The crew at Baseball America has released their latest Top 100 Prospect list, providing a Midseason Update. It’s behind a paywall, but if you’ve got a subscription to Baseball America you can go check out the full list. As for the Cincinnati Reds they are represented by three players on the list.

At the very top for the Reds organization is Elly De La Cruz, coming in at #21 overall. He’s followed closely by Nick Lodolo at #23. Both players have moved up in the rankings from where they were at on the previous version of the list. And then there’s Jose Barrero at #70, dropping down significantly from where he was on the previous version of the list.

Elly De La Cruz was also rated as the top prospect in the organization when the list here at was updated for the midseason last week. The shortstop broke out last summer and hasn’t stopped since. He’s spent his entire season with the High-A Dayton Dragons and is hitting .303/.361/.610 with 13 doubles, 6 triples, 20 home runs, and 28 stolen bases is 32 attempts this year in 72 games played. Not only has he been the organizations top performer, he’s also got the best tools of anyone in the organization.

Nick Lodolo’s season has been rather limited in 2022. He made three starts for the Reds in April after making the team out of spring training. But then the lefty injured his back and missed the next 10 weeks before returning to the mound last week with Cincinnati. He’s now made two starts since returning. In his five starts he’s posted a 4.44 ERA with 33 strikeouts and 9 walks in 24.1 innings.

As for Jose Barrero, that’s where things get a bit more interesting. Technically he’s no longer a prospect due to the amount of days he’s been on an active big league roster. But he also hasn’t crossed the 130 at-bats in the big leagues threshold. Baseball America uses the latter in their eligibility, but not the former. That’s why Barrero is eligible and on this list while he’s not eligible many other places.

With all of that said, Barrero has struggled this season. He missed all of spring training after needing surgery to remove his hamate bone. The shortstop returned to the field on May 20th when he began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville (he was later optioned there when he assignment was coming to an end). He had some ups-and-downs early on, but he’s been in a tailspin for the last month. In the last 25 games he’s hit .194/.215/.311 where he’s walked just three times and struck out 40 times in 107 plate appearances. In his 41 games with the Bats this season he’s hitting just .199/.253/.348. Some of what’s happened can probably be related to the injury, but there’s a lot more going on than that as his walk rate has plummeted and his strikeout rate has exploded when compared to where it was last season at the same level.

31 Responses

  1. Tom

    Seems to me like Barrero came back too early. Here’s hoping the break gives him some time to regroup. If he went on the 10 day IL that might actually help him. He’s so out of character right now, it has to be all injury related.

    It’s quite disappointing that none of the 3 arms from the spring trades are listed here.

    ELDC is in position to enter the top 10 by season’s end, though, so that is exciting.

    • Doug Gray

      A little surprised that Connor Phillips isn’t listed.

  2. RedsGettingBetter

    The Barrero´s performance is starting to be worrying. Hopefully he is gonna figure it out to begin to hit as he did it last season…
    The Reds will have just 1 prospect in this ranking after Lodolo gratuate sooner than later and Barrero gets the call up and graduate too or if he doesn’t get better at AAA he will take off of the list… It could be the Reds acquire some top 100 prospects at the trade deadline…
    Connor Phillips, Brandon Williamson and Matt McLain are out of the list after they have been ranked before….

    • Doug Gray

      Phillips has never been ranked on the Baseball America list.

  3. Luke J

    I’ve watched Barrero a lot this year and it’s like a broken record. Last year in the majors, teams figured out that he can’t lay off the low and away slider out of the zone. So that’s all he saw. When he was in the minors, they pitched him normally and he crushed it. When teams throw him fastballs, he crushes them. When they leave sliders in the zone he crushes them. It seems really obvious to me his problem is singular and I can’t figure out why either he, or the Reds coaches, can’t fix it. Until he figures out how to lay off those pitches, or adjust to reach them and drive them the other way, he’ll continue to struggle. It’s frustrating because it seems like such an obvious problem and if fixed he is an absolute stud. My solution earlier in the season was to just make him stand closer to the plate so he can reach them. I know that is not a complete solution because MLB pitchers will take advantage of it. But he’s got to try something. Continuing to wave at the same unhittable pitch over and over isn’t working either.

    • Tom

      Even if he ends up a .685 OPS solid defensive SS while he learns, it’s still a win for the org. He may end up with a handful of excellent seasons. He just needs to recover, regain, and sounds like from you, adjust. There’s just no way he’s as bad as he’s shown without attributing a majority of it to injury. Perhaps, for example, he’s just not able to capitalize on HIS pitches like he should and then he ends up victim to his weaknesses more often.

      • Luke J

        Absolutely. I’ve been one of the biggest advocates of getting him to the majors and letting his glove play while the bat develops. He has the raw tools to be a fantastic hitter. I’m just frustrated that it seems so obvious what the issues are and the Reds don’t seem to be able to address it.

    • DaveCT

      One comp I like for Barrero is Wily Adames. And it seemed like it took him forever to develop and produce where he was projected to. Second, Barrero has had some large barriers to overcome, first being Cubano in the US, then being promoted from Single A to MLB only to be sliced and diced by big league arms. And, the following year, after doing exactly what he was asked (go to AA and produce), being promoted again only to sit, then try to learn a new position in the majors. Third, the hamate injury. In other words, like Nick Senzel, he’s now likely going to take awhile longer to get here. And like Senzel, the wisdom of the club’s decisions is questionable. At least the hitting coach didn’t allow him to change his entire batting approach mid season of his rookie year while moving the 3B to CF. There’s that.

  4. Bdh

    No McLain and no Phillips is surprising

    I also think if Abbott/Williamson rebound well to finish the season they could see themselves on some preseason lists

  5. A Former West Sider

    I don’t have any hard data – no time for research – but wrist injuries can sometimes spoil 1/2 of a season or more. I believe Barrero’s past performance is more indicative of his capabilites than this year.
    2nd half of this year – and definitely next year is where I expect to see him back in form.

    Wrist injuries suck!

    • Doug Gray

      Wrist injuries tend to alter the hitting side of things (average, power). I have a tougher time believing they are drastically altering making contact and him not walking anymore. That’s the stuff I’m far more concerned about. I do think it’s possible the wrist is having *some* effect on the strikeouts, but just overall, it *shouldn’t* be causing his strikeout rate to go up 70% from where it was last year.

      • Optimist

        Yes – the K% is a huge concern – could it be a knock on effect of playing and getting coached back into shape? Wouldn’t the primary, if not only, coaching focus be on contact/walks – I’d think they’d throw some of the advanced analytics (exit velocity?) out the window and just focus on contact and strike zone discipline. The reverse would be to emphasize free swinging to restore power – they wouldn’t do that, would they?

      • Gregory Bott

        Slowed bat speed. It’s a 6 month recovery.

      • Doug Gray

        Let’s pretend that is true, and we don’t know that it is for everyone…. it still doesn’t fully explain why his walk rate has dropped off significantly. He’s walking half as much this season in AAA as he was last year. That’s not a bat speed issue. He’s making less contact, which extends at-bats, which in theory should lead to a few more walks. It’s not doing that, though.

      • Luke J

        @Gregory Bott It is definitely NOT slow bat speed. I’ve watched him in person in the last couple weeks. When he hits the ball, it rockets off his bat, just like always. When he strikes out, it is not because his bat is slow. He is simply swinging at sliders low and away that he can’t hit. On two consecutive at bats I saw him strike out on 6 straight low and away sliders in the dirt. He just waved at them. On the third at bat, they threw him 2 more and he whiffed, then were stupid and threw him a fastball to mix it up, and he hit is about 100 mph+ into right field. This is purely a discipline/approach problem.

  6. LDS

    The Braves gave up their #1 & #23 prospects and one other for KC’s #35 competitive balance pick? Isn’t that rather expensive? Or has Waters been deemed a bust? Regardless, doesn’t it seem like the Reds could manage an impact trade with the #32 pick?

    • BK

      The #32 pick is a FA compensation pick. Unlike the competitive balance picks, it can’t be traded.

      As for Waters, evaluates him as a 45 FV player. For comparison, they have the Reds first 11 prospects evaluated at 50 FV players. So, he would be no higher than #12 on the Reds list. Waters seems to have hit a wall at AAA and he’s played there since 2019. If I’m a KC fan, I’m not sure I like this trade. I think I’d prefer the #35 pick over 3 marginal prospects (and the accompanying bonus pool dollars).

      • LDS

        Thanks. I don’t follow the nuances of the rules but knew someone here would

    • Doug Gray

      They didn’t give up their #1 and #23 prospect, though. MLB Pipeline’s rankings are entirely useless at this point. They haven’t been updated since the start of the year except that players who graduated were removed. Baseball America stated today that Waters would have been rated 15th in the midseason update in the Braves organization.

      • LDS

        Thanks, clearly a sportswriter hyping the KC side of the deal

      • Doug Gray

        I doubt it’s the writer hyping it as much as the writer not understanding how old and useless the MLB Pipeline rankings currently are. If you aren’t a prospect guy then you probably don’t get that those rankings haven’t been updated since March except for to delete out players who lost eligibility.

        Of course if it was the MLB dot com writer, they basically HAVE to use/say the MLB Pipeline rankings, too.

  7. SteveO

    I see that Rey has been activated for Chattanooga. I thought that suspended players were not able to use team facilities while on suspension. I’m sure he was ramping up on his own, but I thought he’d need some time in Goodyear before heading to Chattanooga. The IF looks crowded there, especially if McLain returns soon. He can play both IF and OF, so maybe the Lookouts will use him in the U role to get PT.

    • Doug Gray

      He was on the Chattanooga roster last, so he had to be activated there when eligible. He’s in Goodyear and playing right now in their game.

  8. MK

    I would like to see the twenty ahead of Elly. They must be something.

    With Elly’s fast progress I see Barrero’s future in the outfield. With the backlog of middle infielders somebody is going to need to move, and Jose has proven he can play outfield at the big-league level. If he can play center, it would allow Senzel to move to left where it might be easier on his injury prone body.

    • BK

      What’s nice is that many of our best position player prospects are athletic enough to play SS and likely can be deployed anywhere on the field defensively. In 2016, we were loaded with 2B and LF prospects–not much versatility.

    • DaveCT

      MK, not 2B or 3B for Barrero? McLain seems a year or so away and he can also play CF.

      • Bubba Woo

        McCain is batting 229 in AA so I’d pump the brakes on him starting for the Reds next year. I’d say he’s more likely to repeat AA, except that the Reds have a long history of promoting 1st rounders even if they haven’t shown their ready. Agree Elly seems way low. Being the best player in High A at 20 I think would merit top 10 consideration

  9. Mike

    McLain isn’t even on it just a year after being a 1st round pick? Lol, I call bs. And they will be embarrassed they didn’t include Alex McGarry!

    • Steve

      McLain has struggled this year and been injured, McGarry is 24 years old in AA….I dont think either of these two guys belong in the top 100 prospects in baseball.

  10. kevinzs

    Players Graduated has hurt alot.
    But feel like need an awesome draft.
    Need to hit it so can deepen the farm.