In his new gig at The Athletic, Keith Law released his Top 100 Prospects in Major League Baseball list. In other lists we’ve seen this offseason there has been anywhere from 2-4 Cincinnati Reds prospects on the national top 100 lists. For Law, he split that number and had three Reds prospects on his Top 100.
Topping the list for Cincinnati is 2017 1st round pick (and #2 overall pick) Hunter Greene. Despite missing the 2019 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April of last year, the athleticism, upside, and turn around performance after a tough start in 2018 over the first few weeks has the right-handed starter at #30 on the list. The #30 ranking is not only the highest for Hunter Greene this offseason, besting his #53 ranking on the MLB Pipeline list, it’s also the highest rating for any Reds prospect this offseason. Nick Lodolo had the previous high ranking, coming in at #48 on the MLB Pipeline list.
Speaking of Lodolo, the Reds 2019 1st round draft pick (and #7 overall pick) is the next Cincinnati prospect on the list for Law. He doesn’t have the upside of Hunter Greene, being described to Law by some scouts as “boring good” according to his write up. But where Lodolo shines is quality stuff across the board with outstanding strike-throwing ability. The left-handed starter struck out 30 batters in his limited professional action last summer between Billings and Dayton, all while succeeding in not walking any of the 74 hitters that he faced. Among the five national lists worth paying attention to (Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, The Athletic), the lefty was the only Reds prospect to make all of the lists.
Rounding out the list among the Reds prospects is shortstop Jose Garcia. After struggling in his pro debut in 2018 he broke out a bit with Advanced-A Daytona in 2019. While playing shortstop nearly every day once he joined the Tortugas in late April he went on to hit .280 and lead the Florida State League in doubles with 37 of them. His bat went from severely underperforming the year before to posting a 131 OPS+ in 2019. For Garcia it was the second Top 100 list that he landed on this offseason – he was also rated as the 82nd overall prospect in baseball at Fangraphs by Eric Longenhagen.
Here’s the breakdown of the ranking for each of the Reds prospects that have made one of the big national lists this offseason.
It’s an interesting showing for Cincinnati’s farm system, which was rated as the 28th best (or 3rd worst depending on how you want to look at things) in Major League Baseball by both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. As has been noted before, there are four Reds prospects that have made Top 100 lists from reputable sources this offseason, and a fifth – Jonathan India – was among the next five prospects on the Baseball America list. That’s a tough sell to me to say there are 27 teams with better farm systems than that.
The Reds system isn’t quite what it was. 13 months ago the system also had Nick Senzel, Josiah Gray, Shed Long, Jeter Downs, and Taylor Trammell in it. Cincinnati landed some talent in return for the trades of some of those players, and Senzel graduated to the Major Leagues. Had they held onto all of those players, the farm system would look very strong right now – probably top five in the game. But they’d also be without Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer. There’s been a drop off, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s among the worst farm systems in all of Major League Baseball, either. There’s legitimate talent in the organization in the minors.