To view the entire Top 25 list you can click here

The final day is here and the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 list is now complete. If you missed earlier portions of the list you can click on the link above and check it out in full.

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. Later today I will have a chat and will address any and all questions you have on the list or players that made it or those who didn’t.

*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)*

21. Jose Ortiz | C

2014 Teams: Dayton Dragons | Acquired: 17th round, 2012 draft | Height: 5′ 11″ | Weight: 205 | Age: 20

After a strong year in Billings in 2013, Ortiz spent the first half of the 2014 season in extended spring training. He came to Dayton in late June and didn’t get consistent playing time as he caught two times through the rotation. The first time he had three starts in a row was in the middle of August and with sporadic playing time he struggled to find a groove at the plate, hitting .198/.250/.336 in 39 games played. Defensively he was solid as he tossed out 25% of opposing base runners and was a solid defender. He would flash the tools that he showed off more often in 2013, but they just weren’t as consistent.

141 7 1 3 14 0 8 39 .198 .250 .336

22. Taylor Sparks | 3B

2014 Teams: Billings Mustangs | Acquired: 2nd round, 2014 draft | Height: 6’4″ | Weight: 200 | Age: 21

Sparks got his professional career off to a strong start as he hit .289/.421/.577 with 10 steals in July. He struck out 29% of the time in July, which is more than you’d like to see but it came with big power and a strong 15% walk rate. Things changed once August rolled around as his strikeout rate jumped up to 41% and his walk rate dropped to 11% as he hit just .178/.277/.406 over the final five weeks of the season. Sparks shows all of the tools you want to see from a player, but he is still a bit raw in some aspects of the game and must cut down on his strikeout total.

240 7 7 10 30 14 31 84 .232 .350 .490

23. Gavin LaValley | 3B

2014 Teams: AZL Reds, Billings Mustangs | Acquired: 4th Round, 2014 draft | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 235 | Age: 19

The professional debut for Gavin LaValley was a big success as he hit .286/.374/.439 for the AZL Reds before getting a final week call up to the Billings Mustangs. LaValley flashed big time power on the offensive side of things with a good walk rate. Defensively he really struggled in his first year as he posted an .856 fielding percentage at third base.

241 10 2 6 32 3 26 54 .276 .361 .429

24. Daniel Wright | RHP

2014 Teams: Dayton Dragons, Bakersfield Blaze | Acquired: 10th round, 2013 draft | Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 205 lbs. | Age 23

Daniel Wright made his first two appearances of the year out of the Dayton bullpen before moving into the rotation two weeks into the season. He never looked back as the rest of his appearances on the season came as a starter as he moved on to Bakersfield in late May to finish out his season. The right hander posted a 3.54 ERA in 152.2 innings with just 22 walks and 141 strikeouts between the two stops.

14 7 152.1 141 20 22 141 3.54 1.07

guillonheadshot25. Ismael Guillon | LHP

2014 Teams: Dayton Dragons, Bakersfield Blaze | Acquired: Free Agent, 2008 | Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 210 | Age: 22

The season was strong in the first half as the left hander posted a 3.17 ERA in Dayton over 65.1 innings with more strikeouts than innings. He struggled once he arrived in Bakersfield though as he posted a 6.79 ERA with the Blaze as his walk rate went up, strikeout rate dropped off and his home run rate exploded from three in Dayton to 13 in fewer innings in Bakersfield. The stuff still flashed itself and his change up is among the best pitches in the system, but he battled consistency in the second half of the season.

4 7 123.2 109 16 55 114 4.88 1.33

Top 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.

21. Jose Ortiz | C

Grade: 60

If everything goes right for Ortiz he’s an above-average defender behind the plate with 25 home run power.

Top tool: Power

Ortiz has good power and the ball can jump off of his bat. 25 home runs isn’t out of the question.


22. Taylor Sparks | 3B

Grade: 70

In a perfect world Sparks figures out how to cut down on his strikeouts, hits .275 with 25 home runs, 20 steals and is an above-average defensive player.

Top tool: Defense

While he has some work to do on the defensive side of the ball his range and athleticism both project for him to be an above-average to plus defender at third base.

23. Gavin LaValley | 3B

Grade: 60

If things go right for LaValley he will provide plenty of power while being solid in the average department and providing a good on-base percentage. Defensively he likely ends up at first base where he could be an average defender.

Top tool: Power

LaValley has above-average power potential and could hit 25-30 home runs if it fully develops.

24. Daniel Wright | RHP

Grade: 50

There isn’t a lot of projection for Wright to develop into, but in a perfect world scenario he turns into a good 4th starter who pounds the strikezone with all of his pitches.

Top tool: Curveball

Wright’s curveball became very consistent in 2014 and is one reason his first full season was so successful as he relied on the above-average pitch to put hitters away.

25. Ismael Guillon | LHP

Grade: 65

In a perfect world Guillon is able to overcome his control problems and keep the home runs in check while continuing to miss plenty of bats and turn into a quality #3 starting pitcher.

Top tool: Change Up

Some will say that Guillon has the best change up in minor league baseball. It’s a plus-plus offering that he uses very well.