Something new this year, we’re taking a look at how the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospects are performing as of the first Monday of each month. That just so happens to be today.

The Position Players

I decided to break things down between pitchers and hitters out of ease of the stats.

There are still three top 25 prospects who are hitting under .200. That is not ideal. But since the last time we checked in at the beginning of May, some guys have turned things around.

Rece Hinds hit .192/.263/.317 in the first month of the season, but he made adjustments – which we wrote about over the weekend – and hit .271/.380/.541 during May.

Leo Balcazar hit .222/.250/.264 in April and had 25 strikeouts with just two walks. He played in just two fewer games in May, but had 18 fewer plate appearances. Still, he had five walks and just 11 strikeouts in May and hit .283/.345/.302. The power still hasn’t shown up for the infielder, but he started walking and dropped his strikeout rate big time.

The rookie level Arizona Complex League got their season started early in May and with that both Sammy Stafura and Sheng-En Lin both started their season. Things have gone well for both, too. Stafura played so well that he was promoted up to Single-A Daytona and is hitting .290/.391/.526 through 92 plate appearances this season. Lin, still just 18-years-old, remains in Arizona where he’s hit .327/.457/.481 through 70 plate appearances.

But not everyone has built on the start of their season. Cam Collier crushed the ball through the first 25 games of the season. On May 6th he was hitting .314/.360/.588 with 14 extra-base hits. Since then he’s hit .143/.198/.238 in 22 games that included a 3-53 slump.

The Pitchers

Just like things with the hitters, some pitchers got out to a slow start. Chase Petty was one of those pitchers. He posted a 9.56 ERA in four starts in April and had nine walks and allowed three homers in just 16.0 innings. But he turned things around in May as he went 4-0 in six starts with a 3.08 ERA, no home runs allowed, walked just seven batters, and had 26 strikeouts in 26.1 innings.

The opposite thing has happened for Rhett Lowder. He made five starts for Dayton and posted a 2.49 ERA and was then promoted to Chattanooga. With the Lookouts he’s made four starts and posted a 9.39 ERA, throwing just 15.1 innings in those four starts and giving up 25 hits.

Jose Acuna came off of the injured list, but he’s only thrown a handful of innings this year and they’ve all come out of the bullpen in sort-of long relief.

Connor Phillips has continued to pitch poorly as he’s struggled in the biggest of ways to throw strikes. He’s walked at least five batters in half of his starts. In six of his ten starts he’s walked more batters than he’s had innings pitched. In another start he had two walks and a hit batter in just 2.2 innings. So in 70% of his starts he’s handed out a free trip to first base more times than he’s completed innings.

Thoughts

Things haven’t exactly been good for the Reds farm system this year. Noelvi Marte’s serving a suspension, Edwin Arroyo’s out for the year, Ty Floyd is out for the year, most of the top pitching prospects have had some real struggles, and more than a few of the hitting prospects have, too.

Several guys – Jay Allen II, Ricardo Cabrera, Sal Stewart, Hector Rodriguez – they’ve hit well. Julian Aguiar’s pitched quite well in Chattanooga’s rotation, and Zach Maxwell – for the most part – has been quite good in the bullpen.

Still, overall it’s tough to look at the farm system to this point of the year and feel like it’s had a good run. With the weather warming up now that summer is upon us, perhaps that changes things for some of the hitters. As for the pitching…. well, they’ve got plenty of adjustments to make.

About The Author

Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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21 Responses

    • Doug Gray

      If I had a swear jar, and the amount of money I had to put in there were based on how loud I just swore, the jar would be overflowing.

      • PTBNL

        Careful there, Doug’s going to give you the filter warning!

      • Doug Gray

        Funny thought I just had…..

        Would the automatic swear filter that pushes posts to moderation do that if I typed a magic word in the comments?

      • Doug Gray

        Nope. It let’s me say whatever I want.

      • PTBNL

        “It’s good to be the king”
        Mel Brooks…History of the World, part 1

  1. Optimist

    A few things really stick out here.

    The troubles of the top 10 prospects, both the pitchers and hitters, but it’s somewhat offset by some excellent performances from the 10-25 ranked players.

    Among the stats, 4 stand out – the K% of Stewart, Rodriguez and Hurtubise, and the BB% of Lin – you can make MLB careers out of numbers such as those.

    Finally, Aguiar and Acuna, if he can continue his performance, both have numbers indicating they remain rotation prospects as pitchers, not throwers, and not yet destined for bullpen duty.

    • DaveCT

      The most advanced pitcher in the system isn’t a top 25 guy,

      Carson Spiers.

      46.2 IP 2.51 ERA 34 H 2 HR 1.05 WHIP 2.89 BB%. 9.45 K%

  2. GREGORY BOTT

    Something is wrong with Phillips. You just don’t regress like that. My guess a elbow injury. Hopefully back or knee.

  3. DW

    Wow, Collier has really dropped off since his hot start. Only a .287 OBP is the most concerning to me

    • MK

      Maybe I am imagining things, but in ‘23 I thought he looked overly thick through the butt and thighs. I was happy to see that he looked much leaner at the beginning of ‘24, but over the last few weeks it looks like he has thickened up again. This can definitely have an effect on bat speed.

  4. DW

    I certainly agree with your conclusion on how things have gone so far this season on farm. Hard to find much to be excited about as far as stats go.

  5. DW

    Anyone have any insight into why they have chosen 3B for Lin? That is the last of the possible positions I would put him at.

  6. MBS

    Who’s our draft pick going to be? I don’t know either but he’ll be our #1 prospect the day he’s picked.

    Our best hitters in AAA are AAAA players, and that’s a big problem. We got some solid arms in AAA, but that’s it.

  7. Mauired

    Serwinowski and Maxwell are two pitchers that should be on the list and are having very good seasons. Aguilar has been underrated as usual. Santillan has had a great bounce back. Williamson looks to join him since Reds pitching is so stacked now, guys that deserve to be in majors are stuck in Louisville. Petty and Richardson have been ok. Phillips needs to go to bullpen yesterday. Lowder is in his first pro season and has time to figure it out. He could just as likely be the best AA pitcher in June.

    There is alot of good young hitting but mostly in Dayton or lower but a few guys will be in AA very soon like Stewart, Rodriguez, Allen, and maybe Collier if he can get hot again. Allen has gone from bust to a contender as Reds #1 prospect this season. Guy looks like a young Eric Davis. Some of the teenagers like Lin, Cabrera, Duno, Collier, and Stafura look like possible future top 100 prospects.

    And in about a month Reds will add one of the top minor league prospects.

  8. The Duke

    The Good
    Lowder i’m not too concerned about at this point. He’s been touched up a bit, but he’s showing solid control and still showing swing and miss stuff, what he needs to do in AA is learn how to refine his command to avoid that hard contact.

    Stewart is our top hitting prospect imo. He has more walks than Ks not just in this season, but for his career so far since being drafted. And while he’s been a little too much Sally Singles so far, i’ve got a chance to see him live, see his BP, and the raw power is there for the return of Sally Long Balls, he just needs to keep working to tap into it. His upside could be a .300/.400/.500 hitter.

    Allen had a tremendous start and while he certainly hasn’t gone cold or anything, his numbers are starting to fall back to earth a bit, but he’s still been our best minor league hitter this year. The nagging injuries have still been around, but thankfully it hasn’t been anything too serious. He’s showed enough athletically to be able to play any of the 3 OF spots, and I think he’ll see AA before the year is out, possibly as soon as midseason.

    Serwinowski started out like a ball of fire and has settled into more of a developing young pitcher since then, but he doesn’t turn 20 years old until this Friday, and I think the patience could be rewarded here. He’s a tall thin kid and his fastball keeps ticking up with his body’s development, he could be a guy that sits 94-97 and touches upper 90’s from the left hand side in the next couple of years and has a good breaking ball to pair with it. Just keep working on that changeup, keep working on refining command, he likely gets all season in Low A as they have been very cautious with his development so far, but the ceiling is high.

    For an 18 year old in A ball, i’ve been pretty pleased with Duno’s progression and approach at the plate. From what i’ve heard he’s looked solid defensively as well. Hopefully he’s back in the lineup soon, I expect he’ll be in Daytona all year this year and likely in Dayton all year next year. Consistency can do wonders for young developing catchers.

    Aguiar has just been a model of consistency pretty much since we drafted him back in 2021. He might not ever be an ace, but he also has a decent shot of carving out a 10 year MLB career as a backend starter who brings consistency to a rotation and just goes out and produces.

    Zack Maxwell (and Tony Santillan) have provided the Reds with some great depth and youth to be able to pull from AAA if needed, but the bullpen is about the only quasi consistently good part of the big club this year. Sure the odd big inning will happen, but by and large they’ve been solid and deep.

    The Bad
    Chase Petty has had issues in the jump to AA, but has at least had some ups with his downs unlike Phillips. He’s still a just turned 21 year old in AA and the stuff is still showing. He needs to learn command as he’s getting hit quite a bit with 49 given up in 41 IP, I think we might see the trio of Lowder, Aguiar, and Petty all work together through this season and see if some of our best arms paired together can learn from each other. I think we have enough starting depth in the bigs and in AAA to where this might happen.

    Leo Balcazar had a small sample size in 2023 in Low A Daytona, but he looked electic there hitting for average, taking walks, flashed some power, he had a solid frame for a MIF, and so far this year has just been entirely pedestrian. The power is gone, the walk rate is down, the K rate is up. He’s still young (won’t turn 20 for a couple more weeks) but even live he looked entirely unspectacular in all aspects of the game.

    Carlos Jorge had a nice year in 2023 and showed good versatility. He’s pretty much just been an OF in a crowded Dayton lineup and his bat has cooled considerably. He’s still showing power when he makes contact but his contact rates have dropped, his walk rate has plummeted, and his K rate has skyrocketed. The tools are there, but he desperately needs to put bat to ball better.

    Blake Dunn destoryed AA last year en route to the Reds minor league hitter of the year award, but since coming back from injury he’s been entirely pedestrian in AAA so far and that’s with a golden opportunity waiting for an OF to get hot and carve out a role on the big club where all the OFs are struggling to hit.

    The Ugly
    Cam Collier had such a hot start that he cracked the MLB Pipeline top 100 after early season graduations off the list, but since then he’s really struggled to hit. It seems like the book is out on Collier in the midwest league, and now he needs to adjust to the adjustments and take that next step. The raw power is as good as anyone in the system and he showed good bat to ball skills early, but the 19 year old needs to figure out how to beat how pitchers are getting him out.

    Connor Phillips control has fallen off the wagon harder than I certainly would have expected. More walks than Ks and almost more walks than IP. I’m not sure what the difference is from last year, but something drastic needs to change to the point to where I think it might serve him better moving back to AA and working with control guys like Lowder and Aguiar.

    If Balcazar has looked bad, then Acosta has looked atrocious. Another soon to be 20 year old on the Dayton team didn’t have quite the year some of the other prospects did in Daytona last year, but he still looked solid. So far in Dayton Acosta has been over matched. The K rate hasn’t been terrible, and the walk rate respectable, but his bat to ball skills have been almost non existent. He needs a hot streak just to get up to Mendoza levels.

    Injuries and Suspensions. Arroyo was one of our top prospects, out for the year. Noelvi Marte misses half the season for PEDs, Floyd hasn’t thrown a professional pitch yet and won’t before 2025. Allen has still had the nagging injuries, Duno has been out some. Hopefully lady luck is a little kinder in the second half.

    • 2020ball

      +1, thanks for the live reports especially

  9. RedBB

    Some ugly numbers for our top pitchers. I think Kylie McDaniel is on to something with us picking Chase Burns at #2. I would’t love it but could understand it if he can be signed Underslot.

    • The Duke

      You mean the same Chase Burns who got outpitched in a home regional against Trey Yesavage giving up 4 runs in 5 innings to East Carolina and now their season is over? Don’t over think it. Take Bazzana or Condon.

      • Mauired

        Maybe you should think more. Jac is one of the best power hitting draft prospects in years.