Last week the full season teams around Minor League Baseball finished up the final series of the first half. That felt like it was an appropriate time to make an updated Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospect list. There had been multiple players who “graduated” from having prospect eligibility since the start of the season and performance dictated some changes as well. Let’s jump into the list and talk about why each player is ranked where they are. The new rankings went out to subscribers over at Patreon over the weekend. Early access to some things is one of the perks of financially supporting the work here. If that interests you, you can see what else you get and sign up here.

1.Elly De La Cruz | SS | Dayton Dragons

Why he is here:  He has the best set of tools of anyone in the organization and he is using them on the field on a daily basis. The 20-year-old is hitting .294/.349/.561 with 25 steals, 13 doubles, 6 triples, and 15 home runs in 67 games for High-A Dayton.

Where he must improve: We’ve been seeing it throughout this season, but he needs to continue to hone in on his plate discipline. He has improved his walk rate each month this season, setting a career high in walks in both May and in June.

2. Nick Lodolo | LHP | Cincinnati Reds

Why he is here: He’s big league ready (he returns from the injured list tonight to pitch for the Reds), has the upside for be a quality major league starter, and he has had all kinds of success in the minor leagues where he’s posted a 2.42 ERA in his 25 career minor league starts to go along with just 14 walks and 126 strikeouts.

Where he must improve: It’s tough to point at any one specific thing for Lodolo at this point. He made a mockery of the minor leagues without any apparent holes in his game and at the big league level he’s made just three starts.

3. Connor Phillips | RHP | Chattanooga Lookouts

Why he is here: He has some of the best overall stuff among pitchers in the farm system and he’s been able to use it well this season, too. He’s posted a 3.26 ERA in 13 starts with 97 strikeouts and 34 walks in 69.0 innings (64.0 of those innings in High-A Dayton).

Where he must improve: His walk rate is higher than you would like to see. He turned 21 two months ago and he’s already in Double-A, so there’s plenty of time for that to improve.

4. Matt McLain | SS | Chattanooga Lookouts

Why he is here: He can do a little bit of everything. He hit 12 home runs in 59 games in the first half of the season, showing off good pop in his bat. And he also stole 16 bases in 17 attempts, showing off both speed and smart baserunning. He is currently on the injured list while dealing with a sore wrist.

Where he must improve: He’s only hitting .237 and a big part of that is because he’s striking out 31% of the time he steps to the plate. He’s in his first full season and it’s at the Double-A level, but strikeouts weren’t supposed to be an issue for McLain coming out of college and is an area you’d like to see him improve on.

5. Brandon Williamson | LHP | Louisville Bats

Why he is here: He’s got plenty of stuff to work with and coming into the season he had a good track record in both college and as a professional. After a slow start to begin the season he began to show signs of turning it around.

What he must improve on: This season his stuff has taken a little bit of a step backwards and his consistency has, too. In 2021 he walked 33 batters in 98.1 innings, but this season he’s already walked 40 in just 71.1 innings. The walks absolutely have to return to the levels he showed last year if he’s going to be a big league starting pitcher.

6. Jay Allen | OF | Daytona Tortugas

Why he is here: Similar to Matt McLain, he’s capable of doing a little bit of everything. He hasn’t shown the same kind of pop yet, hitting 12 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 home runs in 60 games in the first half. But he’s also just 19-years-old and he’s playing in the most pitcher friendly league in all of the minors. He’s stolen 27 bases already this season while being caught just 6 times. He is currently on the injured list with an oblique injury.

What he must improve on: There’s more power in there and you’d like to see that start to show up in games. At his age there’s not much concern about that yet. He’s also hitting just .230. There’s no strikeout issue here, so just finding a way to pick up a few more hits along the way would be beneficial.

7. Chase Petty | RHP | Daytona Tortugas

Why he is here: He’s pitched well this season, posting a 3.38 ERA in 56.0 innings while walking 18 batters and striking out 54. He’s got plenty of stuff to back up those numbers, too, with a plus fastball and breaking ball to go along with an improving change up.

What he must improve on: The Reds haven’t asked Petty, who celebrated his 19th birthday the first week of the season, to pitch deep into games yet. Out of his 15 games this season he’s topped 70 pitches just four times and only recorded an out in the 5th inning three times. That’s not necessarily on him, but throwing deeper into games is an area he will have to show he can do moving forward when it’s asked of him.

8. Andrew Abbott | LHP | Chattanooga Lookouts

Why he is here: One of the early season breakouts, Abbott dominated in Dayton, posting a 0.67 ERA in his first five games before being promoted to Double-A. He had a terrible start on June 18th where he allowed eight runs in 0.2 innings for the Lookouts. Outside of that start he’s been quite good for Chattanooga, but that outing really skews the numbers in his other eight outings since his promotion.

What he must improve on: It’s tough to pinpoint a specific area that he needs to truly improve upon. He shows good control, but his command could be better. That’s nit-picking a bit, but he’s fairly polished.

9. Allan Cerda | OF | Chattanooga Lookouts

Why he’s here: Allan Cerda does a whole lot on the field. He’s hit 15 doubles, a triple, and 16 home runs in 69 games this season. He’s walked 48 times and has a .379 on-base percentage. And he’s a strong defender in center with a big time arm.

What he must improve on: He’s hitting just .227 on the season and he’s struck out 100 times in 280 plate appearances. There’s a lot of swing-and-miss happening and it’s making it difficult to hit for average. That’s been a problem throughout his career. When he hits it, he makes it count, but he needs to improve his rate of contact

10. Christian Roa | RHP | Dayton Dragons

Why he is here: There are times when Christian Roa looks very good on the mound, showing off four average to better pitches that give him a shot to be a solid big league starting pitcher. His velocity has picked up this season compared to last year – at least when it comes to where he’s sitting at.

What he must improve on: Consistency has been an issue for Roa since he was drafted. His control and command waver at times and he’ll get in trouble when that happens.

11. Rece Hinds | OF | Dayton Dragons

Why he is here: The 2022 season has been interesting for Hinds. He made the move to the outfield and the transition was rough at first, but with more experience out there you’ve been able to see the improvements come quickly. At the plate his April was about as bad as it gets, striking out nearly half the time he stepped into the batters box. But he made some adjustments and things started to get better after that, hitting .284/.351/.470 while making much more contact. He is currently on the injured list after breaking his hamate bone.

What he must improve on: While he has improved his strikeout rate post April, he’s still striking out at a rate higher than you would like to see – even from a guy with the power potential that he has. He’s had a lot of injuries in his three years on the field, limiting his game experience, which could be hindering some of his development in this area.

12. Bryce Bonnin | RHP | Dayton Dragons

Why he is here: Bonnin has electric stuff, which can be seen in the numbers he’s posted this year. In his six games he’s put up a 2.52 ERA and allowed just 11 hits in 25.0 innings while striking out 28 batters. In his career in the minors he’s given up just 38 hits in 72.0 innings and struck out 99 thanks to two plus offerings with his fastball and slider. He’s currently on the injured list with a right shoulder impingement.

What he must improve on: If you noticed above, he’s only pitched in six games this season and he’s currently on the injured list. He’s spent a lot of time on the injured list since being drafted, throwing just 72.0 innings in the year-and-a-half since the start of the 2021 season. The stuff is not in question, but his ability to stay on the mound certainly is.

13. Ricardo Cabrera | SS | DSL Reds

Why he is here: Cabrera was the biggest international signing that the Reds have made of a non-Cuban in a long, long time. He’s just getting started in his professional career.

What he must improve on: He’s played in just 20 games, and he’s the same age as a junior in high school, so he’s got to improve on literally everything at this point. With that said, he’s made 14 errors and has a .797 fielding percentage at this point. That’s got to improve.

14. Tyler Callihan | 2B | Dayton Dragons

Why he’s here: There’s plenty to like at the plate for Tyler Callihan. He’s got a good hit tool, some power potential, and a good approach at the plate that leads to good contact numbers.

What he must improve on: He suffered a wrist injury during spring training that cost him the first six weeks of the season. That may be holding back his bat just a little bit still as some wrist injuries take more time to return from in all capacities than others. With that said, his raw power hasn’t shown up frequently in games to this point in his career.

15. Joe Boyle | RHP | Dayton Dragons

Why he’s here: He’s posted a 1.72 ERA in 13 starts this year while allowing just 16 hits in 57.2 innings and striking out 91 batters. His stuff is as good as you can imagine with that stat line.

What he must improve on: His start yesterday is the prime example: He walked 6 batters in 2.1 innings. While his walk rate has improved from both where it was in college and where it was in 2021, he’s still walked 43 of the 228 batters he’s faced this season. That’s a 19% walk rate. Basically, his walk rate is the same as a prime Joey Votto. It’s far too high for him to remain a starting pitcher in the long run, and may even be too high for him to be a middle reliever without improvements in this area.

16. Jose Torres | SS | Dayton Dragons

Why he’s here: There’s plenty to like with Jose Torres. He’s a quality defender up the middle, though he’s been playing off of shortstop often enough as he’s splitting time there with Elly De La Cruz. He’s shown a solid amount of pop in his bat, and he’s gone 17-for-19 in stolen base attempts this season.

What he must improve on: He’s hitting just .228 after a big slump in June. Torres doesn’t walk much, though his walk rate has improved as the season has gone along.

17. Ariel Almonte | OF | ACL Reds

Why he’s here: After having a good season with the DSL Reds in 2021, Almonte has moved up to join the ACL Reds this year. One of the top signings in the 2021 international signing class for the organization he’s been one of the better hitters from the group and has plenty of upside.

What he must improve on: He’s just 18-years-old so there’s a whole lot he has to improve on as he continues working his way up. This season he’s played in 17 games, but he’s struck out 23 times. Making more contact seems to be the biggest area he could improve upon right now.

18. Alex McGarry | 1B | Chattanooga Lookouts

Why he’s here: There are breakouts and then there’s what Alex McGarry has done. After posting an OPS of just .716 in 2021 he’s split time between Dayton and Chattanooga this year and has an OPS of. 961 with 13 doubles, 3 triples, and 19 home runs in just 62 games played.

What he must improve on: In Dayton he struck out 57 times with just 10 walks. He’s walked 5 times with 23 strikeouts in Chattanooga. The walk rate is similar, but the strikeout rate has come down big time – though he’s only played in about half as many games. Keeping, or even improving his rate of contact he’s shown in Chattanooga would go a long way for him as he continues his progression and power breakout.

19. Leonardo Balcazar | SS | ACL Reds

Why he’s here: Last season the then 17-year-old had a nice showing for the DSL Reds, posting an .882 OPS in 29 games played. This season he’s played in 17 games with the ACL Reds and he’s done even better, hitting .346/.431/.618 with 4 home runs.

What he must improve on: He turned 18 less than a month ago, so he’s got to improve on everything. For his age, and looking at his numbers in context, there doesn’t seem to be any area that jumps out that needs a ton of work given where he’s at in his development.

20. Carlos Jorge | 2B/SS | ACL Reds

Why he’s here: Another guy who had a big season in 2021 with the DSL Reds, posting a 1.015 OPS with 27 steals. This season he’s played in 20 games with the ACL Reds and is hitting .279/.392/.508 with 10 steals in 10 tries.

What he must improve on: Like Balcazar, he’s just 18-years-old so he’s going to have to improve on every aspect of his game. That said, his strikeout rate in 2022 is up quite a bit from where it was last season. Small sample size of just 20 games, but if we are going to nit-pick, that’s an area he could improve on.

21. Yerlin Confidan | OF | Daytona Tortugas

Why he’s here: He was coming off of an MVP season as an 18-year-old in the ACL where he led the league in home runs and posted a .315/.359/.573 line. This season he’s only played in 15 games after suffering a quad injury that’s cost him the last two months of the season. He is hitting .280/.368/.440 in his limited action. He is currently still on the injured list.

What he must improve on: Defense. While he’s just 19-years-old he’s really struggled in the outfield. Not only does he have an .894 fielding percentage, the eye test also gives some pause as he often enough just doesn’t look comfortable in the outfield.

22. Michael Siani | OF | Chattanooga Lookouts

Why he’s here: One of the best defenders in the farm system regardless of position, Siani shows excellent range and a strong arm in center. He’s also having his best season at the plate in 2022. Improved plate discipline has helped as he’s walked 36 times with just 51 strikeouts this year in 313 plate appearances. Siani is also 23-for-30 on stolen base attempts this year.

What he must improve on: He’s hitting just .243 this year, and a low average is something he’s had in full season leagues since 2019 began. He’s making more contact this year than ever before, and hitting for more power, but those two things haven’t yet resulted in big strides in the average department.

23. Malvin Valdez | OF | ACL Reds

Why he’s here: Along with Ariel Almonte, Valdez was one of the big signings in the 2021 international signing class that got a big 7-figure bonus. He’s got plenty of tools to work with, including plus speed that’s helped him steal 30 bases in 36 attempts in his 68 game career.

What he must improve on: He’s just 18-years-old so everything is going to have to improve. But he’s also struck out 95 times in 276 plate appearances so far. That’s a 34% strikeout rate and one that is going to have to improve as he continues to develop.

24. Esmith Pineda | OF | DSL Reds

Why he’s here: He got the second highest bonus from the Reds in the 2022 international signing class and he’s hit like he wants to show them he was worth it. In 15 games so far with the DSL Reds he’s hitting .367/.456/.592 with 3 homers, 7 walks, and 9 strikeouts.

What he must improve on: I feel like a broken record, but when you are talking about guys in rookie ball who are just starting their careers, they need to improve on everything.

25. Daniel Vellojin | C | Dayton Dragons

Why he’s here: A quality catcher from a defensive standpoint who walks nearly as often as he strikes out at the plate. Coming off of a hamate injury he struggled to hit in 20 games with Daytona to start his season, but he has caught fire and is hitting .333/.457/.579 in his last 17 games (he’s only played in 33 this season because of the hamate injury).

What he must improve on: Defensively he calls a good game, receives the pitch well, and he’s got a good arm. But he struggles with balls in the dirt and blocking them and it’s an area that’s been a concern for a few years now. If there’s one place to look for improvements, this is it.

Players who graduated prospect eligiblity

These players no longer qualify as “prospects”: Hunter Greene, Jose Barrero, Graham Ashcraft, TJ Friedl, Alejo Lopez, and Dauri Moreta.

About The Author

Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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59 Responses

  1. Brad

    With names like Hendrick, Vellojin, Nelson, Jackson Miller, Lyon Richardson, Minier, Justice Thompson, Antonia and Valencia left off a Top 25, is that a compliment to the Reds system depth or a critique on development/performance of some previously high ranked prospects? Im sure I missed a few as well.

    • Doug Gray

      Vellojin is in at #25.

      I think there’s a combination of a lot of things going on that has the system “down” right now. Maybe some bad decisions in the draft (selecting guys with well known swing-and-miss problems). Some injury issues (Miller, Richardson). Minier, Antonia, Valencia – they’re just all so young that I want to se more from them before tossing them onto the Top 25.

      • Brad

        Thank you. IMO, its a good thing to have a deep list beyond Top 25 that have talent but haven’t figured “It” out yet, whatever the 1-2 skills that each player has as “It.”

  2. Midnight Rider

    So all of the graduates have promptly peed themselves since graduating heh?
    Green is one of the worst pitchers in the majors and Barrero doesn’t deserve to be up anytime soon.
    Lot of low average, decent obps in the low minors on that list. That doesn’t bode too well.
    De La Cruz is fun but his AA stint will tell us if he’s going to be a top of the line prospect or in danger of being Jose Siri

    • Greenfield Red

      Or, you could take a more positive view. There is a lot to like on this list, most of it quite young. There are guys not on this list who would have been previously if not for the sheer number of good prospects… and hopefully they add more really good young talent by trading Castillo, Mahle, Pham, and more in the next few weeks.

      • Midnight Rider

        Why would you take a positive view on anything related to this franchise? They are completely inept and continue to not be called out on it.
        A team that has been as bad as the Reds should have a stable of prospects and depth ready to flood the majors but it’s quite the opposite. They have zero impact players at the MLB level and the core is India, Stephenson, Senzel, Greene, Lodolo and Ashcraft would rank dead last in the league. There’s not 1 guy in this system(after Castillo is traded) that would get extended time for teams like the Braves, Dodgers, and a few more. It’s just hapless

    • Gregory Bott

      Greene is pretty raw. His contract and people wanted him up here and the Reds, who were rebuilding granted this path. I wouldn’t worry about Hunter’s ‘stats’ this year. They are pretty meaningless. I think the program is get experience this year, develop into a major league starter next year. Then 4 years of prime production before FA.

      Barrero has been repeated ad nasum, about the slowing bat speed from this kind of wrist injury. Basically a season killer.

    • Luke J

      You are entitled to your opinion. But the “graduates” have shown a TON of promise in the bigs. Greene is hardly one of the worst pitchers in the majors. Both he and Ashcraft have shown they not only belong, but have a HUGE upside. Heck Greene threw back to back shutouts (one 1 hit and one zero hits). He hasn’t put it all together consistently, but make no mistake, he is far closer to an elite starter than your evaluation.

      Like all rookies, they still have some growing to do. Especially those as young as Greene. But I strongly disagree that they “promptly peed themselves”. They have acquitted themselves well and proven the upside is real.

  3. LarkinPhillips

    I hate to move starters to the bullpen, but with the stuff Boyle and Bonnin have, along with the walk issues, could both of these project to be late inning hammers considering the starters who are in front of them in this rotation currently?

    • Doug Gray

      Keep guys starting as long as you can. One, maybe they figure it out and can stick as a starter. But two, it allows them to get more time on the mound and *hopefully* develop quicker because of it. Doesn’t always work out that way, but if you want a guy to work on and improve things, more mound time is probably preferable to lesser mound time.

      • LarkinPhillips

        Agree Doug. It was more of a hypothetical for me. Such as if we are actually competing in 2024 and need an arm or two to bolster the pen, maybe having these two come out of the pen would be nice. Or maybe the Reds could actually sign a few decent relievers and let these guys continue to develop as you said.

      • Gregory Bott

        Well, when the Reds sign relievers, they under perform(see Cessa or Iggy). They have struggled developing relievers(though Sant was promising, just a injury plagued season) for 10 years. Since the whole franchise is means testing, this sounds like the main area to address left.

      • Doug Gray

        Are we talking about the same Iggy? As in Raisel Iglesias, the guy who posted a 2.85 ERA from 2016-2020 with the Reds as a reliever? That guy underperformed? Am I missing something here?

  4. wolfcycle

    Our hitting coaches have these guys selling out too much for power. It will come as their body develops. Part of the reason we strike out so much now as a team in the big leagues. The teams with good player development are not having their kids in the minors swinging for the fences every at bat and every swing. Those are not professional at bats.

    • LDS

      But it does seem to be the organization’s development strategy – certainly it appears to be the guiding principle of the Reds ML team. Votto would be much more valuable if he’d go back to putting the ball in play and not impersonating Suarez’s pathetic last season. “Analytics” is ruining the game and the careers of multiple players.

    • MK

      I know one who is banging his head against the wall trying to get his players to make a 2-strike adjustment but the players just don’t want to give up their power swings. We are just in a time where power is viewed as the path towards success. Power is highlighted by most media outlets. You can even see it at a site like this where we don’t see a column on Highest OPS of the Month but we do see one on Longest Home Runs of the Month.

      • Doug Gray

        To be fair – you can see the highest OPS by going to just about any website on the planet. You aren’t getting home run distances like this for any other minor league organization on the internet.

  5. DaveCT

    Doug, how close was Urbaez to making the top 25? He seems like a number 31-35 guy to me. He’s not the defender that Torres is. He doesn’t have the pop of Callihan or Ivan Johnson. Nor the pedigree of McLain. But he just keeps on hitting. Maybe an Alejo Lopez comp?

    • Doug Gray

      I think he’s probably a top 50 guy with a utility-player upside. He wasn’t among the next 10 guys I had in consideration for the list, but was probably in that next group.

  6. DaveCT

    I think it is very notable that Austin Hendricks is not on this list, and I’m here for it. He had huge swing and miss coming into the draft snd hasn’t convinced me otherwise. He may not even be the top outfielder on his specific team, behind Hinds, Justice Thompson (who I think is a sleeper). And I’m not even stuck on his being a large bonus guy, either. If anything, this says more about the Reds drafting him than it does about his shortcomings. I’d love to hear some unfiltered comments from the minor league development people.

  7. RedsGettingBetter

    I wonder if Isaiah Gilliam who has had a very good season that took him be promoted to AAA level can’t be considered in the top 25 list. He’s shown to hit from both sides of plate as switch hitter for good avg , OPS and acceptable K% and W%. It seems he has an average speed, I don’t know if the downside comes from his deffense or maybe he is 25 years old …

    • Doug Gray

      I’d argue that a 32% strikeout rate from a 25-year-old in Double-A doesn’t make one a Top 25 caliber prospect in most cases. I certainly wouldn’t write him off because he’s got some pop in his bat, but at his age I’d like to see more contact if he’s not in the big leagues.

  8. James K

    A curious point: only one of the top 25 prospects is playing for Louisville, the AAA affiliate.

    • Doug Gray

      Prospects don’t tend to stick around in AAA for very long…. but also, all of the injuries this season has led to a few guys being in the bigs who might otherwise be with Louisville.

  9. Shawn

    Good to see McGarry on the list. I’m surprised Hinds as high as he is with that SO%.

    • Doug Gray

      Hinds K rate in April was insane. Since that point he cut it down big time and also hit very well.

  10. rhayex

    Joe Boyle strikes (heh) me as a similar type of prospect to EDLC: raw as heck, with great tools, but needs to get them under control. Who knows if the control ever comes, but if it does he could be a big-time starter.

    McGarry is a guy that I think has a shot at figuring it out; he’s gone from basically an afterthought (he garnished *one* mention that I could find on any lists, which was Fangraphs, and only as a “might turn into something” comment) to a guy that’s improved drastically this year. He’ll need to keep cutting down on his k rate and increasing his walk rate (just like 90% of the rest of the position players), but so far so good.

    Not feeling great about Hendricks, but I think the biggest fear I have is that the Reds pitching has seemingly taken universal steps backwards; scouting the statline, I was hard-pressed to find any pitchers that had actually *improved* their rates from the previous season (obviously there are exceptions, but speaking in aggregate). That’s concerning, as this is the first year of player development post-Boddy (who I still think did a remarkable job helping to improve the Reds system as a whole).

    Brandon Williamson in particular I’m concerned about given his k rate and BB rate have both taken massive steps backward. Some of that is likely increased competition (AA vs AAA), but even his time in AA this year was drastically worse than his time in Seattle over a similar number of innings. The k rate is particularly concerning given that I’ve heard from multiple sources that the Reds place a large emphasis on “striking everyone out” from their pitchers as part of the development process. Going from 12.56 to 9.89 k/9 at the same level seems like just as big of a red flag as going from 3.07 BB/9 to 5.35.

    I dunno Doug, am I off-base here?

    • DaveCT

      Not Doug, but BA had a report on Williamson’s fastball regressing this year. Not sure where the pitch is at currently, especially given his promotion.

    • Stock

      i agree with your points. I don’t see how Williamson is a top 10 prospect.

    • Doug Gray

      I think that for the most part, even excluding the graduations, the system has taken a step backwards. Many of the high-upside players regressed in terms of their production. Williamson’s stuff isn’t looking great, but his fastball has ticked up more recently compared to where it was at times in the earlier part of the year, so maybe that’s a good sign.

  11. Stock

    A tale of 3 pitchers in the month of June:

    Pitcher A: 17.3 K/9 IP, 5.1 BB/9 IP, 0.51 ERA, 0.906 WHIP
    Pitcher B: 10.6 K/9 IP, 6.1 BB/9 IP, 4.50 ERA, 1.591 WHIP
    Pitcher C: 10.6 K/9 IP, 5.3 BB/9 IP, 5.29 ERA, 1.471 WHIP

    Pitcher A was far and away the best pitcher in 3 categories and the best in the 4th category (BB/9). But pitcher A (Joe Boyle) gets heat for a lack of control and is ranked 15 while the other two are ranked #5 and #10

    From what I have seen the pitchers have the following ceilings

    Joe Boyle: HOF pitcher
    Brandon Williamson: #4 or #5 SP
    Christian Roa: RP

    I understand that Boyle had control problems in college but this is not college.

    Right now Boyle is unhittable. When he moves up to AA he will be unhittable. Williamson can’t say that. Roa can’t say that.

    If not for his blowup last night I would have Boyle right with Elly De La Cruz. They both have something special but they both have something to work on. History shows it is easier to improve your control than it is to improve your pitch selection.

    • Midnight Rider

      He is filthy, but have you watched him pitch? He has zero command and next to no control. He will be like Greene in the bigs, he either misses big or it’s piped right down the middle. And those guys don’t miss stuff like that

    • Doug Gray

      If only we had more information on these guys than what they did in the month of June that gave us a bigger, better picture.

  12. Stock

    The AZL fab 5:

    Donovan Antonia – The Reds thought enough of him last year to bring him to AZL even though he was 17. He struggled but was so young and adjusting to the USA so understandable. This year he is dominating. Fantastic ISO, SLG, OPS and BA. Good BB% and K% .286 adjusted BABIP may be low for this level so his BA could go up. I put him at #12 on my list.

    Leonardo Balcazar – Before he was injured last year he was dominating the DSL. This year he is doing extremely well in the AZL. The Reds are batting him 3rd so they believe in his bat. I have been touting him all year and am not about to stop. Fantastic ISO, SLG, OPS and BA. Reasonable BB% an K%. The .382 adjusted BABIP is about 75-100 points high unless he hits rockets ala De La Cruz. I put him at #13.

    Carlos Jorge – He dominated the DSL last year. this year he is doing well in the AZL Very good ISO, SLG, OPS and BA. Reasonable BB% but the K% needs to come down. The .333 adjusted BABIP is a bit high but fine. I have him at #18.

    Outside my top 25

    I know these two are big bonus boys but I don’t buy the big bonus means talent. Yorman Rodriguez, Juan Duran, Michel Triana and Braylin Minier never made it as big signings. Will Almonte and Valdez? They just don’t have the power to make it I think. Especially with those high K%.

    Ariel Almonte – 35.4% K% and an ISO of 0.068 is not a good combination.

    Malvin Valdez – 34.4% K% and an ISO of 0.111 is not a good combination.

  13. Stock

    In my top 25 but not in Doug’s: Jose Barrero, Donovan Antonia and Julian Aguilar.

    In Doug’s top 25 but not in mine: Tyler Callihan, Ariel Almonte and Malvin Valdez.

  14. Redsvol

    @Doug – love the article and the details. Of course we will quibble with you but its an excellent summary.

    I’m a big Joe Boyle fan. A pitcher that is nearly unhittable can afford some walk issues.

    I am concerned that the hitting philosophy has encouraged the all or nothing approach. As I type this, I’m watching the Rays play the Red Sox and am amazed at how much contact they make and how fast they run the bases. This is what a small market team should be coaching, but I digress.

    Very glad to see a strong Latin American influence in Arizona. We need more Latin players on the big league club and this shows the pipeline is finally being filled.

    I’ve been following your site for a long time now. I can’t remember a top 25 more talented. Yes, they all have their warts. Yes, their is a big gap between high A and AAA. No, they aren’t as good as the Dodgers or Rays minor league talent. But I’m pretty sure 25 other teams would love to have this talent in their system.

    • Doug Gray

      The Rays strike out more than the Reds do. They strike out more than almost everyone, actually – they’re 6th in the league in strikeout rate.

      As for the farm itself – I think it’s down significantly right now. There’s some talent, and some raw talent, but it feels pretty light right now.

      • Bdh

        I’m not so sure I agree.

        EDLC, Lodolo, McLain, Phillips, and possibly Abbot are top 100 guys IMO with several others (Williamson, Allen, Petty) not being too far off. Then there’s the handful of lottery ticket teenagers the reds have with the group in the ACL and Confidan.

        Not sure what they’ll get out of Drury, Pham, Naquin, Farmer, etc, but They should at least be adding another top 50 or 2 top 100 type players in return for Castillo as well.
        That, The existing players in the farm system, and the high number of early draft picks should have everyone excited for this system.

      • Doug Gray

        I can’t speak for what other places are doing, but for me Elly De La Cruz, Nick Lodolo, and Connor Phillips are Top 100 prospect caliber guys right now. Several other guys have the potential to be, but aren’t right now in my eyes.

        Most teams can match that. And most teams can also line up a handful of lottery ticket types in the complex leagues, too. There just seems to be a missing “middle” portion of prospects right now for me. Not enough guys performing well enough in that range from where I sit and look at the system.

        I also can’t count on anything from potential trades. Those haven’t happened yet and we have no idea what will happen there, if anything happens.

      • rhayex

        “I also can’t count on anything from potential trades. Those haven’t happened yet and we have no idea what will happen there, if anything happens.”

        It’s also worth mentioning that if an organization that had previously been doing well at developing prospects suddenly takes a *massive* step back, and the reaction is “Well, we just haven’t traded our stars yet!”… you’ve kind of lost the battle already.

        The middle-class of prospect that the Reds are basically entirely missing is what great organizations excel at developing out of previously unknown guys. They’re your Graham Ashcrafts, your Tejay Antones – guys that were extremely unheralded who burst onto the scene and became legitimate prospects. The Reds seemingly entirely lack those right now, and guys that were *previously* top-tier prospects like Williamson are now kinda-sorta mid-tier (altho I think he’s slipped a LOT further down for me personally).

  15. SteveO

    Lodolo will graduate from this list next month. The top 3 pitchers will then be Phillips, Williamson and Petty. Year end prospect list for 2021 did not have any of the 3 as they came to the organization in the trades with the Mariners and Twins. Some props to Krall? Quintana playing better after a little slow start and recently got promoted to Chattanooga. Tucker hitting .216 in Detroit. Hopefully, Krall continues some trade magic and stocks the rosters of the Reds, Bats and Lookouts. I’m tired of watching the Louisville Retreads the past few years. We have some good talent in Chattanooga and Dayton and must use this trade deadline to supplement that talent. Castillo and Mahle should bring back the biggest hauls and we should be able to get a pretty good prospect for Drury too. Minor, Pham, Naquin, Farmer, Garcia, Solano, Reynolds, Almora, Hoffman, Strickland, Cessa and Detwiler should also be looked at getting moved. That’s 15 players that can possibly bring 20+ new players into the system. It’s like a second draft after the MLB draft. I know that not all 15 will be moved, but Krall should try his best to move all of them. Getting cash back from some of them is also an option if the other team is not interested in trading a player. What happens from now until 8/2 is the start of the Reds youth movement and road to roster flexibility and sustainability throughout the organization. Draft and trades have to be the majority of how we makeup the rosters, not FA signings.

    • Clammy

      Tucker is a FA after this year I believe. What are the chances we invite him to return as a backup C in 2023? No other C in the organization is hitting better than .218 (besides Stephenson.) He wouldn’t break the bank, lives nearby and is popular with the fan base despite his offensive limitations. His defensive ability and veteran presence would be beneficial to a young staff. Honestly, who else in this organization is a better choice as a backup?

      I agree on the trade chips, although Almora has one year of arbitration left. Given his play this year and the uncertainty in CF, I’m guessing he sticks around unless the return is appropriate Drury, who is making less than 1 million $, will be attractive to teams wary of adding payroll. A nice addition to a Castillo or Mahle trade in order to pry a top prospect or two away from the likes of the Dodgers etc. The quicker we trade Drury, the more AB’s we can give to Salono; hopefully increasing his trade value. Given that Drury might be our only All-Star, I doubt it happens before the break.

      • Doug Gray

        If you are Tucker Barnhart are you choosing Cincinnati, where you know you’re going to be a backup for your entire contract, if you have a choice to sign somewhere else where that might not be the case? I know that I wouldn’t.

  16. SteveO

    The organization that the Reds have to try to pattern is our next door neighbors in Goodyear, the Guardians. 4th lowest payroll at $69M and over .500 record. Very few players (3-4) over 30 on the Guardians and none in their minor leagues. All teams in their system are over .500 record at the moment. They stress winning at all levels of their organization. Many of their players are aggressively promoted in their organization and their AAA team roster has about half of the players under the age of 25. I have often stated after Dusty Baker got fired that we should’ve hired Mike Sarbaugh, who was their AAA manager and was coming off of a couple of AAA championship seasons. He is now the 3rd base coach with the Guardians. Instead the Reds hired Price and we have not showed any kind of consistent winning thereafter. As we continue to align payroll with resources, we have a great opportunity in trying to right the ship before 8/2. C’mon Krall, let’s see you pull this off!

    • Tom

      I almost fully agree with this comment. In fact I almost wrote something similar. The other end of the balance would be still having Winker and Suarez and sonny gray through next year and trying to piece together a wildcard birth. There may be some magic in the playoffs. Still a very long shot for a championship.

      In my opinion Krall is going to try to win again in 2023 despite the pathetic 2022 results. I’m still mostly in his corner but he has set an incredibly high bar for himself and nearly every trade makes must work out fully. The Reds lack impact players. They need a collection of five to 8 impact players. They might have 3 ready now with question marks all over.

  17. Bdh

    With all the players who’ve graduated off the list the last 2 seasons
    (India, Stephenson, Santillan, Gutierrez, Sanmartin, Moreta, Greene, Ashcraft, Friedl, Lopez, Barrero)
    This is still a solid top 25 list with about a dozen or so players that didn’t make the list still being worthy of following like a top 25 player in the system as well
    (Hendrick, Thompson, Antonia, Minier, Johnson, Miller*, Nelson, Free, Quintana, Gilliam, Lyon Richardson*, Rivera)

    After the handful of draft picks in the top 100 selections, the prospects the reds will get from the upcoming trade deadline, and the next international group where they already are the favorites for Duno they should have one of the better rated systems in the mlb. Pretty impressive for a team that’s had that many top prospects recently graduate off these lists.

  18. MBS

    I think you made a good assessment of the prospects. I normally look at list like theses and have several critiques. This one seems right on the money.

    McGarry’s rise has been one of the biggest surprises, and most needed. I have been speculating on alternate options at 1B, like Hendrick, and Confidan. I am glad we have an actual 1B is doing well.

    Biggest disappointment is the lack of high end, near MLB ready OF talent. I am assuming the Reds will trade one or both of Castillo, and or Mahle. Hopefully they can bring in a prospect that will fill that void.

    • AMDG

      The near MLB talent all recently made the majors (Stephenson, Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft) so that does leave a void.

      But seeing that talent promoted is better than having nobody who was worth promoting.

      And there is still hope Barrero is there, as it’s difficult to know how much the hand injury is setting him back offensively.

  19. AMDG

    When I saw McLain at #4 and Cerda at #9, I figured I must have looked over Siani.
    But I was quite surprised to find him all the way down at #22. Wow.

    As a great defensive CF with lots of speed, who is young for AA, and has improved his hitting and K’s this year, I’m trying to figure out why he got devalued so much? Is it lack of pure power?

    Otherwise, I’m not sure how Cerda (who has been in A+ most of 2022 hitting 0.219 with a 37% K rate) is rated well above Siani (who is in AA with a better BA and a low 16% K rate).

    I get that the modern game is all about HR’s and K’s, and McLain has 2 more extra base hits and 29 more K’s than Siani, but i’m surprised that would position McLain in the top 5, and place Siani outside the top 20.

    I’m just curious between the three 22 year old’s in AA, why Siani is so much lower than the other two?

    • Doug Gray

      Siani’s never really hit outside of Greeneville. This year is far and away his best season at the plate outside of 46 games in Greeneville back in 2018. And he’s slugging .399 with a .739 OPS. That’s not to say he doesn’t or can’t have a big league future, but that’s just not really that comparable to what McLain or Cerda are doing, either. McLain’s also not hitting for average, but he’s slugging .470 and from an expected tools situation, the hit tool is much better even if it’s not playing as such today. Cerda, like the others, isn’t hitting for much average. I don’t ever expect him to, either. But he walks a ton (not that the others don’t also walk at a good clip) and his power is just on a different level than the other two. Defensively I’d rank them: Siani, Cerda, McLain.

      One thing we have to remember with McLain is that he’s in his first full season. While he’s the same age as Siani and Cerda, there’s a difference between being 22 and in AA when you are in your 4th/5th professional season and being there in your 1st/2nd.

      • AMDG

        Thanks for the clarification.

        Is the thing with the organization experience why somebody like Torres (same age as Siani but hitting worse, and at a lower level) gets rated higher?


    I pay a few bucks a month to get a little more info. I always come here afterwards to the comment section to see everyone’s thoughts vs mine. I won’t give kudos to the 3/4 guys who really know the players or down anyone for their obvious observation mistakes.
    Doug had more STOCK UP than DOWNS but it should be that way. STOCK DOWNS fall out and STOCK UP’s make the list.
    My stock on some of the graduates is DOWN, especially GREENE. LODOLO is a graduate to me and he is doing about as I expected minus injuries, so I’m not sure if he is a STOCK IS THE SAME or UP because he looks like a very good SP. ASHCRAFT is WAY UP.
    Overall the system is down, not because of graduating, but HORRIBLE DRAFTING and really the Trades was HOPES/FANTASIES and on a scale of 1-10, I give the Reds a generous grade of 3.
    Cruz is better than Yorman Rodriguez ever was and he is really improving.
    Jose B I had hopes for him and them Hamate injuries affect different players in different ways. Some seem to never regain their stroke or just lose some power, some comeback like they never missed a game. Jose B looks awful!
    Still wouldn’t have traded Greene for Realamuto because of the catchers age.
    I see Tyler Stephson as a PLUS PLUS catcher, but average to slightly above average 1st baseman when considering he was a 1st rd pick.
    Overall the MLB team and the records of our minors, records of development of past prospects leaves me depressed on the next 5 years of the MLB team. It looks worse than the Pirates did in the early 2000’s.

  21. Midnight Rider

    in all honesty, that’s a pretty good list Doug, and I agree on your take regarding the state of the system. I think I trust Callihan more than Hinds, but that’s personal preference. EDLC ascension is huge and we need him to begin to polish the approach but hes a talent. We need McClain to dial it back and show the hit tool we drafted him for….kind of meet in the middle between power and hit, that along with his speed and instincts you have something.

  22. Bubba Woo

    Good list. My only question would be on why McGarry is so low? Reminds me of Ashcraft as a late bloomer worthy of a huge jump. I would think he’d be around 6-8. I realize the reason is probably his age and his position, but I think the NL adding the DH adds to his value, and it’s not like 24 is ancient. After 90 games and hitting even better in AA than high A, I think it’s safe to say he’s not having a fluke a fluke.

    • Doug Gray

      Because to be an average 1st baseman or DH you need to OPS like .850 or better in the big leagues. It’s just a very tough projection to put on someone.

  23. AMDG

    I guess I’ve never been on the Christian Roa train. Especially as a top-10 pitcher.

    He never gets very far into a game because they tend to cap him around 80 pitches or so, and he uses a lot of pitches every inning. In fact, he has only gone beyond 4 IP in 2 of his 8 starts this year.

    He seems to generally pitch poorly, with an occasional good game sprinkled in. This year in only 2 of his 8 starts did he have a game ERA below 4.50, and he has yet to have a game this year with a WHIP for the game below 1.00

    He may have good ‘stuff’, and hopefully he figures it out. But so far in his career it surely hasn’t conveyed into anything productive on the field.

    I’d guess he is another Lyon Richardson type who will be overrated due to draft positioning, but slowly works himself off these types of rankings as reality becomes too strong to stay subordinate to perception?

    • Redsvol

      I think Lyon Richardson is a good comp. I guess the difference might be it took Richardson 4 years to reach high A and it took Roa 2 years with the 2nd year still incomplete. However, Richardson is still younger. But, where is he? – always seems injured. They all seemed to pitch better when Boddy was involved with pitching development. After 9 month of him missing, I think its clear now that he was improving things and we have taken a step backward without him.

  24. wolfcycle

    After the top 10 it really does not matter that much usually. There will be a guy who climbs and is a success story like Ashcraft but, I really do not care about our rankings right now. We are not trading any prospects to get veterans. As far as Krall goes, the ” Moose ” contract that he did is killing us, and the Votto contract that he inherited is killing us. I love Votto, one of my all time faves with Bench and Larkin. But, I know this will never happen but, he is not a quality Major league player anymore and he is tarnishing his legacy with horrible stats. I know he had a good 2nd half last year, but over the last 3 years he has been an anchor to our salary structure. And I am sorry Joey, I love you dude, but, the truth is the truth. 25 mill a year or not.