5 Reds prospects who should participate in the Arizona Fall League

The Arizona Fall League has been a proving ground for several Reds prospects over the past few years.

Daytona Tortugas' Jay Allen
3 of 5

Over the past few years, several players who are currently on the Cincinnati Reds active roster have participated in the Arizona Fall League. Players like Matt McLain, Tyler Stephenson, and Jonathan India have all played in the AFL.

The AFL has been a proving ground of sorts for some the best young players in the game. Being selected to be part of the AFL roster could help catapult a few of the Reds prospects into the spotlight.

This season, prospects from the Milwaukee Brewers, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays will join some of the Reds best young talent as they join forces to form the Surprise Saguaros. Who are five Reds prospects that could find their way to Arizona later this year?

1. Reds prospect Andrew Moore should participate in the Arizona Fall League.

Andrew Moore got a late start to the 2023 season, so a trip to the Arizona Fall League could be just what the doctor ordered. Moore was placed on the 60-day IL prior to the season with an unspecified injury.

Moore began his rehab in the Arizona Complex League before making his way to High-A Dayton. Moore is a strike thrower, but could certainly use some tutelage in the AFL in order to help with both his command and control.

Moore is the forgotten player in the Luis Castillo deal from last season. Most of the focus was on the two shortstops (Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo), but the Cincinnati Reds acquired an additional two pitchers as well. While Levi Stoudt has made his major league debut, Moore is still in the minor leagues.

Andrew Moore will be an interesting player to watch over the next few months. At 24 years old, there's still plenty of time for the Reds to develop Moore into a solid reliever. After seeing how many relief pitchers Cincinnati churned through this season, you can never have enough arms in the farm system.

2. Reds prospect Blake Dunn should participate in the Arizona Fall League.

No player in the Cincinnati Reds farm system may have bolstered their stock more than Blake Dunn did in 2023. After injuries slowed the Western Michigan product earlier in his minor league career, Dunn became one of the Reds breakout stars this season.

It's not everyday that a late-round draft pick like Dunn emerges onto the big stage. Currently, MLB Pipeline has rated Dunn among the top 25 prospects in the Cincinnati farm system.

Dunn was a the Reds 15th-round draft choice in the 2021 MLB Draft, but only played in 33 games outside of the Arizona Complex League in 2022. Dunn handled his business in High-A Dayton earlier this season and was given a bump in competition.

Since arriving in Chattanooga, Dunn has continued to show good pitch recognition and plenty of power. After hitting just five total home run before this season, Dunn has run off over 15 round trippers and looks to be a rising star in the Reds farm system.

Blake Dunn could be a contributor on next year's Reds team, and just like the club did with Matt McLain in 2022, don't be shocked if Cincinnati assigns the soon-to-be 25-year-old outfielder to the Arizona Fall League later this year.

3. Reds prospect Austin Hendrick should participate in the Arizona Fall League.

If there's a player who could use a tune up, it's Austin Hendrick. The raw tools and talent are there, but the former first-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds has yet to put it all together. There might not be another prospect in the entire Reds farm system with more power than Hendrick.

The problem, the outfield prospect has a ton of swing-and-miss in his swing. At every stop throughout his professional career, Hendrick has maintained a strikeout-rate well above 32-percent. And yet, he's been unable to even balance that out with a respectable walk-rate.

No one is going to doubt the 22-year-old's power. This is the second consecutive season in which Hendrick has hit double-digit home runs. But the 12th-overall selection in the 2020 MLB Draft is still at High-A.

In Austin Hendrick's defense, he missed out on an entire year of development due to the cancellation of his high school season in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. In his four years since being drafted, Hendrick has played in fewer than 300 games.

The Cincinnati Reds saw Rece Hinds develop into the player they were hoping to see after selecting him in the second round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Hinds was sent to the Arizona Fall League last year, so perhaps Hendrick could make similar steps toward achieving his major league dream.

4. Reds prospect Matheu Nelson should participate in the Arizona Fall League.

If there's one area of the Cincinnati Reds farm system that needs a major overhaul in terms of development, it's at the catcher position. The Reds seem to be churning out pitchers nearly every month, and even the hitting has taken a major step forward, but since Tyler Stephenson debuted in 2020, fans have not seen the Reds develop a young catching prospect.

The Reds solved the need for catching this past offseason with the signings of both Luke Maile and Curt Casali. Maile should be one of the first players the Reds re-sign to a free agent contract during the offseason, but the club still needs to develop from within.

Another top prospect at one point in time was Matheu Nelson. The Florida State product, unfortunately, has been extremely underwhelming since joining the Reds organization in 2021.

Nelson has shown some pop this season. The backstop has double-digit dingers on the year while playing at High-A Dayton. After gunning 33.3-percent of would-be base stealers in 2022, that number has dropped to 25.4-percent this season.

There's definitely some swing-and-miss to Matheu Nelson's game, but he's got a cannon for an arm. Tyler Stephenson made a trip to Arizona a few years ago and really honed his skills. Perhaps the Reds will look for Nelson to do the same this year.

5. Reds prospect Jay Allen should participate in the Arizona Fall League.

There's a lot of pressure that comes with being a first-round pick, and that's no different for Jay Allen. Taken with the 30th-overall selection in 2021, Allen has had his career slowed by injuries.

A left thumb UCL sprain stopped Allen in his tracks earlier this season, but the former three-sport athlete got back to High-A Dayton in July. Unfortunately, Allen suffered another setback and was recently placed on thr seven-day IL.

If Allen is healthy enough to participate in the Arizona Fall League, it could be a great confidence booster for a player who could be one of the best players in the Cincinnati Reds farm system.

Allen is arguably the best athlete in the Reds pipeline. Before landing on the IL, Allen had 16 stolen bases in 31 games and has swiped two bags during two different games on the season. His speed allows Allen to cover a lot of ground in the outfield, and at just 20 years old, the sky's the limit.

Jay Allen needs more playing time, and the AFL could afford him that. Provided he's fully healthy, Allen would a tremendous addition to the Surprise Saguaros. Unlike a lot of other players mentioned, Allen does not need to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft until after the 2025 season.

Top 5 SS in Reds history. Ranking the Top 5 hitting shortstops in Reds history. dark. Next