Cincinnati Reds Top Prospect Report – Tyler Stephenson

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

How do the Cincinnati Reds top prospects look positioned to start 2018?

While the Cincinnati Reds struggled to a 2-9 record to start the 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 players started off with promising starts in their careers.

Let’s take a look at how one of  the Reds’ top 10 prospects (per MLB Pipeline at the start of the season) performed as we head into the minor league season.

Tyler Stephenson (C)

2017 Stats (Single-A):

Dayton: .278/.374/.414, 22 2B, 6 HR, 50 RBI, 44 BB, 58 K, 2 SB


Tyler Stephenson was the consensus top catcher in the 2015 draft. The Cincinnati Reds selected him 11th overall out of high school. He projects to have more power than he has shown to date.

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Stephenson has also shown an inability to stay healthy. He only played in 80 games last season due to a thumb injury. This caused him to spend a second consecutive season in Dayton.

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In Dayton Stephenson had some decent success batting. His OBP bounced back as expected given his reputation for being able to get on base. He also struck out only about as much as he walked. That is conducive to his style of offense.

The Cincinnati Reds are in a place to not rush Tyler Stephenson thanks to Tucker Barnhart.

When the Reds drafted Stephenson the plan was for this to be his debut season.  Devin Mesoraco might not be affordable and the Reds would need a new starting catcher.  Instead Gold Glove Winner Tucker Barnhart is the catcher for the next few seasons.

The Reds also have some other catchers ahead of Stephenson in the system.  Stuart Turner, who the Reds drafted in the Rule 5 Draft last off-season, is in Triple-A right now.  MLB veteran Tony Cruz is also in Louisville.

Stephenson, meanwhile, is now in High-A Daytona Beach.  His goal for 2018 is to catch a full-time schedule and produce offensively.  Cassidy Brown is the back-up and shared the catching position with Stephenson last year in Dayton.

Chadwick Tromp is ahead of Stephenson in Double-A, but is considered a defense first backstop.  Stephenson just has to play like a top ranked catcher to pass him up.  That proof, however, may take all season.

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In the meantime Stephenson just needs to catch four out of five games and stay healthy.  That with a little offense goes along way.  Before long Stephenson will be managing the Reds pitching staff.