Top 36 Prospects: Cincinnati Reds

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Cincinnati Reds. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed, you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It can be found here.

Reds Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Tyler Stephenson 23.8 AA C 2020 50
2 Hunter Greene 20.8 A RHP 2022 50
3 Jose Garcia 22.1 A+ SS 2021 50
4 Nick Lodolo 22.3 A LHP 2022 50
5 Jonathan India 23.4 AA 3B 2021 45+
6 Lyon Richardson 20.3 A RHP 2023 45+
7 Michael Siani 20.9 A CF 2023 45
8 Tyler Callihan 19.9 R 3B 2024 40+
9 Tony Santillan 23.1 AA RHP 2020 40+
10 Rece Hinds 19.7 R RF 2024 40+
11 Stuart Fairchild 24.2 AA CF 2020 40+
12 Tejay Antone 26.5 AAA RHP 2020 40
13 Joel Kuhnel 25.3 MLB RHP 2020 40
14 Allan Cerda 20.5 R RF 2022 40
15 Ivan Johnson 21.6 R 2B 2023 40
16 Graham Ashcraft 22.3 R RHP 2022 40
17 TJ Friedl 24.8 AA CF 2020 40
18 Jared Solomon 22.9 A+ RHP 2021 40
19 Noah Davis 23.1 R RHP 2022 40
20 Packy Naughton 24.1 AA LHP 2021 40
21 Vladimir Gutierrez 24.7 AAA RHP 2020 40
22 Jameson Hannah 22.8 A+ LF 2021 40
23 Miguel Medrano 22.4 R RHP 2021 35+
24 Ryan Hendrix 25.4 AA RHP 2020 35+
25 Jose Salvador 20.7 R LHP 2022 35+
26 Eric Yang 22.2 R C 2023 35+
27 Jacob Heatherly 22.0 A LHP 2022 35+
28 Francis Peguero 22.8 R RHP 2022 35+
29 Mariel Bautista 22.6 A CF 2021 35+
30 Michel Triana 20.5 R 1B 2024 35+
31 Jose De Leon 27.8 MLB RHP 2020 35+
32 Aneurys Zabala 23.4 A+ RHP 2021 35+
33 Debby Santana 19.7 R 3B 2023 35+
34 Danny Lantigua 21.2 R RF 2023 35+
35 Luis Mey 18.9 R RHP 2023 35+
36 Yan Contreras 19.3 R SS 2024 35+
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50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Kennesaw Mountain HS (GA) (CIN)
Age 23.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 65/65 40/45 30/30 40/45 70/70

Stephenson puts on quite a show during batting practice but has a more contact-oriented approach in games. Per a source, he has one of the better in-zone contact rates in the minors, which is quite the opposite of how most of the amateur side of the industry thought he would develop as a pro. He’s still a fringy receiver with a big arm, but that may become less of a problem soon. Barring a tweak that brings more of his raw power to the party, Stephenson looks like a solid everyday catcher and he’d be one of the few prep catching draftees to actually pan out.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Notre Dame HS (CA) (CIN)
Age 20.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 197 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/80 50/55 40/45 45/55 40/60 95-98 / 103

Greene is a generational on-mound athlete whose 2018 season ended with an elbow sprain that eventually led to Tommy John. A strong two-month run of starts in the early summer culminated in a seven-inning shutout (2 H, 0 BB, 10 K, and all in just 69 pitches) on July 2 at Lake County, and a Futures Game appearance. Eleven days later, Greene’s season was over. He had a PRP injection and rehabbed the sprained UCL in Arizona with broad plans to start throwing during the winter, but he ended up having surgery and did not pitch in 2019. His pre-injury report was heavy on velo and secondary projection, and it was (and is) especially important for him to find a better breaking ball, which he seemed to be doing before the injury.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Cuba (CIN)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 35/50 60/60 60/60 70/70

Between his lack of reps during the ’16-’17 Series Nacional in Cuba and the arduous process of defecting, followed by slowly working out for teams, then waiting for the 2018 season to start, Garcia played very little baseball for the several months leading up to last season and it showed when he finally put on a uniform. Then he had a breakout 2019 in the Florida State League (.280/.343/.436) and was watched closely by the whole industry throughout an Arizona Fall League assignment. If Garcia’s tools were installed in a 21-year-old college shortstop, he’d be very famous. Power, speed, arm strength, and flashy defense are all here, and Garcia has a chance to be a star if his approach isn’t his undoing.

4. Nick Lodolo, LHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from TCU (CIN)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 55/60 50/55 45/55 91-94 / 96

Drafted and unsigned by the Pirates as a 2016 first rounder, Lodolo took a bit of a circuitous route to the top of the 2019 class. He had iffy freshman and sophomore years but flashed a tantalizing blend of stuff and feel at times, keeping him in the first round mix despite inconsistent performance. Everything clicked for him during an early-season college tournament in Houston, where Lodolo worked in the mid-90s with a plus breaking ball and changeup.

He’s more apt to throw his curveball for strikes than bury it in the dirt for swings and misses, but he showed better grasp of the latter late in the year. While Lodolo will sometimes go entire outings without throwing that many changeups, there have been stretches where it’s his best pitch. His frame is ideal, his delivery elegant and repeatable. The stuff isn’t dominant, but some teams are still projecting on it because of how big and lean Lodolo’s frame is, which makes them think it might be eventually.

45+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Florida (CIN)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 50/50 40/45 50/45 50/55 55/55

India was hit by two pitches last April — one struck his wrist, the other got him in the back — and the Reds claim that though he didn’t miss any time during the season, his wrist bothered him all year and could have been to blame for his lackluster 2019 power output. He looked aloof and sluggish in the Fall League, where he started 2-for-35 and was eventually shut down due to continued wrist issues. He has generally shown a well-rounded skillset that includes good feel for contact and defense.

How teams value India varies depending on how they contextualize the wrist injury. It could be viewed as a short-term issue that obscured his physical talent in 2019, but some teams are scared by it being described as “nagging” and having ended his season, while others just think India’s junior year at Florida (the only time he’s ever hit for real power), is the anomaly, and don’t have him projected as an everyday player either way. I think that, primarily via the contact skills, India profiles as a second-division regular (45 FV) at third, but if the wrist is truly why the power hasn’t played, or should he eventually prove capable of playing second base (which is what the Fall League assignment was for), he has a great chance to be a 50.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Jensen Beach HS (FL) (CIN)
Age 20.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 45/50 50/50 45/55 45/55 89-93 / 95

Perhaps no high school pitching prospect from the 2018 draft has moved toward the “low variance” end of the spectrum quite as quickly as Richardson, which is especially surprising considering he was a two-way prospect for quite a while. Once he started touching 96 and 97 early in his senior season, he moved into the second round picture as a pitcher. His stuff dipped a bit before the draft and, later in the summer, the Reds shut him down due to elbow soreness. He pitched at 89-93 all last year and made a Midwest League-leading 26 starts without incident.

Richardson found ways to get outs with diluted stuff last year and then arrived to 2020 camp throwing really hard, back into the mid-90s. He’s athletic, new to pitching, competitive, often emotional and demonstrative on the mound and responded to adversity in his first season, a potential 2021 Top 100 arm.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from William Penn Charter HS (PA) (CIN)
Age 20.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 40/45 30/35 60/60 55/65 60/60

Siani is fast and his defensive instincts are excellent, so he has a chance to be one of the better defensive center fielders in baseball at peak. On offense, Siani creates a lot of infield action (oppo liner pokes and slaps, high infield chops, some bunts) but probably won’t grow into relevant power. I have him projected as a low-end regular in center field based on the quality of his defense, but I think he’ll end up hitting toward the bottom of a lineup.

40+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Providence HS (GA) (CIN)
Age 19.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 55/60 30/50 40/35 40/50 55/55

He’ll likely wind up at first base eventually, but in the interim the industry is still searching for where on the defensive spectrum it might be able to shoehorn Callihan in an effort to make him as valuable a prospect as possible. He’s mostly played third base, but there were some pre-draft calls for him to catch, and the Reds gave him post-draft reps at second. The bat is the carrying tool, of course. Callihan was one of the most polished (and oldest) high school hitters in the 2019 class, and performed against his elite peers on the showcase circuit. To get to all of the raw power, he probably needs to improve his feel for lifting the ball, either naturally via reps or with an explicit swing change. That’s especially true should he need to move to first sooner than later. It’s a scary defensive profile and Callihan’s age takes away from some of my confidence in the bat, but I still think it’s a high-probability hit tool with an outside shot of standing at second base.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Seguin HS (TX) (CIN)
Age 23.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 55/55 45/50 40/45 91-94 / 96

Santillan’s strike-throwing regressed to his career norms in 2019 and his velocity is now squarely in the low-90s. He was also put on the IL twice with shoulder and triceps injuries. It’s possible a bullpen move will cause Santillan’s high school and early pro velo to resurface and he could pitch in leveraged relief, but if he continues to start, he’s looking more like a backend guy than a potential mid-rotation piece.

10. Rece Hinds, RF
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from IMG Academy HS (FL) (CIN)
Age 19.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 65/70 25/60 45/40 40/50 60/60

Hinds is a massive third baseman who had the most raw power in the 2019 draft’s high school class, but there are significant concerns about his hit tool. Players this size typically move to the outfield, and considering how slow Hinds’ development might be paced due to the contact issues, he might be out there before he reaches the bigs. He has star-level talent, but is a very risky type of prospect.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Wake Forest (CIN)
Age 24.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 50/50 35/45 55/55 50/55 60/60

Fairchild’s swing has a little more going on now than it did while he was in college, but it’s still pretty simplistic relative to a lot of other hitters’. Once extremely stationary, he now has a baby leg kick and is actually loading his hands. His groundball rate has dropped from 50% during his first pro season, to 40% during the first half of 2018, to the 30%-37% range in the three half-seasons since then, and somehow his strikeout rate dropped all the way to 12% during his six-week stint at Double-A Chattanooga. I don’t think that’s a sustainable rate but I do think it makes sense that Fairchild would become more comfortable with the swing over time. He doesn’t have overt everyday physical ability but he is a plus athlete who has been able to make mechanical adjustments, so he might yet get better.

40 FV Prospects

12. Tejay Antone, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2014 from Weatherford College (TX) (CIN)
Age 26.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/50 55/60 50/50 40/45 45/45 50/50 89-93 / 96

Antone’s stuff has been steadily improving since he returned from Tommy John, and he was up to 96 as a starter last year. He goes at hitters with the kitchen sink. His flight of fastballs sits in the 89-93 range, he’ll cut it and sink it. He also has a slider in the 82-84mph range that has really odd angle running away from right-handed hitters, who struggle to pick up Antone. He’ll also drop in an occasional curveball, the changeup lives in the 82-85 range and is viable. He gets ground balls with the fastballs and misses bats with the slider. I think he fits in a multi-inning relief role, maybe the back of a rotation.

13. Joel Kuhnel, RHP
Drafted: 11th Round, 2016 from Texas-Arlington (CIN)
Age 25.3 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 260 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
65/65 55/55 45/45 40/40 94-97 / 99

Kuhnel wasn’t a top draft prospect coming out of Texas-Arlington; he had a maxed-out, bulky frame, inconsistent command, and just average stuff for a right-handed reliever. In 2018, he took a big step forward. His fastball jumped 3-4 ticks and hit 101, and his slider improved into an above-average pitch, though he really struggled to get it to his glove side last year. He’s a major league-ready power relief prospect.

14. Allan Cerda, RF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/60 35/55 50/50 40/50 60/60

The Reds skipped Cerda over the AZL and made the Appy League his first domestic assignment. There he struck out a bunch (34% in 165 PA) but also hit for power and walked. Compared to the other young power hitters in this system, Cerda’s approach is by far the most coherent, and he also has the group’s best feel for airborne contact. He’s a three true outcomes right field prospect.

15. Ivan Johnson, 2B
Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from Chipola JC (FL) (CIN)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 50/55 30/45 60/60 40/45 45/45

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. Explosive and physical, Johnson has plus bat and foot speed, but limited feel to hit. He’s raw, but that’s to be expected for a switch-hitter this age who barely got at-bats during his age 19 season.

Drafted: 6th Round, 2019 from UAB (CIN)
Age 22.3 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

Once an out-of-control prep prospect up to 98 mph, Ashcraft went to Mississippi State, had a pair of hip surgeries, then transferred to UAB. He had a pedestrian 2019 season with the Blazers but lo, Ashcraft has TrackMan-friendly spin rates on his fastball and breaker. His fastball has natural cut at times, but Driveline Baseball has had success getting pitchers like this to pronate better on release and create carry rather than cut, which seems fair to project will happen with Ashcraft now that Driveline’s founder is the team’s pitching coordinator. He could have a breakout 2020 (if he gets the opportunity) and profiles in a power relief role.

17. TJ Friedl, CF
Age 24.8 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 40/40 30/35 70/70 50/55 45/45

The circumstances surrounding his signing bear repeating: Friedl slipped through the cracks as a 2016 draft-eligible player, then blew up as a member of Team USA that summer, and signed with the Reds for $700,000 worth of leftover bonus pool money. From a tools and performance standpoint, Friedl is a low-variance bench outfield prospect.

18. Jared Solomon, RHP
Drafted: 11th Round, 2017 from Lackawanna College (PA) (CIN)
Age 22.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 192 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/50 40/45 50/55 40/45 91-95 / 97

Even amid a substantial innings increase in 2019, Solomon held mid-90s velo for the entire season. He’s a 50 athlete with a 70 body and can just kind of muscle fastballs and cutters near the zone. Those two pitches might be enough in relief if Solomon’s velo jumps in single-inning outings, but his curveball is serviceable, so there’s a third pitch, and Solomon is a Northeast JUCO arm just a year and a half into his pro career, so some of the pitchability traits might come late. He’s got 40-man quality stuff with some late-bloomer possibility.

19. Noah Davis, RHP
Drafted: 11th Round, 2018 from UC Santa Barbara (CIN)
Age 23.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 50/55 50/55 35/40 40/50 91-93 / 94

Davis had a big pre-draft summer on Cape Cod but blew out just a few starts into his junior year at Santa Barbara. The Reds drafted him and finished his TJ rehab in 2019, then sent him to Billings. Most of his pre-surgery velocity returned and Davis was sitting 91-94 in his first few appearances before touching some 95s later in the summer. More importantly, he returned with two quality breaking balls (he was slider/changeup as an amateur) that have fairly significant projection since one of them is new, and Davis missed a huge chunk of time rehabbing from the TJ.

Drafted: 9th Round, 2017 from Virginia Tech (CIN)
Age 24.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 45/45 55/60 55/60 87-92 / 94

Pitchers whose best attributes are their command and a changeup often outperform industry expectations, and even though Naughton’s fastball only averaged 89 mph last year, I think he’ll do the same. He’s funky and deceptive, hides the ball well, creates tough angle in on righties’ hands, and then drops that changeup on them. Naughton’s curveball isn’t great, but he can throw it for strikes. I like him in a multi-inning relief role a la Ryan Yarbrough.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Cuba (CIN)
Age 24.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 55/60 60/60 50/55 45/50 90-93 / 97

Gutierrez is a plus athlete with a four-pitch mix, and after sitting 90-93 last year, he was suddenly sitting 94-96 in one- and two-inning outings this spring prior to the shutdown. He has a drop and drive delivery that creates a really flat approach angle on his fastball, especially at the top of the strike zone, but Gutierrez’s heater currently has other attributes (its spin rate and axis are indicative of sink/tailing action) that don’t suit this style of pitching, and he’s been homer prone throughout his career. There are several potential solutions. He might be able to just bully the extra velocity past hitters in a relief role, or he may eventually lean into the sink/tail aspects of the fastball and work off a two-seamer (Julio Teheran is actually a pretty clean athlete/delivery comp for Gutierrez), or the new dev regime might tweak something — perhaps his hand position or stride direction — to try to shape how the fastball moves.

My high speed video from the spring shows a four-seam grip with pretty lousy seam uniformity and an axis like the one the 2019 data indicates, and Gutierrez was still doing towel drills this spring, so I assume the new dev group hasn’t really touched him yet. Based on his athleticism, arm strength, and the quality of his secondary stuff, I still think Gutierrez has a chance to be an relevant big league arm, but it is kind of scary that he still needs some kind of rebuild at nearly age 25 and his most likely outcome is in relief.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Dallas Baptist (OAK)
Age 22.8 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 45/45 30/35 60/60 45/60 40/40

Acquired last summer for Tanner Roark, Hannah is a contact/speed outfield prospect who will have to make more contact than I have projected in order to play an everyday role. He hit .340 in college and has hit .280 in pro ball, his extra-base hit production consisting almost entirely of doubles. I have him as an average center field defender but think he could be plus in left, a diet Brett Gardner profile lacking the elite plate discipline. It’s a bench outfield look.

35+ FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (TEX)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/45 45/50 55/60 45/60 89-92 / 93

Medrano was acquired from Texas in exchange for international slot money during the Rangers’ pursuit of Shohei Ohtani. He spent the following two years simmering in advanced rookie ball (first the Appy, then the Pioneer League) as a pretty advanced righty with a good changeup. There’s a chance Medrano ends up with a plus changeup and command, which would make it pretty likely that he pitches in a rotation. If only one of those comes to fruition, then he’s more of a fringe 40-man guy since he probably needs the change to be an out pitch and the command to make the fastball playable.

24. Ryan Hendrix, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2016 from Texas A&M (CIN)
Age 25.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops
55/55 60/60 40/45 93-96 / 98

Hendrix has been the same prospect for a while now: relief only, 93-96, plus breaking ball. The fastball has not played like the velo would indicate it should (only a 5% swinging strike rate on the heater in 2019) and he’s also had some elbow trouble. He’s now on the 40-man and will probably be an up/down taxi squad reliever this year.

25. Jose Salvador, LHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 20.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/55 50/55 30/35 30/40 89-91 / 93

Salvador has the potential to wield power lefty bullpen stuff — a riding fastball and hammer curveball — if he can throw harder. He’s only 20 and skinny as a rail, so it’s reasonable to project that he will.

26. Eric Yang, C
Drafted: 7th Round, 2019 from UC Santa Barbara (CIN)
Age 22.2 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 35/40 30/30 30/30 40/50 45/45

Yang had more walks than strikeouts at UC Santa Barbara and saw a big uptick in power production in his draft year, though he does lack impact raw. He projects as a contact-oriented back up.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from Cullman HS (AL) (CIN)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 45/50 50/55 30/40 90-94 / 95

Heatherly has had trouble throwing strikes in affiliated ball and he missed almost all of 2019 with a shoulder injury. Catch him on the right day on the back fields and he’s filling the zone with a sinker in the 92-94 range and flashing two above-average secondaries. It’s No. 4/5 starter stuff, but Heatherly has had lots of hiccups and speed bumps since his excellent pre-draft summer.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
50/55 55/60 45/60 91-95 / 96

I think the loose and lanky Peguero has late-budding velocity projection (both his fastball and slider velocity climbed throughout last year). He projects as a slider-slinging reliever with plus command.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 194 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 55/60 20/45 60/55 45/50 50/50

Bautista had a rough 2019. He hit .233/.303/.332 in the Midwest League (an 87 wRC+, by far the lowest of his career) and missed nearly a month due to a shoulder injury. He also seemed to regress athletically, and the odd swing he seemed to be succeeding with in the low minors looked more out of place in full-season ball. He was passed over in the Rule 5. I’m still on Bautista to some degree because of his raw power, straightline speed, and previously-evident bat-to-ball skills, but this won’t work unless Bautista becomes much more selective, or undergoes some kind of swing change, or both.

30. Michel Triana, 1B
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Cuba (CIN)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/65 35/55 30/20 40/45 55/55

He has experience at third base and might be tried there early on, but I have Triana projected to first base (and relatively soon) based on his immense size and general stiffness. He has gargantuan power, enough to profile at first if he hits, but he’s been seen either in a showcase environment or against much younger competition, so I have skepticism regarding the hit tool that won’t be remedied unless this kid moves through the low minors quickly.

31. Jose De Leon, RHP
Drafted: 24th Round, 2013 from Southern (LA)
Age 27.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 45/45 50/50 60/60 50/50 90-92 / 95

Prior to the shutdown, the Reds had planned to start De Leon in the Triple-A rotation. He was 90-93 as a starter last year (93-96 at his prospect peak) but up to 95 out of the bullpen late in the summer. He’s a spot starter in his final option year.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (SEA)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 260 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
55/60 50/55 30/35 95-98 / 100

Zabala has been traded a couple of times (Seattle to Los Angeles for Chase De Jong, then to the Reds for Dylan Floro) and he still throws really hard, but hasn’t missed as many bats as one would think given that velocity.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 19.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/35 60/70 20/55 40/40 35/45 70/70

Santana is a right/right corner power bat with a plus arm. He’s a 40 athlete who may need to move to right field, but regardless of where he ends up on the defensive spectrum, Santana needs to be more selective and lift the ball more consistently if he’s going to tap into all that raw power and play some kind of corner role.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/30 60/65 30/55 50/45 45/50 60/60

Lantigua’s approach was unhinged last year — 3.4% walk rate, 47% strikeout rate — but he’s got freaky power for a switch-hitter. The only other switch-hitter under 21 to hit a ball 108 mph last year was Wander Franco.

35. Luis Mey, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 18.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/60 40/45 35/45 30/45 91-95 / 97

Mey already throws pretty hard for his age and has a great frame, but he has very little feel for his secondaries right now.

Drafted: 12th Round, 2019 from Puerto Rico Baseball Academy (PR) (CIN)
Age 19.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 45/55 20/45 55/55 40/50 70/70

Contreras looks great in the uniform, has some pop, and he’s a shot to stay on the left side of the infield based on his arm strength and athleticism, but he is sushi raw as a hitter and was the most mistake-prone defender I saw in the AZL last year. It’s rare to find someone with the athletic capability to play short and a chance to have relevant power, but there’s a big developmental gap to try to close here.

Other Prospects of Note

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

Sleeper Arms I Like
Reiver Sanmartin, LHP
Jhon De Jesus, RHP
James Marinan, RHP

Sanmartin has been traded a few times (Texas to New York to Cincinnati). He’s a little low-slot lefty whose tailing fastball and sweeping slider dovetail from one another in an effective way. He has a shot to end up with plus command and make a roster. De Jesus is a stallion with arm strength — 91-96, touch 98 — and 30 control/feel. Marinan has pedigree as a sinker/slider starter prospect. He was up to 95 in some starts and 88-92 in others.

College-Aged Outfielders with a Carrying Tool
Quin Cotton, LF
Fidel Castro, RF
TJ Hopkins, CF
Michael Beltre, LF
Lorenzo Cedrola, CF
Andy Sugilio, CF

Cotton was in the third round mix for some clubs coming into his junior spring at Grand Canyon. Scouts hoped a swing change might unlock dormant raw power, and as Cotton tried to make one, he came undone and had a bad year. Now he’s in an org that has lately had some success making swing changes. He has 55 pull power. Castro’s frame is still really projectable for a 21-year-old and he has natural low-ball lift. He’s got a shot to grow into power yet. Hopkins is a senior sign who hit .295/.371/.463 at South Carolina. Beltre is 25, so assume he’s getting his doctorate. He’s physical and fast and plays really hard, but his swing just doesn’t work. Cedrola and Sugilio are speedsters without viable strength.

Up-the-Middle Depth
Miguel Hernandez, SS
Hendrik Clementina, C
Jose Tello, C
James Free, C

Hernandez can still pick it and make an average amount of contact, but hasn’t filled out like I thought he might when he was 19. The other three are big-bodied catchers with power. Free signed for $125,000 as an undrafted free agent.

Young Dominicans
Braylin Minier, SS
Esmil Torres, SS
Junior Tamares, CF
Jose Acosta, 3B

This is an especially relevant group because for over a decade, Cincinnati’s most prominent international talent acquisitions have typically come from Cuba. It’s been the Reds’ M.O. to avoid the teenage demographic and instead sign older Cuban players when they hit the market later in the process. Most of the 2019 17-year-old class had verbal deals long before new International Scouting Director Trey Hendricks arrived, as he told the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale last July. It makes sense then that they ended up with Triana, who hit the market at age 19, and Minier, who popped so late that any info on him is hard to come by since clubs had most of their money committed and had stopped scouting 2019’s. Baseball America has noted that Minier was trained by Patrick Guerrero, who used to work under Reds International Crosschecker Bob Engle in Los Angeles and Seattle.

Torres was in the DSL last year. He has a medium frame, good defensive footwork, and downward-cutting swing from both sides of the plate. Tamares is a plus runner with some feel to hit. He needs to get stronger. Acosta has a good frame and crude bat control.

System Overview

This system looks rough in large part due to a combination of graduations (Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino) and trades (Taylor Trammell, Josiah Gray) made with an eye toward competing for a playoff spot in a strong division.

The international program seems inclined to re-engage with a significant portion of the market it had previously avoided. The Reds also seem more inclined than other clubs to draft older high schoolers, and an unusually high number of their slugging corner bats have among the most reckless approaches in all of baseball. The current pillars of the org’s scouting and player development haven’t been in place for very long and 2020 is a key year for understanding the org’s new tendencies as they reveal them. It was hard not to write this list with the org’s new pitching development processes in mind, as Pitching Coordinator Kyle Boddy’s body of research and thinking is basically available online.

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 Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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3 years ago

Yeesh, Stephenson might be the only prospect in this system I like right now. Glad to see he got the top spot. Santillan’s step back was disappointing, thought he’d be getting MLers out in 2019

JMO so it’s sacred, Greene is one of the most overrated draft prospects I can remember. Who drafts a HS RH without a breaking ball at #1? Maybe it was part of some long term league agenda to get more HS talent working for free (sorry, working on that super valuable bachelors too) under the NCAA

3 years ago
Reply to  SenorGato

Tyler Kolek.

3 years ago
Reply to  SenorGato

Greene didn’t go at #1

3 years ago
Reply to  gfas