Cincinnati Reds Top Prospects’ Timelines to Make the Majors

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

When MLB Pipeline released their Top 100 Prospect list on January 27, 2018, the Cincinnati Reds were well represented.

This list included five Cincinnati Reds. Tyler Mahle (#84) and Jesse Winker (#82) debuted in 2017, but did not register the amount of game time in order to be no longer considered prospects. Taylor Trammell (#43) and Nick Senzel (#7) were both out of the 2016 draft and have yet to make it to the show.  The Reds drafted Hunter Greene (#21) last June and he made his pro debut in Billings later in the season.

That is where these prospects finished 2017. The question is, where will they finish in 2018? And if not with the Reds, when will we see them in Cincinnati?

Tyler Mahle (#84)

Mahle had a dominant start during his major league debut, striking out five batters in five innings. He gave up three runs but, fans got a taste of what one of the top prospects would be able to do for years to come. He finished the season 1-2 with a 2.70 ERA through 20 innings and proved himself to be one of the best pitchers in the month of September. If the rotation is once again filled with injuries like 2016 and 17, Mahle will likely be a candidate to make the starting rotation come March 29th.

Jesse Winker (#82)

Winker played about as much baseball as one can play without exceeding rookie status.  To maintain rookie status, he would need less than 130 at bats and 45 days on the 25-man roster. He recorded 121 ABs and 42 days. In those 121 ABs, he proved that he could take on a full-time position with the Reds in 2018.

He batted .298 with a .904 OPS, collecting 7 hits and 15 RBI in his extended pre-rookie stint. Most people will agree that he cannot rot on the bench in 2018. However, Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton, and Scott Schebler seem locked into their outfield positions. A four man outfield rotation appears likely at the moment, which would result in Winker getting less playing time than he could otherwise.

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Nick Senzel (#7)

Senzel will be trying out different positions as a non-roster Spring Training invitee. Although he is a natural third baseman, Dick Williams has expressed interest in trying him at different positions, including shortstop, second base, and left field.

He produced a commanding .340 average in double-A Pensacola in 2017 and the 22-year-old could easily start the season in Louisville, possibly trying out a new position.

Depending on what the front office is thinking, it is probable that Senzel could make the Reds even before the September roster expansion, if he is able to keep his pace from 2017.

Taylor Trammell (#43)

Although the Cincinnati Reds drafted Trammell and Senzel as part of the same draft, the team drafted Trammell out of high school and he is therefore going through the minors at a slower pace. In 2017, he batted .281 with 41 stolen bases over 129 games in Dayton.

Like most his age, the 20-year-old outfielder will spend the next few seasons improving his talents.  He also needs to find his fit in the organization. That day may soon come in 2020 when Billy Hamilton is eligible for free agency. The Reds will lose a center fielder, lead-off hitter, and clubhouse personality. Trammell would be a bright young fit to step into his shoes.

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Hunter Greene (#21)

Greene is likely the prospect farthest away from seeing any major league action. The Cincinnati Reds drafted the 18-year-old RHP in 2017 and  he made his pro debut for Billings in August. Although he only pitched in three games, he has a fastball reaching triple digits and control beyond his years.

Like with all high school pitchers, however, no one knows how long his arm will last. If he is able to stay healthy and improve, he may make it to the majors before anyone initially thought. Many people are estimating that he’ll debut in 2021 at the earliest. But is 2020 too early? Or even 2019?

A 19-year-old pitcher in the majors would be a huge risk.  But if the pitching doesn’t improve, what’s stopping them from making Greene a 2019 September call up?

With a debut at that age, he would be joining pitchers Babe Ruth, Nolan Ryan and Felix Hernandez.  All of them debuted before they turned 20. That’s some pretty good company.