Yonder Alonso may have spent his last days in the minor leagues and may actually see time in left field, but his future is at first base and that puts him at the forefront of this group. He had his ups and downs in the minors, mostly due to his wrist injury, but he has been nothing but productive while healthy in the minors, posting an OPS over .900 in the time he was fully healthy. In 2011 he also spent some time with the Reds and hit .330/.398/.545. His bat projects to be average at the least and if his power grows some he could be a well above average bat.

Neftali Soto finds himself next in line at the first base bag. He is coming off of season where he cranked 31 home runs to lead the system. He has some plate discipline issues that he must improve upon to reach his potential, but his power plays better than anyone within the system with a possible exception to Juan Francisco.  It would seem that third base and a short lived experiment at catcher are over. He has some guys he will need to climb in Votto and Alonso to reach the Majors, but he also has some time to do so. He will need to be added tot he 40-man roster this December, meaning he won’t have to stick in the Majors until the 2015 season.

Donald Lutz is more raw than most players in the system, as he didn’t even play baseball until he was a teenager.  His raw power is very impressive. He has some plate discipline issues that he will need to continue to improve. He improved his strikeout to walk ratio from the first half (5.00) to  the second half immensely (2.63), but he could still use improvement. As one of the more raw players, he has the chance to just explode onto the scene as his learning curve isn’t as typical as someone his age and his first half to second half stats could be the beginning of that transition. He hit just .257/.314/.436 in the first half before going on an absolute tear in the second half and hitting .340/.396/.543 in the second half.

Below those top three guys are a few players with some intrigue. Robert Maddox has some big time power, slugging .552 with 16 HR’s in 262 at bats for Billings. He too has some plate discipline issues, but the power is legit and if he can tighten up his swing zone he could become a force. In Bakersfield Stephen Hunt began the season like he was playing in high school again, OPSing .953 in the first half, but he really fell off in the second half (.673 OPS). His platoon splits show that he really hits right handers well, but struggles to hit left handers.

Overall Thoughts

While first base is typically a position where guys are expected to hit, I think the Reds top three guys at the position give them some very promising depth. Alonso could step into the role today and fill it well (compared to the league average, not so much in comparison to Joey Votto). Neftali Soto and Donald Lutz both could provide big power numbers at the position though both still need to tighten up their plate discipline. Overall, I would give the position a B+ grade due to strength at the top and good power potential at the lower spectrum with Lutz and Maddox.