Day three of Prospect Ranking week is here with the unveiling of spots 11-15 on the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospect List for the 2017 season. We’ve already covered spots 1-10 over the past two days. 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)*
11. Chris Okey | C | Age: 21
2016 Teams: Billings Mustangs, Dayton Dragons | Acquired: 2nd round, 2016 Draft | Height: 5′ 11″ | Weight: 195 lbs
The Cincinnati Reds took Chris Okey with their 2nd round selection in the 2016 draft and spent $2M to sign him out of Clemson. A few weeks after the draft he signed and was sent to join the Billings Mustangs. He got out to a slow start, but was quickly promoted to the Dayton Dragons where he finished out the season over the last two months. He performed well in July, smacking six home runs and posting an .897 OPS on the month, but things slowed down over the final month at the plate as his OPS dropped down to just .622 for August, plus one game in September. It was a long season, particularly for a catcher, so there’s nothing to worry about there. Behind the plate he handled the pitching staff well and tossed out 34% of opposing base runners.
12. Tyler Mahle | RHP | Age: 21
2016 Teams: Daytona Tortugas, Pensacola Blue Wahoos | Acquired: 7th round, 2013 Draft | Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 200 lbs
Tyler Mahle struggled in his first start for the Daytona Tortugas, allowing three runs in three innings. From that point forward he was downright dominant, posting a 2.24 ERA the rest of the way in 76.1 innings before he was promoted to Double-A Pensacola. The promotion was a mixed bag. His walk rate jumped up some, though it was still quite low. His strikeout rate also dropped off some, but it was still a good rate. His ERA jumped to 4.92 with the Blue Wahoos and that came because his home run rate more than doubled and his hit rate went up by 50%. Overall he put together a good season between his two stops, walking just 37 batters with 141 strikeouts in 150.2 innings to go along with a 3.64 ERA. The jump to Double-A proved to be a bit tougher on him as he was punished a bit more for any mistake pitches that he did make. At age 21, he was one of the youngest players in the entire league.
13. Tyler Stephenson | C | Age: 19
2016 Team: Dayton Dragons | Acquired: 1st round, 2015 Draft | Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 225 lbs
The 2016 season was pretty much a wasted year for the Cincinnati Reds 2015 1st round draft pick. Tyler Stephenson suffered a concussion two weeks into the season and missed the next two-and-a-half weeks. He then returned for two-and-a-half weeks before he suffered a wrist injury. That kept him off of the field for the next six weeks. Stephenson would rehab in Arizona for six days, then return to Dayton where he played for eight days before hitting the disabled list again with wrist problems. Two weeks later he returned, only to last a week before hitting the disabled list again for good. Ultimately he would undergo wrist surgery. He was never able to play for three consecutive weeks during the season, so paying much attention to his numbers isn’t all too useful in my mind. The scouting reports are far more valuable in a case like this than any of the production on the field.
14. Yorman Rodriguez | OF | Age: 23
2016 Team: Injured – DNP | Acquired: Non-draft free agent, 2008 | Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 210 lbs
Last week the Cincinnati Reds designated Yorman Rodriguez for assignment and he cleared waivers, thus clearing the way to send him to Triple-A. The outfielder injured his hamstring at the end of spring training and hit the disabled list. While working his way back on rehab in Arizona he also suffered injuries to his hip and his knee along the way, prolonging the amount of time that he would miss. In early July he joined Daytona on a rehab assignment, but played in just parts of four games before leaving the game after trying to stretch a single into a double. He returned three weeks later and played for seven games before being taken back off of the assignment. I was able to get a chance to see him while in Daytona, though he was only taking batting practice at that point in time. The raw power was evident, still as the ball jumped off of his bat. That was really the only thing that I was able to see from him since spring training. I’m still a believer in the overall ability here and while the injuries over the last two seasons may have cost him a chance at plenty of big league action, the fact that he missed out on the 2016 season may be a blessing in disguise. Out of options he couldn’t be sent to the minors, but missing out on the year may have led to teams passing on him on the waiver wire to get him another chance to play at Triple-A and work his way into the big leagues.
15. Phillip Ervin | OF | Age: 23
2016 Team: Pensacola Blue Wahoos | Acquired: 1st round, 2013 Draft | Height: 5′ 10″ | Weight: 205 lbs
The 2016 season was an interesting one for Phillip Ervin. In some aspects, he performed quite well. He stole 30+ bases for the third consecutive season, racking up a career best 36 steals. Ervin walked 65 times on the season and struck out just 88 times in 505 plate appearances, both quality rates. He also showed off solid power with 23 doubles, three triples and 13 home runs. Where he found some problems, which is one that’s plagued him since his first full season as a professional, is hitting for average. Despite good peripherals, he managed to hit just .239 on the season in Double-A. Because he drew plenty of walks and showed off some power he was able to still post a .761 OPS, much better than the .685 league average, but if he’s going to make his way into an every day big league lineup he’s likely going to have to bring his average up a bit.
Chris Okey | While he’s got solid or better tools across the board, it’s his above-average power potential that stands out, particularly for a catcher.
Tyler Mahle | His control stands out as his best tool. He’s never had a walk rate higher than 2.5 batters per 9-innings pitched at any level.
Tyler Stephenson | His power didn’t show up in 2016, though he barely had a chance to play, but his raw power still stands out as his best tool.
Yorman Rodriguez | His go-the-other-way approach doesn’t lend itself to getting the most from his raw power, but there’s still 20+ HR potential in his bat.
Phillip Ervin | While he doesn’t look fast when you watch him, the stopwatch tells you a different story. He’s got plus speed to work with.