After kicking off the 2024 Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospects List on Monday, we’re back this morning for the next group of five players as we count our way down to the top five on Friday.
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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 2024 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, 2024
16. Sammy Stafura | SS | Age: 19
2023 Team: ACL Reds | Acquired: 2nd Round, 2023 Draft | Height: 6′ 0″ | Weight: 188 lbs. | B/T: R/R
What to like: He’s a potential 5-tool player with tons of athleticism and he’s got plenty of time to develop those tools into usable skills.
What he needs to improve on: Just about everything. That’s not so much a knock on him as much as it is just a pointing out of the fact that he’s a teenager with a handful of professional games under his belt who is just getting his professional career started. He did struggle in his 53 plate appearances with the ACL Reds in his debut, but there’s not too much to worry about given the sample size and background.
17. Lyon Richardson | RHP | Age: 24
2023 Teams: Daytona, Chattanooga, Louisville, Cincinnati | Acquired: 2nd round, 2018 Draft | Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 207 lbs. | B/T: R/R
What to like: There’s some good stuff to work with out of the right hand of Lyon Richardson. He averaged 96.6 MPH with his fastball this season and he’s got four offerings (five if you count both a 2-seamer and 4-seamer as separate pitches).
What he needs to improve on: While he missed plenty of bats in 2023, he also walked plenty of batters. That’s the big thing. But he also only threw 69.1 innings in 24 minor league starts and 16.2 innings in four big league starts. That was intentional by the organization as he was coming back from Tommy John surgery, but he needs to show he can pitch deeper into games, too.
(minor league stats only in the career line)
18. Julian Aguiar | RHP | Age: 22
2023 Teams: Dayton Dragons, Chattanooga Lookouts | Acquired: 12th round, 2021 Draft | Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 180 lbs. | B/T: L/R
What to like: Aguiar throws plenty of strikes and he’s been very good since being drafted, posting a 3.17 ERA in 230.0 innings across four levels.
What he needs to improve on: After having tons of success with Dayton in the first half, he took a bit of a step backwards in Double-A Chattanooga. He was still good and found success, but was far more hittable.
19. TJ Hopkins | OF | Age: 27
2023 Teams: Louisville Bats, Cincinnati Reds | Acquired: 9th round, 2019 Draft | Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 195 lbs. | B/T: R/R
What to like: He’s big league ready. While his initial big league debut didn’t go well as he was coming off of the bench, he’s got a well-rounded set of tools that could be useful in the big leagues.
What he needs to improve on: He’s performed at all levels of the minor leagues. Now he’s got to step it up in the big leagues. At his age there’s not a ton of wiggle room for getting it done, either, before the next man up could take his spot.
20. Victor Acosta | SS | Age: 19
2023 Teams: Daytona Tortugas | Acquired: Trade (Padres, 2022 – International FA, 2021) | Height: 5′ 11″ | Weight: 170 lbs. | B/T: S/R
What to like: He’s a potential 5-tool player who had a league average offensive performance as one of the younger players in the Florida State League last season.
What he needs to improve on: Most things. While there’s power potential to tap into for Acosta, he hit just two home runs in 2023 over the course of 100 games played.