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.