mark he had in Louisville last season. This year it’s currently sitting at 4.58 for the Bats in 17.2 innings. He’s kept the hits allowed in check, but he’s also watched his walk rate sky rocket – he’s handed out 16 this season in just 17.2 innings pitched. He’s never walked more than 22 batters in a single season. Interesting stat on Jimmy Herget: His walk rate is more than twice the rate that it’s been in each of the last three seasons. 21. James Marinan | Right-Handed Pitcher | Dayton Dragons It’s been an interesting season for James Marinan so far. In 34.2 innings he’s posted an ERA of 6.23 for the Dayton Dragons. That isn’t ideal. His strikeout rate has dropped off from last season, too. The walk rate, though, has also dropped off and that’s a good step in the right direction. He’s given up a lot of hits, though, 41 of them in 34.2 innings. Interesting stat on James Marinan: In his first four starts he walked 11 batters. He hasn’t walked a batter in the last three starts. 22. Jonathan Willems | Second Base | Dayton Dragons The season has been one of a struggle for the 20-year-old Jonathan Willems. He’s hitting .208/.234/.330 on the year for Dayton. He’s showing a little bit of power, and his defense has been improved this season. But he’s also walked one time in 30 games and struck out 27 times. That ratio has to improve, particularly the walk rate. Interesting stat on Jonathan Willems: His walk rate is the lowest in the organization among hitters with more than 25 trips to the plate. 23. Ryan Hendrix | Right-Handed Pitcher | Chattanooga Lookouts The season started out quite well for Ryan Hendrix. Pitching out of the Double-A bullpen he didn’t allow a single earned run in 8 appearances in April. And he struck out 15 batters with 5 walks in 10.1 innings. But he finds himself on the injured list with an elbow issue and hasn’t pitched in nearly 3 weeks. Interesting stat on Ryan Hendrix: Opposing hitters were hitting just .162 against him without an extra-base hit this season before he went on the injured list. 24. Michael Beltre | Outfield | Chattanooga Lookouts The outfielder got a late start to the season as he remained in Goodyear getting healthy for the first month of the season. He’s only spent 7 games with Chattanooga, but it’s been a struggle thus far. He’s gone 2-19 so far – a .105 average. There’s not much to unravel here, Michael Beltre’s season has just started. 25. Joel Kuhnel | Right-Handed Pitcher | Chattanooga Lookouts It’s been another step forward for Joel Kuhnel in 2019. He’s made improvements each year since he was drafted in 2016 and so far 2019 has been his best one yet. He’s posted a 2.41 ERA in 18.2 innings with 4 walks and 21 strikeouts. The 24-year-old has picked up 4 saves along the way for the Lookouts. Interesting stat on Joel Kuhnel: After three straight years of a ground ball rate over 51% from 2016-2018, it’s down to 39.1% this season. Share this:FacebookTwitterRedditPocket 27 Responses theRickDeLux May 13, 2019 Apologies in advance, but what a bunch of turds. Is it too much to ask for our Redlegs to have at least one killer, can’t miss prospect in the minors? These guys all produce a collective “meh”. DaveCT May 13, 2019 There are a great many organizations that would drool over our top five or six. Senzel, Greene, Trammell, India, Santillian, and Stephenson are all elite or near elite talents. Nobody has five Vlad Guerrero’s sitting one through six in the organizations. The collective depth leaves me, also, a bit less enthused. However, not the top of the list. Wes May 13, 2019 Nice piece Doug Colorado Red May 13, 2019 What about VanMeter? I know is currently in the Bigs? Doug Gray May 13, 2019 Was not a Top 25 prospect entering the season. RS May 15, 2019 Ibandel Isabel? Wes May 13, 2019 So what does a deep farm really matter anymore when salaries are down so much and you can acquire quality talent for less than grooming high draft picks ?? Reds signed Dietrich and Iglesias for less money combined than hunter Greene’s Or India’s Or senzels signing bonus. The year before they got Hernandez and Hughes for next to nothing. Guys like Dallas “the donkey” Keuchel and Krimbel can’t even get a contract. And the list goes on and on and on of quality players going for way less than market value. So why even invest all this time effort and energy into player development?? By the time u find Correa or hopefully a senzel- u have already invested 40-60 million in the draft so don’t see it being that profitable or even sensible anymore when most 27/28 years with a decent resume struggle so much to find work. What do y’all think ?? SultanofSwaff May 14, 2019 That’s an excellent point. The elephant in the room is that the Reds (and all teams for that matter) have money to spend but they’re choosing not to take some of the equity out of the exploding value of the franchise and invest it in a winning team. RedsKoolAidDrinker May 14, 2019 I wish they’d spend more of their money on instructors for the minor leagues who are highly regarded. Look at the difference that Johnson has already made with the big club. Look into the college coaching ranks and get them signed up. Stock May 14, 2019 You need a farm because sometimes you purchase the rights to Zach Duke on the FA bargain bin. Any “sure” thing will be much more expensive and are they really a sure thing? You need to do this because a team can not depend on getting enough quality to compete on the FA discount shelf. The Reds hit a home run with Gennett, Hughes, Hernandez, Iglesias and Dietrich. But you by no means can depend on this every year. The Reds (IMO) are much better than their current record. Poor management has turned 3-5 wins into losses. But the Reds are a good team because of their farm. Hernandez and Hughes have been great pieces of our bullpen. But so have Garrett, Stephenson, Peralta, Iglesias and Lorenzen. And four of these 5 are cheaper than Hernandez or Hughes. Gray, Roark and DeSclafani were good/great acquisitions but Castillo is better and much cheaper. Mahle is in the same group as the other three but again cheaper. 7 of the 13 pitchers are cheap because they brought them up through the farm. Offensively add Senzel, Winker and Barnhart. The cost of acquiring players of the quality of these 10 players who spent time in the farm system is much greater than the $20 million a year (or so) the Reds invest in the farm. For example the Astros are paying Cole 13.5 million this year and if they want to keep him he will cost $30 million a year beginning next year. Joe May 13, 2019 Given the Reds difficulty in developing prospects into strong major leaguers, this update is pretty discouraging. RandyW May 13, 2019 Very underwhelming. Oldtimer May 13, 2019 Only takes 1 or 2 good ones per year. Just FYI look back at Reds rookies from 1959 to 1970 (my youth). 1959 Vada Pinson. 1960 Leo Cardenas. 1961 Johnny Edwards. 1962 Cookie Rojas. 1963 Pete Rose & Tommy Harper. 1964 Sammy Ellis & Billy McCool. 1965 Tony Perez. 1966 Tommy Helms. 1967 Lee May & Gary Nolan. 1968 Johnny Bench. 1969 none. 1970 Dave Concepcion, Bernie Carbo, Hal McRae, and Don Gullett. Reds had plenty of there highly touted prospects in 1960s. Just takes 1 or 2 per year. Jonathan Linn May 13, 2019 Nice piece Doug. I’m curious how the year turns out. I’m still really high on the top 5 that the Reds have. Lots of potential Michael P May 14, 2019 Very Nice update Doug. You continue to be the most trusted and ‘go to’ source for all farm related information. Love the addition of ‘interesting stat’ on each prospect. I look for Joel Kuhne and TJ Friedl to move up in the rankings with the latter cracking top ten by years end. Question: Why did the Reds release Courtney Hawkins? Steve May 14, 2019 This is a completely ridiculous and unnecessary comment. You do not know the kid, his upbringing, his family, his work ethic, or his desire to play baseball. I realize in today’s world we all feel entitled to give our hot take opinions on things to which we know nothing about but it certainly does get old to have to read stuff like this. A.B. May 14, 2019 Well said Steve. Shamrock, everything I’ve seen written and videos I’ve seen of that young man paint him to be a very good human being. Find something that makes you happy, man. IndyRedsFan May 14, 2019 Agree completely with Steve. Shamrock, what makes you want to denigrate someone who by all accounts is a fine young man? AllTheHype May 14, 2019 Unfortunately, it seems to be a consistent theme reading thru most of these, “season has not started out well” Jonathan Linn May 14, 2019 ^^ agree. I’m getting tried of all these “hot takes” Billy May 14, 2019 After reading the summary for Senzel, I immediately thought that the post needs a “Stock Up/Stock Down” indicator for each player. Then I kept reading and realized that such a thing would be depressing. Very few of these players have taken strong steps forward, it seems. Maybe Tyler Stephenson, and possibly India and Siri? Most players have either performed poorly or been sidelined for some amount of time due to injury. It’s not a good look overall. SultanofSwaff May 14, 2019 Great post Doug.! That’s a lot to digest……it would be cool to see these updates once every other week but maybe just a handful of guys at a time so there can be more in depth discussion on each. SultanofSwaff May 14, 2019 Trammell and Tyler Stephenson are mid-season callups for me if the Reds keep scuffling. Senzel moves to SS, and the new core is in place and learning together as that is more valuable than service time considerations for a franchise valued at a billion+ dollars. Billy May 14, 2019 No way… If they keep scuffling, there’s no reason to start the clock on your best prospects early. Let Trammell and Stephenson get a year in AA/AAA and let them aim for mid-season call-ups in 2020. Trade off Roark, Puig, and Gennett for prospects. Spend the cleared payroll on more wise (i.e., short-term) investments for the rotation, bullpen, and RF, and make a run at it in 2020. That said, they’re playing too well for the record to continue to be as poor as it is. I think they’ll be squarely in the mix when the trade deadline rolls around. The question we’ll be asking is whether all these scuffling prospects provide us with the right assets we need to make the moves that are needed down the stretch. wizeman May 14, 2019 Nice to see Rodriguez finally hitting. Know he is a bit old for Chattanooga but not everybody gets it at the optimum time. Stock May 14, 2019 I agree with most on here in that this article looks like a bad year. However, there is plenty of positives. Hindsight is 100% but it looks like VanMeter and AlfRod should have been in the top 25. I had Martinez and Mount at 27 and 28 and they look more promising now. Senzel is doing rather well in Cincinnati. His BABIP is killing him but he has proven he belongs in the lineup every day. India, Clementina and Siri started slow but lately have been studs. I am thinking all three have moved up top 250 lists not down. Trammell, Siani, Richardson, Hernandez and Lopez are young for their level and with one exception they are holding their own. I don’t consider Mella, Fairchild, Herget, Marinan and Willems top 25 prospects, so their slow starts don’t really impact my view of the farm as a whole. My concerns: Greene’s injury Santillan’s BB% Gutierrez, but I have him at #12 on my list so hit and miss there. 3 disappointing starts out of the 20 I look at. I can’t help but feel that the class looks better now than when they left Arizona. Chris May 17, 2019 Just because your life isn’t turning out as planned, doesn’t mean you should denigrate those who are making something of themselves. Find something you are interested in, and go for it. Wait, did I offend you? Did I make an assumption about you, unfairly? Hmm, maybe you can grasp the point now.