Cincinnati Reds prospects – a quick look at three bound for AFL

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Reds are turning over

The Cincinnati Reds are turning the franchise around. They have made the point in recent years to move into rebuilding. Furthermore, the club is relying on the youth movement. Also, trading  veterans in order to improve the farm has been a commonality. With that said, Reds fans have seen several players come and go such as Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman.

What comes with that, in the organization’s mind, is future talent in the making. The Reds have been able to develop talent through the Amateur Draft as another avenue to compete. To show that, the farm system ranks 10th at MiLB’s season end. They have shown that Cincinnati can groom talent, and on a consistent basis.

The management has taken a stronghold on the direction of this team, which is a plus for fans. Clearly, Dick Williams and company can exhale a little bit as they wait for the young guys to get seasoned. But, there is still some work to do. Having a good draft in 2018 will further the system and quite possibly place them in the top 5 farms. Let’s look into some of the seven players that are headed to the Arizona Fall League.

Want your voice heard? Join the Blog Red Machine team!

Write for us!

The light hitting third baseman

The 24 year-old infielder isn’t anything special. He can play the field, but has trouble at the plate. Taylor Sparks has a .221 career batting average. In the 2014 Amateur Draft, the third baseman was picked in the 2nd round. The glove has been there his whole career, it’s just a matter of the bat catching up. There’s not really much to say about him, as he is a one dimensional power threat.

The Reds are most likely sending him to get better at bats. Homers aren’t hard to come by anymore, so Sparks will have to up his on base skill to move to the next level. The big league club could use him as a pinch hitter, but there is really no space for him. He looks to be more suited as a DH, if he is able to join an American League club.

The dominant reliever, but needs time

More from Reds Prospects

Joel Bender has been a lights out reliever this season. However, he struggled in Rookie ball to start the year with a 6.00 ERA. After that,he rebounded and has tossed a 2.70 ERA in 19 games. In that time, he has pitched in only 20.0 innings of work.

The reliever has only given up one homer in that time, and has made the most of his opportunity. His fastball command will be key to his success as he climbs the organizational ladder. In the 20 innings, he walked 6 guys. So, being in control in general is something to watch with this player.

But, my guess is that the Reds need to see more innings out of him before moving him to the next step.

The Cincinnati Reds gritty shortstop prospect

Infielder Blake Trahan is a slick fielding shortstop who is developing a bat. He is the Reds #27 prospect, and is on his way to a promotion to Triple-A next season. He hit .222 with 2 home runs and 27 RBIs on the year. Trahan doesn’t show flashy numbers, but his walk rate rose from 8.3% to 9.9% also.

His glove is advancing quicker than his bat, which is okay. The Reds are sending him to Arizona to get him more at bats and to sharpen the defense. The infielder has escalated his strikeout rate over the years. In 2016, he struck out 12.4% and now the rate is 15.6%. Trahan needs to work on his approach at the plate, and maybe is just a down year for him. But overall, he looks like a nice bench piece of the future for the Reds.

Next: Homer and the rookies - a September odyssey


The Reds are primed for another developmental year. With that said, they are giving some of the youngsters time to sharpen up in the offseason, and gain more experience. They will be able to come back wiser and stronger, and hopefully closer to the postseason. There have been an abundance of rough patches for this franchise, and they have a chance to turn the corner for this upcoming season.