The Cincinnati Reds have the 8th best farm system in all of Major League Baseball according to the experts at Baseball America. Just for reference – I do contribute to Baseball America each month about the Reds, but I was not consulted for this or any other lists that they put out.

Coming into the season the Reds were rated by Baseball America as having the 18th best farm system in Major League Baseball, so they have made a rather big jump. There are a few reasons for that, but in large part it’s due to their top prospects taking steps forward – Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Jose Barrero have all moved up in the Top 100 rankings at Baseball America in their most recent rankings – and a few guys jumping up in big ways from outside of the top 10. Graham Ashcraft has gone from a guy with potential to be a good reliever to a starting pitcher who has had an outstanding season who looks like he could stick as a starting pitcher. Elly De La Cruz has basically come out of nowhere to become a guy worth checking on every day.

Not to be lost, though, either, is that the Reds draft this year has been considered one of the best in the league. Adding in Matt McLain, Jay Allen, Mat Nelson, and Andrew Abbott all in the top 53 picks of the draft goes a long way to adding plenty of talent to the farm system that had already been moving its way upward.

The Pirates are ahead of the Reds in the rankings – they are inside the top five. But the Cardinals, Brewers, and Cubs all rank between 20 and 25. Farm systems are going to go up-and-down as players graduate. What’s good to see, though, is that the Reds system has moved up significantly since the start of the season despite graduations from Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, Vladimir Gutierrez, and Tejay Antone.

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20 Responses

  1. LDS

    Nice improvement. Makes me think next could be a nice step forward with a younger team

  2. AllTheHype

    Quite impressive the Reds moved up even after the recent promotions. If only the MLB team was run as well as the draft and development side.

  3. DanD

    There is a nice article on Blog Red Machine about Nick Senzel of how it would be best for both sides of Senzel being traded in the off season. What kind of trade value would he have to the Reds Farm system? I do agree now is the time to cut ties.

    • Alex Reds

      This is absurd. Senzel’s value is at an all time low. It wouldn’t take much for Senzel to improve his value and he still has options to be sent to the minors to get his timing down and prove himself to increase his value in a trade or to add to the team. Senzel has huge upside as an extremely athletic player, tons of position versatility, with great on base potential. And he’s cheap! You will not get a better player in return. No reason to sell low.

    • Tom

      Agree and disagree. If it’s ever going to click, it’s best if it happens here. His trade value, is/was as low as its ever been. Maybe there is a former top prospect in another org that could use a change of scenery.

  4. Untchbl

    Time to see what Barrero can do… Let’s hope he isn’t sitting on the bench until Winker returns.

  5. donny

    Winker went on the 10 day dl and Barrero has been called up .

  6. RedsGettingBetter

    And this ranking not considered there are players in the system out of 100 top such as Santillán and López who had good performances in the short time at MLB and others in low levels as Bryce Bonnin, Francisco Urbáez, Allan Cerda, Cedrola and so on with pretty good numbers…

  7. Jefferson Green

    Wow. When is the last time that the Reds graduated four major contributors to the big club and still rose ten spots in the farm rankings? The retooling of the development systems for hitters and pitchers seem to be paying big dividends – finally out-developing some key competitors in the league.
    The Reds are rightfully getting blasted for their penny-pinching and dubious FO decisions in this winnable season, but they also deserve kudos for keeping scouts and development more intact than many other teams through the pandemic.
    The future looks better than usual.

    • SteveLV

      I’m not sure who deserves credit for their draft and development performance over the past 5 or 6 years, but whoever deserves it should get it. They’ve done a really good job.

      • DaveCT

        Not just producing players but up the middle players. Stephenson, India, Barrero, and, still, Senzel in CF. Or McClain

        Behind them, utility guys such as Lopez.

        While the remaining players with higher ceilings are now a bit lower in the system than at the beginning of the year, the next wave of high impacts prospects include some kids named Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, etc.

        Not bad at all.

    • Mark

      Former International Scouting Director Tony Arias left the Reds to work in the International Scouting Department of the Top ranked Washington Nationals International Scouting Department. He is was the Reds International Director when Aroldis Chapman, Raisel Iglesias, Didi Gregorious, Vladimir Gutierrez, Jose Barrero, Ronald Torreyes, Aristides Aquino were signed and Whom are all still playing in the ML.

      The group that Arias still has in the Reds system who have all made huge improvements this year are Elly De La Cruz, Alfredo Rodriguez Dauri Moreta, Allan Cerda, Miguel Hernandez, Victor Ruiz to name a few. I am certain that those just mentioned have helped improve the REDS current ranking. Arias also wore many hats in the organization and was very instrumental in the drafting of Jeter Downs.

  8. Michael


    I agree. The previous guy who ran the drafts took a lot of heat but he was not in charge of development and that was the area that seemed to be lacking. Looking now we are seeing a wave of those guys exploding on the scene with India, Stephenson, Barrero, Antone etc…

    • Bubba Woo

      Starting pitching in the system is the best it’s ever been. Greene/Lodolo/Ashcraft/Santillan/Roa/Bonnin all are young and have the potential to be MLB starters in the next few years. As a longtime fan, I would say that the Reds have been historically terrible at developing SP, so this is exciting.

      That said, I’d say the organization is weak in potential everyday position players. With Barrero promoted, McCain is probably the only player in the system who you could see being an everyday player in the next 2-3 years.

      • Stock

        Parts of this is well said and parts I disagree with.

        I love the SP in the minors. We could see

        As soon as 2022: Greene, Lodolo
        2023: Ashcraft
        2024: Roa, Bonnin, Abbott, Boyle
        2025: Aguilera

        Santillan will probably be un next year but as a RP.

        But the position players are much better than you say.

        Berrero and McLain you mentioned.

        Ivan Johnson is someone I am watching closely.
        Brian Rey and Lopez will never be superstars but I could see both in the majors in 2 years. We have already seen Lopez.

        Nelson and Rogers were just signed and have very few AB but they are off to great professional starts.

        But the gems are in Daytona. I would not be surprised both De La Cruz and Hendrick in the majors in 2-3 years. Cerda could be right behind them.

        The out of no where improvement of Rey, Ivan Johnson, De La Cruz, Ashcraft, Bonnin, Boyle and Greene along with what lookes to be a great draft and suddenly my 11-15 prospects are Roa, Santillan, Lopez, Hinds and Callihan.

  9. Gaffer

    A near decade of drafting in the top half of the draft and getting competitive balance picks most years doesn’t hurt either.

  10. Redsvol

    very nice to see the Reds minor league system get some kudos. Even more impressive to jump in rankings after so many have graduated to the MLB. Remember that India, Antone, and Stephenson were never ranked in the top 50 of MILB. So lots of development is occurring that didn’t occur before. Credit to the players but also credit to the minor league development folks and major league coaches because development isn’t stopping once they reach the majors. Aquino, India, Winker, and others have gotten better from spring training to today.

  11. Brad

    Much credit to the Reds for a fantastic farm season. Graduated necessary major league contributors, while holding onto top prospects through trade deadline, drafter well, developed players well. All adds up. Other teams, above Reds, either acquired prospects at trade deadline, drafted in top ten or both.

    Imagine if they could graduate 2 everyday players such as India and Stephenson and 2 pitchers caliber of Antone and Gutierrez every year… Would need to extend very few players.

    The next few years are promising.

    2022 Graduates: Barrero, Santillan, Greene?, Lodolo?, Hendrix?

  12. kevinz

    Nice to be Ranked in top 10.
    Seemed to overlook our system before.
    Since earlier in the year Had India and Stephenson as Prospects.
    Keep Devlp well Reds.
    Rankings will not matter if do that well.

  13. Greg Niemeyer

    Dick Williams laid a very strong developmental foundation for the team.
    Trades and free agent signings grab the headlines, but this is where you develop assets of value so you can take your swings and/or make it without breaking the bank.

    Good work Mr Williams!