After over a year of non-minor league baseball related updates to prospect lists, with a month now having been played this season Baseball America has given a full update to their Top 100 Prospect list and it’s based on actual on-field play when we’ve had actual games to watch guys perform in. The Cincinnati Reds had a solid, but unspectacular showing in the update as they had four players make the list.
For players to be eligible for the list they must still qualify as rookie eligible in the following season at the Major League level. Cincinnati has three players who entered the year, by Baseball America standards, who have lost that eligibility this season. Tejay Antone, Jonathan India, and Tyler Stephenson all have “graduated” from prospect status.
Hunter Greene made a pretty big jump up the list, moving up 36 spots from 97th to 61st. That’s not nearly enough of a jump if you ask me – but Baseball America didn’t ask me. The 21-year-old has a 2.31 ERA through six starts for Double-A Chattanooga. In his 35.0 innings he’s posted a 1.00 WHIP thanks to 25 hits and 10 walks allowed while giving up just two home runs and he’s struck out 51 batters. Not bad for the second youngest pitcher in the Double-A South.
Jose Barrero has dropped down seven spots with the latest update, going from 64th on the list to 71st. After a 2020 campaign that saw him hit well at the alternate site but really struggle in 68 plate appearances with the Reds in Cincinnati, Barrero is back in the minors and hitting well in Double-A Chattanooga. The shortstop is currently sporting a .281/.363/.506 line with 11 walks and 25 strikeouts to go along with 11 extra-base hits in 23 games played.
Austin Hendrick also dropped down a few spots. The outfielder fell from 79th to 84. Currently on the injured list in Daytona, he’s expected to return in short order. In his 14 games played this season the 20-year-old has hit .244/.466/.366 with 16 walks and 20 strikeouts.
Nick Lodolo, who entered the year unranked in the Top 100 and was ranked 7th on the Cincinnati Reds list by Baseball America, has jumped onto the list at the 96th spot. The 23-year-old lefty missed his last start with a blister, but has a 1.01 ERA through five starts for Double-A Chattanooga. He’s thrown 26.2 innings with a 0.83 WHIP thanks to 16 hits and six walks to go along with 38 strikeouts on the year for the Lookouts.
It’s hard to imagine that there are 60 better prospects than Hunter Greene. He made a big jump, so there’s recognition that he deserves to move up based on what he’s shown in 2021 so far. That’s good. But multiple guys jumped up more than Greene did. Cade Cavalli, for example, jumped from 82nd to 33rd on the list. Just a hard sell to me knowing what we know today about Greene that somewhere in the minor leagues there are 20 better pitching prospects. If that’s the case, by the time 2024 rolls around the best hitter in baseball will struggle to hit .275.
For the Reds, the showing is solid, but unspectacular. Despite my issues with how long Hunter Greene is currently ranked, that’s where he is on this particular list. While having four prospects in the Top 100 is better than the average, having zero in the top 60 of the list isn’t exactly shining a big light on the Cincinnati farm system. Losing out on being able to count guys like Antone, India, and Stephenson doesn’t help the “ranking” of the farm system, but when you include that as of a week ago the two position guys from that group would have still qualified for this list and you can see that the depth is and was absolutely there for the organization.
BA is a joke. I doubt anyone making the rankings have watched an inning of Hunter or Lodolo pitching.
That’s a bet you would assuredly lose. I know for an absolute fact that they have. This year, even.
But more so, their rankings are more based on what they are hearing from people in the industry than their own opinions. They, of course, form their own opinions based on the things they hear from those within the game of baseball.
Sidenote for transparency: Baseball America does write me a check each month for a column I write about the Reds.
Good to know Doug. But that makes their rankings even more absurd.
Would santillon and Gutierrez rank anywhere close u think? Top 150??
I don’t think so. At least not yet. Both guys struggled a bit too much in 2019 (for different reasons) that I think you are going to want to see more of them this year before you really go that far in ranking them up higher. That said, I think Santillan’s stock should be up already and if he’s still getting it done like he has been come mid-season ranking time….. he’s got a good argument to be in the Top 100 then.
Thanks for the update Doug. Also just came across an old name Connor Bennett. What happened to this promising player since 2019 ended?
Do we think Baseball America takes into account minor leaguers who are likely benefitting from messing with the ball? I’m spitballing (I’ll take the pun) here but it’s at least a provocative thought. The Reds aka Spincinnati are likely decent candidates to be a team that has benefitted from doctoring the ball, possibly more so than most.
BA likely just promotes big market clubs and ignores prospects on smaller market clubs with these lists, but if it’s assumed Greene or any other prospect might be affected by upcoming rule changes, it might explain why they’re ranked lower.
Full disclosure, I realize this post is extremely speculative, but it’s worth trying to envision the future value of certain players, whether in the majors or minors if MLB truly does the crackdown on sticky substances IMO.
No. Basically because the presumption is that literally everyone is doing it.
I wouldn’t have had Greene in last year, but seeing his starts you have to give him a Top 10 overall. Maybe the best overall SP in the minors if based on stuff and results.
I expect Lodolo to have a 12/13 win in Majors as a rookie. I’m a little higher on him.
I’m happy the National publications mention Berrors and Hendrick. I’m wait n see yet.
Doug, where do you think guys like Hinds, Callihan, Proctor, and even Alejo Lopez would rank?
Awesome update as usual!
I dunno, 300 and a lot further down? None of them are particularly close to the top 100 right now.
The fact that India wasn’t wasn’t on their list at the beginning of the season, made the Reds, and is a strong contributor, really made me think less of the rating companies like these. I would ask the Reds, which player ranked ahead of Hunter would you trade Hunter for straight up. That would tell you his real ranking. I’d be willing to bet its a number under 5.
Doug what you you guess?
I think there’d be a few position players in there just because of the inherent risk involved with pitchers and getting injured and losing entire seasons – things that you typically don’t worry about with position guys. But yeah, we’re probably talking about just a few guys.
I don’t know if I would do a Wander Franco for Greene straight up if you want my opinion. I think Greene might be this generations Nolan Ryan.
Interesting question/thought. I agree that Greene has huge upside and potential generational player but also think Franco has the same. For my money, I make the trade a get our starting SS for next 5-10 years. Trading Greene would hurt and would almost guarantee him being a #1 somewhere. I like the idea of playing Franco 162 games over how many Green could start. He’s had surgery once which means nothing or something. I roll with Mahle, Lodolo, Castillo, Santillan and one of either (Richardson, Roa, draft pick). I know the reds have Barreo up and coming but he’s not Franco. Flip Barreo for another rotation piece.
Assuming Greene and Lodolo continue performing and sustain a real breakout, both will rocket up the BA list.
Right now, VGutierrez and Santillan profile as 4/5 starters or relievers so they won’t really emerge as Top 100 type of guys.
It’d be positive if Hendricks and Hinds hit their way up the rankings, while guys like Alejo Lopez and Rey won’t get recognition as gritty utility type players but are valuable pieces.
But the system needs more Mahle’s, Greene’s and Lodolo’s and fewer RStephenson’s, Romano’s and Garrett’s.
Needless to say, TyStephenson, India and Senzel’s growth into plus regulars is pretty critical to the next generation of talent at GABP
Garrett has been a very good pitcher prior to this season. My hope is he shakes off this early season regression and gets going. Would be a huge plus for the team
Yes he has. I’m viewing him as a former starting pitcher, with reliever as a step down in value.
I think the Reds have a solid group of prospects according to the performances showed until now this season despite could be consider a small size sample. Koloszvary, Brian Rey, Proctor, Parker, McGarry, Alejo Lopez, Callihan, and others should be watched and considered in next months to get up in the different baseball rankings… However, could one or many of them reach the top 100? Why not?
Unless something really changes Callihan is the only guy in that group that would have the upside to be considered for the Top 100. But he’s a ways away from there right now.
not even Graham Ashcraft could be considered a possible top 100? Mr Doug, If he developes two additional good+ pitches over his 98-99 MPH fastball? Maybe he could throw faster improve command and reach triple digits with the right coaching support…
You didn’t mention Ashcraft in your question. Still unlikely, but the upside is there for it. It would take a lot, though, given that he’s seen by an overwhelming majority as a reliever in the long run. Just very tough for guys that profile as relievers to get rated in the top 100.