The crew over at Baseball Prospectus took advantage of the All-Star break to release their mid-season Top 50 prospect list. Their list doesn’t include 2019 draft picks, international signings from the last week, or players who are in the Major Leagues but also still have prospect eligibility.

With all of that said the Cincinnati Reds are represented by two prospects on the the list. Outfielder and should be two time Futures Game MVP Taylor Trammell tops the rankings for the Reds. He comes in ranked 30th on the list. With each write up there’s a “why he’ll succeed” and a “why he might fail” section. Here’s what they had to say in the “why he might fail” section:

The “if” is doing a lot of heavy lifting above. Like Taveras, he’s never hit as much as you’d think given the swing you’ll see at 5:00 p.m. During our internal discussion of where to rank him he got comped to “slower Billy Hamilton.” So if you want a downside projection, there ya go.

While you have to write something for each section – though go read the one for #1 prospect Wander Franco to get a good laugh at how good he is – this particular part stood out to me as a “wait, what?” situation. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have noted here several times this season that Taylor Trammell has been hitting for “Billy Hamilton level power since last June”, but that’s very different than saying in the future he’s got a chance to be a “slower Billy Hamilton”.

Hamilton’s an elite defender. Some of that is due to his speed. But he’s also got a heck of an arm. Trammell, for all of the tools he’s got, his arm isn’t one of them.  At the plate there’s a lot of differences, too. The power is a huge one. Yes, right this second, Taylor Trammell isn’t hitting for power. But it’s incredibly difficult to imagine that he, at 6′ 2″ and 220 lbs, is going to hit like Billy Hamilton.

Since 2015 when Major League Baseball introduced Trackman and began tracking the velocity and home run distances, Billy Hamilton has hit three baseballs over 400 feet. That’s five seasons and 2370 plate appearances worth of data. The furthest one he’s hit came in at 417-feet. It was a home run in April of 2015. Last year, in the Futures Game, Taylor Trammell hit two baseballs over 400 feet, including a 438-foot home run. This year he’s already hit a 425-foot home run. Last season he hit 5 home runs over 400 feet.

In their “why he’ll succeed” section they note the power he shows during batting practice, so it’s a strange comp being made on the other side of things. It’s almost like there was the “scouting” group that chimed in, then the “stats group” who had never seen him play dropped a “Billy Hamilton” comp on him simply by looking at the numbers from 2019 and literally nothing else.

The other Reds prospect to crack the Top 50 was only a few spots down from where Trammell was. 2018 1st round pick Jonathan India rolled into the 35th spot on the list. Here’s what they wrote for him in the “why he’ll succeed” section:

He’s an advanced defender at third base, good enough that the versatility-minded Reds have toyed with him at both shortstop and second base. He has a well-rounded, solid offensive skill set. It’s easy to envision an outcome where he’s a plus defender at third with above-average hitting ability and average or slightly-above power.

From where I stand, I think they’ve got the bat tools flipped. I’m more a believer that the power is the above-average one, while the hit might be average to slightly-above. Minor disagreement there, but felt it was worth noting. Of late, Jonathan India has been playing more second than third. His first 70 games this season were either at third or as the designated hitter. But in the last 11 games he’s started five of them at second, five at third, and DH’d once.

While shortstop is likely off of the table for Jonathan India – he did play there a handful of times in 2018 – second and third are spots it seems that he could play in the future. With Cincinnati, third base is locked down for quite a while. Second base, though, could be open. Scooter Gennett is a free agent after 2019. Derek Dietrich is a free agent after 2020. It’s possible that Nick Senzel slides back to second base and the Reds fill center field with someone else (maybe Trammell – maybe another prospect or free agent). Cincinnati does seem to be trying to make India versatile, though. His future defensive home hasn’t quite been figured out yet. But it seems the plan is to leave plenty of options open.

14 Responses

  1. Tom

    Nice to see BP high enough on India. He’s in the recap nearly every day here with a remarkably predictable 1-3, walk. Not many doubt the power, so look for that to follow as he adjusts. His pattern in college may carry over to pro ball, a few years of adjustment while over time the talent bubbles to the surface. I expect good things from India, who is a perfect fit at 2b/3b/OF in 2022. Hope he’s not traded.

    Trammell might be interesting to see repeat AA next year to start the year – find out if the power shows up. What I’ve seen from his swing is that he kind of chops down on the ball sometimes which negates his power. His swing will work itself together.

    • Gaffer

      AAA will show off trammells power better, may be better to see him there next year.

  2. wes

    Trammell, India, Siana, and Garcia all seem to have very good plate discipline when looking at walks and k’s.

    Doug, you gonna do a “what should reds do” post??

  3. Alex

    Does this mean that Nick lodolo didnt make the top 50? I’m a little bit surprised. I expected him to be above india

    • Colt Holt

      2019 draft picks not included. As the seventh overall pick a month ago, top 50 would be quite a stretch.

      • Alex

        Wasn’t India ranked in the top 50 after being drafted? Is Nick lodolo that much worse of a prospect coming out of college than India was?

  4. MK

    When I read the list yesterday was surprised. Thought they must have the position of these two flipped.

    I would project India as a Ray Knight (without the acerbic personality) and Trammel a Griffey Sr. with more power. I would rate Griffey way ahead of Knight just like Trammel ahead of India.

  5. Gregmlb

    How quickly things can change for a prospect. Hunter Greene once known as the “LeBron” of baseball. Is now not even listed as a top prospect. There are a few players drafted in that same draft that are rated much higher that Greene. I don’t really understand how Puk gets a pass and listed in the top 50 but Greene is nowhere to be seen.

  6. AirborneJayJay

    Reds might be getting a new C via Tampa Bay again. About to sign Nick Ciuffo that was just released by TB to a minor league contract. Has a thumb injury and won’t be ready for about 3-4 more weeks. I would suspect he will go to Louisville.

  7. Mike

    Greene is hurt… when healthy, I fully expect him to shoot up the rankings. This is all a subjectively futile process. One that is proven wrong time and time again! So, while we all have guys we rate higher than others, I think giving it too much thought will only lead to headaches, & heartaches…

  8. Ryan

    By the end of the season they may have 3 top 50 guys with Lodolo. Doug, does amazing work here. I found it bewildering at the time of your mid-season update that you ranked Santillan above India and now its not even close. Santillan likely will fall to the back end of top 10 list and maybe even out with his 5.16 era, 1.64 whip, and low groundball rate. He was performing better in the first half but was not dominate by any stretch, which as a pitcher, you kind of need to be a top tier guy.

    • Doug Gray

      Santillan definitely won’t be falling that far. The stuff is too good for him to go back that far.

  9. Cguy

    Another outstanding night by Mitch Nay, with 2 doubles & a HR. Mitch is now 3rd in BA in the Southern League. His .307 average is bested by Drew Waters (.334) & Luis Robert (.314). By the way, both those guys are in the BP Top 50 prospects. Robert is #4, & Waters is #28. I’m not suggesting Nay should be in the BP Top 50, but he should be among the Reds Top 30 Prospects. Also, Mitch now leads the Southern League with a .937 OPS.