Now that the draft and trade deadline are behind us, it’s time to update the 2023 Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospect List. If you were supporting the site through Patreon then you would have gotten this list a week ago (so you should probably go sign up – link here). There’s been a lot of change since the preseason list, and not just because the Reds have seen a handful of prospects graduate their prospect eligibility.
1. Noelvi Marte | 3B | Previously Ranked: 3
After a strong first half in Chattanooga he was promoted to Triple-A Louisville for the second half of the season. He’s out to a good start there, too. The 21-year-old is hitting .293/.368/.484 with 16 steals in his 74 games played this season. He’s getting closer and there’s a lot of upside in his power/speed combo.
2. Christian Encarnacion-Strand | 1B/3B | Previously Ranked: 7
After killing the ball in spring training, the Reds still sent him back to minor league camp in mid-March. Shortly after he had an injury that kept him off of the field for the next month before he made it to Louisville. For the next three months he crushed it, hitting .331/.405/.637 for the Bats before being called up to the big leagues just over a week ago.
3. Rhett Lowder | RHP | Draft Pick
Cincinnati’s 1st round pick, the club took Lowder 7th overall out of Wake Forest. In his junior season he went 15-0 with a 1.87 ERA in 120.1 innings to go with 24 walks and 143 strikeouts.
4. Connor Phillips | RHP | Previously Ranked: 8
With the Double-A Southern League experimenting with a pre-tacked baseball, most pitchers in the league put up better numbers than they had done previously in their career. That gives pause to how much emphasis to put on stats from the league. Phillips performed well for the most part with Chattanooga, and after a rocky first start with Louisville after his promotion, he’s pitched well in his last five starts for the Bats, too. He’s got two elite pitches, but still needs to find a bit more consistency with his control.
5. Edwin Arroyo | SS | Previously Ranked: 4
The 2023 season has been basically two halves so far for Arroyo. In the first two months of the season he hit .197/.247/.329 with nine walks and 38 strikeouts in 162 plate appearances. Since June began he’s hitting .292/.379/.476 with 24 walks and 44 strikeouts in 214 plate appearances. He’s doing everything better at the plate over the last two months.
6. Cam Collier | 3B | Previously Ranked: 2
It’s been a bit of a tough season for last year’s 1st round pick. He’s among the youngest players in the Florida State League (he’s five days younger than this year’s 2nd round pick Sammy Stafura). He’s hitting .225/.322/.337 with four home runs, 36 walks, and 78 strikeouts in 320 plate appearances. His ground ball rate of 54.7% ranks 66th highest out of 1436 minor leaguers with at least 150 plate appearances this season. He’s hitting .214 and slugging .243 on grounders. When he puts the ball in the air he’s hitting .423 and slugging .756. He has to start hitting the ball in the air more frequently if he’s going to get the most from his hitting and power tools.
7. Ricardo Cabrera | SS | Previously Ranked: 12
A slow start to his professional career where he hit .120/.274/.200 in his first month. He hit .314/.403/.461 in the two months that followed as he finished out the year. This season he’s not only picked up where he left off, but he’s gotten even better. The top international signing from 2022, he’s hit .382/.526/.584 with nearly as many walks as strikeouts this year.
8. Chase Petty | RHP | Previously Ranked: 9
An elbow injury kept Petty out for the first month of the season. Since his return he’s been limited to four innings or less in all of his starts and hasn’t thrown more than 65 pitches in any start, and only topped 57 pitches in two of his 12 starts. He’s dominated when he’s been on the mound, posting a 1.83 ERA with 10 walks and 44 strikeouts in 44.1 innings while also being an elite ground ball rate guy. He could vault up the rankings if and when he starts showing the ability to go deeper in games and compile innings.
9. Carlos Jorge | 2B/CF | Previously Ranked: 18
In each of his first two seasons, Jorge has been among the best hitters in each league he played in. This season he’s hitting .290/.392/.474 for Daytona and he’s also stolen 29 bases in 82 games. He’s second in the league in OPS and fifth in the league in steals. That will work. Over the last week and a half he’s begun to see time in centerfield for the first time in his career, so that could be an interesting development if the club sticks with it.
10. Alfredo Duno | C | International Signing
The last time the rankings were updated, Alfredo Duno had not officially signed with the Reds. That happened back in January and arguably the highest rated international signing the team has ever had, Duno has lived up to the billing at the plate so far. In the first 29 games of his career he’s hitting .337/.481/.574 with as many walks as strikeouts. He has not caught this year, and isn’t expected to until instructional league.
11. Sal Stewart | 3B | Previously Ranked: 10
It feels strange to have Stewart rated lower than he was entering the season despite three players ahead of him graduating. His season has been good overall, but there have simply been some guys jump ahead of him – his value is also up. He was hitting a ton of ground balls – more than Collier was – in the first two months of the season and the results weren’t good as he hit .216/.358/.266. But in June he began to elevate the ball and he’s hit .323/.420/.573 in the 45 games since.
12. Hector Rodriguez | OF | Previously Ranked: 24
The script has been flipped with Rodriguez. When he was acquired last year at the trade deadline the reports were that he was a hit-over-power guy, who made tons of contact but had very little power and wasn’t likely to develop much of it. Well, 83 games into the season he’s slugging .519 in the most pitcher friendly league in the minors. He’s also make far less contact than last year – though his strikeout rate is slightly better than the league average. After a bad leg injury last year he isn’t quite showing the same speed as he did prior to the injury, though he’s still got above-average speed.
13. Leo Balcazar | SS | Previously Ranked: 22
Another guy who got out to a strong start in Daytona after hitting well in the past while in rookie ball. Balcazar was hitting .324/.427/.471 while showing strong defense at shortstop when his season unfortunately came to an end when he tore his ACL on April 30th.
14. Ty Floyd | RHP | Draft Pick
Cincinnati’s competitive balance 1st round pick (38th overall), Floyd went 7-0 for LSU but posted a solid but unspectacular 4.35 ERA in 17 starts and two relief appearances. He struck out 120 batters and had 37 walks in his 91.0 innings pitched. When he’s at his best, he’s dominant – as evidenced by his 17-strikeout performance in the College World Series championship against Florida. But he’s also been inconsistent at times in his college career.
15. Sammy Stafura | SS | Draft Pick
Another early draft pick, Cincinnati selected Stafura in the 2nd round (43rd overall). The high school infielder is one of the better athletes from the draft and has 5-tool potential. His lack of play against higher level competition has him ranked here for now, but he could move up quickly if he shows well as a professional.
16. Julian Aguiar | RHP | Previously Ranked: 20
This is another guy who feels like he should have moved up more because his stock is definitely up from before the season, but some other guys have just jumped up as well. After dominating with Dayton – posting a 1.92 ERA with 77 strikeouts in 70.1 innings – Aguiar is now in Double-A where he’s made three starts and struck out 14 batters in 12.2 innings. His fastball velocity is up a tick and his results are even better than they were in 2022.
17. Lyon Richardson | RHP | Unranked
After having Tommy John surgery, Richardson missed all of 2022. Back on the mound this season, Richardson – like Chase Petty – has been limited in his usage. He’s made 19 starts and has topped the 65 pitch mark twice, and he’s only completed four innings in four games. Richardson posted a 2.15 ERA in 46.0 innings in Double-A with 22 walks and 58 strikeouts and he’s now made one appearance in Triple-A where he threw 3.0 shutout innings with five strikeouts. His stuff is undeniable, with a mid-to-upper 90’s fastball and three quality secondary offerings. His control can be inconsistent, and the big uptick in velocity since his return is not something we’ve seen him carry past the 4th inning yet.
18. Blake Dunn | OF | Unranked
There probably hasn’t been a bigger breakout for the Reds than the one from Dunn. He had played in less than 50 games since being drafted in 2021, but has now found success at two levels and is currently crushing the ball in Double-A. Between stops in Dayton and Chattanooga he’s hitting .325/.429/.508 with 42 stolen bases.
19. Michael Siani | OF | Previously Ranked: 19
Two months ago it looked like Siani was on his way out of the rankings. At the end of May he was hitting .193 with 26 walks and 63 strikeouts in 50 games played. In 43 games since the start of June he’s hitting .294 with 37 walks and just 31 strikeouts, while posting an OPS of .862. He’s turned his season around in a big way in the process, and couple that offensive turnaround with his defense in center and he’s right where he began the year – ranked 19th.
20. TJ Hopkins | OF | Unranked
In a season where many hitters broke out in Triple-A, TJ Hopkins joined the group and did so well he earned a call up to the big leagues earlier in the season. While in Louisville he’s hit .313/.415/.542 in 82 games and he’s showing better pitch selection than ever before. His age works against him (he’s 26), but he’s big league ready right now and has some useful skills.
21. Rece Hinds | OF | Previously Ranked: 15
The 2023 season has been one of extremes for Rece Hinds. On May 24th he was hitting .194 and had seven walks with 66 strikeouts in 154 plate appearances. A mechanical change made around that time started to pay off, though. In the 40 games since that point he’s hit .338/.412/.724 with 16 walks and 51 strikeouts in 170 plate appearances. He’s got enormous power, plus speed, and a plus arm – he’s just got to find a way to be more consistent at the plate.
22. Jay Allen II | OF | Previously Ranked: 13
An injured in the first week of the season led to surgery on his thumb and missing much of the year to this point. Allen II has only played in 22 games with Dayton and he had a 6-game rehab stint in Arizona. He’s struggled at the plate, hitting just .159 for the Dragons with 35 strikeouts in 92 plate appearances.
23. Victor Acosta | SS | Previously Ranked: 16
One of the top international signings two years ago by the Padres, Acosta came over at last year’s trade deadline. He’s struggled to hit this season in Daytona – at least compared to some of his teammates. With a .252/.371/.347 line, he’s been roughly league average. But he’s also hit just one home run this season and hasn’t done much to really stand out. He has good tools, but he’s still figuring out how to turn those into skills on the field with consistency.
24. Esmith Pineda | OF | Unranked
Last season saw Pineda get out to a great start, hitting .367/.456/.592 for the DSL Reds in the first three weeks, but then he suffered an injury and didn’t play again until this year. Moving up to the ACL Reds out in Goodyear he’s continued to hit well. Through 361 games he’s hitting .284/.370/.433 and has plenty of room to add more power down the line.
25. Sheng-En Lin | INF/OF | International Signing
Usually we know which international players will be signing well in advance of them actually signing. That was not the case for Sheng-En Lin. After graduating high school in Taiwan, he had offers coming in from multiple leagues but decided he wanted to play in MLB and wound up signing with Cincinnati for $1.2M. Some teams preferred him as a pitcher, where he throws 99 MPH, but the Reds are going to use him as a position player – with that position yet being known as they plan to play him all over the place. He made his professional debut last night in Arizona.
Editors Note: Joe Boyle was on the list at #22 prior to being traded at the deadline to the Oakland Athletics.