Today we are looking at the #6-10 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
6. Matt McLain | SS | Age: 23
2022 Teams: Chattanooga Lookouts | Acquired: 1st Round, 2021 Draft | Height: 5′ 11″ | Weight: 180 lbs
What to like: He’s got the ability to play shortstop, second base, and center (where he played as a freshman in college). While he doesn’t have plus speed, he’s an above-average runner who uses his speed well. And he’s hit for more power than initially expected and has drawn plenty of walks as he shown a solid understanding of the strikezone.
What he must work on: Expected to hit for more average than power when he was coming out of UCLA, the script has been flipped as a professional. He’s hit just .243 and this season he struck out 28% of the time. Making more contact is probably the biggest area he could improve on.
7. Christian Encarnacion-Strand | 3B | Age: 23
2022 Teams: Cedar Rapids Kernels, Wichita Wind Surge, Chattanooga Lookouts | Acquired: 4th Round, 2021 Draft (Twins), Trade (August 2022) | Height: 6′ 0″ | Weight: 224 lbs.
What to like: The 2022 season couldn’t have gone a lot better for Encarnacion-Strand. He hit .304 with 32 home runs and drove in 114 runs between his three stops between two organizations this past season. He showed big time power and he did nothing but produce at the plate all year.
What he must work on: Had this been written at the midpoint of the season it would have been his defense, but after making 20 errors in the first 58 games of the year he made just three at third base in the final 36 games. He only drew 40 walks on the season, and only 10 of them in 208 plate appearances in Double-A. Being a bit more selective and either drawing more walks or making more contact due to better selection would seem to be the biggest area to improve upon at this point.
8. Connor Phillips | RHP | Age: 21
2022 Teams: Dayton Dragons, Chattanooga Lookouts | Acquired: 2nd Round, 2020 Draft (Seattle) | Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 190 lbs
What to like: The stuff that Phillips brings to the table grades out very well and his 150 strikeouts in 109.2 innings pitched this season between Dayton and Chattanooga shows just how good it is. Between those two stops he posted a 3.78 ERA in 109.2 innings and allowed just eight home runs.
What he must work on: Control. One of the youngest pitchers in Double-A when he was promoted, the more advanced hitters at that level walked 34 times in 45.2 innings against Phillips. He had some walk issues while in High-A with Dayton, too. There’s time to work that out, but it’s clearly the biggest area he must improve on.
9. Chase Petty | RHP | Age: 19
2022 Teams: Daytona Tortugas, Dayton Dragons | Acquired: 1st Round, 2021 Draft (Twins), Trade (March 2022) | Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 190 lbs
What to like: One of the youngest pitchers in all of A-ball all season, Petty had a high ground ball rate and he picked up plenty of strikeouts while having a good walk rate. Not just that, he performed well when it came to keeping runs off of the board, too, posting an ERA of 3.48 during the season in his 25 games between Daytona and Dayton in A-ball.
What he must work on: The organization had his pitch count limited all season. That did allow him to make a start every single week of the year, but it also meant that he threw just 98.1 innings during the season. He’ll turn 20 in April, so he’s still plenty young, but he will need to show that he can handle a larger workload while also maintaining the stuff that he showed in 2022.
10. Sal Stewart | 3B | Age: 19
2022 Team: ACL Reds | Acquired: 1st Round, 2022 Draft | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 215 lbs
What to like: There’s not much of any professional track record for Sal Stewart. He played in just eight games after being the 32nd overall pick in 2022, but he hit .292/.393/.458 with four walks and five strikeouts in his debut. Prior to the draft he was considered as the top or one of the top high school hitters in the country, projecting for both average and power.
What he must work on: Outside of simply getting playing time due to the fact that he has eight more games as a professional than I do, the biggest thing may be his defense. While the sample size is small and that makes the numbers he put up not worth looking at, scouts have generally believed he would eventually slide over to first base.