Top 30 Cincinnati Prospects: No. 30

Jon Moscot is an example of a pitcher that has been much more effective than his minor league won-loss record would indicate. He spent most of 2014 in the Pensacola rotation and held his ERA to a low-three which earned him a few AAA starts late in the season. He’ll look to return to the Bats for opening day and work his way into consideration for an MLB debut.

There will be significant turnover in the preseason top Reds prospects compared to last year. Five in the previous list no longer qualify: Billy Hamilton, Carlos Contreras, Neftali Soto, and Donald Lutz saw enough action with the Reds to exhaust their rookie status and Ben Lively was dealt away in the Marlin Byrd trade. On top of that, the trade of starting pitchers Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon brought some new prospects into the system in addition to their draft picks last June. Finally, some off-the-radar prospects that didn’t make this list one year ago crashed the party in favor of some would-be holdovers.

Jon Moscot is an example of the latter situation as he debuts at number 30 after pitching almost all of last season at AA Pensacola and finishing with a nifty 3.13 ERA. He made 25 starts, pitching 149 innings for the Blue Wahoos before getting knocked around in a few late-season appearances at Louisville. His K/9 inn ratio dropped a bit against higher level hitters, but so did his BB/nine rate, which resulted in a 2.40 K/BB. Actually he had one nice start in AAA, but got roughed up in his final appearance of the season. He’s shown he’s mastered the AA level so he will probably start out in the International League next year with an opportunity for an MLB debut if he’s pitching well if/when the Reds need to call down to the minors for help.

Moscot is a 2012 fourth-round selection out of Pepperdine University that stands 6’4”/205#. His won/loss record over his minor league career is one of a hard-luck pitcher and he went 7-10 for Pensacola last year. He’s a classic example of how a pitcher’s record often does not represent how effective he’s been on the mound. Cincinnati has recognized this, hence the fast track up their system.

After playing for Pepperdine it’s no surprise that Moscot was already a polished pitcher when he arrived in the Cincinnati organization. On the mound the right-hander uses finesse with a fastball that tops out in the low 90’s. He mixes in a slider and a nice changeup that he can get over the plate resulting in a walk rate around two and one half per nine innings for Pensacola last year. The lack of an overpowering heater puts some limits on his perceived upside going forward, but his size projects him as a workhorse at the MLB level.

The rotation at Louisville should be interesting this season after four top-rated pitching prospect in the Reds system, Moscot, Michael Lorenzen, Daniel Corcino, and Robert Stephenson, completed campaigns at Pensacola in 2014. Moscot led that rotation in innings pitched and tied for the lowest ERA. Actually the highest ernie of the quartet belonged to Stephenson who is the consensus top prospect in the system. That could mean that the AAA rotation this year will be more young prospects instead of older journeymen trying to make it back to the MLB level.

The Cincinnati rotation has been the backbone of the franchise over the past few seasons, but there will be some turnover after trading a couple of them this past offseason. There are other candidates who will get a crack at those spots ahead of Moscot in 2015, but he’s still only 23 years old so there’s plenty of time for him to work his way into a more prominent role in the not-so-distant future. Injuries in the 2014 Reds rotation opened up 45 starts to pitchers that weren’t projected to be in it including 32 that went to former long-reliever Simon who spent the entire season starting. Though Cincinnati hopes there won’t be that much help needed this season there’s still likely going to be significant action again going to pitchers not in the opening day rotation. Moscot is on the outside looking in for that action right now, but that’s something he’ll have opportunity to improve upon as the season progresses at Louisville.

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