The middle of the week gets us to the middle of the 2024 Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospects List. Today we’re going to look at the prospects from spots 11 through 15.

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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

11. Leo Balcazar | SS | Age: 19

2023 Team: Daytona Tortugas | Acquired: International FA, 2021 | Height: 5′ 10″ | Weight: 190 lbs. | B/T: R/R

What to like: He’s a well-rounded player who can do a little bit of everything well. He’s also been a strong performer everywhere he’s been, including early on in Daytona before he tore his ACL and saw his season end after just 18 games played.

What he needs to improve on: Most things are in need of improvement for Balcazar. If it’s getting repetitive to say he’s young and of course he has to keep improving, sorry, but that’s just where it’s at. With that said, despite good defensive tools, he’s been error prone at shortstop, posting an .893 fielding percentage there in his 59 games at the position.

Video

Stats

12. Rece Hinds | OF | Age: 23

2023 Team: Chattanooga Lookouts | Acquired: 2nd Round, 2019 Draft | Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 215 lbs. | B/T: R/R

What to like: Hinds is very athletic, is one of the faster runners in the system even if he doesn’t often get credit for it, and has the best power of anyone in the farm system. He’s been able to make the adjustment at every level he’s played at so far.

What he needs to improve on: While it happened in 2023 in the second half, cutting down on the strikeout rate is probably the biggest area he needs to continue to improve on.

Video

Stats

13. Hector Rodriguez | OF | Age: 20

2023 Team: Daytona Tortugas, Dayton Dragons | Acquired: Trade (Mets), International FA (2021) | Height: 5′ 8″ | Weight: 186 lbs. | B/T: L/R

What to like: He’s done nothing but perform everywhere he’s played. While he’s short, he’s got plenty of tools and after entering the season with just a few home runs to his name in two seasons he went out and crushed 16 of them in the pitcher friendly Florida State League in 2023 as a 19-year-old.

What he needs to improve on: In his career he hasn’t walked all that often. He makes contact at a good clip, so it does help mitigate the lack of walks a bit but it’s an area that he could improve upon.

Video

Stats

14. Ty Floyd | RHP | Age: 22

2023 Team: Did not play professionally | Acquired: 1st Round, 2023 Draft | Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 200 lbs. | B/T: R/R

What to like: He’s got a plus fastball to go with three average secondary offerings that will flash a little bit better than that.

What he needs to improve on: Finding consistency. At times in college he was dominant, but his control would come and go, and his career ERA at LSU was 4.17 (and 4.35 this past year).

Stats

Did not pitch after the draft

15. Blake Dunn | OF | Age: 25

2023 Teams: Dayton Dragons, Chattanooga Lookouts | Acquired: 15th Round, 2021 Draft | Height: 6′ 0″ | Weight: 210 lbs. | B/T: R/R

What to like: Dunn had a big breakout season in 2023 that saw him hit 23 home runs and steal 54 bases. He’s got tons of speed to go with good power and a well-rounded game.

What he needs to improve on: Getting hit by pitches less often. Kidding, sort of. He was hit by a pitch 32 times in 2023, though. After the season he had it’s tough to point to anything specific he needs to really improve on.

Video

Stats

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45 Responses

  1. SultanofSwaff

    So far there’s no one on these lists that I wouldn’t move in a trade. I suspect that will be the case until we move into the top 5.
    Hinds strikeout rate is really troublesome for me–I’d jump at the opportunity to sell high. It’s so hard to find future value there given how much weight is placed on the hit tool as a corner outfielder. I guess for me Hinds’ hitting profile is not something I want on the Reds unless his plate discipline improves.

    • Old Big Ed

      Hinds went to bed on June 8th and woke up a brand new man.

      Through June 8, his strikeout rate was just short of 43%, and he had a 4.4% BB-rate. He was hitting .208 with 5 HRs.

      After June 8, he hit .298 with 18 HRs. His strikeout rate the rest of the season was 24.5% and his BB rate was 9.7%.

      He has to keep doing it, but the raw stats for the season do not tell the whole story.

      • Matt McWax

        It’s a small thing but some guys showing second half improvements, that have stayed at the same level, get the benefit of other teams’ call-ups of better players (pitchers in this case). That’s not to say that some good A+ guys wouldn’t arrive in AA but not as good as the guys moving from AA to AAA.

        I’m not sure if the real data would confirm this theory (2nd half pitcher fatigue and injury may play a role too and pitcher command might improve by midseason to provide a counterbalance). I’m not dedicated enough to crunch those numbers, LOL, but maybe someone has.

        Regardless, it’s not something specific to Hinds. He could prove the improvement was real by doing it in the first half of 2024 at AAA. We are blessed with the number of guys who maintained performance up the ranks, especially into the majors (see Noelvi’s OBP and SLG across the levels).

    • DaveCT

      Hinds’ RH power in the outfield may outweighs the K rate *if he sustains the improvements re strikeouts he made in the second half at AA.

      One, Hinds made an adjustment in June and took off. Two, he did this in his first season at AA, considered the hardest jump in the minors. Three, he also took off just before the pre-tacked ball was discontinued, and sustained things afterward. And, four, Hinds, plays with high energy and aggressiveness that fits the mold of the currents Reds system.

      So if that lowered K rate from the second half is the norm moving forward, Rece may better serve the organization in RF.

      That said, where I agree is in your notion of trading high, on a few guys,at least. I’d group them as players who we know vs players we don’t yet know what we may have. Players we know, Hopkins, Barrero, Hinds to some extent. Players we don’t yet know, Dunn, Hurtubise, Arroyo.

      • MK

        Hinds throwing arm might be his greatest athletic attribute. It was definitely a good move putting him in rightfield over third base. I’ve been present when a crowd gasped when he threw from the rightfield corner to third base like a laxor.

      • Doug Gray

        Hinds arm is probably a grade below his raw power but probably right there with his game power. It’s a plus tool, no question.

      • JB

        MK- I was just about to ask about his arm. Thank you for the info.

      • MBS

        You’re probably right, but it seems to be unfair in his case. He’s a college guy who missed almost 2 seasons with injuries. He sure made up for it in 23.

      • Doug Gray

        MBS – it’s both fair and unfair. But the reason it is fair is that it simply means he’s got less time to compile big league numbers because he’s older. And at the end of the day, that’s what these rankings are ultimately trying to tell us – in 20 years, which of these guys will have had the most valuable big league careers.

      • MBS

        @Doug, that reasoning makes sense, but really how many players have long careers, and especially with 1 team. Votto’s, and Larkins are rare birds. I’m super happy if we get 3 – 6 years out of any prospect.

      • Doug Gray

        I don’t care what team their value comes with – I’m simply trying to say this guy will have the most value in 20 years when everyone’s career is over.

      • MBS

        I understood what you were saying, and I agree with it as it pertains to creating a prospect rating. I was just further clarifying my position, as it slightly conflicts with the norm.

    • Pete

      I really believe this guy has a chance to be the best of the lot. His game just keeps advancing except for the final couple weeks of the season. Can’t wait for spring training and start to find out where his potential goes.

      I would not trade him under any circumstances.

  2. Little Earl

    3 players in top 25 from trades of Naquin and Drury. Got to love that return, along with what we got from the Maile trade. Jury still out on Castillo trade. Lastly the trade of Pham was the only stinker.

  3. RedsGettingBetter

    Doug, you have high hopes on Balcazar after listing him at #11 above Hinds, Rodríguez even Dunn, who all of them played all 2023 season while Balcazar was injured… I like very much Balcazar as a top prospect but he should stay healthy and show what he can do in a complete season…Let’s see…

    • Andrew

      My opinion only, but I’d suspect the #11 spot is because the others you mentioned won’t ever sniff a top-5 status. Balcazar *could* be a top-75 MLB prospect in 18mi tha IF he continues what he was doing

  4. Stock

    I think MBS has a very good point. Dunn may be 25 but his experience speaks to someone 23. He performed as well as anyone in the organization and better than any
    current prospect.

    I have three tiers: Dunn is one of 8 players in my first tier. At some point in 2024 an OF will get injured and Dunn will step in and quite possibly outperform the player he replaces. The man could be a 30/60 player in GABP.

    • MBS

      I’ve never attempted to create my own prospect list. I can say it wouldn’t look like most of the ones I read. I do tend to value the players who are closer to MLB ready, than I do guys with the big ceilings in A ball. Don’t get me wrong I want both, but the guys at the upper levels have passed a lot of hurdles that most of these young guys are going to trip over.

  5. Stock

    Doug has had 2 players clearly miss the tier I have them ranked in. Blake Dunn and Jacob Hurtubise. My sense is that their age has dinged them in such a way that I ignored in my ranking. In the past I would not have had Dunn in my first tier because of his age.

    Three things have happened that have changed my stance on age.

    1. Covid. Covid took a year of development from all players. so in a way 2023 was Dunn was his age 23 season.

    2. Injuries. Dunn was not outside Doug’s top 25 because of performance. It was because of injuries. His OPS in full season ball in 2021 was 1.000, in 2022 it was .963 and in AA this year it was .989.

    3. TJ Friedl. After the 2021 season Doug ranked Friedl as the 17th best prospect. 2021 was Friedl’s age 25 season. The .779 OPS Friedl put up in his age 25 season did not compare to the .989 OPS Dunn put up in Chattanooga in 2023 as a 24 year old. In 2023 Friedl was the Reds best player.

    For the record I did not have Friedl in my top 25 at YE because I felt he was too old. I have learned. I have no doubt that if he stays healthy Dunn will be better in AAA at age 25 than Friedl was at age 25. Dunn will be very good in 2024.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Fair point about your comp to Friedl. That’s encouraging.

    • ghm08

      Maybe Dunn will compete for an outfield spot in spring training. He has AA under his belt and he is ripe. I know his OPS will drop some, but if have 800 OPS player with his speed in the outfield next year I will not complain.

    • DaveCT

      MLB.com has also comp’d Dunn as a RH TJ Friedl.

      Dunn’s pre-draft scouting report had everything you’d want in a prospect with the exception of a strong hit tool. He just may have answered that question. As it was, the reports stated his floor as being a speed/defense/power 4th OF.

  6. Stock

    I agree. But first they need to find a spot for him.

    Fraley, Friedl, Benson, Hurtubise and Dunn. Five players who you could argue could be starting at some point next year.

    • DaveCT

      Or, they may need to find places for Fraley, Friedl, Benson etc …

    • MK

      Steer will be an outfielder in the near future. No place for him in the infield, even without India. I have CES, McLain, EDC, and Marte with Barrero as the utility guy(inf/of). I could also see Martini being the backup 1B /OF.
      I also think Bubba Thompson, a s a righty will bet a longer look than Hurtibese.

  7. MK

    Surprise the Reds AFL team will play on TV in the Championship game Saturday night.

  8. Tom

    No offense to Floyd but he should be moved down just based on the Reds history with college pitchers outside the top 15 in the draft. I’d have him 20th or lower until next year.

    • Stock

      Do you mean like Graham Ashcraft in 2019 and Andrew Abbott in 2021? Maybe you mean Noah Davis. Taken in the 11th round and pitching for the Rockies this year. Maybe Josiah Gray or Lyon Richardson come to mind. What about Carson Spiers or Joe Boyle. That is 7 pitchers in the last 4 years taken after pick 15 who have pitched in the majors. That is a pretty impressive track record. Add to that pitchers such as Hunter Parks, Julien Aguiar, Javi Rivera and Christian Roa.

      • Tom

        Not a lot of teams have success after the first 15 picks, so my comment is inherently unfair. However, I am trying to identify a pattern with these rankings that seem to place last year’s draft picks where we want them to be rather than where they end up eventually. I’d put Stafura in this same category. Both would be lower for me until they actually play, for one part because the things they need to work on are potentially limiting, but especially based on the strength of the system. Acuna, Dunn, Allen, Hopkins, and Hurtubise would all be higher for me than the two I mentioned.

      • Tom

        And although my first comment was lazily written, in my mind I am really targeting comp picks, and early to mid 2nd round picks.

        Typically, if you read those profiles, they are not that different than other’s later on in the draft, but maybe they have 1 standout tool above the rest. Sometimes their profile can read like a top 10 pick as well. It’s pretty intriguing.

        That 1 standout tool can carry a player very far. It can also fall back to earth or get washed out. I think those picks get a bump up in rankings that Ashcraft, Abbott, Spiers, Boyle, and others do not, especially in year 1.

        Gray was a great pick and deserved the early hype as he’s shown.

        He and Ashcraft remind me of each other because if you read their profiles, it was all gravy except 1 thing. Gray, it was the JUCO level he was performing at, and Ashcraft it was his hip injury. But the makeup and skills were all there. Throw in Abbott, too. Great pitch mix, amazing year entering draft, but had 1 thing – he’d mostly been a reliever except his last year in college. All great value picks there.

    • Redsvol

      Tom – I think you’re going to like Ty Floyd. While watching the college World Series, I was more impressed with him than the guy eventually picked #2 overall – Paul Skenes. Now maybe he just got hot but his fastball was just nasty – lot of movement.

      Gonna be up to whether he can harness a breaking ball often enough to stay a starter but I’d say he is worthy of the ranking just based on his cws showing.

  9. Tom

    Doug, how much of Balcazars positioning is weighted with feedback from your sources? Wondering how excited those in the org might be?

    • Doug Gray

      I did far less traveling this past season than I would have liked to, which left me more limited in my interactions with both Reds personnel as well as other organization’s scouts. That said, throughout the year I probably talked to 15ish people who are either working with the Reds in some capacity within development or scouts for other organizations. Only a few had a chance to see Balcazar in person this season, but by-and-large they had good things to say. I haven’t seen him in person yet, but I have been able to see some video over the last two years. I’ll have more in a few weeks when it’s his time for the season review and scouting report.