It’s prospect list season and Baseball America is the first publication to unveil their version of the Cincinnati Reds Top 10 list. To see the list you will need a subscription to Baseball America. Not everything is behind the paywall, though. You can see the projected 2024 lineup as well as the list of best tools in the farm system for free right here.
Without giving away too much of the list, there were two big surprises for me when I looked at the Top 10. Hunter Greene fell to #5, after being rated #1 coming into the year, and Nick Lodolo fell to #7 on the list after entering the year at #3. Both players were at the alternate roster site at Prasco Park in Mason, but neither player reached the Major Leagues during the past season.
Both of those players were the top pitchers selected in their respective drafts (2017 for Greene, 2019 for Lodolo). Reports on both players out of the alternate site were good from a development standpoint, but there were some noted struggles, too. That shouldn’t surprise anyone given that neither player had ever pitched above Low-A coming into the year and by-and-large they were facing guys who were at least Triple-A caliber players, with many of them having big league experience.
When looking at the 2024 projected rotation, Hunter Greene is slotted in behind Luis Castillo, while Nick Lodolo follows them both as the team’s #3 starter. This certainly indicates that the two are still viewed rather favorably, but their drop was a bit surprising, too.
The list has all of the names on it that you would probably expect to see. There’s not really any surprises among the Top 10 players, order aside, with the lone exception of the inclusion of Tejay Antone. It’s not so much that his inclusion is a surprise based on his talent/performance/future as much as it is that he’s eligible for the list. The general eligibility is that a player is Rookie of the Year eligible for the following season.
With how 2020 played out, it’s not entirely clear who is/isn’t eligible. There are three things that make one eligible: A player with less than 130 at-bats in the big leagues, a player with less than 50 innings pitched in the big leagues, or a player who has been on the active MLB roster for 45 days – not including days spent on the roster in September. It’s that latter part where things get complicated. The non-September exclusion has been because rosters expanded up to 40 players for September in the past and often times players would be called up and barely play, but get that experience of being in the big leagues. In 2020 the rosters weren’t expanded in September. If the “non-September” aspect is ignored for the 2020 season because rosters didn’t expand, then Antone wouldn’t be eligible for the 2021 Rookie of the Year Award. I’ll be treating his eligibility as such when I update the list here – he was on the big league roster for over 90% of the season this year.