This month, I decided to do the "Top Prospect" list in a slightly different manner.
Given that there are a plethora of older prospects that are on the cusp of the majors (and likely will have graduated out of prospect status by the end of the season), I thought it would be worthwhile to take a deeper delve into the Top Prospects under the age of 25 in order to get more visability into the future of the Reds' minor leagues. Rather than debate the merits of Frazier vs. Francisco vs. Cozart, which has clearly been bandied about on this board for several years and several dozen threads, I thought it would be more worthwhile to temporarily look past those guys and see what we can expect in Cincinnati in the latter half of this decade. The following takes a closer look at what is IMO the 20 most interesting players in the system that fit those qualifications:
1. Devin Mesoraco C AAA 22 - should be with the Reds at some point in the 2nd half of the season. Top 20 prospect in the game.
2. Yonder Alonso 1B/LF AAA 24 - if he can be passable defensively, should start getting LF reps or traded by August
3. Yasmani Grandal C A+ 23 - often overlooked because of Mez, he is a valuable asset as a trade chip or future catcher
4. Billy Hamilton SS A 20 - Hamilton, Duran, and Y-Rod have tantalizing upside yet are so raw they are being exposed in Dayton.
(tie) Yorman Rodriguez OF A 18 - see above. Nothing to worry about given that they are teenagers in full season ball, but will hope for improvement in 2nd half.
(tie) Juan Duran OF A 19 - has bounced back nicely and is back to being mentioned in the same breath again as Y-Rod (and Hamilton).
7. Daniel Corcino RHP A 20 - has ascended to the top pitching prospect in the system. Cueto comps abound, could continue to rise up the list.
8. Brad Boxberger RHP AA 23 - nice success as a bullpen arm. Could see him promoted to Louisville later in the season with an extended tryout in ST next year.
9. Cody Puckett 2B/LF AA 24 - still unsure of his position, although he can certainly rake. Has more value as a 2B but defensively looks to be a LF.
10. Ryan LaMarre OF A+ 22 - would like to see him hit more than he has, but speed, defense, and intangibles are there.
Dave Sappelt OF AAA 24 - should get more LF reps if Alonso is called up and he gets healthy
Kyle Lotzkar RHP A 21 - if he could stay healthy, he'd be as good as any arm in the system. But he hasn't been able to yet.
ON THE RADAR (next on the list)
Josh Smith RHP A 23 - needs to be challenged in Bakersfield, as he is old for Dayton. Still hard to argue with his success there.
Tucker Barnhart C A 20 - has looked great in Dayton despite the All-Star snub. Unfortunately could be blocked by Mez and Grandal.
KEEP AN EYE ON (too early to tell)
Ismael Guillon LHP 19 - looking forward to see him perform well in Billings. Could form a nice trio of the future with Corcino and Stephenson.
Robert Stephenson RHP 18 - has as much upside as any arm in the system. Has drawn comparisons to Homer Bailey and Matt Garza.
Ronald Torreyes 2B 18 - hoping he'll start strong in Billings and be in Dayton by late Summer
Junior Arias 3B 19 - with no clear help at 3B in this year's draft, still appears to hold title of 3B of the future
Kyle Waldrop OF 19 - excited to see how one of last year's draft sleepers performs in Billings
Gabriel Rosa OF 17 - very raw with the upside of a 30-30 guy
PROMOTIONS (should be on the horizon)
Mesoraco to MLB
Alonso to MLB
Boxberger to AAA
Grandal to AA
Corcino to A+
J.Smith to A+
EDIT: Forgot that Francisco turns 24 this month, but given his major league experience and how much debate he has already incurred, it is OK to leave him out of this conversation.