Today we are looking at the prospects ranked 1-5 on the 2014 Top 25 Cincinnati Reds prospects list. Later today I will hold a chat/question and answer to try and answer all questions on the list. All listed ages are the official age during the season, which is calculated by their age as of June 30th of the playing year. Subscribers will get to see the best tool for each player.
5. Yorman Rodriguez | Outfielder | 2013 Teams: Bakersfield Blaze & Pensacola Blue Wahoos
Acquired: International Free Agent, 2008 | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 197 lbs. | Age: 20
Rodriguez came off of a very rough 2012 season that saw him demoted and came out much stronger in 2013 and earned a promotion after hitting .251/.319/.470 with Bakersfield. With Pensacola he would hit .267/.329/.385. He finished the year with a career best walk rate of 8.3% and his best career strikeout-to-walk ratio as well. He also set career highs in doubles, triple and home runs as he had 54 extra-base hits.
4. Jesse Winker | Outfielder | 2013 Teams: Dayton Dragons
Acquired: 1st Round, 2012 Draft | Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 210 lbs.
Jesse Winker came out of the gate hitting as a professional in 2012 and didn’t slow down too much in his first full season with a .281/.379/.463 line with the Dayton Dragons where he showed off strong plate discipline with 63 walks and 75 strikeouts. Winker had 18 doubles, 5 triples and 16 home runs. The 16 home runs were the 6th most in the league.
3. Phillip Ervin | Outfielder | 2013 Teams: Billings Mustangs & Dayton Dragons
Acquired: 1st Round, 2013 Draft | Height: 5′ 11″ | Weight: 190 lbs. | Age: 20
Ervin had one of the best debuts among draft picks in recent memory as he hit .331/.425/.564 in 2013 as he split time between the Billings Mustangs and Dayton Dragons. He showed strong plate discipline with 25 walks and 34 strikeouts and he showed off good power with 11 doubles, a triple and 9 home runs in just 172 at bats.
2. Billy Hamilton | Outfielder | 2013 Teams: Louisville Bats & Cincinnati Reds
Acquired: 2nd Round, 2009 Draft | Height: 6′ 0″ | Weight: 160 lbs. | Age: 22
Billy Hamilton struggled in the first half of the season, but hit .280/.327/.355 from July through September as he turned his season around. After a record breaking 155 steals in 2012 at the minor league level, Hamilton only stole 75 this year at the minor league level and added another 13 with the Reds in September. His walk rate dropped from 14.2% in 2012 to just 6.9% in 2013 in the minors. His transition defensively to center field was much quicker than most expected and by the end of April he looked very natural at the position.
1. Robert Stephenson | Right Handed Pitcher | 2013 Teams: Dayton Dragons, Bakersfield Blaze & Pensacola Blue Wahoos
Acquired: 1st Round, 2011 Draft | Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 190 lbs. | Age: 20
After a slow start to the season Stephenson quickly turned things around to post a 2.99 ERA in 114.1 innings between Dayton, Bakersfield and Pensacola. He walked just 7.5% of opposing batters on the season and struck out 29.2% of opposing batters. He held both lefties and righties to an OPS between .624 and .650.
5. Yorman Rodriguez
Best tool: Arm. Rodriguez features a plus arm that plays well at any position that he finds himself at in the outfield.
4. Jesse Winker
Best tool: Hitting. Winker has an outstanding plate approach and can hit the ball hard to all fields while also making plenty of contact that should help him hit for a quality average.
3. Phillip Ervin
Best tool: Hitting. Ervin has a strong plate approach that helps him get the most out of his hit tool where he consistently makes hard contact and has a good rate of contact that should allow him to hit for a quality average.
2. Billy Hamilton
Best tool: Speed. Perhaps the fastest player in his generation on the baseball field, Hamilton has special speed. It isn’t just the pure speed though, he knows how to use it well.
1. Robert Stephenson
Best tool: Fastball. Stephenson sits in the 94-98 MPH range with his fastball on most days and can top out at 100 MPH with his plus-plus fastball.