2014 Draftees included, here's a whole state of the system:
GRADE A Top 25 Prospect in the game and perennial All-Star potential
1. Robert Stephenson RHP AA - Still the crown jewel of the system, he should replace whichever of the three pitchers (Cueto, Leake, Latos) the Reds decide to trade before their walk year in the 2015 rotation.
GRADE B Top 100 Prospect in the game and above average starter potential
2. Jesse Winker OF A+ - He should be promoted to Pensacola immediately, and if his numbers there look anything like his numbers everywhere else, he will join Stephenson in Grade A territory.
3. Michael Lorenzen RHP AA - Also has Grade A potential and could reach it if/when he starts missing more bats. A Cincinnati callup before the end of 2015 is not out of the question.
4. Nick Travieso RHP A - Having a nice bounceback season after a rocky 2014. First class stuff.
5. Ben Lively RHP A+ - Has hit some light turbulence for the first time in his pro career over the last couple weeks. Still should be in Pensacola after the Bakersfield All-Star game.
GRADE C Should have a major league career
6. Yorman Rodriguez OF AA - Continues to be polarizing and disappointing, although he's still one of the youngest players in AA. The tools are still there, so there is plenty of time, but he won't be helping fill the void as the Reds LF anytime soon.
7. Phil Ervin OF A - Another disappointing start, and moreso when you consider he's a year older than Yorman yet struggling two levels behind. Hopefully he turns it around soon.
8. Nick Howard RHP A - The debut of the 2014 first round pick comes right after last year's first round pick. If Howard's pro debut is anything like his converted reliever predecessors in Lorenzen or Cingrani, he could shoot up the list. I'd like to see him start in Dayton.
9. Seth Mejias-Brean 3B A+ - Competition just got a lot stiffer for SMB with the drafting of Blandino and Sparks. He should get a bump to Pensacola by midsummer and can hopefully continue to produce there to stay ahead of the new draftees.
10. Jon Moscot RHP AA - While his stuff and his strikeouts aren't overwhelming, he continues to get great results. Could get bumped to Louisville soon to make room for Lively.
11. Alex Blandino 2B/SS A - Will be interesting to see where he starts - both level-wise and position-wise. I've heard he'll start at SS but likely eventually ends up as BP's heir at 2B. Not sure how he fits in at SS vis-a-vis Daal in Dayton or Thompson in Billings. As an advanced college hitter, I'd start him in Dayton.
12. Taylor Sparks 3B A - Ditto vis-a-vis the last two fellow second-round 3B: Rahier in Dayton and Franklin in Billings. I liked the upside with this pick if he can make contact. Could be a Mark Reynolds-lite.
13. Carlos Contreras RHP AA - Hasn't pitched since April but the stuff is there. Question still remains is he a starter or closer?
14. Kyle Waldrop OF A+ - Cooled off a bit after a hot start. Would still like to see how he stacks up to Juan Duran in Pensacola.
15. Carlton Daal SS A - Lots of errors but otherwise a strong full season debut for the best SS prospect in the system. Can he stay there?
16. Junior Arias CF A+ - Lots of tools but injured. The OF version of Contreras.
17. Tanner Rahier 3B A - Like Travieso, a nice bounceback season after a disappointing debut last year. Will be challenged by all the 3B competition within the organization.
18. Dan Corcino RHP AA - Experiencing a resurgence of sorts. Future is still probably as a reliever, but nice to see him experiencing success as he's still young.
19. David Holmberg LHP AAA - Also injured, horrific start to the season.
20. Ismael Guillon LHP A - Needs to be challenged in Bakersfield.
KEEP AN EYE ON (TOO EARLY TO TELL) - the top 10 guys to watch in Rookie Ball
Jose Ortiz C
KJ Franklin 3B
Cory Thompson SS
Shane Mardirosian 2B
Gavin LaValley 1B
Jeremy Kivel RHP
Mark Armstrong RHP
Wyatt Strahan RHP
Jacob Constante LHP
Luis Tabata LHP
PROMOTIONS ON THE HORIZON
Winker and Waldrop to the Pensacola OF
Wright and Mejias-Brean to the Pensacola INF
Guillon and Langfield to the Bakersfield Rotation
Lively to the Pensacola Rotation
Moscot to the Louisville Rotation
I'd really like to see them try to convert KJ Franklin into a catcher. I've been saying this since the day he was drafted, but more so than ever now with the 3B depth ahead of him in the organization - Frazier, Silviero, Mejias-Brean, Rahier and Sparks. So far the conversion of another 3B to C - David Vidal - seems to be working. Franklin could cut his teeth in the AZL while undergoing this change, at least until Jose Ortiz gets bumped to Dayton.