Top 36 Prospects: Cincinnati Reds

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Cincinnati Reds. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. As there was no minor league season in 2020, there are some instances where no new information was gleaned about a player. Players whose write-ups have not been altered begin by telling you so. For the others, the blurb ends with an indication of where the player played in 2020, which in turn likely informed the changes to their report. As always, I’ve leaned more heavily on sources from outside the org than within for reasons of objectivity. Because outside scouts were not allowed at the alternate sites, I’ve primarily focused on data from there. Lastly, in effort to more clearly indicate relievers’ anticipated roles, you’ll see two reliever designations, both in lists and on The Board: MIRP, or multi-inning relief pitcher, and SIRP, or single-inning relief pitcher.

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 Future Value’s merits and drawbacks, read Future Value.

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 Jose Garcia 22.7 MLB SS 2021 55
2 Tyler Stephenson 24.4 MLB C 2021 50
3 Hunter Greene 21.4 A SP 2022 50
4 Nick Lodolo 22.9 A SP 2022 50
5 Austin Hendrick 19.5 R RF 2024 45+
6 Lyon Richardson 20.9 A SP 2023 45+
7 Jonathan India 24.0 AA 3B 2021 45
8 Tyler Callihan 20.5 R 2B 2024 45
9 Rece Hinds 20.3 R RF 2024 45
10 Michael Siani 21.4 A CF 2023 45
11 Christian Roa 21.7 R SP 2023 40+
12 Jared Solomon 23.5 A+ SIRP 2022 40+
13 Ivan Johnson 22.2 R 2B 2023 40+
14 Tony Santillan 23.7 AA SIRP 2021 40+
15 Jackson Miller 19.0 R C 2025 40
16 José De León 28.4 MLB MIRP 2021 40
17 Vladimir Gutierrez 25.3 AAA MIRP 2021 40
18 Ryan Hendrix 26.0 AA SIRP 2021 40
19 Bryce Bonnin 22.2 R SIRP 2024 40
20 Riley O’Brien 25.9 AA SIRP 2021 40
21 Allan Cerda 21.1 R RF 2022 40
22 Graham Ashcraft 22.9 R SIRP 2022 40
23 TJ Friedl 25.4 AA CF 2021 40
24 Mac Wainwright 18.4 R RF 2025 35+
25 Luis Mey 19.5 R SIRP 2023 35+
26 Jacob Heatherly 22.6 A MIRP 2022 35+
27 Eric Yang 22.7 R C 2023 35+
28 Brandon Bailey 26.2 MLB SIRP 2021 35+
29 Eduardo Salazar 22.6 A MIRP 2022 35+
30 Mariel Bautista 23.2 A CF 2022 35+
31 Miguel Medrano 23.0 R SIRP 2022 35+
32 Noah Davis 23.7 R SP 2022 35+
33 Michel Triana 21.1 R 1B 2024 35+
34 Joe Boyle 21.4 R SIRP 2024 35+
35 Debby Santana 20.3 R 3B 2023 35+
36 Yan Contreras 19.9 R SS 2024 35+
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55 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Cuba (CIN)
Age 22.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 40/50 60/60 60/60 70

The Reds weren’t getting much offense from their middle infield this year, so in late-August they decided to promote Garcia, who had a hot spring training but was still the age of a college player, and hadn’t seen pro time above A-ball (though I think you could classify his Fall League coming out party as such). Garcia struggled in his initial 24-game, 68-plate appearance big league trial, hitting just .194 and striking out 38% of the time. The issue that plagued him was the same one he had in the minors: an inability to recognize breaking stuff. He paid for it more consistently against big league pitchers, who can execute consistently and exploit such a weakness.

But let’s not lose sight of the pretty incredible collection of tools here. Garcia has above-average raw power right now and I think he has the frame to add another half grade as he enters his mid-20s. He’s also a fantastic shortstop defender despite middling speed and range (at least in 2020) because he has plus-plus hands, actions, and arm strength. He’s going to backhand balls in the hole and throw out guys few other shortstops in baseball would be able to hose. Also remember that Garcia is about the age of the college players who were just drafted, and it would be ridiculous to expect even someone like Spencer Torkelson to skip Double- and Triple-A and immediately succeed. I think Garcia is going to end up punishing mistakes on the inner half with power and swinging at inside breaking balls away from him en route to a power/defense-driven everyday role, and he has long-term All-Star ceiling if his approach improves. (Alternate site, MLB)

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Kennesaw Mountain HS (GA) (CIN)
Age 24.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 225 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 45/50 70

Initially called up when Tucker Barnhart went on the Paternity List, Stephenson got an eight-game cup of coffee in the big leagues, but only a three-game shot of espresso at catcher. It’d be foolish to construct a new opinion of his offense from an eight-game statistical sample but it was instructive to watch him catch most of a big league staff during those three games behind the plate.

Stephenson catches on one knee with the bases empty, then from a crouch with runners on. For most fastballs, his glove works from the middle of the plate outward, and for breaking balls he typically works from beneath the zone, up. The latter is more effective from a pitch-framing perspective, but both approaches are fine from a receiving standpoint, which was an issue for Stephenson as a younger prospect. So, too, was ball-blocking. Stephenson is 6-foot-4 and his wickets are pretty big. His legs often get down late when he has to block a ball, but they’re so long that he ends up having good lateral range by using his length to slide around. Even then, Stephenson mostly tries to use his glove to pick balls in the dirt rather than get his knees down and pads over the ball, which may affect pitcher confidence in his ability to block balls. Stephenson avoids tipping pitches with runners on base. His legs bow out wide when a breaking ball is coming, but it happens too late for the baserunner to signal the hitter. I suppose we don’t know how well he will be able to block the nastiest of breaking balls, but I think he clearly looks capable of catching and will be at least an average defender with a big time arm.

Offensively, Stephenson puts on quite a show during batting practice but has a contact-oriented approach in games. Per a source, he had one of the better in-zone contact rates in the 2019 minors, which is quite the opposite of how most of the amateur side of the industry thought he would develop as a pro. It’s possible he eventually makes an adjustment that unlocks more in-game power, but I think a contact-first approach that derives power from Stephenson’s strength is still plenty for him to profile as a good, everyday catcher. (Alternate site, MLB)

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Notre Dame HS (CA) (CIN)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
60/65 50/55 45/55 50/55 40/60 95-98 / 103

A Greene recap, for the uninitiated: Greene was an amazing two-way high schooler who sat in the mid-to-upper 90s on the mound, played a slick shortstop, and hit huge tanks in BP. He went wire to wire as one of the best prep prospects in his class from basically his sophomore year on. He was drafted second in the 2017 class as a pitcher, and he began dominating in his first full season (especially with his fastball) as he was allowed to go deeper into Low-A games in May and June of 2018, which culminated in a seven-inning shutout (2 H, 0 BB, 10 K, and all in just 69 pitches) on July 2 against Cleveland’s affiliate, and then a legendary Futures Game appearance during which he sat 99-102 in front of the whole world. Eleven days later, Greene’s season was over. He had a PRP injection and rehabbed, but he ended up having surgery in April of 2019 and did not pitch in a live setting again until he was at the Reds’ alternate site during the pandemic.

Perhaps the individual baseball timelines least-impacted by the pandemic were those of injured pitchers whose years were already going to take a predictable shape in a rehab and development-focused environment. By throwing in California and then at the alternate site, Greene performed some facsimile of what he would have otherwise done in 2020. But it will still be nearly two years between when he last threw a pitch in a minor league game and when he will again, delaying and complicating the arc of a very talented prospect. Here’s another complication: Greene’s arm slot is now lower than it was before he got hurt. Significantly lower. His arm slot now looks more like it did when he was in high school, creating tailing action rather than carry on his fastball. It might impact how well his fastball plays, even though he was throwing really hard at the alt site, but we won’t really know until he’s made some 2021 minor league starts. The new-ish slot has also aided the action on Greene’s breaking stuff. He’s added a former cutter/slider to his original, slurvy breaker. The layoff and change in mechanics add degrees of variance (and probably added relief risk) to a profile that already included a lot of it, but I ultimately have faith in Greene’s combination of elite ability and seemingly strong desire to be really good, so I continue to project that he will be. (Alternate site)

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from TCU (CIN)
Age 22.9 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 55/55 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 seasons but flashed a tantalizing blend of stuff and feel at times, keeping him in the first round mix despite inconsistent performance. As a junior, everything clicked for him during a heavily-scouted, early-season college tournament in Houston, where Lodolo worked in the mid-90s with a plus breaking ball and changeup and struck out 13 Houston Cougars in seven innings. He’d end up posting career-best numbers across the board and was drafted seventh overall in 2019. After the draft, Lodolo pitched a total of 18 innings between Billings and Dayton, his fastball resting in the 92-94 range.

Lodolo threw in one pre-shutdown spring training game and in one summer camp tuneup, and neither went well. He showed up to summer camp looking kind of soft and with diminished velocity, and he paid for it early on in a scrimmage against the Tigers during which he surrendered back to back to back homers and couldn’t make it out of the second inning. Lodolo slowly began rebuilding arm strength throughout the summer and was back into his usual range by the end of his run at the alt site. His arm slot is abnormally low for a starter but when he’s throwing well, he has great east/west command of his fastball and can back door his curveball for strikes on the arm-side corner of the plate. He still needs to more consistently bury that curveball in the dirt for swings and misses; to my eye it looks like it should present tough angle for righty hitters when it’s located to their back foot. While Lodolo would sometimes go entire outings without throwing many changeups as an amateur, there were stretches when it was his best pitch, and the cambio was a developmental focus at the alt site. The entire package reads like a suitable fourth starter. When Lodolo is in shape, 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. (Alternate site)

45+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from West Allegheny HS (PA) (CIN)
Age 19.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 60/70 25/60 50/45 45/50 55

The Reds have taken several old-for-the-class high schoolers over the last few years and the most recent (and most talented) is Hendrick. It is somewhat concerning that Hendrick was not only older than most of his elite high school peers on the 2020 Draft showcase circuit but that he was older and still swung and missed a lot during that stretch. This, combined with his corner outfield defensive projection, makes him a prospect of extreme variance and risk since he’ll need to really rake to be an everyday player. But he also tinkered with his swing during that pre-draft summer and at times it had ridiculous length and noise it’s unlikely to once he has received pro instruction for a while. Plus, he was coming from Western Pennsylvania varsity ball, which is not nearly as good as that in the Southeast, Texas or California, which is where most of his opponents were from during the 2020 process. Let’s also not lose sight of Hendrick’s ability. He was the most explosive rotator in the entire 2020 class (and it really wasn’t close) regardless of demographic, and carried among the biggest raw power projections because of his big, square-shouldered frame. He needs reps against good pitching, and time to adjust to what will likely be some initial failure. He got his first exposure to it during instructs and responded pretty well. He’ll stay in the 45+ FV tier along with similar high-variance and high-risk prospects until he builds a statistical foundation in pro ball. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Jensen Beach HS (FL) (CIN)
Age 20.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 192 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

The minor league season’s cancellation squelched any real, profile-altering breakout Richardson, who arrived for 2020 camp throwing in the mid-90s, might have otherwise enjoyed. He trained at Cressey Sports Performance in Florida during most of the summer, and worked about 40 innings in a live setting there before being part of a recently-drafted contingent of 20-ish-year-olds who went to the Reds’ alt site later in the season. There Richardson hit his innings mark for the year and did not continue on to Instructs.

He was one of my 2020 Picks to Click, my gut feel guys who I predict will make the following year’s top 100, but while Richardson was throwing hard during 2020 spring training and throughout the year, we haven’t seen him do that over an actual slate of starter’s innings. He’s had some variation in velocity the last few years and the Reds had to shut him down due to elbow soreness toward the end of his draft year; he was 89-93 while working a really healthy, 26-start slate in his first full season. He found ways to get outs in 2019, even with diluted stuff, then threw harder in a more controlled setting in 2020. He’s athletic, still somewhat new to pitching full-time, and competitive, often emotional and demonstrative on the mound. He projects as a well-rounded fourth starter but needs to show the velo gains are going to stick. (Alternate site)

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Florida (CIN)
Age 24.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 50/50 40/45 50/45 45/50 55

The Reds opted in to the data and video sharing agreement from the alternate sites, and without a summer of games to see, pro scouts spent a lot of time parsing and writing reports off of video in 2020. These evaluations are especially important drivers for my opinion regarding India, who was coming off a nagging wrist injury that impacted his performance and ultimately ended his 2019 season (a lat issue ended his 2020). I’ve been a fairly staunch India skeptic, pointing to his draft year campaign as the anomaly among seasons of otherwise pedestrian output. There’s renewed scout confidence in India’s bat, at least from a contact perspective. He squared up the player pool pitching at Prasco Park pretty well but the exit velo data from the site is middling, at least at the top end of India’s exit velocities. He also may not throw well enough to play third base, or have the range to play second, so I think there’s increased risk that he ends up spending most of his time in left field, and I don’t think he will have the power to profile as an everyday player there. But I think he might accidentally back into some prized defensive versatility by virtue of the Reds trying him all over the field, and end up playing a valuable multi-positional — but ultimately bat-centric — role. He just turned 24 and still hasn’t had meaningful at-bats above A-ball. (Alternate site)

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Providence HS (GA) (CIN)
Age 20.5 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 55/60 30/50 30/30 30/40 50

Those who observed Callihan in the Fall of 2020 echoed reports from his amateur days: he can really swing the bat but has no clear defensive position. He mostly played third base in high school, but there were some pre-draft calls for him to catch, and the Reds gave him post-draft reps at second and continued doing so during the Fall of 2020 since they wanted to give Rece Hinds as many opportunities at third as possible. I’ve gotten mixed reviews on how his glove looked at second, including some positive thoughts from outside the org. There’s also a chance he’s eventually a first baseman; for now I have him projected as a below-average second baseman.

But the bat is the carrying tool here. Callihan was one of the most polished high school hitters in the 2019 class, and performed against his elite peers on the showcase circuit. There was some merited skepticism surrounding his ability to sustain that in pro ball since Callihan was among the older high schoolers in that class, but now that he’s performed against more refined pro arms for over a year and is generating the same reports, it’s fair to be more confident in the stick. If he can stand at second then there’s much less need to alter Callihan’s swing to increase his power output. (Alternate site from mid-September on, Fall Instructional League)

9. Rece Hinds, RF
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from IMG Academy HS (FL) (CIN)
Age 20.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 65/70 35/60 45/40 40/50 60

Hinds is quite similar to a pre-draft Bobby Dalbec: a huge-framed power bat with a 70 arm, but big swing-and-miss risk. Hinds has improved as a defender. His arm is an antidote for some of what he lacks in flexibility and range, and he can make a subset of plays at third base pretty well. On hotshots and anything that requires him to bend or vary the pace of his footwork, he struggles. I wrote him up as a right fielder last year, and I still think either that or first base are his ultimate destinations, but he’s upped his chances of staying at third in the last year and it’s important to note things are moving in that direction. The hit/power strengths and weaknesses looked the same during instructs. Hinds had the best raw power in the 2019 high school class (so ridiculous he hit a broken bat homer during instructs) but struck out a lot in the showcase setting. He has fair barrel control but stuff on the inner half ties him up due to length in his swing, especially when he tries to get the barrel to something down, and that length and middling breaking ball recognition drive the swing and miss issues. The corner fit and strikeout issues ordinarily place a prospect like this in the 40+ FV tier while they’re in the lower levels, but I like some of the underlying hitting elements and the way he’s worked to stay alive at third enough to slide him into the tier above that. (Alternate site from mid-August on, Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from William Penn Charter HS (PA) (CIN)
Age 21.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 40/45 20/30 60/60 55/70 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, he 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 not a great rotator. 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. (Alternate site from mid-September on, Fall Instructional League)

40+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Texas A&M (CIN)
Age 21.7 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 and 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 minor procedure and did not throw in the Fall. (At-home dev)

12. Jared Solomon, SIRP
Drafted: 11th Round, 2017 from Lackawanna College (PA) (CIN)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 192 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Cutter Command Sits/Tops
70/70 60/60 50/55 40/45 96-98 / 99

Solomon entered 2020 as a breakout candidate, a great-bodied arm strength guy who held his mid-90s velocity deep into games despite a pretty dramatic innings increase from 2018 to 2019. Solomon delivered, sitting 96-99 in the Fall with a plus, upper-80s slider, albeit in relief. Then he blew out and had Tommy John late in November, which means he’ll likely miss all of next season before rehabbing in the Fall and hopefully getting reps in a COVID-free AFL or winter league somewhere. If he comes back throwing as hard as he was in 2020, the Reds should just bullpen him and rush him to the big leagues. He has late-inning relief potential, and even though there’s risk his stuff doesn’t totally come back after surgery (this guy is either an elite natural athlete or has worked to sculpt his body into one of the best in the minors, and either would give me confidence that his rehab will go fine) and they’ll have to wait for it, others in the system just don’t have that kind of ceiling. (Fall Instructional League)

13. Ivan Johnson, 2B
Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from Chipola JC (FL) (CIN)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 50/55 30/45 60/60 35/40 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 followed that with a .255/.327/.415 line in the Appy League, albeit with concerning peripherals. Pro scouts who saw him in the Fall Instructional League period thought he looked very explosive but crude as a player, especially as a hitter, which is fair considering he’s a switch-hitter who has barely played two of the last three calendar years. Johnson has a non-zero chance to stay at shortstop but probably wouldn’t be any more than a 40-grade defender there and instead is likely to end up at second base. It’s tough to find up-the-middle defenders with this kind of offensive ceiling, let alone ones who can switch-hit. He remains a high-variance player and is an especially volatile prospect for a 22-year-old, but he moved from the high 40 FV area into the 40+ tier on the strength of his Fall reports. (Fall Instructional League)

14. Tony Santillan, SIRP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Seguin HS (TX) (CIN)
Age 23.7 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 Injured List twice with shoulder and triceps injuries and had a hamstring issue in 2020. The last two seasons he’s come into camp with less velo than he ends up having later in the year. I think a bigger-bodied guy like Santillan, especially one who has had so many health hiccups, probably ends up in the bullpen as a fastball/slider reliever, though recall Santillan was once sitting 97-99. He retains a 40+ designation in acknowledgment of that upside but he isn’t trending that way. (Alternate site)

40 FV Prospects

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Mitchell HS (FL) (CIN)
Age 19.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 40/50 25/45 40/30 30/45 50

I harp on this pretty consistently but the bust rates for teenage catching are astronomical. However, if we’re going to point at a few of the semi-recent success stories, several have been Reds. I expect Tyler Stephenson to be a good everyday catcher, Devin Mesoraco probably would have been had he not gotten hurt, and Tucker Barnhart was a later pick out of high school. It doesn’t preordain Miller, but it doesn’t hurt.

Miller is talented in his own right. He can catch and throw, has some thump, and contact ability came on later in the summer before his draft year. He has a great frame, and his hands are quiet before they fire but work in a lift-friendly loop as if Miller is intentionally trying to mimic Christian Yelich. If there’s a knock, it’s that Miller’s bat speed is pretty mediocre and not good enough to make up for the length in the swing through the bottom of the zone, but that might come with physical maturity. Miller has a shot to be a low-end regular but we haven’t yet learned much about his ball/strike recognition because he missed instructs with an illness. (At-home dev)

16. José De León, MIRP
Drafted: 24th Round, 2013 from Southern (LAD)
Age 28.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 45/45 60/60 40/40 93-96 / 98

If you recall, De León was once a top 100 prospect, working 93-96 at that time, but his career was sidetracked by an incessant slew of injuries. His velocity began to climb in 2019, as he was 89-93 as a starter and then more 92-95 as a reliever late that year. Prior to the shutdown, the Reds had planned to start De León in the Triple-A rotation and use him as a spot starter in his final option year. Instead he came up from the alt site in a bullpen role and his velocity continued to climb. He was parked at 95, touching 98. Deployed as a starter in the Clemente League (Puerto Rican Winter League), De León has been sitting 94-98 with his usual plus changeup. His command will probably continue to relegate him to the bullpen, but since he’s out of option years, he’ll likely stay on the roster in a middle-inning role, perhaps replacing Michael Lorenzen in a medium-leverage role. (Alternate site, MLB, Puerto Rican Winter League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Cuba (CIN)
Age 25.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 60/60 60/60 50/55 45/50 90-93 / 97

After sitting 90-93 in 2019, Gutierrez was suddenly sitting 94-96 in one- and two-inning outings during 2020 spring training. Later it was announced that he had tested positive for the PED Stanozolol. He was not allowed at the Reds’ alternate site because of the ensuing suspension and instead picked up innings during Instructional League in the Fall, and eventually for Licey in the Dominican Winter League. His velocity climbed from the 90-93 range back into the mid-90s during that time period, but he wasn’t exactly dominant for Licey.

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, if Gutierrez is receptive to it. He’s a good athlete with a four-pitch mix, but I’m betting we see velo and curveballs in an eventual relief role. (Fall Instructional League, LIDOM)

18. Ryan Hendrix, SIRP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2016 from Texas A&M (CIN)
Age 26.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
55/55 60/60 35/40 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, but his slider confuses hitters with its odd, varied movement. He’s now on the 40-man and will probably be an oft-optioned reliever. (Alternate site)

19. Bryce Bonnin, SIRP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Texas Tech (CIN)
Age 22.2 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

Another hard-throwing Texas Tech relief prospect, Bonnin sat 93-95 and touched 97 in 2020. He works with a potential plus mid-80s slider, and a very rare changeup, though Bonnin’s quite good at killing spin on the cambio and the pitch might have more ceiling than I currently have projected. His arm action is quite long and for me, he’s a relief prospect all the way. The new dev group may be able to alter his axis to create more carry on the heater since Bonnin is delivering from a higher slot but is still getting sink/tail spin on his fastball. (Fall Instructional League)

20. Riley O’Brien, SIRP
Drafted: 8th Round, 2017 from Idaho (TBR)
Age 25.9 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 40/50 92-95 / 97

O’Brien’s 2020 issues can probably be dismissed as the result of circumstance, but reports generated from external looks at the Reds’ alt site are not favorable. Unlikely to crack a loaded Rays 40-man, he was a prime trade candidate who wasn’t invited to Tampa Bay’s alt site but was added in order to be part of a desperate trade for pitching depth in the form of Cody Reed. It was savvy for the Reds to leverage both the Rays’ prospect depth and short-term, injury-related needs into a pitcher who dominated the Florida State League the year before, but O’Brien probably wasn’t physically ready to throw as suddenly as he was asked to after the deal. Remember, O’Brien’s velocity climbed each of the last two years and in 2019 rested comfortably in the mid-90s. He also has an abnormally firm, sinking, upper-80s changeup, and a power, low-80s curveball, both of which look like impact pitches at times, just not during his early Reds tenure. Again, this seems like a prospect who struggled due to his specific 2020 circumstances. He’s a classic small-school late bloomer with a good frame and athletic delivery, his stuff had been getting better for a few consecutive years like you’d hope from someone of that developmental background, and I anticipate a bounce back and eventual relief role. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League)

21. Allan Cerda, RF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 21.1 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

The Reds skipped Cerda over the AZL and sent him straight from the DSL to the Appy League for his age-19 2019 season. He responded by hitting .220/.360/.470 there, albeit with a troubling strikeout rate. He has a three true outcomes vibe, assuming Cerda’s frame, which is that of the typical high school pitcher, fills out and enables him to grow into more power. He already has quite a bit, and an electric uppercut swing, but a corner outfield future means that unless he develops elite power, the amount of contact Cerda makes will need to increase for him to profile. (Fall Instructional League)

22. Graham Ashcraft, SIRP
Drafted: 6th Round, 2019 from UAB (CIN)
Age 22.9 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

Because the org felt comfortable that he’d hit the necessary training checkpoints on his own, Ashcraft was neither at the alt site nor in Instructional League and instead trained in Nashville throughout 2020. As such, his report remains the same. 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, he 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 instead, 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 2021 (if he gets the opportunity) and profiles in a power relief role. (At-home dev)

23. TJ Friedl, CF
(CIN)
Age 25.4 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

Same report here, and 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, he is a low-variance bench outfield prospect. (Alternate site)

35+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from St. Edward HS (OH) (CIN)
Age 18.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 45/60 20/55 55/50 40/50 50

There were fewer prospects like Wainwright taken in the 2020 draft because there were fewer rounds, less overall bonus pool space, and less time to iron out deals for mid-six-figure high schoolers on Day Three. Wainwright is a typical version of this sort of prospect, a big-framed kid from the Midwest who’s a little less polished than the Southern kids, and a little less projectable than some of the skinnier kids. But Wainwright was young for the group and is really physical for how young he is, he’s shown feel for lifting the ball in BP, and he’s a high-ceilinged developmental prospect in a system that is short of this kind of developmental depth. (Fall Instructional League)

25. Luis Mey, SIRP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 19.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 40/45 35/45 30/45 95-97 / 98

Mey was the best young pitching prospect on the Reds’ 2019 AZL team. He was 18, had a wiry, projectable frame, and was already throwing pretty hard, topping out at 96 while sitting 91-94. His delivery was quite violent and his control was very crude, so he garnered mostly relief projection from clubs during that time. He’s clearly been in the gym and is more muscular now, and became so without altering his range of motion. He was throwing harder in the Fall, sitting in the mid-90s and touching 99. His secondary stuff is still crude; he just needs to find one to end up fitting as a reliever. The quality of that pitch will dictate his eventual FV, but for now he’s in the deep projection/flier stage. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from Cullman HS (AL) (CIN)
Age 22.6 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

Heathlery wasn’t at the alternate site or instructs, so his report remains the same. Catch him on the right day and you’ll see mid-90s heat and two good breaking balls, no-doubt big league stuff. Other days, he’s all over the place and can’t throw strikes. He’s a prospect of extreme variance. (At-home dev)

27. Eric Yang, C
Drafted: 7th Round, 2019 from UC Santa Barbara (CIN)
Age 22.7 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

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 had 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. Pro scouts who saw Yang during the 2020 Fall Instructional League think he’s got a well-rounded but modest collection of tools and expect him to be a high-probability 40-man catcher, his likely outcomes straddling the backup/third catcher range. (Fall Instructional League)

28. Brandon Bailey, SIRP
Drafted: 6th Round, 2016 from Gonzaga (HOU)
Age 26.2 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/50 45/50 55/55 60/60 50/50 40/40 89-93 / 94

An early pitch design guinea pig, Bailey has hopped around to four different orgs (Oakland drafted him, the Astros traded Ramón Laureano to Oakland for him, then Houston lost him to Baltimore in the 2019 Rule 5 draft; he was eventually sent back and later traded to the Reds for cash) as reliever with an unusually deep repertoire. He only sits in the low-90s but because he’s small and pitches with such flat angle, Bailey’s fastball is sneaky even though it’s not all that hard. He’s been a 40 FV for the longest time but it’s clear the industry values him as someone who’ll be optioned back and forth (he has two option years left), so he settles into the 35+ tier ahead of what I expect will be his final season of prospect eligibility. (Alternate site, MLB)

29. Eduardo Salazar, MIRP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (CIN)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 177 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 40/45 40/45 45/55 94-96 / 99

This is one of the early velo uptick guys from the system. After sitting 89-93 throughout 2019, the strike-throwing Salazar was sitting mid-90s and touching 99 during 2020 Fall Instructional League. Like Mey (except several years older and lacking the same body projection), Salazar needs to find better secondary stuff, so he’ll be sent to Dayton as a starter next year where he’ll be forced to throw those pitches more often than he would if he were ‘penned and could bully Low-A hitters with velo, though that may ultimately be his role. (Fall Instructional League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 23.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 194 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 20/45 60/55 45/50 50

Bautista was not invited to the alt site, nor to instructs, and only played in six games for Tigres de Licey in LIDOM before list publication. He notched four hits in 14 plate appearances para los Tigres, two of them for extra bases. Bautista looks the same as he has in the minors. He’s gangly and kind of stiff, and his swing has a non-traditional look to it, but he is explosive and toolsy. Remember that he’s coming off 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, undergoes some kind of swing change, or both, and it’s a bit concerning that the Reds preferred to see a bunch of undrafted free agents during the Fall rather than bring in Bautista, who clearly wasn’t assured many LIDOM at-bats. (LIDOM)

31. Miguel Medrano, SIRP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (TEX)
Age 23.0 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

My fall report on Medrano is the same as last year’s: He 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; his relative lack of other stuff probably means he ends up in the bullpen and he should be pushed quickly in 2021 to see if it works at the upper levels. He’s already been marinating in the low minors too long. (Fall Instructional League)

32. Noah Davis, SP
Drafted: 11th Round, 2018 from UC Santa Barbara (CIN)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
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. He held that velo into 2020 instructs but had to be shut down early due to an upper back issue. I slid him into the 35+ tier based on him having another health hiccup, and the 40 FV pitching just has better, more defined stuff than Davis, who is almost 24, does. I now have him projected more in the sixth/spot starter realm. (Fall Instructional League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Cuba (CIN)
Age 21.1 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

It’s unfortunate that visa issues and the pandemic have prevented Triana from playing against age-appropriate competition for all but a few weeks in the Fall of 2020 (and one of my sources said he was already shut down when he got in to see the club). Because he’s such a large, obvious first base-only prospect, so much of what will drive confidence in his ability to clear the offensive bar at that position, even in a way that would enable him to be a role player, will have to come from Triana hitting in real games for a whole season, at a minor league level befitting both his age and physical maturity. He remains a power-first lottery ticket for now. (Dominican Instructional League)

34. Joe Boyle, SIRP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Notre Dame (CIN)
Age 21.4 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

The Driveline Baseball program is adept at making pitchers throw harder, but not necessarily throw strikes, so it was perhaps an odd fit for the Reds to draft Boyle, who already throws really hard but struggles to locate at all. Boyle’s fastball routinely exceeds 100 mph but he was unusably wild early in his Notre Dame career and had more walks than innings pitched all three years there. He certainly has big league relief potential, but again the thing he needs to do better is not what the new Reds dev group made its name doing. (At-home dev)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 20.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/35 60/70 20/55 40/40 35/45 70

Santana’s report is the same as last year’s: 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, he 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. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 12th Round, 2019 from Puerto Rico Baseball Academy (PR) (CIN)
Age 19.9 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 30/45 70

Without a full season to see if they could make adjustments, I’m taking a laissez faire approach to prospects like Contreras, who are fundamentally raw in some way (poor approach, wild throwing accuracy, etc.) but have rare physical ability and body composition. Contreras has a running back’s build, shows good power for his age during BP, has no-doubt left side arm strength when he really airs it out, and has the lateral mobility to stay at short. He’s also so raw in some respects (both in his feel to hit and his throwing accuracy) that he may have had trouble getting freshman reps in college, so maybe a summer of at-home dev followed by instructs was similar to what he would have done at San Jacinto. Regardless, Contreras is a low-probability prospect but it’s rare to find someone with the athletic capability to play short and a chance to have relevant power, so he should be monitored. (Fall Instructional League)

Other Prospects of Note

Sleeper Arms I Like
Reiver Sanmartin, LHP
Jhon De Jesus, RHP
Case Williams, 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 move away 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. Williams is a 2020 draftee who the Rockies picked and sent to Cincinnati as part of the Jeff Hoffman/Robert Stephenson swap. He was in the 88-92 range with middling projection as an underclassman, then was up to 95 in a indoor bullpen environment. 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
Lorenzo Cedrola, 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. Cedrola is a speedster without viable strength.

Up-the-Middle Depth
Miguel Hernandez, SS
Errol Robinson, SS
Gus Stieger, SS
Jacob Hurtubise, CF
Wilfred Astudillo, C
Jose Tello, C
James Free, C
Chuckie Robinson, 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. Errol Robinson, a minor league Rule 5 pick, is like this but a few years older. Stieger is a 2020 undrafted free agent out of South Dakota State. He played against Minnesota on either side of a big college tournament in Minneapolis, got seen there, and looks like a potential infield bench piece. He’s a capable shortstop defender and has fair feel for contact for a small-school hitter. Hurtubise is another 2020 NDFA, from West Point. He can really run and play center field. Astudillo (yes, he’s Willian’s brother) is only 20 and, like his brother, has precocious feel for contact and swings too much. The other two are big-bodied catchers with power. Free signed for $125,000 as an undrafted free agent in 2019. Tello was too old for the 2019 AZL but hit well. Robinson (and Astudillo) was a Rule 5 minor league pick from Houston. He’s hit for power in the past but really can’t catch.

Older Relief Types
Joel Kuhnel, RHP
Francis Peguero, RHP

Kuhnel has a heavy mid-90s fastball when healthy but he’s often not and cleared waivers when he was outrighted off the roster recently. He did have some Rule 5 buzz, though. Peguero was up to 96 in 2019, strong velocity for a lower slot guy, but his breaking ball isn’t great.

Young Dominicans
Junior Tamares, CF
Braylin Minier, SS
Esmil Torres, SS

Tamares is a plus runner with some feel to hit. Last year in this space, I said he needed to get stronger and he has. He has the best physical projection of the three players in this group now. 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. 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 2019s. 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. Minier was the youngest player on the 2020 instructs roster but didn’t end up coming to the US and was noticeably thicker in the D.R. Torres was in the DSL last year. He had a medium frame that has gotten bigger and fuller since signing, good defensive footwork, and a downward-cutting swing from both sides of the plate.

System Overview

This group is pretty shallow, and the Reds’ pro-active pursuit of undrafted free agents during the summer, along with the fact that they made the most selections in the minor league phase of December’s Rule 5 draft, indicates that they know it and are exploring all avenues to add depth. The severely abbreviated nature of the 2020 draft was especially unkind them org for this reason. Nine of the top 17 prospects on this list are either from Cuba or went to school in Georgia or Florida, and several prospects the club has dealt away in recent years have been from there, too.

The Reds cashed in a bunch of chips to be able to compete in earnest in 2020 and they were rewarded with an empty Great American Ballpark because of the pandemic. Now they seem to be in cost-cutting mode, willing to listen to trade offers for some of their talented-but-expensive veterans. The logjam most in need of clearing is at third base, where Eugenio Suárez, Nick Senzel, Jonathan India, and maybe Mike Moustakas can all play. Suárez is due about $10 million annually through 2024 while India and Senzel are still pre-arb and Moose, a better handedness fit with the other two, is signed through 2023. Suárez presents teams interested in Nolan Arenado with an interesting secondary option, and the Reds should try to get a grasp on what the Arenado offers are like to position their asking price for Suárez.





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

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“The Reds weren’t getting much offense from their middle infield this year, so in late-August they decided to promote Garcia. You’ll never guess what happened next!”