Welcome to part 2 of our look at the Cincinnati Reds organization. We’re diving into the season stats of key prospect hitters of the Reds. With the trade of players like Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal, and the promotion of Devin Mesoraco, the Reds look a little thin at hitting. However, the play of SS Billy Hamilton gives them at least 1 truly elite prospect.
Neftali Soto 1B Louisville Bats – Age 23 – One of the better Reds hitting prospects was a 2007 3rd round pick. He posted a triple slash of .278/.333/.576, with 31 HRs in the Carolina League in 2011. Things aren’t going nearly as well in his 1st full season of Triple-A ball. He’s hitting just .227 with 6 HRs over 194 at bats. He got off the snide a bit last night by going 2 for 3 with 1 HR. He’s not showing much patience at the plate and needs to show that he can take a walk.
Daryl Jones OF Louisville Bats – Age 24 – Jones’ stock rose quickly after he hit .316 with 13 HRs and 24 SB in 2008 between the Florida State League and the Texas League. Since then, the 2005 third round pick has not managed to recapture that success. Jones had eye surgery a couple of weeks ago and has been on the shelf since the beginning of May. He was hitting just .158 with 3 HRs and 5 SB. Hopefully he can make a full recovery and be a more productive hitter when he comes back.
Cody Puckett OF Louisville Bats – Age 25 – Puckett was hitting .268 with 7 HRs and 21 RBIs with Pensacola before getting promoted to Louisville earlier this month. He’s currently hitting .226 with no HRs and just 1 RBI over his first 31 at bats with the Bats. He has a little power and a little speed, but there’s nothing in his game to suggest he will be a major league regular.
Ryan LaMarre OF Pensacola Blue Wahoos – Age 23 – LaMarre hit 6 HRs and stole 55 bases in 2011 despite an OPS of .720. He’s hitting .273 with 1 HR and 12 SB over 183 at bats in 2012 with a OPS of .740. He’s not going to hit for any meaningful power, however his speed on the bases may carry him into a 4th or 5th outfielder spot down the road.
Didi Gregorius SS Pensacola Blue Wahoos – Age 22 – Signed out of the Netherlands in 2008, Gregorius hit .289 with 7 HRs and 11 SB in just 336 at bats between the Cal League and the Southern League 2011. He’s hitting .264 with no HRs and 1 SB over 178 at bats in 2012. We still think there’s more in his bat than he’s currently showing.
Billy Hamilton SS Bakersfield Blaze – Age 21 - After hitting .278 with an incredible 103 SB for the 2011 season in the Midwest League, Hamilton who is now the Reds top prospect, is hitting .309 with 49 SB over 191 at bats. He’s unlikely to keep up a pace that would see him steal 140 bases, but he’s very likely to clip last years total. He’s a riser in our Baseball Instinct 360 update coming up shortly
Donald Lutz 1B Bakersfield Blaze – Age 22 – If you read my Cal League preview and update, you already know my professed love for his D-Lee type game. He’s hitting .306 with 13 HRs and 7 SB over 183 at bats in the Cal. As in the past though, an injury has slowed his progress. He’s currently on the 7 day DL with a pulled Rib muscle. Hopefully he can mend quickly and pick up where he left off. He’s a player to watch.
Bryson Smith OF Bakersfield Blaze – Age 23 – The 2011 34th round draft pick from Florida is a bit old for the High-A Cal League. However, considering that he was drafted last year and made the jump from Rookie Ball to High-A we are cutting him some slack for now. He hit .368 with 5 HRs and 3 SB over 95 at bats between the AZL and the Pioneer League last season. He’s hitting .347 with 5 HRs and 5 SB over 144 at bats in the Cal League this season. He’s only struck out 21 times, but with just 10 BB and a BABIP of .371, he’s going to need to show more patience at the plate because he’s not going to keep hitting at this clip, even in the CAL. Still, he’s a baseball rat and I love the work ethics. I’d like to see him mature at the plate so that he can move to AA this summer.
Devin Lohman 2B Bakersfield Blaze – Age 23 – Lohman is another player that is too old for High-A. His development has been slow, however he ascended 3 levels in 2011 and finished the season hitting .272 with 10 HRs and 19 SB over 452 at bats. He’s currently hitting .267 with 6 HRs and 9 SB over 191 at bats. He’s currently on a 5 game multi-hit rampage. He’s 12 for 27 with 3 HRs and 9 RBI in that time. Obviously his age and the hitting friendly Cal League have helped him, but there’s clear progress here and he may get a promotion to Pensacola this summer.
Juan Duran OF Bakersfield Blaze – Age 20 – Duran had a bit of a break out in 2011 in the Midwest League as a 19-year-old. He hit .264 with 16 HRs and 71 RBI over 367 at bats. However his 152/34 K/BB ratio was ugly. This isn’t uncommon among young Latin players though. He’s hitting just .200 with 5 HRs and a nasty 48/6 K/BB ratio over 130 at bats. There’s a lot of talent there, but he’s a long ways away from the show.
Yorman Rodriguez OF Bakersfield Blaze – Age 19 – It’s unclear why the Reds thought that Rodriguez, who will be just 19 for the entire 2012 season, was ready for High-A – Even if it does favor hitters. He was hitting just .156/.181/.200 over 90 at bats as of May 6th. It appears rather than demoting him to Dayton that they have sent him back to extended spring training to work on his swing mechanics, which is probably where he should have started the season.
Ryan Wright SS Dayton Dragons – Age 22 – The Reds are taking things slowly with the 2011 5th round pick. After hitting .308 with 8 HRs and 7 SB over 183 at bats in rookie ball in 2011, Wright is hitting .318 with 1 HR and 11 SB over 198 at bats in the Midwest League. He’s not likely to stick at SS. In the event that the Reds promote David Lohman to Pensacola, chances are that Wright will move up to Bakersfield as a 2B.
Kyle Waldrop OF Dayton Dragons – Age 20 – Waldrop is hitting .280 with 2 HRs, 3 Triples, 9 Doubles, and 4 SB over 150 at bats with the Dragons. He’s only struck out 26 times, however he has just 15 walks. He’s likely to spend all of 2012 in the Midwest League.
Juan Perez 2B Dayton Dragons – Age 20 – The 2010 26th round draft pick is hitting .242 with 1 HR, 3 Triples, 13 Doubles, and 9 SB over 161 at bats this season. His 22/23 K/BB ratio is a nice ratio, but would like to see him work the counts and take more walks. His .254 BABIP is a little low and should correct as the season progresses. He should spend all of 2012 with Dayton and is another Reds middle infielder worth keeping an eye on.
That’s it for the Reds organization report. Next up we will take a look at the Baltimore Orioles. Make sure to check back soon and we kick into high-gear with our 2012 MLB first-year player draft coverage.
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