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Cincinnati Reds Top 20 prospects for 2017: Mid-season review

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It is late season rather than mid-season but here you go!

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Miami Marlins
Luis Castillo
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our mid-season organization reviews with a look at the Cincinnati Reds Top 20 Prospects from the beginning of 2017. The index for other team reviews can be found here.

THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE OLD LIST.

THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST.

THESE ARE NOT NEW GRADES.

This list was originally published January 31st, 2017.

1) Nick Senzel, 3B, Grade B+/A-: Age 21, first round pick in 2016 from University of Tennessee; adapted to pro ball immediately, hitting .323/.383/.519 in 430 at-bats between High-A and Double-A with impressive defense, too; Grade A- now.

2) Amir Garrett, LHP, Grade B+: Age 25, 22nd round pick in 2011 though would have gone much higher in draft if not for basketball; opened season in MLB rotation and had moments of success but ultimately not ready, too home-run vulnerable, 7.41 ERA in 58 innings with 19 homers allowed, 49/29 K/BB, sent down to Triple-A and has been mediocre, 5.91 ERA in 46 innings; I still like his potential.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds
Jesse Winker
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

3) Jesse Winker, OF, Grade B+: Age 23, supplemental pick in 2012, hitting .314/.395/.408 in Triple-A, then .250/.348/.400 in 60 major league at-bats; nothing left to prove in Triple-A after 2016 and 2017 success; main question remains game power projection but should hit for average and get on base.

MLB: Cincinnati Red-Workouts
Robert Stephenson
The Enquirer-USA TODAY Sports

4) Robert Stephenson, RHP, Grade B: Age 24, first round pick in 2011, 6.64 ERA in 42 major league innings, 41/28 K/BB; like Garrett he’s struggled with command and homer-vulnerability; I’ve liked him a lot over the years, perhaps more than justifiable, but may need a change of scenery.

5) Shed Long, 2B, Grade B-/B: Age 21, 12th round pick in 2013 from high school in Alabama; excellent in High-A (.312/.380/.543) but slumped after moving up to Double-A (.198/.281/.339); there’s every reason to believe he’ll make the needed adjustments.

6) Cody Reed, LHP, Grade B-: Age 24, pretty good in Triple-A (3.46, 95/58 K/BB in 96 innings) despite some command issues but still hit hard in the majors, 6.43 ERA in 14 innings, 15/15 K/BB, where those issues have been more readily exposed by experienced hitters. Like Garrett and Stephenson, there’s talent here but who do they unlock it?

7) Taylor Trammell, OF, Grade B-: Age 19, compensation round pick in 2016 35th overall from high school in Georgia; hitting .279/.362/.434 with nine homers, 32 steals, 58 walks, 106 strikeouts in 426 at-bats in Low-A; should have an exciting speed/power/OBP combo as he matures.

8) Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP, Grade B-: Age 21, Cuban right-hander signed for $4,750,000; 4.46 ERA in 103 innings in High-A, 94/19 K/BB, 108 hits; perhaps not as dominant as anticipated but the K/BB ratio is quite promising for the future.

9) Alfredo Rodriguez, SS, Grade B-: Age 23, Cuban infielder signed for $7,000,000; hitting .245/.284/.290 in 421 at-bats in High-A, 11 steals, 22 walks, 71 strikeouts; seems steady on defense and can swipe a base but hasn’t shown power or OBP to this point; will he be worth the money?

10) Aristides Aquino, OF, Grade B-: Age 23, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2011; hitting .210/.278/.391 in Double-A with 15 homers, 34 walks, 126 strikeouts in 396 at-bats; latest in line of Reds outfield prospects with well-regarded tools and power potential but problems with approach at higher levels.

11) Chris Okey, C, Grade B-/C+: Age 22, second round pick in 2016 out of Clemson; hitting .192/.275/.256 with 30 walks, 86 strikeouts in 281 at-bats in High-A; has thrown out 36% of runners; glove works but bat hasn’t been as good as hoped.

12) Luis Castillo, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 24, acquired from Marlins in January 2016 Dan Straily deal; had less pre-season hype than the arms ahead of him but has outpitched everyone, 3.73 ERA in 60 major league innings, 59/26 K/BB, looks sustainable to me.

13) T.J. Friedl, OF, Grade B-/C+: Age 22, signed as undrafted free agent from University of Nevada-Reno; hitting .273/.352/.420 between Low-A and High-A with 26 doubles, 16 steals, 39 walks, 85 strikeouts in 429 at-bats; will have to see how power works at higher levels.

14) Tyler Stephenson, C, Grade B-/C+: Age 20, first round pick in 2015 from high school in Georgia, hitting .278/.374/.414 in 295 at-bats in Low-A, much better than 2016; currently out with thumb injury; 22% of runners caught needs to improve but he has time.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Cincinnati Reds Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

15) Sal Romano, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 23, 23rd round pick in 2011 though would have gone 20 rounds higher if not for college commitment; solid in Triple-A (3.47 in 49 innings, 32/17 K/BB), erratic in majors (6.05 ERA in 39 innings, 34/20 K/BB) but has had some good games and still in the picture as a potential workhorse.

16) Tyler Mahle, RHP, Grade C+: Age 22, seventh round pick in 2013, excellent season with 1.97 ERA in 132 innings between Double-A and Triple-A with 129/29 K/BB, 92 hits; a pitcher as opposed to a thrower and ready for a trial in the majors.

17) Keury Mella, RHP, Grade C+: Age 24, originally signed by Giants and acquired in Mike Leake trade; disappointing season in Double-A with 4.87 ERA in 109 innings, 86/38 K/BB; I think he should move to the bullpen.

18) Austin Brice, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25, originally drafted in ninth round by Marlins in 2010, traded to Reds in Straily deal; 33 major league relief innings with 4.96 ERA, 26/7 K/BB, capable of better.

19) Nick Travieso, RHP, Grade C+: Age 23, 3.84 ERA with 91/53 K/BB in 117 innings in Double-A, 109 hits in 2016 but has missed all of 2017 with shoulder problems that required surgery in June.

20) Tony Santillan, RHP, Grade C+: Age 20, second round pick in 2015 from high school in Texas; pretty good year in Low-A with 3.64 ERA in 109 innings, 108/48 K/BB, could be a breakthrough guy in 2018.

OTHER GRADE C+:
Barrett Astin, RHP: 6.32 ERA in 32 Triple-A innings, 36/20 K/BB, disappointing.
Calten Daal, SS: Out all year with shoulder problems.
Phillip Ervin, OF: Hitting .256/.328/.380 in Triple-A, 23 steals; any hope for performance surge in late 20s?
Jimmy Herget, RHP: 2.91 ERA in Double-A/Triple-A, 23 saves, 63/18 K/BB in 53 innings, ready for a trial.

Ian Kahaloa, RHP: Suspended for “drug of abuse.”
Jackson Stephens, RHP: 5.00 ERA in 113 innings in Triple-A, 87/45 K/BB, 133 hits; ehh..
Blake Trahan, SS: Hitting just .209/.298/.258 in Double-A.
Zack Weiss, RHP: 3.03 ERA in 30 innings High-A/Double-A, 41/9 K/BB.
Max Wotell, LHP: 9.35 ERA in 17 innings between Pioneer League and Low-A, 11/14 K/BB.

I’m trying to finish these reviews as quickly as possible. Feel free to ask any questions. Senzel and Hunter Greene would top a revised 2018 list.

Anyone interested in the Reds system needs to be reading RedsMinorLeagues, Doug Gray’s website.