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.


(468-foot homer)


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.



Victor Acosta Stats

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18 Responses

  1. SultanofSwaff

    Richardson’s bulldog spirit impressed me during his Reds callup, but the walk rates in the upper minors make me question whether starting will be his path. Certainly the TJ surgery could be a factor, but with so many starting pitching prospects lined up ahead of him (not to mention trade/free agent acquisitions), it seems to make sense to shift him to the bullpen. I don’t mind relievers with elevated walk rates so long as the HR rates are very good, and his MiLB were.

    Aguiar on the other hand displayed better K/BB rates as he ascended. I think he could be a solid #4 on a good team and look for him to be a contributor at some point in 2024 like Phillips and Richardson were in 2023.

    • mac624

      With the bulldog mentality, it makes me wonder if he could be a potential future closer. Hard to know and no need to move him to that type of role yet, but the attitude seems to be there, and to be a closer, that’s harder to find than most realize. His Velo would likely play up some as a closer and he has a handful of pitches he could mix in for a secondary pitch. Idk if the FO sees him that way or not, but something I’ve thought about with the attitude he carries with him on the mound.

    • MBS

      I’d like to see Richardson, and Spiers both in the pen as multi inning relievers. I also agree with @Mac that Richardson could develop into a closer, or at least a setup guy in the future.

    • DaveCT

      I’m pretty bullish on Richardson. I was really impressed with his aggressiveness (here it is, hit it), and half suspect his struggles at AAA and the ML’s may have been impacted by adjusting to the non-sticky ball (as Doug pointed out in a comment re: Salazar). Unlike Salazar, his pitch repertoire make me pretty confident he sticks as a starter. Like Salazar, he just wasn’t ready when called upon last season. I’m guessing he tunes up and builds innings at AAA, and becomes a more serious factor in late 24 and 25.

  2. BK

    Hopkins is rated higher than I expected. He had an outstanding year at AAA, and I agree his poor big-league showing was almost certainly impacted by sporadic playing time. The Reds have four RH hitters on the 40-man roster capable of playing outfield–Hopkins, Barrero, Senzel, and Fairchild. I also expect Hinds to be added to the 40-man roster, and while Dunn won’t be, he is close to ready and should start 2024 at AAA. While Senzel and Hopkins have options, it’s hard to imagine the Reds keeping five RH outfielders on the 40-man roster. It will be interesting to see how this sorts out during the offseason.

    • Doug Gray

      I thought I’d get a question or two about Hopkins, but honestly expected it to be more related to his age than anything else. Normally he’d be too old for the list, but I cut him a little slack because of the timing of his draft. He lost a year and it’s tough to hold that against him. I think he’ll be a big leaguer for at least a few years, so it’s tough to leave him off, even if he’s likely to only be a bench guy.

      • BK

        Bench guys have value and I could see him filling a specific need with the Reds and their LH-hitting heavy OF if he can learn to thrive in that role.

      • MK

        I too question Hopkins but as much about Acosta who I believe should flip spots with him. Age, and athleticism seem to be my biggest reasons.

    • DaveCT

      The factor in Hopkins’ favor is his price, especially in comparison to Senzel. The factor in the Reds’ favor is, being ML ready, he could be an add-on trade chip for in-season help.

      Myself, I’d like to see him get a fair chance at GABP if we’re keeping him. There is no guarantee Senzel continues to mash LH pitching, and Barrero/Fairchild have different value, as CF’s.

  3. 44Reds

    Feels like Richardson may be underrated to me. Dude moved up 3 levels in one season and looked the part in the Big Show (except for the poor control). His control struggles were in small sample sizes when he was getting moved up and down unpredictably. It was also the year after TJ surgery when controls struggles are somewhat expected. Do you see him getting significant innings in the majors this year?

    • BK

      I see him getting more time in the big leagues. Think about how many starters the Reds went through in 2023. They are returning Greene, Abbott, Ashcraft, Lodolo, Williamson, Phillips, Spiers, and Richardson in 2024, who all got starts with the Reds. Even if the Reds bring in a couple of free agent starters, they will likely need everyone on the current 40-man roster to make starts. If the starters are healthy, I expect him in the bullpen. One of the glaring pieces missing from the Red’s roster in 2023 was a swingman in the bullpen–like several others; I think he would do very well in that role.

    • MK

      Reason he moved three levels is because he should have been in same place had he not missed a year and a half with injury.

      • Doug Gray

        And really, the only reason he was even in Daytona is because it’s warm there in April and it’s not necessarily warm anywhere else.

    • Doug Gray

      Richardson is where he is because while his stuff improved from where it was pre-injury, he’s also not shown that he can carry that stuff as an actual starting pitcher. He was limited in both innings and pitches per outing. Will that level of stuff hold up if he’s asked to throw 95 pitches every 5 days and 160 innings? How about his already questionable control? I just see a guy with a lot of reliever risk there. The “could be a starter” thing is what has him up as high as he is.

  4. DaveCT

    I am excited to see what Acosta does outside of the often soul crushing Florida ballparks.

    That didn’t affect some of our top hitters, of course, but the average 19 year old may have been impacted by it. If all goes well, and the club sticks to its one step at a time standard practice, we may see Acosta ready in time for the phasing out of India and, possibly, Barrero (if still here). Along with half of the Top 25 prospects.

    2024, Hi-A
    2025, AA
    2026, AAA/ML
    2026, ML

    • Matt McWax

      I think Acosta would be a good bet for a breakout 2024 and to climb up the lists.

  5. DaveCT

    When Aguiar is on, his slider is a really nice pitch. He also has a very good fastball that IMO he uses well. At 6’3″, 180 lbs, he may have some projection left, too, especially since his pre-draft scouting reports also surmised he’d be able to get to mid to high 90’s as he developed. What I noticed at AA was he was able to plow his way through control issues, higher pitch counts, etc and get to the 5th inning when it looked he may not get out of the 2nd. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s ready for AAA by mid season.