Alright Cincinnati, let’s just get this out of the way, your chili is gross, but your prospects are tasty. With high picks over the last few years, and a definite Cuban connection, the Reds have done well to add to their farm system of late. Their first round drafting over the last two seasons in particular has been a source of real talent, adding Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammell, Hunter Greene, and Jeter Downs. While the days of highly volatile upside starters seem to be over, there’s still some upside arms to dream on, Tony Santillan specifically. With Tyler Mahle, Senzel, and Jesse Winker all in the mix for gigs on the major league squad out of camp, there’s some higher end close to the majors talent here too. I may not have any Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees takes, but I got plenty of Top Cincinnati Reds prospects to talk up. After all it’s the 2018 Cincinnati Reds Minor League Preview.

 

1) Nick Senzel, 3B | Level: AA | Age: 22 | 2017 Stats: .321/.391/.541, 14 HR, 65 RBI, 14 SB

After overcoming a bout of vertigo, Senzel has been taking reps at both second base and shortstop this offseason. The possibility of Senzel’s multi-category contributions in the middle infield only boost his already ascending value. Owner of arguably the best hit tool in the minors, Senzel gets consistent 70 grades on the bat from scouts. His power is above average, and started to translate more in the over the fence variety once he hit the Southern League. At present Senzel is an above average runner capable of double digit steals, but I could see that disappearing over time. The combination of opportunity and a friendly home hitting environment make an immediate impact from Senzel all the more likely. Draws a lot of David Wright comps, and it’s not a stretch ETA: 2018

2) Taylor Trammell, OF | Level: A | Age: 20 | 2017 Stats: .281/.368/.450, 13 HR, 77 RBI, 41 SB

One of the most exciting players in minors at the moment, Trammell combines plus-plus speed, with an above average hit tool, plus plate approach, and developing above-average power. A former Division 1 football recruit, Trammell spurned Georgia Tech for $3.2 million and a professional baseball career. Likely to add power and lose speed as he matures, but has the type of athleticism that maintaining 20/20 upside into his early 30’s isn’t out of the question. If his pitch recognition and power continue to improve in 2018, Trammell could be a potential top 10 prospect this time next year. ETA: 2019

3) Hunter Greene, RHP | Level: Rk | Age: 19 | 2017 Stats: 0-1, 4.1 IP, 12.46 ERA, 2.08 WHIP, 6 K, 1 Bb

I’ve covered Greene a lot this offseason, writing him up in my Top 50 Prospects and my Top 25 for first year player drafts. Here’s what I said about a month ago; “The most discussed player from last June’s draft, Greene played mostly as a position player in his pro debut, but has pitched more in fall instructs. So far the results haven’t been good. He mixes a fastball that can touch 100, with two breaking balls that look more average to fringe at the moment. Random note: His father is a well known private investigator that does work for A-List Hollywood actors. In other words, Greene’s father is Ray Donovan.” The second overall pick is at the very beginning stages of a very promising career. ETA: 2021

4) Tyler Mahle, RHP | Level: AAA | Age: 23 | 2017 Stats: 10-7, 144.1 IP, 2.06 ERA, 0.96, 138 Ks, 30 Bb

A future mid-rotation starter with elite control, though it didn’t necessarily manifest itself during his cup of coffee in the majors. Mahle works with his four-seamer mostly in the low-90’s but can ramp it up to 95-96 when needed. His best secondary is his slider, though his changeup isn’t far behind. He threw a perfect game for AA Pensacola back in April, which was the righty’s second no hitter in two seasons. Mahle doesn’t have the front-end stuff of some of the other arms that have passed through Cincinnati’s system in recent years, but he possesses a pitching acumen and understating far beyond his comrades. ETA: 2018

5) Jesse Winker, OF | Level: AAA | Age: 24 | 2017 Stats: .314/.395/.408, 2 HR, 41 RBI, 2 SB

It seems like Winker has been in the system forever, and in some ways he has. He just slipped under his limits last season with 121 at bats. The major league sample size is encouraging and baffling at the same time. After 2 homers in 299 AAA at bats, Winker hit 7 in 137 MLB plate appearances. Perhaps all Winker needed was juiced balls to find his power, it’s certainly plausible. Still tough for me to buy into fully having followed Winker for quite some time. He’s worth rostering in any format that counts OBP. Often compared to teammate Joey Votto, due to his balanced swing and elite strike zone discipline. We can only hope that Winker’s power comes along the same as Votto’s. There’s a chance that Winker puts it all together and finds mixed league relevancy with a strong rookie campaign. ETA: 2018

6) Shed Long, 2B | Level: AA | Age: 22 | 2017 Stats: .281/.358/.477, 16 HR, 50 RBI, 9 SB

A 2017 pre-season darling of yours truly, and season long teammate of top rated prospect Nick Senzel. Shed, had a serious Jekyll and Hyde season. He was excellent in A ball slashing .312/.358/.543 with 13 homers in 62 games. A late June callup to AA didn’t go nearly as smooth. Long slashed .227/.312/.362 with just 3 homers over 42 games with Pensacola. It should be noted he was a little unlucky on balls in play, and did improve both his strikeout and walk rates at AA. While it’s certainly a hitch in his excellent track record of production, it’s not all bad. Shed’s got a quick lefty swing with an uppercut path, leading to some swing and miss but also a good power floor. I think there’s potentially 25 homer power in Long’s bat. ETA: 2019

7) Jose Siri, OF | Level: A | Age: 22 | 2017 Stats: .293/.341/.530, 24 HR, 76 RBI, 46 SB

A 39 game hit streak and a 24/46 combo should be enough for any prospect to place in his team’s top 5, but not Siri. While the skills are undeniable, there’s serious swing and miss concerns, as well as some well documented attitude issues. That said, not only is Siri the best outfield defender and runner in the system, he might have the best power too. It’s easy to dismiss Siri’s excellent statline as a product of being an older player at a lower level, but only three players in Midwest League history have gone 20/40 in a single season. Siri should see assignment to high A out of camp with a mid-summer promotion to Pensacola possible. ETA: 2019

8) Tony Santillan, RHP | Level: A | Age: 20 | 2017 Stats: 9-8, 128 IP, 3.38 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 128 Ks, 56 Bb

A Texas prep product Santillan is one of the more unheralded upside arms in baseball. With a plus-plus fastball that sits 96-98 with movement, he’s your classic big bodied power Texas righty. After a rough first taste of full season ball, Santillan worked on his off-speed pitch in the offseason, and refining the low 90’s changeup into a plus offering. His breaking ball is an inconsistent slider, that flashes tilt and depth at its best, and looks hittable at it’s worst. While Santillan’s arsenal and live arm are promising, if he’s to make it as a major league starter he must refine his fringe control and command. At 20 years old Santillan has time to do that, whether it happens makes him a risk/reward add in dynasty formats. Albeit one that could payoff big if he can refine his feel, and control. ETA: 2020

9) Jeter Downs, SS | Level: RK | Age: 19 | 2017 Stats: .267/.370/.424, 6 HR, 29 RBI, 8 SB

A top of the scale athlete with a plus arm and the range to stick at short, Downs is no slouch with the bat. An advanced plate approach, above average speed, and developing power, Downs in some ways is reminiscent of the Reds 2016 Comp Round pick Taylor Trammell. Downs has a relaxed, simple swing, staying back on the ball and making loud contact to all fields, it’s easy to see a future major leaguer when watching his at bats. The raw power sticks out in his cage work, and is fairly simple to project from his frame. You’ll likely have to wait four years for Downs arrival, but his projection as a possible plus offensive player in the middle infield, make him a great stash. ETA: 2021

10) Tyler Stephenson, C | Level: A | Age: 21 | 2017 Stats: .278/.374/.414, 6 HR, 50 RBI, 2 SB

The 2015 first round pick has struggled to live up to expectations since being taken 11th overall. That said, Stephenson showed well in his second run at full season ball, cutting his strikeout rate in half, and walking at an elite 12.5% clip. His contact is pull heavy with more groundballs than you’d like to see, but there’s at least above average power lurking in his broad frame, if not more like plus. He’s seen his season cut short in consecutive years with injuries, hitting the disabled list for a thumb issue to end his 2017. All in all Stephenson is lurking around the top 10 prospects at the catcher position, and could blossom into a mixed league relevant catcher with plus power and plate approach one day. ETA: 2020

11) Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP | Level: A+ | Age: 22 | 2017 Stats: 7-8, 103 IP, 4.46 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 94 Ks, 19 Bb

Gutierrez is the next in a long line of Cuban starters with future in the back end of the Cincinnati pen. His fastball flashes plus, but is inconsistent in terms of velocity from start to start ranging from 91-97. He mixes in a changeup, and two breaking balls that can be tough to differentiate at times. If they decide to move Gutierrez to the pen it could accelerate his timetable for arrival, but I think he’s over a year away. ETA: 2019

12) Jacob Heatherly, LHP | Level: RK | Age: 19 | 2017 Stats: 2-2, 39.2 IP, 4.99 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 31 Ks, 20 Bb

A prep lefthander signed for $1 Million after going to Cincinnati early in the third round of this year’s draft. He commands his low 90’s fastball well, and blends in an average breaking ball, and offspeed pitch. Not a ton of upside, but has a good foundation to blossom into a useful major league starter. ETA: 2021

13) Cash Case, 2B | Level: RK | Age: 18 | 2017 Stats: .180/.273/.241, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 2 SB

Obviously the 80 grade name gets your attention, but Case has some skills on the diamond as well. A former switch-hitter, and natural righthanded hitter, that now hits from the left side, Case is full of surprises. No joke, he plays three instruments, and is fluent in Mandarin. His quick swing, and above average power could make him another good offensive middle infielder in the Reds system. ETA: 2021

14) Aristides Aquino, OF | Level: AA | Age: 23 | 2017 Stats: .216/.282/.397, 17 HR, 56 RBI, 9 SB

After hitting 23 homers in the Florida State League in 2016, Aquino came back down to earth this season. There’s as much raw power as anyone in the Reds system, but there’s also two major concerns. Aquino swings and misses way too much, and makes too much weak contact. These two flaws shined through in ominous metrics in his batted ball profile, a 19.1% SwStr%, and a 34% infield flyball rate. That’s double yuck, with a side of toilet seat pubic hairs. Many still have hope that Aquino can right the ship, some have even gone as far as to dub him a bounce back for 2018. ETA: 2019

15) Stuart Fairchild, OF Reds | Level: Rk | 2017 Stats: .304/.393/.412, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 12 SB

You know, Fairchild might be every bit the power and speed equal of the higher rated Jeren Kendall, his counterpart from the 2017 draft. Fairchild’s plus bat speed, plus wheels, and above average hit tool give him some nice offensive upside. He had a strong showing in rookie ball, though that should be expected of a 21 year old college bat. He does have the profile of a potential breakout in 2018, good all around player with 20/30 upside at peak. ETA: 2020

16) Jose Israel Garcia, SS | Level: N/A | Age: 19 | 2017 Stats: Did Not Play Stateside

A 19 year old highly talented Cuban shortstop signed for $5 Million this summer. Garcia has a typical long Cuban swing, but you can see his raw power on video, making consistent hard contact. Not much more to report until he plays stateside. ETA: 2020

 

Find all of the 30 Minor League Previews, and Offseason Rankings on the Minor League Index
On Twitter as @ProspectJesus

   
  1. The Curly W's says:
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    Two teams available in a third year Fantrax dynasty league with really active managers, a deep player pool, and plenty of ratios to satisfy knowledgeable baseball guys. I have enjoyed being in this league thoroughly.

    – Play against Ralph Lifshitz
    – 16 teams
    – rotisserie
    – 6×6 stats (R, RBI, NetSB, AVG, OBP, SLG, QS, K, NetSv, HLD, ERA, WHIP)
    – Annual two round live draft including the entire available player universe, with remaining same year draftees and international signees protected to preserve draft pick value.
    – League Constitution in place, with procedures that outline commissioner decision-making.
    – Year-round activity
    – Very active, long term owners only. This is a commitment.

    Here are the available teams

    Team 1:
    C Kurt Suzuki
    1B Albert Pujols
    2B Dustin Pedroia
    3B Kris Bryant
    SS Corey Seager
    CI Adam Lind
    MI Jedd Gyorko
    OF Josh Bell
    OF Andrew Benintendi
    OF Jackie Bradley Jr
    OF Byron Buxton
    OF Nomar Mazara
    Util Travis Shaw
    Res Yoan Moncada
    Res Christian Arroyo
    Res Scooter Gennett
    Min Blake Swihart
    Min Brendan Rogers
    Min Gavin Cecchini
    Min JP Crawford
    Min Rafael Devers
    Min Mickey Moniak
    P Tim Adleman
    P Homer Bailey
    P Jose Berrios
    P Dylan Bundey
    P Marco Estrada
    P Yovani Gallardo
    P Jarlin Garcia
    P John Lackey
    P Lance McCullers Jr.
    P Clayton Richards
    P Anibal Sanchez
    P Nick Wittgren
    Res Matt Manning
    Res Clay Buccholz
    Res Andrew Cashner
    Res Alex Reyes
    Res Hector Santiago
    Res Vince Velasquez
    Res Steven Wright
    Min Anderson Espinoza
    Min Mark Appel
    Min Luiz Gohara
    Min Julio Urias

    Team 2:
    C Evan Gattis
    1B Trey Mancini
    2B Neil Walker
    3B Nolan Arenado
    SS Asdrubal Cabrera
    CI Justin Turner
    MI Joe Panik
    OF Adam Jones
    OF Matt Kemp
    OF Gerardo Parra
    OF Kevin Pillar
    OF Justin Upton
    Util Alex Bregman
    Res Seth Smith
    Res CJ Cron
    Res Cameron Maybin
    Res Stephen Piscotty
    Res Russell Martin
    Min Brian Mundell
    Min Bobby Dalbec
    Min Kevin Maitan
    Min Mauricio Dubon
    Min Kyle Tucker
    P Chase Anderson
    P Steve Cishek
    P Gerrit Cole
    P Chris Devenski
    P Jaime Garcia
    P Luke Gregerson
    P Lance Lynn
    P Tanner Roark
    P Danny Salazar
    P Tony Watson
    P Alex Wilson
    P Alex Wood
    Res Shawn Kelley
    Res Jake Faria
    Res Steven Matz
    Res Andrew Miller
    Res Drew Smyly
    Min Jose De Leon
    Min Max Fried
    Min Austin Gomber
    Min Daniel Gossett
    Min Rob Kaminsky

    Interested? Send your answers to the following questions to dynastygurufantrax at Gmail.

    1) Your real name
    2) The reliable email address I would be able to reach you at year round.
    3) What are your baseball/fantasy baseball credentials?
    4) Which team(s) are you interested in?
    5) Why are you a good fit for the team(s) you indicated in #4 and for this league as a whole.
    6) Do you commit to being a very active long term manager if selected?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @The Curly W’s: Join this league, one of my favorite dynasty leagues I play in. Plus we got a whacky Reds fan amongst our ranks.

      Damn I want that First roster, so many tasty prospect loves.

      • Tweak says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Ralph, I think I can squeeze in one more dynasty league in my life. I’ll shoot an email for this one. Dibs on Team 1!

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Tweak: Nice! I. Good hands with Tweak. Need a minimum two year commitment.

          • Tweak says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: No worries there. I don’t join leagues that I plan to leave. Is there any kind of buy-in, or is it just for fun?

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @Tweak: Just for fun!

    • Jason Yearian says:
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      @The Curly W’s: email sent. Would love to be a part of a great league of like baseball minds.

  2. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    Good stuff prospector dude!

    Reds have some serious studs in the making, I own a few and hope they pan out!

    Will Senzel’s vertigo issues affect him long term?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Malicious Phenoms: No sir, he got over it after some rest within a month. Sounds like he’s all good to go.

  3. Jose says:
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    Thanks Ralph,
    I love to draft Rockies, Phillies and Reds hitters. Pitchers not so much, that is were the Dodgers come in. I have Urias and Beuhler coming by the middle of next season.

    I have Winkers as my possible 4th OF to start the year, but if he keeps hitting the long ball, I will find a spot in the lineup for him. I also have Votto at 1B in that team.

    You have convinced me on Trammell and he will be my Acuna for 2018. I will grab him early so I don’t loose him. I also like the potential 25 HRs at 2B for Long, so he moved up the ranks for me.

    Senzel is long gone. I will be going after Riley after Trammell.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Jose: I’m with you on Winker, I hope the power is real.

  4. Raider says:
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    Good stuff Ralph, no such thing as an offseason!
    After seeing Trammell multiple times in person, he sure is exciting, power is better than his HR total suggests

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Raider: Yeah, and I think he can tap into even more over the next few years.

  5. Jose says:
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    Ralph: Can you please compare this two 19 year old sluggers.
    You have them at #65 Jhailyn Ortiz and #90 Tristan Lutz. I see a lot of similarities that I like, they both have a lot of raw power, hit for average and walk a lot , creating near .400 OBP. I know this are small sample sizes and very low level leagues, but I like what I see so far. Ortiz who looks to at about 220 lbs was 13 out 16 in SB.

    Can you do a deeper comparison, with you stats and info.

    Thanks.

  6. Notorious D.A.N. says:
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    Where would Sal Romano rank on this list if he hadn’t exhausted his rookie eligibility?

  7. Michael says:
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    Would Taylor Trammell be worth picking with the 2nd overall minor league draft for my league? Other players I am considering are: Scott Kingery, Luis Robert, Mackenzie Gore, thank you.

Comments are closed.