Top 30 Cincinnati Prospects: No. 23

Ryan LaMarre has been a high-profile prospect in the Cincinnati system since they drafted him in the second round in 2010. Since then he moved up the system consistently until stalling a bit at AA Pensacola last year. He's on the Reds 40-man roster now and looking to get back on track and possibly debuting at the MLB level.

Coming into the 2013 season there was good reason to expect a big year out of Ryan LaMarre. The 2010 second rounder was coming back for a repeat tour at Pensacola after he having a good season there in 09 while struggling through a foot injury. Theory was a healthy LaMarre a year older with a season of AA experience already under his belt should be able to put up big numbers, get a promotion, and possibly even earn consideration for a debut with the Reds. Instead his productivity declined compared to the previous season.

LaMarre did improve over the year and after hitting .300 over August he made it to Louisville for a cup of coffee. He also made the 40-man roster after the season ended. The former University of Michigan Wolverine is now 25 years old and after over 1,000 AA at-bats he'll probably begin his season with the Bats come opening day.

It wasn't long ago when LaMarre was considered to potentially be the Reds' leadoff man of the future. He's shown good plate discipline over his professional career and has walked enough to give his on-base percentage a differential of more than .080' over his batting average while showing good speed on the base-paths. He steps into the box with a real leadoff hitter's mentality and sacrifices power to spray the ball to all fields in order to set the table for the hitters behind him.

Defensively he's been solid in center field where he's had nearly all his action while running down almost 2.5 putouts per game. He's made only eighteen errors in 440 minor league games and kept his fielding percentage at .984. He also has shown plenty of arm strength for the position while gunning down 68 runners on the base paths.

In a perfect world for the Reds LaMarre would have forced a jump to Louisville last season in time for him to have gotten significant AAA experience and provided Billy Hamilton with more competition for their leadoff job this season. Now the job is Hamilton's to lose, but it would be an easy move to call up LaMarre should he earn a promotion. His project status has slipped a bit and now he may project more as a utility outfielder than a regular at the MLB level. He's still a good athlete with polished skills, so he could possibly get a debut in 2014 as an expansion call-up if not sooner.


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