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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (15) | 2012 (7) | 2011 (6) | 2010 (17) | 2009 (14)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [90-72] NL Central
AAA: [69-75] International League – Louisville
AA: [59-79] Southern League – Pensacola
A+: [55-85] California League – Bakersfield
A: [65-74] Midwest League – Dayton

Graduated Prospects
Derrick Robinson (OF); Tony Cingrani (LHP); J.J. Hoover (RHP)

The Run Down
The fantasy buzz surrounding this group of Reds prospects is largely focused on Billy Hamilton and his mind-bending speed.  The Hamilton hype is certainly warranted, but what goes overlooked amid all that talk is the fact that he’s not even the highest impact prospect in this org.  No, that title belongs to Robert Stephenson, who headlines this top-10, and is soon to be headlining rotations across the fantasy game.  Behind the top two, the Reds have compiled a nice collection of prospects with polish, and prospects with upside.  From top to bottom, it’s not an extreme high-impact farm, but for fantasy purposes, this is a group to watch closely.

Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1.  Robert Stephenson, RHP:  Stephenson’s fantasy appeal is pretty clearcut:  elite-velocity fastball with movement + devastating power curve + deceptive change = few baserunners and a shizzload of whiffs.  The 20-year-old’s front-end arsenal carried him through three levels in 2013, posting a cumulative line of 2.99/1.11/136 in 114 IP between Low-A, High-A, and Double-A.  He’s a top-20 overall prospect in my mind, and he should be ready for big league ball before year’s end.  ETA:  Late 2014

2.  Billy Hamilton, OF:  The Razzball off-season has already brought us a couple Billy Hamilton posts.  In this one, Tom Jacks projects triple digit SB production out of Hamilton.  And since we’re talking about Tom, I’ll go ahead and take this opportunity to point out that in two contests so far this B1G season, my Iowa Hawkeyes have curbstomped his Northwestern Wildcats to the tune of 169-117.  Now, how to segue from college hoops bragging back to Billy Hamilton? … Ah, screw it, GO IOWA AWESOME!  OK, I’ll shut up about Iowa hoops (for now), and move on to Grey’s Billy Hamilton fantasy, in which he predicts Hamilton will be 2014’s top rookie.  Given that he’s in line to start in center everyday for Cincy, there’s no doubt that Hamilton’s otherworldly speed will be impacting the fantasy game this season, regardless of the questions surrounding the 23-year-old’s hit tool.  In a few weeks, though, my prospect rankings will reveal that I’m not exactly on the same page as Grey with regard to Hamilton being 2014’s top rookie.  He’ll damn sure be near the top, though.  ETA:  2014

3.  Phillip Ervin, OF:  The 27th overall pick last June, Ervin has only appeared in 12 games above rookie level, so let’s try not to make too much out of the gaudy line he posted in his 46-game pro debut (.331/.425/.564).  The 21-year-old brings a polished skill set to the plate, and he’s advanced enough to push through A-ball quickly and reach the upper levels this year.  We’ll have a much better feel for him after he’s had a chance to settle in at a full-season assignment, but on the surface, Ervin looks like a potential 20/20 outfielder who’ll also help in AVG and OBP.  ETA:  2016

4.  Jesse Winker, OF:  Winker impressed in his full-season debut, hitting .281/.379/.463 with 16 homers in 486 PA at Low-A Dayton.  The 20-year-old brings a savvy approach, and his hit tools plays up because of it.  There’s also bat speed enough to project 25 HR power.  There’s not much speed in the equation, but Winker seems like a prospect who’ll help in all other facets of the fantasy game.  ETA:  2016

5.  Nick Travieso, RHP:  The 2012 1st-rounder struggled in his first year of full-season baseball, posting a 4.63 ERA, a 1.35 WHIP, and a K/9 at 6.7 through 17 starts at Low-A Dayton.  Many evaluators are concerned over inconsistent velocity from the 19-year-old, but he still shows the makings of a front-end fastball/slider combo — a whiff-inducing weapon that’s tough to ignore from a fantasy perspective.  I’m hopeful for better production at Bakersfield in 2014.  ETA:  2016

6.  David Holmberg, LHP:  Holmberg arrived in Cincy via Arizona in a three-team swap this past December.  The 22-year-old is a big-framed lefty with a deep, refined repertoire.  Expect durable, mid-rotation production out of the southpaw, along with quality ratios.  He’ll be a candidate to start games as soon as an opportunity arises in Cincinnati.  ETA:  2014

7.  Yorman Rodriguez, OF:  Rodriguez is a toolshed, and he’s oozing with fantasy upside, but he’s yet to translate his considerable talents into measurable success on the statsheet.  Having already reached Double-A at age 21, he’s ahead of the developmental curve, so the Reds can afford to take their time with Rodriguez as he grows familiar with upper levels pitching.  There’s great power potential here if everything comes together.  ETA:  2015

8.  Ben Lively, RHP:  A 4th round selection last June, Lively’s pro debut was brief, but impressive, and he enters 2014 with high expectations.  The 21-year-old will bring his four-pitch repertoire (FB, CH, CB, SL) to a full-season assignment this spring.  Great bat-missing potential should put him on dynasty league radars, but don’t go reaching for him until we’ve seen what he can offer over a more extensive sample.  ETA:  2016

9.  Michael Lorenzen, RHP:  Lorenzen offers the most impressive stuff in the system, outside of Stephenson, of course.  To this point in his pro career, however, the Reds have used the 22-year-old primarily in relief, which kinda sucks for us in fantasyland.  Word is, though, that Cincy will explore the possibility of moving Lorenzen into a starter’s role in 2014.  Should his stuff hold up well over the increased workload, he could easily become the #2 arm in this org.  Obviously, a lot remains to be seen on that end.  ETA:  2015

10.  Daniel Corcino, RHP:  After an outstanding season at Double-A in 2012, Corcino regressed disturbingly in 2013 at Triple-A, posting ugly numbers across the board.  Industry reports indicate control and command were to blame for the frustrating year, but the pure stuff remains quite good.  Corcino figures to return to Triple-A in 2014, and if the troubles continue, he could be relegated to a gig in the bullpen.  I’m still holding out hope that he can right himself and rejuvenate the Johnny Cueto comps that were so popular around this time last year.  ETA:  Late 2014

For a retrospective look at the Reds farm, check out my 2013 MiLB preview.

From Around The Web

  1. tyler says:
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    so in a NEW 20 team dynasty league, 6×6 roto. we have a minor league draft coming up in which ALL players with under 150abs/50 ip are available so what does your top 10 look like.. are tanaka and abreu in it?

    • @tyler: Rankings will be out in February. No spoilers in the comments. If you have specific questions, like, Tanaka or Abreu, I can answer that sort of thing…

  2. BigDeal says:
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    Who would you prefer in a keep forever league? Tulo or Segura?

    • The Thumb says:
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      @BigDeal: Segura. More upside and less risk plus he’s like 6/7 years younger. He could blossom into a 20/50 guy in a career year.

    • @BigDeal: There’s an argument to be made for both & it’s tough to disagree with Thumb, but I still take Tulo’s established profile over Segura’s projectable profile.

  3. The Louisville Slugger says:
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    Good read on the Reds. Keep up the good work.

  4. Count de Monetball says:
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    Scott, that was well worth the wait. Do you know, is Stephenson starting in AA or AAA this year? I want to see this kid pitch!!

  5. Count de Monetball says:
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    The Louisville bats play against Indianapolis Indians (where I am at) so I’m hoping triple A!

  6. seph meier says:
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    Go Hawks or Go Home!! I believe Aaron White may be the all time career leader in easy slam dunks. If not he will be by the time he is finished!

    • @seph meier: Oh, man I love me some Aaron White — this season has been so much fun & I really hope it continues through March…

      • seph meier says:
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        @Scott Evans:

        Its been a long time coming! I flew from my home in Seattle to go to the battle 4 Atlantis!! It was pretty cool. This team is deep I hope they can develop a killer instinct or closer mentality with their free throws to solve the close games! I’m originally from Iowa and UK alumni how’d you become a hawk fan?!

        • seph meier says:
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          @seph meier:

          Auto correct changed Iowa alumni to UK…

        • @seph meier: I did my undergrad at UI — class of ’08. Live in Chicago now & attended the game at NU yesterday. People told me I was crazy when in October I wagered $100 on the Hawkeyes to win it all at 60/1 odds. Now they’re a top 10 team & odds are more like 25/1… I love Fran & I love the depth. Tuesday night at CHA should be an incredible atmosphere.

          • seph meier says:
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            @Scott Evans:

            Very cool! In all my years of reading razzball I believe this is the first Iowa Hawkeye shout out! Good work!

            I have a feeling the franimal may be unleashed Tuesday!
            My prediction is that if Gesell can score 12 points in the game they will never lose as the depth will carry them throughout.

            Cheers!

            • @seph meier: I’ll try to work Hawkeye hoops into my prospect reports more often!

              • Hurleyman says:
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                @Scott Evans: Ha ha. Go Green!

  7. goodfold2 says:
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    if that one guy is still looking for this Round 4 (so now we’re pretty deep):
    1. caratini C ATL
    2. edwin diaz P SEA
    3.chris taylor MI SEA
    4. webb P WSOX (likely closer)
    5. burch smith P SD (we’ve actually seen him before, my streaming pile of friend)
    6. rafael devers CI BOS
    7. goins MI TOR
    8. jonah wesley P LAA
    9. tyler danish P WSOX
    10. justin williams OF ARI
    11. dustin peterson MI SD
    12. marlette C SEA
    13. palka CI ARI
    14. lewis thrope P MIN
    15. alberto tirado P TOR (just missed him)
    16. leonardo molina OF NYY
    17. tyler horan OF SF
    18. medica CI SD
    19. andrew toles OF TB (missed him by 1 pick, but guy wasn’t scooping me)
    20. aaron altherr OF PHI (me)
    21. gleyber torres MI CUBS
    22. borenstein OF CIN (how bout borephill)
    23. mccann C DET
    24. tarpley P BAL
    25. stephen mcgee C LAA
    26. camarana P NYY
    27. muncy CI OAK
    28. sean brady P CLE
    29. plawecki C/1B NYM
    30. brady dragmire P TOR
    supplementals
    31. josh elander C ATL
    32. jason adam P KC
    33. desclafani P MIA
    34. holaday C DET
    35. ken giles P PHI
    36. labourt P TOR
    37.jake barrett P ARI

    • Balmy Tundrastein says:
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      @goodfold2: all of these top 10 CIN guys were either already owned in this league or drafted this year in our league (ervin/lively/lorenzen), except for y.rodriquez, he’s still available.

  8. Eric W says:
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    So I have to spend a majority of my summer in New York – Pen league territory for work and I was wondering what kind of prospects I can expect to see in short season A ball? Is it just filled with a bunch of low level guys drafted out of college?

    Thanks for the read as always!

    • @Eric W: lots of college draftees will get NYPL assignments — always a handful of very good prospects passing through.

  9. J-FOH says:
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    Great stuff as always, except the Iowa thing, Go UCLA….was it a typo, I believe Billy Hamilton has time bending speed, or well that’s what everyone else says.

    • @J-FOH: time bending & quantum physics & such fall outside the scope of my comprehensive abilities. mind-bending & guzzling booze & eating mushrooms & such, however, are things I know well. No typo.

      Oh, and as an Iowa alum who witnessed the tail end of the Steve Alford era in Iowa City, I can tell you that that guy is a world-class piece of shit. I loathe the man, and want UCLA suck badly… all that said, Bruins have been playing well this year — top 20 in offensive efficiency & playing pretty well on the defensive side of things too…

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Scott Evans: right there with you on the piece of shit opinion. I had that “NNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” moment when we hired him. I still think Howland was a kick ass coach. Too bad kicks didn’t want to get a long term NBA ticket by learning how to play D and out thinking an opponent

        I too have been a big fan of the fungus family. Now if I could just score me some peyote, a medicine man and a sweat lodge and then I will see the way to a perfect draft…..and over come a few fears.

  10. Tom Jacks

    Tom Jacks says:
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    Yeah, I’ll admit that both games were pretty pathetic. NW’s just treading water at this point…

    Completely random question, but have you ever played hardball dynasty? I’m in a league now and it just clicked that an owner’s username has your name in it.

    And I’m curious to see your projection for Hamilton.

    • @Tom Jacks: Outside of the 2 games versus Iowa, though, Cats have been competitive in league play — it’s ugly hoops, but Collins has them playing extremely aggressive on D & winning games they probably shouldn’t be winning.

      Never played hardball dynasty… must be an impostor.

      Hamilton for 2014: 240/300/330, 70 … I project a lower success rate on the SB’s than what you’re anticipating… at least for this rookie season…

      • Tom Jacks

        Tom Jacks says:
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        @Scott Evans: Yeah, good point.

        I’ll have him banished soon enough.

        I could see that and he’s got a fairly wide range of possibilities. Regardless, I’m excited to watch him, although not necessarily against my Cubs…

  11. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    why did you not have a.meija P not even in the top 10 for SF? He’s 3rd or 4th in some places for SF prospects.

    • @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: Extreme fly ball pitcher & I’m thinking bullpen seems likely… could have made the list at #10, but I opted for Hembree’s more established stage of development. Mejia is definitely a nice prospect, but I see plenty of risk in the fantasy skill set…

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @Scott Evans: that sounds like the kind of reasoning that BA should be using, instead of sticking him 4th at SF.

          • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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            @Scott Evans: that’s a good question, i know BA tends to give a lot of value to defense, what about BP and fangraphs?

  12. Jon says:
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    Hey Scott, which SS do you think has a better fantasy future: Seager, Mondesi, Hanson or Owings?

    (And which if any of those guys do you see sticking at short?)

    Thanks!

    • @Jon: Seager highest offensive upside, but probably least likely to stick at MI… Mondesi is most likely to stick at short & also brings exciting offensive skills, although they’re pretty raw… Hanson is interesting & likely keeps MI eligibility, but could bust… Owings probably is the safest of the bunch…

      My advice for dynasty is to go with the guy with the best overall offensive profile, regardless of future position… that’s Seager for me.

      • Jon says:
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        @Scott Evans: Thanks for the in-depth answer. Much appreciated.

  13. Jon says:
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    I have room to add a prospect. I’m looking at Almora, Maikel Franco, Garin Cecchini and Odor as possible high-impact bats that are available in my league. Who would you grab of those 4?

    • @Jon: Franco brings most immediate impact, but I like Odor out of this group.

  14. marcus allen was good al says:
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    12 team dynasty lge. Would u trade crick for Dahl? I already have taijuan, Bradley, giolito, taillon, Stroman, glasnow and taveras sano springer. Prolly more of a hole in my outfield in my lineup of mlb players too. I’d receive crick. Also have upcoming draft with 2013 draft class and Tanaka/abreu

  15. marcus allen was good al says:
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    **oops sorry. Meant that I would receive Dahl!!

    • @marcus allen was good al: Wouldn’t do it… I like Dahl’s upside, but Crick is way ahead developmentally & he’s almost guaranteed to bring big fantasy value pitching in that park…

  16. Jon says:
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    Choose 2 outfielders from Meadows, Almora and Pederson?

  17. Will says:
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    Who would you want in a dynasty league draft?
    Mike Wright
    Cody Martin
    Martin Agosta
    Neil Ramirez
    Keon Barnum
    Stephen Tarpley

    • @Will: I like Agosta… there’s a case to be made for Ramirez too, but I don’t think his arm can hold up over a full workload…

  18. English says:
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    Nice write up as always Scott. Just gone through round 42 of our 45 round 30 team draft that started after the World Series! I’ve just taken Junior Arias and Jacob Constante of the Reds, do you know much about them?

    Arias looks a bit of a toolshed who swings at everything but that’s about all I know. Constante has put up some impressive numbers in rookie ball but there’s not much on him that I can find.

  19. TheNewGuy says:
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    Hi Scott, cant wait for your rankings to be released. Luckily neither of my keepers have started our minor league drafts yet.

    Couple questions though:

    1. Asked Grey is if rather keep Pence @$16 or H Bailey @8$ next year for my final keeper slot in one league. Grey said Homer but due to lack of offense around these days might it be wiser to keep Pence at that price?

    2. Slight rule change in our league where we have to promote any prospects before our upcoming prospect draft (not during anymore). That means I have to decide if B Hamilton, M Adams and C-Mart are worth promoting very soon. Adams and I think Hamilton are definates, would you hold C-Mart down another year though? All depends if he’ll be used in a more valuable role (starting/closing) next year.

    • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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      @TheNewGuy: even the cardinals don’t yet know if he’s starter at start of year or not. Likely not starting at the start i’d guess though as STL local.

  20. John says:
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    Scott,

    Do you see Wisler contributing at all this year?

    Even top 100 production over 70-80 innings

    Thanks

  21. goodfold2 says:
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    guy just came at me for his mazzoni P NYM (good stats last year, but high strand rate)/guyer OF TB/keppinger (garbage MLB player)/yarbrough MI LAA for my r j alvarez P LAA/lee MI NYY. i’d really rather even have a 3rd round pick next year than keppinger, but are any of those 3 prospects worth trading any of my 2 prospects for? guyer appears to be a 27 year old career AAA guy (with good stats sometimes there), yarbrough appears to hit pretty well for MI but doesn’t appear to have any kind of playing time lock. Lee at least will get steals when he finally gets job and is very good defensively. Mazzoni’s last year stats were very good and he seems to be improving every year.

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