Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (17) | 2013 (15) | 2012 (7) | 2011 (6) | 2010 (17)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [76-86] NL Central
AAA: [68-75] International League – Louisville
AA: [60-80] Southern League – Pensacola
A+: [78-62] California League – Bakersfield (2015: Daytona)
A: [68-70] Midwest League – Dayton

Graduated Prospects
Billy Hamilton, OF | Donald Lutz, 1B/OF | Jumbo Diaz, RHP

The Gist
The Reds had a disappointing 2014 season thanks in part to the loss of Joey Votto and a power outage from right fielder Jay Bruce. Billy Hamilton had an up and down year but still managed to swipe 56 bags in his rookie campaign. His six homers were a pleasant surprise, but fantasy owners would probably trade them in for a better batting average and more stolen bases. The Reds’ farm has a clear 1/1A at the top, but one of the most intriguing players on this list is Raisel Iglesias. Cincinnati signed the Cuban pitcher to a seven-year deal and he could make an impact with the big league club as soon as this summer. Ben Lively, who would have made this list, was traded to the Phillies for Marlon Byrd this offseason.

Top Ten Fantasy Prospects

1. Jesse Winker, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
341 57 81 20 0 15 57 15.8% 19.9% 5 1 .287 .399 .518

Winker is a great prospect in fantasy leagues because he’s a good hitter who can also hit for power. There’s no one flashy tool here, but he’s a good bet for around 20 homers in the majors with a high batting average. He earned a promotion to Double-A as a 20-year-old, but his season was cut short by a wrist injury he suffered in a car accident. Winker returned to action in the Arizona Fall League, where he led all qualified hitters in batting average and OPS. He also checks the “low-risk” box according to most evaluators, which gives us fantasy owners a warm fuzzy feeling. Winker should return to Double-A to start 2015 and could be the Reds’ starting left-fielder in 2016.

2. Robert Stephenson, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2015

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB/9 K/9 AVG
7 10 4.74 27 26 0 136.2 114 81 72 18 4.9 9.2 .224

Dropping Stephenson to second on this list is for two reasons. One, he struggled in 2014 which is no secret. Two, it’s me trying to be deliberate about my preference for hitting prospects over pitching prospects. In other words, while I think this is really a 1/1A with Winker and him, I’m giving the top spot to the hitter this time around. With Stephenson it’s really about harnessing the awesome stuff and developing the feel for his pitches to reach his #2 starter ceiling. This is a guy with a plus plus fastball and a plus plus curveball. He remains one of the best pitching prospects in the minors. Common sense tells us that more experience should help him gain the polish, so now might be the perfect time to grab him off his current owner in dynasty leagues.

3. Alex Blandino, SS | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
283 40 69 20 2 8 32 10.2% 21.2% 7 5 .283 .367 .480

Blandino was selected 29th overall in the first round of the 2014 draft. He doesn’t have much speed, but the 22-year-old could hit 15-18 homers with a good average and on-base percentage. That’ll do just fine in fantasy, especially if he stays at either short or second base as he progresses. Nick Howard was taken ten picks higher in the actual draft, but from a fantasy perspective Blandino is the better bet. Even though this was his first taste of pro ball and his downside is that of a utility infielder, there is enough upside to warrant placing him in the top five. At 22 he could move quickly, which also boosts his fantasy value.

4. Aristides Aquino, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
307 48 83 23 5 16 64 4.9% 21.5% 21 5 .292 .342 .577

Aquino is possibly the most exciting player on this list, but we have to curb our enthusiasm a bit thanks to an extended ETA and the fact that he hasn’t reached full-season ball yet. The 20-year-old led the rookie level Pioneer League in extra-base hits and runs batted in last season. He has plus raw power, an aggressive approach, and enough speed to swipe double-digit bases. He’ll start 2015 in Dayton, and his stock could really soar with another big year. He has all the tools to be an All-Star right fielder down the line, but it’s a long line and the pitchers he faces will only get better.

5. Yorman Rodriguez, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2015

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
502 69 118 20 5 9 40 9.4% 23.3% 12 5 .262 .331 .389

Rodriguez got an 11-game taste of the majors in 2014 as a 21-year-old, but spent the rest of the season in Double-A. This is where he separates himself from fellow outfielder Phil Ervin in my eyes. The two are only a month apart in age. While Rodriguez’s stats don’t look all that much better at first glance, he was playing up an entire level of the minors and dealt with an oblique injury to boot. Rodriguez offers a nice package of plus power and speed, which could translate into a 20-20 threat in the majors – even if it’s accompanied by a weaker batting average. Rodriguez will likely start the year in AAA and could see some more MLB plate appearances later this summer.

6. Raisel Iglesias, RHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2015

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB/9 K/9 AVG

We don’t know much about Iglesias yet, but the Reds signed the Cuban pitcher to a seven-year contract last summer. Most of his work has come as a reliever up to this point, but he could very well end up in the Reds’ rotation thanks to his arsenal. He has a low-to-mid-90s fastball, plus slider, plus curve, and average changeup. Remember the dust-up about whether Chapman would switch to the rotation? It’s kind of a similar case here. Iglesias will probably start 2015 in the Reds bullpen, but if they are serious about him as a starter that switch could come as soon as 2016. He’s a good one to keep on the radar.

7. Michael Lorenzen, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB/9 K/9 AVG
4 6 3.13 24 24 0 120.2 112 50 42 9 3.3 6.3 .253

Lorenzen’s ceiling is a #3 starter if he makes it in the rotation. He’s another converted reliever and so there is always the risk he heads back to that role. The 23-year-old has a plus heater, but his other pitches are graded as average, which limits his strikeout potential and in turn his fantasy value. There’s no question he’s the best arm in this system after Stephenson and Iglesias stuffwise, but he’s not an arm I would target outside of deeper dynasty formats. The Reds have turned a college reliever into a starter before in Tony Cingrani, but that’s still a work in progress.

8. Phil Ervin, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
562 68 118 34 7 7 68 8.2% 19.6% 30 5 .237 .305 .376

Ervin has average or better tools across the board according to scouting reports but struggled in 2014 after a wrist injury ended his 2013 season. The good news is that he’s a solid power/speed combination in the outfield and stole 30 bags to go along with his 34 doubles and seven homers – so it’s too soon to give up on him. It’s also possible that the injury was partially to blame and he’ll bounce back. The bad news is that you don’t want to see somebody who supposedly has a plus hit tool put up a .237 average in Single A as a 21-year-old. This could just be a matter of his raw hitting abilities needing to show up in games, and some improvements in 2015 could vault him right back into the top five.

9. Anthony DeSclafani, RHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2015

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB/9 K/9 AVG
6 7 3.78 20 19 0 102.1 93 43 43 6 2.7 8.5 .243

DeSclafani ranked 5th in a weaker Marlins top ten. From that writeup: “DeSclafani may never be more than a mid-rotation starter. Working in his favor is the fact that he has already logged 33 innings with the Marlins, striking out 26 batters but also allowing 23 earned runs. The 24-year-old is apparently working on a curveball in the AFL and will bring it with him next spring as he hopes to get another look in the rotation.” DeSclafani should get a look as the fifth starter for the Reds this spring and could serve as a streamer option this season, but his fantasy value does take a hit with the change in ballparks.

10. Nick Howard, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2017

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB/9 K/9 AVG
2 1 3.74 11 5 0 33.2 28 15 14 4 2.9 6.1 .233

This year’s first round draft pick for the Reds at 19th overall, Howard worked as a reliever in college. Cincinnati is going to convert him back into a starter at least for the time being. Howard has a plus fastball with an average slider, and he showed good control in his first pro season. Even if Howard does have success in a rotation, he’s still probably a #4 at best. That has some value in deeper dynasty leagues, but in most formats it’s not worth jumping on the bandwagon yet.

Reds Previews: 2014 | 2013

NL T10 Prospects Index

 
  1. goodfold2 says:
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    this is why i love your rankings so much, howard was just taken ahead of other guys i’ll be taking for multiple rounds, even though this owner and me pretty much both need to deepen our prospect SP’s with best available long term arms, probably due to going 19th overall alone.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      thanks man. lots of arms to choose from this year that probably make better fantasy options

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: aquino seems just like the kind of guy who should’ve been taken already, probably many picks earlier, yet he’s still here. crazy.

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        Nice. I’d scope him out. Could be a nice get.

  2. TK says:
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    Hopefully you don’t mind me dirtying up this thread with a vital fantasy question here. :)

    Final round of a dynasty sim league. Who do you like best between Bryce Brentz, Jason Rogers and Kyle Parker? Yes, it’s gotten that cleaned out. I’m hoping one of them can bash lefties in the future but can’t decide between the 3. Help! :)

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      looks like Brentz and Rogers have the better splits against lefties, but I’d take Parker. He’s a year younger and gets a Coors bump

  3. El Famous Burrito says:
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    Whoa, this one is timely. I was just looking at Blandino for our 16-T first-year player draft. MI is really weak for me, both now and on the farm. You think he could be up as soon as 2016? Who is ahead of him on the depth chart?

    With three picks in a row (#32, 33, 34) I’m also looking at Adrian Rondon. I like what you wrote in your New Blood post, but a J2 guy at the back end of the second round short-circuits my brain. Am I being a little too dense? I won’t have another pick for a while. Is the fantasy upside there?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Cool, glad it was helpful! Cozart is arb eligible next couple years and Phillips is a FA in 2018, so late 2016/early 2017 is likely the timeline for Blandino. Only guy I really see ahead of him on the DC is Eugenio Suarez.

      I don’t mind taking a chance on Rondon there (I realize he’s super far away). He could stay at SS and be an offense-first profile that we like in fantasy. If you walk away with both I think you did well to give your team better MI depth. Now, if you can wait a round or something, by all means go for it since that’s a better value. You know the trends in the league better than I do.

      • El Famous Burrito says:
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        @Mike:

        I took the gamble on one or both of Blandino and Rondon dropping to the next round. I ended up taking:

        32: Forrest Wall — read that the arm injury may be discounting him too much
        33: Monte Harrison — upside pick (and Brewers fan trade bait)
        34: Spencer Adams — I just like the reviews on this guy and need a pitcher. I trust Don Cooper.

        Wall and Harrison were locks for me, Adams I agonized over him or one of the MI.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Nice! Love the picks.

          I would have Wall around 20-25 so that was a nice get at 32…looks like you might get one of the other guys in the next round

  4. Clint says:
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    You see Cingrani coming back up to the world in 2015 or staying with these guys in the minors all over again?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      He’s probably somewhere in between. Maybe like mid-3s ERA with decent Ks (160-180). He’ll probably get a long leash too since he’s the only lefty starter I see in their projected rotation.

  5. thorbs says:
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    Great writeup as usual, Mike – I missed them! Quick Q re: Aquino

    In my big-money dynasty league (12-team, 10×10 (OBP guys weighted slightly heavier), keep 20 + 8 rookie-eli players, no contracts).

    If I had to choose today I’d keep:
    1B/3B/CI: Goldy, Pujols, Frazier
    2B/SS/MI: Kinsler, Odor
    OF: Trout, Braun, Yelich, Choo, Ozuna
    UTIL: Arenado, Leonys Martin
    P: Greinke, Hamels, Samardzjia, Shields, Shoemaker, Wood, Paxton, Ryu
    Thorwbacks of note: Salazar, Avisail Garcia

    My minor league keepers need to be chosen from this pool (you’ll see a lot of Razzball influence):

    Bryant, Heaney, Norris, Shipley, Olson, Tapia, Alen Hanson
    Souza, Aquino, Willy Adames, Garin Cecchini

    I’m pretty set with the first 7, but am not sure at all about what to do with my last minor leaguer slot (I’m shopping just about everyone except Bryant right now). I feel like I could slot in Souza immediately for the upcoming season, but Adames/Aquino’s upsides are so tasty, even if they are both a few years away.

    What do you think?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Thanks! If your window is the next year or two, I’d go with Souza for your last slot.

      I’d consider Garcia over Choo on your MLB roster FWIW. I think he’s going to put up similar numbers already and he’s about 9 years younger as well.

      • thorbs says:
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        @Mike: That’s where I’m a bit torn – in the past 5 years I’ve finished in the top 3, and I don’t think my window for winning is closing with my young core of Trout/Goldy/Arenado/Yelich/Bryant/etc. and 4 good SPs under 30 and some tasty prospect arms.

        I’m just thinking Heaney, Norris, Bryant and Souza will lose their rookie statuses this year so if I keep Souza, in the redraft I target the best prospect available, or I keep Aquino or Adames and then draft the best active major leaguer available with my first pick (10th overall). I figure with the recent surge in Cuban imports I’d have a shot at one of them or one of the top-10 picks from this year’s draft.

        Having said that, I could almost assuredly draft Aquino in the redraft – not sure if I’m trying to convince you or myself at this point, ha!

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          makes sense….with that core you could go either way

  6. goodfold2 says:
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    now a guy offering 4.3 and 4.5 for my 3.5, so i’d still have 3.2 coming up (soon) where i could either go with o’connor or keury, if not keury at 3.2 hope for him at 3.21 and almost certainly get 2 of those other pitchers (or maybe even grab a hitter other than the one catcher). thinking if i don’t grab o’connor sooner he won’t be there and there are no other big time hitting C prospects around at all. After all this i’d still have a late 4th and early 5th to grab a bullpen guy (ranked in top 10 by you) and a 5th starter, ending this year’s draft class with 1 c, 5 SP, 1 RP, or 1 less SP and 1 more hitter.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Sounds good

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Mike: same guy traded his 3.14 and 5.21 for pick 2.37 and grabbed ricardo sanchez ATL P. Then he immediately disappeared from message board (without telling me whether or not we had a deal in place, jesus)… so now i’m the one holding up entire draft (it’s only been like 12 minutes). If he only wanted to get sanchez he got better deal. You only had Sanchez at bottom of ATL’s top 10, right?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Yeah, back half. Especially now that they got Ruiz and Folty. Braves system shaping up quick.

          • goodfold2 says:
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            @Mike: oh yeah, that sanchez at 10th was after sanchez deal, but before today’s gattis thing. i’d guess j.d. davis (just drafted in my league) moves into top 10 at HOU after that, but do anybody else?

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              Davis could be borderline…Fisher and Reed also from this year’s draft and Fisher is a definite. HOU is one of the last to get written up so there could still be shuffling.

              • goodfold2 says:
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                @Mike: fisher and reed i already slotted in, and phillips OF. all three drafted already.

  7. Yescheese says:
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    Aquino is part of the breakout A-class of 2014 for sure, with Clint Coulter, Wily Adames, Chance Sisco, Francisco Mejia, and a few others. Who of that group do you think is best MLB future fantasy value? I’m seriously thinking it might be Aquino, but maybe Mejia.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      For sure. Mejia is solid, just so hard to put too much into a catcher prospect fantasy wise. I think it’s between Adames and Aquino and you could probably flip a coin. Adames has the middle infield thing going for him and Aquino just sounds like a stud.

      • Yescheese says:
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        @Mike: would you draft any of those guys over your 2014 draftee top 20?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Hmmm, probably not the guys in the top ten on that list, but I think you could make a case for them over any of the guys #11-20 sure

          • Mike

            Mike says:
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            I should say top 8. I would draw the line at Kolek.

            • Yescheese says:
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              @Mike: thanks mike

              • Mike

                Mike says:
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                anytime

  8. goodfold2 says:
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    guy is offering his 3.20 and max kepler OF MIN for my 3.5. this any good?

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: he’d also do d.j. davis OF TOR in place of kepler here. kepler appears to have upside a year or more ago. BA has davis VERY high,

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @goodfold2: so high i sent the deal. Scott had Davis pretty high last year too.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Sounds good. If you can get a guy you like for a pick where you’re not gaga over the draft options, that’s a win

  9. goodfold2 says:
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    i went o’connor at 3.2, figured he’d be gone soon. i was right as team at 3.3 wanted him there. that same team went and traded for 3.4 so he could grab who else but…. mateo along with honeywell! so he’s gone. i’m still gonna get a higher ranked pitcher at 3.20 or 3.21 now. So i would’ve had to choose between best prospect catcher and honeywell, couldn’t have had both.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Bummer…good luck with your next couple picks

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Mike: thanks, at least now i know at least one other owner is likely following bleacher over BA.

  10. goodfold2 says:
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    mella went at 3.10, so i underestimated his market by 10 picks when i traded my 3.5 for 3.20 and dj davis. that sucks. still have 4 picks, which 2 or 3 of these is best: wagner,j.lopez, wang, t.williams (MIL)/ ysla (SF)/ tuivailala (STL)/ davis, berry, yastremski, wright, hess (BAL)/ farmer, valdez (DET)/ diaz (COL)/ n.smith, ellis, gatto,mcgowin (LAA)/ yarbrough, c.smith (SEA)/ garrett (CIN)/ j.garcia (MIA)/ pivetta (WAS)/ mecias, kilome (PHI)/

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Dang…Farmer and Yarbrough

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Mike: now just gotta hope the guy i’ll get instead isn’t that much worse than mella; and that davis guy was a top 10 just last year.

        • goodfold2 says:
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          @goodfold2: gohara was drafted last year i think, who’s a 3rd name from that list?

          • Mike

            Mike says:
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            Williams (MIL) or Davies (BAL)

            • goodfold2 says:
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              @Mike: just to be sure, that’s not the d.williams you have top 10 at MIL, but t.williams (in BA’s top 10). also, how highly should anderson espinoza be ranked? i only heard about him with another owner wondering about him.

              • Mike

                Mike says:
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                yup, bullpen risk but he’s fine

                Re: Espinoza I wouldn’t sweat J2 arms

                • goodfold2 says:
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                  @Mike: yeah, those internationals hard to gauge, he’s like 4th at BA for internationals.

  11. goodfold2 says:
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    this trade good enough get for votto?
    votto – 15.5 million per year till end of 2016
    for
    zobrist 10.5 million per year till end of 2016
    and these prospects .400 K per year till end of 2018
    conrad gregor CI HOU/ thurman P HOU/ vallot C KC/

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      If the 5 mil is important to you, it makes sense. Money aside, I’d rather have Votto there.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Mike: this owner does need to cut costs, but i told him he’d probably be better off getting better prospects, but of course votto has the worst market he’s ever had.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          correct…bad time to cash out on him

          • goodfold2 says:
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            @Mike: i kept telling him that, that he’d be better off selling (even if he wanted to) after votto had a good april or so.

  12. Matt says:
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    Mike, sorry in advance for the long question

    This is my future team, I am totally for the future in one league, cus, well it is fun

    C – Swihart
    C – no one
    1B – vogelbach
    2B – alcantara
    ss – Russell
    3B – Franco
    MI – Travis / JP Crawford
    CI – Kyle Parker / Christian Walker
    OF – Winker
    OF – Renfroe
    OF – Nimmo
    OF – Buxton
    OF – Rymer
    UT – Renato Nunez + others

    This guy offerd me Josh Bell and Jose Abreu for Buxton, Addison Russell, Micker Zapata and the 19th pick.

    While enticing I dont see it fitting my plan but boy it is abreu ya know?

    Would you do the deal and get Abreu and Bell?

    Take care and thank you

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      If it doesn’t fit what you’re trying to do, then I would hold. When you are closer to competing you can alwasy cash in prospects for MLBers

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        Basically, if you make that deal for Abreu you are flipping that switch, and you will need more than him to compete with that team.

        • Matt says:
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          @Mike: Thanks Mike.

          • Mike

            Mike says:
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            no problem

  13. goodfold2 says:
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    guy won’t do bostick for 4.21, but is overton OAK P worth 4.21?

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: or overton worth any of these 3.20, 3.21, 4.21?

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @goodfold2: alcantara and yarbrough went to me, same owner right before and after me went with RP that both have closer possible in their futures and played already last year in bedrosian and strickland.

        • goodfold2 says:
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          @goodfold2: uh oh, for some reason i had bedrosian as already owned, and he was a #2 ranked guy; eh i guess i do need starters more anyway. It’s possibly since i started these top 10’s before 2015 rolled in, and bedrosian was waivered last year, so he was owned till league page rolled over for 2015, but since waivered, he went back into player pool from end of 2014 to start of 2015.

          • Mike

            Mike says:
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            Makes sense. I am surprised he wouldn’t do Bostick. Take Overton for 4.21 if that is on the table.

            • goodfold2 says:
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              @Mike: he used a 2nd rounder last year for bostick and wanted either one of those or 2 3rds. That wrinkle in our league takes some getting used to, as anybody waivered at any time only has that year contract, unless you tag or extend them. Only way to get and own anybody with long term rookie deals is to draft or win them in midseason bidding, so i should’ve checked the type of contract bedrosian had when i noted him as owned back in Nov or Dec.

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