Cincinnati Reds: Three potential breakout prospects in 2021

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 18: A detail of the Franklin batting gloves worn by Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 18: A detail of the Franklin batting gloves worn by Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Reds farm system is below-average. Let’s call it what it is. While the Reds do have four Top 100 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, most players outside the team’s Top 10 haven’t made it out of the low minors, or are recent draft picks.

Of course, the 2020 minor league season being cancelled didn’t let anyone in the system really show what they were capable of. The minor league season has already been announced for 2021, so hopefully we’ll get to see minor league baseball this season. Let’s look at three potential breakout candidates who aren’t on most fan’s radars.

Reds right-handed pitcher Jose Boyle was drafted in 2020.

With Kyle Boddy and the Cincinnati Reds new-age analytics staff, I think Joe Boyle can be as good as just about anyone, and should slot well into a bullpen role. He throws absolute smoke, reaching over 100-MPH consistently with a fastball that he can put by almost anybody at any given time.

During play in the Northwoods League in 2018, Boyle struck out over 17 batters over nine innings and in the Cape Cod League in 2019 he was lights out, with a sub-2.00 ERA while striking out 28 in 14 innings.

Taken in the fifth-round of the 2020 MLB Draft at above-slot value, Boyle has yet to pitch in professional baseball, so that gives you a bit of a wild card factor. His control concerns though, are very real.

Joe Boyle walked a whopping 48 batters in just 36 innings with the Irish, including 13 in just above eight innings pitched this last spring. Plain and simple that is a horrendous stat, and he will really have to clean that up. Boyle is a high-risk/ high-reward prospect, but if the right-hander can harness his control, he could rise extremely quick through the minors.

Reds first base prospect Michel Triana was signed out of Cuba in 2019.

Michael Triana is another player who’s yet to play a game in the minors. Signed out of Cuba for $1.3M back in 2019, Triana was expected to make his stateside debut in 2020 before the MiLB season was cancelled.

The hulking 6-foot-3, 230-pound slugger has plus-plus raw power and it is by far his best tool. Triana also hits for average, and it’s a that tool that could be slightly above-average. The question surrounding Triana is where to put him defensively.

With his size, Michael Triana doesn’t necessarily run great and his defense is not what many would consider elite. Triana’s upside defensively is that the consensus is his arm will play wherever needed. I think first base is ultimately where Triana will end up. Look for Triana to burst onto the scene by the end of this season and possibly break into the upper echelon on the Reds farm system by 2022.

Reds pitcher Case Williams was acquired in trade with the Colorado Rockies.

The Cincinnati Reds acquired Case Williams as part of the Robert Stephenson trade with the Colorado Rockies during the offseason. The more I look into this “Case”, the more I see the young right-hander being a future starter in the Queen City.

Drafted as a local product out of Colorado in the 2020 MLB Draft, Williams flew under-the-radar due to not pitching during his senior year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. That helped the Rockies acquire Williams, as he likely would’ve increased his draft stock with a full season.

There was a lot of bewilderment as to why the Rockies traded Williams for a player in Stephenson who was likely to be non-tendered by the Reds. Jameson Hannah, also included in the deal, ins’t an elite-level prospect either.

At 6-foot-3 and 210-pounds, Case Williams offers a mid-90’s fastball that is his best pitch at the moment. His secondary stuff is still a work in progress, but people who have evaluated him think his curveball has a chance to be a real plus-pitch down the road.

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Case Williams an athletic young man who is still really just starting to get innings on his arm, as Colorado isn’t exactly known to have a bevy of high school baseball talent. Williams turns just 19-years old in February, so look for him to spend most of his time at the Reds winter complex in Arizona this year. There’s a solid chance Williams impresses there and shoots up the Reds prospect lists heading into 2022.