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In the Natti things just ain’t been the same. The chili has been more disgusting than usual, Hi-Tek’s beats just don’t slam like they used to, and Jerry Springer is no longer mayor. Outside of those three things I don’t know much about Cincinnati. What I do know about however is their Red’s freshly re-stocked farm system. After an excellent 2016 draft and international period the Reds boast a wide array of pitching prospects, and a handful of hitting prospects of note for owners in dynasty leagues. Of course the most sought after being this year’s number two overall pick Nick Senzel. Not only did the Reds net the best college bat in the draft, they also picked a high upside athlete in Taylor Trammell, and arguably the best catcher in the draft in Chris Okey. The international period saw the Reds make major splashes in the Cuban market adding top pitching prospect Vladimir Gutierrez. As well as a saavy signing in “through the cracks’ talent TJ Friedl. While the big league club struggles, the system shows glimpses of light at the end of the tunnel for the Reds, though it’s still year’s away. It’s the Cincinnati Reds Prospects from A-Z…

Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.

Nick Senzel, 3B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: A/RK

Considered by many to be the most advanced college bat in the 2016 draft. Senzel hit the ground running in his pro debut slashing .305/.398/.514, and showing above average power and speed from the hot corner. His path to the majors is wide open, and the general consensus is he’ll move quickly. Offers similar value to Andrew Benintendi as a 6 category contributor in OBP leagues. Meaning his strengths are going to be his batting average and on base percentage with above average power and steal numbers. The safest route to go at 1.1 in first year player drafts this offseason. I wonder where you’ve heard that before?

Cody Reed, LHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA

Well the pesky lefty missed the first iteration of this list but he did in fact sneak under his limits (47.2). His first go round in the Reds rotation was tough (7.38 ERA, 2.27 HR/9, 1.80 WHIP) but he was a touch unlucky too (.362 BABIP, 58.7% LOB, 27.9% HR/FB). Despite the bad luck and poor results there were some encouraging signs too, a solid 8.12 K/9 and a groundball rate of 51.9%. Reed mixes a mid 90’s heater, with a plus slider, and an average change. My guess is he figures into the rotation with one of Dan Straily, Homer Bailey, or Anthony DeSclafani finding their way out of town. Despite his good stuff and imposing mound presence, Reed struggles to throw strikes with consistency. His delivery lacks deception to right handed batters giving them a nice long look at the incoming pitch, and at times he’s paid the price for this (duh!). Long term I think with a few tweaks he can learn to overcome this. As for his outlook for this upcoming season, I view him as a nice late round flier in deeper redrafts, and a must own in dynasty leagues. 2017 will be better, Uncle Ralph promises.

Jesse Winker, OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AAA

I get the feeling that I’ve seen Winker discussed in detail somewhere recently. Maybe it was here or here, but I can’t quite remember. Oh yeah we talked about him on the Prospect Podcast last week (actually we spoke about all these guys), and Winker was further discussed by Grey yesterday. So yeah, he hit 5 total homers this year, 2 of which came during a rehab assignment in rookie ball, so the power was down. So what I say! With that said, he dealt with a wrist injury during the first half, and while the balls didn’t fly out of the ballpark in the second half, he did put up a solid .438 slugging percentage. He’s also had previous homer totals of 16, 15, and 13 in his three seasons prior. Then factor in the lefty-power friendly home confines of Great America Ballpark which await, and you have the setup for a return to form. Enough about the power, or lack there of, because Winker is a contact and on base machine. Over 2,000+ minor league plate appearances Winker’s put up a .296 average, and a .398 on base percentage. So the hit tool is an easy 60, his plate discipline and strike zone awareness are almost unmatched in MiLB. Don’t be shocked if Winker ends up a NL Rookie of the year candidate. Hey, they ain’t all Corey Seager.

Amir Garrett, LHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AAA/AA

A former college basketball player at St. John’s, Garrett is of course an excellent athlete with great size. I mean you weren’t expecting a 5’8 white guy built like Ken Bone were you? (Focus Ralph) So with a delayed start to his baseball career there’s been a great deal of catching up to do over the last few seasons. After strong showings in the Mid-West, and Florida State leagues the previous two seasons, Garrett took another major step in his development in 2016. Splitting time between AA Pensacola and AAA Louisville, the 6’5 lefty went 7-8 with a 2.55 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP, and a K/9 of 8.2. His control isn’t great, walking 59 batters in 144.2 innings, but it’s improved throughout his time in the minors. He throws a plus fastball in the mid-90’s, mixing in an above average slider that fluctuates between plus and fringe, and a developing change. By the way, I feel like I write about more developing changes than a Bloomberg reporter in Central America. Yeah, I know, it’s a nuanced joke. Oh yeah, Garrett! I would look to see Garrett strut his stuff in the bigs by June the latest, with a small chance he breaks camp with the Reds. All Cincy rookie arms are dangerous, like going raw dog with a hooker. Maybe you come out unscathed, but more than likely you’re going to need anti-biotics.

Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.

Robert Stephenson, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA

Every year on New Year’s Eve my sister and I toast to each year being the year Pitbull disappears into obscurity. This is the way I feel about Stephenson’s prospect status. I’m sick of writing about him. He’s gone from universally a top 30 prospect to a player who looks destined for major league mediocrity. The stuff isn’t, and never has been, an issue. He mixes a nasty fastball that can touch the upper 90’s (even if he’s lost a little velocity over the past few seasons), with an above average curve, and a plus changeup that he’s refined into his best secondary offering. This all sounds great no? Yeah, until you realize Stephenson has no idea where he’s throwing. Which is why homeboy is rocking a 4.2 Bb/9 over 123 minor league starts. I’ve often said I feel Stephenson could one day be an elite bullpen piece, but the Reds will keep him in the rotation for now. He finds himself in a battle for the 5th spot in the rotation with Tim Adleman, Cody Reed, Amir Garrett, and a few others. Whether or not he emerges with the job is anyone’s guess. My feeling is he misses the cut and ends up filling in when the first batch of Reds pitchers retire due to shellshock.

Rookie Davis, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AAA/AA

Rookie Davis just sounds like a ballplayer, like a character from a Matt Christopher book, with haphazardly drawn pencil cover art and all. He’s a giant righty (6’5 245) with good control, that strikes next to no one out. If you like pitchers that don’t get you k’s then Davis is your guy. Then again if you like pitchers like that you’re not winning any leagues anyway. Could he be a good player to own in deeper dynasty leagues with QS.

Aristides Aquino, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: A+

Double-A has had an up and down minor league career to say the least. Actually to say the least would be to say, “he’s okay”, but that doesn’t get the people excited. Where was I? Oh schnitzel!! That’s right!! Aquino’s up and down minor league career. After a breakout 2014 in the Pioneer League, Aquino followed it up with a underwhelming and injury riddled turn in the Midwest league. All but forgotten in prospectdom he entered 2016 to little fanfare in the Florida State League. All he did was show off his toolsy profile, showcasing power and speed. Aquino slashed .273/.327/.519 with 23 homers and 11 steals. He’s never going to lead the league in walks, but he’s improved his approach and raised his walk rate to 6.8% in 2016. He still has raw power to tap into, and it would not surprise me to see him one day be a solid 4th or 5th outfielder on your fantasy team.

Tyler Mahle, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA:2018 | 2016 Level: AA/A+

A 7th round pick out of high school by the Reds back in 2013, Mahle has had a solid minor league career to this point. He throws a mid-90’s fastball, and mixes it with three average offerings in a change, curve, and slider. He knows how to throw them all for strikes, averaging just 1.8 Bb/9 over 72 minor league starts. He’s not going to challenge for any strikeout titles in the majors, but has averaged a respectable 8.2 K/9. He did have some struggles with the long ball in AA, but prior to that has kept the ball in the park. Has a back of the rotation floor, with mid-rotation ceiling.

Chris Okey, C | Age: 21 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A/ RK

The Reds second round pick last year out of Clemson, might be the best catching prospect in the draft. Zack Collins not withstanding. He doesn’t do any one thing really well, but he’s a solid across the board offensive player with 15 or so homers in his bat. I’m never crazy about catching prospects, but you could do worse than Okey. He’s Okey I guess….

Others: Alex Blandino, Keury Mella, Nick Travieso, Phil Ervin, Sal Romano, Blake Trahan, Eric Jagielo

Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs

Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: N/A

A big international signing for the Reds, as many considered Gutierrez the Cuban import, to be the finest arm on the market. He’s had a storied career in Cuba winning rookie of the year honors in Serie Nacional in 2013-2014 as a reliever. Reports say he throws a plus fastball, a plus curveball, and an average change with plus control. A few reports say he’s on par with Yadier Alvarez, the Dodgers pitching prospect.

Alfredo Rodriguez, SS | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: N/A

Glove first speedster signed out of Cuba. He’s got a solid hit tool and plus speed. Could end up a SAGNOF type. He’s ranked highly on a lot of Reds lists, but I’m not so sure that applies in fantasy.

Taylor Trammell, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: RK

A freak athlete that could have played big time D-1 college football, Trammell scorned the pigskin, and went to the Reds at 35th overall in this year’s draft. He slashed .303/.374/.421 over 61 games in Rookie Level Billings connecting for 2 homers and stealing 23 bases. Could turn into a legit power/speed threat. Big upside pick in first year player drafts.

Tyler Stephenson, C | Age: 20 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A/RK

I could probably just re-write the blurb I wrote for Chris Okey, or I could just say he’s a youger version of Chris Okey. So, he’s Chris Okey with upside, to be more than Okey. Yeah I’ve killed that joke. As for last year’s 11th overall pick, he’s an average across the board offensive player that should stick behind the plate.

Others: T.J. Friedl, Tony Santillan, Max Wotell, Ian Kahaloa, Nick Hanson

Check Out Our Minor League Preview Index for all articles and podcasts on all 30 teams!

   
  1. Halp

    Halp says:
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    Great write up. Laughing throughout the entire thing. Love a few of the guys in this system too

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Halp: Thanks Halp

    • Big Odio says:
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      @Halp: it better be Awesome Awesome

      • Halp

        Halp says:
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        @Big Odio: you’ll be the judge of that

        • Big Odio says:
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          @Halp: that’s my nickname for aquino

          • Halp

            Halp says:
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            @Big Odio: Oh, I got you. I called him Double A on the podcast because I thought of Double A (Awesome Angelo) from the Howard Stern show when I saw his name.

  2. Saints says:
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    Hay Ralph Thanks for this great post once again. In my draft Aquino, Mahle and Rodriguez are available would you rank them in your Top “50 First Year Player Rankings” ? And where ? :)

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Saints: I’d avoid Rodriguez. Aquino before Bichette, Mahle probabaly would slot about where Okey is. 44-45.

      • Saints says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:
        Thank You for your quick answer. :)
        Got Kevin Maitan with my Pick at 15 and I’m very happy :)

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Saints: Well done!

  3. Lougle says:
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    Would you rather take a shot at someone like Trammell or hold on to someone like Brett Phillips who had a down year but has potential if he figures things out? I have Phililps in a dynasty and trying to decide whether to cut bait (and use that minors spot for a 5th rd draft pick) or sit tight and ride it out.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Lougle: How many minors spots? How many teams? I’d still rather Phillips for the time being.

      • Lougle says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:

        Thanks. The league is 14 teams and 14 minors spots so it’s a fairly deep minor league pool. I can try to trade that draft pick for a future pick but if Phillips is fatally flawed I’d rather just cut bait and move on.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Lougle: I wouldn’t cut bait yet. Biloxi is a tough place to hit and he struggled with strike outs for the first time. He’s still a prospect with 20/20 ability and elite on base skills. I’d give him another year.

  4. M says:
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    In a year or two do you think Senzel or Swanson will have more fantasy value (obp league)

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @M: Yes Senzel over Dansby all day errday

  5. Big Odio says:
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    What the hell happened to yes cheese and when the fuck are we making the changes to the nasty?…..asking for a friend

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Big Odio: These are questions I cannot answer old friend

      • Big Odio says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: you’re the “prospector”…flex your hammer of power

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Big Odio: I save the hammer of power for Mrs. Lifshitz

          • Big Odio says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: I wasn’t saying you are the hammer

  6. danny almonte says:
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    Do you like ryan mountcastle or trammell better?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @danny almonte: Trammel, and that’s no shot at Mountcastle.

  7. Joebobsays says:
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    Hey Ralph,

    In a bubble, Senzel or Lewis Brinson? How close is it?

    Thanks.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Joebobsays: I’d take Brinson, but it is close. Upside with Brinson is greater.

      • Joebobsays says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: ok–how about Eloy Jimenez and Senzel? And is that one close?

        Thanks again!

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Joebobsays: I have Eloy about 16 for the pre-season right now and Senzel about 30.

  8. Tehol Beddict

    Tehol Beddict says:
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    you go oh so deep. reminds me of the time i long dicked Doug moore

    • Halp

      Halp says:
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      @Tehol Beddict: This seems like the right place to put this. Ralph has sent me an urgent text to let everyone know that he is in the car driving to Jersey for the next 3 threes with his family, and he will respond to all questions, inquiries, and long dickings later today.

      • Halp

        Halp says:
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        @Halp: 3 hours

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Halp: Stopped in a Dunkin Donuts bathroom

          • Big Odio says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: dunkin donuts bathrooms and Tehol dicking questions? sounds like the start of a gloryhole porn

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @Big Odio: Are you familiar with the genre?

              • Big Odio says:
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                @Ralph Lifshitz: I’ve been on the porn hub. The home screen always has some weird shit

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Tehol Beddict: I’m 6 to midnight at the thought.

  9. ReleasetheMcKracken says:
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    Where are you on guys like Phil Ervin and Nick Williams? I’m wondering if its time to move on from them to someone farther away like an Aquino/Taveras or in a similar timeframe like Phillips. Are either worth holding in a 12team, 25man minor roster league?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @ReleasetheMcKracken: Move on from Ervin, but hold on Williams.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: I like Tavares more than Aquino BTW.

  10. Billy Ball says:
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    Hey Ralph….if I can hijack the thread for a minute. Looking forward to your Fedde review when the Nats turn comes up :-) Just wondering if you have any idea if Jeff’s NL only dynasty league has bitten the dust or if we might keep it going?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Billy Ball: No idea, but I hope so.

      Are you the guy I should have taken up on his Fedde offer? lol

      • Billy Ball says:
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        That’s me. I sent Jeff an email a couple of weeks ago but no reply. I want to defend my title, and more than that reopen the Fedde talks…..oh, maybe not.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Billy Ball: Agreed I draft two years out and my guys started getting called up.

  11. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Great writeup! Off topic, but curious about what you think of Roman Quinn, aside from being the perfect name for the big baddie in a Vin Diesel movie?

    To put it another way, can I start calling him my Delino Deshields Jr of 2017 (but good)?

  12. Grey

    Grey says:
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    You forgot one thing about Cincinnati from then to now, the Icky Shuffle is no longer a touchdown dance and is back to the dance a Cincy girl does post-coitus

    • Big Odio says:
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      @Grey: I believe thats called the Sticky Shuffle

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Nope, still icky

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Grey: Totes forgot!

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Forgototes is how the kids are now saying it

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Grey: Yes old man Albright!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Happy Thanksgiving!

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Grey: Happy turkey day!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Stop kissing up, Ralph!

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Ralph Lifshitz says:
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            @Grey: Bahahaha you got me.

  13. apoxonbothyourhouses says:
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    Holy weirdballs….

    Walker for Segura swap (other pieces, too, like Ketel Marte and Mitch Hangier).

    Strange deal.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @apoxonbothyourhouses: I guess the D-Backs had no interest in dealing with Segura’s arbitration after the year he had last season.

      I understand going after pitching, but I don’t love this deal for the D-Backs. Obviously if Walker breaks out it’s a great deal, but I myself am not a fan.

      Marte could be a solid late round flier now that he’s hitting in Arizona. Mitch Haniger probably steps into an everyday job now.

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: The snacks rolled snack eyes again..Arizona has enough pitching already if you ask me and Segura is a stud, just starting to show how good he can be!

        HAPPY THANKSGIVING PROSPECTOR!

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