Cincinnati Reds 2021 Midseason Top 50 Prospects

Reds Top 50 design by @designsbypack on Twitter

There are a lot of prospects to be excited about in the Reds’ farm system, especially the new additions from the 2021 MLB Draft and 2021 International signees. Nick Krall and company have certainly made a concerted effort to improve from within over the past two seasons, given Cincinnati’s small market status. This 2021 midseason update to the January Reds Top 50 is a great time to show their progress.

While the likes of Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, Tejay Antone, and Vladimir Gutierrez have all graduated out with tremendous success thus far, injuries have also plagued this system. Whether it be high-ceiling players like Rece Hinds & Tyler Callihan, high-floor players like Christian Roa, or wild cards like Jackson Miller & Joe Boyle, injuries have taken their toll. Despite the injuries, others such as Hunter Greene, Jose Barrero, and Graham Ashcraft have all taken huge steps forward in their development. It’s an exciting time to be a Reds fan, with a bright future for years to come.


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 of interest, worth keeping an eye on, who have an outside chance of making their team’s 40 man roster

Tier 1

1. Hunter Greene, RHP (January rank #5)
Age: 21
Current Level: AAA
Greene absolutely dominated AA Chattanooga necessitating a promotion to AAA, the pure potential is there and his games are beginning to showcase every bit of it.

Tier 2

2. Jose Barrero, SS (January rank #3)
Age: 23
Current Level: AAA
This kid has all the tools to be a great major league shortstop and with a little time and more experience, Barrero should continue to prove it.

3. Nick Lodolo, LHP (January rank #2)
Age: 23
Current Level: AAA
Lodolo has been absolutely dominant this year and might push the Reds to call his number for an MLB debut this season.

4. Austin Hendrick, OF (January rank #10)
Age: 20
Current Level: Low-A
Struggled so far this year, but Hendrick has immense power and plenty of time to adjust to professional baseball after being drafted last year.

5. Matt McLain, INF (January rank N/A)
Age: 21
Current Level: High-A
McLain is very athletic and played several positions in college, which could move him quickly through the system if the bat translates well. Cincinnati’s 2021 1st round draft pick has already been promoted from Rookie ball up to High-A.

Tier 3

6. Graham Ashcraft, RHP (January rank #29)
Age: 23
Current Level: AA
Has an elite fastball-slider combo and used it to dominate in Dayton this season.

7. Jay Allen, OF (January rank N/A)
Age: 18
Current Level: 2021 Draftee (1st round compensation pick, 30th overall)
Much like Hendrick, the question here will be how well he makes contact at the professional level because all the tools are there.

8. Tyler Callihan, 2B/3B (January rank #9)
Age: 21
Current Level: Low-A
An elbow injury in June will cause Callihan to miss the remainder of the season but, this kid can flat out hit and proved it when healthy this season.

9. Rece Hinds, 3B (January rank #6)
Age: 20
Current Level: Rookie (ACL)
There is a lot of projectability here with immense raw power and a solid glove at third base, but when Hinds is healthy again, he needs to show more contact if he hopes to succeed.

10. Bryce Bonnin, RHP (January rank #25)
Age: 22
Current Level: Low-A
With Bonnin there is a lot of reliever risk but, the fastball-slider combo is the best in the system that will lead to a very healthy strikeout rate.

11. Jose Torres, SS (January rank N/A)
Age: 21
Current Level: Not assigned, 2021 Draftee (3rd round)
Tends to be over-aggressive at the plate but, has good mechanics, a projectable frame, and a good amount of pop to his swing not to mention he was the best defensive shortstop in this years’ draft.

12. Andrew Abbott, LHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 22
Current Level: Not assigned, 2021 Draftee (2nd round)
Could move quickly as a reliever but has two above-average pitches and a changeup that could lead to him developing as a starter.

13. Alejo Lopez, INF (January rank N/A)
Age: 25
Current Level: AAA (MLB Debut in 2021)
With Lopez what you see is what you get, a utility infielder with elite contact rates, limited power, and an aversion to taking a walk.

14. Tony Santillan, RHP (January rank #8)
Age: 24
Current Level: AAA (MLB Debut in 2021)
Walks have always been the issue for Santillan and while he could be a back-of-the-rotation starter, the reliever risk is becoming a real concern.

15. Lyon Richardson, RHP (January rank #7)
Age: 21
Current Level: High-A
Incredible raw stuff with nothing to show for it yet, but if he gets it together Lyon will shoot up this board quickly.

16. Mat Nelson, C (January rank N/A)
Age: 22
Current Level: Rookie (ACL), 2021 Draftee (Competitive Balance A round, 35th overall)
Nelson has a lot of room to grow defensively but, drawn walks with plenty of projectable power for a solid offensive profile if he can cut down on the strikeouts.

Tier 4

17. Justice Thompson, OF (January rank N/A)
Age: 21
Current Level: Not assigned, 2021 Draftee (6th round)
Thompson had some of the best raw tools in this year’s draft but dropped due to concerns about his hit tool but, if he can prove scouts wrong, he will be a 5-tool type player.

18. Christian Roa, RHP (January rank #17)
Age: 22
Current Level: High-A
Roa has the stuff to be a Tier 2 player but, injuries and inconsistency in college have me wary and I’ll reserve judgment until I can see him pitch a full season.

19. Joe Boyle, RHP (January rank #39)
Age: 21
Current Level: Rookie (ACL)
Outside of Hunter Greene, Boyle has the best velocity in the Reds’ farm system but, an injury has kept him on the shelf for most of the season.

20. Thomas Farr, RHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 22
Current Level: Not assigned, 2021 Draftee (5th round)
Farr had an issue with walks in college but, the pitches will play up in the bullpen where his K/9 will shine.

21. Michael Siani, OF (January rank #13)
Age: 22
Current Level: High-A
Siani has all the tools to be an amazing player for the Reds but strikes out too much to be anything more than a 4th OF/defensive replacement type player at the moment.

22. Jackson Miller, C (January rank #21)
Age: 19
Current Level: Rookie (ACL)
Miller has a ton of projectability, but with his injury, it’s hard to understand what kind of player he will be at this time.

23. Ryan Hendrix, RHP (January rank #24)
Age: 26
Current Level: AAA
Hendrix has consistently put up impressive strikeout numbers across his minor/major league tenure (already debuted in MLB), but the other side of that coin is an ugly walk rate to mirror the K’s.

24. Ruben Ibarra, 1B (January rank N/A)
Age: 22
Current Level: Rookie (ACL)
A towering, hit-first, first baseman that stands at 6’5” and weighs in at 290lbs. Just as you would suspect Ibarra crushes baseballs but will need to show consistency at the next level.

25. Jack Rogers, IF/OF (January rank N/A)
Age: 22
Current Level: Rookie (ACL)
Rogers is an infielder/outfielder with some gaudy college numbers with average to slightly above-average tools. Sam Houston wasn’t a true challenge for him and I’m excited to see his transition to the majors.

26. Ivan Johnson, 2B/3B (January rank #28)
Age: 22
Current Level: High-A
Quick hands and explosive speed out of the box are promising assets, but scouting reports indicate he lacks feel for hitting.

27. Reiver Sanmartin, LHP (January rank #23)
Age: 25
Current Level: AAA
Relies on soft contact and high ground ball rate as a reliever which could make him an effective middle innings reliever at the major league level.

28. Eduardo Salazar, RHP (January rank #33)
Age: 23
Current Level: High-A
Solid velocity, sitting 94-96 and touching 99, but secondary stuff is lacking, and command/control is iffy at the moment.

29. TJ Friedl, OF (January rank #19)
Age: 25
Current Level: AAA
Fourth outfielder type; walks a little, some speed on the base paths, little power; decent overall contact. Could see him in a possible bench role at some point for the Reds

30. Hunter Parks, RHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 20
Current Level: Not assigned, 2021 Draftee (8th round)
Parks is athletic and throws strikes but needs to improve his command. However, he is only 20 years of age giving him plenty of time to refine things in the Reds driveline-based system.

31. Kevin Abel, RHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 22
Current Level: Not assigned, 2021 Draftee (7th round)
Abel had TJS in 2020, but the real concern is that he lost velocity after the surgery.

32. Elly De La Cruz, IF (January rank N/A)
Age: 19
Current Level: Low-A
Cruz has been one of the hottest adds in dynasty leagues. After hitting .400 through 11 games in Rookie ball the Reds moved him up to Low-A Dayton and he’s continued to impress.

Tier 5

33. Brian Rey, INF/OF (January rank N/A)
Age: 23
Current Level: AA
A solid hitter who doesn’t strike out and shows some power as well. Could be a solid utility player if he can remain consistent.

34. Ariel Almonte, OF (January rank N/A)
Age: 17
Current Level: Rookie (DSL)
He’s a right fielder with a plus arm that should play well at the position and has a ton of raw power in his bat.

35. Riley O’Brien, RHP (January rank #11)
Age: 26
Current Level: AAA
O’Brien flashes nice strikeout stuff, but has a scary high walk rate and has been hit very hard at AAA Louisville.

36. Braylin Minier, SS (January rank #46)
Age: 18
Current Level: Rookie (ACL)
Profiles as an average hitter eventually, but has a tendency to sell out for power, could use more loft in his swing.

37. Luis Mey, RHP (January rank #36)
Age: 20
Current Level: Low-A
Mey is a very hard thrower, sitting at 95-97 and touching 99 but his secondary pitches are extremely raw and command/control is still very much a work in progress; the most likely role is in relief at this point.

38. Malvin Valdez, OF (January rank N/A)
Age: 17
Current Level: Rookie (DSL)
A possible 5-tool player, he’s got a strong arm to go with his speed on defense and plenty of bat speed. Power should come in as he ages and develops.

39. Brayan Rijo, OF (January rank N/A)
Age: 17
Current Level: Rookie (DSL)
The right-handed-hitting outfielder has a quick bat to work with and projectable power. Most likely is a corner outfielder who will lose speed as he fills out.

40. Leonardo Balcazar, SS (January rank N/A)
Age: 17
Current Level: Rookie (DSL)
The right-handed hitter has a nice swing and has the arm strength and hands to stick at shortstop.

41. Carlos Jorge, SS (January rank N/A)
Age: 17
Current Level: Rookie (DSL)
The left-handed hitter is more of a hitter than a power hitter with good athleticism, including plus-plus speed.

42. Jose Serrano, SS (January rank N/A)
Age: 17
Current Level: Rookie (DSL)
Serrano can really hit and has shown good performance in-game settings prior to signing. Plays shortstop for now but a move to third base could be coming soon.

43. Mariel Bautista, OF (January rank #27)
Age: 23
Current Level: High-A
Bautista has above-average speed and is a quality defender but has struggled in his adjustment from Rookie ball.

44. Luis Reyes, 3B (January rank N/A)
Age: 17
Current Level: Rookie (DSL)
An offensive-first third baseman, Reyes has good power potential and an advanced approach for his age.

45. Jacob Hurtubise, OF (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: High-A
A speedy center fielder with a knack for stealing bases and drawing walks. Also of note, Hurtubise is a West Point graduate.

46. Allan Cerda, OF (January rank #14)
Age: 24
Current Level: Low-A
Cerda has a very good feel for lofting the ball and hitting for power, but there are also holes in his swing that lead him to strike out a bunch.

47. Miguel Medrano, RHP (January rank #16)
Age: 23
Current Level: Low-A
Command and control are both above average, throws a solid changeup for strikes, but curveball and fastball still need refining, and 2021 has not been kind to Medrano.

48. Yan Contreras, SS (January rank #32)
Age: 20
Current Level: Low-A
Tools for days but wasn’t particularly impressive in his short stint of pro ball in 2019 and has been on the IL all season.

49. Eddy Isturiz, C (January rank N/A)
Age: 17
Current Level: Rookie (DSL)

A switch-hitter, Isturiz shows the ability to hit from both sides of the plate. Defensively he’s got a quick transfer to go with a strong arm.

50. Donovan Benoit, RHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 22
Current Level: Not assigned, 2021 Draftee (10th round)

A Tulane product with some solid velocity and an above-average slider. He’s battled serious control issues which will need to be refined.

and one more…
51. Hayden Shenefield, RHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 26
Current Level: Low-A

Shenefield messaged Reds Pitching Development Leader, Kyle Boddy, on Reddit with his spin rates and velocities. That helped get him signed.




About Adam Wilson 3 Articles
Adam Wilson is a lifelong baseball fan and the Cincinnati Reds correspondent for Prospects1500. Originally from Cincinnati, OH, he is a former baseball player himself, although admittedly nowhere near the level of those he will write about. Adam graduated from and played two years at Ohio Northern University, with a degree in Accounting and an MSA in Forensic Accounting and Audit Services. He plays in several fantasy baseball leagues including three dynasty leagues run by Prospects1500’s very own Jared Chapman. He can be reached on Twitter at @AdamWilly5312.

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