Feb 16, 2013; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton poses for a photo during photo day at the Reds Spring Training Facility. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

Four Reds Prospects Crack BA's Top 100


Baseball America released its Top 100 Prospects list today and to no one’s surprise, Billy Hamilton made the cut. Also not a surprise that Robert Stephenson and Tony Cingrani are on the list as well. The one that was the closest to on the outside looking in was Daniel Corcino.

Here’s how each Red prospect ranked:

#20 – Hamilton (#48 last year, #11 on MLB.com for ’13, #24 on Seedlings to Stars)

I’ve seen Hamilton ranked in the #12-#18 area on a few lists, so being at 20 may seem a little low to some. Hamilton rocked baseball last season in swiping an earth-shattering 155 bags. And Hamilton was coming off a year where he had 103 steals while in Dayton. Over last season, Hamilton somewhat silenced the chatter about strikeouts and proved he does have a little keener eye than most had previously thought. The whiffs are there, but that rate declined while increasing his walk rate, a couple of positives heading into 2013.

This year, the Thief King will begin his season in Louisville…and the Bats staff better have a fair number of extra bases in its coffers.

The position switch will be the main subject for Hamilton in 2013, not the steals. With his athleticism, I don’t anticipate any issues there.

#56 – Stephenson (not top 100 last year, #51 on MLB.com for ’13, #59 on Seedlings to Stars)

There was a little skepticism when the Reds selected the fireball-hurling righty out of high school. The Reds drafted a high school pitcher in the first round? Cincy had not drafted a high schooler with their first selection since ’07 when they nabbed Devin Mesoraco. The last high school pitcher they selected was Homer Bailey in ’04.

And Stephenson has done nothing that would make the Reds regret such a selection. Stephenson had a spectacular showing in Billings (1-0, 2.05 ERA, 0.98 WHIP in 7 games) while displaying his ability to strikeout opposing batters with 37 SO in 30.2 IP for a SO% of 30.1%.

The move to Dayton was an eye-opener. While Stephenson continue a nice strikeout rate (9.17%), his walk rate did increase from from 2.35 to 3.93. Bottom line: Stepehnson authored a nice debut season with a record of 3-4, 3.18 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. Having those 8 starts in Dayton will help him prepare for his 2013.

#82 – Cingrani (not top 100 last year, #66 on MLB.com for ’13, #63 on Seedlings to Stars)

Talk about a guy that has zipped through a system. Cingrani has done everything to change minds about his MLB future. When he was drafted out of Rice, he was a reliever, but the Reds converted him to a starter. And that conversion continues to reap dividends for the Reds. His rise prompted a September call-up lasy year.

Over his two seasons in the Reds farm system: 13-6, 1.73 ERA, 0.968 WHIP while pitching at three levels. Cingrani will no doubt get his first taste of Triple-A action this year.

#94 – Corcino (not top 100 last year, not top 100 no MLB.com, not in top 115 on Seedlings to Stars)

We’ve heard and read all the Johnny Cueto comparisons. If these are true (and why would we doubt them?), Corcino’s track for a Reds rotation spot would seem a lock.

2012 saw issues with his walk rate (2.2 in ’11 to 4.1 last season) and a declining strikeout rate (10.1 to 7.9), but Corcino allowed fewer hits while pitching more innings. Looks like the 1-2 punch in Louisville will be extremely solid in ’13 with Cingrani and Corcino.

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