Cincinnati Reds Top 10 Prospects Progress Report

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May 5, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher

Michael Lorenzen

(50) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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5. Nick Howard

2015 Stats: 3-2, 7.03 ERA, 2.01 WHIP, 21 K, 30 BB, 24.1 IP (High-A)

Last year’s top draft pick Nick Howard has not had the best of starts in his first full professional season. He was recently moved to the bullpen to help remedy his control issues (11.1 BB/9), but the Reds still have to be excited by Howard’s potential. The right-hander was clocked at up to 98 mph in college and despite being a reliever at the University of Virginia, the Reds have decided to convert him into a starter. The transition hasn’t gone so smoothly thus far, but at just 22 years old, Howard has plenty of time to grow.

4. Michael Lorenzen

2015 Stats: 1-1, 3.06 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 18 K, 19 BB, 32.1 IP (MLB)

After three starts in Triple-A Louisville, Lorenzen was promoted to the Reds on April 29 after Homer Bailey went down with injury. Though he’s struggled with walks at times, Lorenzen hasn’t looked like a rookie at all, allowing only 11 runs in his first 32.1 major league innings and displaying a fastball that has touched up to 97 mph on the radar gun. It’s still early in his career, but it appears that the rookie will be a mainstay in the Reds’ rotation for years to come.

3. Jesse Winker

2015 Stats: .229/.343/.314, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 8 XBH, 4 SB, 24 BB, 27 K (Double-A)

The Reds’ top hitting prospect and future left fielder has gone through a rough patch at the plate to begin the season. There’s no need to panic, as you have to remember he’s only appeared in 21 games in Double-A before this season since his 2014 season ended with a wrist injury suffered in a car wreck. Despite the low batting average, he’s getting on base at a high rate and leads the Blue Wahoos in runs scored and walks. Assuming he starts hitting the ball better (and there’s no reason to think he won’t), there’s a very good chance he’ll be in a Reds’ uniform at some point in 2016.

2. Raisel Iglesias

2015 Stats: 1-1, 5.11 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 25 K, 9 BB, 24.2 IP (MLB)

Iglesias has spent his first professional season splitting time between Triple-A and Cincinnati and has had mixed results so far. He has certainly dazzled with his different pitches and arm angles, but has battled with some inefficiency. In his eight starts between the Bats and the Reds, he’s lasted longer than five innings just three times. That being said, he has shown an enormous amount of potential, especially in his May 13 outing when he gave up just one run and two hits in eight innings against the Atlanta Braves.

1. Robert Stephenson

2015 Stats: 2-4, 4.47 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 56 K, 30 BB, 46.1 IP

Stephenson has had an up-and-down season, but has been trending upward lately and in a big way. Over his last five starts spanning over 29 innings, the 22-year-old has allowed just seven earned runs while striking out 34 and walking 19. Yes, his walks have continued to be an issue, but once he gets those under control, look out. He displayed what he can do with good control in his last start, as he went seven innings and surrendered only three hits and one walk while striking out 10. If I had to guess, I’d say he’s probably still a year or so away from making his big league debut, but when he does, it’ll be the most hyped Reds debut for a pitcher since Homer Bailey in 2007.

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