Cincinnati Reds 2014 Top 15 Prospects

Jul 21, 2013; Scranton, PA, USA; Louisville Bats pitcher Daniel Corcino (31) delivers to the plate during the first inning against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at PNC Field. The Bats defeated the RailRiders 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds top 15 was a tough one to narrow down.  The top two were easy, as they are in a class of their own.  Three and four are a clear second tier, but five through eleven are yet another tier their own that could be easily argued for in just about any order.  Then there were about twenty guys that could have landed in the final four spots.  In the end, the tie break came down to players who stand out with a certain skill more so than others.  This is a list that is sure to spark much debate (feel free to let me know it in the comments), but I like the order I ended up with.

Triple A: Louisville Bats (Internationals League)
Double-A: Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Southern League)
High-A: Bakersfield Blaze (California League)
Low-A: Dayton Dragons (Midwest League)
Advanced Rookie: Billings Mustangs (Pioneer League)
Complex-Rookie: AZL Reds (Arizona League,  DSL Reds & DSL Rojos (Dominican Summer League)


Ismael Guillon – LHP
Date of Birth: February 13, 1992
Height/Weight: 6’2″/218 lbs.
Acquired:  International Free Agent

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Guillon has a low 90’s fastball, a solid change, and a curve that flashes plus potential.  He has impressive strikeout numbers, but his control is a concern.  He had Tommy John Surgery when just 16 and has been advancing slowly through the minors, repeating Rookie ball and Low-A, but he does have the potential of making a big league rotation in time.

2014 Prognosis: He will finally make it to High-A, and if he shows improved command, he may be able to make the jump to Double-A this season.


Ryan Wright – 2B
Date of Birth: December 3, 1989
Height/Weight: 6’1″/194 lbs.
Acquired: 2011, 5th round

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Wright is not a guy who will jump out with any plus tools, but he has an impressive feel for the game.  He bounced back from a very poor defensive season in 2012 and put up a decent .980 fielding percentage in 2013.  He does a good job of getting bat to ball and can hit for a solid average, but he will never hit for much power or steal many bases.  While the most realistic role for him will be as a bench infielder, he might be able to continue playing beyond his tools and become a decent starting second baseman someday.

2014 Prognosis: Wright should make the jump to Double-A and have success this season.  He is the perfect candidate to earn a trip to the Arizona Fall League if he has a decent season.


Daniel Corcino – RHP
Date of Birth: August 26, 1990
Height/Weight: 5’11″/205 lbs.
Acquired: International Free Agent

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Corcino is a traditional drop-and-drive right handed power pitcher with tons of torque.  His numbers in Triple-A in 2013 were ugly, but he has seen bullpen work this winter and has looked good.  Based on his struggles in the rotation last year, and his low, thick body, a mid-to-late inning relief role might be perfect for him.  He features an above-average fastball and change, with a slider that has potential.

2014 Prognosis: His is on the 40-man roster, so he will get a good look at big league camp this year.  He will likely head back to Triple-A to kick off the year in the bullpen, and if he has some success there, he could be visiting the Queen City early this season.


Tucker Barnhart – C
Date of Birth: January 7, 1991
Height/Weight: 5’11″/195 lbs.
Acquired: 2009, 10th round

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Barnhart is a plus defensive catcher who has solid potential despite a lack of pop in the bat.  He will never hit with much power, nor is his average going to impress anyone, but his eye at the plate will keep his on-base percentage high enough to make an impact.  He catches with a slightly open stance, even when nobody is on the bases, but he does have soft hands and a good, quick arm.

2014 Prognosis: After a solid performance at the Arizona Fall League, Barnhart was added to the Reds 40-man roster.  He will likely start the season at Triple-A, but given he is one of just three catchers on the 40-man, he should see some time in the big leagues this season.


Nick Travieso – RHP
Date of Birth: January 31, 1994
Height/Weight: 6’2″/215 lbs.
Acquired: 2012, 1st round (14th overall)

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Travieso has some inconsistency in arm slot across all his pitches, and has yet to find his strike out pitch, but he was drafted 14th overall for a reason.  He has a plus fastball, and plus potential in his slider, although it has more of a cutter.  His change needs to be developed, and his walk rate is average at the current time.  He is probably a future fourth or fifth starter.

2014 Prognosis: A bump up to High-A is in store for Travieso, where he will be tested.  He will need to prove he can keep the ball down and hitters off-balance if he is to succeed in the California League.

June 1, 2012; Coral Gables, FL, USA; UCF Knights pitcher Ben Lively (19) throws during the fourth inning in game one of the Coral Gables regional against Missouri State Bears at Alex Rodriguez Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports


Carlos Contreras – RHP
Date of Birth: January 8, 1991
Height/Weight: 5’11″/205 lbs.
Acquired: International Free Agent

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Contreras has a short and thick build with the stuff to be a solid late inning reliever.  He has a 2-seam fastball that can touch 95 MPH with plenty of run.  He also has a plus change to go with an average breaking ball to keep hitters honest.  He is probably not a starter despite the majority of his work coming from the rotation, but could be a very good reliever.

2014 Prognosis: Yet another prospect that is currently on the 40-man roster.  He will likely start the season in Triple-A, but much like Corcino, he could see time in Cincinnati this season.


Jon Moscot – RHP
Date of Birth: August 15, 1991
Height/Weight: 6’5″/205 lbs.
Acquired: 2012, 4th round

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Moscot has control of four different pitches, leading to a solid K/BB ratio.  He has a slight hitch/pause in his delivery, which, along with his four pitches and long frame, can keep hitters off-balance.  He projects well as a starter, but even if he doesn’t succeed in the rotation long-term, he should be able to become a quality middle reliever.

2014 Prognosis: The Pepperdine alum has been a fast mover through the minor leagues, and but will probably slow down this year.  There is a good chance he heads back to Double-A where he should spend the majority of the season.


Ben Lively – RHP
Date of Birth: March 5, 1992
Height/Weight: 6’4″/190 lbs.
Acquired: 2013, 4th round

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Lively is a fitting name for a pitcher that can touch 95 with a fastball that sinks and runs.  He can reach back a bit too much at times and lose control.  His change will remain average, but his slider has the chance to improve into a plus pitch.  While a fastball like his could be dominant in the bullpen, he also has the body of a guy who can really eat innings.  He is probably a fourth or fifth starter, but one that could regularly pitch 200 innings a year.

2014 Prognosis: His first 41 pro innings have been dominant, and should land Lively in High-A this season.  There is a chance they send him back to Low-A, but Bakersfield is probably more likely.


David Holmberg – LHP
Date of Birth: July 19, 1991
Height/Weight: 6’3″/225 lbs.
Acquired: 2013, Trade from Arizona Diamondbacks

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Holmberg has been traded twice, mostly as a secondary piece, but that doesn’t mean he was merely a throw in.  He works mostly with a fastball-change mix, but he can also spin a slider and curve.  His fastball works between 88-91 MPH, and he can handle a heavy workload.  He is going to be a solid back-of-the-rotation starter.

2014 Prognosis: The Reds don’t have much room in their starting rotation, but that doesn’t mean Holmberg won’t have a role.  He will probably start at Triple-A, but will probably get the first call should an injury occur in the big league rotation.


Michael Lorenzen – RHP
Date of Birth: January 4, 1992
Height/Weight: 6’3″/180 lbs.
Acquired: 2013, 1st round (38th overall)

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Lorenzen was drafted just last June, and has already made it through four levels of the minor leagues.  He has a fastball that can touch 97 MPH and a big, sharp breaking ball. Those along with a very repeatable delivery, is a big part of the quick movement through the minors. He can struggle with command at times, but that is not a huge concern as he projects to be a late inning reliever, so running up a pitch count won’t be an issue.

2014 Prognosis: He is not on the 40-man roster, nor has he received a spring invite…yet.  Lorenzen will probably head back to Double-A, but could become the first player from last year’s draft to make it to the big leagues.

Sep 7, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds speedster Billy Hamilton (6) slides in safely as he steals second base during the bottom of the 10th inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports


Yorman Rodriguez – OF
Date of Birth: August 15 1992
Height/Weight: 6’3″/197 lbs.
Acquired: International Free Agent

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Rodriguez has a cannon of an arm, excellent range, and can really run, but that is not what stood out in the Arizona Fall League this year.  Instead, he demonstrated his impressive raw power, emphasis on raw.  He has yet to put up solid power numbers, but when he swings, he can absolutely explode through the ball.  He probably won’t ever hit for average, but his other tools could turn him into a middle of the order outfielder.

2014 Prognosis: He may head back to Double-A, but a good spring could have him start off at Triple-A.  Regardless of where he starts the season, he will need to turn tools into production if he is to get to the big leagues this year.


Jesse Winker – OF
Date of Birth: August 17, 1993
Height/Weight: 6’2″/210 lbs.
Acquired: 2012, 1st round (49th overall)

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Winker does not have a strong arm and his defensive range is just average, which will likely limit him to left field only, but that is where the negatives end.  He can flash real power, and can drive the ball to all fields.  He is patient at the plate, so even when he struggles to put up average, he will still draw his walks, and when he connects, the ball can really fly.

2014 Prognosis: He will turn 21 late in the season, and the Reds outfield is in good shape, so there is no real rush for Winker.  He will probably spend most the season at High-A, where his power numbers should really improve.


Phillip Ervin – OF
Date of Birth: July 15, 1992
Height/Weight: 5’11″/190 lbs.
Acquired: 2013, 1st round (27 overall)

2013 Stats:

Analysis: After being selected in the first round of June’s Amateur Draft, Ervin worked his way up to Low-A, where he joined Winker, and created an outfield Reds fans should get accustomed to seeing together.  Ervin has plenty of speed, and can hit with power as well.  He may grow into 20 home run power, and could average 25-30 steals a season.  He can get out on his front foot at times, but when he stays back, he can really hit.  His speed could keep him in center, and his arm is good enough to be serviceable in right.

2014 Prognosis: The Samford University product will probably stick with Winker and head out to High-A this season.  His athleticism will probably land him in the big leagues before Winker, but that is still a year or two away.


Billy Hamilton – OF
Date of Birth: September 9, 1990
Height/Weight: 6’/160 lbs.
Acquired: 2009, 2nd round

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Billy Hamilton has as much speed as any player to ever set foot on a baseball diamond, but he has to get on base for his speed to factor in a game.  He transitioned into an outfielder better than one might expect.  His speed makes up for poor jumps and routes, but he has shown improvement in both and could end up becoming a plus defender.  He will never hit for any power, but he is currently struggling to hit for any average.  The Reds are expected to bat Hamilton at the top of the order, and his ability to reach first will be a big topic on Cincinnati sports radio all season long.

2014 Prognosis: He could have an on-base percentage of .250 and still compete for the league lead in steals, but the Reds need more out of him in order to remain competitive with Hamilton at the top of the order.


Robert Stephenson – RHP
Date of Birth: February 24, 1993
Height/Weight: 6’2″/190 lbs.
Acquired: 2011, 1st round (27th overall)

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Stephenson might have the best curve in all the minor leagues, and his fastball isn’t too shabby either.  The fastball can touch triple digits, and he even has a very deceptive change that has some late movement.  His delivery is very repeatable and smooth, which makes it easy to project him as a 200+ innings a year guy for years to come.  He is likely to be a solid number two starter, with the potential of becoming a true ace.

2014 Prognosis: He might end up back at Double-A, but if he opens the season at Triple-A it would not be a surprise.  Stephenson has a true impact arm, so there is a good chance he makes his big league debut late in the season, and could find himself in a post-season rotation.