The Cincinnati Reds made some trades on Monday at the deadline. And in making those trades they moved several prospects, along with Josh VanMeter, to get the deals done. Stuart Fairchild, the Reds #8 prospect at the time, and Packy Naughton were moved in deals along with a player to be named later.
We don’t know who the third prospect moved in the deals will be, but we can discuss what the farm system looks like now without Stuart Fairchild and Packy Naughton.
When looking at the big league roster, the Cincinnati Reds are loaded with outfielders. Jesse Winker is making an argument for best hitter in the league. Nick Senzel is a former top prospect and has performed solidly in his big league career and shown flashes of a lot more. Nick Castellanos is a well above-average hitter (121 OPS+ over the last five seasons). Then there’s guys like Shogo Akiyama and Aristides Aquino behind those three. Right now, the team has big league options, and good ones.
In the minor leagues the Reds top outfield prospect is 2020 1st round pick Austin Hendrick. But he’s also a teenager who has yet to step onto a field as a professional. Stuart Fairchild was the highest rated outfielder beyond that, coming in at #8 on the Reds prospect list. They were the only two outfielders in the Top 10. Both TJ Friedl and Michael Siani were in the Top 15, but then you get down into the 20-30 range before seeing another outfielder. If we were going to give the farm system a grade when it comes to their outfield prospects, it would probably be a B- at this point, at best – and it’s almost entirely there because it has Austin Hendrick. There simply isn’t much depth on the farm when it comes to outfielders that have performance under their belt now that Fairchild has been traded.
The Reds starting pitching depth at the Major League level is another area where they’ve got a lot of quality options. Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer, Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Anthony DeSclafani, Tejay Antone, and Wade Miley provide the Reds with more depth than most teams in the game, and at the top of the rotation they match up well with just about anyone (even after last night’s debacle of a start from Sonny Gray). Among that group, though, only Antone still qualifies as a prospect.
Packy Naughton was not in the Top 25 Reds prospects, but he was in there before the midseason update – coming in at #24. A few draft picks moved onto the list and pushed the left-handed starter off, but he’s considered a solid prospect.
The depth of starting pitchers is stronger for the farm system than it was with outfielders. At the top of the list are Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo. Both are Top 100 prospects as well as being the top Reds prospects. Tony Santillan and Christian Roa also join them in the organizations Top 10. But after that the depth certainly takes a bit of a hit. You’ve got Tejay Antone (who would rate higher today than he did at the time the last update was made), Noah Davis, Lyon Richardson, and the currently suspended Vladimir Gutierrez in the 15-20 range, and then Miguel Medrano at #25 in the organization.
From that group, Tejay Antone sticks out like a sore thumb. He’s a bit older than the majority of that group, but there are other reasons he sticks out, too. He’s dominated in the Major Leagues in limited exposure, and at this point the stuff he’s shown in 2020 is just on a different level than anyone else here. He’s severely underrated right now on the list given his outbreak both in terms of stuff and performance. The rest of the list, though, has some unanswered questions.
Losing Packy Naughton doesn’t put a huge dent into the overall grade of the starting pitching in the system. The lefty looked more like a back end of the rotation kind of guy. But where the loss of Naughton does come into play a little bit is the depth at the upper levels of starters. That is lessened a little bit by the fact that is actually where a lot of their depth is. Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Tony Santillan are all at the alternate site at Prasco Park and a part of the 60-man player pool right now. Antone is already in the Major Leagues. Vladimir Gutierrez has spent a full season in Triple-A. When it comes to more immediate needs of a starter, Naughton could have been an option for Cincinnati (in a normal year, anyways, as a guy with success in Double-A). But he was also far from the only option, too.
The farm system overall took a hit. They traded a top 10 prospect in Stuart Fairchild and they moved a solid prospect in starting pitcher Packy Naughton. Both players were close-ish to the Major Leagues, having had success in Double-A in the 2019 season. The Reds, though, traded from areas that they had depth at the big league level, and in Naughton’s case, an area where they had a lot of depth in the minors, too.