Cincinnati Reds 2019 Top 50 Prospects

Ibandel Isabel (Daytona Tortugas) photo credit - Bryan Green on Flickr

Last July I posted my midseason top 50 Reds prospects, with my rankings based on a combination of scouting reports, video, and stats compiled from various sites like Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, The Baseball Cube, and others. It was great fun at the end of the season to see how they stacked up to my initial rankings. There were some surprises in both positive and negative directions, like Jose Siri who I had at number 12 in my midseason rankings, after having hit .293/.341/.530 with 46 stolen bases and 24 home runs in 2017, only to follow that up this past year with a disappointing .229/.300/.474 plus 14 stolen bases and only 12 home runs.

A quick note before we jump in: you may notice I have Jonathan India in the top 10, even though he put up rather meager numbers this past season. I still very much believe in him. I think this season was a period of adjusting from college to minor league baseball and that might continue into this season as well, but from video I’ve seen, I think he has good instincts for the game and will continue to get better and be a solid contributor. Also, Siri has fallen a bit in my rankings despite his potential. It came to my attention during the First Pitch Arizona conference I attended that Siri has had some attitude problems the past two seasons, being rather hard-headed and “unteachable” according to a prospect analyst I talked to. This person believed that his stubbornness led to his shockingly poor season, as he apparently refused to make adjustments.

For those who are new to the site, the rankings are broken down into 5 tiers, from highest ranked in tier 1 to lowest in tier 5. As always, I welcome all comments and feedback. You can find me on Twitter at @reds_prospects or hit me up in the comments section after the article.

Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster

 

Tier 1:
1. Taylor Trammell, OF
– 2018 stats: .277/.375/.406, 25 SB, 8 HR, 12.6 BB%
Age: 21
Highest level played: A+
Notes: Without a doubt in my mind, Trammell is the hottest bat in the Reds minor league system right now; makes consistent contact, gets on base, and is always a threat to steal bases. In my view he’s a future All-Star.
ETA: 2020

2. Nick Senzel, 3B – 2018 stats: .310/.378/.509, 8 SB, 6 HR, 9.8 BB%
Age: 23
Highest level played: AAA
Notes: Sidelined for the final months of the season after fracturing his right index finger in June, Senzel will also require surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow but should be good to return for 2019. Can he continue the torrid pace he’s been hitting at so far? (His average has yet to dip below .300!)
ETA: 2019

3. Hunter Greene, RHP – 2018 stats: 11.72 K/9, 3.03 BB/9, 0.79 HR/9, 4.48 ERA, 3.29 FIP
Age: 19
Highest level played: A
Notes: I had a chance to see him pitch in the All-Star Futures Game this past summer; he throws gas like it’s nothing, consistently hitting 101-104 with ease. But most importantly, his command was excellent for someone who throws that hard. Regrettably, a partial tear in his UCL is something we’ll have to keep an eye on come spring. He opted for rehab rather than Tommy John surgery.
ETA: 2021

4. Jonathan India, 3B – 2018 stats: .229/.339/.396, 6 SB, 6 HR, 11.6 BB%
Age: 21
Highest level played: A
Notes: The Reds first round pick in the June 2018 amateur draft, India put up outrageous numbers in his time at the University of Florida. In his last year there, he posted a line of .350/.497/.717 with 21 home runs and 15 stolen bases, AND if that wasn’t enough, a ridiculous 20% walk rate. He struggled a bit in his adjustment to minor league pitching this past season but he has the makings of a real impact player.
ETA: 2021


Tier 2:
5. Ibandel Isabel, 1B
– 2018 stats: .258/.333/.566, 1 SB, 35 HR, 8.6 BB%
Age: 23
Highest level played: A+
Notes: Led the Florida State League this past season in home runs, which is saying something for a league dominated by pitcher-friendly parks. His strikeout rate is still a concern, but his power is legit, when he does make contact.
ETA: 2021

6. Shed Long, 2B – 2018 stats: .261/.353/.412, 19 SB, 12 HR, 10.9 BB%
Age: 23
Position: 2B
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Saw him in the Arizona Fall League in early November; a real threat for stolen bases, gets out of the box quickly. Strikeout rate is still a work in progress but I’ve seen no real red flags in his plate approach or his swing mechanics.
ETA: 2020

7. Mike Siani, OF – 2018 stats: .288/.351/.386, 6 SB, 2 HR, 7.8 BB%
Age: 19
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: The Reds fourth round pick in the June 2018 amateur draft; got off to a great start for someone his age and just out of high school; not much speed on the base paths; will be interesting to see if he can add power/loft to his ability to make contact. Defense is his real calling card as scouting reports raved about his range, routes, and a cannon of a throwing arm.
ETA: 2022

8. Tony Santillan, RHP – 2018 stats: 8.81 K/9, 2.31 BB/9, 1.16 HR/9, 3.61 ERA, 3.94 FIP
Age: 21
Highest level played: AA
Notes: In my view, the Reds most promising starting pitcher prospect in their system (see my Prospect Hightlight for a full analysis). He’s cut down his walks at an impressive clip over the past several seasons, from 5.03 BB/9 in 2015 to 2.31 this past season at AA.
ETA: 2020

9. Jose Siri, OF – 2018 stats: .229/.300/.474, 14 SB, 12 HR, 8.5 BB%
Age: 23
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Really wanted to have him much higher on my ranking, but I’ve been hearing not-so-great things about Siri’s “makeup” pertaining to his attitude and allegedly being “unteachable.” Siri’s ceiling is sky high, to be sure, but he has a lot of work to do to bring his strikeouts down, and that’s going to require some maturing.
ETA: 2020

10. Mariel Bautista, OF – 2018 stats: .330/.386/.541, 16 SB, 8 HR, 6.9 BB%
Age: 21
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Have to admit I’m scratching my head as to how Bautista is still at Rookie ball after putting up averages of .300+ and OBP’s in the upper .300’s plus 13-16 stolen bases each of his last three seasons. Maybe just an issue of a logjam of players ahead of him?
ETA: 2022

11. Michael Beltre, OF – 2018 stats: .261/.390/.362, 10 SB, 1 HR, 17.5 BB%
Age: 23
Highest level played: A+
Notes: Another prospect who makes consistent contact and knows how to draw a walk, but doesn’t possess much if any speed, and no power to speak of, which could threaten his advancement with the crowded field of more toolsy hitters around him at A+ and ahead of him at AA and AAA.
ETA: 2021


Tier 3:
12. Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP
– 2018 stats: 8.88 K/9, 2.33 BB/9, 1.10 HR/9, 4.35 ERA, 4.09 FIP
Age: 23
Highest level played: AA
Notes: His potential is better than what his 2018 numbers suggest; I feel he is capable of being a back-end of the rotation starter.
ETA: 2020

13. Lorenzo Cedrola, OF – 2018 stats: .260/.310/.325, 13 SB, 1 HR, 4.8 BB%
Age: 20
Highest level played: A
Notes: Came over to the Reds from Boston’s system early this past summer after his 2017 season was cut short by ankle surgery. Makes consistent contact and is a threat to steal bases, but may be slow to steal early in 2019 depending on how much his ankle has healed. He’ll need to keep up his contact as he does not draw walks very often.
ETA: 2021

14. TJ Friedl , OF – 2018 stats: .276/.359/.360, 19 SB, 2 HR, 9.5 BB%
Age: 23
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Another guy with great average and OBP, some speed for a modest number of stolen bases, and little to no power.
ETA: 2021

15. Packy Naughton, LHP – 2018 stats: 8.01 K/9, 1.99 BB/9, 0.70 HR/9, 4.03 ERA, 3.48 FIP
Age: 22
Highest level played: A+
Notes: Could be interesting. Shows flashes of high strikeout stuff. Walks came way down from 2017 and have been steadily falling since his college days at Virginia Tech.
ETA: 2021

16. Andy Sugilio, 3B/OF – 2018 stats: .278/.308/.380, 12 SB, 5 HR, 4.4 BB%
Age: 22
Highest level played: A
Notes: My concern with Sugilio is that he may be a one-dimensional player – great average and on-base, but little to no speed and no power.
ETA: 2021

17. Hendrik Clementina, C – 2018 stats: .268/.327/.497, 1 SB, 18 HR, 8 BB%
Age: 21
Highest level played: A
Notes: A rather big boy for a catcher (6’0, 250 lbs) have some scouts wondering about his longevity behind the dish; power came out of nowhere to give him 18 home runs this season.
ETA: 2022

18. Scott Moss, LHP – 2018 stats: 7.64 K/9, 2.80 BB/9, 0.89 HR/9, 3.68 ERA, 4.11 FIP
Age: 24
Highest level played: A+
Notes: Moss excites me the most of any Reds minor league pitcher outside of Hunter Greene and Tony Santillan. He has a sharp downward plane in his delivery, with a good breaking ball that starts in the zone and falls off the table. He’s pitched just over 130 innings the past two seasons while putting up respectable numbers. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him in AA sometime in 2019.
ETA: 2020

19. Ryan Hendrix, RHP – 2018 stats: 13.94 K/9, 4.59 BB/9, 0.35 HR/9, 1.76 ERA, 2.54 FIP
Age: 23
Highest level played: A+
Notes: If he can get his walks under control, he has real potential to be a solid high-leverage relief pitcher, perhaps even closer.
ETA: 2020

20. Josh VanMeter, 2B – 2018 stats: .253/.309/.464, 5 SB, 11 HR, 7.7 BB%
Age: 23
Highest level played: AAA
Notes: Strikeout rate was the highest of his minor league career after moving up to AAA from a successful stint at AA in 2018 (in which his OBP was an astounding .420 with a nearly 20% BB%!). There’s enough here in terms of both stolen bases and a modest number of home runs that I believe he’s worth keeping an eye on. I feel he’ll adjust to AAA and have a decent 2019 season.
ETA: 2020

21. Tyler Stephenson, C – 2018 stats: .250/.338/.392, 1 SB, 11 HR, 10 BB%
Age: 22
Highest level played: A+
Notes: I’m not quite as high on him as other Reds prospects guys are. What I’ve seen of him so far suggests he’ll be slightly above average hitting-wise for a catcher, with his defense still needing some work from reports I’ve read.
ETA: 2020


Tier 4:
22. Jimmy Herget, RHP
– 2018 stats: 9.8 K/9, 3.17 BB/9, 0.75 HR/9, 3.47 ERA, 3.50 FIP
Age: 25
Highest level played: AAA
Notes: Another candidate for moving up in my rankings. Herget has an interesting delivery that is almost side-arm, which adds to the deceptiveness of his pitches, particularly to left handed hitters. Can easily see him making appearances in the Reds’ bullpen as middle innings relief.
ETA: 2019

23. Stuart Fairchild, OF – 2018 stats: .250/.306/.350, 6 SB, 2 HR, 7 BB%
Age: 22
Highest level played: A+
Notes: Track record of swiping bags in 2016 and 2017 but didn’t do much stealing this past season; great average but strikeouts are still a problem (26% K rate this year).
ETA: 2020

24. Connor Bennett , RHP – 2018 stats: 9.22 K/9, 3.95 BB/9, 1.32 HR/9, 5.27 ERA, 4.65 FIP
Age: 21
Highest level played: A
Notes: Ceiling is probably a middle innings reliever; high strikeout rates but major walk issues as well.
ETA: 2021

25. Brantley Bell, 2B – 2018 stats: .251/.309/.396, 21 SB, 7 HR, 6.9 BB%
Age: 24
Highest level played: A+
Notes: His main asset is stolen bases; if he can’t keep that up, he doesn’t have much else to offer; high strikeout rate.
ETA: 2022

26. Alejo Lopez, 2B – 2018 stats: .321/.375/.406, 7 SB, 0 HR, 6.9 BB%
Age: 22
Highest level played: A
Notes: Solid hitter, gets on base, but lacks power and has only demonstrated minimal speed on the base paths.
ETA: 2022

27. Bren Spillane, 1B/OF – 2018 stats: .236/.375/.439, 2 SB, 5 HR, 16.3 BB%
Age: 22
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: 2018 3rd rounder, strikes out a lot, but has a good amount of power. A work in progress.

28. Randy Ventura, 2B/OF – 2018 stats: .291/.355/.319, 10 SB, 0 HR, 8.6 BB%
Age: 21
Highest level played: A+
Notes: Same as Lopez above, can make consistent contact and get on base, but again, don’t look for stolen bases or home runs.
ETA: 2022

29. Bruce Yari, 1B – 2018 stats: .272/.379/.359, 0 SB, 5 HR, 13.6 BB%
Age: 23
Highest level played: A+
Notes: Nothing to write home about; empty average/OBP so far in his minor league career.
ETA: 2022

30. Keury Mella, RHP – 2018 stats: 5.48 K/9, 2.35 BB/9, 0.39 BB/9, 2.74 ERA, 3.59 FIP
Age: 25
Highest level played: MLB (pitched 9 innings for the Reds in 2018)
Notes: Some prospect guys are high on him, I am not. He’s been tried as a starter with no success, thanks in large part to wildly fluctuating strikeout rates and walk rates (and a bit of a home run problem at times). His ceiling, at best, is as middle relief in my view.

31. James Marinan , RHP – 2018 stats: 8.16 K/9, 3.98 BB/9, 0.21 HR/9, 3.98 ERA, 4.64 FIP
Age: 20
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Not much of a sample size to go off of, but so far has struggled with the free pass. Seems like decent potential for good strikeout stuff but still early.
ETA: 2022


Tier 5:
32. Aristides Aquino, OF
– 2018 stats: .240/.306/.448, 20 HR, 4 SB, 7.9 BB%
Age: 24
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Hits for power, but that’s about it. Not enough to overcome consistently high strikeout rates and low walk rates.
ETA: 2022

33. Blake Trahan, 2B/SS – 2018 stats: .245/.327/.302, 2 HR, 6 SB, 9.6 BB%
Age: 25
Highest level played: MLB (14 plate appearances)
Notes: No power, stole some bases in 2016 and 17 but didn’t repeat that this past season. Strikes out a ton; not much to see here in my view.

34. Lyon Richardson, RHP – 2018 stats: 7.45 K/9, 4.97 BB/9, 0.93 HR/9, 7.14 ERA, 5.54 FIP
Age: 18
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Another player that other prospect guys are higher on than me. As you can see by his stat line, he got off to a rather unsightly start this past season. In video I’ve watched of him, I saw nothing that really stands out from other minor league pitchers. Many of his pitches seemed rather flat, not a lot of movement.
ETA: 2023

35. Jesus Reyes, RHP – 2018 stats: 7.45 K/9, 3.80 BB/9, 0.56 HR/9, 3.94 ERA, 4.07 FIP
Age: 25
Highest level played: AAA
Notes: His strikeout rate took quite a tumble this year, and his walk rate ballooned, as did his home runs allowed; his ceiling is a so-so middle innings reliever.
ETA: 2021

36. Mitch Nay, 3B – 2018 stats: .262/.363/.389, 2 SB, 6 HR, 12 BB%
Age: 25
Highest level played: AA
Notes: His minor league career has been a mixed bag so far, with strikeout rates as high as 39% but his walk rate jumped to a career high 12% this past season. Lack of speed and power will limit his future value to decent average and OBP.
ETA: 2020

37. Aaron Fossas, RHP – 2018 stats: 6.02 K/9, 4.17 BB/9, 0.46 HR/9, 5.40 ERA, 4.46 FIP
Age: 26
Highest level played: A+
Notes: Likely another middle innings reliever.
ETA: 2020

38. Miguel Hernandez, SS – 2018 stats: .301/.338/.406, 2 SB, 2 HR, 5.5 BB%
Age: 19
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: No speed, no power, but can walk and get on base with decent average. Nothing really to stand out from more multi-dimensional players ahead of him, so far.
ETA: 2022

39. Nick Longhi, 1B – 2018 stats: .233/.258/.289, 1 SB, 0 HR, 2.2 BB%
Age: 23
Highest level played: AAA
Notes: There’s nothing there for Longhi, in my honest opinion. He strikes out way too much, has no speed and no power. I don’t really know why he got called up to AAA this past season. Barring him making some adjustments, I can’t see him reaching the big leagues anytime in the near future, not with so many more promising prospects ahead of him.

40. Jonathan Willems 2B/3B – 2018 stats: .263/.300/.470, 8 HR, 0 SB, 3 BB%
Age: 20
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Still early but has yet to flash any power or speed to offset his incredibly high strikeout rate. Not making consistent contact yet.
ETA: 2022

41. Alfredo Rodriguez, SS – 2018 stats: .207/.270/.324, 4 SB, 2 HR, 6.6 BB%
Age: 24
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Nothing to get excited about. I saw him play a few Arizona Fall League games and he was not doing well, striking out more often than not. Another prospect who has yet to show either speed for stolen bases or power for home runs. Poor OBP and AVG so far in his career. I don’t anticipate him making it to the big leagues unless the Reds get in a very desperate position.

42. Jose Israel Garcia, SS – 2018 stats: .245/.290/.344, 13 SB, 6 HR, 3.68 BB%
Age: 20
Highest level played: A
Notes: Not much of a sample size to go off of so far, but some stolen base potential is there. 2019 will tell us whether he can cut down on the strikeouts and get on base at a better clip.
ETA: 2023

43. Alex Blandino, 2B/3B – 2018 stats: .234/.324/.289, 0 SB, 1 HR, 8.8 BB%
Age: 26
Highest level played: MLB (69 games, 128 AB in 2018)
Notes: Hate to sound like a broken record but…again, no speed, no power. High strikeout rates but can draw a walk, so OBP is his strength.

44. Jesse Adams, LHP – 2018 stats: 6.28 K/9, 2.51 BB/9, 0.0 HR/9, 4.40 ERA, 3.34 FIP
Age: 25
Highest level played: A+
Notes: High strikeout potential here but also issues with command/control and consequently high walk rates at times. Ceiling is probably middle innings relief.
ETA: 2021

45. Debby Santana, 3B – 2018 stats: .245/.290/.420, 0 SB, 6 HR, 5 BB%
Age: 18
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: After a very successful first season at Rookie ball, hitting .302/.356/.448, Santana struggled mightily in his sophomore season. Still a little too early to tell what kind of hitter he might be.
ETA: 2023

46. Gavin LaValley, 1B – 2018 stats: .209/.291/.344, 2 SB, 13 HR, 9.9 BB%
Age: 23
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Inconsistent, and poor plate discipline, in a nutshell. Doesn’t walk, and a very paltry OBP. Not optimistic he’ll reach the majors.

47. Miles Gordon, OF – 2018 stats: .211/.290/.324, 17 SB, 2 HR, 9.9 BB%
Age: 20
Highest level played: A
Notes: Had two good seasons in ’16 and ’17 at Rookie ball where he walked at a decent rate and got on base, but those are sandwiched between two poor seasons where he struck out a ton and wasn’t very productive. Did steal 17 bases in 2018 but then again, not hard to do at single A ball. Another one I’m doubtful about reaching the majors.

48. Chris Okey , C – 2018 stats: .198/.257/.304, 2 SB, 5 HR, 6 BB%
Age: 23
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Average strikeout rate is in the upper 20s. Only posted one season with an OBP above .290. No power, no speed. Poor batting average as well across his 3 seasons so far. To be fair, he also dealt with a hamate injury at some point and spent some time on the DL. His defense took a major step forward to the point scouts were calling him an above-average catcher defensively. So it seems he has some wiggle room in which to work on his bat.
ETA: 2022

49. Jacob Heatherly, LHP – 2018 stats: 11.49 K/9, 9.31 BB/9, 0.70 HR/9, 5.82 ERA, 5.80 FIP
Age: 20
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Maybe some great strikeout potential here but good grief, the walks! Has no idea where the ball is going when it leaves his hand. Only positive so far is that he’s only 20 and in Rookie ball so he has lots of time to work things out.
ETA: 2022

50. Rylan Thomas, 1B – 2018 stats: .257/.400/.492, 10 HR, 18.22 BB%
Age: 21
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Thomas, Cincinnati’s 26th rounder from last year’s MLB Draft, has some nice pop and could develop into a middle of the order bat. Just not sure if it’s going to be a minor league career or eventually one that sees him make the majors. That’s why he rounds out this list of 50.

 

About Rudie Verougstraete 8 Articles
Rudie Verougstraete is the Cincinnati Reds correspondent at Prospects1500. He lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife Shelly who is the Washington Nationals correspondent. He has been an avid baseball fan since 2015, participates in multiple fantasy baseball leagues, and attends Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants AA affiliate) and Washington Nationals games whenever he can! His favorite baseball function is First Pitch Arizona, a fantasy baseball conference hosted by Baseball HQ every year just outside Phoenix.

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