1. Billy Hamilton, SS
Comment: Dominant half-season in Bakersfield. Has improved his plate discipline greatly, allowing for a much higher obp, key to his game. Has also begun to master the art of bunting, another great sign that he understands what he needs to do to succeed moving forward. His hit tool is above average, his arm is solid, but his glove needs serious work, and he'll never hit for much power. His ceiling is Brett Butler with the stolen bases of Tim Raines. I'll definitely take that from my shortstop. Or, if need be, CF.
2.(T) Tony Cingrani, SP
Comment: He's done nothing but dominate the competition since being drafted last year out of Rice. He's learning how to throw his slider, but his fastball and control remain his calling card. And, oh my, what a card it's been. 30 starts, 150 IP, 100 H. 1.44 ERA. 12.1 K/9. Those are ace numbers. Questions about his slider keep him below Hamilton, but he's got a high, high ceiling. His floor is lower than others on this list, but even then, he profiles as a late-inning reliever. Which isn't bad at all.
2. (T) Daniel Corcino, SP
Comment: I'm chickening out on the Corcino/ Cingrani debate by naming them 2A and 2B. Both are looking good as starters in AA, a great sign for Cincinnati's future rotational plans. Corcino's taken a step back after being aggressively promoted straight to AA from Dayton. His K and BB rates have taken a hit, but he's not allowing any more runs. He needs to cut down on his walks, as he's issuing more than four per game. Other than that, he looks like a solid MOR starter.
4. Robert Stephenson, SP
Comment: Took a year getting his mechanics ironed out. So far, it's been worth the wait. Great stuff. Good beginning to his career at Billings. I'm normally reticent about ranking Pioneer Leaguers-- too far to go, too many questions that cannot be answered that early in their careers. But, from all accounts, Stephenson looks like the real deal.
5. Henry Rodriguez, 2B/ 3B
Comment: All he does is hit. And hit some more. He's played six season professionally and hit over .300 in the past five. Rodriguez is now playing 2B for Louisville after having switched in the offseason to the hot corner. Defensively, it looks as if the Reds are okay with him at either post. As a switch hitter who rarely strikes out (11% this year, after 13% last season), he'd be an ideal number two hitter for the Reds. He's only 22 and has just returned from a broken thumb. Expect his power (decent-- expect 10-15 HR pop with a slugging percentage in the .450 range) to take a hit the rest of this year as he heals up from the injury.
6. Kyle Lotzkar, SP
Comment: Only 22, Lotzkar has seen his fair share of trials and tribulations. When healthy, he's been outstanding. Unfortunately, he was healthy very rarely early in his career. This year, all is better. His delivery is much cleaner as well. His K rate is still awesome, at 10.5 for the year, but his BB rate is too high (4.3, with it rising to 4.7 in AA). At this point, all he needs is innings. Profiles as another MOR starter, assuming he gets his walks down a bit.
7. JJ Hoover, RP
Comment: Hoover's been very good in Cincinnati and would have stuck, were it not for veteran Bill Bray's return to active duty. He's been a reliever this year, but has also shown the ability to start. At 24, he's toying with the kids in AAA and needs to be challenged. But the Red pen is so strong right now, he's not really needed. When he is needed, Hoover's shown a very good fastball, a high K rate, and an extremely low H rate. Could very well be the closer of the future in Cincinnati.
8. Donnie Joseph, RP
Comment: If not for Hoover, Joseph might get more pub. As is, he's been lights out in both AA and AAA this season after struggling in 2011. Joseph, like Hoover, is a 24 year-old, with great stuff. He's equally hard to hit and has just as high a K rate, though it's split between AA and AAA and not AAA and the majors. As a southpaw, Joseph's floor is as a major league LOOGY, something the Reds may need as early as next season.
9. JC Sulbaran, SP
The forgotten fourth of the Pensacola starting group, Sulbaran is also 22 in AA. He's giving up a hit an inning, with a K rate above one per IP. He walks too many (4.5 per 9), and has been HR prone as well, indicating he's a fly ball pitcher. (That may not work all that well in the GABP.) This is Sulbaran's first taste of sustained success in the minor leagues. He profiles as a BOR starter, but, in about half of the preceding decade's prospect lists, likely would have ranked as the top pitcher on the list.
10. Yorman Rodriguez, OF
Comment: Perhaps the most disappointing first half prospect in the Red pipeline, Rodriguez was pushed to Bakersfield in the hopes that he would grow into his massive potential. Instead, he took a giant step backward. After a week of soul-searching (and some work in Arizona), Stormin' Yorman went back to Dayton where he's been hitting well for a couple weeks. Still only 19, Rodriguez has a super quick bat and major power potential. In limited time in Dayton this year, he's put up a 900+ OPS. He still strikes out far too much, but, at 19, has time to figure it out.
Honorable Mention: (No order)
Donald Lutz, OF/1B
Jesse Winker, OF
Neftali Soto, 1B
Ryan Wright, 2B
Kyle Waldrop, OF
Juan Perez, SS
Tanner Rahier, 3B
Ty Washington, 2B/ SS
Tucker Barnhart, C