It’s prospect list season once again. Today we are looking at the #16-20 spots on the 2023 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.

A reminder that 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

16. Victor Acosta | SS | Age: 18

2022 Teams: ACL Padres, ACL Reds | Acquired: International FA 2021 (Padres), Trade (August 2022)  | Height: 5′ 11″ | Weight: 170 lbs

What to like: He showed good or better tools across the board, is athletic, and is a switch hitter. One of the Padres top international signings in 2021 his numbers did take a step backwards as he moved up from the DSL to the ACL, but he showed a good walk rate and he had a solid rate of contact in 2022.

What he must work on: Just 18-years-old he’s in need of experience and playing time. Defensively he has the tools to play shortstop and second base, which is where he’s rotated in his career (76 starts at short, 16 at second), but he needs to cut down on the errors as he’s made 32 of them in his career and has a sub .900 fielding percentage at shortstop.


17. Joe Boyle | RHP | Age: 23

2022 Teams: Dayton Dragons, Chattanooga Lookouts | Acquired: 5th Round, 2020 Draft  | Height: 6′ 7″ | Weight: 240 lbs

What to like: There isn’t a pitcher in the organization with a better fastball/breaking ball combination than Boyle. He was dominant in Dayton this year, giving up just 25 hits in 74.2 innings and striking out 122 batters before moving up to Chattanooga where he made six more appearances before the season came to an end.

What he must work on: Control. For as dominant as Boyle was he was just as bad when it came to the walks. In 100.2 innings he walked 84 batters. The average big league walk rate in 2022 was 8.2%. Boyle’s walk rate was 20.0% between High-A and Double-A. While he won’t need to cut his walk rate in half, he will need to cut it down by quite a bit moving forward.



18. Carlos Jorge | 2B | Age: 19

2022 Teams: ACL Reds | Acquired: International FA 2021 | Height: 5′ 10″ | Weight: 170 lbs

What to like: After an incredible pro debut in 2021 with the DSL Reds where he put up an OPS of 1.015, Carlos Jorge moved up to the ACL and hit .261/.405/.529 – finishing 4th in the league in OPS. He also stole 27 bases for the 2nd straight season.

What he must work on: The production was still quite good in 2022, but his strikeout rate went up significantly. In 2021 he struck out 17% of the time, but it jumped up to 26.6% in 2022. Cutting back on the strikeouts moving forward seems to be the obvious area of improvement for now.

Video (via Carlos Jorge’s Instagram)


19. Michael Siani | OF | Age: 23

2022 Teams: Chattanooga Lookouts, Louisville Bats, Cincinnati Reds | Acquired: 4th Round, 2018 Draft  | Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 188 lbs

What to like: Known more for his elite-level defense, Siani took big steps forward in 2022 at the plate. He cut his strikeout rate significantly and hit for way more power than he ever has before, all while maintaining a good walk rate. Siani also stole 52 bases in 129 minor league games during the season.

What he must work on: Despite hitting for more power than ever before almost all of his power came against right-handed pitching. He had 15 doubles, 6 triples, and all 14 of his home runs come against righties. Against lefties he hit .274 but slugged just .325 as he went homerless and managed just 4 doubles and a triple in 117 at-bats against left-handed pitching. Finding a way to show a little more power against lefties seems to be the biggest area of needed improvement.

20. Julian Aguiar | RHP | Age: 21

2022 Teams: Daytona Tortugas, Dayton Dragons | Acquired: 12th Round, 2021 Draft  | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 180 lbs

What to like: In his first full season he posted a 3.46 ERA in 96.1 innings between his time in Daytona and Dayton. He showed strong control, walking just 27 batters on the season and he racked up plenty of strikeouts with 113 of them. On top of the good numbers, his velocity went up from where he was at in 2021 in college and the short time on the mound after he was drafted.

What he must work on: Like many other Reds pitchers, Aguiar had his pitch count closely monitored and he never threw more than 75 pitches in a single start all year. He will need to show that he can handle a larger workload both on a start basis as well as an innings basis moving forward.



Click here to see the rest of the list

42 Responses

  1. Matt

    A lot to like with the first 10 guys on the list so far. Daytona should have a strong lineup with the guys listed so far in Acosta, Balcazar, Jorge, Rodriguez, Almonte, plus a couple dudes who should show up 1-15 (if you go support Doug’s patreon, you’d know exactly where they are already!).

    The arms are certainly intriguing. Solid numbers. Hope to see Aguiar and Rivera get the leash loosened a little bit and work deeper into games. Maybe Boyle can take a step forward in the BB department.

    • DaveCT

      Thinking the college guys, Boyd, Tanner and possibly Hunter, will just be sent to Dayton, which wouldn’t be that unusual.

    • MK

      Have Jones and Trautwein at catcher who really showed nothing to get promoted from Dayton last year so it would be tough to add more than one new catcher

  2. Michael P

    What a youth movement. 5 of the 10 announced so far are 19 or under. Lots of upside with this group of 10 so far. Could see several in top 15 by years end.

  3. SultanofSwaff

    A lot less to like from today’s 5 imo–harder to see a full time position player or SP emerging. Acosta and Jorge are small-ish guys likely limited to 2b (a dime a dozen), Boyle seems destined for the bullpen (not a terrible outcome, but only ~70IP per year), and Siani is a fringe 5th OF due to his platoon issues. If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on yesterday’s group to have a higher cumulative WAR…..I just think the chances are better one everyday player will develop.

    • Stock

      Great Post Sultan. Interesting way to look at it. I like this group of 5 slightly more because of Boyle. I am higher on Boyle than most and can see him having a career WAR of 0. But I can also see him having a career WAR of 50+. Jorge and Rodriguez are about the same. Aguiar and Rivera are about the same. I don’t have the faith in Acosta that Doug does at this point and feel him and Cerda should be about the same. I think I like Almonte and Balcazar a bit more than Siani even though I have Siani rated higher. But Boyle offsets this so I like this group more. If I felt Boyle was nothing more than a RP I would agree with you.

      You have just given me another way to analyze all this. Great thought process.

      • Doug Gray

        You’ve always been high on Boyle, but you are basically saying you can see him becoming a HOF caliber pitcher with that 50+ WAR target. That just sounds crazy to me.

      • Jonathan Linn

        @Doug – where would Boyle’s walk rate have to be for him to be come a 4-5 Starter in the MLB? under 5?

      • Doug Gray

        It’s got to be under 5. Big leaguers are very good. I just don’t think as a starter he can walk 5 guys per 9 innings and still rack up elite strikeout numbers (as a reliever things are different).

      • Stock

        I can see him having a HOF career. As I see it his breaking ball breaks so much it is difficult for him to get it across the plate. But he was 22 years old this year and made it to AA. Randy Johnson’s slider broke so much that he too had control problems when he was 22.

        At the age of 22 in A ball RJ issued 7 BB/9 IP just like Boyle.
        At the age of 23 in AA RJ issued 8 BB/9 IP
        At the age of 24 in AAA, RJ issued 5.7 BB/9 IP

        The first year RJ issued less than 4.5 BB/9 IP was at age 29.

        I am not saying that Boyle will follow the path of RJ. I am saying that he could follow the path of RJ. I personally feel his breaking ball/FB combination is better than that of RJ. The fact that he gave up 4.5 Hits/9 IP backs that up. RJ’s career WAR was 110. A 50 WAR is a HOF pitcher but just not of the calibar of RJ.

        Boyle’s age 22 season was better than that of RJ’s age 22 season.

        Boyle’s 2022 season was better than that of any other pitcher in the Reds organization. Look at what happened to Nolan Ryan, RJ, Robbie Ray and others after they learned how to throw strikes.

      • Doug Gray

        Look at the 10000 guys who didn’t learn how to throw strikes.

        Like I get looking at him and seeing the incredible stuff. It’s easy to see. But the ratio of guys with his inability to consistently throw strikes who figure it out is like 1000 to 1.

    • Stock

      Maybe this is why we disagree on Boyle so much then Doug. I disagree with your numerator and your denominator.

      First the denominator: From your post it seems you are grouping all players with control problems in one bucket. I don’t do this. From my perspective Joe Boyle is in a group of about 25-50 or so players with great stuff and control problems. I don’t remember another Red prospect I would put into this category (outstanding stuff and control problems) over the last 15 years. Players rarely make solid contact against him. His control was terrible this year and yet he still was pitcher of the year in the organization.

      The reason 90% of the people on your list don’t sniff the majors is that their stuff is only good enough to be a #4 or #5 SP should they learn to throw strikes. Teams determine it is not worth the development cost to be patient with these pitchers.

      The number of pitchers with great stuff and have 7 BB/9 IP is few and far between. The ones who walk 7 per nine and have an ERA under 3 is a very small group. So putting Joe Boyle in a group of 10,000 is not something I would do. Joe Boyle was the only SP in the midwest league who pitched at least 50 innings and walked at least 7 per 9. In spite of this he had a 2.17 ERA. No pitcher who pitched at least 60 innings in the Midwest league had a lower ERA.

      So even if you say there are 50 players in your denominatior (which I think is very high still) then there is a good chance he is a HOF since at least 2 have gone from major control problems the HOF.

    • Stock

      Now lets look at the numerator. You are assuming very few pitchers cut their BB% in half. You have also said Boyle needs to knock his BB/9 under 5 to be a SP in the majors. If he cut his BB% in half it would be near 3.5. When you combine his stuff with a 3.5 BB/9 IP and you have a very good pitcher. The problem is how many pitchers can put a dent in their BB%.

      Verlander was at 3.5-4 early in his career down into the low 2’s and now less than 1.5.
      Kershaw was well above 4 his first two years in the majors, cut it to 2 in year 4 and won the Cy Young.
      Wheeler, Darvish, Burnes and many others have done so also.

      Small sample size but Tristan McKenzie cut his BB% in half in 2022 and became a stud.

      Smaller sample size but in the 1st half Hunter Greene walked 4 per 9 and in the second half walked 2 per 9. Impact on his ERA? First half: 5.78. Second half: 1.02.

      • Doug Gray

        Cutting a walk rate in half when it’s so-so is a lot more common than cutting the walk rate in half when it’s brutally bad. You seem to be overlooking that aspect of it. There are plenty of examples of a guy going from a so-so-ish walk rate to a good walk rate. There are rarely examples of guys who go from “walks nearly a guy an inning” to a solid walk rate.

      • Doug Gray

        I dunno man, I’m just not really able to find anyone in recent history who had walk issues as bad as Boyle does (20% walk rate this year) who remained a starting pitcher into the big leagues.

        I’d like to see the guys you found who walked 20% of the batters they faced in a season who turned it around. I’d also like to see the list of guys who walked 20% of the batters they faced in the minors who never did it.

        I’d guess it looks like the chart comparing a million dollars to a billion dollars.

      • Doug Gray

        Come on, man. Triston McKenzie had a good walk rate in the minor leagues and in his first taste of the big leagues in 2020. His walk rate jumped up in 2021 but returned to good/above-average levels in 2022. In no way is he a comparison for Joe Boyle, who’s walk rate was 71% higher than McKenzie’s was in 2021.

        You keep providing these examples of guys who cut a walk rate in half, but they are guys who never actually had bad control. You aren’t looking at the right group of players. It’s like looking at a group of guys who went from 5-10 home runs and suggesting that because that group doubles their home run totals that the same can be said of the group that hit 35 homers. It’s just not the same thing, the same skillset, the same problem.

    • DaveCT

      Sultan, my first take on the issue of these five vs. the previous five, is the eternal balance between floor and ceiling. In this case, the previous five may have a higher ceiling, and today’s five with the higher floor.

      As for Acosta, I’m a wait and see vote as to whether he can stick at short. If the tools are there, he may.

    • Stock

      Finding a minor league pitcher who walks 7 per 9 like Boyle does is a chore. I looked through 15 – 20 leagues this year and found no one. I found several SP who walked 5 or 6 and those had ugly ERA’s. I am sure there are minor league SP who have walked 6+ per nine innings and had an ERA less than 3.5 in the past. But they are few and far between. I came up with three names. Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson and Joe Boyle.

      In a way it makes sense that the only two other than Boyle became HOF pitchers.

      1. Your stuff has to be good enough so that not only does your team keep pitching you but they continue to let you continue starting.
      2. Your stuff has to be good enough so that you have good results in spite of your control problems.

      My guess is Joe Boyle was the only minor league SP this year who walked at least 7 per 9 and had an ERA less than 3.5.

      I also think that the other 31 pitchers who are the organizations pitcher of the year, Boyle is the only one who walked more than 5 per 9.

  4. RedBB

    Glad to see Siani crack you top 20. I still think he is a top 15 guy though based on 3 Elite level tools and a very good plate discipline.

    • Stock

      I like Siani a lot. However I could not fit him into my top 15 either. I really like my top 17 and could not fit him in any higher than 18.

      Assuming everyone has my top 9 in their top 15, he would have to move ahead of 3 of the following to move into my top 15.
      10. Boyle
      11.Austin Hendrick
      12. CES
      13. Carlos Jorge
      14. Hector Rodriguez
      15. Sal Stewart
      16. Jay Allen
      17. Ricardo Cabrera

      I can see people placing 3 of these in front of Siani. Boyle, Jorge, Rodriguez and Cabrera are the ones that seem most likely. But I like all four of these more than Siani. That said I like Boyle, Jorge and Rodriguez more than most.

      • Dan

        Wow, what on earth do you see to rank Hendrick so high?

        Two years in pro ball and his K rate dropped all the way from 37.6% in year 1… to 37.2% in year 2. A career .214 hitter in A-ball.

        I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think we ever see Hendrick in the majors.

    • Patrick

      To me Siani is top ten in this system. People tend to under rate defense, contract and speed. He projects to be a near All Star CFer. The hitting vs lefties will come. He is better than Billy Hamiliton as a prospect at the same stage better power, better OBP.
      Other players have way bigger holes in their game.
      GG CF defense,.330+ obp, 40-50 steals with 10-15 hr is way higher prospect.

  5. MBS

    If Acosta has the ability to cover CF, he could be valuable as an up the middle utility player. He checks all of the other boxes you’d want, a natural SS, who can play 2B, and a switch hitter too. I also like Johnson for this role, as well as Ascanio.

    It’s almost ridiculous how many SS we have in our system. I have no idea how the Daytona manager is going to manage his infield this year. Ascanio, Balcazar, Jorge, and probably Acosta up the middle with Collier, Stewart, and maybe Sanchez on the corners. It feels like 2, too many. Maybe some will be held back, or moved to the OF.

    • MBS

      Looking at @Kerrick’s list above I missed Pino, so yep, even deeper. Something’s going to have to give, that’s 2 teams worth of infielders.

      • MBS

        I agree the numbers don’t add up. It might be the most interesting team to follow this year. AAA could end up stacked to, especially if they take their time with promoting players to the MLB roster.

        EDLC, McLain, McGarry, CES, Siani, and even a possible demotion of Steer, and Barrero. It’s going to be interesting to see how the rosters are constructed to begin the year.

      • DaveCT

        I’m thinking (as above) that the three college guys go to Dayton. That would be Boyd, Tanner, and Hunter. It would not be unusual at all for the club to send its college draftees to Hi-A in their first full season.

  6. Stock

    I agree Kerrick. I am excited about next year’s Dayton group that I was not even following a year ago (Aguiar, Rivera, Acuna and Petty).

    • DaveCT

      I wouldn’t sleep on the second tier of starters who were at Daytona last season, in the tandem starter system they utilized there. Jose Franco (104 K’s in 77 innings) and Tanner Cooper, in addition to Benschoter who has zoomed ahead.

  7. Stock

    Great list Doug. I obviously have Boyle higher. Those who are on here regularly know my thoughts on him. He needs to continue to improve his control next year. My goal would be 5BB/9IP next year and 4.5BB/9IP in Cincinnati in 2024.

    I have Acosta at 31. I know he was paid a lot of money to sign as a 16 year old. But he did not produce last year. Seems to be more likely that he goes the way of Yorman, Duran, Minier, Triana, and even Valdez than a ML regular. Hopefully, he improves in Daytona. My guess is he doesn’t top .400 SLG% in Daytona this year and this will make him drop even further in my rankings.

  8. Optimist

    Q – Does Boyle have the greatest span of possibilities of anyone to make it to AA? As far as I can tell his stuff makes an argument to place him at #2 behind EDLC, but the flaws could drop him to the 50-75 range. Even better, is it possible it clicks this year and he makes an MLB debut after the break? Or, equally possible he flops and gets released after 2024? Is Ariel Hernandez the most apt comparison?

    It’s close, but he’s #2 on the interest list after EDLC.

    • Stock

      I am as big of a Joe Boyle fan as there is. What I have discovered is that players such as Boyle usually find their control in their mid to late 20’s. Even established players such as Wheeler, Ray … show improved control in their late 20’s.

      My hope is that Boyle lowers his BB/9 to about 4.5 over the next two years and then down to 3 by the time he reaches 30.

      • Optimist

        As a fan, I’m right there with you. As a realist, I think Doug’s comment above zings the issue – is there anyone who has knocked down their BB% from where Boyle sits now? I just went back and looked at Dalkowski’s BRef page – Boyle’s is not that ugly, but the unique talent is a close match. Boyle does have coaching and modern medicine in his favor.

      • DaveCT

        The one point about Boyle that got my attention, and caused me to increase my benefit of the doubt for him this season, was about how much he was missing the strike zone by. In particular, some stated he was not missing the zone by much. Previously, I had him completely slotted as a reliever, and not even back end reliever. Now, I’m more willing to see what he does in AA.

    • MBS

      If you’re talking about big spans, Confidan should be on there. Power for days, and he has a cannon. Wow I just felt like I was describing Hinds, so I guess Confidan and Hinds are 2 position players with a wide ceiling to floor range.

      • Doug Gray

        I won’t be covering Confidan in the season review stuff because he just missed so much time and didn’t even get 100 at-bats this year. I really do like the power potential with the bat. I think there’s a chance he could hit for a solid average, but I also think there’s reason to be concerned he won’t. The biggest difference between him and Hinds, though, is the athleticism. Confidan may come into his body a bit more, but compared to Hinds….. I’m not sure how to describe it entirely, but between the two guys – particularly in the field – Confidan almost seems uncoordinated/unathletic at times (again, this is compared to Hinds, not necessarily your every day human who isn’t a professional athlete).

      • DaveCT

        Confidan is a bit of an athletic enigma. I’ve seen him look pretty athletic in a few videos, ie running the bases, then practically trip over his own feet in RF. Don’t get me wrong –seeing Big Papi for more a one season in the minors, I never envisaged him having the career he did. It’s a wiggly world.

  9. RedsGettingBetter

    Ok, I’m a little surprised seeing Boyle as #17 even below Acosta. I think Boyle was a top 12 Reds prospect right now… The loaded list starts just here so we’ll see good talent data beginning tomorrow…

  10. Bourgeois Zee

    Pleasantly surprised to see Carlos Jorge this high.

    Hopefully, that means people in the Reds’ braintrust believe in him. (If this is a “just Doug” list, so be it. At least I’m not alone.)

    The kid seems to hit the ball hard and often. He has exhibited plus patience. His K rate isn’t outlandish (and was very good in 2021). His speed seems to be a weapon.

    Really like that kid.

  11. Doc

    Some of the youngest of the youngsters have had poor fielding years with fielding percentage around or below .900. How much of that might be attributable to the speed of the professional game being much faster, and faster at each level one climbs?

    Also, how much of that might be attributable to the difference between metal and wood bats, considering differences in the sound contact makes, how the ball comes off the bat, etc?

    Finally, how much does infield turf quality factor in?

    • Doug Gray

      Fields are certainly a factor at the DSL level. The Reds field, from everything I’ve seen, is a good one. But I have seen some that were worse than the knothole fields I played on growing up and that’s not an exaggeration (pictures and video, of course – I didn’t go there and see them) and those kids play road games.

      I also think it is worth noting that much of the DSL and ACL guys were the equivalent of juniors and seniors in high school this season. They are all quite young and still in the process of truly learning, getting reps (that will help them find consistency), and figuring it all out. With infielders, too – the quality of the guy at first base being able to help (or not help) comes into play.

  12. DaveCT

    Don’t sleep on Jose Franco and Tanner Cooper, either. Looks to me like a set-up for another tandem starter system, even with the intention of increasing pitch counts, one, and innings, two.

    In addition, Richardson and Bonnin are far from sure bets to pitch much. You could even argue for a AA assignments for both, Bonnin in particular, to work his way back. Their clocks are definitely ticking.

  13. MK

    When thinking of Boyle, it might say a lot about what the organization thinks of him that they promoted Connor Phillips (age 21) earlier than Boyle (age 23) when Boyle and Phillips were dominating at Dayton, June 28 to August 9 respectfully.