At the midpoint of the season, it’s time to take a refreshed look at the Reds Top Prospects. There have been some notable additions to the list, namely the recently signed Raisel Iglesias as well as recent draftees Nick Howard, Alex Blandino, and Taylor Sparks. There have been some steep climbers up the list – namely RHP Michael Lorenzen and 3B Tanner Rahier, both Californians surpassing all expectations and enjoying excellent seasons. There have also been a number of disappointing starts including from OFers Phil Ervin and Yorman Rodriguez, who is still young but has fallen the farthest on this list since the season began. All in all, the Reds are obviously flush with RHP talent (especially in Pensacola), yet could still use some bats – infielders especially – to become more “impact” prospects. As such, I would really like to see the Reds sign some middle infielders in the international FA period that kicks off today. In the meantime, here’s how the system currently shakes out:
GRADE A (Top 25 prospect in the game, future Franchise player potential)
1. Robert Stephenson RHP AA – Hasn’t lit the world on fire this year, especially with his command, but still the best pitching prospect the Reds have had in at least a decade. Slow start may have pushed his ETA back from 2015 to 2016.
GRADE A- (Top 25-50 prospect in the game, future All-Star potential)
2. Jesse Winker OF AA – Would love to see the masher win the LF job in Cincy next season.
3. Michael Lorenzen RHP AA – Running away with the “2nd best pitcher in the system” title.
GRADE B (Top 100 prospect in the game, future major league starter potential)
4. Raisel Iglesias RHP AA – Like Howard, one could argue where he should land on this list. I started him at the higher and Howard lower end of their ranges. (One could argue the 4-8 guys in any order)
5. Nick Travieso RHP A – Making nice progress, no sense of urgency given all the depth above him.
6. Ben Lively RHP AA – Could he be a future Mike Leake?
GRADE C (Future major leaguer)
7. Phil Ervin OF A – Had a nice June after a very slow start. Could move quickly into B territory and hopefully to Bakersfield.
8. Nick Howard RHP – Could be up to three spots higher. Hoping he also moves quickly to Dayton and maybe even Bakersfield. The advanced college reliever conversions usually move quickly (eg Stewart, Cingrani, and Lorenzen)
9. Seth Mejias-Brean 3B AA – All he does is hit, and I understand he’s a good fielder too. Too bad the tools guys have always thumbed their nose at him. Potential trade bait?
10. Jon Moscot RHP AA – Also an achiever who has put up nice numbers in Pensacola. Could be the first from that rotation to get promoted to Louisville.
HONORABLE MENTION/ON THE RADAR (THE NEXT TEN)
11. Yorman Rodriguez OF AA – He’s starting to heat up, which is much needed as some are starting to lose faith. Still only 21.
12. Tanner Rahier 3B A – Biggest riser on the list and a personal favorite along with Cory Thompson.
13. Carlton Daal SS A – Best (only?) true shortstop prospect in the system, but he needs to cut down on errors.
14. Alex Blandino SS R+ - He needs to hit and hit well in Billings to impress me. I still think he should be playing 2B in Dayton.
15. Kyle Waldrop OF AA – Another one of my favorites recently joined the dream team in Pensacola.
16. Taylor Sparks 3B R+ - I’m rooting for him. Will be interesting to see how he compares to Franklin and Rahier.
17. David Holmberg LHP AAA – Hefty lefty is back from injury and his early season suckitude. Wish he would get the spot start against the Cubbies to gauge what we have.
18. Jose Ortiz C A – Curious to see how he does in full season ball.
19. Junior Arias CF A+ - Dropping while he’s sidelined with injury. Still has great tools but it’s looking more like CF in Cincy could be occupied for a while.
20. Amir Garrett LHP A – This spot could go to Garrett, Langfield, or Corcino. I went with Garrett purely based on upside and the flashes/improvements he has made in his last few outings.
TOP TEN GUYS TO KEEP AN EYE ON (TOO EARLY TO TELL) - no particular order
SS Cory Thompson R+ My favorite rookie leaguer is starting off strong.
3B Kevin Franklin R+ Last year’s second round pick has stumbled out of the gate. Still would like to see him tried at catcher given his build, tools, and the 3B depth ahead of him.
OF Aristedes Aquino R+ The Reds lone OF prospect in Rookie League.
1B Gavin LaValley R- Big boy can mash. I like his stick.
2B Shane Mardirosian R- Another pick I liked, the speedster could challenge Blandino in the future to be the heir to Brandon Phillips.
3B Montrell Marshall R- My second favorite rookie leaguer hasn’t started playing yet.
RHP Jeremy Kivel R+ Big arm, nice to see him healthy.
RHP Wyatt Strahan R+ There’s a new sheriff in town.
RHP Tyler Mahle R+ Has advanced ahead of last year’s third round pick, Mark Armstrong.
LHP Jacob Constante R- A deep sleeper that could move up the charts quickly. Would like to see him get some time in Billings if not Dayton this year.