Cincinnati Reds Top 45 Prospects

© Dale Zanine-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 our own observations. This is the second 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.

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

All of the numbered prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details 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 Hunter Greene 22.7 MLB SP 2022 55
2 Nick Lodolo 24.2 AAA SP 2022 50
3 Elly De La Cruz 20.3 A+ SS 2024 50
4 Brandon Williamson 24.0 AA SP 2023 50
5 Allan Cerda 22.4 A+ RF 2022 45+
6 Connor Phillips 20.9 A+ MIRP 2025 45
7 Matt McLain 22.7 AA SS 2024 45
8 Daniel Vellojin 22.1 A C 2023 45
9 Tyler Callihan 21.8 A 2B 2024 45
10 Austin Hendrick 20.8 A RF 2024 40+
11 Chase Petty 19.0 A SIRP 2026 40+
12 Jay Allen II 19.4 A CF 2026 40+
13 Rece Hinds 21.6 A+ RF 2024 40+
14 Bryce Bonnin 23.5 A+ SIRP 2024 40+
15 Carson Spiers 24.4 A+ SP 2024 40+
16 Yerlin Confidan 19.3 A RF 2025 40+
17 Graham Ashcraft 24.2 AAA SIRP 2022 40+
18 Matheu Nelson 23.2 A+ C 2025 40+
19 Lyon Richardson 22.2 A+ SP 2023 40+
20 Ricardo Cabrera 17.4 R 2B 2027 40
21 Andrew Abbott 22.9 A SP 2025 40
22 Christian Roa 23.0 A+ SP 2024 40
23 Jose Torres 22.5 A+ SS 2025 40
24 Mike Siani 22.7 AA CF 2023 40
25 Jared Solomon 24.8 A+ SIRP 2022 40
26 Daniel Duarte 25.4 MLB SIRP 2022 40
27 Ivan Johnson 23.5 A+ 2B 2023 40
28 Jackson Miller 20.3 R C 2025 40
29 Riley O’Brien 27.2 MLB SIRP 2022 40
30 Vin Timpanelli 23.5 AA SIRP 2024 40
31 TJ Friedl 26.7 MLB CF 2022 40
32 Reiver Sanmartin 26.0 MLB SP 2022 35+
33 Alexis Diaz 25.5 MLB SIRP 2022 35+
34 Stevie Branche 24.9 A+ SIRP 2024 35+
35 Braylin Minier 18.8 R 3B 2025 35+
36 Carlos Jorge 18.6 R 2B 2026 35+
37 Reynardo Cruz 20.5 A SP 2026 35+
38 Luis Mey 20.8 A SIRP 2023 35+
39 Mark Kolozsvary 26.6 AAA C 2022 35+
40 Alejo Lopez 25.9 MLB 2B 2022 35+
41 Kevin Abel 23.1 R SP 2025 35+
42 Joe Boyle 22.7 A SIRP 2024 35+
43 Eric Yang 24.0 A+ C 2023 35+
44 Justice Thompson 21.8 A CF 2026 35+
45 Dauri Moreta 26.0 MLB SIRP 2022 35+
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55 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Notre Dame HS (CA) (CIN)
Age 22.7 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
80/80 55/60 40/45 50/60 97-101 / 103

2021 was the first time in nearly two years that Greene pitched in a minor league game, starting his season at Double-A Chattanooga and pitching 41 dominant innings there – he routinely hit triple digits while striking out 37% of opposing batters with a 1.00 WHIP – before being promoted in mid-June. He allowed four home runs in his Triple-A debut, but settled into a dominant streak after that, culminating in his best outing of the season: 6.1 innings in early August during which he struck out 10, allowing just one walk and one hit. His season tapered off a bit after that, and by mid-September, Greene was showing signs of fatigue (his velos began to dip) and he was shut down, having reached his innings cap for the year. His Triple-A stat line wasn’t as dazzling as what he did at Double-A; his strikeout rate slid (though to a still-impressive 28.6%) while his walks increased above the 9% mark and his home run rate nearly tripled. He came out throwing extremely hard again this spring, sitting 99-102 throughout his major league camp outings, and while his fastball was once again strangely hittable at times, he clearly deserved to break camp with the big league team. He made his big league debut just prior to list publication.

Greene’s arm slot is back in the three-quarters area after dropping down at the 2020 alternate site, which should give his fastball more vertical hop, enabling better playability in the top half of the strike zone, though the shape of his heater still isn’t great and needs to be above the strike zone to really get whiffs. The return to this arm slot will also help him get on top of his upper-80s slider and create vertical depth on that pitch; at the very least, this two-pitch combo means Greene can be an elite late-inning reliever if it comes to it. His changeup can get whiffs from lefties on occasion, and even though he only threw it about 4% of the time in 2021, he showed consistent feel for locating it to his arm side while he was at Louisville. Recall Greene was a two-way high schooler, he’s missed a year due to Tommy John, and made the weird posture/arm slot change at the alt site amid virtually no real 2020 season. These factors, plus Greene’s supreme athleticism and great looking delivery, make us want to keep projecting on his changeup enough to consider him a future star starting pitcher.

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from TCU (CIN)
Age 24.2 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 70/70 45/55 55/60 92-95 / 97

Had Lodolo not had shoulder issues in 2021 and done what he did for more than 50.2 innings, he’d rank higher on the overall prospect list, as the 2019 first round pick’s stuff and command were better than ever. In an analytics-driven world that favors north-south attacks, Lodolo bucks the trend with a low arm slot and one of the more extreme east-west approaches around. His fastball sat 93-95 mph in 2021 while touching 97, and though it’s notable for its sinking action, it also features incredible horizontal run, while his power breaking ball sweeps the other way to keep hitters consistently off balance. Analytics-driven assessments of his changeup are also glowing, and have it as the third of Lodolo’s three plus pitches. While it’s a little on the firm side in terms of velocity, it features big horizontal movement similar to his sinker, while also showing late downward bite. Visual evaluations of the changeup are not as glowing (Lodolo was one of the more divisive players we discussed during the construction of the Top 100), with some industry skeptics noting he only threw it about 9% of the time all year (“If you thought one of your pitches was plus, would you barely throw it?”), though that rate was up closer to 12% at Louisville. Whereas he used to only be able to land it in the zone for looking strikes, Lodolo has gotten better at finishing his breaking ball down and to his glove side, and it looks like a more viable weapon against righty batters now than it did while Lodolo was at TCU, so he has something to deal with platoon issues if it turns out the pitch-grading algorithms are wrong here. He looks like a slam dunk 2-3 WAR starter with a shot to be better than that if the changeup is real. We’re betting on the former.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 20.3 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/80 35/60 70/70 30/45 70

Calling De La Cruz a boom or bust prospect understates his range of outcomes. His 4% walk rate in full-season ball is a ruby red flag, near the bottom of the statistical barrel, and hard evidence of an extremely aggressive approach that has been the undoing of several talented players before him. But if De La Cruz “booms,” it could be a boom on par with the one that created the universe. De La Cruz is among the toolsiest minor leaguers in baseball, a gigantic, projectable switch-hitting infielder with plus-plus speed, arm strength, and power potential. His lanky, shooting guard body (De La Cruz is listed at 6-foot-2, 150 pounds as of publication but he’s actually 6-foot-5, 195 pounds — MLB teams, we’re begging you to please update your minor leaguers’ measurables more often) has room for lots more strength and power, and his max exit velocities (near 112 mph) are already considerable for a hitter his age, let alone a potential shortstop. De La Cruz’s arm strength gives him some defensive margin for error, and the Reds should continue to develop him at short (he’s seen some time at second and third, too) to see if it works. But a teenager this size who has grown three inches since his last weigh-in obviously has a wide array of potential defensive homes at peak. If things develop in the Goldilocks Zone, De La Cruz will grow into a power-hitting force while staying up the middle of the diamond somewhere. If he falls to the bottom of the defensive spectrum, then we’re talking about a 1B/RF with scary plate discipline. Both realities are baked into the way we value De La Cruz, who is eerily similar to Pirates prospect Oneil Cruz.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from TCU (SEA)
Age 24.0 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 55/60 55/60 55/60 35/45 92-95 / 97

Scouts congregating in Dallas on Friday nights to see Nick Lodolo during the spring of 2019 would often just spend their weekend with a Texas Christian club that produced nine draft picks. Among those nine, perhaps none impressed more than Williamson, a 6-foot-6 pop-up JUCO transfer who was cranking out mid-90s heat from the left side. Ultimately landing in the second round, Williamson had a phenomenal full-season debut, putting up a 37.4% strikeout rate while spending the majority of the season at Double-A, where he finished with a flourish. Williamson has a variety of weapons to choose from. After struggling to hold his velocity as an amateur, his 2021 went a long way toward convincing scouts of his ability to remain a starter, as he intentionally ratcheted his velo down into the 92-94 mph range while touching 96, and was able to maintain those levels throughout games. His high arm angle allows his fastball to play up due to good shape and outstanding vertical break, and it’s also his worst pitch, as he can miss bats with a plus mid-80s slider and an even better changeup with massive downward action. Williamson will also lob in a low-70s curveball and he sometimes alters his delivery to do so, as a way of catching hitters by surprise. While he has improved his strike throwing as a pro, he remains a control-over-command type, but with this kind of stuff, he doesn’t need to be especially precise as long as he just fills the box. He projects as a potentially dominant starter, albeit one who still needs three or four innings from the bullpen. The linked video (top right of this blurb box) is from the day before Williamson was traded to the Reds, in which he’s sitting 91-93 mph in an early-morning intrasquad.

45+ FV Prospects

5. Allan Cerda, RF

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/70 35/60 50/50 40/50 60

While new, very young players with big, projectable frames have begun to percolate up through the lower levels of the Reds system, don’t lose sight of Cerda, who has become a giant. Cerda is still listed at a comical 6-foot-3, 170 pounds but he’s probably closer to 6-foot-5, 225 now, and has enjoyed all the raw power that comes with that extra size and strength. He hit 17 homers and nearly 40 extra-base hits in just 87 games in 2021, and has a .250/.373/.488 career line since 2018. Cerda has ferocious bat speed, and his swing finishes with a helicopter swirl over his head, similar to Miguel Andújar‘s.

Also like Andújar, Cerda lacks great pitch recognition and often seems uncomfortable in the box. The visual evaluation of his plate discipline doesn’t corroborate his on-paper performance, as he’s posted double-digit walk rates at every level. All but 21 games of his career have been in rookie ball (where you’re going to walk a lot) or with Low-A Southeast automated strike zones, which appear to have inflated peripherals in 2021. Based on that, we’re inclined to lean more heavily on eyeball scouting opinions, and see this particular issue as making Cerda a rather risky prospect. Perhaps there were extenuating circumstances for it, but the Reds made a mistake in not sending Cerda to the Arizona Fall League or instructs. It would have given them an intimate look at how he’d fare against a curated contingent of pitchers prior to them adding him to the 40-man. We buy that Cerda is so talented that he was a must-add in any case, but fall activity against either the select talents of instructs or the advanced pitching of the AFL (at least compared to what he’d seen) would have given the team a longer runway to evaluate him, and primed him for a quick move to Double-A in 2022, his first option year. There is volatility around Cerda’s hit tool, but star-level power output lurking if he can even be a 40- or 45-grade contact hitter.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from McLennan JC (SEA)
Age 20.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops
50/60 60/60 50/55 30/40 93-95 / 98

Phillips seems poised to be the next (now former) Mariners pitching prospect to have a breakout, assuming he can hone his command enough to remain a starter. Drafted out of a Texas JUCO, Phillips just turned 21 at the start of the 2022 season. Were he a draft-eligible college pitcher (players to which he is comparable in age), he’d have among the best stuff in the 2022 class. Phillips sits 93-96 mph with huge riding life, and his upper-70s snapdragon curveball complements his fastball shape beautifully, enabling him to work north and south in the zone effectively. He also has a slider with big lateral action, a shape that’s totally different than his curveball, which tears through the zone in the mid-80s. He also has a rarely-used changeup, which Phillips throws so infrequently that you might leave one of his outings without being able to confidently grade it off of one or two looks. He doesn’t really need it, as the slider and curveball combo give him enough ways to attack hitters in a starting role — Phillips just needs to work a little more efficiently. He can’t walk five per nine like he did in 2021 and start for a big league team, but even if that doesn’t improve, Phillips still looks like a dynamite reliever. While he’s still very young, the boxy Phillips doesn’t really have any physical projection left. That might preclude him from adding velo (he already has plenty) but not from polishing his command. He was traded to Cincinnati in the Jesse Winker/Eugenio Suárez deal.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from UCLA (CIN)
Age 22.7 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 45/45 30/40 60/60 45/50 50

McLain was selected 25th overall in the 2018 draft, boasting arguably the most polished high school hit tool of the class, but he opted to play at UCLA instead of signing with Arizona that year. After a rocky freshman season, during which he was placed in the outfield due to the Bruins’ infield depth at the time, he bounced back and steadily improved over the remainder of his college career, earning a reputation as a consistent, plus bat, which he reinforced by performing well on the Cape. After being drafted in 2021’s first round, he played a couple of Complex League games, then skipped Low-A, heading instead to High-A Dayton where he notched a double and a dinger in his 4-for-5 debut. Over the course of the rest of the season, he settled into his familiar profile of making frequent contact, only a small percentage of which was hit particularly hard. He has the hands for shortstop, while his arm strength just passes there. Perhaps center field could be reintroduced — we have no intel on the Reds’ intent there but think McLain has the wheels for it — though a scout outside the org told Tess he sees him as a second baseman and doesn’t know what to do with 40 power at the keystone. But his bat control, mature approach, and up-the-middle fit make him a high-probability big leaguer regardless, just probably not an impact one unless he develops a 7 or better bat.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Colombia (CIN)
Age 22.1 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 40/45 30/35 40/40 40/50 50

The compact Vellojin is a well-rounded catching prospect without a plus tool; his complement of skills makes him a high-probability big leaguer with a shot to be a regular. Vellojin has a good idea of the strike zone, with a career walk rate a shade over 17%. He posted a 20% walk rate at Low-A Southeast, where K% and BB% were inflated by the robozone, but that was still good for third in the league among hitters with at least 300 PA. Short-levered and athletic, he is tough to beat with velocity and can wait an extra beat to decide whether to swing at slower breaking balls. While his high-end exit velos are well below average, Vellojin had nearly 30 extra-base hits in 88 games, pretty impressive in the Florida State League hitting environment. He projects to have make consistent contact and have doubles pop, which is fine at catcher. While Vellojin is short, he isn’t small, and his thick lower half reinforces confidence that he can withstand the burdens of catching. An average receiver with an average arm, Vellojin is likely to stay behind the plate but probably won’t be a great defender. The whole package here reads like a potential everyday catcher, though the track record of compact-bodied backstops like this (Rafael Marchan, Garrett Stubbs, etc.) has been mixed.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Providence HS (GA) (CIN)
Age 21.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 55/55 30/50 30/30 30/35 50

Tommy John surgery limited Callihan to just 100 plate appearances in 2021, and in true Callihan fashion, he only struck out in 13 of those. Since he was a high school underclassman, Callihan has had a hit-driven profile. Short to the ball with average power, he should make a plus rate of contact and hit a ton of doubles. He’s a fringe athletic fit at second base, projecting for many as a first or third baseman without the power typical for either of those positions. But even if Callihan isn’t a true everyday player, his offensive ability makes him a high-probability contributor, and even though he’s coming off of TJ and might fall down the defensive spectrum, his bust risk is actually lower than many of the K-prone hitters in this org.

40+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from West Allegheny HS (PA) (CIN)
Age 20.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 60/60 25/55 50/45 30/45 55

Hendrick was drafted as a bit of a developmental project. While he was old for his high school class, the Western Pennsylvania prepster was raw relative to his peers in a few ways. Chief among them, he had some concerning swing-and-miss tendencies, and was in flux mechanically, as his swing changed a few times during his pre-draft summer. Because of his location, he basically had no 2020 varsity season since things didn’t really get going before the shutdown. While strikeout rates at Low-A Southeast in 2021 were high across the entire league, Hendrick’s 38% punchout rate is a concerning indicator. His swing is explosive, but grooved, cutting through the middle of the zone without much variation to match pitch location. The bat speed and power components of the profile, which drove teams to consider Hendrick in the middle third of the first round, are still evident, and even if Hendrick develops a 35- or 40-grade bat, he’ll probably do enough damage on contact to be a platoon bat. That’s the role he’s tracking toward.

11. Chase Petty, SIRP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Mainland HS (MIN)
Age 19.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/70 40/55 20/45 93-96 / 100

The track record for high school pitchers who are among the hardest throwers in their class is not very good. From Riley Pint to Tyler Kolek, there are many more examples of young, upper-90s flamethrowers busting than there are examples of them succeeding. Petty was up to 102 mph in high school and routinely sat in the mid-to-upper-90s during his pre-draft spring. His low slot and long arm action create visual relief risk, but the natural tailing action on his fastball, the way its movement diverges from his mid-80s slider (which is aided by his low slot versus righties), and the hope that his low slot will soon enable him to work at the top of the zone due to his heater’s shallow angle all drive optimism that Petty is on a track similar to that of Giants lefty Kyle Harrison.

We remain skeptical about Petty’s long-term chances to start due to the nature of his delivery and relative lack of physical projection. While he is very well-built and strong, the cement on his frame is closer to being dry than it is for most teenage prospects. It’s not like we’re hoping for more velocity here anyway — that piece of the puzzle is already in place, Petty just needs to prove he can sustain it as a starter throughout an entire pro season. He also needs to continue to hone his changeup, which is probably more likely than him developing a second breaking ball, as it might be hard for him to get on top of a curveball from his current slot. That slot should help him impart natural arm-side action on a changeup but the length of his arm action is not typically the sort on which we’re inclined to project. There is undoubtedly big upside here, but also a huge amount of risk — both the bust risk associated with high school pitchers and what we consider bullpen risk due to the developmental hurdles we think Petty’s delivery will cause. We have him projected in late-inning relief, and he’s several years away. He was traded to Cincinnati this offseason for Sonny Gray.

12. Jay Allen II, CF

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from John Carroll HS (FL) (CIN)
Age 19.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 50/60 20/55 55/55 40/50 50

Many pieces are in place for Allen to develop into an impactful big leaguer, as he has already begun to separate himself from many of the other 2021 high school hitters, at least in terms of his present strength. A big, athletic, multi-sport athlete when he was drafted, Allen has added meaningful mass since signing and, similar to Tyler Soderstrom last year, his physicality has begun to stand apart from his peers, including (in Eric’s opinion) fellow 2021 prepsters Colson Montgomery and Harry Ford. Big raw power has already started to arrive here, and Allen’s peak raw might outpace our pre-draft projections. While Allen lacks a great bat-to-ball foundation, his added strength hasn’t detracted from his footspeed and he still has a great chance to stay in center field for the long haul.

Some elements of Allen’s swing have already been altered. He struggled to catch upper-half fastballs on the pre-draft showcase circuit, with swing elements similar to those of Jeter Downs and Carter Kieboom, who have both been exposed at the upper levels, and Heliot Ramos, who some of our sources are at best lukewarm on. Compared to pre-draft, Allen’s swing is shorter and his hands don’t load quite as deep, which seemingly gives him a better chance to be on time against fastballs. When he makes contact, his ball-striking power is remarkable for how simple his set-up has become, but there have still been issues with swing-and-miss in Arizona during instructs and 2022 minor league spring. The fact that Allen has already made adjustments manifest in games is impressive, and it bodes well for his ability to do so going forward. If he can continue to progress from a bat-to-ball standpoint, he’ll be an impact regular. A source of Tess’ thinks he’s got a chance to have a 55 hit tool to go with 60 power, though that’s a little rich for us. But there’s room for him to have a 40 hit tool and still be an everyday guy, so long as he stays in center field.

13. Rece Hinds, RF

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from IMG Academy HS (FL) (CIN)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 65/70 35/60 45/40 40/50 60

Hinds hit a 117 mph laser double off the left field wall at the Reds’ complex this spring, one of several ringing extra-base hits and homers he has clubbed during our in-person looks. We’re sticking with the Bobby Dalbec comp here: Hinds is a huge-framed power bat with a 70 arm, but big swing-and-miss risk. Like Dalbec, his arm strength had been an antidote for some of what he lacks in flexibility and range on defense, and he can make a subset of plays at third base pretty well, but he’s struggled to field hotshots or anything that requires him to bend or vary the pace of his footwork, and a transition to right field has begun. Hinds has looked fair out there so far. He runs well enough under way that he has a chance to be an above-average right field defender at peak, though he is very burly for a 21-year-old and it’s tough to gauge how he’ll be built deep into his 20s. We think Hinds will get to enough of his power to be a significant role-player and could have some 25-30 home run campaigns dragged down by OBPs in the .310-.320 area.

14. Bryce Bonnin, SIRP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Texas Tech (CIN)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/60 30/45 30/40 93-96 / 97

Bonnin began his college career at Arkansas but transferred to Texas Tech after a shoulder injury forced him down the Razorbacks’ depth chart and into their bullpen. He got to start at Tech and his stuff was great, though the combination of his injury track record and a lack of repertoire depth made him a likely relief prospect in the eyes of major league clubs. His stuff was so good that Bonnin still went in the 2020 draft’s third round. His 2021 got off to a delayed start due to a forearm strain, but once he returned, he was dominant for two months before struggling with walks during his final few starts. He looked healthy again this spring, sitting 93-96 mph just about a week before list publication while flashing a plus slider. Bonnin worked almost exclusively with his fastball and slider in 2021, though he does have a changeup and maybe a cutter (they might be fastballs with natural cut that some clubs’ pitch-classifying algorithms are mis-identifying as cutters) that are both behind the developmental curve. While he’ll likely continue to start in the minors, Bonnin projects as an impact reliever who’ll probably live in the mid-to-upper-90s in single-inning bursts.

15. Carson Spiers, SP

Undrafted Free Agent, 2020 (CIN)
Age 24.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
45/50 55/60 40/50 40/45 35/55 91-94 / 97

Spiers’ career is off to the most promising start of any of the 2020 undrafted free agents. After pitching out of Clemson’s bullpen for four years, he has moved into the rotation as a pro and spent most of 2021 carving High-A. Largely a fastball/changeup guy at Clemson, he now has two distinct breaking balls, and his slider is arguably his best pitch. Both a balanced, athletic delivery and consistent release are present, and his walk rates (5.7% at Daytona, 8% at Dayton) were strong, so there’s pretty clean starter projection here, plus a deep coffer of quality pitches that might still improve, since some of Spiers’ weapons are still relatively new to him. He’s tracking like a No. 4/5 starter now, and might develop into the sort who can crack a playoff rotation.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 19.3 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/35 60/70 25/60 50/40 30/50 60

The youngest and most projectable of the fledgling power hitters in this system, Confidan already has big juice and a chance to develop 80-grade raw power at maturity. He hit 11 homers in just 50 games during last year’s Arizona Complex League season and continued to put on quite a show (when he actually made contact) during 2021 instructs. Then Confidan showed up for 2022 spring having remade his physique. He is more lithe and athletic now and his frame is even bigger than the Hinds/Allen/Elly contingent, leaving room for 20-30 pounds between now and when he is at his physical peak. At age 18-19, Confidan was already posting high-end exit velos that would be plus on the big league scale. He’s going to have thunderous, potentially elite raw power at peak, giving him 35-40 homer potential, but his swing decisions and bat path both severely limit his ability to make contact, so there’s also a chance he ends up with a 20-grade hit tool and isn’t a big leaguer at all. This is a very exciting and sometimes frustrating player to watch, but the way he remade his body during the offseason indicates Confidan is driven to work on improving his game, which we hope, in time, will also apply to his approach at the plate.

17. Graham Ashcraft, SIRP

Drafted: 6th Round, 2019 from UAB (CIN)
Age 24.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 218 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 50/55 55/60 40/50 40/50 94-96 / 97

While we’re still projecting Ashcraft in the bullpen, he’s checked the “on-paper performance” box and reached Double-A as a starter, undoubtedly upping his chances of ending up in a rotation. After the Reds left Ashcraft to train remotely throughout 2020, he posted a 3.00 ERA and 129-to-37 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 22 starts, averaging about five innings per outing. Why the stubborn relief projection then? Ashcraft’s build and grip-it-and-rip-it delivery are atypical for a starter, he’s had a couple of hip surgeries, and his fastball and slider constitute about 97% of his pitch usage. Both of those pitches — a naturally cutting (and sinking — it’s kind of weird) mid-90s fastball and a two-planed, mid-80s slider — are very good, and fit in the back of a bullpen should Ashcraft move there. He came out sitting 95-97 mph in early 2022 spring outings. This is Ashcraft’s 40-man evaluation year and he’ll likely be added after the season, then make his big league debut in 2023. If he can throw quality strikes with his fastball instead of being loose in the zone, and if a third, distinct pitch comes to the fore, we’ll be inclined to start projecting him in a rotation. His early-career role may be impacted by an organizational need for starters rather than be determined with performance optimization in mind.

18. Matheu Nelson, C

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Florida State (CIN)
Age 23.2 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/60 35/50 30/30 35/40 55

Nelson was a draft-eligible sophomore in 2020 but had a bad stretch before the COVID shutdown, striking out in about a third of his at-bats, and went undrafted. Then in his junior year, Nelson slugged .773 and hit 23 bombs while posting a more manageable strikeout rate and doing an acceptable job behind the plate. He struck out a lot in a very small pro sample after the draft. He is an adequate receiver (he works from one knee, then squats with two strikes and runners on) who can post sub-2.00 pop times from his knees, though not often with precision. Nelson is a willing but unskilled ball blocker, which is the part of his game that needs the most immediate polish. Huge power and an ability to play a premium position give him everyday upside, while his hit tool and need for defensive refinement create risk and volatility. A bat-first backup projection rests in the middle of his outcomes.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Jensen Beach HS (FL) (CIN)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 192 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 45/50 50/50 45/55 45/55 89-93 / 95

Richardson has dealt with intermittent arm issues as a pro, showing diluted stuff in 2019 before a ’20 arm strength spike occurred in a controlled, dev-only environment. Even though his arm strength was relatively intact at High-A in 2021, he struggled. He had Tommy John in September of that year, which will cause him to miss the entire 2022 season. Richardson was among the pitchers with the best chances of sticking as a starter prior to his injury, as he had the makings of above-average command and a deep, quality repertoire. He’s considered a self-starter type who spent most of the 2020 shutdown working out at Cressey Sports Performance in Florida, doing remote work and building enough of an innings count remotely to forgo instructs that year. A two-way high school prospect, Richardson still hasn’t had all that much healthy, non-pandemic time during which he’s focused solely on pitching. Based on his track record prior to the surgery, he’s likely to have a good rehab and come back with comparable stuff. Richardson began throwing off of flat ground in February and is about seven months post-op as of list publication. The 2022 season was supposed to be his 40-man evaluation year, and he could theoretically be back for instructs and Fall League to make a case for himself to be added (or taken in the Rule 5). If everything returns to pre-surgery levels, Richardson has No. 4/5 starter ability.

40 FV Prospects

20. Ricardo Cabrera, 2B

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2022 from Venezuela (CIN)
Age 17.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/60 35/50 20/45 50/45 30/45 40

The short-levered Cabrera has a contact-driven profile. Likely to stay on the infield somewhere, we have him projected to second base in anticipation of him becoming stocky and strong at maturity. The feel to hit gives Cabrera a floor of sorts, while his compact frame limits power projection that doesn’t come at the cost of mobility. Cabrera projects as contact-oriented infielder better suited for 2B/3B than short, with Placido Polanco representing the high end of that profile and a cautiously optimistic skills comp in this case.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Virginia (CIN)
Age 22.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 55/60 45/50 30/45 91-94 / 95

Abbott went undrafted in 2020, despite the 28 punchouts he registered over 13 innings of work in the pandemic-shortened season. Despite that performance (and his similarly dominant performance with Team USA), many were unconvinced of his ability to start, having spent his first three years in Virginia’s bullpen. He brought a chip on his shoulder into his 2021 college season, along with a more refined three-pitch mix than he’d previously showcased. He throws a low-90s fastball from a high lefty arm slot that’s a tick or two faster than it was in 2020 (he’s been 92-94 mph early this spring), but would still benefit from another velocity bump. The heater plays up in large part thanks to his curveball, which sits in the 77-79 mph range with 12-6 movement. While the curveball is still his preferred secondary, his most improved offering by far is his changeup, which he throws harder and with more consistent sink than in previous seasons. He threw the changeup much more frequently during his 2021 college season (16% of the time, up from 6% in 2020), inducing a 33% chase rate while proving he could withstand a starter’s workload, as he recorded 106.2 innings of work, nearly matching his total over his previous three seasons out of the ‘pen (108.1). After going in the second round in 2021, he threw a couple of Complex League starts, followed by 13 innings at Low-A (three short starts and one relief outing), where he issued 22 strikeouts against just four walks and maintained an impressive CSW% all the while. He’ll have to show either a more significant velocity increase to project as a high-leverage reliever or further refinement of his feel for his secondaries to solidify himself as a starter, with the latter looking more feasible early on in pro ball.

22. Christian Roa, SP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Texas A&M (CIN)
Age 23.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/50 55/55 50/55 35/50 92-93 / 96

Roa had a velocity spike the fall before his draft year, then was well-scouted by teams picking at the top of the 2020 draft (and therefore the top of the next round) because they were all monitoring teammate Asa Lacy. Roa threw really well in the abbreviated 2020 college season, mixing in four average-or-better pitches from a fairly vertical slot. It’s No. 4/5 starter stuff that he hasn’t had to hold for a full season of innings yet, in part because of the shutdown and also because he had a sports hernia and did not throw in the fall after his draft year. A flexor tendon strain limited him to just shy of 60 innings in 2021, during which Roa sat 90-94 mph and bent in his trademark low-80s curveball and a mid-80s slider/cutter. While it looked as though Roa was beginning to ascend in 2020, his stuff looks like that of a fifth starter and he hasn’t yet laid an innings foundation that would make us confident he’ll reach that outcome quickly.

23. Jose Torres, SS

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from North Carolina State (CIN)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 40/45 30/40 60/60 45/55 60

Torres put up a bloated stat line during the shortened 2020 college season despite striking out in a third of his at-bats. He brought his strikeout rate down in his 2021 season at NC State, though the rest of his slash line came back to earth a bit as well. College stats are normally pretty meaningless, but in Torres’ case, they’re virtually all we have to draw upon, as he’s played very little for a college draftee his age, which may be partly to blame for his overly aggressive approach in the box, where he regularly whiffs on would-be balls – mostly high fastballs and misread breaking balls he can’t reach. Defensively, he’ll stick at short, but he’ll have to improve his bat-to-ball skills and his patience, as his power is underwhelming. His short professional stint to close out the 2021 minor league season was encouraging, as his K-rate dipped into the mid-teens and he launched four homeruns, three triples and four doubles in 25 games at Low-A. 2022 will be his first chance to prove he can sustain quality performance over a full season, and spring looks at him have been encouraging from a bat-to-ball perspective.

24. Mike Siani, CF

Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from William Penn Charter HS (PA) (CIN)
Age 22.7 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 40/45 20/30 60/60 55/70 60

Siani has a terrific collection of soft skills that make him a high-probability, glove-first fourth outfielder or low-end regular in center field. He is fast and his defensive instincts and routes are excellent, so he has a chance to be one of the better defensive center fielders in baseball at peak. On offense, he has a great idea of the strike zone and creates a lot of infield action (oppo liner pokes and slaps, high infield chops, some bunts) but probably won’t grow into relevant power because he’s neither a great rotator nor an explosive athlete. Though it’s not likely to happen via his offense, there are lots of ways Siani can impact a game and we have him valued pretty highly.

25. Jared Solomon, SIRP

Drafted: 11th Round, 2017 from Lackawanna College (PA) (CIN)
Age 24.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 192 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/55 50/55 40/45 96-98 / 99

Before the shutdown, Solomon was a candidate to break out in 2020. Instead, it was the first of two years he’d miss, as he blew out late in the calendar year and needed Tommy John, which cost him all of 2021. Solomon was throwing hard again coming out of rehab, sitting 96-97 mph during 2022 spring big league outings, while working with a new, short arm action. The pitch is hard but lacks explosive movement or tough angle and was fairly hittable during Eric’s couple of looks at Solomon this spring. Either because his repertoire is shifting or because he and the Reds are making it a developmental focal point, Solomon has been using his changeup more early in 2022 than we’ve seen in the past. He’s pretty good at creating tumble on it, but as is the case with his whole operation, his feel for locating consistently isn’t great, probably because he’s not far removed from TJ. There’s a lot still in flux here, especially around the quality of Solomon’s secondaries coming out of surgery, but his arm strength and the repertoire we’ve historically seen from him as a starter give him a shot to pitch in late innings now that he’s been moved to the bullpen.

26. Daniel Duarte, SIRP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Mexico (TEX)
Age 25.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 40/40 94-97 / 98

Duarte has played all over, from Texas to Kansas City (via the minor league Rule 5 draft), to LIDOM, and for several Mexican clubs, eventually signing with Cincinnati half way through 2021. He reached Triple-A quickly late last summer, sitting 94-96 mph with a plus slider. He continued pitching in Mexico after the 2021 season and was pumping 96-97 mph there at times, including during the Caribbean Series. He carried that into 2022 spring and broke camp in the Cincinnati big league bullpen. Some of the Reds’ rookie relievers would be closer to the fringe of a competitive roster but we think Duarte would be a lock to make most clubs based on the quality of his stuff.

27. Ivan Johnson, 2B

Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from Chipola JC (FL) (CIN)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/55 30/45 60/60 40/50 45

Johnson didn’t play much, or all that well, as a freshman at Georgia and transferred to Chipola for his sophomore season, where he hit .400/.520/.620. He’s continued to produce exciting on-paper output in pro ball, slashing a career .259/.350/.457 line with 16 homers in 2021 when you fold in his Fall League performance (he had an ankle sprain during the summer and went to AZ to pick up reps). Johnson has above-average bat speed and notable power for a middle infielder, let alone a switch-hitting one. His bat path is grooved, however, and Johnson’s strikeout rates (which hovered around 30% in 2021) are a statistical indication that he’s likely to end up with a 30-grade hit tool. While he’s a cleaner fit at second base than shortstop, he’s quite good at the keystone and, aside from his contact ability, he has a well-rounded collection of average tools. Johnson should continue playing shortstop in the minors and hopefully will expand to other positions en route to a power-over-hit utility role.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Mitchell HS (FL) (CIN)
Age 20.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 40/50 30/40 40/30 30/45 50

Miller has barely played pro ball due to a variety of unfortunate injury and health issues, including a hernia surgery. While not super tooled up, he had a broad skill set and projectable frame, so one could envision him adding meaningful strength and suddenly having a toolset befitting an everyday catcher. Plus, this organization’s track record with both picking catchers (Tyler Stephenson, Devin Mesoraco and Tucker Barnhart are three of the most successful high school catchers drafted over the last 15 years) and players from Florida has been strong. Healthy Miller can catch and throw, and his contact ability seemed to be improving throughout the final 18 months of his amateur career. His swing looks like he is intentionally trying to mimic Christian Yelich. If there’s a knock, it’s that his bat speed is only okay. Miller’s frame has room for strength, which could help him develop more pop as he fills out, enough for a catcher. We’re in a holding pattern with him until we see how he looks coming off his health and injuries woes. He didn’t break camp with an affiliate and Eric didn’t see him at all during his handful of days at Reds camp, so Miller either eluded him or hasn’t begun playing yet.

29. Riley O’Brien, SIRP

Drafted: 8th Round, 2017 from Idaho (TBR)
Age 27.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/60 45/50 45/50 92-95 / 97

O’Brien’s developmental roadmap has been riddled with unpredictable traffic and detours caused by factors out of his control. He excelled in his early minor league career in the Rays’ system, but found himself crowded out of the org’s loaded 40-man before he was traded to the Reds in exchange for Cody Reed in 2020. The timing of the trade made for an uncomfortable return to the mound that year, and his velocity dipped. In 2021, the velo was still down from its ’19 mid-90s peak, resting instead around 92-94 mph. O’Brien induced a lot of swings and misses with the heater at the top of the zone during his time in Triple-A, and paired it with a low-80s power curveball, thrown most effectively as a chase pitch in the dirt. He’ll also mix in a hard, high-80s changeup with sink for additional whiffs when he can locate it. But though each offering has flashed plus, his command of his overall repertoire has been the biggest barrier to his stuff’s ability to play, and by extension, his projection as a starter. This was evident in his only big league appearance in 2021, a start against the White Sox in which he lasted just 1.1 innings, allowing two home runs on belt-high heaters and throwing a total of 71 pitches, nearly half of which were balls. Small as that sample is, it hints at the importance of O’Brien honing his command for an eventual relief role.

30. Vin Timpanelli, SIRP

Undrafted Free Agent, 2020 (CIN)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
50/55 60/70 30/40 92-95 / 97

Timpanelli spent almost his entire college baseball career as a catcher and could have been a 2020 Day Three senior sign had that year’s draft been whole. Instead, the 2020 college season ended in March and the draft was reduced to five rounds. Timpanelli threw an experimental inning in an actual game before the season shut down, then pitched in a men’s summer league; it was there that he was seen by the Reds associate scout who would ultimately sign him. He had only been pitching for a few months, but had already progressed from just barely touching 90 mph to topping out at 95; his slider was also quite hard for a new pitch. He had an incredible first pro season, striking out 40% of opposing hitters at Low-A Daytona and High-A Dayton in 2021. His heater sat 93-94 throughout all of that season, and his vicious power slurve is easily a plus-plus pitch when Timpanelli lands it. His short, deceptive arm action and arm-side rise-and-run action is similar to that of A’s prospect Garrett Acton, except Timpanelli has a better breaking ball. He’s on the relief fast track.

31. TJ Friedl, CF

Undrafted Free Agent, 2016 (CIN)
Age 26.7 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/50 40/40 30/30 70/70 50/55 45

As a refresher, the Reds signed Friedl with $700,000 as an undrafted free agent after he slipped through the cracks of the 2016 amateur draft. He’s a toolsy speedster who rarely strikes out, and has turned in above-league-average performances in every year of his professional career, including in a small sample of 2021 big league games. He’s a low-variance fifth outfielder, but he boasts a unique secret weapon that adds a little spice to his profile: the bunt single. Of Friedl’s 102 hits at Triple-A in 2021, 14 were expertly-placed bunts. And he doesn’t just rely on his 70-speed to leg them out. Instead, he executes them with pinpoint precision, punishing pitchers for unathletic follow-throughs on their deliveries, and taking advantage of defensive positioning by pushing (or in some cases sending) a controlled bunt pop-up into the Bermuda Triangle between first, second, and the mound. It’s not often that baseball IQ is so easy to clock, but he demonstrates a rare ability to read an infield defense and exploit its weaknesses. In his 14 big league games, he’s yet to demonstrate this particular skill, but it’s something to watch for as he continues to accrue major league at-bats in 2022.

35+ FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Colombia (TEX)
Age 26.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
30/30 45/45 50/50 60/60 88-91 / 93

Sanmartin has been traded a couple of times, from Texas to New York and then to Cincinnati as part of the trade for Sonny Gray. He’s a low-slot pitchability lefty who works east/west with command of his fastball. His changeup and slider are about average, with the slider doing well against lefties because of Sanmartin’s arm slot. He’s well-built and athletic, and the lateral action on his stuff helps him generate a lot of groundballs (55% in 2021), but we think his pure stuff limits him to a spot-starter type of role. With this level of athleticism and command, he’ll probably pitch in the upper levels and the majors for a very long time.

33. Alexis Diaz, SIRP

Drafted: 12th Round, 2015 from Maunez HS (PR) (CIN)
Age 25.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 224 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/55 40/45 92-95 / 97

The low-slot Diaz has a matchup righty vibe because of his low arm slot and laterally oriented stuff. He has shown merely above-average velocity but some of the higher fastball spin rates in all of baseball, with his heater spinning in at 2700 rpm. Diaz’s fastball has tailing action and his slider’s glove-side movement mirrors it pretty well, which can cause some hitters to bail on his slider too early and enable him to throw it for strikes against righties. Diaz’s fastball shape limits its utility but he’s funky and tough for hitters to adjust to on first look, and his slider is a viable weapon to the back foot of lefties, so he’s more than just a ROOGY type. He was ramped up very early in 2022 since he pitched for Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Series but only sat 92-95 mph in looks this spring, a hair below his 2021 levels. On the Reds active roster, Diaz will likely be in the bullpen most of the year, and projects as a middle-inning reliever.

34. Stevie Branche, SIRP

Undrafted Free Agent, 2020 (CIN)
Age 24.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
55/60 50/60 30/40 94-96 / 97

A 2020 undrafted free agent out of Division-III RIT, Branche had a promising pro debut, striking out 40% of opposing hitters while reaching High-A. He has a very fast, efficient arm action and sat 94-96 mph in 2021, while his slider was consistently plus and flashing above that. He needs to polish his fastball command and is a standard power relief prospect who has carved an atypical path.

35. Braylin Minier, 3B

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 18.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/55 45/50 20/40 20/20 30/40 60

Minier was a high-profile amateur middle infield signee who fell down the defensive spectrum at a shocking clip, trending toward the 3B/1B/DH area during his first full pro season. Minier’s bat speed and feel for contact are precocious and exciting, and he’s still young enough to consider him a “reverse projection” candidate and hope he can find a way to be an athletic fit at second base. While his approach is also a red flag, Minier’s bat speed/bat control combination are pretty freaky, and we want to stay on him in this FV area even though he has lots of NP elements.

36. Carlos Jorge, 2B

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 18.6 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/60 20/35 20/30 55/60 40/50 40

Jorge is the prospect archetype we tend to like a lot here at FanGraphs: a short-levered, lefty-hitting middle infielder with a compact swing. He slashed .346/.436/.579 in the DSL last year, and while we haven’t seen anything remotely close to the sort of raw power you’d expect from someone who slugged that much, we can see how Jorge’s consistent ability to make contact and the quality of DSL defensive play helped him net a whopping 10 triples in 47 games last year. Jorge’s swing is very short and geared to pepper the gaps. He is not overtly projectable, so his path to a robust big league role (especially as he’s a second base fit) will need to be carved by his hit tool.

37. Reynardo Cruz, SP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
35/50 45/55 30/50 25/55 90-94 / 95

The projectable Cruz sat in the 90-94 mph range during his first pro season and has the makings of a plus slider. He was walk-prone in 2021 but his athleticism and delivery point toward progression in this area. Cruz is a good developmental pitching prospect with a puncher’s chance to be a big league starter.

38. Luis Mey, SIRP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 20.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/70 40/45 35/45 20/35 97-99 / 101

Mey’s velocity continues to climb while his command and slider consistency remain deficient. In the 2022 spring, he was sitting 98-99 mph and touching 100 in two- and three-inning outings. His mid-80s slider isn’t great, but it is fairly new, as Eric’s notes have him with a curveball in previous years. Mey doesn’t have anything close to viable big league command, but he needs to be monitored due to his arm strength in case things click. He’s in an up/down relief area right now.

Drafted: 7th Round, 2017 from Florida (CIN)
Age 26.6 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 45/45 35/40 40/40 50/50 45

The diminutive Kolozsvary is now on the Reds 40-man but was assigned to Double-A to start 2022, and we’re not sure how the org pecking order would shake out in the event of a Tyler Stephenson or Aramis Garcia injury. Kolozsvary is a fine third catcher to have on your 40-man, though. He is short, but quite physical and twitchy, showing good lateral agility on defense. Because he’s naturally so low to the ground, it’s easy for him to frame low strikes, which he doesn’t have to reach below his knees to receive. His size helps him be quick out of his crouch, though his raw arm strength is about average. While some of his underlying TrackMan data is surprisingly strong (he had a 21% barrel rate in 2021, and a max exit velo a tick above the big league average), Kolozsvary does most of his big damage on middle-middle mistakes, and he really only has doubles pop and a fringe bat. That’s still enough for him to have a long career shuttling back and forth between Triple-A and the big leagues as needed.

40. Alejo Lopez, 2B

Drafted: 27th Round, 2015 from Greenway HS (AZ) (CIN)
Age 25.9 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
60/60 30/30 20/20 45/45 45/45 40

Born in Mexico, Lopez moved to Canada for school and baseball in his early teens, then to Arizona, where he won a state title at Tim Salmon’s alma mater along with eventual Grand Canyon outfielder Kona Quiggle. Lopez was drafted in the middle of Day Three and has consistently been an average or better all-around offensive performer since entering pro ball. His surface-level stats indicate he has some pop but in reality Lopez’s raw power is close to the bottom of the scale. Instead, his feel for the strike zone, his extremely short levers, and his exceptional hand-eye coordination help him punch at the ball with precision and generate doubles contact and the rare extreme pull-side homer. He had one of the ten-lowest swinging strike rates in all of the 2021 minor leagues. While he doesn’t have the power to profile as an everyday second baseman (even a low-end version of the role), Lopez’s feel for contact is so good that he stands apart from true replacement-level players. His arm strength is below-average but his internal clock and body control help him scrape by as a viable defensive third baseman. We consider him a viable sixth infielder and situational pinch hitter when you need a ball in play.

41. Kevin Abel, SP

Drafted: 7th Round, 2021 from Oregon State (CIN)
Age 23.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
30/30 50/55 60/60 35/55 87-91 / 94

Abel’s performance as a freshman in the 2018 College World Series was remarkable, capped off by a two-hit gem to clinch the championship against Arkansas. But his amateur career after that was plagued by injury, including a Tommy John surgery that kept him off the mound for most of 2019 and all of the shortened ’20 season. He came back with a strong start in 2021, but with slightly lower velocity on his fastball, which he makes up for with a whiff-inducing plus changeup and an above-average curveball. Still, he struggled as his 2021 season progressed at Oregon State, posting his highest ever walk rate. This spring, his velocity sat 90-92 mph, which is more in line with his pre-surgery average, as opposed to the high-80s he was offering in 2021. The key will be continuing to build on that velocity while maintaining the deception in his delivery and staying healthy.

42. Joe Boyle, SIRP

Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Notre Dame (CIN)
Age 22.7 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
80/80 50/55 20/30 98-101 / 102

Boyle continues to throw very hard (though he “only” sat 95 mph in 2021) and blow low-level hitters away at an exciting clip (he struck out more than two batters per inning in 2021), while walking them at an even scarier one. He had more walks than innings pitched throughout his college career and is purely an arm strength scratch-off kind of prospect.

43. Eric Yang, C

Drafted: 7th Round, 2019 from UC Santa Barbara (CIN)
Age 24.0 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 35/40 30/30 30/30 40/50 45

As an amateur, Yang had a strong analytical prospect foundation because he played a premium position fairly well and had more walks than strikeouts during his career at UC Santa Barbara. He also saw a big uptick in power production during his 2019 draft year, but that was more a result of physical maturity than true, impact raw power. Scouts think he’s got a well-rounded but modest collection of tools and expect him to be a high-probability 40-man catcher, with his likely outcomes straddling the backup/third catcher range.

Drafted: 6th Round, 2021 from North Carolina (CIN)
Age 21.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 40/45 30/35 55/55 40/50 45

A transfer from Northwest Florida State, Thompson had a breakout early 2021 at North Carolina. He was hitting .400 after the first month of the season, but cooled as he got deeper into conference play, especially his power output. While he’s tall and broad-shouldered, Thompson is narrow in the wrists and forearms and lacks present strength relative to the typical college draftee. That was true last fall and again during 2022 spring. He runs well enough to be developed in center field and needs to add strength and bat speed to be more than a fifth outfielder, which is feasible given that Thompson was at a JUCO not long ago.

45. Dauri Moreta, SIRP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 26.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 45/50 40/45 50/50 93-97 / 99

An athletic drop-and-drive style reliever with a tempestuous on-mound presence, Moreta makes heavy use of an upshot mid-90s fastball. It sat 95 mph and touched 99 in 2021 as he traversed Double- and Triple-A. His slider and changeup are both closer to average, and the absence of a plus secondary puts Morets in more of an up/down relief bucket than an integral role. He debuted late in 2021 and will likely spend most of this season working the middle innings for the rebuilding Reds.

Other Prospects of Note

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

More Power-Over-Hit Types
Michel Triana, 1B
Cristian Santana, 3B
Ruben Ibarra, 1B
Debby Santana, 3B
Danny Lantigua, RF
Nick Quintana, 3B

The 22-year-old Triana signed for $1.3 million so long ago that 2022 is his 40-man evaluation year even though he enters it with just 50 games of affiliated experience, largely due to the timing of his signing and the pandemic. He has a middle linebacker’s build and plus raw power, but the hit tool and approach will make it tough for him to profile at first base, his likely destination. Cristian Santana is similar, except he has a plus arm and is a few years older. In fact, Triana, both Santanas here, and Danny Lantigua all have swing decision issues undercutting their power. If Triana is a linebacker, then Ibarra is a guard, as he measures in at 6-foot-5, 290 pounds. The Reds 2021 fourth rounder from San Jose State, Ibarra is incredibly athletic for his size and has yet to get to his raw power in games. Quintana has had a shocking fall after he was in the first or second round mix for most of his amateur career. He has hit under .200 at his last two assignments and was whiff-prone again this spring.

Contact, Low Impact
Francisco Urbaez, 2B
Lorenzo Cedrola, OF
Ashton Creal, OF
Jacob Hurtubise, OF
Leonardo Rivas, 2B

Urbaez, another good Florida JUCO find in this system, is a righty-hitting, slightly more athletic version of Alejo Lopez. Cedrola can run and barely swings and misses. His name was bandied about in Rule 5 rumors during the offseason, but he’s realistically a fifth outfielder. Creal, drafted out of an Illinois JUCO in 2019, has a collection of average tools and the most balanced skill set in this subgroup. Hurtubise was an undrafted free agent in 2020, signed out of Army. He had a .413 OBP in his first pro season. Rivas looked like a slam dunk utilityman early in his career, but his lack of strength turned out to be very meaningful and now he’s an upper-level depth option.

Twiddling Our Thumbs
Joel Kuhnel, RHP
Sam McWilliams, RHP
Brandon Bailey, RHP
Jacob Heatherly, LHP

This entire group has dealt with adversity, some of it injury and some of it performance-related. Kuhnel, 27, has had a long rehab from shoulder surgery and is now healthy; he’s pumping mid-90s gas out of the Louisville bullpen again. McWilliams also has a mid-90s relief look and commanded a big league deal two offseasons ago, but he has changed orgs a few times since then and struggled to carve out a consistent role. Bailey was an early pitch data darling who has dealt with multiple injuries; he’s still currently rehabbing. He’s a hungry dude who we’re betting will find his way back to the big leagues in someone’s bullpen. Heatherly has been 93-95 mph with a plus breaking ball at times but has also been wild and injured.

Still Projectable
Malvin Valdez, OF
Ariel Almonte, OF
Eduardo Salazar, RHP
Hunter Parks, RHP
Leonardo Balcazar, SS
Ilvin Fernandez, SS

Valdez and Almonte, who each signed for a little shy of $2 million in 2021, are classic body projection outfielders. Salazar had a velo spike at 2020 instructs that didn’t really hold throughout ’21, but his breaking ball did get better. He has a multi-inning relief shot. Parks is another JUCO draftee. He sits 94 mph and has an above-average breaking ball. Balcazar and Fernandez are deep projection shortstops. Balcazar is more skilled while Fernandez has a plus-plus frame, but 30-grade bat speed.

System Overview

They got two really good pitching prospects back in the deal, but the Reds’ need to attach Eugenio Suárez’s contract to Jesse Winker likely hurt their ability to get a more robust return from the Mariners in that trade. While the team spent the winter dismantling parts of the big league roster, only Brandon Williamson, Connor Phillips, and Chase Petty were acquired during this offseason’s fire sale, while Reiver Sanmartin and Riley O’Brien came over via earlier trades. The Reds amateur department is responsible for basically all of this prospect list (and Jonathan India).

Speaking of the amateur department, the Reds continue to find good junior college prospects and are great at assessing signability in Florida. Cincinnati’s backfields look like Texas’ did a few years ago: everywhere you look, there are big-framed, athletic projects with power and speed, but something that’s holding back their ability to make contact. In this system, it’s usually a plate discipline issue. That will likely be the undoing of several of the prospects on this list, but if any of them (especially Elly De La Cruz, Yerlin Confidan, and Allan Cerda) remedy this issue, they’ll unlock superstar ability. There are so many prospects like this in the system that surely one or two of them has to pan out, right? Right?!

The approach portion of the skill set does seem to be a blind spot for the org’s international department, though candidly, it is a blind spot for the entire public-facing prospect evaluation industry, since we aren’t collecting plate discipline data across the entire player population at that level and lean on showcase performance and batting practice/in-and-out tools and skills when crafting our evaluations. It’s a consistent flaw for this system’s hitters.

The Reds did as well as anyone at signing and then developing undrafted 2020 players, and while Driveline Baseball founder Kyle Boddy has left the organization, he put in place infrastructure during his time there that will continue to help the Reds cultivate pitching from within. Perhaps drafting Andrew Abbott (mediocre velocity, enough strikes, great fastball and curveball shape) is an indication of the traits they’ll be looking to accentuate with those tools.

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1 year ago

The Reds love power stuff, both from pitchers and hitters, and prioritize it over some of the “soft” stuff (like pitch recognition, or throwing strikes). This is a common set of beliefs from the cutting-edge analytics-focused type of analyst, so I guess it’s not surprising to have both in the same organization. But it also leads to a pretty funny symmetry, where both the pitchers and hitters have huge strikeout numbers.

For what it’s worth, while the pitchers are almost all good looking, I don’t buy any of these hitters are going to pan out. De La Cruz and Hendrick have bust written all over them. Cerda and Hinds are a big maybes; there is room for them to turn into a Steven Souza type of player (either the 2016 and 2017 version, and maybe both depending on the year). These types of mega power, mega arm, bad hit tool guys in the Hunter Renfroe mode always seem to get more love than they warrant.

1 year ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Occasionally they work out, a la Franmil Reyes.

1 year ago
Reply to  asaw780

I always thought of Franmil as having a better hit tool than those guys, more like Rhys Hoskins or Luke Voit. It hasn’t quite turned out that way so far, although he’s probably not a finished product and the bottom line results aren’t that far off.

1 year ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Completely agree on Franny’s hit tool. Doesn’t always manifest in AVG but he’s not lost up there.

1 year ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

I think EDLC pans out, at least to the degree that he’s an impact major leaguer.. Scouting already calls out better swing decisions than the stat line suggests, and he’s as lauded for his instincts, baseball IQ and drive as he is his prodigious physical gifts. He’s in the Ronny Mauricio camp for me; high risk in so many regards but also a good bet on the tools and makeup.

I think the ranking here that could look like a miss down the road, and maybe as soon as this DSL season, is Carlos Jorge. He has a great, well- proportioned frame for a sub-6’ teen and is actually very projectable. All of his mechanics, plate and afield, are sound and are just waiting for the man strength to arrive and ignite them. Really nice swing flowing from hand and wrist strength, and he is an excellent runner. There’s actually danger of getting him too jacked, so I’m hoping the Reds just let the strength come naturally. The comps to Wander are premature (and unhelpful) but I like his chances the way I like Carlos Colmenarez’s, or Cristian Santana’s, or Victor Acosta’s, or Javier Osirio’s…

1 year ago
Reply to  E-Dub

I would hope that he has better swing decisions than the stat line suggests. He struck out something like 6 or 7 times more than he walked! If he can continue to play shortstop, or at least second and third base, then he’s probably a major leaguer of some kind. Whether he’s more like Cody Ransom or Brad Miller, that I’m not sure.

1 year ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

I tend to look more at the K totals/rate than walks with his profile, and what happens on those fortunate occasions when contact is made. XBH were a high percentage of his hits and he hit enough. K rate was right on the edge of acceptable at 27% and 31% after promotion like Nolan Gorman at the same age. Naturally Elly’s whiffing 45% of the time right now, but early days. Heh.

1 year ago
Reply to  E-Dub

Should have noted Jorge is stateside this year, where he may follow Confidan as the toast of the complex league.

1 year ago
Reply to  E-Dub

De La Cruz is barely twenty years old yet, it feels really early to be calling him a bust I guess.

1 year ago
Reply to  ahduth

Yeah. I don’t expect anything methodical or linear with him. Tick, tick…boom.