Top Cincinnati Prospect Updates

As the season winds down to an end it's time to take a look at the top prospect list from before the start of this season. One has graduated and is now a candidate for NL Rookie of the Year. There's also been another draft class added to the system with new players to vie for spots on the list next year.

It’s now the roster expansion part of the season which means that the season has ended for most minor leaguers. This might be an appropriate time to review the top prospects presented on this site at the beginning of the season to monitor progress. Below is a quick summary to identify upward and downward moves to expect on next year’s list:

1. Robert Stephenson, AA: 7-10/4.74. There’s nowhere left to go when one reaches the top and Stephenson’s main competition this year, Billy Hamilton, has exhausted his rookie eligibility. Meanwhile he’s finally stubbed his toe against AA hitters after rocketing up through the lower levels of the system. However, he’s still 21 years old and significantly younger than his competition. His ERA around five might start him out at Pensacola again next year, but he’s already put in a full season in the Southern League and Cincinnati will look to move him to AAA sometime during the season. No Change.

2. Billy Hamilton, Cin: .256 AVG/.298 OB/.364 SLG/6 HR/56 SB. Hamilton has moved up and out of the list after sticking all season as the Reds regular centerfielder. In addition to that he’ll likely bring home NL Rookie of the Year Honors. Out.

3. Phil Ervin, low-A: .237 AVG/.305 OB/.376 SLG/7 HR. After a blistering start to his professional career in 2013 he’s struggled during a full season at Dayton this year. He’s gotten better over the course of the season and should be ready to make the jump to high-A sometime around midseason next season. No Change.

4. Jesse Winker, high-A: 317 AVG/ .426 OB/.580 SLG/ 13 HR: AA: .208 AVG/.326 OB/.351 SLG/2 HR. After pounding older pitchers during his first two professional seasons Winker continued with a strong start at Bakersfield before stubbing his toe against AA competition and going on the DL with an ankle injury. Like Stephenson he’s very young for the level at 20. He was probably moved up too fast, but he appeared to have mastered both levels. Look for a big reversal next year when he makes a return to Pensacola. No Change.

5. David Holmberg, AAA: 2-6/4.66; Cin: 1-1/6.00. The trade return for Ryan Hannigan looked like he might have turned around after a rough start with four nice outings in June, but his ERA went back up over the remainder of the season. He has turned in two nice outings with the Reds after two forgettable starts. Stock Down.

6. Nick Travieso, low A: 14-5/3.03. The 2012 first-rounder returned to Dayton and improved consistency. He won’t have to pitch in the hitter-friendly California League next year becasuse Cincinnati has moved their high-A affiliate to Daytona. Stock Up.

7. Carlos Contreras, AA: 2-1/2.70; Reds: 0-1/6.52. After making the 40=man roster before this season he made the jump all the way from AA to a major league debut where he made 17 appearances and counting. He even started off nicely at the highest level before getting roughed up in a few August appearances. No Change.

8. Tucker Barnhart, AAA: 246 AVG/.319 OB/.316 SLG/1 HR; Reds: .182 AVG/.250 OB/.250 SLG/1 HR. Injury to Devin Mesoraco left a spot for Barnhart on the opening day roster and between trips to the Reds he continued his steady, unspectacular play at the AAA level. He’s maintained his reputation of good plate discipline with strong defensive skills offsetting lack of power. No Change.

9. Daniel Corcino, AA: 10-11/4.13; AAA: 0-1/7.30; Reds: 0-1/4.40. After a horrible year at AAA in 2013 Corcino was demoted back to Pensacola where he failed to match his success of two years prior. He turned 24 this week and inability to cut down walks against higher level hitters will likely detour his career path toward the bullpen. Stock Down

10. Ben Lively, high A 10-1/2.28; AA: 3-6/3.88. After putting up video game-like stats in 2013 Lively was skipped over low-A after only one game with Dayton and hit the Cali League with a full head of steam, earning a midseason promotion. The going hasn’t been as easy against AA hitters, but he’s still had his moments while keeping his ernie under four. Stock Up.

11. Michael Lorenzen, AA: 4-6/3.13. After pitching at four levels after Cincinnati drafted Lorenzen last year the Reds moved him into the rotation where he’s been effective in a full season at Pensacola. It’s even more impressive considering much of his time collegiately was spent as an outfielder while closing.

12. Ryan Wright, high-A: .311 AVG/.345 OB/.498 SLG/8 HR; AA: .205 AVG/.248 OB/ .288 SLG/ 2 HR. It was a bit of a surprise to see Wright start out at Bakersfield again where an average over .300 earned a midseason promotion. He then showed that said promotion was not a late one by hitting .206 over the second half of the season. Stock Down.

13. Yorman Rodriguez, AA: .262 AVG/.331 OB/ .393 SLG/ 9 H; Cin .333 AVG/.333 OB/.389 SLG. In his sixth minor league season the 21 year-old duplicated his stats at Pensacola. He’s still very young for the level and the Reds have not been bashful about advancing him through the season when he has shown any hint of readiness, hence his expansion call-up to the Reds without any AAA experience. No Change.

14. Chad Rogers, AAA: 2-0/4.08. After the overachieving Rogers cruised up the system he was moved to the bullpen in 2014. He’s struggled at times against AAA hitters and it appears he’ll remain there. Stock Down

15. Seth Mejias-Brean, high-A: .300 AVG/.396 SLG/.475 SLG/ 11 HR; AA: .235 AVG/.333 OB/.323 SLG/3 HR. Mejias-Brean continued his rapid climb up the ladder and made it to AA in his third professional season. After a slow start at the higher level his bat improved in August and he is yet another Reds prospect that appears primed for a strong return stint at Pensacola next year. Stock Up.

16. Neftali Soto, Reds: .100 AVG/.097 OB/.133 SLG/0 HR; AAA: .302 AVG/.350 OB/.406 SLG/2 HR. Soto made it back to the MLB level this season and made a strong case he didn’t belong. It was a different story when he was at Louisville where he showed readiness for an MLB job as a utility corner infielder despite the forgettable stats in limited action there earlier. No Change.

17. Juan Silva, high-A: 310 AVG/.421 OB/.437 SLG/4 HR. Silva saw a significant jump in his numbers during his return tour at Bakersfield this season. He is 23 years old though and needs to carry on at Pensacola next season. No Change. 18. Drew Cisco, high A: 5-6/6.78. The Cali League is infamous for inflating ERA’s but Cisco’was sky high. He’s a finesse pitcher so it’s more challenging for him to be effective in high-altitude venues, but now at the age of 23 he’s done nothing to make Cincinnati feel good about promoting him. Stock Down.

19. Juan Duran, AA: .243 AVG/.297 OB/.464 SLG/17 HR. The 22 year-old Duran made it onto the 40-man roster this season, but in his third season at Bakersfield he still showed no improvement offensively. The Reds have a hefty signing bonus invested in this prospect and he continues to project good power, but he’s showing signs that he’s reached his ceiling. No Change.

20. Kyle Waldrop, high-A: .359 AVG/.409 OB/.516 SLG/6 HR; AA: .315 AVG/.359 OB/ .517 SLG/8 HR. Before the season Waldrop was a candidate to see power numbers jump in the California League and he did not disappoint. The difference between him and his fellow teammates promoted with him to AA midseason was that his bat continued to be productive. Stock Up.

21. Donald Lutz, AA: .360 AVG/.412 OB/.685 SLG/7 HR; AAA: .236 AVG/ .305 OB/ .395 SLG/6 HR; Cin .180 AVG/.226 OB/ .260 SLG. Lutz started the season torching Southern League pitching in AA before he was called up to the Reds again. He’s now taking his lumps against higher level pitching and his age (25) can partially be excused by his relative inexperience after not starting the sport until a teenager in Germany. No Change.

22. Amir Garrett, low-A: 7-8/ 3.64. Garrett’s second season at Dayton was much more successful as he helped anchor the Dragon rotation. He’s also still a raw prospect after splitting his time playing college basketball after not playing baseball in high school. He’ll be ready to take his heat to high-A in 2015. Stock Up.

23. Ryan LaMarre, AAA: .200 AVG/.310 OB/.300 SLG/1 HR. After making the 40-man roster before the season shuffling among it cost LaMarre his spot before he re-signed with the Reds as a free agent. Injury limited his action this season to seventeen International League games and he’s getting of an age where he should be showing his skills at the MLB level. Stock down. 24. Sean Buckley, low-A: .185 AVG/.240 OB/.304 SLG/2 HR; high-A: .312 AVG/.362 OB/.511 SLG/11 HR. Buckley recently turned 25 and he’s old for single-A. However after losing nearly all his 2013 season to injury he got started back at Dayton again. He jumped to Bakersfield despite unimpressive stats and made good on the promotion after arriving to the hitter-friendly Cali League. Stock Up.

25. Sal Romano, low-A: 8-11/4.12. 20 year-old Romano repeated low-A and showed improvement over last season. He made a nice cut to his walk rate while increasing his strikeout frequency and gave reason to continue thinking he has one of the higher upsides of all the arms in the system. Stock Up.

26. Jeremy Kival, Rookie: 1-4/5.31. After a nice debut in the Arizona League last year Kivel moved up to Billings where he got roughed up while splitting time between the rotation and the pen. He’ll soon turn 21, but he’s a bit behind schedule after recovering from a torn ACL suffered before his 10th round selection in 2012. He might not be ready for a full season yet, but his mid-90’s fastball will keep him on the prospect radar. No Change.

27. Steve Selsky, AA: .301 AVG/ .410 OB/ .367 SLG/ 1 HR; AAA: .240 AVG/ .359 OB/ .339 SLG/ 1 HR. After getting a fair shot at the AA level this season Selsky made good and earned a promotion to Louisville. Upon arrival he showed he could find the way to first base. Look for his power numbers to jump next season. Stock Up.

28. Jacob Constante, Rookie: 0-5/4.09. In his second professional season things did not go as well stateside in the Arizona League as they did when he enjoyed a sub-two ernie in the DSL. The southpaw will turn 21 before opening day next year and will be ready for the Pioneer League. No Change.

29. Zach Vincej, high-A: .271 AVG/ .342 OB/ .336 SLG/ 1HR. The late-round selection from the 2012 draft has hit well at every level thus far and an absence of top middle infield prospects above him could make a way to Pensacola to start the season. The next challenge for him is to stay productive when he moves closer to sea level. No change.

30. Cory Thompson. Rookie: .245 AVG/ .297 OB/ .375 SLG/ 6 HR. The question on Thompson coming into this season was whether he would return to form like he started out in the AZL last year or continue like he finished. Unfortunately his overall season was more like the latter. He’ll turn 20 later this month and should be ready for a full season in 2015. However he’ll have to sustain success at the plate longer into the season to remain on this list. Stock down.

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