To view the entire Top 25 list you can click here (once completed)

The second day brings us the next five guys on the Top 25 prospects list for the Cincinnati Reds. If you missed the first five from yesterday you can see them at the link above for the entire list.

Subscribers will get to see the top tool for each player as well as a new thing for this season where I will list the upside role for the player. All ages are listed as of June 30 of this past season and is the official “age” of a player during the season. Each day this week will have five players listed to complete the Top 25 and on Friday afternoon there will be a free chat (or All Questions Answered) post to address any remaining questions everyone has about the rankings or players.

*To be eligible for the list a player must have 2015 Rookie of the Year eligibility (Fewer than 130 at bats in the big leagues, fewer than 50 innings pitches or more than 45 days on the active MLB roster that doesn’t include September)*

salromanoheadshot6. Sal Romano | RHP

2014 Teams: Dayton Dragons | Acquired: 23rd round, 2011 draft | Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 250 | Age: 20

In many ways the 2014 season was a breakout year for the big right hander. Romano threw 148.2 innings with a 4.12 ERA, walked just 42 batters and struck out 128. He posted a career low walk rate while posting a career high strikeout rate and he continued to show off big groundball rates in the 2014 season.

W L IP H HR BB K ERA WHIP
8 11 148.2 169 9 42 128 4.12 1.42

7. Amir Garrett | LHP

2014 Teams: Dayton Dragons | Acquired: 22nd round, 2011 draft | Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 210 | Age: 22

When the season began in April for Garrett there was still a basketball scholarship with his name on it at Cal State Northridge where he was supposed to begin playing basketball this fall. His strides on the mound helped him decide to give up on basketball and move full time as a baseball player and it worked out great as he posted a 3.65 ERA in 133.1 innings with 51 walks and 127 strikeouts. Arguably the most improved player in the entire system, the left hander improved in all aspects of the game during the season as he just got better with each passing start.

W L IP H HR BB K ERA WHIP
7 8 133.1 115 11 51 127 3.65 1.25

8. Nick Howard | RHP

2014 Teams: Dayton Dragons | Acquired: 1st round, 2014 draft | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 215 | Age: 21

The Reds drafted Howard in the June draft with their first pick. Howard worked as the closer for Virginia this season in college and briefly worked out of the bullpen for the Dayton Dragons this season before being moved into the rotation where the Reds would like to work with him as a starter instead of a reliever. He would make five starts and six relief appearances in Dayton to complete his season but is currently in the Arizona Fall League playing against other top prospects from around baseball.

W L IP H HR BB K ERA WHIP
2 1 33.2 28 4 11 23 3.74 1.16

raiselheadshot9. Raisel Iglesias | RHP

2014 Teams: Did not play | Acquired: Free Agent, 2014 | Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 185 | Age: 24

After defecting from Cuba the right handed pitcher chose to sign a 7-year, $27M deal with the Cincinnati Reds over the summer. It took more than a month to get his paperwork cleared and by the time it was done the year was winding down. After a long time off Iglesias went to instructional league to get things going again and then appeared in two Arizona Fall League games and will head to Puerto Rico to pitch beginning later this week. Mostly a reliever in Cuba the Reds have stated that much like Nick Howard, they plan to use him as a starting pitcher. He will be 25 next season, so look for him in Triple-A if they hold true to that, otherwise expect him in the Reds bullpen.

Team W L IP H HR BB K ERA WHIP
AFL 0 0 2.0 0 0 1 1 0.00 0.50

10. Ben Lively | RHP

2014 Teams: Bakersfield Blaze, Pensacola Blue Wahoos | Acquired: 4th round, 2013 draft | Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 190 | Age: 22

After demoralizing the Pioneer League in 2013 after being drafted and getting one start in Dayton to end the year, Lively went out to Bakersfield and picked up where he left off. His domination of the California League earned him a promotion to Double-A Pensacola for the second half. He didn’t struggle, but he did have more trouble with the league as his numbers all got worse with the promotion. He continued to strike out more than a batter per inning and held opposing hitters to a .232 average at the level.

W L IP H HR BB K ERA WHIP
13 7 151.0 117 13 52 171 3.04 1.12

Tools and Upside Grade

Upside Grade Explanation

Grade Explanation
80 MVP Caliber/Cy Young Caliber
70 All-Star caliber/#2 starter
60 Above-average starting position player/ #3 starters/Elite closers
50 Average Starting Position Player/#4-5 Starter/Elite set up men and good closers
40 Quality bench player/swingman starter/good middle reliever
30 Fringe big-leaguer who is often moved between AAA and MLB
20 Career minor leaguer

It must be noted that this is for their pure upside and how far they are from reaching that is not factored in. This grade is simply in a world where their pure raw talents all come to fruition. It’s a perfect world grade for what a guy could become not a grade based on what they are necessarily likely to become.

6. Sal Romano | RHP

Grade: 65

If everything goes right for Romano he could be an innings eating groundball machine that misses plenty of bats and contends to All-Star teams.

Top tool: Fastball

Romano has had a good sinking fastball for his entire career, but it’s gone from a pitch that a few years ago topped out around 90 to a pitch that now tops out at 97 MPH.

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7. Amir Garret | LHP

Grade: 65

In a perfect world scenario Garrett is an all-star candidate as a starting left handed pitcher who can throw 200 innings and strike out 175 batters while controlling the walks.

Top tool: Fastball

With the average left hander throwing 88-90 MPH Garrett stands out with a 91-94 MPH fastball that has improved over the last year in how well he can use the pitch.

8. Nick Howard | RHP

Grade: 65

In a perfect world Nick Howard develops into a starting pitcher who can throw 200 innings with two plus pitches.

Top tool: Fastball

In August he was sitting 93-95 and topping out at 97 MPH as a starter, showing plus velocity that rivals anyone in the system.

9. Raisel Iglesias | RHP

Grade: 60

If everything goes right for Iglesias he will be an above-average middle-of-the-rotation starter.

Top tool: Fastball

He has hit 97 MPH in the Arizona Fall League while working out of the bullpen.

10. Ben Lively | RHP

Grade: 55

Lively could be a future middle-of-the-rotation starter who doesn’t dazzle with elite stuff but eats up a good amount of innings and misses more bats than his pure stuff leads you to believe he can.

Top tool: Slider

Lively throws an above-average slider that he uses as his put-away pitch.

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