Minors / Reds - General

MLB’s Reds top 20 prospects

The Reds Top 20 Prospects

Some interesting names, some relatively unknown names….

1: Billy Hamilton
2: Tony Cingrani
3: Robert Stephenson (not sure about the criteria, but in the earlier list, Stephenson was above Cingrani in the top 100)
4: Daniel Corcino
5: Nick Travieso
6: Kyle Lotzkar (IMO, this is a BIG year for Kyle, had his first healthy season last year…needs to bloom and climb in ’13)
7: Ryan Wright
8: Sean Buckley (One of our Spotlight guys, article says he moved to OF at end of season, but I don’t remember that? Needs to cut down on K’s and raise OBP.)
9: Sal Romano
10: Henry Rodriguez (Only 22 and played AAA last year. He’s a future major league utility guy, with the Reds or elsewhere)
11: Jesse Winker (Big year at 19 last year in Billings, might he jump over Dayton and go to Bakersfield?)
12: Drew Cisco (Started 15 games coming off TJ last year)
13: Ryan LaMarre (Strong CF, healthy for ’13, might be in AAA by end of the year )
14: Nefi Soto (He’s a trade chip at this point)
15: Gabriel Rosa (19 year old who has had trouble staying healthy)
16: Kyle Waldrop
17: Jeff Gelalich
18: Dan Langfield (Was hitting 97 in Instrucs, 54K’s in 37 innings is going to attract attention)
19: Ismael Guillon (Reds put him on the 40, which says something about what they think of his talent)
20: Amir Garrett (Plays basketball at St. Johns, but article says might be most talented player in the system)

Anyone left out that you think should be on the list?
Who is too high? Too low?

58 thoughts on “MLB’s Reds top 20 prospects

  1. I think Winker should be higher – great approach at the plate along with gap power that has potential to grow into more. I mean, if Buckley is in fact moved to the OF, who wouldn’t rather have Winker? IMO, Lotzkar and Corcino really need to work on their control in 2013 to justify their rankings. If LeMarre can concentrate on more contact and reducing the Ks, I can see him being higher than 13. It’s not like he’s going to sacrifice any power by doing so.

  2. What happened to Daniel Lutz?? I think Drew Hayes should have been on this list. He had a great 2011 in Dayton but leveled off in 2012. I look for him to rebound this year and get back into the conversation as a force in the bullpen.

    • What happened to Daniel Lutz??

      Good question. Donald Lutz’s honors last year were:
      -MiLB.com Organization All-Star
      -AFL Player of the Week
      -CAL Mid-Season All-Star
      -CAL Player of the Week

      He was on the list last year and had a very good season. Odd that he is not on the list.

  3. Pitchers like Stephenson, Travieso, Lotzkar and Corcino get all the publicity and rightfully so. But I think Josh Smith is one of the Reds best kept starting pitching secrets. I like his makeup and the way he pitches. He will be a better pitcher than Corcino and Lotzkar in the end.

  4. I’m surprised Tucker Barnhart wasn’t on the list, despite his hitting.

    I was also surprised to see Kyle Lotzkar so high on the list despite all the concerns about him. I’m wondering if he’ll be converted from a starter to a reliever this year. Maybe he can be a good reliever while avoiding the injuries and control problems he’s suffered as a starter.

    I’m also hoping Neftali Soto gets traded. Like Juan Francisco last year he doesn’t have much value to the Reds except as a trade chip and I hope he can also be traded before other teams realize that he’s pretty worthless.

  5. @WVRedlegs: Tony Cingrani may be at the top of the list but in my opinion he’s the best kept secret of all the starting pitching prospects. Robert Stephenson gets a lot of attention for being a first round pick with ace potential but Cingrani has been dominant everywhere he’s been. Some people seem unwilling to take him seriously though, possibly because he used to be a closer. Like Todd Frazier in 2012 I think Cingrani can burst onto the scene in 2013, seemingly coming out of nowhere (no ‘He’s Here’ billboards like with Homer Bailey), and do well.

    • @WVRedlegs: Tony Cingrani may be at the top of the list but in my opinion he’s the best kept secret of all the starting pitching prospects. Robert Stephenson gets a lot of attention for being a first round pick with ace potential but Cingrani has been dominant everywhere he’s been. Some people seem unwilling to take him seriously though, possibly because he used to be a closer. Like Todd Frazier in 2012 I think Cingrani can burst onto the scene in 2013, seemingly coming out of nowhere (no ‘He’s Here’ billboards like with Homer Bailey), and do well.

      I agree. You’ll find no bigger Tony Cingrani fan than me. I saw him pitch with Rice vs. Marshall and have closely followed his ascent up the ladder once he was drafted by the Reds. I am just waiting to see what number he has this year in spring training. I may just get a jersey of his. He was #21 in the minors but #52 with the Reds. I don’t know if he is going to keep #52. Frazier is #21. That won’t change.

  6. I feel like Lotzkar has been in the system for a 100 years. His mechanics remind me of Bill Bray. Five years ago they were talking about him but he dropped off all the lists due to injury.

    I am also very surprised to see Winkler so low. But Buckley is well deserving of his standing. The kid can rake.

    There wasn’t much to write home about regarding Nick Travieso’s 8 starts as a pro. Not sure why he’s in the top 10. My only impression of him was from the draft. I am not a fan.

    Mostly I’m very pleased with Ryan Wrights position. I’m surprised a 2B is ranking that highly, but he was the only polished player at Dayton that I saw last year. He does everything well. He’s blocked of course so sadly if he makes it to the bigs it probably won’t be with the Reds.

  7. One more thing…. What am I missing regarding Sal Romano. 9th? A 2011 23rd Rounder with a total of 64 inning and 1.508 WHIP in rookie ball? 9th?

  8. While we’re correcting minor spelling errors it’s worth noting that the #13 guy is Ryan LaMarre, not LeMarre.

    @WVRedlegs: I’ve never gone to a Louisville Bats game before (or to Louisville in general, despite living in Cincinnati for 10+ years) but I’d really like to go for a road trip this season to see one of Cingrani’s starts. In his short career I’ve been really amazed by the great numbers he puts up and the limited recognition it’s earned him. I doubt I’ll get his jersey though, Bronson Arroyo’s is the only one I needed (and he’s what, #61?).

    • I’ve never gone to a Louisville Bats game before (or to Louisville in general, despite living in Cincinnati for 10+ years) but I’d really like to go for a road trip this season to see one of Cingrani’s starts.

      If you get to go to Lousville this year, you have to go to the Louisville Slugger museum and bat factory. Go by the Univ. of Louisville and check out their baseball stadium. It rivals any A or AA stadium. When I go to a Bats game I like to sit in different areas, much like I like to do at GABP. But down the foul line next to the bullpen is a good spot.

  9. Gheesh, this list is godawful.

    No Ravin, Partch, Lutz, or Barnhart. Heck, just based on tools and age, Yorman Rodriguez should crack the top 20.

    Buckley and Romano have no business even making the list. Soto should be swapped out for Lutz. Galelich should swap spots with Wright, and Rosa should trade spots with Guillon.

  10. For some reaon I cannt link to youtube, so I apologise in advance for no link. But, I watched Guillon’s follow through and it is driving me crazy. Who does he remind you of, and didn’t that person’s career go downhill after they changed his motion so he wouldn’t end up ” flat footed” at the end? It is driving me nuts.

    Thanks in advance.

  11. @Sultan of Swaff: Any particular reason why you are optimistic about Yorman Rodriguez? He reminds me of the young superstars Wily Mo Pena and Juan Francisco. It seems, on paper, like Yorman Rodriguez has been a horrible hitter who can’t do anything except strikeout. He’s still young but my optimism about him has really faded.

  12. Wow, baseball is awash in $$$. Seattle and King Felix Hernandez agreed to a 7 yr./$175MM contract extension. Wow. If I’m Latos, I hold off on an extension right now. Get one more good year in and cash in.

  13. I thought maybe I was unduly partial to braunerhulk and stunned by his obvious and inexplicable ommision from the Reds’ top 20 prospects, but I feel like I’m in good company with TC & WVR. I do question if his potential MLB career will be with the Reds or another team, but I hope to see him playing LF at GABP someday soon, possibly in 2015 after Ludwick’s contract is up.

  14. I believe Rodriguez is the best option as a utility IF and PH the Reds have right now, but I simply do not see him making the 25 man roster out of ST with DB managing and after WJ signed Hannahan and traded for Donald. My hope is that Riggleman plants Rodriguez at SS this year for the Bats and leaves him there. I fully agree that his role in MLB will almost certainly be as a utility IF, just as Heisey has had a distinguished MLB career to date as a utility OF.

  15. Gotta like the start that Jesse Winker has had.

    A lefty OF’r who hits for average and makes alot of contact would fit nicely in the free swinging Reds’ lineup.

  16. What I like about this list is the pitching – I mean the amount of it. We may disagree about who should be rated where but it’s just really nice to see the Reds with good young pitching prospects.

    • What I like about this list is the pitching – I mean the amount of it. We may disagree about who should be rated where but it’s just really nice to see the Reds with good young pitching prospects.

      @eastcoast redsfan: Nice observation. Ideally 10 pitching and 10 position prospects would be ideal, but I’ll definitely take a 12/8 pitching split any day.

  17. @WVRedlegs:
    Totally agree with you. I was Josh’s host dad here in Billings Montana. Professional from his first start hard worker great kid. Doesn’t get the ink but will make it to the majors.

  18. This is not a criticism, but a point of curiosity: At age 22, with good hitting numbers in the minors, why would Henry Rodriguez’s upside be limited to that of a utility player? Is seems like he could develop into a starter. I’m not so familiar with him, so I’m probably missing something, but that seems like selling him a bit short.

    • @BenL:

      I’m probably missing something, but that seems like selling him a bit short.

      You make a good point sir. Rodriguez is a good hitter. He’s also a good fielder. He has good speed. The problem is that he simply doesn’t do anything exceptionally. I personally compare him very favorably to a player like Heisey. He’s good at a lot of things but nothing really stands out. Didi’s defense made him a highly valued prospect at SS. Alonso’s hitting made him a highly valued prospect at 1B. I just don’t see Rodriguez standing out against other minor league infield prospects. He’s really a 1B/2B hitter with little power and an average defensive infielder. He lacks base stealing prowess. A possible 10+ year career in the major leagues as a solid utility infielder is nothing to sneeze at. With that said, Super Todd didn’t project as a starting corner outfielder or 3B at the major league level, but he certainly seized that opportunity by the proverbial horns.

  19. @Shchi Cossack: I think Chris Heisey is terribly overrated but at least he has his 18 homerun season on his resume. Henry Rodriguez seems unlikely to ever hit for power, hit for high average, steal bases effectively (he’s stolen 30+ twice but was caught stealing 10+ times both seasons), or play stellar defense. I completely agree that he doesn’t do anything exceptionally and should be regarded as a utility player as a result.

    In my opinion Super Todd has always been held back by being labeled as a utility player. His versatility was like a curse as other guys (Alonso, Francisco, Cozart) forced him to switch positions and kept him from being identified as the 1b or 3b of the future. Frazier has showed a power bat satisfactory for either of those positions, but Henry Rodriguez hasn’t.

    • @Shchi Cossack: …….In my opinion Super Todd has always been held back by being labeled as a utility player.His versatility was like a curse as other guys (Alonso, Francisco, Cozart) forced him to switch positions and kept him from being identified as the 1b or 3b of the future.Frazier has showed a power bat satisfactory for either of those positions, but Henry Rodriguez hasn’t.

      Or it could be that the organization just valued those other guys more than Frazier and his versatility was the strength that kept him alive until he finally got a chance to show what he could at the MLB level.

      It is amazing sometimes how careers and fates of teams turn on unforeseen events. If Francisco came into the Reds camp in 2012 healthy and in playing condition, Frazier is probably not even in the mix. In fact he could have been the one traded instead of Francisco (however somewhat unlikely given that Frazier had an option left).

  20. Lutz, Rogers, and Vidal are 3 prospects that I think are top 20 organizationally that were left off that list. On upside alone YRod, Reynoso, and Rahier deserve consideration. Barnhart is going to catch at the Majors, his bat will determine how often he’ll play. And it’s hard to discount what Mejias-Brean did last season.

    I would include those 7 in my personal top 20. I like what those prospects bring over some on the list.

  21. @hotto4votto: Yes… I agree with all of them. And I have to admit, has much as I like Ryan Wright I’m still scratching my head as to how he landed at 7th as a 2B and over Vidal no less who didn’t even make the list. If I saw Lutz at 7th I probably wouldn’t think anything of it, yet he’s nowhere to be found.

    Still looking for someone who can tell me why Romano is on the list.

    The only thing I can come up with is that someone actually scouted some of these players. All I can figure is they happened to catch Romano on a particularly brilliant day. And they must have seen the same thing I did regarding Wright.

  22. Hey y’all. It’s been awhile. In terms of player position on the list, I think Winker, Langenfield and Guillon all have the best opportunity to shoot up the list. Another year raking, Winker will begin to crack the top 100 list. Langenfield may rise like Cingrani did and Guillon has been raved about on different sites, but we’ll have to see. I know Keith Law has Guillon and Amir Garret as the Reds’ sleeper prospects. His sleeper prospect last year? Tony Cingrani.

    I’m excited for Stephenson. He emerged on the list last year in the mid-60s of the top 100, then made his way to 51. With another year like most of last years, he’ll shoot up the top 100 for sure. If he has an even more impressive season, especially while maintaining his velocity and having his change-up develop, we may be talking about one of the top RHP prospects in all of baseball. I’ll keep my expectations tempered, but the upside is there.

    I’m also terribly interested in Tanner Rahier. H definitely didn’t come in and rake like I thought he would after hearing player comps of Tulowitzki and Longoria(who in the world thought of ever comparing a high school player to those 2 guys, I’ll never know, but I read them nonetheless). Regardless, Keith Law has him high, I’m pretty sure he was the highest ranked draft prospect on MLB.com’s 2012 Draft list that the Reds selected, and I think this will be an important year. Not and end all be all type season, but if he struggles again, he’ll be mostly forgotten whereas a nice jump will see him rise in the ranks.

  23. “Sean Buckley (One of our Spotlight guys, article says he moved to OF at end of season, but I don’t remember that?…”

    Sounds like he’s lying, Bill.

  24. The Reds lose Todd Redmond now to the Dirty Birds for Manny Parra? So, now, the Reds traded Soft J for Manny Parra basically? Geesh.

    • The Reds lose Todd Redmond now to the Dirty Birds for Manny Parra?So, now, the Reds traded Soft J for Manny Parra basically?Geesh.

      I’m still not convinced that Manny Parra will make the opening day bullpen. We’ll have to wait and see but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him designated for assignment. It still could be Paul Janish exchanged for 1 start by Todd Redmond and nothing else.

    • The Reds lose Todd Redmond now to the Dirty Birds for Manny Parra? So, now, the Reds traded Soft J for Manny Parra basically? Geesh.

      I thought it was stupid to DFA Todd Redmond when I read it. Manny Parra deal is going to be like the Valdez trade a year ago. Bring on board a noodle arm Parra, noodle bat in Valdez’s case, a give up a good pitcher to make room for them. I thought Redmond would be quickly grabbed up if he became a free agent. But not by the Dirty Birds.
      I don’t think Parra makes the 25 man roster out of spring training either.
      Most of what WJ has done has been positive, but he still has a brain fart from time to time regarding his transactions.

      • @WVRedlegs:

        I thought it was stupid to DFA Todd Redmond when I read it. Manny Parra deal is going to be like the Valdez trade a year ago. Bring on board a noodle arm Parra, noodle bat in Valdez’s case, a give up a good pitcher to make room for them. I thought Redmond would be quickly grabbed up if he became a free agent. But not by the Dirty Birds.I don’t think Parra makes the 25 man roster out of spring training either.Most of what WJ has done has been positive, but he still has a brain fart from time to time regarding his transactions.

        I’m more than willing to give Walt the benefit of the doubt …

        Maybe, just maybe, the Reds are serious about having Chapman in the rotation this year. My tea leaf reading differs somewhat from Redsfanman’s, lol.

        In any case, I’m not getting too worked up about Todd Redmond and his 3 innings in MLB. At age 27, soon to be 28 in May, he’s getting a bit long in the tooth to be considered a real prospect. As for where he would fit, at age 28, with the Reds: he “might” have been their 8th starter, if Leake is 6th and Cingrani is 7th. A big yawn on Redmond. Beyond this year, the Reds have PLENTY of starting pitching in the pipeline (see above).

        Walt seems to feel that he needs more depth in the bullpen than he has now. When he was patching the bullpen last year, he picked up Alfredo Simon. The Phillies, Giants, Rangers (2x), Dodgers, and Orioles (2x) had no success with Simon, but Walt (and Price) did. If they think that Parra has more upside than Redmond, I’m ok with it.

        Seems that Bob C. trusts Walt will spend his money wisely.

  25. @WVRedlegs: At least I think Manny Parra has a much better chance of making the team than Todd Redmond, both because he’s left handed and because he’s a veteran. In my opinion dumping Redmond for Parra was a trade (or roster exchange/move or whatever you want to call the transaction) up, even if not by much.

    I don’t see any comparisons to the Wilson Valdez trade. Jeremy Horst had a breakout season after the deal, but I don’t see that happening with anybody related to this sorta exchange of roster spots (Paul Janish, Todd Redmond, or Manny Parra). Oh well, we’ll see. If Redmond has a great breakout season with the Orioles it won’t change that the Reds had no use for him.

    • @WVRedlegs: At least I think Manny Parra has a much better chance of making the team than Todd Redmond, both because he’s left handed and because he’s a veteran.In my opinion dumping Redmond for Parra was a trade (or roster exchange/move or whatever you want to call the transaction) up, even if not by much.

      I don’t see any comparisons to the Wilson Valdez trade.Jeremy Horst had a breakout season after the deal, but I don’t see that happening with anybody related to this sorta exchange of roster spots (Paul Janish, Todd Redmond, or Manny Parra).Oh well, we’ll see.If Redmond has a great breakout season with the Orioles it won’t change that the Reds had no use for him.

      Yeah, this isn’t a Valdez/Horst fiasco, but I don’t see it as a trade. Parra was a free agent, meaning Todd Redmond was not given in exchange. He was given away for nothing. The Reds get nothing for him and that is a shame because even if the Reds didn’t see him as part of the future he had some trade value. Trade him for something of value. Don’t just give him to another team. Especially to clear a roster spot for the likes of Manny Parra. It’s just a waste of resources.

      Presumably, they knew they were getting another lefty for the bullpen. If they knew they needed a spot open on the roster, then they should have been trying to work out a deal for him before they picked up the lefty. Horrible personnel management.

  26. To me it is appropriate that this list coincides with the college football national letter of intent signing day. That’s because lists like this are fun to talk about and argue over a little; but in the end, very few of us really know diddle about enough of these guys to make informed statements. Also, like the college recruit ratings, most of the guys in this list still south of AA are probably largely mysteries and guesses to many of the raters.

    All of this said, as has been noted above, it is good to see the Reds appear to deep in both quantity and quality of pitching prospects.

    • @OhioJim:

      …very few of us really know diddle about enough of these guys to make informed statements…most of the guys in this list still south of AA are probably largely mysteries and guesses to many of the raters.

      Excellent points Jim. I don’t really start to seriously follow a prospect until he reaches A+ and performs well at that level on his way to AA & AAA. I guess my perspective is more show me then I’ll become interested as a fan. I know Stephenson is all the buzz right now, but his success has been against high school kids, even at Billings last season. His promotion to Dayton met with some struggles (4.19 ERA, .246 AVG, 2.33 SO/BB, 1.37 WHIP). I think he will be fine and will make the necessary adjustments, but show me first. On the other hand, a slash line of .265/.325/.561/.886 at A+ gets my attention and I get real interested, especially following a slash line of .320/.320/.640/.960 in spring training.

  27. The truth is that baseball analysts have been remarkably effective at projecting players, particularly in the past 10 years.

    Fans are typically terrible, because they rely too much on their subjective judgments, the organization’s marketing departments and faux-analysts like Jeff Brantley and Thom Brennamen.

    Heck, I remember when a certain RN poster used to describe Dave Sappelt as the answer for the leadoff position, despite all objective evidence to the contrary.

    • …….

      Heck, I remember when a certain RN poster used to describe Dave Sappelt as the answer for the leadoff position, despite all objective evidence to the contrary.

      I’ll gladly rise to this on a dreary Sunday before PACR.

      In 2011, with the Reds dying at the top of the order and the season slipping away, I said repeatedly bring up Saapelt, who was hotter than a firecracker at the time coming off a spring training when he had arguably looked like the best hitter in camp not named Joey Votto, and put at the front of line up to see what happened. My recollection is that actually I was saying bat him 2nd instead if lead off to assure that every time he reached base that Votto would bat with at least 1 man aboard.

      I believe I said along the way that who cared if he could sustain it, that even a two or three week spark could provide the impetus to get the Reds untracked and save their season. This true right up to the Milwaukee after the AllStar break similar to the Reds run in 2013.

      As far as the experts, sticking with Sappelt, they projected him highly enough to draft him 8 rounds higher that Chris Hiesey was drafted two years previously. I’d guess in 2011 even though Hiesey was on the big club and Sappelt at AAA, that many of the insiders still had Sappelt with a higher ceiling than they had Heisey.

      BTW, Sappelt got a late call up with the Cubs last year and in 78 plate appearances posted a .275/.351/.449 (800 even OPS) slash line. So, the last of Sappelt at the MLB level may not have been heard of yet. It is a little bit of an apples and oranges comparison because of full year syays versus one month stats but nobody at the top two of the Reds order save BP, came close to those figures last year.

    • The truth is that baseball analysts have been remarkably effective at projecting players, particularly in the past 10 years.

      The fact the lists change every year tells me they know about as much about it as we do. They’re guessing just like us.

      • The fact the lists change every year tells me they know about as much about it as we do. They’re guessing just like us.

        That’s illogical. You are correct that they cannot predict the future. But the rankings are generally reward and risk-weighted. The rankings change as more information comes in, including the unpredictable things like injuries. When you operate in areas with inherent uncertainty, you can never be 100%. But I’ll take BA’s “guesses” over a fan’s since the fans is almost certainly just a derivation of someone elses. The exception being someone like Doug Gray.

        • That’s illogical.You are correct that they cannot predict the future.But the rankings are generally reward and risk-weighted. The rankings change as more information comes in, including the unpredictable things like injuries.When you operate in areas withinherent uncertainty, you can never be 100%.But I’ll take BA’s “guesses” over a fan’s since the fans is almost certainly just a derivation of someone elses.The exception being someone like Doug Gray.

          I assume that means that I’m not the only person who dislikes Doug Gray’s posts? It’s awful to read the responses that John Fay and Mark Sheldon get to their articles.

  28. Winkler seems underrated.

    Having watched Rodriguez a few times now, he reminds me of former utility,an Ramon Vasquez, in build, numbers, and skill set. The upside for Henry is that upheld made the bigs at 22; Vasquez was 24.

  29. Looking at the Cubs depth chart, I’d figure Dave Sappelt probably has a pretty good shot to be on the roster if he has a decent spring. He’s probably competing with Brett Jackson to be last outfielder on their club and with swinging and missing that Jackson guy makes Drew Stubbs look like Rod Carew (59 K’s in 120 at bats).

  30. I think Doug’s website is very informative, and the guide he produces is supposed to be excellent.

    A good rule of thumb: don’t read public comment sections attached to old media sources b/c they are terrible.

  31. @TC: sal is a big young manchild still growing. has alot of potential.pitched very well in billings. pioneer league is not made up of high school ball players.very good mechanics for apitcher 2years out of high school

  32. @TC: Sal should have been drafted within the top 5 rounds but he was considering attending Tennessee. The family mad it completly claer he would sign with a team if he was drafted high enough but all teams passed due to the college offer. The Reds took a shot and drafted him in the 23rd round. The Reds had to clear the money issue with the Commisioner to pay him well above 23rd round money. Sal is the real deal. Give him time and he will prove it to everyone.

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