After a nine month hiatus, it's back: The Reds Top Prospects List.
Unlike the last couple years, however, I've decided to trim the list to 15 prospects, with others falling under the OTHERS TO WATCH category. There is too much liquidity and uncertainty surrounding guys who would fall in the 15-25 range (there's enough uncertainty with all prospects as it is.) As always, GRADE A indicates a player has a chance to be an all-star at the major league level, GRADE B indicates a player should be a starter at the major league level, and GRADE C indicates that a player has a decent shot to contribute in some form at the major league level. Also, as always, I do not like to rank guys who have yet to play at a full season level (A ball or above.) Mike Leake will be an exception to that rule, as most people believe he should be in Cincinnati by 2011 at the latest. Finally, I do not rank anyone with significant time at the big league level (Homer Bailey) or anyone over 25 (Sutton, Maloney & Roenicke.) Without further ado...
1. Yonder Alonso 1B AA Once he starts hitting in Carolina, he could be in Louisville by August
2. Zack Stewart RHP AA Meteoric rise since converting to starter
3. Mike Leake* RHP Will be interesting to see who gets to Cincy first- him or Stewart
4. Todd Frazier 3B/LF AA Should be playing 3B in Louisville
5. Drew Stubbs CF AAA Would be in Cincy already if Dickerson wasn't playing so well. Should see him soon.
6. Chris Heisey CF AA Second fastest rise up the charts, he belongs in Louisville and should get there any day now.
7. Neftali Soto 3B A+ Don't forget about him- he could be the best hitter in the system after Alonso. Very young for his level
8. Juan Carlos Sulbaran RHP A+ Doing well for a 19 year old in Dayton, has great stuff.
9. Chris Valaika 2B/SS/3B AAA Dropped a bit after missing some time due to injury. His value depends on whether he can stay at SS.
10. Zack Cozart SS AA Has looked great so far this year, could be another fast riser. His glove is ML-ready and he's hitting well in Carolina, look for a promotion sometime this summer.
11. Travis Wood LHP AA Been the best pitcher in the system this year after Stewart, you could make the argument for him being higher. Should get a promotion around The Break.
12. Juan Francisco 3B AA Ranked low because still hasn't shown the plate discipline everyone's been hoping for. However power is there and defense is strong at 3B.
13. Matt Fairel LHP A Has had some absolutely dominant outings. Probably belongs in Sarasota.
14. Pedro Viola LHP AAA Has fallen apart in the last month, but still has the stuff to pitch in Cincy at some point this year.
15. Devin Mesoraco C A+ Ranked here based on pedigree alone. His numbers are poor in Sarasota although his peripherals and defense are improving. Should probably repeat Sarasota next year.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Brad Boxberger* RHP
Alexander Smit LHP AA
Jordan Smith RHP AA
Robert Manuel RHP AAA
Sean Henry OF AA
KEEP AN EYE ON (too early to tell)
Yorman Rodriguez CF R
Juan Duran OF R
Billy Hamilton* SS
Kyle Lotzkar RHP A
Dallas Buck RHP AA
Daryl Thompson RHP AAA
PROMOTIONS ON THE HORIZON (in order of neccessity)
Heisey to AAA
Stubbs to MLB
Fairel to A+
Frazier to AAA (and move back to 3B)
Cozart to AAA (by The ASB)
Wood to AAA (by The ASB)