This morning the crew at Baseball America (which I cover the organization for, but do not have any input on the Top 100) released their 2023 Top 100 Prospect List. On the list there were four Cincinnati Reds prospects.

To the surprise of no one, Elly De La Cruz headlines the list for Cincinnati. The shortstop comes in at #8 on the list. Two years after exploding onto the prospect scene, De La Cruz is now a top 10 prospect in all of baseball. In 2022 he was one of the organization’s representatives at the Futures Game. He also split his time between High-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga where in 120 total games he hit .304/.359/.586 with 31 doubles, 9 triples, 28 home runs, and he stole 47 bases in 53 attempts. Added to the 40-man roster in November, De La Cruz will be in big league camp next month.

The next player on the list for Cincinnati was Noelvi Marte, who came in at #63 on the list. A midseason acquisition from the Seattle Mariners, Marte had a big season between High-A Everett and High-A Dayton in 2022. Between his two stops he played in 115 games and hit .279/.371/.458 with 23 doubles, 19 home runs, and he stole 23 bases in 32 attempts. After spending his entire career as a shortstop, he played third base in the Arizona Fall League in order to get experience at the position as he gets closer to the big leagues in case it’s a spot that’s open when he’s ready.

Just two spots behind Marte was Edwin Arroyo. The shortstop also came over in the trade with the Mariners at the trade deadline this past summer. He checks in at #65 on the list. The switch-hitter took big steps forward with his bat during the 2022 season. After being known as a slick defender he went out and hit .293/.366/.480 with 25 doubles, 10 triples, and 14 home runs in his time between Single-A Modesto and Single-A Daytona. He also went 27 for 33 in stolen base attempts.

The final Reds player to make the list was 2022’s 1st round pick Cam Collier. The third baseman comes in at #70 on the list. One of the top prospects in the draft, Collier fell to Cincinnati at #18 and signed a well over slot deal. After graduating high school early, Collier enrolled at Chipola Junior College and hit .333/.419/.537 as a 17-year-old in what would have been his junior year of high school. After the draft he played in just a handful of games thanks to the lateness of the draft, hitting .370/.514/.630 in 35 plate appearances with the Arizona Complex League Reds.

19 Responses

  1. BK

    Interesting that BA noted that Marte’s move to 3B is “permanent.”

    • Doug Gray

      I was surprised by that comment given that when I asked about it less than three months ago that I was told it wasn’t.

  2. DaveCT

    Not too surprised about the omissions– I think there’s a lot of talent out there. So, MCLain, CES, Williamson, and Steer will have to keep plugging.

    That said, a reminder that India and Stephenson were fringe Top 100 candidates the years they broke in. It’s not necessarily a bad thing so much as a numbers game.

    • Doug Gray

      To be fair, the year that India and Stephenson kind of broke in was 2020/2021. The lack of a 2020 minor league season really hid a lot of things. Every single time I talked to anyone about what was going on at Prasco they were raving about what India was looking like there. But since all of the things he was doing were behind closed doors….

      • DaveCT

        Well, yes, the very, very, very extended spring training of 2020.

    • DaveCT

      Actually I may stand corrected, as one of the BA writers hosting their Top 100 chat stated this years list was on the thin side of depth. Not sure there’s any cause for concern so much as gaining perspective that guys like MCLain, CES, Steer, Williamson, and others who may have been in the conversation have enough flaws that they are legitimately not Top 100 players. At this time.

  3. Matt

    When will Alfredo Duno and the other international signees from the current period get slotted into prospect lists? Is that a mid season type of deal?
    And on that note, I know you don’t like to update yours until you can research and see a player and such, so I don’t expect him slotted in until later, but as a general feel, where does he feel like he’s at? Top 5, 10?

    • Doug Gray

      If you’re asking about *my list*, the trade deadline. That said, right now I’d have Duno somewhere in the top 20 but not in the top 10. Without diving too deep at this point, my gut says closer to 10 than 20, but not by much. If you’re asking about other places…. I have no clue. I’d guess that MLB Pipeline probably includes Duno on their Reds list because it hasn’t been published yet. Baseball America’s top prospect lists for each organization is already being printed for the Handbook, so I’d guess that you won’t see any international prospects from this signing class included there until they do an update. Doubtful any international guys make their top 100 whenever they start updating that during the season, so I’d guess you won’t see any international guys on any of their org lists until the midseason updates.

      • Matt

        Awesome, thanks. I feel like if the scouting reports on Duno are legit, he could climb rankings fast once he has a season or two in pro ball.

  4. Jonathan Linn

    So after reading all this stuff about Elly De La Cruz, he is either going to flame out and be a league average/ sometimes an All-Star or a top 20 player in the league? Is that accurate? All depending on his strikeout levels and whether or not he can develop more strike zone awareness.

    • Old Big Ed

      Jonathan, you aren’t really limiting many possibilities with range of bad to average to great. OTOH, it is also pretty realistic, and true about a whole lot of guys. I went back a few years ago and found that Victor Robles was very highly rated in the season or so before he got to the Nationals, while Juan Soto was quite a bit further down in the rating, but still well-regarded.

      It happens everywhere. Tom Brady was a late-round draft choice; Ryan Leak was the second guy taken. Secretariat’s owners thought at first that Riva Ridge (a year older) was going to be the stable’s superstar; Riva Ridge won the Derby, but he is a footnote to Secretariat.

      The people doing the ratings are essentially guessing. For some of the top guys, it is fairly educated guessing and reasonably accurate. The evaluators can run all sorts of analytics, but a lot of the players aren’t old enough to order a beer. Figuring out who has the “intangibles” like Votto is pretty much impossible for an outsider, but I am guessing that the Reds knew early on that Votto was exceptional between the ears.

      A good baseball person can evaluate by watching a guy play a few games, but I am skeptical that more than a handful of people have seen all 100 of these guys play more than a game or two. It’s similar to high school football ratings, where a guy may be rated the #15 cornerback nationally, but one scout can pretty much attend about 14 high school games a year, so you have to wonder how he can form a real opinion on 25 or so top cornerbacks.

      EDLC is going to be very fun to watch develop. By all accounts that I’ve seen, he has great baseball instincts and an excellent work ethic, on top of his clear high ceiling physically. My own take is that the knock on EDLC — too many strikeouts — can in part be attributed to his being a switch hitter. Yet he was already at AA.

      As an interesting stat, EDLC per Baseball Reference had 1 AB last season in which he batted left-handed against a LH pitcher — and homered.

      • Doug Gray

        That at-bat didn’t happen that way. There was an input error on the handedness.

  5. JB

    With the amount of talent the Reds have at Short and Third , it will be interesting in a year or two to come where they all slot. Some will have to move to the outfield or be traded. Now I know they all won’t pan out to be stars ,but if half of them do it will be a great problem to have. These guys that are all mentioned are the reason I keep watching the Reds. Would love to see one of CES , McClain or Williamson make it on the 26 roster coming out of spring .

  6. RedBB

    Baseball America dropped both Marte and Arroyo significantly since their last update. I believe they were #35 and #47 previously.

    • Redsvol

      I saw that too and was surprised. Its not like they totally quit hitting since the trade – but they did come down to earth a bit after the trade. Hopefully that is more an indication that it was a big transition for them and not that our coaching/development folks screwed them up.

      I was surprised none of our pitching made it to the top 100. If you went by the statistics of Connor Phillips and Chase Petty before their late year promotions, they were absolutely dominant in high A and low A, respectively. That goes for Andrew Abbott too but he did get more time at the higher level.

      • Bourgeois Zee

        Noelvi Marte hit better after the trade than before it: .293/ .397/ .443/ .840 as a Dragon. That’s with only 23 Ks in 126 PAs. They’ve dropped Marte, but it wasn’t because he didn’t hit.

      • Doug Gray

        So take this with a grain of salt because I truly have no insight as to why this particular publication dropped Marte down the lists some, but I heard from multiple sources that some scouts were a bit soured on Marte because of his AFL performance. Fair or unfair (I’d say unfair), it wouldn’t surprise me if the feedback that they were hearing led to the drop (which as I explained in a reply to William below isn’t actually all that much of a drop in terms of what his future holds).

  7. William

    I am not impressed with Baseball America. It is baloney that Marte is ranked so low. I do not take their list seriously. I think the Reds have one of the most talented group of young players in the MLB. I look forward to 2024 and beyond. Yes, I skipped over 2023.

    • Doug Gray

      I’m just going to chime in here and say that the difference between a guy ranked like 30th overall and a guy ranked 85th overall is next to nothing. They are basically the exact same caliber of prospect. It just seems like it’s a huge difference because there’s 100 spots. But when you realize that there’s actually 6,000 spots (one for each minor league player), the difference is minuscule.

      On a top 100 list, you really only see a big gap in guys that are top 10, maybe top 15 in some years where the crop is incredibly deep, compared to the rest of the list. Once you get beyond that initial “elite, top group”, the rest is typically close and more about what kind of personal preference you have (valuing good tools, good production at AA for example over valuing elite tools and good/great production in rookie ball).