Cincinnati Reds Top 40 Prospects

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Cincinnati Reds. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the fourth year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but we use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.

Reds Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Rhett Lowder 22.1 A+ SP 2024 55
2 Noelvi Marte 22.5 MLB 3B 2024 50
3 Chase Petty 21.0 AA SP 2026 45+
4 Alfredo Duno 18.3 A C 2028 45+
5 Edwin Arroyo 20.6 AA 2B 2026 45
6 Connor Phillips 22.9 MLB MIRP 2024 45
7 Julian Aguiar 22.8 AA SP 2025 45
8 Ty Floyd 22.6 R SP 2026 45
9 Adolfo Sanchez 17.6 R RF 2030 45
10 Andrew Moore 24.7 AA SIRP 2025 40+
11 Zach Maxwell 23.2 AA SIRP 2025 40+
12 Naibel Mariano 17.6 R SS 2030 40+
13 Sammy Stafura 19.4 R SS 2028 40+
14 Lyon Richardson 24.2 MLB MIRP 2024 40
15 Blake Dunn 25.6 AAA CF 2025 40
16 Victor Acosta 19.8 A+ SS 2025 40
17 Carlos Jorge 20.5 A+ CF 2026 40
18 Cam Collier 19.4 A+ 3B 2027 40
19 Ricardo Cabrera 19.4 A 3B 2027 40
20 Cole Schoenwetter 19.5 R SP 2028 40
21 Adam Serwinowski 19.8 A SIRP 2027 40
22 Luis Mey 22.8 A+ SIRP 2026 40
23 Anyer Laureano 21.3 A SIRP 2028 40
24 Carlos Sanchez 19.2 A 3B 2027 40
25 Christian Roa 25.0 AAA MIRP 2024 35+
26 Carson Spiers 26.4 MLB SP 2024 35+
27 Mat Nelson 25.2 AA C 2025 35+
28 Hector Rodriguez 20.1 A+ CF 2026 35+
29 Jay Allen II 21.4 A+ CF 2026 35+
30 Connor Burns 22.3 A C 2026 35+
31 Cade Hunter 23.4 AA C 2027 35+
32 Sheng-En Lin 18.6 R SP 2028 35+
33 Adrian Herrera 19.7 R SP 2028 35+
34 Jacob Hurtubise 26.3 AAA LF 2024 35+
35 Sal Stewart 20.3 A+ 3B 2028 35+
36 Yosver Zulueta 26.2 AAA SIRP 2024 35+
37 Hunter Parks 22.9 A+ SIRP 2025 35+
38 Braxton Roxby 25.1 AA SIRP 2025 35+
39 Cody Adcock 21.8 A SIRP 2028 35+
40 Kenya Huggins 21.3 A SIRP 2026 35+
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55 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from Wake Forest (CIN)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 60/70 55/60 45/60 92-95 / 97

Lowder’s performance steadily improved throughout his college career, which ended with a bang. He went 15-0 in 17 starts for Wake Forest prior to the College World Series and posted a sub-1.00 WHIP and sub-2.00 ERA, then did not pitch at an affiliate after the draft. He brings mid-90s heat, a plus-plus slider, and a potentially plus changeup to the party, and could be a mid-rotation option in Cincinnati by the middle of the 2024 season.

A gangly, unspectacular athlete with a theatrical, cross-bodied delivery, Lowder clearly works hard to keep his somewhat awkward frame in great shape. His bow-legged front side and the stiffness in his hips and lower back contribute to a funky operation that aids in deception, albeit via an atypical look for a starter. But Lowder’s touch and feel for location, especially of his breaking ball, is special. His best pitch is his upper-80s slider, which has considerable length for a breaking ball that hard. The sink/tail action of his fastball limits its bat-missing ability in the strike zone, but its movement pairs nicely with his slider and it’s hard for hitters to cover both of those pitches when they’re located well in sequence. Lowder’s fastball also has utility running back over the glove-side corner of the plate, and he might be able to accentuate the sink on his fastball over time.

Lowder has been in the 94-96 mph range this spring. His fastball/slider combo is very similar to Brady Singer‘s coming out of Florida, but Lowder’s changeup has much more natural action and movement than Singer’s did, and it flummoxed big league hitters during 2024 Cactus League and minor league spring training looks. This was the lone component that needed a little bit of development for Lowder to reasonably project as an impactful mid-rotation arm and it already seems to have arrived. He might obviously be the Reds’ best starting pitcher by August.

50 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (SEA)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 60/60 45/55 40/40 50/50 60

How would you value Noelvi in a trade now that he’s been popped for PEDs? That’s what you’re tasked with as you line him up on the universal prospect continuum after his 80-game suspension, which will cost him the first half of 2024. Marte’s eval and forecast has already waxed and waned some, often in lockstep with his conditioning. At times he has looked heavy and haggard, though sometimes fatigue has been a reasonable explanation for this. In 2022, he played some January winter ball for Gigantes del Cibao, saw 520 regular season plate appearances in the States, changed organizations as the highest-profile prospect in the blockbuster Luis Castillo deadline deal, went to Germany as part of Team Spain’s WBC qualifier roster, and then came back to the US and played for another six weeks in the Arizona Fall League, where he looked pretty awful. He seemed rejuvenated in 2023 and slashed .279/.358/.454 split between Double- and Triple-A before debuting in Cincinnati to the tune of a .316/.366/.456 line in 123 major league PA. Marte continued to look svelte in the D.R. over the winter before he was shut down with a pulled hammy. The news of his PED suspension was the first in a slew of tough breaks for the Reds offense.

Without the PED suspension clouding his report, Marte projects as an everyday third baseman with a shot to be a more impactful player if he finds a way to get to his power more consistently. He’s has good plate coverage, only really whiffing a bunch against well-executed sliders, which is true of most hitters. He tends to cut down on the baseball and can really only elevate hanging breaking balls and pitches toward the top of the strike zone. Some of this is caused by Noelvi’s swing path and some of it is caused by imprecise feel for sweet spot contact; Marte hits a lot of choppers and grounders even though he doesn’t whiff all that much. To the eye, he is not as skilled a hitter as he has been on paper, and while he’s incredibly physical and has above-average raw power already at age 22, Marte’s swing is not actualized to get to all of it. While you can pick enough nits to stop short of calling Noelvi a future superstar, he’s still a well-rounded player who has more recently looked as engaged and agile on defense as ever. Though the track record of past prospects suspended for PEDs isn’t great, Marte’s slide here is due more to lost time than any false sense of precision around the way PEDs may have buffed his tools. He slides behind Rhett Lowder on the Reds list and down next to Jasson Domínguez (who is also missing about half the season recovering from TJ) on the Top 100.

45+ FV Prospects

3. Chase Petty, SP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Mainland HS (MIN)
Age 21.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 70/70 40/50 40/50 40/45 95-99 / 100

The track record for high school pitchers who are among the hardest throwers in their class isn’t very good, and this spectre follows Petty, who came to the Reds from Minnesota during the spring of 2022 in a trade for Sonny Gray. Petty is an incredible on-mound athlete whose body whips around like a tornado throughout his delivery, which compares to Abner Uribe’s. He was up to 102 mph and routinely sat in the mid-to-upper 90s during his draft year, then has “only” averaged 94 mph each of the last couple of seasons while working four innings per outing to a max of 98 innings in 2022. Petty missed the first month of 2023 with an elbow issue but looked like his usual self when he returned, and during the spring of 2024 he’s had a velo spike back into the 95-99 mph range even as he’s stretched out from just one or two innings to four as camp broke.

Petty has built an impressive and pleasantly surprising multi-year track record of strike-throwing, capped by a fantastic 5.8% BB% in 2023. His early 2024 look, to the eye, has been more reliever-y, and it’s possible that in order to get to his peak velocity again, he has to throw with such effort that it detracts from his strike-throwing. Petty’s fastball doesn’t really miss bats even at this velocity because it’s more of a sinker, but it does help Petty get a lot of groundballs (58.5% GB% at High-A last year). This spring, Petty looks like he’s added a second breaking ball. In 2023, he was working with a mid-80s slider in the 83-89 mph range that typically had two-plane shape. So far in 2024, he has a low-90s cutter and a mid-80s slurve, which have distinct shape from one another. One doesn’t typically project heavily on a changeup when the pitcher’s arm action is as long as Petty’s, but he flashes a good one once in a while, too. Among the many keys for Petty’s 2024 are maintaining this sudden velo surge while also continuing to throw strikes, and finding a second bat-missing pitch to go with his excellent slower breaking ball. If he can do even one of those, he’ll move into the Top 100 and be poised for a 2025 debut ahead of his chalk 40-man clock.

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Venezuela (CIN)
Age 18.3 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 60/80 25/70 40/30 20/45 70

Duno’s amateur report was akin to that of Gary Sánchez. He was not viewed as a slam dunk to stay at catcher in part because of his size, but nearly top-of-the-scale power and arm strength drove a profile of monster upside. Duno hit a robust .303/.451/.493 in the 2023 DSL but he didn’t catch, DHing all summer instead (and playing first base in the DSL All-Star Game) due to an elbow injury. This spring on the Goodyear complex, Duno stood apart from most of his peers in terms of size and strength, and looks at home among big leaguers who are a decade or so older than he is. He takes a ridiculous BP for an 18-year-old, the kind where you can feel the thump of him compressing the baseball deep in your chest, as if you were standing next to a bass drum at a concert. The level of explosion and bat speed for an athlete of Duno’s size is remarkable, and he already has enormous measureable raw power for a player his age. He was obviously bigger than Chase DeLauter (listed at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds) when the two stood next to one another.

Duno is still incredibly raw, most notably as a catcher, where the speed of the game is too much for him right now. He had multiple pitch timer violations in the Reds’ Spring Breakout game, for instance. None of this is unusual for a teenage backstop, let alone one who probably caught less pro-quality stuff than most high-profile domestic amateurs. To put this in a different context, it’s as if Duno is a high school senior who didn’t catch as a junior, and now rather than now catch fellow high school seniors, he’s catching domestic A-ball arms. His profile is similar to other high-risk/high-upside teenage catchers like Blake Mitchell and Eduardo Tait (both 45 FV prospects), but Duno has a different level of physical ability than those two guys. Of players who could take a leap from outside the Top 100 to being among the top 30 or so prospects in baseball during the next 18 months, Duno is a clear candidate because of his power potential at the catching position. I want to see how his strikeouts trend during the season and revisit his defense on tape (it’s not good right now) later in the year before stuffing this guy in the no. 30-50 overall range in baseball, but that’s how things are trending here.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Central Pointe Christian (FL) (SEA)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 45/50 35/55 55/55 40/50 50

One of the Mariners prospects sent to Cincinnati as part of the Luis Castillo trade, Arroyo had another fairly successful offensive season upon promotion to High-A in 2023. He slashed .248/.321/.427 as a 19-year-old and had his second straight season with double digit homers and triples. All told, Arroyo had 49 extra-base hits in 123 games. His ability to lift the baseball and consistently get to power is the foundation of a profile that has some cracks, cracks that kept Arroyo just off the Top 100 even before a torn labrum and subsequent surgery shelved him for all of 2024.

For one, Arroyo’s arm strength and the somewhat casual pace of his actions are better fits at second base than at shortstop, and even though Arroyo has really only played shortstop as a pro, he’s projected to second base here. Second, Arroyo’s rate of chase and inability to make contact with soft stuff that finishes in the bottom third of the strike zone will likely pull his OBP down below the typically accepted levels for an everyday player. Switch-hitting middle infielders who get to power like Arroyo does are still valuable, but in his case it will probably be in a second-division, everyday second base role. Arroyo has pole-to-pole power from the left side of the plate, scooping mistake breaking stuff to his pull side and spraying fastballs the other way. He’s more of a pull-only hitter as a righty but he still lifts the ball consistently (note that I have Arroyo’s game power projected above his raw because of how remarkable his feel for list is). This is going to weaponize Arroyo’s power, which should be average or a tick above at maturity. It’s good pop for a second baseman but not quite enough to elevate the entire profile, which is dragged down by a middling rate contact and poor OBP skills. He’s still going to be a good player, just probably not a 2-plus annual WAR guy.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from McLennan JC (SEA)
Age 22.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 45/55 60/60 30/40 30/45 95-97 / 99

Phillips looked like he’d be the next Mariners pitching prospect to break out when, after an electric 2022 spring, he was the Player to Be Named Later in the pre-season Jesse Winker deal. He was absolutely unhittable throughout his first 14 starts of 2023; in 64.2 innings, Phillips struck out 109 hitters and had four starts with double digit K’s. Across the rest of the season, including a cup of coffee at the big league level, Phillips regressed to the walk-prone ways (43 free passes in his final 61 innings) that have clouded his profile with relief risk since he entered pro ball.

Phillips hasn’t demonstrated the control to start, but he has demonstrated the durability, and his fastball averaged just north of 96 mph across 120 innings in 2023 and is back in that area to start 2024. Despite its movement, Phillips’ stuff doesn’t garner a high rate of chase because he throws too many non-competitive pitches nowhere near the zone, and his fastball has a shockingly low swinging strike rate for such a hard pitch with this much vertical break. Phillips is also built like a big catcher. He’s the sort of powerful, tightly wound athlete more commonly found in the bullpen. With all three of Phillips’ option years left, the Reds might let him start for a while longer to see if his command has late improvement before they convert him. I think Phillips would thrive best in a dynamic, multi-inning relief role or in a set-up man capacity for a contending team.

Drafted: 12th Round, 2021 from Cypress College (CA) (CIN)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 55/55 50/55 55/60 93-96 / 97

Aguiar had an assertive first full season in pro ball, as the former junior college infield convert struck out 26.7% of hitters and walked just 6.7%. He maintained that performance amid a 40-inning uptick in workload and a second half promotion to Double-A. He averaged 93-96 mph on his fastballs as part of an evenly deployed three- or four-pitch mix. Aguiar commands his heater to his glove side with remarkable consistency, but its sinking action makes it less apt to miss bats than is typical of a fastball that hard. His command enables him to set up his fantastic low-80s slider, which he also commands with robotic consistency. Aguiar can vary the shape of his breaking ball depending on whether he wants to land it for a strike or generate chase, so even though all of them are the same velocity, he effectively has a slider and curveball. Aguiar will also use his low-80s changeup against hitters of either handedness; it typically finishes with sink at or below the strike zone, where it can’t be crushed. It gives him an arm-side weapon to fill out his east/west style of operation. Plus command really makes Aguiar’s entire repertoire sing and it’s why he’s projected as a contender’s no. 4/5. He’s a likely post-2024 40-man add who’ll probably play an up/down role in 2025 before establishing himself as a factor in the Reds rotation soon after.

8. Ty Floyd, SP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from LSU (CIN)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/55 45/55 30/50 93-95 / 98

Floyd was a two-year starter at LSU whose stock exploded during the College World Series when he was topping out at 98 and bending in a nasty slider that was suddenly much harder than his regular season sliders, often 87 mph or so. Floyd struckout 120 hitters in 91 innings as a junior using mostly his mid-90s fastball, which features big ride and misses bats in the zone. His slider tends to finish thigh high, but if he continues to throw it as hard as he was late in the 2023 college season, it’s going to be a good pitch. Floyd’s arm speed helps him sell his changeup and is the trait that allows you to project further on the pitch. Once in a blue moon, Floyd will dump in an slower curveball. It’s a starter’s mix with a starter’s on-mound athleticism and what looked like a late, meaningful uptick in stuff. He did not pitch after the draft and is on the 60-day IL with elbow discomfort to begin 2024. It seemed like he might be ticketed for a quick ascent, but now that he has an injury that necessitated a 60-day stint, there’s been a slight re-positioning of Floyd’s grade and ETA.

9. Adolfo Sanchez, RF

Signed: International Signing Period, 2024 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 17.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 45/55 25/55 50/50 30/50 50

Though he is much more likely to end up defending a corner position than your typical top-of-the-class international prospect, Sanchez’s present hit and power combination is very exciting, and his FV grade has been juiced above my typical heuristic for a prospect like this because he looks like such a smooth and dangerous hitter. Sanchez has a dynamic and beautiful left-handed swing that combines natural loft and barrel precision to give him one of the better present offensive toolsets in his class. His top hand drives the quality of his contact, and Sanchez is shorter to the baseball than most players his size and age. He’s also become meaningfully stronger during the last year or so, and could be poised to move quickly through complex-level ball. The Reds have gravitated toward international prospects who the industry perceives as having more polished hit and power combinations, and that’s again the case with Sanchez, who signed with Cincinnati for a $2.7 million bonus.

40+ FV Prospects

10. Andrew Moore, SIRP

Drafted: 14th Round, 2021 from Chipola JC (FL) (SEA)
Age 24.7 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/55 70/70 30/40 94-97 / 98

Moore was a nice semi-under-the-radar pickup for the Reds in the Luis Castillo trade. Drafted in the 14th round in 2021 out of Chipola Junior College in Florida, he is a pure relief prospect who scrapped his changeup and has added a second breaking ball to his repertoire while also experiencing a bump in velocity. Moore’s velo climbed throughout his 2021 JUCO season. After he was 91-94 mph early on, he finished in the 93-96 range and averaged 94-97 in pro ball after the draft, then was 95-98 throughout the 2022 and 2023 seasons and again in the spring of 2024. Moore’s mid-90s fastball has explosive rise-and-run action that is helped by his athletic, drop-and-drive style delivery, which creates shallow angle on the pitch, though he doesn’t consistently spot it in the optimal location. Moore has developed a plus-plus power curveball in pro ball and still has a harder, short slider that he’s retained from college. He is quite wild but misses bats at an elite rate while also inducing a ton of groundballs (51% GB%). His ceiling will be dictated by how much his command develops, but there is late-game pure stuff here.

11. Zach Maxwell, SIRP

Drafted: 6th Round, 2022 from Georgia Tech (CIN)
Age 23.2 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 275 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
65/65 70/70 40/45 96-98 / 100

An absolute unit, Maxwell is approaching size of an NFL offensive lineman at a whopping 6-foot-6, 275 pounds. He goes right at hitters with triple-digit heat and struck out 96 batters in 61.1 innings across both A-ball levels in 2023 before he went to the Arizona Fall League. Maxwell is bumping 100 again in the spring of 2024 and coasts at 96-98, often for two innings at a time. He also has a power, two-planed breaking ball that has incredible depth for a pitch that bends in around 86-88 mph, and that generated a miss rate approaching 50% last season. Even though some of his fastball’s bat-missing ability is hindered by its steep plane, he still looks like a late-inning reliever. Maxwell is tracking well ahead of his stock 40-man pace, which would otherwise see him debut in 2026. Instead, he has a shot to debut late in 2024, especially if the Reds are in the postseason mix late in the year.

12. Naibel Mariano, SS

Signed: International Signing Period, 2024 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 17.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 40/55 20/50 55/55 40/50 60

Mariano is a wiry shortstop prospect with a gorgeous swing, though there was disagreement in the international scouting community as to whether or not he’s actually going to hit. He need only hit enough to tap into what could be explosive power at maturity. While some of the other 40+ FV prospects in his signing class had more present power, Mariano has a better chance to stay at shortstop and should catch the others in the power department as he fills out. Variability around teams’ assessment of his hit tool is what makes Mariano more akin to a second-round draft prospect rather than a first.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2023 from Panas HS (NY) (CIN)
Age 19.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 188 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 35/40 20/40 45/45 40/45 50

Stafura was ranked 62nd on my 2023 Draft Board and signed for $2.5 million in the second round rather than go to Clemson. He struggled very badly in pro ball after the draft, striking out more than 40% of the time. It was only a two-week sample but that kind of haplessness is concerning. Stafura’s body doesn’t always seem connected from the ground up when he swings — this isn’t a loose-in-the-hips athlete who rotates with explosion, he guides his hands to the ball and turns his wrists over through contact in a fairly conservative fashion. His athleticism and defensive footwork doesn’t scream “slam dunk shortstop,” but Stafura makes a fair number of acrobatic plays by virtue of his body control and feel for throwing accuracy, with the latter enabling him to hit the first baseman in the chest from odd and difficult platforms. He came to 2024 camp looking significantly stronger than he did last year, which theoretically should help him hit for some power even with such a simple swing. The track record of northeastern prep hitters isn’t great, and I am a little concerned about Stafura’s start to pro ball, but I thought he looked okay during spring training and it’s too early to overhaul his pre-draft eval.

40 FV Prospects

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Jensen Beach HS (FL) (CIN)
Age 24.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 192 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 45/45 50/50 60/60 40/40 95-98 / 99

Richardson has dealt with intermittent arm issues as a pro. His stuff was down some in 2019 before he had a velo spike while doing remote work in Florida during the 2020 shutdown. He struggled in 2021 and had Tommy John in September of that year, which kept him out for the entire 2022 regular season. Richardson rehabbed quickly enough to throw during 2022 instructs, where he showed more arm strength than ever before; he carried that velocity into 2023, albeit on a pretty strict innings count. He sat 96-97 from a short-striding, three-quarters arm slot that would look typical if not for Richardson’s buff, T-Rex-looking build and the terse pacing of his mechanics. This spring, his velocity seems to be down a little bit, especially later in outings, when Richardson’s velo drops from the 96-97 area to 92-94 (Statcast’s auto pitch tagging has misclassified many of his fastballs as changeups early in 2024).

He’s a tightly wound athlete who struggled to throw strikes down the stretch of 2023 and that has also continued into this season. His best pitch is his tailing upper-80s changeup, which has a great amount of movement but can suffer from Richardson’s sudden lack of feel for location. He also has a loopy 12-to-6 curveball in the 79-82 mph range and a low-80s slider that he struggles to control. All of these pitches are fine on their own but none of them fits particularly well with one another, and this is exacerbated by Richardson’s overall lack of control. It’s possible he can improve his command as he gets further away from surgery, but based on Richardson’s arm strength and injury history, it might be best to just bullpen him and let him try to bully opposing hitters in the middle innings.

15. Blake Dunn, CF

Drafted: 15th Round, 2021 from Western Michigan (CIN)
Age 25.6 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/40 50/50 30/40 60/60 45/50 55

Dunn had an outstanding 2023 statline, as he slashed .312/.425/.522 and hit 23 homers after he only had five dingers combined in his two injury-riddled seasons prior. He’s a stocky 5-foot-10 with a super strong lower body. Dunn’s center field defense was a revelation in 2023; he hadn’t been healthy enough to show that he could play there until last season. Dunn has average range and plays with big effort and confidence at the warning track. I worry he won’t be able to sustain his 2023 bat-to-ball performance against better velocity. Dunn is late on a lot of fastballs. His levers are short enough for him to punch them the other way right now, but once a greater percentage of the fastballs he sees are 95 mph and above, things could slip. Dunn isn’t a true talent .520 SLG guy. He has average pull power, but it lives in a fairly small part of the hitting zone. The 2024 season is Dunn’s 40-man evaluation year and he should compete with Stuart Fairchild for that righty fifth outfielder role next spring.

16. Victor Acosta, SS

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (SDP)
Age 19.8 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 40/45 20/40 60/60 45/60 60

Acosta, who was acquired for Brandon Drury at the 2022 deadline, posted a .251/.364/.354 line at Low-A in 2023. He continues to track like a switch-hitting utilityman. Acosta’s bat drags through the zone from the left side, making it tough for him to pull the ball. Though he has posted above-average walk rates throughout his pro career to this point, his underlying swing and chase rates suggest his OBP will dip as he climbs through the minors. He’s a sound defensive shortstop with just a little bit of experience at other positions. Stocky and relatively lacking in physical projection for a prospect this age, Acosta is on pace for a post-2025 40-man add and a debut somewhere in 2026 or 2027, when he’s needed for depth purposes.

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 20.5 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 45/55 35/50 55/55 30/45 40

The short and muscularly dense Jorge punches above his measurables in the batter’s box thanks to his high-effort, uppercut swing and bodybuilder’s physique. He slashed .295/.400/.483 at Low-A Daytona last year and stole 31 bases in just 86 games before his performance came crashing back to Earth upon a bump to Dayton, where he hit .239/.277/.398 and struck out at a 31.9% clip.

Perhaps the biggest development from Jorge’s 2023 was that he began to see time in center field. He isn’t a very good defensive second baseman and viability in center field is his best shot at developing into a good defender at a premium position. Though he only struck out at a 19.7% clip in the FSL, Jorge’s post-promotion uptick in strikeouts was more in line with his underlying contact data, which is a little bit concerning. His front side tends to fly open during his swing, leaving Jorge vulnerable on the outer third, and he has such an uppercut bat path that we may yet learn he also has issues at the top of the zone against good velo. But Jorge’s strength for an athlete his size is incredible. He may be the strongest pound-for-pound hitter in the Reds entire org. The ceiling for Jorge looks like what Jazz Chisholm Jr. has done so far in the big leagues, with power making him valuable despite at-bats of frustrating quality.

18. Cam Collier, 3B

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Chipola JC (CIN)
Age 19.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 55/60 20/50 40/30 30/50 70

Collier is a tough eval because he’s clearly talented in a few key ways, but is either flawed or mechanically odd looking in others. He’s still very young and I want to be mindful of early onset prospect fatigue here — Cam has been known for going on a half decade now even though he won’t turn 20 until after the season — so I’ve tried to strip down my previous notes and scout Collier from scratch, as if he weren’t already a famous, high-bonus guy.

Collier has incredible raw power for a 19-year-old prospect and is capable of putting balls out to the opposite field with ease. He has above-average big league raw power as a teenager and his 2023 contact rates were encouraging, especially within the strike zone, where they were better than average. When you start to incorporate visual scouting into the analysis, though, things are a little less stellar. Collier’s odd bat path traverses the bottom portion of the zone and he’s very vulnerable against pitches at the belt. His internal clock at third base isn’t well calibrated, and his throws to first base are often rushed and inaccurate or arrive late. The barrel-chested 19-year-old has a maxed-out frame and could conceivably slide to first base. As solid as Cam’s on-paper contact rates are, even if they hold at their current level all the way up the minor league ladder, they are in the bottom third of the current first base player population. It’s very important for him to improve on defense. Without any preconceived notions about Collier as a result of his amateur fame, he has a strong data-driven profile but a fairly shaky visual one.

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Venezuela (CIN)
Age 19.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 35/50 20/45 50/45 30/40 40

Cabrera has already had a fairly eventful prospect narrative. He signed for $2.7 million in 2022 and was billed as one of the most advanced bats in the class, but he had a generic pro debut season in the DSL, slashing .253/.363/.380 with below-average underlying contact metrics. When Cabrera arrived in the U.S., he looked surprisingly heavy already and had some terrible issues on defense, where he couldn’t throw the ball accurately to first base. He then proceeded to have an incredible rebound season with the bat, slashing .350/.469/.559 on the Arizona complex before a brief promotion to Daytona. This spring, Cabrera continues to hit the baseball incredibly hard — he made some of the loudest backfield contact I’ve seen during all of minor league spring training. By the end of the season, Cabrera had slimmed some and looked much better on defense, showing enough arm strength to fit on the left side of the infield, but he still has pretty serious mobility issues and throwing accuracy problems on defense. Though he’s playing a lot of shortstop now, Cabrera projects to third base. Athletes who are his size at this age tend not to stay at shortstop, and the ones who end up at second base are of the Nolan Gorman variety, shoehorned there to get their bat in the lineup. There’s enough power-hitting upside here to consider Cabrera a potential regular at the hot corner, but there’s also a ton of volatility because of the way his conditioning and defense have roller coastered during his career’s prologue.

20. Cole Schoenwetter, SP

Drafted: 4th Round, 2023 from San Marcos HS (CA) (CIN)
Age 19.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/55 55/60 30/45 25/55 91-95 / 97

Riding fastball life and breaking ball quality spearhead Schoenwetter’s fairly typical prep righty profile and earned him a $1.9 million bonus in 2023. He’ll show you 96 early in starts and live anywhere between 91-95 the rest of the way. The fastball has plus riding life at the top of the zone, and he commands it there regularly. Schoenwetter has a lanky, broad-shouldered frame but below-average big league athleticism. His delivery has some stiffness and shorter extension, in the Joe Musgrove family of deliveries. His curveball quality is very advanced, showing big depth in the low-80s and playing well off the line of his fastball. He did not break camp with an affiliate and instead will be part of the group beginning activity for extended spring training in Arizona.

21. Adam Serwinowski, SIRP

Drafted: 15th Round, 2022 from Eastside HS (SC) (CIN)
Age 19.8 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
55/60 55/60 20/40 93-95 / 97

A 2022 15th rounder out of a South Carolina High School, Serwinowski had a 2023 velo spike and sat 94-97 with plus carry across just about 30 innings last season. He’s a spindly 6-foot-5 and is still just 19, so he might throw harder, though he was sitting more 93-95 early in the spring of 2024. Serwinowski has talent for spinning a breaking ball, a low-to-mid-80s slider with huge two-plane wipe, but he has very little feel for locating it right now. His mechanics are pretty violent and his hat often flies off his head mid-delivery. There’s substantial relief risk here and a lot of developmental hurdles to clear to become a starter, but Serwinoski has great upside for a guy who signed for $125,000 not long ago.

22. Luis Mey, SIRP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 45/55 35/45 20/30 97-99 / 101

Mey’s ceiling is higher than this but his floor is lower. The prototypically built righty has elite arm strength and was in the 97-101 mph range again this spring, but his command and slider consistency are still deficient. Mey needs to improve his command at least a little or it will be tough to roster him because of his wildness. That said, if he can polish his strike-throwing to an average level, there is late-inning stuff here. Sometimes guys like this become Félix Bautista. One day, they’re a danger to anyone who steps in the box; the next, things click and they’re utterly dominant for a period of time. Mey would be an interesting change of scenery candidate, but the Reds are pretty good at developing pitching and haven’t been able to make much headway here.

23. Anyer Laureano, SIRP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 21.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 188 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 45/55 30/40 20/30 96-99 / 100

Another absolutely wild young Reds pitcher with a huge arm, Laureano is a spindly relief prospect who walked a batter per inning on the complex in 2023. He’ll sit 96-99 with 19 inches of vertical break and flash the occasional plus slider in the 84-86 mph range. No aspect of Laureano’s current operation is remotely consistent, but he needs to be monitored closely because his ceiling is considerable if things click.

24. Carlos Sanchez, 3B

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 177 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 35/50 20/40 50/50 35/55 60

After a strange but promising .355/.505/.442 line in the 2022 DSL, Sanchez was impressive on the backfields in 2023 before his ability to make contact cratered after his promotion to full-season ball. Sanchez’s swing is long and vulnerable at the top of the zone, but he’s a physical lefty stick who can play all over the diamond. The multi-positional youngster has feel for both the strike zone and oppo contact when he isn’t swinging underneath good velocity. There was a moment during 2023 spring training when scouts coming out of Goodyear indicated they thought Sanchez had a chance to develop into an everyday guy, but he looks much more likely to be a utilityman to me, especially after his 2023 bat-to-ball performance.

35+ FV Prospects

25. Christian Roa, MIRP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Texas A&M (CIN)
Age 25.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/50 60/60 50/50 50/50 50/50 35/40 93-95 / 97

Roa has above-average secondary stuff but fringe command. He walked 16.5% of hitters in a 2023 season split between Double- and Triple-A. He also K’d more than a batter per inning, as Roa’s slider and changeup give him bat-missing weapons against hitters of either handedness. Roa can change the speed and shape of his breaking balls across the 80-90 mph range. He’s slider-heavy against righties and more changeup and curveball-oriented against lefties. If Roa can polish his command, then he fits as a fifth starter, but he’s 25, and I have him evaluated more as a multi-inning reliever where his inefficiency won’t be as punishing. He began 2024 on the shelf with a flexor strain.

26. Carson Spiers, SP

Undrafted Free Agent, 2020 (CIN)
Age 26.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
40/40 50/50 45/50 50/50 40/45 90-95 / 96

Spiers had a bounce-back 2023 as he repeated Double-A after struggling to miss bats there in 2022 and then made his big league debut. His velo is down a bit at the onset of 2024, as his fastball averaged 92 in his first Louisville outing of the year. He’s essentially a five-pitch guy — four-seam, two-seam, cutter, slider, changeup — with fair command. Spiers has an east/west style of pitching that requires plus command to really thrive, and unless he develops that deep into his 20s, he’s more of a spot starter than a steady rotation guy.

27. Mat Nelson, C

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Florida State (CIN)
Age 25.2 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/30 55/55 40/45 30/30 40/45 55

Nelson finally adjusted to High-A in 2023 and had a flawed-but-solid season at the dish, as he slashed .220/.322/.422 and yanked out 18 homers in 89 games before a brief promotion to Double-A. Nelson has good pull-side mistake power for a catcher and does enough on defense to stay back there. He uses a traditional crouch and is a great technical ball-blocker despite middling mobility, while his receiving is passable. He’s projected here as a power-oriented third catcher.

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (NYM)
Age 20.1 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 186 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 30/40 30/30 45/45 30/50 40

The Reds received Rodriguez from the Mets as part of the 2022 Tyler Naquin trade, and he slashed an incredible .333/.372/.536 combined across both orgs while transitioning from second base to center field. In 2023, Rodriguez had another successful surface-level statistical performance with a .293/.343/.495 line at mostly Low-A Daytona, but some pretty serious chase issues now lurk beneath the surface. Rodriguez’s 48% chase rate was the third highest in the minors among hitters with at least 400 PA. He packs a pretty significant punch at the plate for a hitter this size and his contact rates are solidly average when he actually swings at strikes.

Rodriguez still has some developing to do in center field. He’s only been playing there regularly for two seasons and while he has the pure speed to play there, he doesn’t always look comfortable catching the baseball. With chase rates as extreme as this, there’s substantial bust risk here. At the very least, Rodriguez projects more like an extra outfielder than a regular because of what that issue will likely do to his offensive output as he climbs through the minors.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from John Carroll HS (FL) (CIN)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/20 50/60 30/45 60/60 45/60 40

Allen has missed meaningful portions of each of the last two seasons with oblique and thumb injuries; the now-21-year-old has played just 46 games above Low-A. If you’re inclined to project on his hit tool due to a lack of reps you can, but I think things are raw enough to conclude that Allen is unlikely to hit enough to play a substantial big league role. He plays a good center field, however, and he has enough raw power to be dangerous when pitches run into his bat path. He projects to eventually occupy the bottom of a 40-man roster as viable depth at a premium position.

30. Connor Burns, C

Drafted: 5th Round, 2023 from Long Beach State (CIN)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 45/50 35/40 30/40 40/50 60

Burns had a power breakout as a junior and slugged 14 homers, 10 more than his career total entering the year. He generates big lift and power on contact (for a catcher, anyway), but his ability to put bat on ball is limited to the low-and-away portion of the strike zone. He whiffs a ton against in-zone fastballs, which he tends to swing underneath, even when they’re piped. Defensively, Burns is a pretty good bet to be a catcher long-term. He’s an average athlete and currently below-average receiver with a plus arm. It’s a workable skill set behind the dish. Realistically, he’s a backup catcher prospect.

31. Cade Hunter, C

Drafted: 5th Round, 2022 from Virginia Tech (CIN)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/30 50/55 35/45 40/40 40/45 50

There was a time when Hunter’s concerning lack of secondary pitch recognition could have been explained away due to missing reps, as his first two years at Virginia Tech were squelched by the pandemic and a broken hamate. But we’re now a couple of years removed from that and Hunter’s still struggling with strikeouts in the low minors even as he gets to his impressive power. He hit 15 homers in just over 100 games in 2023 and has the well-composed, projectable frame of a power-hitting threat. He could be a Blake Sabol type of player who catches and sees some action at another position in a part-time capacity.

32. Sheng-En Lin, SP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Taiwan (CIN)
Age 18.6 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
30/40 40/50 50/60 25/55 90-93 / 94

Lin is a two-way prospect who, based on his look during WBSC play as an amatuer, I consider much more likely to make it as a pitcher. The Reds signed him for $1.2 million last year, but a hamstring injury limited his time on the field in Arizona. Lin will probably get reps as a position player early in his pro career, but I’m skeptical his bat speed will play against pro velocity. Instead, I prefer him on the mound, where he was 90-93 mph with good feel for a curveball and changeup against the U-18 Team USA squad the September before he signed. Lin repeats his delivery, he has precocious feel for his changeup, and his arm slot is conducive to creating carry on his fastball. He’s of medium build and may not throw all that much harder down the road, but he has the command and repertoire depth to develop as a starter.

33. Adrian Herrera, SP

Undrafted Free Agent, 2023 (CIN)
Age 19.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/45 40/50 45/60 20/50 91-94 / 95

Purely an athletic developmental project at this stage, Herrera was an undrafted two-way high schooler who is focusing on pitching in pro ball. His frame is on the smaller side, but his delivery is beautiful and athletic, he’s taken advantage of pro strength and conditioning facilities, and the line on his fastball is going to be tough to get on top of because of the combo of his height and drop-and-drive style delivery. He’s sitting in the low-90s with better feel for his changeup than his breaking ball, and his pitchability and secondary stuff is pretty raw overall. I like the foundational athletic ingredients here enough to consider Herrera a sleeper starter prospect at the bottom of this system.

34. Jacob Hurtubise, LF

Undrafted Free Agent, 2020 (CIN)
Age 26.3 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
60/60 30/30 30/30 70/70 40/40 40

The speedy Hurtubise had one of the best statistical seasons in the 2023 minors, as he slashed .330/.479/.483 with 28 extra-base hits, a 13.8% strikeout rate and a 16.9% walk rate to go with 45 stolen bases. He can really run and tracks pitches well, but Hurtubise doesn’t have the kind of bat speed that allows for real power and he isn’t an especially good outfield defender. You want to him in left field if you can, and he doesn’t have the power to profile as a complementary regular there. His lack of versatility makes it tough for him to be rostered, though I think he’d be slightly above replacement if he played every day. He’s a gamer, and if you need a pinch runner or if there’s a situation where you badly need a ball put in play, Hurtubise would be a nice piece off the bench in those situations. (David Laurila talked extensively with Hurtubise here.) He began 2024 on the shelf with a shoulder strain.

35. Sal Stewart, 3B

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Westminster Christian HS (FL) (CIN)
Age 20.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/45 45/50 20/40 30/30 30/40 55

It took $2 million to sign Stewart out of high school and keep him from going to Vanderbilt, and after parts of two pro seasons, he is now a career .276/.396/.414 hitter who is coming off a full-season debut with a very strong 15% strikeout rate.

Why no upward revision to Stewart’s grade then? I’m apprehensive about how he’ll perform against upper-level fastballs, both in terms of their velocity and his opponents’ ability to locate to the upper part of the strike zone, which Stewart is not as good at covering. He is also a well-below average athlete and third base defender who approaches grounders in front of him too slowly. Stewart has started to see time at second base, where most of a player’s duties are comprised of feeding and operating around the second base bag and moving side to side. Maybe that will be a better fit for him but, athletically, it would be a non-traditional, mold-defying one if it works out. Stewart does track pitches well, makes terrific adjustments to breaking balls, and moves the bat around the bottom two thirds of the zone with advanced feel. He hits the ball hard but not in the air as often as you want a below-average corner defender to. Stewart’s build is maxed out and it’s unlikely there’s much more raw power on the way even though he’s only 20.

Improved mobility on defense (there have been no signs of that this spring) or Stewart simply “proving it” against Double- and Triple-A stuff in the next couple of years are the means by which I’d consider upping this grade. There’s performance-driven trade value here, but I worry Stewart is a righty-hitting version of Joe Rizzo.

36. Yosver Zulueta, SIRP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (TOR)
Age 26.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 70/70 40/40 20/30 94-97 / 100

The Blue Jays used international pool space they acquired in the trades of Kendrys Morales and Dwight Smith to sign Zulueta just before the 2018-19 signing period ended in June of 2019. They did so knowing he’d need Tommy John, which he had shortly after signing. Finally back in the fall of 2020, Zulueta was topping out in the 94-96 mph range at Toronto’s facilities in Florida, then threw even harder in the spring of 2021, when he sat 96-99 as a non-roster invitee with the big club. He made it all of three pitches into his first start before he tore a ligament in his knee, needed surgery, and missed the remainder of the season. The 2022 season was Zulueta’s 40-man evaluation year and the Blue Jays pushed him very aggressively up the minor league ladder (as a starter), such that he made starts at each full-season minor league level, including Triple-A. We pretty confidently projected Zulueta in the bullpen last year and he made it about a month into the 2023 season before the Jays moved him there, which was a refreshing departure for the org that kept starting Nate Pearson even while their big league bullpen could have used a weapon like him. What we failed to anticipate was that Zulueta’s command would be so bad that Toronto would DFA him before the 2024 season; he was claimed by the Reds.

While Zulueta’s delivery isn’t especially violent, it also isn’t especially graceful or smooth, and his feel for location is so bad that he’s unlikely to reach the late-inning ceiling his stuff suggests. The Reds have already altered his delivery somewhat — Zulueta’s formerly big, distracting glove motion upon hand break has been toned down and he seems to be a little deeper in his lower half as he drives home. It hasn’t immediately aided his consistency at Louisville. He’s an older dev project hanging onto the 40-man by a thread, but he’ll probably get many chances to figure things out because he has premium arm strength and breaking ball movement.

37. Hunter Parks, SIRP

Drafted: 8th Round, 2021 from Florence-Darlington Tech JUCO (CIN)
Age 22.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 70/70 40/40 30/35 94-96 / 97

Parks has only ever started in pro ball, but he’s walked 15% of hitters combined the last two seasons and, now in his 40-man platform year, the Reds should consider moving him to relief. He sat 95 mph last season and has a plus-plus two-plane breaking ball with huge wipe. Pitch metrics also like his changeup, but he has lacked any modicum of feel for it during my in-person looks. Especially if he can throw a little harder in relief, he should be a dynamic reliever, but he’ll probably need to improve his command somewhat to consistently be on a roster.

38. Braxton Roxby, SIRP

Undrafted Free Agent, 2020 (CIN)
Age 25.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Cutter Command Sits/Tops
55/55 60/50 50/55 30/35 94-96 / 97

Undrafted out of Division-II Pittsburgh-Johnstown, Roxby was recruited by Reds dev personnel via a post-draft Zoom meeting in which they explained how to better use his pitches (David Laurila interviewed Roxby about it here). After spending most of 2022 and 2023 at High-A, he’s now throwing in the mid-90s (up two ticks from last year) at Double-A Chattanooga and could make a push for a 40-man roster addition after the season. Roxby is a sidearm reliever with mid-90s heat and two breaking balls, the better being a low-80s sweeper. He may not have the command to be a true on-roster middle inning guy, but he has rare arm strength for a pitcher with a slot this low and projects as an up/down specialist type.

39. Cody Adcock, SIRP

Drafted: 13th Round, 2023 from Arkansas (CIN)
Age 21.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 40/45 45/50 55/60 30/40 93-96 / 97

Adcock has been Jekyll and Hyde during my in-person looks. He was at his best during the Reds’ Spring Breakout game, when he was 94-96 with a plus changeup. He also has a slower curveball around 78-81 mph and a mid-80s slider. His command has been erratic at times and I wonder if slimming his repertoire would be helpful in this regard. He projects as a fastball/changeup middle reliever who’ll be a pretty standard middle-inning arm if he can shore up his strike-throwing, and an up/down arm if he can’t.

40. Kenya Huggins, SIRP

Drafted: 4th Round, 2022 from Chipola JC (CIN)
Age 21.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
50/55 55/60 20/40 91-95 / 97

Huggins has a giant frame and showed upper-90s heat at various points in 2022, most notably at the Draft Combine, where he sat mostly 96-98 mph and absolutely dwarfed many of the hard-throwing pitchers from Power Five schools. His slider has bat-missing vertical action, but it, as well as his changeup, has variable effectiveness because his feel for location is quite raw. Huggins had a strikeout- and walk-heavy full-season debut last year, but needed Tommy John at the end of June. He might be back toward the very end of 2024 and is an arm strength dev project to monitor.

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Power Prospects I’m Worried Won’t Hit
Rece Hinds, RF
Yerlin Confidan, RF
Ariel Almonte, RF

This is a pretty self-explanatory group. Hinds is the most developed athlete and upper-level performer, but when you’re striking out a third of the time in the minors, your chances of consistently succeeding at the big league level are remote. Confidan and Almonte are more frame-based developmental projects in the bottom half of the minors.

Last Cuts
Tyler Callihan, 1B/2B
Ethan O’Donnell, OF
David Lorduy, RHP
Pedro Alfonseca, RHP

I worry about moving on from lefty bat speed as good as Callihan’s too quickly, but his approach and defense are still pretty big concerns. In addition to the OBP issues it causes, the former makes it tough for him to get to his power. O’Donnell was the club’s 2023 sixth rounder out of Virginia. He has above-average bat speed, but I worry about his bat path having a hole up-and-away from him that gets exposed as he climbs. Lorduy was the DSL innings leader, a Colombian righty without much physical projection who sits 91 and has good feel for his breaking ball and changeup. He pitched in Colombia over the winter and held his own against adults, but I want to see that velo spike before putting him on the main section of the list. Alfonseca is a 26-year-old converted outfielder whose fastball sat 96 last year, but he walked more than a batter per inning.

Stuff!
Stevie Branche, RHP
Dennis Boatman, RHP
Jacob Heatherly, LHP
Brody Jessee, RHP

Branche (Division III Rochester Institute of Tech) and Boatman (Sacramento City Junior College) are small school arms with mid-90s heat and poor command. Branche (one of two Steve Branches with 1997 birthdays) is sitting 94-95 with a good slider at Louisville so far this year. Boatman walked a batter per innings in 2023, but his velo is relatively new. He’s on the 60-day IL right now. A former high-bonus high schooler, Heatherly will still show you 96-97 from the left side but he also still has 20 control. Jessee has elite quantifiable slider movement and his changeup has bat-missing fade, but he has below-average fastball velocity and 30 control.

Pitchability!
Jose Acuna, RHP
Hunter Hollan, LHP
Bryce Hubbart, LHP
Javi Rivera, RHP
Jose Montero, RHP

There are lots of medium-framed guys with low-90s fastballs and a mix of well located 40- and 45-grade secondaries here. Acuna (who, along with Hector Rodriguez, was acquired from the Mets for Tyler Naquin) sits 93. He has a whippy arm and an average slider, and a changeup that could get there, too. Hollan is a soft-tossing lefty with a good curveball who got just shy of $600,000 coming out of Arkansas last year. Hubbart was that at Florida State and has had a strike-throwing regression in pro ball. Rivera and Montero are similar to Acuna, but Rivera is older (24), while Montero presents a less traditional and athletic mechanical look.

Names You Might Be Curious About
Leo Balcazar, SS
Esmith Pineda, OF

Sometimes prospects are famous among their team’s fanbase, whether because they’re prominent on other publications’ lists or got a big bonus, and I feel obligated to mention them because I know you’re curious what I think. I often feel bad about the tone of these players’ reports because I’m explaining why I think they aren’t good, and it can come off as dismissive of others’ opinions if there are writers who like them. That isn’t my intent, but I am down on these two guys relative to other publications. Balcazar has posted good surface-level stats, but he isn’t an especially good hitter or defender to my eye, and his underlying data is overwhelmingly supportive of my conclusion (17% swinging strike rate, 61% contact rate). Pineda signed for $800,000, had an average 2023 in the ACL, and is now in Daytona. He’s a righty-hitting outfielder who I’ve never seen take a comfortable swing.

System Overview

This system has average depth and a below-average amount of high-end talent. Part of that is because it graduated a ton of very talented rookies last year — Cincinnati would rate highly if we were looking at “young talent” rather than just minor league prospects. The Reds’ approach to scouting amateur talent has tended to be tools-driven. They have lots of big-bodied position player prospects with power who often have hit tool question marks, frequently due to poor plate discipline. Elly De La Cruz epitomizes this in the extreme. He’s a human highlight reel who needs polish. To some degree, that’s true of many of the Reds’ minor league hitters, even when they’re on the thicker side (like Ricardo Cabrera and Cam Collier, whose contact is super loud).

A big part of the major league team’s surge in 2023 was due to the way the pro scouting department nailed aspects of their rebuild. Christian Encarnacion-Strand (who I think I’ll end up being light on), Spencer Steer (who, so far, I nailed), Will Benson, and Jake Fraley were all acquired via trade, as were half the prospects in the top 10 on this list. It’s reminiscent of the Royals’ rebuild (the Greinke trade especially) that led to their World Series title going on a decade ago.

Are the Reds good at developing pitchers? I think that’s open to debate. There are certainly pitchers with interesting traits, or a great pitch or two, all over this system. But have any of the Greene/Ashcraft/Lodolo/Abbott success stories exceeded your expectations? Teams that are good at developing arms either make pitchability types throw harder or help hard throwers locate better. I’m not sure there’s real evidence that either is going on here. The org is good at identifying pitchers with interesting stuff, but I’m not sure it’s great at maxing those players out. The core group of young hitters at the big league level gives the Reds a real shot to sustain postseason contention for a long time if they can continuously generate pitching depth from within, which I think they need to prove they can do.





Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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sadtrombonemember
1 month ago

It’s almost the end of an era. Allan Cerda and Austin Hendrick didn’t even make the “Power Prospects I’m Worried Won’t Hit” section. Rece Hinds is the last of the three left.

pittsburghbob69
1 month ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Organizations should do a list of “here’s a bunch of failed prospects who are gonna be MiLB UFA’s next year and have no shot at a 40 man roster spot” and you can trade them with any player on any other organizations same list of players.

I don’t know if that makes sense and it’s a pretty long winded way of saying I would take a shot at giving Austin Hendrick a change of scenery. But I wouldn’t trade any player worth while… lol.

And that’s only cause he’s a local kid and I’m a Pirates fan .

Sammy Siani for Austin Hendrick…deal?

jsdspudmember
1 month ago

I remember hoping that the Pirates would draft Hendrick.