It has been a long time since I have put out one of these, so in honor of the last official day of the offseason, I thought I would introduce the Reds Top Prospects- 2011 Spring Training Edition. As always, an A Grade indicates a Top 25 Prospect in the game and/or superstar potential, a B grade indicates a Top 100 Prospect in the game and/or a major league starter with occasional All-Star potential, and a C grade indicates a player who should have some kind of role at the major league level. I have included their projected starting levels for 2011 as well.
1. Aroldis Chapman LHP MLB- Will be off prospect lists by the April edition.
2. Devin Mesoraco C AAA- Should hit the bigs at some point this season. Will team with Hanigan as Reds catchers in 2012.
3. Billy Hamilton SS A- has been receiving a lot of national hype. If his arm allows him to stick at SS, he could be special. Otherwise, he could be a Luis Castillo type 2B.
4. Yorman Rodriguez OF A- I rank him right there with Hamilton, as he has more offensive upside despite not playing a premium position.
5. Yonder Alonso 1B AAA- Probably not a superstar, but definitely a major league starter. Probably not in Cincinnati though.
6. Yasmani Grandal C A+- Should be in Cincinnati sometime in 2013. How much of an impact he has depends on his ability to switch-hit (hit lefties), and make the transition to wooden bats.
7. Zack Cozart SS AAA - Signing of Renteria does not bode well for Reds' confidence in Cozart to hit at ML level. However, at worst he's another Janish.
8. Juan Francisco 3B/OF AAA - Boom or bust. Could be a nice power bat off the bench for the Reds. Must improve plate discipline to be a starter.
9. Todd Frazier 3B/OF AAA - Looks like a decent utility player. Could fill in if/when Rolen goes down.
10. Donnie Joseph LHP AAA - Projects as a top-caliber LOOGY or setup man.
11. Dave Sappelt CF AAA - Despite staggering numbers last year, projects as a 4th OF. No room for him to start ahead of Stubbs anytime soon.
12. Ryan LaMarre CF AA - Blocked by Stubbs and Sappelt, he could be an attractive trade candidate as part of a package come midseason.
Kyle Lotzkar RHP A- As talented as any pitcher in the system, although has been dogged by injuries. If he proves healthy he could takeoff and shoot into the Top 10. Or he could end up injured and out of baseball in the next two years.
TOP 5 TO KEEP AN EYE ON (Too Early to Tell)
Ismael Guillon LHP A/R- Right up there with Lotzkar for most talented arm in the system. Will represent the cavalry once current young crop hit FA.
Junior Arias SS/3B R- Likely the Reds future 3B in the making. Will be interesting to see how he performs once he hits full season ball.
Ronald Torreyes 2B R- Could be the Danny Ray Herrera of infielders. So small he looks like he should be playing little league, but all he does is perform. Likely a future 2B.
Drew Cisco RHP R- Ironically despite not having a full professional season under his belt, he is probably the most polished of the young arms.
Kyle Waldrop OF R- Could have the most upside of anyone in the 2010 draft crop.