2017 Cincinnati Reds Midseason Top 10 Prospects
|Reds Midseason Top 10|
|1. Nick Senzel, 3B|
|2. Hunter Greene, RHP|
|3. Tyler Mahle, RHP|
|4. Luis Castillo, RHP|
|5. Taylor Trammell, OF|
|6. Jesse Winker, OF|
|7. Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP|
|8. Shed Long, 2B|
|9. Tony Santillan, RHP|
|10. Jose Siri, OF|
The Reds are once again in last place in the National League Central. Much like last year, they have shuffled through too many starting pitchers in the first half of the season, with nearly a full rotation on the disabled list. This is two years in a row the Reds have struggled to keep pitchers healthy and been forced to rely on a scrap heap of the not ready (Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson and Rookie Davis) and the waiver wire (Lisalverto Bonilla and Bronson Arroyo).
The result is a team whose bullpen was worn out by mid-June and a rotation with six starters with ERAs above 6.00.
If Cincinnati’s rebuilding effort is going to take root, the team has to settle on a rotation. There’s hope in the return of Homer Bailey and Brandon Finnegan from the disabled list, but some combination of Reed, Stephenson, Amir Garrett, Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle are going to have to step forward if this team is going to find success before the decade is out.
Despite that, the Reds can say they are closer to winning than they were at this time last year. The farm system is improved, in part because of adding top-five draft talents like Nick Senzel and Hunter Greene. The Reds now have one of the deeper farm systems in the game, and at the big league level they appear to have the making of a lineup and bullpen that can compete.
As the trade deadline nears, the biggest question the Reds face is what can they get for shortstop Zack Cozart. The NL All-Star starter would appear a good fit for the Nationals (who are missing Trea Turner) or Twins (where Jorge Polanco has struggled), but the Reds may not have many buyers for the soon-to-be free agent because most playoff contenders are well set at shortstop.
1. Nick Senzel, 3B Double-A Pensacola Age: 22
Senzel’s first full pro season has been every bit of what was expected. He hits for average, he gets on base and he has doubles power that sometimes produces home runs. There are higher-ceiling prospects in the minors, but Senzel is one of the safer prospects around with plus hitting ability, an extremely accurate arm and solid defense at third base. He ascended to Double-A, made the Futures Game and overall is hitting .305/.372/.465 across two levels, a strong across the board season in terms of both accomplishments and statistics.
2. Hunter Greene, RHP Rookie-level Billings Age: 18
Greene’s contract negotiation went down to the wire after the Reds drafted him No. 2 overall, but he ended up signing for $7.23 million, the largest bonus of the current bonus-pool format. Greene will work on getting his innings built up after throwing only 28 innings this spring. He has the stuff to cruise through short-season ball with a dominant fastball and excellent control.
3. Tyler Mahle, RHP Triple-A Louisville Age: 22
Mahle is a maestro who combines outstanding fastball control with a knack for adding and subtracting enough to keep hitters baffled. He sits at 91-93 mph, but he’ll intentionally mix an 89 or a 98-mph fastball depending on the situation. He’s thrown a perfect game this year to follow up a no-hitter last year. His main area to address is his secondary pitches need more consistency.
4. Luis Castillo, RHP Cincinnati Age: 24
Picked up in the offseason Dan Straily trade, Castillo has been a revelation for the Reds. He’s always had a big arm, but his ability to pitch at 97-98 mph while messing with hitters’ minds with a plus changeup and plus control has paved his way to the big leagues. Developing a consistent slider is the last thing he has to do to make sure he’s in Cincinnati to stay.
5. Taylor Trammell, OF Low Class A Dayton Age: 19
Trammel probably ends up in left field when his career sorts out, because the Reds have better defenders in center with better arms. But Trammel should be an excellent defensive left fielder and his offensive approach has been everything the Reds expected. He can run, he has a solid approach at the plate and he has strength to add power to his potentially above-average hitting ability.
6. Jesse Winker, OF Cincinnati Age: 23
Winker remains the best pure hitter in the Reds system but has struggled to show any power. This is the third consecutive season that Winker has slugged right around .400. As a below-average runner limited to left field, Winker is an on-base machine, but one who may have trouble unseating Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler because he lacks corner outfield pop.
7. Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP High Class A Daytona Age: 21
The Reds have plenty of experience developing Cuban prospects by now. Gutierrez is in the acclimation phase of his development, as the Reds are working on getting him to pitch more off his fastball. He sits 92-97 mph on his best nights, 90-92 on his worst. His slider is ahead of his curveball but they mix together too often.
8. Shed Long, 2B Double-A Pensacola Age: 21
A former catcher, Long has improved enough defensively that scouts can now project him to be a 45-50 grade defender at second base. His power potential and short swing should be enough to make that work as an offensive second baseman.
9. Tony Santillan, RHP Low Class A Dayton Age: 20
Santillan is a long way from being big league ready, but he’s also an electric arm with much-improved consistency in 2017. He sits 96-97 mph but will range anywhere from 92-100 depending on how well he’s maintaining the fluidity of his delivery.
10. Jose Siri, OF Low Class A Dayton Age: 21
Siri has been one of the toolsiest players in the Reds’ organization for several years, but his struggles with plate discipline have kept him from scratching the surface of his potential. He’s made big strides in that department and his hitting has taken off. Siri is an excellent center fielder with game-changing speed and power potential. Trammell is a safer prospect, but Siri’s speed and outfield defense give him a higher ceiling than his Dayton teammate.
• 1B Gavin LaValley needed a few years to melt away his old football weight then add back good baseball weight, but now that he has, his power has taken off.
• 3B Alex Blandino’s 2016 season was ruined by a hamstring injury. He’s showing a better bat this year now that’s he’s healthy, giving him a potential utility infielder profile.
• C Chris Okey has been surprisingly overmatched by high Class A pitching, raising questions about his bat.
• OF Aristides Aquino is often a slow starter at a new level, but eventually his massive tools start to take hold. We’re seeing the same pattern in Double-A from the prototypical right fielder. He has big power, a big arm and still needs to improve his plate discipline.
• RHP Nick Travieso will miss the entire season. He had shoulder surgery and the Reds hope he will be back in 2018.
• RHP Nick Hanson is out for the entire season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
• RHP Rookie Davis has made it to the majors, but his season has largely been wiped out by a variety of injuries including a bruised forearm and a muscle issue in his back and shoulder.
• RHP Ian Kahaloa was suspended 50 games after testing positive for a drug of abuse. Because he was on the Billings roster at the time of the suspension, he has yet to complete the suspension.
• C Tyler Stephenson is on the DL with a thumb injury.
• RHP Robert Stephenson and LHP Cody Reed haven’t established themselves at the big league level yet, but both have exhausted their prospect eligibility. In both cases they need better command and control to have big league success.
• LHP Amir Garrett also exhausted his eligibility and was sent down in late June after giving up 19 home runs in just 58.1 innings.
• LHP Wandy Peralta used to throw around 90-91 mph, but like the rest of baseball, he's figured out how to throw harder, often sitting at 97 mph and becoming a useful bullpen piece.
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