Among the national publications, Baseball America is considered the gold standard for prospect lists. They’ve been doing it for more than a decade longer than any other publication that still exists. And their track record is much easier to follow, too. Today they released their Cincinnati Reds Top 10 Prospect list. It’s behind their paywall, so don’t expect me to give it a full rundown. If you’re a subscriber you can see the full list here.

What they are offering up for free for everyone to see is the projection of the 2023 lineup, rotation, and the current list of best tools within the organization. Let’s talk about that a little bit. With the way the future lineup works, it assumes that anyone currently in the organization remains there, even if they are projected to be a free agent before that date. On the position player side, the farm system is only placing Tyler Stephenson, Jonathan India, and Jose Garcia into the starting eight. And India is sliding over to second base in this scenario.

The rotation is where things get interesting. Sort of. At the top of the rotation is Luis Castillo. We don’t have to squint too hard to make sense of that one. But it’s Hunter Greene at #2. On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. It’s believable if you’ve ever seen Hunter Greene pitch. What makes it interesting is that he’s ahead of Sonny Gray. Gray, of course, was actually better than Luis Castillo was this past year. No big deal, really – just an interesting thought process. Nick Lodolo slides in at #4 ahead of Tyler Mahle, who rounds out the 2023 projected rotation.

Looking at the Top 10 prospects, as put together by Justin Coleman, there are a few large differences between their list, and the one that I put together last month. Two players made the Baseball America Top 10 who were outside of my Top 15: Lyon Richardson and Jameson Hannah.

I wrote about each of those players last week with my full reports on them. With Richardson, the good side of the write up was that he improved during the season, and he projects to have three solid offerings and he throws strikes. But the flip side of that was that none of those three offerings really stick out to you, either. And after throwing up to 98 in high school, he’s topping out at 95, and mostly throwing 90-93 these days. The report from Baseball America projects his stuff slightly better across the board. That could explain the difference in the rankings.

With Jameson Hannah, my write up had some good and some questions, too. On the good side he’s got plenty of athleticism. He’s fast, has a quick bat, and there’s some power potential in there to tap into. But the flip side of that is that he’s going to have to change his batted ball profile around in a huge way to get that power to play, and for a player who doesn’t show much game power, he’s got some swing-and-miss going on. There’s upside there, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be put in to get from where he’s at now to that point.

There was one thing that my list, and the Baseball America list agreed on: Hunter Greene is the guy at the top. While there are always going to be some concerns with a player coming off of an injury, and Greene is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, his upside is simply unmatched in the organization.

Much like the list released here last month, the list at Baseball America shares the same players in the Top 6 spots. After that is where we start seeing differences. That does support the feeling that after that group there’s a different tier. For me, and I’d guess for many others – that top tier of six is pretty strong. Don’t let anyone tell you the Reds don’t have a farm system to trade from. They do. It’s not as strong as it once was – but that’s more about that second and third tier rather than the first one.

15 Responses

  1. Norwood Nate

    Haha, isn’t life funny. Not going to get in the details here again, but the two guys I disagreed with their placement on Doug’s list are two guys that differ in BA’s top 10. Of course I was lower on Hannah than Doug was, so I really differ from BA on him.

    • Norwood Nate

      Never mind on Herget. DFA’d for a guy who has 32 BBs in 48 ML innings.

      • Oldtimer

        RP Shafer has two decent years as MLB reliever. Herget has two fewer decent years as MLB reliever.

      • Norwood Nate

        Depends what you mean by decent. I don’t consider a WHIP of 1.64 or that BB% decent.

      • Oldtimer

        Decent means means better than Herget. The world doesn’t revolve around WHIP.

      • Norwood Nate

        I’m not trying to get into a whole thing…So I’ll just say this and bounce.
        I’m not saying WHIP is anything but a stat. It says the guy over the past two seasons in the majors has struggled to keep guys off base, primarily due to a very high BB%. That’s a concern for me especially with relievers. I’m not thrilled about this profile, but I’m not super anti the pickup with DJ and Boddy having input.

        My mentioning of Herget was more about being disappointed in his DFA, for who I see as a guy who is pretty fringe on the roster. I think Herget with time could be pretty good, he has been at every other level so far. Not really comparing the two.

      • Oldtimer

        He has 2 years of ERA in the mid 3 range. Good K numbers. Good MPH on his fastball. Better than Herget has shown.

  2. Oldtimer

    I would happily take Castillo, Gray, Greene, and Lodolo as top for SP in 2023 (or sooner).

    Comparable to Gullett, Nolan, Billingham, and Norman on 1975 and 76 BRM teams.

  3. RedsKoolAidDrinker

    Hannah doesn’t make it min my top 20. I’d take the higher upside guys in the fringe part of the rankings.

  4. Daryl

    Herget getting DFA’d is a surprise. I would think Alaniz, Josh Smith, Schebler or even Gausman would’ve gone first.

    • Norwood Nate

      Agreed, I’d even add Romano to that list considering he’s out of options. The Reds have never seemed that high on Herget, not sure why as he’s produced at every level to this point.

  5. Simon Cowell

    Thanks for the sales pitch on baseball america but I’ll stick with you.

    • Doug Gray

      I won’t complain, though full disclosure: I write for Baseball America, too.

  6. DaveCT

    Having JJ Cooper as the Reds guy was a good run. Doug, let’s hope you’re up

    • Doug Gray

      Full disclosure: I turned down the Top 30 gig for the Reds with BA.

      My reasoning was simply that it was going to overlap too much with what I do here, and with the Patreon stuff – If I were doing both, it wouldn’t give any incentive for Reds only fans to subscribe and read the stuff at BA. And I certainly wasn’t going to not have my prospect list here at the site – this is a full time gig, while what I do at BA is just a part time thing. Doing the list for both wasn’t really an option, and doing it at the site ultimately makes more sense for me from a business standpoint.