It’s that time of year again where we look at the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospects. Each day this week we will unveil five more spots on the list as we work our way through the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospect List for the 2019 season. You can see the entire list here (once it’s completed at the end of the week). If you were supporting the site on Patreon you would have gotten the entire Top 25 list last week and had early access to this, and all other scouting related articles that show up on the site. Click that orange banner above to see what all you can get for helping keep the site alive and kicking.

Just as a reminder, these write ups will not feature full scouting reports. Those will be included with the Season Reviews, which will start in a week – first working my way through the Top 25 prospects before then branching out into another 50-75 interesting prospects through the remainder of the offseason.

*To be eligible for the list a player must have 2019 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. Mariel Bautista | OF | Age: 21

2018 Team: Billings Mustangs | Acquired: Undrafted FA, 2014 | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 170 lbs

Another year and another season for Mariel Bautista to hit .320+. The Reds sent the outfielder to Billings where for the third straight stop in his progression, he hit .320 or higher. The then 20-year-old posted a .330 average to go along with a .386 on-base percentage. He made big strides in 2018, improving his walk rate and cutting down on an already low strikeout rate. The biggest improvement, however, may have been the development of his power. The 6′ 3″ Dominican Republic native had 24 extra-base hits in 56 games played for the Mustangs during the season.

For the Reds, it wasn’t just what Mariel Bautista can do at the plate that is impressive. He’s also capable of playing center field on the defensive side of the ball. He’s got good speed, and it showed up on the bases, too. Bautista stole 16 bases in 19 attempts in the Pioneer League. The game is well rounded, and there were several steps taken forward in important areas during the year.

Biggest Strength: The hit tool. He’s hit for a high average for pretty much his entire career, but when you couple the tool along with the strikeout rate and the power, it could play quite well.

Biggest Weakness: He’s got a well rounded game with the potential to be a 5-tool player. The biggest weakness when looking at his resume may just be that he hasn’t played full-season baseball yet.

12. Josiah Gray | RHP | Age: 20

2018 Team: Greeneville Reds | Acquired: 2nd Round, 2018 Draft | Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 190 lbs

When the 2018 season began, Josiah Gray was entering his first year as a full-time pitcher at Le Moyne College. He wasn’t really on the radar for a day one draft pick, and he probably wasn’t on the radar for day two, either. That all changed with a quickness as he came out dominating and never looked back. The Reds took him with their compensation round B pick in the 2nd round in June and assigned the right hander to their new affiliate in Greeneville.

Josiah Gray barely skipped a beat from his time at Le Moyne. The Appalachian League hitters didn’t find much success against him as he allowed just 29 hits in 52.1 innings to go along with a 2.58 ERA for the Reds. It also came with just 17 walks and 59 strikeouts. The step up in workload was enormous for Gray, who had thrown just 14.1 innings in 2017. Between his time in college, and with Greeneville, the 20-year-old threw 146.0 innings during the season.

Biggest Strength: The fastball. Josiah Gray has an above-average fastball, and he can throw it for strikes. It plays very well.

Biggest Weakness: The secondary offerings aren’t on par with his fastball and while he’s come a very long way in a short period of time, there’s still plenty for him to continue to work on with his secondary pitches as he develops and moves forward.

13. Mike Siani | OF | Age: 19

2018 Team: Greeneville Reds | Acquired: 4th Round, 2018 Draft | Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 180 lbs

The Cincinnati Reds spent their 4th round selection on outfielder Mike Siani in 2018. And then they spent a whole lot of money to keep him from going to college, signing him to a bonus of $2M – well above slot value. After signing he joined the Greeneville Reds in their inaugural season. Coming out of the draft there were concerns about how much he would hit as scouts were a bit split. But they all agreed that his speed and defense was outstanding.

In his time with the Reds, both things showed up. He made pitchers happy all season as he tracked down fly balls and line drives in center field. At the plate he hit .288/.351/.386 in 205 plate appearances. That came with 16 walks and 35 strikeouts, as well as six stolen bases.

Biggest Strength: Defense. He’s got plenty of speed to use in center field, but that combined with his routes and reads, and a good arm, just add up to make him a plus defender at one of the toughest spots on the field.

Biggest Weakness: Power. It’s not there right now, and it doesn’t project to be more than a below-average tool in the future.

14. Lyon Richardson | RHP | Age: 18

2018 Team: Greeneville Reds | Acquired: 2nd Round, 2018 Draft | Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 175 lbs

Another spot on the list and another player selected in the 2018 draft and assigned to Greeneville. Lyon Richardson was the Reds 2nd round pick and 47th overall pick in the draft. There is a lot to like with Richardson when you look at the raw tools. But, his first taste of professional baseball didn’t go well.

He made 11 starts for the Greeneville Reds and posted a 7.14 ERA and threw just 29.0 innings. Richardson kept the baseball in the yard, but his stuff wasn’t quite as sharp as it was when he was in high school earlier in the 2018 season. At times he struggled to put hitters away, and his control wasn’t great. At just 18-years-old, that’s not worth worrying much about.

Biggest Strength: The fastball has been up to 98 MPH in high school. With that said, it wasn’t there as a professional.

Biggest Weakness: His change up. The pitch lags behind his breaking ball and his fastball, both now and likely in the future based off of the raw grades.

15. Jose Garcia | SS | Age: 20

2018 Team: Dayton Dragons | Acquired: Undrafted FA, 2017 | Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 175 lbs

After signing with the Cincinnati Reds in the summer of 2017 for $5M, plus an additional $5M penalty for going over, Jose Garcia didn’t play in official games during the year. During spring training in 2018 he stood out on the field, but after joining Dayton to begin the season in April, he got out to a slow start. In the first 66 games of the season he hit just .196.

Things got better in the second half for the 20-year-old. In the final 59 games of the year he began to show some more power and he hit .288 over those final 274 plate appearances. He still struggled with plate discipline, though. Defensively he split time at shortstop and second base, with more of that time coming at shortstop.

Biggest Strength: His arm strength. At shortstop he’s a quality fielder, but his arm can be a difference maker.

Biggest Weakness: Plate discipline. Garcia walked just 19 times during the season and struck out 112 times. The strikeout rate wasn’t bad on it’s own, but in relation to such a low walk rate, there’s a big change that needs to be made.

26 Responses

  1. Dave from HI

    I am pretty exited about this group. Tons of upside (obviously). Siani looks like he has plenty of upper body to grow into.

  2. Cguy

    I also like this group. Unfortunately, I don’t think Fairchild deserved to be “demoted from it” & Friedl did a whole lot to be deserving of it. There’s just a lot of Reds prospects that are about this level of talent in the system.

    • Gaffer

      It’s easy to get (over)excited about fresh draft picks. These guys were decent picks but it’s a little disappointing that some of established guys weren’t solidly in this range. However, it’s easier to see warts after a year or two also.

  3. Bromleyjake

    Off topic… but if you were trying to acquire a Noah Syndergaard type starter who I believe is under team control until 2021, I would assume the package would have to include one of Senzel, Greene or Trammell. Which one would you be willing to part ways with in order to build a package around? I say Hunter since he is farthest from the Biggs, even though I really like his upside. Who thinks a package of Greene, T. Stephenson, and India gets him?

    • Colorado Red

      Might have to part ways with 2 of the above.
      Also, does not look like the Mets want trade him now.
      The New GM talks about a few FA’s this year and competing.
      Would be a great trade if you did not give up the farm.
      Noah, 1 top notch FA pitcher, and a new CF, and we would be above 500 this year.

    • Colt Holt

      I would not give up what it would take to get Syndergaard. Too much injury history to put all your marbles in on him. 3 months later, I would still be willing to send Suarez to NYM for both deGrom and Syndergaard, but come opening day, I would move on. Without two years of both pitchers, I would just hold onto Suarez and his team friendly contract for an all star. If you would pull off the above, adding two TOR arms and replacing Suarez with Senzel, this team would be ready to compete.

      • MK

        Colt I think you might be over valuing Suarez quite a bit. I think you would need to give up Suarez and something to get one of those guys. The Mets are in the drivers seat here, as they have what everyone wants. Similar to the Padres position in the Latos deal and that took 3 1st Round Draft picks, and either of the Mets duo is better than Latos.

      • Colt Holt

        There would certainly need to be a real chip in there with Suarez (although I wouldn’t give up one of the top three with Suarez). DeGrom has serious value for the next two years. Syndergaard by himself just doesn’t do much for me. He has pitched 180 innings once in the bigs. Just too much injury risk to believe he has much value. If the Mets want to compete, but extend their window beyond 2021, Suarez is as good a cornerstone as they will get. The question is whether they want half a dozen top 100 prospects, or an established all star on a cheap contract for most of the next decade.

    • MK

      Suarez would have to be part were I the Mets, who want to compete now.

  4. Norwood Nate

    Well I guessed 4 of the 5 in this group. Personally I’d still have Fairchild here instead of Richardson. I understand he has the raw tools but he was also very overmatched in his initial go at pro ball. That’s understandable, but to me he hasn’t shown enough yet to justify a spot above some others who have produced in full season leagues.

    After Fairchild, Friedl was probably the next guy I would have considered for this group. I expect we’ll see him tomorrow. Guessing we’ll see Sugillio and Hernandez as well. After that it’s harder to predict. Probably Clementina shows up and I’d probably rank Marinan in this range as well.

    As always, good list Doug, thanks for putting in the time to do it.

    • KyWilson1

      I’d wager they will be the first 2 on the list tomorrow. I don’t don’t really agree with the Richardson ranking as well, but maybe he struggled getting used to a routine. Hopefully next year he flips the script and the tools start to show up on the mound. There is a lot to like about this top 15.

  5. Jasonp

    I will enjoy following this group of 5 next year more then any other.

    It seems like it wasn’t to long ago where we didn’t have any center field prospects. Now we have a ton of them. It is fun to contemplate about what kind of players they could develop into.

  6. MK

    Some of you folks need to get into your pockets and support the site as those of us that do know who is next on the list and knew last week

    • Big Ed

      I second this emotion. Doug’s work deserves support, and the more support we give, the better his already-good product will be.

  7. RedsinWashst

    Who starts in CF for Dayton next year Bautista or Siani. Good problem to have. One of them may have to play right. Looking forward to Dayton’s season. Hope it turns out better than last season which I was also looking forward to more than any other league.

    • The Duke

      Siani, and he’ll be there every day. He was considered by some to be the best defensive CF in the draft last year and he backed that up with his first foray into pro ball. I think we’ll largely see Siani in CF, Bautista in LF (a few starts in CF whenever Siani has an off day), and then RF i’m not sure. Probably a toss up between Zeek White, Bren Spillane, or Reshard Munroe. Maybe even a rotation. I feel pretty confident about Siani in CF and Bautista in LF though.

  8. Stock

    Compare these four seasons:

    Player 1: Age 19, .319/.389/.530/.919, ISO .211, BB% 10.3%, K% 20.9 and K//BB 2.03

    Player 2: Age 21, .345/.390/.472/.862, ISO .127, BB% 6.7%, K% 13% K/BB 1.94

    Player 3: Age 21, .330/.386/.541/.927, ISO .211, BB% 6.9%, K% 12.4% and K/BB 1.80

    Player 4: Age 18, .288/.351/.386/.737, ISO .098, BB% 7.8%, K% 17.1%, K/BB 2.19

    Players 1, 2 and 3 are easy for me to rank. The lines on these three players are very similar. However picking solely on this information I choose Player 1 because he is 19. Player 3 get the nod over player 2 because of his superior ISO. Now we go to player 4. His stat are clearly inferior to those of the other 3 players. But he is 18. At age 18 Players 2 and 3 were in the DSL and had stats inferior to Player 4’s stats this year in Greeneville. Therefore, Player 4 gets the nod over the others as the best player in the group. Player 1 is the 2017 version of Miles Gordon. Player 2 is the 2017 version of Andy Sugilio. Player 3 is the current version of Mauriel Bautista and player 4 is Mike Siani. Bautista had a great season but as MK points out quite often players seem to be great at Billings but then suck when they make it to Dayton. For these reasons I have Bautista at 18. If he performs at Dayton like he did at Billings this year he jumps into my top 10 and possibly into my top 5.

    I have Garcia at 11 and Gray at 12. From yesterday’s list I have Gutierrez at 12 and Long at 14.

    The two players I have in my top 15 that Doug does not are Friedl (#9) and Miguel Hernandez (#15). Doug has Bautista (#18) and Richardson (#19).

    Good list thus far. No surprises at all.

    • Patrick

      Just from a numbers Player 3 is by far the best on the list.
      .210 iso with only 12.4% K that kind of power while not striking out
      .098 iso with 17% k rate does not bode well for the future. Not a good combo at all see Billy Hamilton type hitter.

      • Stock

        If you ignore the first number you are right Patrick. If you read my post you know that I clearly stated Siani’s stats this year were clearly inferior to those of All three other players. But you ignore that Siani did this at 18.

        At age 18 Bautista was in the DSL facing far inferior pitching to what Siani faced this year. Siani would have ripped the DSL to shreds. But lets look at the facts

        Bautista age 18 DSL

        .259/.350/.388/.738, ISO .129 BB% 10.1% K% 21.6 and a 2.14 K/BB ratio.

        Bautista at age 20 in Arizona

        .320/.353/.395/.747, ISO .075, BB% 3.2%, K% 15.3%, and a 4.8

        Siani was clearly better at age 18 in a clearly superior league than Bautista was at age 18 or age 20. That makes him a better prospect for me. I agree Bautista clearly dominated in 2018. But at age 21 you should either dominate the Pioneer league or questions about your potential going forward should be asked. Even then we should proceed with caution.

        One year ago Fairchild, Sugilio and Miles were in the top 15 after playing well in the Pioneer league This year none of the three are in the top 15.

      • Patrick

        I do not see Siani being much of anything even with his age being 18 (he really was 19 for most of it turned 19 in July) He just strikeout took much and has no power and I do not see much power projection. You need to compare to what American born players have done in the past. Latin players develop differently because of them coming from a different system so it is not fair to compare their stats.

        With his speed only 6 SBs is not a good sign.

        Billy Hamilton Age 19 Billings – .318/.383/.456/.829 ops .138 iso, BB% 8.9, k% 17.7 k/bb 2.0.

    • Doug Gray

      I’ll say this one until your ears bleed (not you, specifically, but anyone listening) in regards to Andy Sugilio: I think his hamstring injury played a big role in how he performed in Dayton this year. He hurt it the second game of the season and it wasn’t until long into the summer that he looked right, even long after he returned to the lineup. That said, hindsight certainly helps a little bit, but there were a few things that I *should* have seen in his swing that I didn’t take note of that may have had him a tad lower entering the year on the prospect list. Still, he would have ranked well. I don’t think his issues were a “Billings to Dayton” thing as much as they were a “he wasn’t healthy” thing.

      • Stock

        Doug I agree with you on Sugilio My rankings are on my computer in the shop for the next 24 hours but I think Sugilio is in my top 25.

        However, the older offensive players who make your top 15 after a year in Billings rarely make your top 15 the in their first season of full season ball.

        After the 2017 season Gordon, Fairchild and Sugilio made your top 15. Not now.

        After the 2016 season Beltre made your top 25 but dropped out of your rankings the next year.

        After the 2014 season Aquino made your top 15. The next year he is out.

        I didn’t go beyond 2014 because it is too confusing to figure out where the player was. Plus the system was weaker so someone had to be in the top 15.

        I am excited about Sugilio still. I am even more excited about Bautista. I knew a month ago he would be in your top 15. As an older person I want Bautista to prove it in Dayton before I put him in the top 15.

      • The Duke

        I didn’t get a chance to see Sugilio when he wasn’t hampered by the hamstring. Given how he looked then, it may have been in his best interest to spend more time on the DL and get it right rather than play through it. I get that it’s tough for premier athletes to sit out though, so I get why he did it. I just don’t think it was in his best interest.

  9. Krozley

    Reds hire Brewers pitching coach. Could this be a sign of a change in philosophy towards a more bullpen focus?