Baseball America Reveals Top 10 Cincinnati Reds Prospects


Baseball America released their list of top 10 prospects for each MLB team on Wednesday. Seven pitchers and three outfielders make up their top 10 Cincinnati Reds prospects list for 2015:

1. Robert Stephenson (RHP, 21 years old)

2014 Stats (Double-A Pensacola): 7-10, 4.74 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 140 K, 74 BB, 136.2 IP

Despite taking a bit of step back in 2014, Stephenson remains the top prospect in the Reds organization for the second year in a row. Touting a fastball that can reach up to 99 MPH, the 2011 first-round draft pick certainly has the stuff to become a top of the rotation pitcher. Like many other hard throwers, Stephenson struggles with his control a bit (a career-high 4.9 BB/9 last season), but with more experience, hopefully that number will drop. It’s unknown whether he’ll start the season in AA or AAA, but he probably won’t see time in the big leagues until at least September unless he completely dominates in the minors and/or the Reds have a need for him in their rotation. Look for him to make a run at the Reds’ rotation in 2016.

2. Raisel Iglesias (RHP, 25)

2014 Stats (Arizona Fall League): 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 7 K, 3 BB, 7.0 IP

Iglesias was signed to a 7-year, $27 million contract in June, but issues with his visa prevented him from pitching in the minors during the season. He pitched in relief in the Arizona Fall League and didn’t give up a run in seven appearances. Just as they did with Tony Cingrani, the Reds intend to convert him to a starter, according to Walt Jocketty. Iglesias is small in stature (5-foot-11, 165 pounds), but according to a scouting report from Ben Badler of Baseball America, he still throws a mid-90s fastball and a breaking ball that he throws from many different arm angles, a la Bronson Arroyo. He’ll probably start the year in AA or AAA and if the Reds are serious about using him as a starting pitcher, he’ll likely need some time to make that transition. However, if he blows everyone away in Spring Training the way he did in the AFL, he could very well grab the fifth rotation spot.

3. Jesse Winker (OF, 21)

2014 Stats (A+ Bakersfield, AA Pensacola): .287/.399/.518, 15 HR, 57 RBI, 5 SB

Winker, the top-hitting prospect in the Reds organization, moves up a spot in this year’s list. Looking at the numbers above, it’s hard not to get excited about Winker’s future. The lefty hits for contact, hits for power, and he’s good at working the count and taking walks (check out that Votto-like OBP). He even won the Carolina/California League Home Run Derby last season. A lot of fans were clamoring for him to be given a shot to earn the starting left field job this season before the Marlon Byrd trade, but the Reds will probably want to give him some more experience in Pensacola (and Louisville), where he only played 21 games last season before injuring his right wrist in a car accident.

4. Michael Lorenzen (RHP, 23)

2014 Stats (AA Pensacola): 4-6, 3.13 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 84 K, 44 BB, 120.2 IP

Lorenzen, who moves up two spots in this year’s ranking, was a first round pick of the Reds in 2013 and has moved through the minor leagues quickly, leaving many excited about his future. In fact, the Reds are so excited about him that Jocketty has said he, along with Stephenson, is untouchable in a trade. In his first full season as a starter, Lorenzen saw his strikeout numbers drop last season from 8.1 K/9 to 6.3 K/9, but his walks also dropped significantly from 5.6 BB/9 to 3.3 BB/9. Lorenzen played center field at Cal State Fullerton, so he can also swing the bat a little bit, too (.233, 1 HR, 7 RBI last season — pretty impressive numbers for a pitcher). Lorenzen pitched well enough last season that he’ll probably earn a promotion to AAA to start the 2015 season.

5. Nick Howard (RHP, 21)

2014 Stats (A Dayton): 2-1, 3.74 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 23 K, 11 BB, 33.2 IP

Howard was the 2014 first-round draft pick out of Virginia, where he served as the closer in his last season. Like Lorenzen and Iglesias, the Reds plan to use him as a starter. After pitching in the College World Series final with Virginia, he pitched in 11 games (five starts) with the Dayton Dragons. Howard also pitched in the Arizona Fall League, going 2-1 with 15 strikeouts, nine walks, a 4.43 ERA, and 1.38 WHIP. He’s yet another hard thrower in the Reds organization, throwing a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s to go along with a slider. Howard is obviously several years away from being major league ready, but he’s another pitcher to be excited about in the future.

6. Anthony DeSclafani (RHP, 24)

2014 Stats (Miami Marlins): 2-2, 6.27 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 26 K, 5 BB, 33.0 IP 

(6-7, 3.78 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 97 K, 31 BB, 102.1 IP in AA Jacksonville and AAA New Orleans)

DeSclafani was the main piece that the Reds got in the Mat Latos trade and is one of the frontrunners for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. He throws a fastball in the low 90s supplemented with a slider and a changeup. DeSclafani won’t blow anybody away with his strikeout numbers, but with a walk rate of 2.0 BB/9 in his minor league career, his control is remarkable. He struggled with the Marlins in 2014, but if he can carry over his minor league success to the Reds, he’ll be a great addition to the rotation.

7. Amir Garrett (LHP, 22)

2014 Stats (A Dayton): 7-8, 3.64 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 127 K, 51 BB, 133.1 IP

Garrett was a two-sport star until recently, playing basketball at St. John’s University while pitching for the Reds during the summer. He fully committed to baseball in 2014, going on to have an outstanding year in Dayton and earn a spot on the Midwest League’s Top 20 Prospects list.  One of the big things Garrett improved on was his strikeout rate, which more than doubled, from 4.0 K/9 in 2013 to 8.6 in 2014. Garrett is also several years away from making an impact with the Reds, but in an organization that doesn’t have many left-handed pitching prospects, he’ll be someone to keep an eye on. It’s probably safe to expect him to start the year in high-A Daytona after his big year in Dayton.

8. Nick Travieso (RHP, 20)

2014 Stats (A Dayton): 14-5, 3.03 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 114 K, 44 BB, 142.2 IP

Travieso, the Reds’ 2012 first-round draft pick, stays put as the #8 prospect in the Reds’ system. He’s yet another powerful righthander in a farm system full of them, wielding a fastball that can reach the mid-90s and a slider. He had the best season of his young career last in 2014 and saw improvement in nearly every statistic imaginable. His most dramatic improvement was his ERA, which dropped from 4.63 in 2013 to 3.03 last season. Look for Travieso to start 2015 in high-A Daytona along with Garrett.

9. Aristides Aquino (OF, 20)

2014 Stats (Rookie League Billings): .292/.342/.577, 16 HR, 64 RBI, 21 SB

Aquino really put it all together last season after struggling in the first three years in the Reds organization. With 16 homers, Aquino nearly doubled his home run total for his career in one season and had 23 doubles in only 307 plate appearances. To go along with the power increase, he seemed to figure things out on the bases as well, more than doubling his career stolen base totals. The right fielder will need to work on his plate discipline (only 15 walks against 66 strikeouts), but he’s still an exciting hitting prospect in an organization that doesn’t have a lot of them. After his big year in 2014, he could get promoted to low-A Dayton to start the 2015 season.

10. Yorman Rodriguez (OF, 22)

2014 Stats (AA Pensacola): .262/.331/.389, 9 HR, 40 RBI, 12 SB

(.222/.276/.222, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB in Cincinnati)

Ranked #5 on the list last year, Rodriguez dropped a bit after a disappointing season in 2014. Rodriguez has been described as a five-tool player and really impressed in Spring Training last year, but he’s still a work in progress. His power numbers declined last season after career-best numbers in 2013, as his slugging percentage dropped to .389 from .427 the previous year. Rodriguez is noted for having an outstanding arm and can play all three outfield positions, though he primarily plays right field. Rodriguez was a September call-up with the Reds and put up so-so numbers in 29 plate appearances. He’ll have a good shot to earn his way onto the Reds 25-man roster in Spring Training.


  • It’s interesting that Phillip Ervin was dropped from the top 10 this year, after coming in at #3 in the 2014 list. The .237/.305/.376 slash he put up last season might have something to do with that, but it’s still a surprise to see him completely drop off the list after the promise he’s showed in the past.
  • Ben Lively, who was just traded to the Phillies in the Marlon Byrd deal, was ranked #9 last year.
  • While fans can feel pretty good about the Reds’ pitching depth, no infielders were listed in the top 10, which raises concerns about the infield depth of the organization.
  • Also concerning is the lack of major-league ready hitting prospects. Of the hitters listed in the top 10, Rodriguez is the most ready, but if the Reds are struck by injuries again this year, the offense could be in trouble.

What do you guys think of the top 10? Anyone too high or low? Any snubs?