With the minor league season officially cancelled as was expected, it means I won’t have an updated midseason top 50 Reds prospects list for you this summer, without fresh stats to help guide my decisions where to rank guys. Instead, I’m going to give you ten players in the Reds system worth keeping an eye on once we get back to seeing some minor league action (hopefully next year, fingers and toes crossed!). These guys are not necessarily my top 10; I’ve included recent draft picks and some guys lower in my rankings who could be due for a breakout under normal circumstances (i.e. a full season).
Greene is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery earlier last year. He has said that he feels great, near 100% and reports from guys who’ve seen him throwing bullpens have backed that up, including his velocity returning to low 100s at times. Still, my concern is his need to develop one or two more pitches rather than just rely on blowing it past hitters with heat. The past two seasons his breaking stuff was pretty pedestrian and lacked bite. If he can add a plus secondary offering, I like his prospects for remaining a starter. If he doesn’t, I think a future as an elite reliever may be in the cards. I can understand some may disagree with that assessment but personally I’m wary of the durability of starters throwing 100+ consistently.
Hunter Greene’s trying to make the 60 man camp roster 👀 pic.twitter.com/IXS27MHP31
— And This Blog Belongs To The Reds (@ATBBTTR) June 28, 2020
I’ve been high on Stephenson for several seasons now; while not the most versatile catcher defensively, he makes contact reliably and does show signs of some power, while possessing enough plate discipline to draw walks. Had this been a normal season, I think we would’ve seen Stephenson get called up when rosters expand in the fall. Instead, with the 60-man player pool and the Reds’ need at catcher in a shortened season, Stephenson just got the call and will see some MLB time (made his debut Monday 7/27). I believe he is the Reds‘ catcher of the future, since he is an upgrade over Barnhart with the bat.
3 home runs in the 2nd inning of today’s #Reds scrimmage.
This 2-run shot by Tyler Stephenson was the first of 2 consecutive homers given up by Amir Garrett. pic.twitter.com/90OM8dU0vO
— Caleb Noe (@CalebNoeTV) July 13, 2020
Jose Garcia, SS
There is little doubt in my mind that Garcia is the Red’s future shortstop; despite a slow start to his minor league career after defecting from Cuba (went straight to the Midwest League and only hit .245/.290/.344). The bat has been progressing well, slashing .280/.343/.436 with 8 home runs and 15 stolen bases last season. He has a solid swing that utilizes his lower half well to generate good “oomph” and loft the ball. My feeling is we’ll see him develop more power as his minor league career progresses. If we have a normal minor league season next year so he can further his development, I think we could see Garcia by 2022.
Another homer for Jose Garcia!
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 11, 2020
Lyon Richardson, RHP
Richardson is intriguing. He’s one of those pitchers whose “stuff” hasn’t quite materialized in the stats just yet. He’s had some durability problems when he first reached the minors in 2018, hitting a wall after about 4 innings or so with reduced velocity. But he seemed to have started turning the corner over the 2019 season, going 112 innings and pitching to a 3.76 FIP, 21.3 K%, bringing his walks down and increasing his swinging strike rate. If you watch video of him, he clearly has some nasty pitches, particularly a devastating breaking pitch (curveball or slider I’m not sure which). I think there’s something there with him, at least enough to be a pretty good reliever but I think with another year of development he can stay on track to be a starter.
from Baseball GIFs via Gfycat
Rece Hinds, INF
His ability to rocket balls out of the park with his immense power is unquestioned, but there are significant concerns among scouts who’ve seen him about his quality (and quantity) of contact. Consider him a protege of Ibandel Isabel for now, a two-outcome kind of guy: strikeouts or home runs. With the Reds’ revamped front office and coaching, it will be interesting to see if they can improve his overall hitting as his minor league career progresses.
#Reds (2:49) take Rece Hinds (3B, IMG Academy). Perhaps most raw power in the class, inconsistent performances over the summer in the showcase circuit. Plays SS for IMG but will need to move off the position. Has plenty of arm for 3B or RF. #MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/FRtKjECqBW
— Burke Granger (@burkegranger) June 4, 2019
Austin Hendrick, OF
Admittedly I’m not as excited as others are right out of the gate about the Reds’ first round draft pick. The power potential is up there, to be sure, but like Hinds, there are questions about his ability to make consistent contact. But it is still very early so we will have to see what the Reds’ coaching can do to maximize his bat. Defensively, I’ve heard no concerns about his glove or arm in the outfield.
Packy Naughton, LHP
I was high on Packy Naughton a year or two ago. While his stuff wasn’t overpowering, he had decent command/control and I thought he could be a back of the rotation starter. But the more I watched him pitch last year, the less confident I felt about his kind of jerky, funky mechanics. It just doesn’t seem terribly efficient or repeatable. I now feel that he will probably be a reliever who can be plugged into the rotation to fill in, in a pinch.
Not only can @Packy_8 pitch (6.1 IP, 7 K, 1 ER tonight) but he can field his position too. Check out this web gem from Packy Naughton in the Dragons' win. (Video courtesy: @DragonsBaseball) pic.twitter.com/0wBj4NEYjl
— James Rider (@JamesRRider) April 11, 2018
Michael Siani, OF
I was initially quite excited about Siani because of his athleticism and speed; he racked up 45 stolen bases in 2019, not to mention being an absolute wizard defensively in center field! But there was just one problem: a pretty paltry batting line of .253/.333/.339 and a 20.5 K%. As I explained in my previous Reds Top 50 post, there are some problems with his swing mechanics; I’ve often noticed a flat swing that generates ground balls rather than lofting the ball. He is a gold-glove calibre defensive prospect at the moment whose bat is still a work in progress; most likely he’ll be a guy who hits towards the bottom of the order, but his playing time is easily safeguarded by his amazing glove.
24.381 – Mike Siani, CIN
3 plus tools (speed, glove, arm) isn’t something you expect to see in the late 300’s. The defense in CF should get him to the big leagues. Led the Midwest League with 45 stolen bases in 2019.#Pre2020ProspectMockpic.twitter.com/uApTRyvZid
— Andrew McQuiston (@AMcQ82) April 23, 2020
Tyler Callihan, 1B/3B
The Reds’ third round pick in the 2019 draft, there is some seriously impressive power in Callihan’s bat. He has strong arms and shows the ability to barrel up the ball nicely, though as Eric Longenhagen at Fangraphs points out, he needs more reps or a swing change to better loft the ball. The only real question about Callihan is where does he fit in defensively? He has gotten reps at 3B but there’s been some talk of him possibly doing some catching, but still others thinks he ends up at 1B given his bulky frame and limited defensive ability.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 4, 2019
Tony Santillan, RHP
He isn’t the flashiest pitcher in the Reds system but up until last year, when he struggled through an injury and having to adjust to a new pitching philosophy in the system, Santillan was quietly putting up numbers that would put him in line to be a pretty solid 4 or 5 starter. He has velocity that hits 100 at times, with impressive late movement on several of his pitches. I expect to see a bounce-back year for him in 2021 when we hopefully will have a full, normal minor league season.
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.