2014 Cincinnati Reds Top 10 Prospects

By
Updated: January 14, 2014
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After a long delay – something measured in the months, not days -  I have a bit of an announcement to make: I will be publishing the first ever Prospect Digest Annual sometime late January/early February.

The Prospect Digest Annual will feature each organization’s Top 30 Prospects, ranking the farm systems, and several additional articles.

Until the big day happens, I will be posting each organization’s Top 10 Prospects, starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Enjoy!

For more Top Prospects click HERE

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1. Robert Stephenson, Position: RHP, Age: 21

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A

77.0

2.57

2.36

11.22

2.34

31.3%

6.5%

0.58

45.7%

A+

20.2

3.05

2.46

9.58

0.87

26.5%

2.4%

1.31

37.3%

AA

16.2

4.86

4.50

9.72

7.02

24.0%

17.3%

1.08

31.8%

Profile: Stephenson made a rare appearance in low Class A as a high school player entering professional ball in 2012. The 27th pick that year breezed through 30+ innings in Pioneer League (2.05 ERA, 10.86 K/9, and 2.35 BB/9) before throwing another 34.1 impressive innings with Dayton (4.19 ERA, 9.17 K/9, and 3.93 BB/9). Last season, the young right-hander spent time at three levels, totaling 136 strikeouts and just 35 free passes in 114.1 combined innings.

Analysis: One of the top pitching prospects in the game, the Reds placed Stephenson on the fast-track to the big leagues midway through his debut season and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him start the year back in Class AA despite throwing just 20.2 innings in the California League. True ace potential. Big strikeouts. Above-average control. The lone red flag from last season: his HR-rate spiked as he moved up the MiLB ladder.

Ceiling: 5.5- to 6.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

2. Jesse Winker, Position: LF, Age: 20

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

486

138

.281

.379

.463

13.0%

15.4%

.182

18

5

16

6/7

Profile: The Reds have seemingly hit another homerun in the first round, Winker, 20, spent the year as one of the younger players in the Midwest League. The former supplemental first rounder’s total offensive production was 38% better than the league average, the third best mark among qualified players. He also narrowly missed the top ten in homeruns with 16.

Analysis: A budding analytic superstar, Winker not only showed a well-rounded offensive approach, but one that’s mature beyond his years. Incredible plate discipline, developing power, and, perhaps the best news, the lefty-swinging Winker has handled southpaws well throughout his professional career, hitting .293/.393/.420 off of them. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him develop into .300/.400/.500 hitter down the line, capable of 25+ homerun pop.

Ceiling: 4.5- to 5.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

3. Billy Hamilton, Position: CF, Age: 23

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

AAA

547

82

.256

.308

.343

6.9%

18.6%

.087

18

4

6

75/90

MLB

22

155

.368

.429

.474

9.1%

18.2%

.105

2

0

0

13/14

Profile: Last year marked the third consecutive season in which Hamilton elapsed the 90-stolen base mark. Now the bad news: outside of his success on the base paths, the then-22-year-old speedster was overmatched against the Triple-A pitching, putting together his worst offensive season to date.

Analysis: After Hamilton’s walk rate exploded to double-digit percent two years ago it fell back closer to the marks he set earlier in his career. And the lack of power – he posted a 0.87 ISO – doesn’t intimidate pitchers enough to not challenge him. The speed is a game changer on both side of the ball – obviously. And even in a down year, Hamilton could surpass 2.5 wins above replacement because of it. Not quite sure if he’s the next Vince Coleman or something far superior. There’s a decent amount of risk involved here.  

Ceiling: 4.0- to 4.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

4. Phillip Ervin, Position: CF, Age: 21

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

RK

149

155

.326

.416

.597

11.4%

16.1%

.271

9

1

8

12/12

A

51

165

.349

.451

.465

15.7%

19.6%

.116

2

0

1

2/3

Profile: Cincinnati selected the toolsy outfielder out of Samford University with the 27th pick last June, and Ervin handled the transition to wood rather well. Splitting his time between the Pioneer and Midwest Leagues, Ervin hit .331/.425/.564 with 11 doubles, one triples, nine homeruns and 14 stolen bases in 15 attempts.

Analysis: Prior to the draft I wrote: “Ervin has decent pop for a smaller player, with the potential to develop into 15 or so homeruns down the line. And he could very well likely swipe upwards of 25 or 30 bases in the professional ranks as well. He could be a capable starter in a few years, maybe peaking as an above-average regular depending how his defense grades out. Could be a Mark Kotsay-type player with a bit more speed.” Still sticking by that, despite the spectacular debut.

Ceiling: 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

5. Yorman Rodriguez, Position: OF, Age: 21

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

277

104

.251

.319

.470

7.9%

27.8%

.219

20

4

9

6/9

AA

289

109

.267

.329

.385

8.7%

26.3%

.118

15

2

4

4/4

Profile: The very definition of league average offense, Rodriguez once again posted Weighted Runs Created Plus totals between 104 and 109. And the Reds continue to push the Venezuelan-born outfielder through the minor leagues, despite never really dominating at any stop.

Analysis: Developing power, decent eye at the plate, fringy contact rates and a smidgeon of speed, Rodriguez is an interesting prospect. Still quite young, he could eventually turn into a solid above-average regular.

Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

6. Jon Moscot, Position: RHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A+

115.2

4.59

3.53

8.71

2.80

22.8%

7.3%

1.32

41.7%

AA

31.0

3.19

4.05

8.13

3.48

20.3%

8.7%

0.87

29.5%

Profile: A draft eligible sophomore, the Reds plucked Moscot in the fourth round out of Pepperdine in 2012 after the 6-foot-4 right-hander posted a 2.90 ERA over 115 innings for the Waves. Moscot bypassed the low levels of the minor leagues and headed straight to high Class A before making a six-game cameo last season.

Analysis: Moscot’s numbers, like any other member of the Bakersfield club, were influenced by the team’s home ballpark, especially his wonky HR-rate (1.32 HR/9). He’s not going to be a frontline hurler, but could settle in as a decent #3/#4, thanks to a decent K-rate and strong control. Potential innings-eater.

Ceiling: 2.5- to 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

7. Nick Travieso, Position: RHP, Age: 20

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A

81.2

4.63

4.31

6.72

2.98

17.5%

7.8%

0.77

38.3%

Profile: The fourteenth pick in 2012, ahead of several bigger names including teammate Jesse Winker, Travieso disappointed during his foray into full season ball. The 6-foot-2 right-hander averaged just 6.72 punch outs per nine innings, though his control was above-average (2.98 BB/9).

Analysis: A little over 100 innings into his career and red flags are starting to pop up for Travieso, whose below-average K-rate could lead to trouble down the road. It wouldn’t hurt to see him repeat low Class A next season, at least for the first half.

Ceiling: 2.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

8. Carlos Contreras, Position: RHP, Age: 23

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A+

90.0

3.80

3.57

9.60

4.10

25.5%

10.9%

0.90

38.1%

AA

42.1

2.76

5.17

5.53

4.46

14.2%

11.5%

0.43

40.9%

Profile: A tale of two seasons for Contreras, who averaged more than one punch out per inning during his 18 starts in high Class A and just 5.5 K/9 in his eight Double-A games. Historically, the hefty right-hander has shown strong K-rates and subpar control.

Analysis: Prior to the year, Contreras had just 12 career starts under his belt. Those, by the way, occurred in the Dominican Summer League…in 2009. So the fact that Contreras saw a dramatic decline as he moved up to Pensacola can be negated as he could have been battling through fatigue. He could be one of the club’s breakout players in 2014.

Ceiling: 2.0- to 2.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

9. Kyle Waldrop, Position: LF/RF, Age: 22

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

540

96

.258

.304

.462

5.9%

22.4%

.204

32

4

21

20/28

Profile: A nice find in the twelfth round in 2010, Waldrop set career bests in doubles (32), homeruns (21), stolen bases (20), and Isolated Power (.204).

Analysis: The problem with Waldrop’s breakout is that despite some impressive counting stats his total production was actually 4% below the Carolina League average. Some of that is the result of a poor walk rate (5.9%) as well as playing in Bakersfield’s hitter-friendly field: Sam Lynn Ballpark. Not entirely convinced of the power quite yet, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t swat 25+ HRs for the Reds at some point.

Ceiling: 2.0- to 2.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

10. Ismael Guillon, Position: LHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A

121.1

4.75

4.60

9.94

7.05

24.9%

17.6%

1.04

26.2%

Profile: Well, the trend continued for the southpaw: Guillon’s control has fluctuated between good and horrifically poor every other season. Last year happened to be one of those utterly poor showings. He walked 95 hitters in just over 121 innings of work.

Analysis: Depending upon the year, Guillon looks like either a #2/#3-type starting pitcher or a future batboy. A lefty with good size (6-foot-3 and 220 pounds) and a career 10.2 K/9 will get more than a few looks. Wonder how long before the team pushes him into a bullpen role?

Ceiling: 2.0- to 2.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low

 

 

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