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Thread: Lockout Baseball: A Top 10 for the Top 100

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    Member Bourgeois Zee's Avatar
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    Lockout Baseball: A Top 10 for the Top 100

    This past season, Elly De La Cruz blew up. His precocious power and plus-plus speed, not to mention a Howitzer at the end of his right arm, made scouts across Complex and low A ballparks take note. He moved comfortably into the top 100 prospect list on both BA and BP publications.

    In order to do that, De La Cruz enjoyed several advantages both of his own making and of circumstance. Among them:

    - Playing time/ Role
    - Loud tool(s)
    - Production/ Numbers of Note
    - Park effect(s)

    There are several Reds who might engender conversation and burst out nationally as they play in 2022. A few of them should enjoy similar conditions as De La Cruz to perhaps put up some monster numbers and garner Top 100 attention.

    Austin Hendrick
    To say Hendrick struggled would be an understatement. He just couldn't get untracked last year. Injuries and a gigantic hole in his swing saw him hit right around the Mendoza Line all year. His power helped a bit to obscure his struggles, but Hendrick had a year most first rounders would love to forget. So why is he on this list? Most importantly, he's in a much better place to hit. While Dayton is far from a launching pad, it at least plays fair for hitters-- particularly hitters who use power to buoy their production. A lot of those long fly balls that found gloves in Daytona might fly over fences in High A. And it's not like Hendrick has lost his elite bat speed-- he still has a 60+ on his power grade. He's going to be given every chance to succeed, particularly after Jonathan India's recent minor league struggles and ROY MLB season. He's going to play every day-- and likely hit in the middle of the order as well. In a stacked Dayton lineup, he should be able to chase 30 HR and 100 RBI. If he can get to those milestones, I suspect scouts and pundits might overlook the high K rate and add him to their Top 100 lists.

    Rece Hinds
    Hinds was Hendrick before Hendrick wasn't cool, struggling to get healthy and put up numbers after being drafted. Then 2020 hit, and he lost a second professional season. Still only 20, last year was his first taste of minor league baseball-- and minor league success. He hit well, but largely played under the radar. In only 43 low A games, Hinds hit 10 HR. Over a full season, that works out to nearly 40 round trippers. And again, that's in a league that saps power. In Dayton, he might find the seats quite a bit more often. That power potential may see other teams working around him in the lineup, thereby improving his patience and BB rate. Especially in the middle of what looks to be a potent Dragon offense. 30+ HR (and the requisite RBI that go with that number) and a much higher BB rate would make it appear as if Hinds has unlocked his prodigious potential in High A as a 21-year-old, thereby pushing him onto the Top 100 lists.

    Daniel Vellojin
    Vellojin has no such issues with the strike zone. In fact, that is likely his best tool/ attribute. I'm guessing he'll either lead off or hit second in that lineup-- between De La Cruz and Hinds or Jose Torres and De La Cruz. That should mean Vellojin can take advantage of his natural inclination toward patience. (Imagining a scenario where De La Cruz has seven or eight pitches to time the pitcher for a stolen base while Vellojin waits? Good. I'm not alone.) Because of the DH, he'll be given at least some time away from the plate too. I suspect his bat-- and unique toolset-- will be too valuable to the Dragon offense, and he'll be given all the PAs he can take. If so, he might chase an OBP over .400 (again), with fewer Ks than BBs. He'll hit in Dayton too, which may also result in double digit HR totals. More importantly, he'll have to find some doubles power as well. If that slugging percentage can creep over .450, he'll be an .850 OPS catcher with good receiving skills and solid production for two seasons. That's usually enough to at least garner some attention on Top 100 lists.

    Ruben Ibarra
    This is a complete guess, I admit. But Ibarra's power tool is also considered well above average. And he's going to be put in a position to hit with runners on base all the time. (De La Cruz, Vellojin, Torres, Hinds, and Hendrick around him, with perhaps Tyler Callihan, Mat Nelson, and Blake Dunn there too? L-O-A-D-E-D.) He'll run into a few just by accident, I suspect. This is aimed, however, more at his hit tool. In college, Ibarra took a season to get his surroundings, then hit .344 and .381 his last two seasons. I'm guessing he figures out how to hit-- especially as, at best, a secondary worry in team scouting reports. I could totally see Ibarra go all Kevin Mitchell on the Midwest League (or whatever it is they're calling themselves this year). There are several caveats with his inclusion, however. Alex McGarry may well be slotted to take that Dayton 1B job. Ibarra didn't exactly tear the cover off the ball last season-- the Reds might well want him in Daytona, at least to start the season. If so, I'm not sure he gets the counting numbers needed to make scouts sit up and take notice.

    Luis Mey
    Mey was one of Kyle Boddy's tweet darlings while in Cincinnati. Shawn Pender noted his 95+ fastball and improving offspeed stuff as well as his frame and new-found ability to throw strikes before 2021. But last year, Mey only tossed six innings of largely forgettable baseball as a relief arm in the middle of the summer before losing his spot in Daytona. Right elbow inflammation sent him to the showers for the rest of the season. So why is he on the list? For one, I'm guessing he's going to be given a spot in Daytona's rotation. He's still only 20, and in the damp air of the FSL, could put up some tasty numbers. A 20-year-old dominating in his first real taste of professional baseball who exhibits a mid-90s fastball? That's enough to get the attention of all sorts of scouts. Too, as an added bonus, Daytona profiles as a pretty good defensive club, especially up the middle.

    Andrew Abbott
    Abbott is a high draftee with Power 5 college experience who the Reds may view as a starting pitching candidate. If so, he's likely to begin his career in a more forgiving environment in order to work on stamina and a third (or fourth) pitch. That means Daytona, at least to start. Mistake pitches that might go out elsewhere could be harmless cans of corn in the FSL. Abbott put up some gaudy K numbers at Virginia. Knowing he can pitch relatively fearlessly may allow him to do the same in low A. Too, he'll be playing against kids who haven't seen his offspeed stuff (which is supposed to be above average). If he can throw it for strikes, Abbott may end up with a monster K rate and some drool-worthy peripherals.

    Tyler Callihan
    Another wildcard here, Callihan's been on the Hinds approach to professional baseball, missing large chunks of the two seasons due to various injuries and the pandemic. Last year, Callihan showed out as a .300 hitting savant with better-than-expected speed and power numbers, but it was only in a month of games. I could see Callihan held back in Daytona for half a season, then moved up if he shows health. Putting him in the middle of that Dayton lineup could supercharge his numbers as well. He's got a 55 hit tool, according to scouts. If his power and speed from last May is for real, he could put up a 15/15 season as a 2B with a .300 BA and a .350 OBP.

    Jay Allen
    A 2021 1st round pick, Allen absolutely crushed Complex League pitching in his short stay, to the tune of a nearly 1.000 OPS. It was less than 100 PAs, but Allen showed a precocious understanding of the strike zone and a much more advanced feel for hitting than had been on his scouting report. He'll be given CF in Daytona, most likely, flanked by Wendell Marrero, Yerlin Confidan, and Fidel Castro, three sluggers who also saw success in the AZL last season. He'll also likely hit at the top of the Tortuga order, in front of Tyler Callihan (at least at first) and AZL MVP Confidan. That should allow him to score runs and to steal bases. Allen may well put up double figures in HR and 40+ SB on the season.

    Allan Cerda
    Cerda's breakthrough 2021 was obscured by a move up at the halfway point of the season from Daytona to Dayton. He found much more success hitting the ball for average, the key to his prospect ranking. Cerda is one of several Red prospects with 60 grades on their power and below average hit tools. If he can hit in the .270s, Cerda has enough patience and pop to OPS .850 or better in any league in baseball. Combine that with quality CF defense, and he's a legitimate Mike Cameron ceiling/ Drew Stubbs floor type (though without the SB totals). Cerda could start the year in Dayton (in the middle of that stacked Dragon lineup? Yes, please.) or be pushed aggressively as a 22-year-old in AA. That puts him in the majors (perhaps) as a 24-year-old with full seasons in both upper minors leagues.

    Joe Boyle
    There are other Red prospects more likely to be successful and earn their way onto a Top 100 list with production, but none who possess the lightning in their arm that Boyle owns. We know he's going to K a whole bunch of people-- Boyle may well strike out 15.0 batters/ nine. He might also walk at least half that. If he can limit his BBs to a manageable four or less per game, Boyle's 103 mph fastball will get him on the back end of some top prospect lists. That type of fastball is extremely rare-- and best of all, the Reds have two guys who seem to possess one.

    Who's on your list, RedsZone? Who do you think will end up on top prospect lists next season?

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    Daffy Duck RedTeamGo!'s Avatar
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    Re: Lockout Baseball: A Top 10 for the Top 100

    I’m most excited about Abbott and Allen from this list. Still skeptical of De La Cruz.

    I think 2022 is put up or shut up time for Hendrick. If he falls on his face again he will be just a guy in my eyes.
    What would you say.....ya do here?

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    Member Bourgeois Zee's Avatar
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    Re: Lockout Baseball: A Top 10 for the Top 100

    Quote Originally Posted by RedTeamGo! View Post
    I think 2022 is put up or shut up time for Hendrick. If he falls on his face again he will be just a guy in my eyes.
    That is a quick hook.

    Hendrick will be 21 this season and most likely playing in High A. He's had 266 professional PAs so far.

    Matt McLain, the Reds' number one draft pick, is 22. By the end of the season, he'll be a 23-year-old and is likely to have played in AA.

    Joey Votto, in his age 21 season, went .257/ .330/ .425/ .754 as a Sarasota Red.

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    Re: Lockout Baseball: A Top 10 for the Top 100

    I fully expect Jose Torres to enter the mid-season Top 100 lists.

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    Bourgeois Zee (01-23-2022),M2 (01-24-2022),mth123 (01-23-2022),RedTeamGo! (01-23-2022)

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    Re: Lockout Baseball: A Top 10 for the Top 100

    I can't remember when the Reds have as many potential breakout prospects. Usually, we must pin our hopes on three to five. Any of the players listed, or even a few others, could have a solid season that catapults them into the Reds top 5. As for top 100, I believe that Allen and Hendrick have the best chance to crack it with good seasons. Raters seem to favor first round picks.

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    Bourgeois Zee (01-23-2022)

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    Re: Lockout Baseball: A Top 10 for the Top 100

    I also think Bryce Bonnin deserves a mention. He could be this year's Graham Ashcraft.

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    Bourgeois Zee (01-23-2022)

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    Re: Lockout Baseball: A Top 10 for the Top 100

    Quote Originally Posted by RED VAN HOT View Post
    I can't remember when the Reds have as many potential breakout prospects. Usually, we must pin our hopes on three to five. Any of the players listed, or even a few others, could have a solid season that catapults them into the Reds top 5. As for top 100, I believe that Allen and Hendrick have the best chance to crack it with good seasons. Raters seem to favor first round picks.
    IMO, the biggest reason they have so many boom and bust candidates is their recent focus on power as a carrying tool. Hendrick, Confidan (whom I should have added), Cerda, De La Cruz, Ibarra, Hinds, Hendrick, Nelson-- all have 60 or higher power grades. Not sure, but maybe that provides the Reds with what they feel is a comfortable floor-- that of a low BA, relatively high OPS masher. That power seems to often be combined with either positional scarcity (Nelson), patience (Hendrick, Hinds), speed/ defense (Cerda), or a hit tool (De La Cruz) as well. Thinking on it, there are also a number of hit-first guys-- Urbaez, Lopez, Schrock, Friedl, Callihan). There are remarkably few glove-first guys in the system. (Thank God.)

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    Member mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Lockout Baseball: A Top 10 for the Top 100

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitri View Post
    I fully expect Jose Torres to enter the mid-season Top 100 lists.
    I'll go with Torres as well. I'd add Nelson, A catcher with power and a big arm.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

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    Re: Lockout Baseball: A Top 10 for the Top 100

    Quote Originally Posted by Bourgeois Zee View Post
    IMO, the biggest reason they have so many boom and bust candidates is their recent focus on power as a carrying tool. Hendrick, Confidan (whom I should have added), Cerda, De La Cruz, Ibarra, Hinds, Hendrick, Nelson-- all have 60 or higher power grades. Not sure, but maybe that provides the Reds with what they feel is a comfortable floor-- that of a low BA, relatively high OPS masher. That power seems to often be combined with either positional scarcity (Nelson), patience (Hendrick, Hinds), speed/ defense (Cerda), or a hit tool (De La Cruz) as well. Thinking on it, there are also a number of hit-first guys-- Urbaez, Lopez, Schrock, Friedl, Callihan). There are remarkably few glove-first guys in the system. (Thank God.)
    I tend to value defense more than most in RZ. Toward that end I prefer guys that can stick up the middle on defense. Speed and a good hit tool would be my preference. Gap power is fine.

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    Member Bourgeois Zee's Avatar
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    Re: Lockout Baseball: A Top 10 for the Top 100

    Quote Originally Posted by RED VAN HOT View Post
    I tend to value defense more than most in RZ. Toward that end I prefer guys that can stick up the middle on defense.
    They have that now. Elly De La Cruz has all the tools to be an elite defender. (I should have stopped at "all the tools" with De La Cruz.) Torres is a plus defender. Cerda is considered a very good defensive CF. McLain was a plus CF defender at UCLA, then turned himself into a solid defender at SS. Barrero is supposed to be a solid defender at SS and has the wheels to be very good in CF (maybe). Beyond these hit-first guys, there's Michael Siani (ugh), Braylin Minier (better), and Jay Allen (who's supposed to be very good and should stick in CF).

    In the past, there were far too many Paul Janishes to suit my tastes. For every one that worked out-- Zack Cozart is the only example I can think of-- there were 20 that hit around the Mendoza Line and provided remarkably little with the bat.

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    A Good Man, and Thorough FlightRick's Avatar
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    Re: Lockout Baseball: A Top 10 for the Top 100

    Thanks for this list. I used to think of myself as slightly above average in terms of my Reds' MiLB Prospect knowledge, but then *I* lost a year due to the pandemic, too. And I lost last year for personal reasons.

    I need to get back on the horse; hearing about those names outside of the Reds' top 5 is a shove in the right direction.

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    Re: Lockout Baseball: A Top 10 for the Top 100

    Lot of fun times to watch how these guys pan out. I have also watched with interest the Reds recent international class. Obviously there are a lot of young players who have a LONG way to go, but the early tools on those guys are drawing me to check the daily box scores for the DSL and the Arizona rookie team.
    “I think I throw the ball as hard as anyone. The ball just doesn't get there as fast.” — Eddie Bane

    “We know we're better than this ... but we can't prove it.” — Tony Gwynn


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