Today is the last day, the day that we wrap up the final five spots on the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospect List for the 2017 season by looking at players #21-25. You can see the entirety of the list here. Later this afternoon I will create a new post to answer all questions about the entire list, so be sure to check back in for that.
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)*
21. Alfredo Rodriguez | SS | Age: 22
2016 Team: DSL Reds | Acquired: Non-Drafted free agent, 2016 | Height: 6′ 0″ | Weight: 190 lbs
The Cincinnati Reds spent $7M, plus penalty, to sign Cuban shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez in July after the deal being rumored for months. The deal was universally questioned given the amount of money spent and the caliber of player that many seemed to believe Rodriguez was – a very light-hitting, defensive first shortstop. In 2014 while playing in Cuba he hit .265/.301/.284 in 304 plate appearances with four extra-base hits. After sitting out for over 18-months between playing, the Reds sent him to the Dominican Summer League where he played against mostly teenagers in a big step down in competition from the level he had played at in Cuba. The results weren’t stellar in 22 games as he hit just .234/.333/.299 while being nearly four years older than the leagues average age. The time off certainly comes into play, and he barely played during the season after a late start due to his signing date and an injury that cost him two weeks (and when he returned there were only three weeks remaining in the season), but from a production standpoint, there was a lot left to be desired. This ranking is one that I feel the least comfortable about on the entire list. From the combination of results and outside scouting reports, it’s a real struggle to find something to hang your hat on. The hope seems to be that he’s simply rusty due to time off, but time will tell. The Reds seem to have seen something here and if he can do something at all with his bat, he could be a useful player down the road due to his defense and speed.
22. Zack Weiss | RHP | Age: 24
2016 Team: Did not play – injured | Acquired: 6th round, 2013 Draft | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 210 lbs
2016 appeared to be a prime season for reliever Zack Weiss to jump into the big leagues. The Reds bullpen was essentially an open tryout all season long and Weiss entered spring training as the organizations top relief pitching prospect who was slated to begin the year in Triple-A Louisville. Unfortunately things things didn’t go as planned. An elbow injury in spring training, that didn’t require surgery, just never got quite right and what was originally was expected to be something that may only cost him a short amount of time on the disabled list wound up keeping him out for the entire season. When he’s healthy, he profiles quite well out of the bullpen with four pitches and an ability to throw strikes who could pitch somewhere at the back end.
23. Ariel Hernandez | RHP | Age: 24
2016 Teams: Dayton Dragons, Daytona Tortugas | Acquired: 2015 Triple-A Rule 5 Draft | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 180 lbs
The Cincinnati Reds made a very forgettable pick in the Triple-A version of the Rule 5 draft in December of 2015. While we will occasionally remember a guy that’s taken in the big league version of that draft, the guys taken in the Triple-A version are often relegated to minor league filler. Ariel Hernandez, selected by the Reds in the 2015 Triple-A Rule 5 draft seemed like a huge lottery ticket, he had walked more batters than he had innings pitched since his 18th birthday. What he did have was an incredible arm and the organization took a chance. It’s paid off and the work put in by Hernandez and the coaches led to his being added to the Cincinnati 40-man roster last week after posting a 2.18 ERA between Dayton and Daytona in the 2016 season. He allowed just 29 hits in 62.0 innings pitched. His walk rate was still higher than you want to see, he walked 39 batters, but the improvement from the rest of his career was a massive step in the right direction.
24. Michael Beltre | OF | Age: 20
2016 Teams: AZL Reds, Billings Mustangs | Acquired: Non-Drafted free agent, 2013 | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 180 lbs
After a down season in 2015, his first in the United States, Michael Beltre really began to put all of the tools together in the 2016 season. He began the year with the Arizona League Reds for the second straight year and hit .292 with 11 walks and 25 strikeouts in 29 games to go along with nine steals in as many attempts before being promoted to Billings. After he joined the Mustangs he picked up the production even more. In 22 games the outfielder hit .309 with more walks than strikeouts and added in nine doubles and three home runs. He also added four more steals, being caught only once. It was a breakout season for Beltre, who hit .299/.399/.481 between his two stops.
25. Ismael Guillon | LHP | Age: 24
2016 Team: Daytona Tortugas | Acquired: Non-Drafted free agent, 2008 | Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 225 lbs
After missing all of the 2015 season with a torn muscle, left hander Ismael Guillon returned with a vengeance. His career has been a roller coaster ride, but his 2016 campaign may have been his best one. Most of his season was spent in the bullpen, but he made 13 starts for Daytona to go along with 19 relief appearances. In 93.1 innings he posted a 2.41 ERA to go along with 116 strikeouts. The left hander had a two week stretch from July 28th through August 11th where he threw 17.0 innings where he allowed just one run, five hits and three walks to go along with 31 strikeouts. His walk rate was still a bit higher than you’d like to see, he walked 39 batters, but he’s a lefty who misses bats and has strong stuff that could play quite well in the bullpen.
Alfredo Rodriguez | He’s known to be a very strong defender at the shortstop position.
Zack Weiss | When healthy his slider that flashes above-average to plus is his best offering.
Ariel Hernandez | His upper 80’s curveball is a plus to plus-plus offering.
Michael Beltre | His plus speed is his best tool right now.
Ismael Guillon | The change up is a plus offering from the left hander.