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 RedsMinorLeagues.com 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.