When it comes to the national publications and top prospect list, the mid-January through mid-February timeframe is when just about everyone releases their lists. The ZiPS Top 100 list is a little bit different than your typical prospect list, though. ZiPS is a forecasting system that uses a lot of data within it. The less data there is, the tougher it’s going to be when it comes trying to know how to project forward such a player. Guys with little to no minor league experience may not have anywhere near the same kind of outcome on this sort of list that they would on the more traditional “talk to the scouts and see what they have to say” kind of lists. With all of that said, the Cincinnati Reds wound up with two prospects on the list, both near the end.
Catcher Tyler Stephenson has the highest rating among all of the Reds prospects on the ZiPS list, coming in at #97 overall. The former 2015 1st round pick by Cincinnati is coming off of a season in which he hit .285/.372/.410 in the regular season for Double-A Chattanooga – good for a 131 OPS+ with the Lookouts. He followed that up by heading out to the Arizona Fall League where he played in 14 games, including the Fall Stars Game, hitting ,353./.421/.549 with eight extra-base hits, five walks, and seven strikeouts. In November the Reds added Stephenson to the 40-man roster.
Infielder Jonathan India came in at #100 on the list. The 2019 season was one of ups-and-downs for the 2018 1st round selection of the Reds. He began his season in Daytona, playing with the Advanced-A Tortugas. In the extremely pitcher friendly league he hit .256/.346/.410 with 28 extra-base hits in 87 games. On the surface that line doesn’t seem impressive, but it was good for a 125 OPS+ given the league’s pitcher friendliness. India moved up to Double-A Chattanooga in the second half and played 34 games with the Lookouts. While there he hit .270/.414/.378 – good for a 138 OPS+. The power dropped off, but his walk rate increased by 50% and his strikeout rate dropped off from 23% to 18%.
For Jonathan India, though, he played most of the season while dealing with smaller injuries – nothing that was enough to put him on the injured list, but he wasn’t exactly playing at 100%, either. He went out to the Arizona Fall League after the season and struggled for a few weeks before a wrist injury shut his fall season down. India is one of six infielders in big league camp with the Reds on a non-roster invite.