It’s that time of year again where we take a look at the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospects. Each day this week we will unveil five new spots on the list as we work our way through the Top 25 Prospects heading into the 2022 season.  If you were supporting the site on Patreon you would have gotten the entire Top 25 list last week and had early access to this, and all other scouting related articles that show up on the site. Click here to see what all you can get for helping keep the site alive and kicking via support through Patreon.

These write ups will not feature scouting reports. Those will be included with the Season Reviews, which will start next week – first working my way through the Top 25 prospects before then branching out into another 50-75 interesting prospects through the remainder of the offseason. For the entire list you can click here (each day it will be updated as the next piece comes out).

*To be eligible for the list a player must have 2022 Rookie of the Year eligibility (Fewer than 130 at bats in the big leagues, fewer than 50 innings pitched, or less than 45 days on the active MLB roster that doesn’t include September)*

21. Ariel Almonte | OF | Age: 17

2021 Team: DSL Reds | Acquired: International FA 2021 | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 187 lbs

One of the two 7-figure signings from the January 2021 international signing class by the Reds, Almonte got the second largest bonus handed out in the class and second largest by the organization to a non-Cuban in over a decade. The left-handed hitter played in 48 games for the Dominican Summer League Reds this season and hit .278/.398/.438 with 15 steals during his first professional season.

Biggest Strength: Power potential. The teenager has plus power potential to tap into as he continues to mature, both physically as well as in his approach to the game as he gains more experience.

Biggest Weakness: As a 17-year-old he’s still far from reaching his potential as well as the big leagues. That’s not really his fault, of course, but when it comes to prospect rankings that is factored in. On the field we only have one season to look at, but he did strike out 26% of the time he stepped to the plate – a rate that you hope improves as he continues to move up.

2021 Season Stats

22. Yerlin Confidan | OF | Age: 18

2021 Team: ACL Reds | Acquired: International FA 2019 | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 170 lbs

Signed as a part of the 2019 international signing class, the cancelled 2020 season delayed his professional debut until this past season. The wait was worth it. Jumping straight to the Arizona Complex League out in Goodyear, Yerlin Confidan led the league with 11 home runs while hitting .315/.359/.573 in 50 games.

Biggest Strength: Power Potential. That’s not too surprising coming from a guy who just led the league in home runs.

Biggest Weakness: He committed seven errors in right field in just 36 games, leading to an .860 fielding percentage. That must improve moving forward.

2021 Season Stats

23. Joe Boyle | RHP | Age: 22

2021 Teams: ACL Reds/Daytona | Acquired: 5th Round (2020) | Height: 6′ 7″ | Weight: 240 lbs

Spring training was reportedly going very well for Joe Boyle…. up to the point near the end of April when he was injured and then had to stay back in Goodyear. He would not get back on the mound in games until August before he would make four starts in the Arizona Complex League on rehab and then four starts for the Low-A Daytona Tortugas. The results were inconsistent as he walked 14 batters and struck out 41 in his 19.2 innings while giving up five earned runs (2.29 ERA).

Biggest Strength: Pure stuff. Boyle throws hard and he’s got an absolute hammer of a breaking ball.

Biggest Weakness: Control. After walking 48 batters in 36 innings at Notre Dame, Boyle struggled to throw strikes in his limited time with Daytona, walking 13 batters in 12.2 innings. He did throw more strikes in Arizona, both in spring training and while rehabbing, but has to really cut down the walks moving forward.

2021 Season Stats

24. Michael Siani | OF | Age: 22

2021 Teams: Dayton | Acquired: 4th Round (2018) | Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 188 lbs

The season didn’t get out to the start that Michael Siani was hoping for. Throughout spring training and through much of the first month of the season he couldn’t play defense due to an injury and was limited to designated hitter duties. Perhaps the injury carried over to the plate, too, as he struggled to find consistency at the plate and posted a .648 OPS while striking out 25% of the time.

Biggest Strength: Defense. He’s a plus defender in center who shows both range and a quality arm.

Biggest Weakness: Hitting. His OPS has dropped with each promotion since he was drafted, and his contact rate has gotten worse with each promotion, too.

2021 Season Stats

25. Malvin Valdez | OF | Age: 18

2021 Teams: DSL Reds | Acquired: International FA 2019 | Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 178 lbs

After being the top signing in the 2019 international signing class, Valdez had to wait until 2021 to get on the field due to the cancelled 2020 season. He showed off his speed as he stole 25 bases in 51 games, and he started every game he played in center for the DSL Reds. He struggled with contact and hit just .218, but walked a lot and showed a little bit of in-game pop for his age.

Biggest Strength: Athleticism. There’s a full set of tools for Malvin Valdez to work with and grow into in the future.

Biggest Weakness: Contact. While we’re dealing with just one season, and one that came as a 17-year-old, Valdez struck out in 34% of his plate appearances in 2021 for the DSL Reds.

2021 Season Stats

*All listed ages as as of the date published, not necessarily the age of the player during the 2021 season*

20 Responses

    • Doug Gray

      Copy and Paste (then filling in from there) will get you every single time! Thanks for the correction.

  1. SteveLV

    Really like seeing multiple young prospects with big tools ranked in the 20s. If just one of them capitalizes on the potential they have, it will make a big difference.

  2. RedsGettingBetter

    Siani is having a breakout AFL season in the hitting side, hopefully he could carry it over 2022 and let us see if can make it through AA-AAA levels to reach the major team .By the way, Doug, i guess you want to write Boyle was playing at low-A but not high-A Tortugas, I just comment it for help you to fix , sorry for my audacity ..

    • Doug Gray

      All due respect to Siani and what’s happening in the AFL…. he’s had two huge games. Not really a breakout at this point.

      • Gaffer

        He is exactly as he was advertised in the draft, but that’s all he’s been. He hasn’t had much opportunity (COVID and injured) to improve at the plate, but at this point unless he has one of those mysterious late career surges he’s likely a defense replacement only.

  3. Stock

    3 of the 7 in my top 25 that I was not sure you would include in your top 25 made it here today as I also had Almonte, Confidan and Siani in the 21-25 range. I had Valdez at 29. His K% at that level left him outside my top 25.

    I had Joe Boyle at #10. He quite possibly has the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the organization and the only one close will not be revealed until Friday. I have never heard of someone striking out more than 50% of the batters he faced. If he can acquire some control he will be an ace in the majors. His breaking ball is unhittable and his fastball reaches the upper 90’s. What a fantastic arm.

    I have Thomas Farr at 24. Like Boyle he can reach the upper 90’s with his fastball. Also like Boyle his lack of control left him available later in the draft and a good High ceiling pick. Unlike Boyle, his control with the Reds this year was great in his limited innings (1 BB and 14K in 10 IP).

    I can see Valdez but I like Farr more. High K guy’s struggle to make the majors. Hendrick and Valdez are very similar though and Hendrick is still in my top 10 so maybe Valdez should be in the top 25. I am hoping Hendrick and Valdez improve their K% a great deal next year.

    • Doug Gray

      Way, way too much risk in Joe Boyle to rank him that high. He has to show he can not walk a batter an inning to move up to where you’ve got him, ceiling being very high or not. His floor is “never gets out of A-ball because he walks a batter every inning”.

      • Stock

        I totally understand your ranking. Boyle did improve his strike % every game. His last game 60.3% of his pitches were strikes. My guess is he led the league in % of pitches taken against. His breaking ball and fastball are so good the best chance a hitter has is to take a BB. 81 batters faced and only 9 hits all year.

        If he can get to the point where he walks 4-5 batters per nine IP and keep his K/9 north of 14 he will be a solid ML pitcher. In 2018 Robbie Ray had 5.09 BB/9 and 12.01 K/9 and had an ERA of 3.93, a FIP of 4.31 and an xFIP of 3.77. His strike % was 61.7%.

        Robbie Ray never came close to Boyle’s 19.89 K/9 and has never topped Boyle’s GB rate of 46% that he had last year. Will Boyle ever get a BB/9 under 5? Based upon what I saw in rookie ball I say yes. Based upon his last start I even say yes (I know very limited sample size).

        I agree Boyle’s floor is to not even sniff AAA. But I also believe his ceiling is best SP in baseball.

        In Randy Johnson’s first 240 IP in the minors he walked 7.7 batters per 9 IP and K’d 9.9 per 9 IP. His last 11 years in the majors he was one of the best pitchers in baseball and walked 2.31 batters per 9 IP.

        Nolan Ryan is in the Hall and his BB/9 for his ML career was 4.67.

        History says pitchers can improve their control (Robbie Ray, Randy Johnson). History also says that if a pitcher has good enough stuff he doesn’t need to get under 4 BB/9 IP to make it to the HOF.

        It is difficult to place Boyle but I know if I were the Reds GM and a team was willing to trade me but wanted 2 of Boyle, Abbott (#15 prospect on my list) and Roa (#21) I would give them Abbott and Roa. Therefore I have to consider him the better prospect of the three.

      • Doug Gray

        You are placing a ton on less than 20 innings worth of stats, Stock. Strike% is not calculated in rookie ball. They aren’t actually tracking each pitch thrown there, so his “strike rate” you cite is for a grand total of 4 games, where the best one is 60%. MLB average was 64% this year.

        Yes, if Joe Boyle can cut his walk rate in half of what it was this year, and more than in half from where he was in college, he’s going to probably be a solid big league pitcher or even better. How many pitchers can do that? The list is very, very small when we start with guys who have extreme problems throwing strikes.

        You are looking at the two outliers. You’re forgetting about the 10,000 guys who never figured it out.

        I hope Boyle figures it out because the stuff is crazy good.

    • Stock

      Another beautiful thing about Boyle and what separates him from any other pitcher.

      This year Jacob DeGrom and Corbin Burnes were absolutely dominate. For the year Corbin Burnes had a swinging strikes to Balls ratio of 25%. A stunning total. Jacob was even better though 265 swinging strikes vs. 856 balls for a ratio of 30.9%.

      In his final game of the year Joe Boyle threw 29 balls and had 19 swinging strikes. A ratio of 65.5%. I know I am comparing one game vs. an entire year for the two best pitchers in baseball but I am willing to be neither of these had a game where the ratio was even 50%.

    • Stock

      I am not really looking at 3 outliers. I just knew this HOF pitchers (and Robbie Ray) had control problems at one point in their career as many power pitchers do. Looked at the 2018 K leaders. In the top 10: 2 pitchers (Scherzer and Morton) had 2 times as many BB/9 in A ball as they did now. 4 other (Cole, Bauer, Snell and Carrassco) had 50% more BB/9 in A ball as they did in the majors. Outside of Bauer none of them struck out more than 10.5/9 IP.

      The sample size is very small. But I don’t think the K/9 drops much. I do think the BB/9 would have though. I think he was figuring it out. His strike % increased every game in Daytona. I think he will be in Daytona and if he remains healthy he will be a top 100 prospect at year end.

      • Doug Gray

        To put that in perspective, there were some places that didn’t have Hunter Greene or Nick Lodolo as Top 100 prospects when this year began. You think that Joe Boyle is going to be better than those guys were when this season began?

  4. James Phillips

    Nice to see the foreign talent on the list after so many years with the Reds ignoring the international market.

  5. Bourgeois Zee

    Confidan seems a bit low here. He was the MVP of the entire Arizona Complex League, led the league in HR, hit .315, didn’t K too much, and is still only 18?

    The Reds haven’t had a kid who’s displayed that type of power that young in a long, long time. Just to give you an idea of the type of production we’re talking about, Marco Luciano didn’t quite match Confidan’s power in 2019 at 17, but he was close (8). He’s now a top 20 prospect in baseball. Bobby Bradley (8) and Matt Olsen (7) came pretty close to the HR totals at age 18– they’ve turned out pretty solid. Rymer Liriano (8) and Randal Grichuk (7) also came relatively close in HR at similar ages. Oscar Robertson, a AAA Cleveland OF, just had a monster season; he also came close to double figures in HR and was 18 or less.

    Over the past decade, no one in Arizona has been as young as Confidan and had as many HR as he has.

    • Stock

      I am not Doug but the reason Confidan did not make my top 20 is because of his BB%. His K% – BB% is 18.7%. You mentioned Marco Luciano. In rookie ball his K% – BB% is 6.7%. If Confidan had a 6.7% K% – BB% he would be in my top 10 for sure.

    • MBS

      I got to admit, I had no idea about Confidan during the season. He seems like a high ceiling guy. I’d love to see his scouting report scores. I saw a tweet that said 70 arm, and mentioned another 70, but I wasn’t sure what that 70 was, I think it was power but can’t remember.

    • Doug Gray

      I know that everyone strikes out these days, but saying a 25% strikeout rate isn’t “striking out too much” is a bit much. You can get by with a 25% K rate, but it’s certainly not what you are hoping to see.

      Also feels like we’re just ignoring an .860 fielding percentage…. I’ll have some more in his write up in about a month when I get to it.

      He’s a fine prospect. But also a guy that needs to show some more at higher levels for me to really jump up the rankings, too.

  6. Redsvol

    Doug – admit it, compared to 5 to 8 years ago, there is no comparison between the guys in the 20’s. We used to have some tools in your 20’s but not tools and results. Almonte, Confidan and Boyle might have been in your top 10 years ago. The draft and development is happening folks. I’d still like to see more pitching development from the lower rounds and international signings. We need to at least start seeing some guys become reliable relievers from that group.