Cincinnati Reds 2015 All-Minor League Team: Position Players


It’s been a rough year for the Cincinnati Reds, but it was a different story for their farm system. Many of the club’s top prospects had big seasons and three of their affiliates made the playoffs — Double-A Pensacola, High-A Daytona and the rookie league Billings Mustangs. Pensacola and Billings were eliminated in the first round, but Daytona made their way to the Florida State League championship before falling in four games.

Now that the minor league season has wrapped up, it’s time to select the Reds’ all-minor league team, where we’ll name the best 2015 performer at each position. Here’s part one, where we reveal the position players of the team:

Catcher: Ramon Cabrera (Triple-A Louisville)

A career minor leaguer, Cabrera was easily the best catcher among the Reds minor league affiliates. After signing with the club in the offseason, Cabrera spent most of the year as Louisville’s everyday catcher and hit .290/.343/.353 with 14 doubles, two homers and 35 runs batted in. He’s now with the big league club after earning a September call-up, recently hitting his first major league home run and picking up a four-hit game.

Honorable Mention: Tyler Stephenson (Billings)

First Base: Marquez Smith (Double-A Pensacola)

Smith didn’t quite replicate his 2014 season in which he hit .311/.424/.601 with 30 home runs, but in a weak field of first basemen, he was the best of the bunch. The 30-year-old hit .267/.369/.402 with 23 doubles, four triples, eight homers and 46 runs batted in while providing a veteran presence to the Blue Wahoos during their playoff run.

Honorable Mentions: None

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Second Base: Brantley Bell (Rookie Billings)

This year’s 11th-round pick by the Reds had a nice showing in his first dose of professional baseball. The LSU product played in 62 games with Billings, hitting .275/.353/.362 with 16 doubles, two triples, 34 runs batted in and 14 steals. Bell should start next season in Dayton.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Wright (Pensacola)

Shortstop: Alex Blandino (High-A Daytona, Double-A Pensacola)

Blandino’s quick ascent through the Reds’ system continued in 2015, as his big year in Daytona earned him a promotion to Pensacola in mid-August. Overall, he hit .278/.364/.420 with 37 extra-base hits (10 home runs) and showed a good ability to get on base with a 10.2 BB%. The Reds’ No. 7 prospect (per struggled a bit after his promotion, but overall the Reds have to be thrilled with his progress.

Honorable Mention: Blake Trahan (Billings)

Third Base: Seth Mejias-Brean (Double-A Pensacola)

It wasn’t a great year for the third basemen, but Mejias-Brean’s strong ability to get on base puts him on top. His overall numbers were down in his first full season in Double-A, but he 24-year-old still hit a respectable .247/.352/.360 and drew the second-most walks of all Blue Wahoos players with 63. He also had 29 extra-base hits and 53 runs batted in.

Honorable Mentions: Irving Falu (Louisville), Taylor Sparks (Daytona)

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Left Field: Jesse Winker (Double-A Pensacola)

The Reds’ No. 1 prospect was by far the best offensive player in the minor leagues this season, recently being named the organization’s Position Player Prospect of the Year. Winker got on base at a high rate all season, but the average and power were a little slow to follow. When he turned things around, he did so in a big way. Winker batted .316/.426/.516 with 15 doubles and 10 home runs in the second half of the season, hitting over .350 in the final month. Expect to see him start next year in Triple-A Louisville and quite possibly make his major league debut by year’s end.

Honorable Mention: Sebastian Elizalde (Daytona)

Center Field: Phil Ervin (High-A Daytona, Double-A Pensacola)

Ervin cooled off considerably after a hot start to the season, but still gave the Reds plenty of reasons to have high hopes for his future. The former first-rounder hit .241/.346/.379 with 21 doubles, 14 homers, 71 runs batted in and 34 steals between High-A and Double-A, showing off great plate discipline and speed. His average is obviously not where you’d like it to be, but if he can hit the ball more consistently moving forward, he’ll be a truly dangerous player.

Honorable Mention: Yorman Rodriguez (Louisville), Brian O’Grady (Dayton, Daytona)

Right Field: Steve Selsky (Triple-A Louisville)

Before a knee injury derailed his season in June, Selsky was having one of his best seasons as a professional, hitting .317/.386/.428 in 51 games. With the roster turnover the Reds had during the year, there was a good chance that Selsky would’ve been called up to make his major league debut at some point during the season had he not gotten hurt.

Honorable Mention: Kyle Waldrop (Pensacola, Louisville)

Next: Cincinnati Reds to send seven prospects to AFL