Cincinnati Reds: 3 under-the-radar prospects who’ll turn heads in 2021

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: A pair of Franklin batting gloves and a Cincinnati Reds batting helmet before the start of a game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 7, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: A pair of Franklin batting gloves and a Cincinnati Reds batting helmet before the start of a game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 7, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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A detail shot of a Rawlings glove worn by Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds.
ST. LOUIS, MO – APRIL 8: A detail shot of a Rawlings glove worn by Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium on April 8, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Sure, we’ve all heard of Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and José García. Even players like Michael Siani, Rece Hinds, and Tony Santillan are relatively well-known prospects within the Cincinnati Reds system. But, being a top-rated prospect isn’t always a ticket to stardom, and being an under-the-radar prospect isn’t an automatic death sentence to a career in the minor leagues.

The Reds have done well of late in terms of drafting top talent. Recently, we’ve seen Nick Senzel and Jonathan India turn into everyday regulars in the Cincinnati lineup. The Reds traded away former prospects like Taylor Trammell and Shed Long, and those young players have made their major league debuts in recent years.

So while it’s easy to turn a first-round pick like Jesse Winker into a budding star, it’s not as easy to do that with a seventh-round pick like Tyler Mahle. Who are some young prospects, much like Mahle, that have flown under the radar, but will begin to turn heads in 2021?

1. Bren Spillane, Reds 2018 third-round pick

The coronavirus pandemic, as it did to many young prospects, really took a toll on Bren Spillane’s development. Spillane was taken with the 82nd overall selection in the 2018 MLB and hadn’t played above A-Ball to this point. Spillane will begin the 2021 season where he left off; with the Dayton Dragons.

Only this time around, the Dragons, who were previously listed as Cincinnati’s Low-A affiliate, have been designated as the Reds’ Advanced-A affiliate. Spillane is listed as an outfielder, but the 24-year-old has the capacity to play first base as well.

Spillane is a power-hitter, who’s right-handed bat is sure to find it’s way into the Dragons’ lineup on a consistent basis. He’ll have some competition, however, as top outfield prospect Michael Siani will also begin the season in Advanced-A Dayton. Jacob Hurtibise is sure to get some time as well, and so will Mariel Bautista and Quin Cotton.

Look for the athletic Spillane to get some reps in the outfield, but he could find regular playing time at first base as well. Cincinnati fans are always looking to find a replacement for Joey Votto when the former MVP retires. While Spillane doesn’t profile as an everyday starter, he good power from the right side. If he can cut down on the strikeouts, look for Spillane to have a solid campaign.