There hasn’t been a whole lot that would have changed the farm system rankings since the last time that they were updated by Baseball America since there hasn’t been much of a season of a regular season to this point. While there have been a few prospects of note graduate to “non-prospects” now due to service time in the big leagues, that number is relatively small. And while there was the draft, everyone for the most part got a high end draft pick and only a few teams who drafted at the top should have gotten a significant bump up for their player being added to the system versus the rest of the organizations. Oh, and there has also been no new “July 2nd” international signings, as that got pushed to next year.
Still, there has been a little bit of movement here and there because of the draft and graduations (and maybe even a few graduations). The good news for the Cincinnati Reds – if any of this even matters (it doesn’t, really, but it either feels good or bad depending on where a team falls) – is that they have moved up in the rankings since the last update. The bad news is that they still are rated as one of the worst farm systems in all of Major League Baseball, coming in at 25th overall according to the latest rankings by Baseball America.
The team has three top 100 prospects according to Baseball America, with 2020 first round pick Austin Hendrick, 2017 first round pick Hunter Greene, and 2019 first round pick Nick Lodolo all ranked between 82-85. That’s a good group of prospects, and their write up also makes a note of Tyler Stephenson being in that group before a drop off in the system.
In the rankings here at RedsMinorLeagues.com we have all of those prospects in the Cincinnati Reds top 5, but we also have Jose Garcia squeezed in at #4, behind Tyler Stephenson but ahead of Austin Hendrick. I’ll continue to say it until I’m blue in the face: Jose Garcia is the most underrated, but known prospect in all of minor league baseball.
After that group of five prospects, I am certainly in agreement with the crew at Baseball America that there’s a drop off until you get to the next level of guys, and that next level is a small group before there’s another drop off. Still, I do feel that there’s a bit more depth than it seems is implied.
The current iteration of the Cincinnati Reds farm system isn’t as high as it has been at other points since I started covering the organization back in 2006. It’s going to be tough to top the 2008 class that looked like this in the Top 10:
- Jay Bruce (#1 prospect in baseball)
- Homer Bailey
- Johnny Cueto
- Joey Votto
- Drew Stubbs
- Todd Frazier
- Travis Wood
- Devin Mesoraco
- Neftali Soto
- Josh Roenicke
All 10 went on the play in the Major Leagues. Six of them went on to become All-Stars. Homer Bailey has two no-hitters to his name. Joey Votto has an MVP Award and he’s a 6-time All-Star and a potential future Hall of Famer. It’s an all-timer kind of farm system.
Still, when looking at the current farm system, it feels a little better than the 25th best, or 6th worst farm system in baseball depending on how you want to look at it. What seems to really be holding them back right now is that top end guy who is in that Top 25 prospect in all of baseball range. That said, I think that Hunter Greene is being criminally underrated many places right now and despite the fact that he had Tommy John surgery in April of 2019, he’s absolutely that kind of prospect. His stuff is just different. The farm feels solid, but not elite at the top. The depth feels solid, but not great. Overall, middle tier – closer to the back of the middle tier feels right from where I’m sitting based on historical farm system values are at.