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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 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.

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.