It’s that time of year again. It’s prospect ranking season and every day this week we are going to unveil five more spots on the list as we work our way through the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospect List for the 2017 season. You can see the entire list here (once it’s completed at the end of the week).
Subscribers will get to see the top ranking tool for each player (You can subscribe to the website here to get access to all kinds of additional information). All ages listed are as of June 30th of the past season and is the official “age” of a player during the 2016 season.
On Friday afternoon there will be an All Questions Answered thread to take on any questions about the list.
*To be eligible for the list a player must have 2017 Rookie of the Year eligibility (Fewer than 130 at bats in the big leagues, fewer than 50 innings pitches or less than 45 days on the active MLB roster that doesn’t include September)*
1. Nick Senzel | 3B | Age: 21
2016 Teams: Billings Mustangs, Dayton Dragons | Acquired: 1st round, 2016 Draft | Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 205 lbs
The Cincinnati Reds used the 2nd overall pick in the 2016 draft to select Nick Senzel out of Tennessee. He would sign a few weeks after the draft and was assigned to the Billings Mustangs at the end of June. He got out to a slow start, hitting .152 in 10 games but was promoted to the Dayton Dragons after that week-and-a-half stretch. He tore through the Midwest League the rest of the season. He hit .329/.415/.567 in 251 plate appearances over the course of 58 games. In his first taste of professional baseball, Nick Senzel showed everything you can ask for.
2. Jesse Winker | OF | Age: 22
2016 Team: Louisville Bats | Acquired: Sup. 1st round, 2012 Draft | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 215 lbs
It was an interesting season for Jesse Winker in 2016. He walked as often as he struck out while posting his lowest strikeout rate of his career. That helped him hit .303 on the year, but he struggled with a wrist injury for the second time in three years, which likely led to his power output being quite low. Winker hit just three home runs and had just 22 doubles in 106 games. Outside of the power being down the rest of his game seemed to step forward in 2016.
3. Robert Stephenson | RHP | Age: 23
2016 Teams: Louisville Bats, Cincinnati Reds | Acquired: 1st round, 2011 Draft | Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 200 lbs
The 2016 season was another one of inconsistency for Robert Stephenson. His season saw struggles with control once again as he walked 71 batters in 136.2 innings in Triple-A and another 19 batters in 37.0 innings with the Cincinnati Reds at the big league level. He’s still got the best pure stuff from all of the starting pitchers in the system, but he’s got to start showing improvements in control. There’s still time, but his stock is moving in the wrong direction for the second straight year.
4. Amir Garrett | LHP | Age: 24
2016 Teams: Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Louisville Bats | Acquired: 22nd round, 2011 Draft | Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 225 lbs
When the season began, Amir Garrett was penciled into the Pensacola rotation and he pitched like he wanted to get off of the beach in the worst kind of way. He dominated the Southern League in 13 starts, posting a 1.75 ERA in 77.0 innings with 28 walks and 78 strikeouts. That earned him a promotion to Triple-A where his numbers took a step backwards, but he was still successful. With Louisville he posted a 3.46 ERA, but his walk rate jumped up and his strikeout rate dropped off. Overall he had the best statistical season of any starter in the organization and should be taking home some more hardware from the organization in December.
5. Sal Romano | RHP | Age: 22
2016 Team: Pensacola Blue Wahoos | Acquired: 23rd round, 2011 Draft | Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 260 lbs
The 2016 season was a tale of two halves for Sal Romano. In his first 16 starts he posted a 4.81 ERA for Pensacola and allowed 107 hits in 86.0 innings. Over his final 12 starts of the season everything seemed to change as his control markedly improved, walking just nine batters in 76.1 innings to go along with 69 strikeouts. He only allowed three home runs in that span to go along with 56 hits as he posted a 2.12 ERA. His 3.52 ERA on the season was a career best, as were his 156.0 innings, 144 strikeouts and his walk rate also set a career best mark as he took big steps forward in 2016.
Nick Senzel | His best tools is his hit tool, which is potentially a plus tool that could make him a perennial .300 hitter.
Jesse Winker | Much like Nick Senzel, the best tool for Jesse Winker is his hit tool which is potentially a plus tool that could make him a .300 hitter every year.
Robert Stephenson | For a while it was the fastball that was the best pitch for Stephenson, but his velocity has backed off a little bit and he no longer touches 99-100 MPH. It’s now his split-finger that is a plus offering that’s the best tool he brings to the table.
Amir Garrett | The lefty doesn’t always bring a plus slider to the table, but it certainly shows itself as one at times that has good biting action on it and sweeps across the zone thanks to his arm angle.
Sal Romano | His fastball generally works in the mid 90’s and has touched the upper 90’s frequently with the offering.