It's been four months since the last version, and with a full Spring Training and the first week of the regular season completed, it's about time for a refresh (even though there are only minor tweaks). As always:
GRADE A = top 25 prospect and potential All-Star
GRADE B = top 100 prospect and future major league starter
GRADE C = should likely reach the major leagues someday, although impact remains to be seen
1. Billy Hamilton CF AAA - Only a matter of time. Biggest question will be whether to call him up before the ASB, trade deadline, or Sept 1.
2. Robert Stephenson RHP A- Probably the best pitching prospect in A ball. Comparable to Jose Fernandez, who has already cracked a big league rotation.
3. Tony Cingrani LHP AAA- This season's early golden boy seems in line to inherit Bronson Arroyo's rotation spot next year, if not Leake or another injury this year. Could actually make people forget about the idea of Chapman as a starter (gasp!)
4. Daniel Corcino RHP AAA- Should provide good rotation depth and/or trade bait, unless of course he continues to follow in Johnny Cueto's footsteps.
5. Jesse Winker OF A - Excited to see him in Dayton. Could rise quickly.
6. Nick Travieso RHP R - Won't pitch in games until Billings starts.
7. Donald Lutz OF AA - Looked great in Spring Training. A callup this year is not out of the question if he can continue to progress.
8. Yorman Rodriguez OF A+ - Make or break year for the uber-talented prospect. Looked great in ST.
9. Ismael Guillon LHP A - Young lefty didn't look great in debut. Lots of talent though.
10. Sal Romano RHP A - Really young righty looked great in debut. Lots of talent as well.
11. Henry Rodriguez 3B/2B AAA - Took a downgrade when Reds brought in Hannahan and Donald. Could still be a useful utility man/PH.
12. Tanner Rahier 3B A - Hoping for a better performance than last year's debut.
13. Tucker Barnhart C AA - Will be a major leaguer. If he can hit better than Mez he could be a starter once Hanigan's contract is up.
14. Dan Langfield RHP A+ - Will be interesting to see what he does once healthy. Could be a fast riser (ie next in line of Zach Stewart - Tony Cingrani)
15. Jeff Gelalich OF A - all on draft pedigree and college performance alone. Has not impressed as a pro so far.
ON THE RADAR (Honorable Mention)
Neftali Soto 1B AAA Kyle Waldrop OF A+ Ryan Wright 2B A+ Chad Rogers RHP AA Carlos Contreras RHP A+ Drew Cisco RHP A
KEEP AN EYE ON (Too Early To Tell)
Jonathan Reynoso CF Amir Garrett LHP Pedro Diaz LHP
Ryan LaMarre - 3rd straight year in AA; trapped behind Billy Hamilton, his future looks like a 4th OF at best (but I've been saying this for a while) David Vidal - lacks the offense to be a starting 3B, especially in this organization. Could be a future big league backup though. Seth Mejias-Brean - Could easily find his way back up the list if he can repeat in Dayton this year the success he had in Billings last year. Kyle Lotzkar - relegated to the bullpen, too many injury and control questions without the upside of a starter. Could end up a useful reliever, but he has an uphill battle.
Biggest weakness in the system continues to be up the middle players, especially catcher and middle infield. I'd love to see the Reds draft either with one or more of their top 100 picks in this year's draft.
Awful rough on LaMarre saying this is his third straight year in AA. He got in 5 games in AA to end 2011.
I love me some Wolverines, but LaMarre is Chris Heisey with less power and more speed. He'll turn 25 this calendar year and he has a .703 OPS in 600 AA plate appearances. His future in the big leagues (if he has one) is as a backup OF. I have a hard time seeing how he'd ever do better in the big leagues than Julio Borbon.
I really like Drew Cisco. Felt like I voted for him about 10 times in a row in the voting a few months ago. He could end up being a bottom of the rotation guy which has a decent amount of value. Maybe even middle of the rotation.