It’s prospect list season once again. Today we are kicking off the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospect List. 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 2023 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 plenty of other benefits for your patronage. 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 full 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 25-50 interesting prospects through the remainder of the offseason.
*To be eligible for the list a player must have 2023 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)*
All ages listed are as of April 1st, 2023
21. Allan Cerda | OF | Age: 23
2022 Teams: Dayton Dragons, Chattanooga Lookouts | Acquired: International FA 2017 | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 203 lbs
What to like: Defense, power, walks. Those are areas where Cerda not only is good, but areas that he excels. Not only does he have good range in center but he’s also got a big arm. At the plate he showed off his power in 2022 by hitting 24 home runs to go along with 22 doubles and a triple.
What he must work on: Making contact. For all of the good stuff that Cerda brings to the table, he struggled to make contact in 2022 – striking out 33% on the year, but it was 37% at the High-A level where he spent the first half of the season. It dropped to 30% in the second half when he was promoted to Double-A.
22. Leonardo Balcazar | SS | Age: 18
2022 Team: ACL Reds | Acquired: International FA 2021 | Height: 5′ 10″ | Weight: 190 lbs
What to like: The shortstop hit well in 2022, posting a .322/.411/.476 line as he stepped up to the Arizona Complex League. Balcazar also went 13-for-14 in stolen bases.
What he must work on: He has the tools to remain at shortstop, but he has made 20 errors in 50 games at the position as a pro, posting an .884 fielding percentage. That rate of errors will need to improve moving forward, but he won’t turn 19 until the middle of June in 2023 and has plenty of time to work on that aspect as he moves up the ladder.
23. Ariel Almonte | OF | Age: 19
2022 Team: ACL Reds | Acquired: International FA 2021 | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 218 lbs
What to like: He followed up a good professional debut with an even better 2022 season as he jumped from the DSL to the ACL. Almonte hit .286/.390/.493 for the Reds as an 18-year-old while collecting 11 doubles and 6 home runs. There’s a lot of power potential for the outfielder and he’s already showing some of it in games.
What he must work on: The lefty hit well in 2022 but his strikeout rate went up from where it was in 2021. This past season he struck out 29.9% of the time he came to the plate. While strikeout rates are going up in the game, that is a rate you would like to see come down as he moves up the ladder.
24. Hector Rodriguez | OF | Age: 19
2022 Teams: FCL Mets, St. Lucie Mets, ACL Reds, Daytona Tortugas | Acquired: International FA 2021 (Mets), Trade (July 2022) | Height: 5′ 8″ | Weight: 186 lbs
What to like: He makes contact at an elite rate – striking out just 10.2% of the time he came to the plate in 2022. Rodriguez has plus speed and he can use it well on the field. He has hit .320/.374/.510 since signing prior to the 2021 season with the Mets.
What he must work on: Despite high contact rates his strikezone judgment isn’t great. Shrinking his swing zone could help him continue to hit for high averages and allow him to get the most out of his limited power.
25. Javi Rivera | RHP | Age: 23
2022 Teams: Daytona Tortugas, Dayton Dragons | Acquired: 20th Round, 2021 Draft | Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 195 lbs
What to like: After being drafted late last summer, Rivera didn’t pitch. He had to wait until the start of 2022 to make his professional debut and he made up for lost time, posting a 3.29 ERA in 24 games during the year. The righty struck out 111 batters in 93.0 innings and showed strong control as he walked just 25 batters and allowed just eight home runs.
What he must work on: The pitch count for Rivera was monitored closely and he never topped 76 pitches in a single game. He’s going to have to show that he can handle an increase in both pitches per game as well as a bump up in his innings while maintaining his stuff as he climbs the ladder.