Man, the sound of the words rookie sleeper pitcher just makes my skin crawl. Prospect and rookie hitters are so much more exciting to own, and just as fun to write about. Pitchers, on the other hand, not..so..moooouch. Outside of the top 100 type guys, I typically stay away from spec arms in leagues of all shapes and sizes. Increasingly, over the past few seasons, some what unheralded starters and relievers have come from nowhere and made an impact in deeper leagues and dynasty’s. So to round out our rookie sleeper posts for the pre-season, we’re going to dive into some of the off the radar arms that should reach their rookie limits this season. Just to be clear, we’re not talking about Giolito, Urias, Berrios, Snell, Glasnow, etc. You should know those guys, if you don’t, go back and read my previous posts. BTW….you should know those guys. Rookie sleepers for 2016 fantasy baseball, this time with 113% less The Band and Da Band mix ups. Seriously, I was getting attacked in the comments and on Twitter, and all over a silly definite article mixup. Is Da a definite article?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Reds battled with the Phillies for the worst record in baseball and came away with the second overall pick in the 2016 draft. Another thing they had in common with the Phils was dealing their ace. Johnny Cueto netted the Reds three left-handed pitching prospects from the Royals, with Brandon Finnegan the centerpiece of the return. Raisel Iglesias had a solid rookie year, and the Cuban import will look to build on that in 2016. We should also see the Reds’ two best prospects (Winker/Stephenson) in Cincinnati at some point this year. Adam Duvall, the return when the Reds traded Mike Leake, will presumably get a long look and has enough power to be on fantasy radars. It probably won’t be a competitive year for the Reds, but they’ll have some interesting young pieces surfacing.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (7) | 2011 (6) | 2010 (17) | 2009 (14) | 2008 (3)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [97-65] NL Central
AAA: [51-93] International League – Louisville
AA: [68-70] Southern League – Pensacola
A+: [72-68] California League – Bakersfield
A: [60-78] Midwest League – Dayton

Graduated Prospects
Zack Cozart (SS); Devin Mesoraco (C)

The Run Down
Cincinnati is coming off of a 97-win season, and while it’s tough to expect that kind of success on a year-to-year basis, I really don’t see much regression out of the Reds this season, or for the next few seasons either. The pitching depth that Cincy has accumulated in their farm system is outstanding — there are high-impact arms at every level, and there’s plenty of fantasy intrigue given that most of these young pitchers are of the lots-o-whiffs variety. The bats of this system are a little less appealing, but not completely lacking. Jesse Winker is a young player with a huge ceiling at the plate, and Henry Rodriguez is ready to make an impact in the fantasy game at 2B as soon as there’s an opportunity for him. Oh, and there’s also this Hamilton dude. He’s a big time slugger, or something.

Top Ten Prospects

Please, blog, may I have some more?