This year’s Spring Training afforded me the opportunity to get another look at some of the Cincinnati Reds’ top (and not so top) prospects. There were a few surprises as I was looking over Spring Training stats for various Reds prospects. One notable surprise was how well Aristides Aquino did. In my top 50 Reds prospects ranking, I have him far down the list at 32nd, based on the fact that historically, while he has hit for some power, he also was striking out a ton (and not walking). But this spring he’s hit .368/.429/.684 in 21 plate appearances. He also managed a double, a triple, a home run, 2 walks and only 4 strikeouts. Obviously this is a small sample size but I’m very interested to see if this translates into the upcoming regular season.
On the flip side of the coin, Jose Siri didn’t do well at all. I’ve mentioned before how Siri is over-aggressive at the plate and can’t seem to stop himself from swinging at every pitch he sees. That continued this spring. He had the second highest K% of all the Reds prospects at Spring Training, 23.8% with his average and OBP both below .100 in 21 plate appearances. Unless he can dig deep and find some patience at the plate, he may end up sliding down my top 50 list, in spite of his potential.
Between those two extremes were a few others who are in my top 50 Reds prospects.
- Nick Senzel: .314/.306/.457 with 8 strikeouts, 4 stolen bases, and 5 doubles in 37 plate appearances
- Senzel is among those who have been reassigned to minor league camp, understandably to the disappointment of many Reds fans. Scott Schebler has kept his job safe for now but based on his past performance, I see him regressing and when he does, I believe the Reds will call up Senzel for CF duty.
- Taylor Trammell: .200/.429/.200 with 4 strikeouts, 2 stolen bases, and 6 walks in 21 plate appearances
- While Trammell managed to walk some (hence his high OBP), his batting average took a hit this spring but perhaps he was working on something with his swing or batting mechanics.
- Blake Trahan: .238/.319/.262 with 7 strikeouts, 2 stolen bases, and 4 walks in 47 plate appearances
- Blake’s spring gave me no reason to alter my thinking on him being towards the bottom of my top 50 list, he’s basically a bench/utility player, based on past performance in the minors.
- T.J. Friedl and catcher Tyler Stephenson also made appearances but were negligible offensively. However, from what I saw of Stephenson, he seemed solid defensively and I continue to believe he can be a starting catcher, as I think there’s enough there offensively as well for him to make it.
On the pitching side, I was excited to have another look at Vladimir Gutierrez (6.2 IP, 12 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 6 K’s). Yes, his final stat line from spring isn’t pretty but most of that damage came in one bad inning, and I still like what I saw from him overall in terms of his mechanics/delivery; he has excellent downward plane on his pitches to grab that bottom edge of the strike zone. I prefer to see pitchers miss low and walk someone than hang a ball over the middle of the plate and give up a multi-run hit or home run. However, I would like to see him develop some horizontal movement on some of his pitches, to keep hitters from getting used to his straight downward movement.
Tony Santillan also got in some work, though I didn’t get to see him on TV. He pitched 4.2 innings and give up 2 runs on 3 hits, with 4 walks, and 2 strikeouts. Reliever Jimmy Herget continued to make his case for making it into the Reds bullpen, pitching 5 innings and only giving up 1 run on 3 hits with 7 strikeouts and no walks. Herget has consistently put up good results in his time in the minors, and I have to believe it’s only a matter of time before he makes it to the big league level.