Baseball America released their annual list of the best tools on the minor league side of things on Wednesday afternoon. The Cincinnati Reds weren’t exactly well represented on the list, but they did have more than a few players represent them on the list. It’s worth noting here that these results are based on voting by the managers within each league and not by scouts who cover the players. That’s not to say managers are not informed at all – but they do have different kinds of looks than scouts do, too. And they may look at things a little bit differently as well.
When it comes to the best prospect in a league, there were no Reds present. That’s not too surprising. What was surprising was in the best power category and Ibandel Isabel didn’t get the nod in the Southern League. He lost out to Luis Robert (White Sox), who has plenty of power on his own.
There is one category where the Reds stood out: Best Reliever. Three different Reds prospects got the nod in the league. Only in Triple-A’s International League did Cincinnati not have the top reliever in a league in which they play. In the Southern League Joel Kuhnel got the nod. He’s been promoted out of the league at this point and is now in Triple-A with the Louisville Bats. He’s posted a 2.10 ERA on the year in 51.1 innings with 37 hits allowed, 15 walks (3 intentional), and he’s struck out 49 batters.
Ryan Nutof got the nod for best reliever in the Florida State League. Like Joel Kuhnel, Nutof was promoted out of the league. He’s now in Double-A with the Lookouts. In his time with Daytona he posted a 2.70 ERA in 30.0 innings with eight walks and 37 strikeouts. Connor Bennett also grabbed the top spot among relievers in the Midwest League. He was also promoted and is no longer with the Dayton Dragons. Between his time in Dayton and Daytona he’s got a 2.31 ERA in 50.2 innings with 19 walks and 76 strikeouts.
Among the top defensive players there were also three different Reds players at the top of their position in the leagues they participated in. Tyler Stephenson got the nod for the best defensive catcher in the Double-A Southern League. Jonathan India was recognized for the best defensive third baseman in the Florida State League. And Brian O’Grady got the nod at first base in the International League. Aristides Aquino didn’t get the not as best defensive outfielder in the International League, but he did get the nod as the top outfield arm in the league.
Those are just the Baseball America rankings, though. But how do things stack up within the Cincinnati Reds organization? Here’s how I would rate things as they stand right now in the categories presented by Baseball America. Please note that I’m only listing players with prospect eligibility.
Cincinnati Reds Best Tools List
Batting Prospect: Jonathan India
Power: Ibandel Isabel
Strikezone Judgement: Tyler Stephenson
Best Baserunner: Michael Siani
Fastest Baserunner: Andy Sugilio
Starting Pitching Prospect: Hunter Greene
Relief Prospect: Joel Kuhnel
Fastball: Hunter Greene/Joel Kuhnel
Breaking Ball: Nick Lodolo/Ryan Hendrix
Control: Nick Lodolo
Defensive Infielder: Jose Garcia
Defensive Outfielder: Michael Siani
Infield Arm: Jose Garcia
Outfield Arm: Aristides Aquino
Most Exciting Player: Jose Siri