3 Reds prospects who have superstar potential and 1 who won't quite get there

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Allan Cerda (86) corals a wild swing during a spring training.
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Allan Cerda (86) corals a wild swing during a spring training. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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The Cincinnati Reds have had a good deal of success in recent years developing talented prospects into major leaguers. Players like Tyler Stephenson, Nick Lodolo, Jonathan India, and Hunter Greene all have the look of potential stars.

But the Reds have also had some swings-and-misses. Robert Stephenson, Alex Blandino, Phillip Ervin, and Alfredo Rodriguez never developed into the type of players we all thought they were going to become.

Developing players takes time. It takes a willingness on the part of the player and the organization. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But if a player has the right mindset and the club offers him the tools to reach his potential, some players have the ability to reach superstar status.

Do the Cincinnati Reds have any potential superstars down on the farm? Let's look at four young prospects who have the chance to blossom into franchise-altering players in the major leagues.

Reds prospect Allan Cerda has superstar potential.

Allan Cerda was added to the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster over the winter and took part in major league spring camp earlier this year. Cerda began his 2022 campaign at High-A Dayton, but if he keeps up the torrid pace with which he began the season, it won't be long before we see him make the leap to Double-A.

Cerda made a huge jump up FanGraph's farm system rankings. Tabbed as the No. 21-ranked prospect in the Reds organization in 2021, Cerda is now seen as the fifth-best prospect in Cincinnati's fam system this season.

With Cerda being added to the 40-man roster, the clock is now ticking. The outfielder was optioned to High-A Dayton prior to the 2022 season, so the club will no doubt want to elevate Cerda to Double-A by mid-summer with eyes on him heading to Triple-A Louisville in 2023.

Cerda has power, and plenty of it. Last season, while splitting time between Low-A Daytona and High-A Dayton, Cerda hit 17 home runs and racked up 55 RBIs. The Reds protected Cerda from the Rule 5 Draft by adding him to the 40-man roster. That should give you some indication for how highly the club values this young prodigy.

In order to reach superstar status, Allan Cerda must improve his pitch recognition and lay off those tempting breaking balls that inevitably end up out of the strike zone. Cutting down on those strikeouts will be the difference between Cerda being a superstar or a rotational outfielder. By the way, I'm banking on the former.

Reds prospect Yerlin Confidan has superstar potential.

If the Cincinnati Reds exercise the right amount of patience, Yerlin Confidan has the potential to be an absolute superstar at the next level. Most outlets will rank Confidan outside the team's Top 20 prospects, but that won't be the case for very long.

Confidan was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $200K during the 2019-20 international signing period and got his first taste of baseball in the United States last season. Confidan played in 50 games at the Arizona Complex League and took home league MVP honors after slashing .315/.359/.573 with 11 home runs.

Confidan has picked up where he left off. The 19-year-old was assigned to the Daytona Tortugas for the start of the 2022 season and currently has a wRC+of 139 with a .440 slugging percentage. Confidan's raw power is off the charts and has the potential to hit 30-plus home runs per season.

MLB Pipeline sees Yerlin Confidan in a similar mold as Top 100 prospect Elly De La Cruz; an under-the-radar prospect who's tools are better than expected. FanGraphs projects Confidan to be able to add 20-30 pounds to his 6-foot-5 frame.

Yerlin Confidan is very, very young. Just 19 this season, the Cincinnati Reds don't need to worry about accelerating Confidan through the farm system. Confidan has swing-and-miss potential and has to develop that hit tool, but the raw power screams superstar potential.

Reds prospect Elly De La Cruz has superstar potential.

Everyone has been singing the praises of shortstop prospect Elly De La Cruz, and I'm going to jump on the bandwagon before it gets too crowded. De La Cruz is only 20 years old and has yet to scratch the surface of what he's capable of.

Last season, in the Arizona Complex League, De La Cruz showcased unbelievable talent. The shortstop hit .400/.455/.780 and posted a wRC+ of 210 in only 55 plate appearances. That got De La Cruz quickly promoted to Low-A Daytona.

The former international signee struggled a little, but that's to be expected. De La Cruz still posted a wRC+ of 106 and a slugging percentage of .477. His power, coupled with his slick fielding and speed offer a tantalizing glimpse into the future.

But, like Allan Cerda and Yerlin Confidan, pitch recognition will be key to Elly De La Cruz becoming a star or flaming out in the minor leagues. Like Jose Barrero before him, all the tools are there for De La Cruz to become elite, but he's got to prove it in the minors.

Seeing as how the Cincinnati Reds do not need to add De La Cruz to the 40-man roster until this coming winter, they'll have plenty of time to be sure the infield prospect has been given enough opportunity to develop. With infielders like the aforementioned Barrero, Ivan Johnson, and Matt McLain being further along in their careers, the Reds can afford to be patient with De La Cruz.

Reds prospect Connor Phillips will fall just short of superstar status.

Collectively, Reds fans rolled their eyes when Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suárez were dealt to the Seattle Mariners for a rotational outfielder, an injured pitcher, a left-handed prospect, and a player to be named later.

That PTBNL turned out to be one of the better pitching prospects in Seattle's farm system. MLB Pipeline ranks Connor Phillips as the 14th-best prospect in their minor league system, while FanGraphs ranks the right-hander at No. 6, slotting him ahead of former first-round picks Matt McLain and Austin Hendrick.

Phillips pursuit of becoming an elite, superstar pitcher will hinge on his command and development of his secondary pitches. Phillips has a pair of breaking balls (curveball and slider) and is working on adding a changeup as well.

Phillips must, however, find a way to get his walks under control. That alone is what will keep him from stardom in the big leagues. While Phillips has been striking out over 30% of the hitters he's facing, he's also been walking opposing batters about 15% of the time in the early going.

If Connor Phillips, who's only 21 years old and has yet to pitch above High-A, learns how to attack the strike zone, he has star potential. Phillips' curveball is a plus-pitch and his slider isn't far behind.

Development in the minors over the next two years is key to Phillips unlocking his greatness, but I believe he'll fall just short of that and instead be a middle-of-the-rotation piece for the Reds in the future.

Next. 4 Reds who should already be on the trade block. dark