Thursday, January 21, 2010
Top 10 prospects for 2010: Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates
Posted by Matt Hagen at 6:20am

Cincinnati Reds

1. Yonder Alonso / 1B / Alonso does a lot of the little, overlooked things that you expect in a future star. But his questionable home run power leaves me wondering how bright his star can be. He has a great shot to be an above-average first baseman, however, and still possesses strong upside.

2. Mike Leake / SP / Leake's game is all about mixing his pitches to keep hitters off balance and using his sharp movement and command to his advantage. He doesn't look like much, but he is a future No. 2 starter who should move quickly.

3. Aroldis Chapman / SP / Chapman gets immense hype with his plus fastball and advanced repertoire, but I have come away unimpressed after nearly every video I have seen of him. His command is awful at times and he gives off an immature vibe. And, remember, he is 21, not 17. The upside is undeniable, but he needs to grow up fast before I buy in.

4. Juan Francisco / 3B / Francisco carries a big stick to the ballpark, including legit above-average power potential for a third baseman. His athleticism has evened out at higher levels and his approach at the plate still needs a lot of work, but he continues to improve year after year.

5. Travis Wood / SP / I got caught up in Woods' 2009 numbers, and, as a result, he is turning into the biggest over-rank on my current top-100 list. I have had an entire offseason to re-evaluate the list. Expect him to drop from the top 100 when my next update is released, but his control took a giant leap forward last year and his change-up is a true plus offering.

6. Todd Frazier / OF / Frazier's gap power is impressive, and he uses his above-average speed very well when stretching singles into doubles. I question how far his home run power and base-stealing ability will carry him in the majors. He seems like an ordinary, average outfielder unless his home run power takes off.

7. Chris Heisey / OF / From a current skills and performance perspective, Heisey is a very similar prospect to Frazier. Heisey is nearing his prime, however, and doesn't have much upside left. I think we're looking at a prime of a .270 batting average and 15-20 home runs.

8. Matt Maloney / SP / Maloney continues to perform well level after level and has nothing left to prove in the minors. He has a nice repertoire but below-average velocity to work with. He should settle in nicely as a positive back-of-the-rotation presence.

9. Devin Mesoraco / C / Mesoraco's athleticism has petered out as his body has filled out and he has adjusted to full-time catching. He has some power and plate discipline, but his bat has holes and, even though the journey of a high school catcher adjusting to pro ball is a long one, his bat has taken longer to develop than expected. His injury history is concerning as well. He's still one to watch, but his stock continues to fade.

10. Brad Boxberger / SP/RP / Boxberger's command is a head-scratcher of a question mark, as one expects college players to have more polish. It's hard to tell whether his future lies in the rotation or out of the bullpen, but Boxberger has a strong three-pitch mix that will aid him as he feels out his role.