Cincinnati Reds 2020 Top 50 Prospects

Jonathan India, Florida State League All-Star Game, June 15, 2019 - photo credit Bryan Green on Flickr

After a disappointing season in which Trevor Bauer massively under-performed and Joey Votto’s struggles at the plate continued (among other things), Reds fans understandably may be feeling some measure of angst and consternation. And although the Reds farm system is a little thinner than it was a season or two ago, after the departures of Taylor Trammell, Jeter Downs, and Shed Long, there’s still reason for optimism. Jonathan India put together his best season in the minors, top pitching prospect Hunter Greene is throwing again and well on the road to recovery from Tommy John, and catching prospect Tyler Stephenson appears to be on the verge of a call-up after posting a wRC+ (weighted runs created) of 130 (100 is average) and a wOBA (weighted on-base average) of .361. They also have a promising shortstop by the name of Jose (Israel) Garcia, who hit .280/.343/.436 while stealing 15 bases this past season. While it’s obviously true that no prospect is ever a guarantee to pan out, I still feel fairly good about the Reds’ system especially given the changes they are making across both the major and minor league levels in terms of coaches and player development personnel.


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
Unfortunately there are no Reds prospects in Tier 1 this year


Tier 2

1. Hunter Greene, RHP
Age: 20
Highest level played: A+
Notes: Greene had Tommy John surgery sometime in late 2018 or early 2019 after first attempting to simply rehab his sprained UCL; given his immense upside shown prior to the injury, I don’t feel comfortable moving him down my rankings until after I can see how he looks once he starts pitching again in 2020. I still believe he needs to develop some decent secondary pitches to play off his electric fastball. ETA: 2023

2. Tyler Stephenson, C
Age: 23
Highest level played: AA
Notes: With Greene sidelined for now, Stephenson is essentially the Reds‘ top prospect and based on his strong bat to ball skills, increasing power, and improved defense, I believe the Reds will call him up sometime in 2020. More than that, I feel he could be the future replacement for Tucker Barnhart as the everyday catcher. ETA: 2020

3. Jose Garcia, SS
Age: 21
Highest level played: A+
Notes: He got off to a slow start developmentally, being sent straight to the Midwest league straight after defecting from Cuba; he struggled out of the gate but soon found his footing and scouts have had positive things to say about his athleticism; above average defense; frame is built for speed, so 20+ stolen bases seems reasonable to expect, on top of regular-starter level offense. ETA: 2021


4. Jonathan India, 3B
Age: 22
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Some have soured on India after a slow start to his minor league career and a mostly forgettable stint in the Arizona Fall League, but I feel that bailing on him right now is premature. His walk rate increased and his strikeouts came down after his promotion to AA this past year; there’s still some uncertainty about game power and whether he’ll steal much but it seems a safe bet to project him for solid average and OBP at the very least. ETA: 2021

5. Michael Siani, OF
Age: 20
Highest level played: A
Notes: Siani is headed for a starting outfield role at some point in the not too distant future. He is a gold glove caliber defender with a strong arm, accurate throws, and good routes; on top of that he possess above average speed both in the outfield and on the base paths (45 stolen bases in 2019!). His bat to ball skills still need work but I feel that will come. ETA: 2022


6. Shogo Akiyama, OF
Age: 31
Highest level played: JPL
Notes: Akiyama will likely be the Reds‘ leadoff hitter while manning a corner outfield post, as he has historically put up excellent on-base numbers in his nine years in the Japanese Pacific League (.376 career OBP) along with a decent number of home runs. ETA: 2020



Tier 3

7. Tony Santillan, RHP
Age: 22
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Santillan took a step backwards this season, posting his second-worst walk rate and fly ball rate since 2015. While I don’t expect elite-level strikeouts going forward, I do expect positive regression from this past season’s struggles. I still project him to be a back of the rotation starter. ETA: 2021

8. Packy Naughton, LHP
Age: 23
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Strikeout rates have varied over the past few seasons but he generally doesn’t walk guys much, and to this point has done a good job of limiting runs; his delivery is a little funky with some deception so I believe that has played a part in his success so far. His long term potential remains a mid to back of the rotation starter or a high leverage reliever. ETA: 2021

9. Nick Lodolo, LHP
Age: 21
Highest level played: A
Notes: Scouts have been impressed with Lodolo’s raw stuff, while acknowledging that command/control is a work in progress. Mainly, he needs to develop a 3rd pitch, a changeup. The upside strikeout potential here is impressive and worth keeping an eye on. ETA: 2022

10. Joel Kuhnel, RHP
Age: 24
Highest level played: MLB
Notes: Kuhnel is a hard throwing reliever who has dominated both left and right handed hitters with average to slightly below average strikeout rates for a reliever; most of his outs have come from ground balls, which has also helped limit home runs. Between his high velocity, ability to get outs on lefties and righties, I project him to be a valuable bullpen piece with good potential for high leverage situations. ETA: Debuted in 2019

11. Lyon Richardson, RHP
Age: 19
Highest level played: A
Notes: Richardson initially impressed scouts in high school, with his fastball hitting 97-98 with regularity, but his Reds debut in rookie ball didn’t go well; his velocity dropped, settling around 90-92; in 29 innings he was walking guys 11.5% of the time, but scouts also noted he appeared tired, so perhaps it was just an issue of not having pitched that much before. He is a high-risk prospect and the Reds are gambling on being able to stretch him out, build up arm strength and stamina. ETA: 2023

12. Tyler Callihan, 3B
Age: 19
Highest level played: R
Notes: Questions abound as to where he will play in the infield, as his defense is limited by his bulky, boxy frame; legit power and above-average hit tool. ETA: 2023

13. Alejo Lopez, 2B/3B
Age: 23
Highest level played: A+
Notes: Lopez has always hit reliably at each level of the minors so far; but his lack of speed and power limits his ceiling. Still, his consistent ability to make contact and get on base gives him a realistic shot of being an everyday infielder. ETA: 2021

14. TJ Friedl, OF
Age: 24
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Friedl hits well enough to be a 4th outfielder; plus defense and speed, lacks consistent game power. Typically a reliable source of stolen bases but injured his ankle and had surgery summer of 2019 so that may be a question mark going forward. ETA: 2020

15. Jose Siri, OF
Age: 24
Highest level played: AAA
Notes: In a word: frustrating. He shows impressive upside, an intriguing combination of stolen bases and home runs, but also struggles with impatience at the plate and maturity issues that have caused sky-high strikeout rates at times. I honestly don’t know if the Reds will stick with him because of the aforementioned upside and his plus defense, or cut bait and trade him to a team willing to gamble on him. ETA: 2020

16. Ibandel Isabel, 1B
Age: 24
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Given his extremely high strikeout rates, I hesitated to even put him inside my top 20 but the dude can absolutely crush it when he makes contact, and last year he did manage to increase his walk rate and cut down his strikeouts slightly, bringing his average up to .260 at one point. I don’t have too much trouble imagining him crushing balls out of Great American Ballpark. However, from a fantasy standpoint, if his strikeout rate doesn’t come down, his usefulness will hinge on him maintaining his impressive power. ETA: 2020


Tier 4

17. Mac Sceroler, RHP
Age: 24
Highest level played: A+
117 IP, 26.5 K%, 6.1 BB%, 3.32 FIP, 68 LOB%
Notes: Flashes good strikeout stuff while mostly limiting walks and home runs; potential for a mid-back end rotation piece if he can continue what he’s been doing. ETA: 2020

18. Rece Hinds, 3B
Age: 19
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Only 3 games and 10 plate appearances for Greeneville with no hits. Scouting reports indicate massive raw power and some interesting tools but there are concerns about ability to make consistent contact; considered a high risk prospect for the time being. ETA: 2023

19. Jose Acosta, 2B/3B
Age: 19
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Not much information out there as to where the Reds found him, but after tearing up the Dominican Summer League Reds, he was transferred to the Arizona League Reds and kept up the torrid pace (as you can see from this slash line .400/.496/.601/1.097). Obviously we’re talking rookie ball level but even for that level this is quite a feat, so there’s obviously some good built-in baseball instincts. ETA: 2023

20. Jameson Hannah, OF
Age: 22
Highest level played: A+
Notes: Scouts have praised his timing, bat control, and efficient swing as well as his above-average speed, but some concerns about lack of in-game power. ETA: 2021

21. Rylan Thomas, 1B
Age: 22
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Thomas inherits strong arms and hands and quick feet from his football background; scouts report immense raw power with an ability to loft the ball, but with a tendency to chase pitches down and away; agile enough that he could possibly get some looks at 3rd base. ETA: 2022

22. Danny Lantigua, OF
Age: 20
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Lantigua is a switch hitter with potential plus power from both sides, not a common trait for switch hitters. A high risk prospect, he’ll need to keep that up to safeguard a starting role, as his defense is marginal and he tends to strikes out a lot. ETA: 2023

23. Stuart Fairchild, OF
Age: 23
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Historically has been just passable as an everyday OF but handled AA well, to the tune of a 142 wRC+and a decent walk rate. ETA: 2021

24. Andy Sugilio, OF
Age: 23
Highest level played: A+
Notes: He’s always hit well across his minor league career so far and possesses good speed for stolen bases; I expect to see him at AA sometime this upcoming season. ETA: 2021

25. Quin Cotton, OF
Age: 21
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: The Reds’ 8th round pick in the June 2019 amateur draft; worth keeping an eye on; I found few mistakes in his swing mechanics, just a tendency to chase pitches; quick feet = explosive speed out of the box could translate to stolen bases. ETA: 2022

26. Daniel Vellojin, C
Age: 19
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Off to a hot start for a catcher, impressive walk rate on top of that hot bat; could be something interesting here but then again I don’t have any information on how good he is defensively. Someone to keep an eye on as he progresses. ETA: 2023

27. Tejay Antone, RHP
Age: 25
Highest level played: AAA
Notes: Much more a ground ball pitcher (55 – 60% ground ball rate on average) than strikeout stuff; will likely be a reliever. ETA: 2021

28. Mariel Bautista, OF
Age: 22
Highest level played: A
Notes: Speed on the base paths and in the outfield is unquestioned but a mixed bag so far concerning his bat. ETA: 2021

29. Narciso Crook, OF
Age: 24
Highest level played: AAA
Notes: Hits well enough to be an everyday outfielder but only modest power and no speed of any consequence means he gets overshadowed by more toolsy prospects. ETA: 2021

30. Jose Franco, RHP
Age: 19
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Small sample size (57 innings) but Franco put up good numbers in his Reds minor league debut this year, striking out guys 25% of the time but complimenting that with a 51% ground ball rate and low ERA/FIP and few walks. ETA: 2023

31. Spencer Stockton, RHP
Age: 23
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Seems like he could be an interesting reliever, high strikeout stuff and low walk rates so far, in 23 innings this past season. ETA: 2022

32. Ryan Hendrix, RHP
Age: 24
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Despite high strikeout stuff, Hendrix is mired in major command/control issues that have led to walk rates easily north of 10% at times; a bullpen role is likely going forward. The question is, whether it could be a high leverage situation or not. ETA: 2021

33. Hendrik Clementina, C
Age: 22
Highest level played: A+
Notes: About average offensively for the position but has started to show some power recently; if that can stick, it will boost his long-term outlook. However, his defensive ability is unknown to me. ETA: 2022


Tier 5

34. Lorenzo Cedrola, OF
Age: 21
Highest level played: A+
Notes: Nothing terribly interesting here; enough speed/stolen bases to make it as a bench/utility player but that’s about it. ETA: 2022

35. Gavin LaValley, 1B/3B
Age: 24
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Most likely a career minor leaguer with an unappetizing strikeout rate in the mid to upper 20s. ETA: 2022

36. Reiver Sanmartin, LHP
Age: 23
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Good enough to get a lefty hitter out; certainly a relief role and a limited one at that. ETA: 2022

37. Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP
Age: 24
Highest level played: AAA
Notes: After a down season for him in 2019 in which his walk rate and home run rate skyrocketed, his realistic projection is as a bullpen piece at best, and likely not a high leverage situation either. ETA: 2022

38. Austin Orewiler, RHP
Age: 26
Highest level played: A+
Notes: If he’s struggling against single-A hitting right now, that doesn’t bode well going forward; reliever most likely. ETA: 2023

39. Debby Santana, 3B
Age: 19
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: His seemingly impressive hitting is only supported by a high BABIP which suggests luck (it was north of .400 this past season, which is never sustainable) and his strikeout rate was still quite high, around 30%. ETA: 2023

40. James Marinan, RHP
Age: 21
Highest level played: A
Notes: Ground ball heavy pitcher who has struggled mightily with walks, and this past year, a home run problem. ETA: 2022

41. Darlin Guzman, OF
Age: 19
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Could be something interesting; absolutely raked at rookie ball but his BABIP was also a whopping .441. The previous season he hit .251/.326/.450 so we’ll have to see how he fares against High-A and AA pitching. ETA: 2022

42. Bren Spillane, 1B/OF
Age: 23
Highest level played: A
Notes: Swings at everything; absurdly high strikeout rates (low 40s!) that rival even that of Jose Siri and Ibandel Isabel. ETA: 2022

43. Cash Case, 2B/OF
Age: 20
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Aside from the novelty of his name, not much interesting here yet; has only put up one season of wRC+ over 100 so far. ETA: 2023

44. Ivan Johnson, SS
Age: 21
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Hit well this year but small sample size as this was his first year in the Red’s system. ETA: 2023

45. Miguel Hernandez, SS
Age: 20
Highest level played: A
Notes: Glove-first shortstop who scouts rave about his defense, but his hit tool is quite lacking at the moment. ETA: 2022

46. Jacob Heatherly, LHP
Age: 21
Highest level played: A
Notes: Injured most of 2019 as he only pitched 8 innings; major walk issues; as of now seems doubtful he makes the bigs anytime soon. ETA: 2024

47. Jose Tello, C/1B
Age: 21
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Has hit well enough (good but not great) so far but he’s spent all his time at the rookie ball level (since 2015) so there’s something the Reds don’t seem to like either in his hitting or in his defense. ETA: 2023

48. Eric Yang, C
Age: 21
Highest level played: Rookie
Notes: Off to a good start, especially for a catcher but as always, the real test is yet to come. ETA: 2024

49. Brantley Bell, 2B/3B
Age: 25
Highest level played: AA
Notes: Basically like Mike Siani without the upside/high ceiling; plenty of speed for stolen bases but poor hit tool. ETA: 2021

50. Allan Cerda, OF
Age: 20
Highest level plated: Rookie
Notes: After spending 2018 in the Dominican Summer League, Cerda saw games in Rookie ball Greeneville in 2019. Slashed .220/.360/.470/.829.




About Rudie Verougstraete 23 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.

2 Comments

  1. I’ve got some questions.

    How is Nick Lodolo ranked 9th? He was the 1st pitcher taken in the entire draft, dominated in his debut after dominating in 2019 at TCU, and he’s rated behind Packy Naughton. Naughton is a solid prospect, but no one in their right mind is taking him ahead of Nick Lodolo. Oh, and Lodolo is a left-handed pitcher, not a right-handed pitcher.

    Joel Kuhnel’s ETA isn’t 2020. He spent the last seven weeks of 2019 in the Major Leagues.

    Danny Lantigua posted a .532 OPS in Greeneville while striking out 97 times in 206 plate appearances and he’s rated ahead of Stuart Fairchild, who hit well in Double-A this season and is a former 2nd round draft pick. Huh?

    Spencer Stockton was a 23-year-old undrafted guy playing independent league baseball in July of 2019. He put up some good numbers in rookie ball and he’s rated ahead of Ryan Hendrix, who throws in the upper 90’s, is on the 40-man roster, and has posted ERA’s under 2.00 in the last two seasons between Advanced-A and Double-A. How is this possible?

    • Thanks for your comments and questions. Yes Lodolo is LHP and that was just an oversight. It’s been fixed. Kuhnel as well which now denotes that he debuted in 2019 on his ETA, which probably could just not be listed. Rudie should be the one to address your specific prospect rankings.

4 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Reds Prospect Profile: Jose Garcia | Prospects1500
  2. Player Profile: Jonathan India | Prospects1500
  3. Reds Prospect Profile: Vladimir Gutierrez | Prospects1500
  4. 2020 San Francisco Giants: Digging Deeper | Prospects1500

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