Scanning the Lower Levels of the Reds Farm for Diamonds In the Rough

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We’re into September now and sadly that means the minor league regular season is drawing to a close with playoff happening now, yet there are so many more prospects to talk about! For this post I thought I would do a few “quick hits” on several prospects that may be interesting in the future, that I have not yet really elaborated on other than perhaps a quick blurb in my semi-annual top 50 lists. Most of these guys are currently in the lower levels of the system (R to A+) and several of them are considered high risk.

Tyler Calihan (19, R) – the Reds third round draft pick in the 2019 draft has drawn rave reviews from scouts for his quick hands, fast bat speed, ability to hit the ball to all fields but also loft the ball with power when he recognizes a good pitch. His defense is fringe-average thanks in part to his bulky, boxy frame. Has the experience and ability to play at 2B, 3B but at least one scout thinks his future is at 1B. In 238 plate appearances he hit .263/.298/.442 with 6 home runs and 11 stolen bases.

Rylan Thomas (22, R) – drafted in the 26th round of the 2018 draft, Thomas has all the makings of a classic beefy first base power hitter. His raw power is graded at 70 by scouts, with strong, quick hands that help him loft the ball consistently, making up for the fact that he tends to chase pitches down and away. Defensively, scouts say he rates as above average with a strong arm and good agility. He’s projected to begin his career at first base, though 3B and even conversion to a catcher is a possibility because of just how good his arm is (he used to pitch for UCF as a closer). Last year, he hit .257/.400/.492 with 10 home runs and an impressive 18% walk rate in 225 plate appearances.

Rece Hinds (17, R) – the Reds’ second round pick in this year’s draft is considered high risk; although he possesses what scouts say is “elite” raw power, there are concerns about his difficulties just making contact. Defensively seems average, projected at 3B. Only 10 plate appearances this year so not much of a sample size to go off of right now. He was shut down for the year with a quad injury in late August.

Jose Garcia (21, A+) – a 2016 J2 signing, I’m increasingly high on Garcia; he draws high marks from scouts for his above-average defense at shortstop, with excellent agility, fielding, and throws. Offensively he’s been a bit slow to develop but he heated up this year at A+, slashing .280/.343/.436 with 8 home runs and 15 stolen bases, and a notable increase in his walk rate. Probably not going to develop a whole lot of power, but the Reds have no shortage of those types of hitters anyway. I may be doing a “deep dive” on Garcia in the near future.

Danny Lantigua (20, R) – 2015 J2 signing; Lantigua is a high-risk prospect; he currently lacks plate discipline/pitch recognition and strikes out a ton; on the other hand, he is a rare switch hitter who possesses good power from both sides, plus above-average defense particularly in right field where his speed is more of an asset. In his third year at rookie ball, he is hitting .193/.228/.326.

Of all these prospects in the lower levels of the Reds system, I think Jose Garcia has the best chance to move up sooner, as he is the most “complete package” of above-average offense and defense. Then again, Aquino and VanMeter came out of nowhere to have monster seasons, so time will tell!

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.

1 Comment

  1. Totally agree on Garcia. Also interesting is the fact he is listed at 6’2 but towers next to other players of the same listed height. He may be closer to 6’4 now which would give his body even more room to fill out which could bring more power.

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