There was been some movement in the Reds organization among the top prospects since the last time they were checked on.
As a refresher, the last time prospects were checked on, they were ranked as follows: Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker, Taylor Trammell, Aristides Aquino, Luis Castillo, Tyler Stephenson, Sal Romano, Tyler Mahle, Alfredo Rodriguez, and Vladimir Gutierrez.
Some rookies will make an appearance, others won’t. Some previous top 10 have fallen off the list entirely. There are a few new faces. Most are familiar, but few stayed in the same spot as before.
In short, there has been a lot of change over the first few months. Now that that has been covered, let’s dive in to the new rankings.
1. Nick Senzel: 3B, Bats/Throws: R/R, ETA: 2018
Senzel started the season ranked number one, and hasn’t done anything to lose the spot. He continues to hit well, his average has gone up since being promoted, batting .309 in AA.
His .309/.367/.464 line in AA makes it even more likely no one will take his spot until he graduates. On top of his offense, Senzel’s defense has also been solid.
Senzel is unlikely to make his debut this season, but don’t be surprised if he’s in the Opening Day lineup next year.
2. Hunter Greene: RHP/SS, Bats/ Throws: R/R, ETA: 2021
There isn’t much consensus as to where each prospect should be ranked, but Senzel and Greene in the top two is universal.
Greene has yet to even throw a pitch in rookie ball, but the hype around the number two overall pick is unreal. The 17 (soon to 18) year old has already appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Until he gives people a reason to believe otherwise, Greene will be considered the future of the Reds organization. His power on the mound combined with his power at the plate make him a versatile prospect.
The Reds were fortunate to have Greene fall to them. Greene has legitimate superstar potential, so he gets the nod here.
3. Luis Castillo: RHP, Bats/Throws: R/R, ETA: 2017
Castillo made a surprise leap to the majors this season, and has performed admirably. His 4.05 ERA may not look the best, but it’s better than most others in the rotation.
In 40.0 IP he’s tossed 45 Ks and showed he has the command to succeed. He still needs some time to get used to major league hitters, but he should be a rotation fixture for the next few years.
If he pitches the rest of the year in the majors, he’ll lose his status as a prospect. However, there appears to be very little he can get from pitching in the minors at this point.
4. Jesse Winker: OF, Bats/Throws: L/L, ETA: 2017
Winker is possibly to most MLB ready bat in the Reds system, including Senzel. In AAA, Winker has a .307 average and a .390 OBP in 80 games.
He hasn’t shown a lot of power, only getting 18 doubles and two home runs in those 80 games. But his ability to get hits and get on base can’t be questioned.
As with Senzel, look for Winker to be on the roster come Opening Day. Even if Winker isn’t an everyday starter next year, he can be a valuable piece.
5. Tyler Mahle: RHP, Bats/Throws: R/R, ETA: 2018
Mahle started the season as a prospect who seemed to need a lot more work. However, a 1.59 ERA in 14 starts at AA got him a promotion to AAA.
He’s continued to perform well, posting a 2.88 ERA in six starts at the AAA level. He’s performed well enough to potentially be a September call up.
His control has been superb to this point in the year, as he has 120 Ks compared to just 25 walks. Look for Mahle to be a rotation fixture by the end of next season.
6. Taylor Trammell: OF, Bats/Throws: L/L, ETA: 2020
Trammell has loads of potential because of his potential to be above average in everything while having elite speed. He has posted solid all-around numbers, with a .285/.360/.453 line and 36 extra-base hits.
Trammell still needs to cut down on the strike outs (95 in 93 games), but his OBP is promising. He is also a threat when he gets on, stealing 28 bases so far.
Trammell is still a little ways away, but he still has the potential to be a special player in the majors.
7. Sal Romano: RHP, Bats/Throws: L/R, ETA: 2017
Don’t let a couple of bad starts fool you, Romano has the ability to be an impact pitcher. His control is above average and he has a near elite fastball.
Even though he has a 5.50 ERA, he has shown enough to stick in the majors for the time being.
He may float between the majors and minors for a little while longer as the Reds test pitchers, but he’ll be a rotation guy by the end of next season.
8. Shed Long: 2B, Bats/Throws: L/R, ETA: 2018
Long looked like a potential big league starter in A+ ball, but he’s struggled to adapt to AA so far. In A+, Long hit .312 in 62 games. So far in AA, Long has hit .196 in 27 games.
Given that his defense looks to be his weakest area, the fact that his bat is struggling is discouraging.
However, he still needs more time to adjust to his new level of baseball. If Long continues to struggle into next season, it will be cause for concern. Until then, there is no reason to panic.
9. Jose Siri: OF, Bats/Throws: R/R, ETA: 2021
Siri put together a 31 game hitting streak so far, and has impressed a lot of people doing it. He’s currently batting .293 with a .337 OBP, while continuing to show plus speed and a plus arm.
Like Trammell, he’ll need to cut down on his strike outs (92 in 91 games), but the tools are there. He’s still only 22 and has stolen 29 bases this season.
Siri still needs time, but with the right coaching he’ll get there.
10. Tony Santillan: RHP, Bats/Throws: R/R, ETA: 2019
Santillan has an electric fastball and a near elite slider to pair with above average control. His 96 Ks in 99.0 IP combined with his 3.18 ERA make him a promising prospect.
Even though he’s still only in A, he should be able to get a promotion before the end of the season.
Santillan still needs to work on his change up and could stand to improve his command some, but he has the potential to be a big league starter.
While one rookie cracked the top 10, there were three others who cracked the top 20.
14. Jeter Downs: SS, Bats/Throws: R/R, ETA: 2021
Jeter Downs, named after Derek Jeter, has shown promise so far in rookie ball. His .258 average doesn’t look great, but his .372 OBP is encouraging.
He has shown solid effort and aggression on the base paths, stealing three bases in less than 20 games.
As for his tools, Downs looks like he can be a SS who does everything from an above average to near elite levels. Downs has potential, but it’s still too early to tell where he is in his development.
18. Stuart Fairchild: OF, Bats/Throws: R/R, ETA: 2020
Fairchild has performed better than Downs to this point, but it is still rookie ball. He’s put together a very solid line of .310/.378/.410 in 26 games.
Fairchild projects to have a higher than most ceiling due his speed/power combination. Both project to be above average to just shy of elite. His defense projects to be above average as well because of his speed.
His contact and arm grades aren’t the best, but they should be good enough to make him an everyday starter in a few seasons.
19. Jacob Heatherly: LHP, Bats/Throws: L/L, ETA: 2021
Heatherly got sent to the Arizona league to get back on the mound before rookie ball, and he’s done well for himself.
Heatherly has only allowed two runs in 9.1 IP to this point, striking out 11 while only walking three. He’s not overpowering, his fastball sits around 90-93 MPH, but his control seems to have returned some.
He’s a potential steal if he gets his control down. All his pitches have above average potential, he’s got an easy, repeatable delivery that doesn’t require a lot of effort.
Time will tell with Heatherly, but there’s enough reason to be excited.