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.