The Cincinnati Reds saw so many young prospects, not only arrive in the major leagues last season, but have success. While the hype surrounding young players like Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand was palpable heading into last season, it's fair to say that very few Reds fans assumed that Andrew Abbott would have the success that he did in 2023.
The Reds have done a nice job of stockpiling young talent over the past few years. Blockbuster trades, wise investments in the international market, and a keen eye for talent during the draft have seen Cincinnati earn high marks among scouts and talent evaluators.
After seeing so many prospects breakout, either onto the major league stage or in the minors, Reds fans are eager to see which young players will take that next step during the upcoming season. These three Reds prospects are poised to breakout in 2024.
1. Leonardo Balcazar
Though you may not have heard his name quite yet, by the end of the 2024 season, everyone throughout Reds Country will know who Leonardo Balcazar is. An unfortunate injury sidelined the young shortstop for the majority of last season, but if he's fully recovered, Balcazar will be one of the Reds' top prospects by the end of the summer.
Balcazar got off to a red-hot start with the Daytona Tortugas. Through the first 18 games of the 2023 season, the talented shortstop was hitting .324/.427/.471 with a wRC+ of 147 according to FanGraphs. Furthermore, Balcazar showed tremendous patience at the plate with a walk-rate of almost 16-percent.
But Balcazar's season was cut short due to a torn ACL. With the injury occurring in early-May last season and typical rehab from such an surgery stretching to about a year, it's questionable as to whether or not the 19-year-old will be on the field during spring training or not.
But, if healthy, once Leonardo Balcazar returns to the field, look for the shortstop to pick up where he left off in 2023. Balcazar has the athleticism and arm strength to stick at shortstop, and if the power develops, the young infielder could be one of the most exciting prospects in the Reds' farm system next season.