Cincinnati Reds Top Prospect Report – Jacob Heatherly

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

How did the Cincinnati Reds top prospects do during the 2017 season?

While the Cincinnati Reds struggled to a record of 68-94  this season, there is plenty of reason for hope in the future.  The team is loaded with talented prospects across all of their minor league teams and many of those plays began with promising starts in their careers.

Let’s take a look at how one of the Reds’ top thirty prospects (per MLB Pipeline at the end of the minor league regular season) performed as we head into the off-season.

Jacob Heatherly (LHP)

2017 Stats (Rookie) Billings: 0-1, 12.00 ERA, 2.33 WHIP, 9 IP, 5 K, 4 BB

The Reds drafted Heatherly out of high school in Cullman, AL.  He earned  a $1-million signing bonus, or $300,000 above his slot and one more in-line with a second round pick.  He threw well enough in the Gulf Coast League that the Reds promoted him into the Rookie level games at Billings.  He appears close to second pick overall Hunter Greene in preparation.

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He’s a left-handed pitcher that has three plus pitches.  In his GCL debut he posted a 2.93 ERA in 30 2/3 innings.  This instructional league is designed to allow the coaches to get to know the players.  This includes the rudimentary adjustments that the organization wants to see from when  they drafted the prospect.

The Cincinnati Reds desperately wanted to add Jacob Heatherly to their organization.

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Heatherly committed early to the University of Alabama as a high school pitcher.  The plan was for him to pitcher in Tuscaloosa and not sign with an MLB team.  Instead, the Reds made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse.

Heatherly has shown the ability to get his fastball as high as 95 mph.  His curveball and slider are also viewed as plus pitches.  He has even shown a change-up, but it may not stay in his arsenal.

At 6’2″ and 208 pounds has a large frame for someone just out of high school.

That frame pushes him into the starting pitching conversation solidly.  There is little concern about his body being unable to take the workload.

Heatherly projected as a first round pick in 2019 after a couple of college seasons.  The Reds feel that they got a first round talent in the third round.  Plus they can mold him at an earlier age.  The added benefit is that he is a solid four years away from pushing for a big league spot, so he won’t add to the logjam.

Next: Are the Reds getting ready to move?

The Reds keep moving in the right direction rather than the wrong direction.  Heatherly is another step in that direction during this long journey. However, every draft keeps moving them closer to the playoffs.