Cincinnati Reds Top 21 Prospects: 2013 Review

PIReds2012

We’re back at it with our look at the preseason Top 21′s. We’re checking on what was said in preseason and what the point of view is now with the season at a close.

We’ll be following that up with a post 2013 Baseball Instinct 360° to see where prospects stack up against each other overall and to give us a head start on breaking down each system, looking for the prospects of 2014 and beyond.

The Cincinnati Reds stumbled at the start of the playoffs, losing a 1 game play-in game to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Subsequently, they fired manager Dusty Baker. Meanwhile, The Reds farm system was a mixture of impressive performances and some down right awful performances.

Billy Hamilton made his mlb debut late in the season and displayed why he will be a regular part of the Reds lineup in the near future.

 

1. Billy Hamilton, OF 9/19/1990 H:6’0″ W:160 – Obviously the first thing that jumps out at everyone is the fact that Billy Hamilton stole 155 bases in 2012. You take 100off of that total and it’s pretty damn good.  So end of topic, we can move onto the next player, right? Not so fast. Hamilton improved in so many areas that it would be an injustice to him to just focus on his gaudy SB numbers. Hamilton raised his batting average from .278 at Low-A in 2011 to .311 between High-A and AA in 2012.

While the High-A California League is where Hamilton spent most of the 2012 season and it’s notoriously know as a hitters league, the CAL tends to inflate power numbers more than batting average. Hamilton also saw his OBP rise from .340 to .410, as well as his K rate drop from 21.8% to 18.7%, while his BB rate went up from 8.5% to and excellent 14.2%.

At the plate Hamilton is the kind of lead off hitter that GM’s dream of. He has an average hit tool that is heading towards above average. I’m not convinced that he will be an above .300 hitter at the major league level, but I certainly think he can hit in the .280-.290 range.

Hamilton doesn’t offer much power, but that’s not going to be a real issue as he’s a real threat to turn many singles into doubles, and a quite a few doubles into triples. He has 36 triples in just over 1000 minor league at bats, 14 of which came in 2012. He also legged out an inside the park HR in July. He completed the circuit in a blazing 13.8 seconds.

Defensively, Hamilton was shifted from SS to CF in the 2012 Arizona Fall League. He has excellent range and above average arm. He made tremendous strides in making good reads and running effective routes. While he could have easily stuck at SS, he adds a lot of extra value as a potentially premier CF.

Our Instinct: There was some thought that Hamilton would make the Reds right out of spring this season. The Reds would like to give him more time to work on his craft in the outfield before subjecting him to the majors.  He is likely headed for AAA Louisville, but should make his way into the Reds lineup at some point this season. ETA: 2013.

2013 in Review: Hamilton didn’t come close to repeating his 155 SB effort in 2012, However he did steal 75 bases. He spent most of the season at AAA where he had some ups and downs. He was spectacular in his September call up and major league debut. Initially used as a pinch runner, Hamilton terrorized the bases before he saw his 1st at bat. He eventually made it into the lineup, slashing .368/.429/.474 with 13 SB over 19 AB, earning him a spot on the playoff roster.

 

Robert Stephenson2. Robert Stephenson, RHP 2/24/1993 H:6’2″ W:190 – Robert Stephenson made his pro debut in 2012 in the Rookie-A Pioneer League.  It was pretty clear right away that he was too good for the league and after 7 starts he was promoted to the Low-A Midwest League.

On the season he posted an excellent 26.4% K rate to go with a solid 8.4% BB rate. Stephenson is a very athletic and projectable pitcher who works in the low to mid 90′s and has shown that he can reach back for a little more, hitting the upper 90′s at times. He also incorporates an above average curveball that flashes plus potential and good changeup, that should be an above average pitch. Mechanically, Stephenson has has a smooth and clean delivery though his command an control still have a ways to develop, but he’s on schedule for his age.

Our Instinct: There’s a lot to like about Stephenson. He’s got the stuff and the make up of a future front line starter.  He’s going to need to trust his secondary stuff more as he moves up.  He won’t want to serve a steady diet of fastballs to High-A California League hitters, where is he will likely start the 2013 season. The Reds are going to be cautious with their prized pitcher and not let him work too many innings, but he should have a nice bump in that department this season. He could move pretty quickly despite the organization being careful with him. ETA: 2015.

2013 in Review: Stephenson progressed from Low-A to High-A, and then onto AA before seasons end in 2013. Despite a couple late rough outings at AA, Stephenson displayed elite level stuff. He finished the season with an excellent 29.2% K rate and a good 7.5% BB rate. He’s a top tier prospect and could very well make his mlb debut next summer.

 

Tony Cingrani RC3. Tony Cingrani, LHP 7/5/1989 H:6’4″ W:215 – After destroying the Pioneer League in his 2011 pro debut, Cingrani jumped to High-A to start the 2012 season.  He then earned a promotion to to AA before finishing the season in Cincinnati’s bullpen, doing quite well there in 3 games. Cingrani was a starter in college, but moved to the bullpen after some struggles.  The Reds signed the college senior and immediately put him back into the rotation and he excelled.

Cingrani has a good quality fastball that sits in the 92-94 mph range, but he can dial it up to 97 mph at times. He’s got a plus change up that is very much an out pitch for him. His breaking pitch is a slider, and there are plenty of skeptics that don’t believe this pitch will develop enough for him to stick as a starter.  I however disagree. While it’s very much a work in progress pitch, Cingrani’s work ethics and Baseball IQ lead me to believe it will at least grade out as average. He even made progress with it during the later part of the season that will carry over.

Cingrani has excellent control and command over his FB and CU, and I expect he will make the most of the breaking pitch even if it doesn’t come up to the level of the other pitches.

Our Instinct: The Reds could very well plug Cingrani into the bullpen and that would be that. The pitching is quite good for them at the major league level and their bullpen isn’t bad either.  It looks like the Reds have closed the chapter on Aroldis Chapman becoming a starter and with Jonathan Broxton signed to a big contract, there isn’t a lot of need for Cingrani in the back of the pen. He will start the season at AAA. However, if an injury occurs or someone doesn’t perform in the rotation, I don’t think they will hesitate to summon him. He looks like a high end #3 starter with upside to me and the bullpen is clearly a real possibility as a fall back. He will be in the majors in some capacity this season. ETA: 2013.

2013 in Review: Lower back troubles would limit what would be a pretty effective season for Cingrani. He ended his rookie campaign on the DL. He went 7-4 with a 2.92 ERA and a 120/43 K/BB ratio over 104.2 innings at the mlb level in 2013. If the back issues can be put to rest he should be a fixture in the Reds rotation, likely as a #3 with the potential for a little higher.

 

Jesse Winker4. Jesse Winker, OF 8/17/1993 H:6’3″ W:195 – We saw Jesse Winker in the 2011 Perfect Game Wood Bat Championships in Jupiter, Florida.  He was part of the stud trio outfield for the FT Mizuno/Cardinals scout team that also include David Dahl and Alberto Almora. Tom Belmont hosted our live coverage of the 2012 draft and had this to say about Winker:

49. Cincinnati Reds – Jesse Winker OF Olympia HS, Orlando – Winker is one of the most refined hitters in the high school draft class. His left-handed swing produces line drives to all fields and pull power. He’s a CF but will move to a corner spot as a pro.

Winker is going to hit for average and should have all fields power in the future good for at least 15-20 HR power and possibly more. The bat is what will get him to the show and how much power he develops will determine just how good he can be. We think more of that doubles power will turn into HR power.

Our Instinct: Winker is a good corner outfielder that has solid tools and is an advanced hitter for his age. He has an excellent single motion stride that starts from a wide base. As soon as his stride foot lands, the load from his hips fires up and generates good power. He has excellence balance and gets pretty good extension. He makes solid contact and gets the barrel of the bat on the ball quickly and uses all fields. Joey Votto comes to mind for a swing comparison though the power tool is quite different. He’s going to head to full season Low-A in 2013, but it wouldn’t surprise us if he makes the jump to High-A this season. There’s a lot to like here. ETA: 2015.

2013 in Review: Winker spent all of 2013 at Low-A Dayton. He slashed .281/.379/.463 with 16 HR and 6 SB over 417 AB. The bump in power was nice to see from the 19 year old. He should be fun to watch terrorize CAL league pitchers in 2014.

 

 

Nick Travieso5. Nick Travieso, RHP 1/31/1994 H:6’2″ W:215 – The connection between the Reds and Travieso was obvious before the 2012 draft. He was a teammate of Nick Arias in High school, who happens to be the son of Reds Latin America director, Tony Arias. He is also friends with Tony Fossas, who is the pitching coach for the Reds affiliate in the Pioneer League, The Billings Mustangs. The Reds have been following the Florida native for several years and have one of the thickest scouting programs in Florida, they like the Florida products.

Travieso has a stocky, yet sturdy frame and owns an excellent fastball that sits in the 94-95 mph range that he can dial up to 98 mph at times. He has a solid hard slider with good break, and a work in progress change up. Travieso is still pretty raw and he’s more of a thrower than a pitcher at this stage and leaves him self open during his delivery, which causes some command issues. Travieso works from the 3/4 arm slot and has good elbow position relatively speaking to where his shoulder is, though at times the elbow can get a little high.

His upper and lower body stay in sync pretty well as he delivers though.  Where some of his control issues come from his stride into his delivery.  He doesn’t consistently finish his momentum over his stride leg. With a very long stride and not getting the weight of his upper body out over his stride, he puts a lot of pressure on his left knee as he falls off to the 1B side, as I mentioned leaving himself open.

Our Instinct: Most pitchers who use strides as long as Travieso tend to be much more athletic. The potential for a knee problem is very real with him with his current delivery. The Reds are likely to have him shorten it up a bit this season and you may see better control and command. His career as a starter will also depend on developing his CU.

There’s been talk that he’s also working on a cutter to incorporate into his repertoire, but as of yet, I haven’t seen it. It’s unclear what the Reds intent for Travieso is for the 2013 season. They very well could start him out in Low-A, but I get the sense they may have him go to the Pioneer League with hopes he can advance beyond there this season.  He’s got a pretty high ceiling, but his floor is pretty low as well. ETA: 2016.

2013 in Review: Nick Travieso was dominant at times during the 2013 season at Low-A. His breaking ball needs to be more consistent, which well help improve his 17.5% K rate. He will head to the High-A Cal league at some point next season and will need to be more consistent.

 

Daniel Corcino6. Daniel Corcino, RHP 8/26/1990 H:5’11″ W:205 – Daniel Corcino got bumped up to AA, skipping High-A after a solid season at Low-A in 2011. He features an above average fastball with good life to it that he works in the 92-94 mph range and he has shown advanced ability to manipulate its movement with cut of fade.

His slider has improved and looks like an average offering with some future potential to be even more and possibly even plus.  He also has a work in progress change up that lags behind the other pitches, it’s still a below average offering. But his feel for the fastball is an indication that he could refine his feel for the changeup.

His mechanics are funky, with a crossfire arm action, but then again we’ve seen several sub 6 foot pitchers with unusual mechanics before. The Reds don’t shy away from this RHP profile either. Command and control can be a challenge for him at times as well which is largely due to losing his delivery and having an arm arm more conducent to movement than control.

Our Instincts: He’s going to head to AAA for the 2013 season, where he needs to trim his BB rate that ballooned from 5.8% in 2011 to 11% in 2012. I’ve heard several Johnny Cueto type comparisons and I understand where they come from. However, I don’t think Corcino’s ceiling is as high as Cueto. He could end up as decent #3 or #4, but if the secondaries don’t develop, he may have to settle for a fall back of being a bullpen guy. ETA: 2014.

2013 in Review: Daniel Corcino started ugly and finished just as ugly at AAA. He was demoted to the bullpen late in the season but it didn’t seem to help. His command was off and his BB rate continued to climb. He posted an ugly 12.2% BB rate and a weak 15.5% K rate. There’s a lot of work to do here to get him to where he needs to be to make it to the majors as a bullpen arm, let alone a starter.

 

7. Ismael Guillon, LHP 2/13/1992 H:6’1″ W:210 – It’s always nice to have a good lefty in the system.  The Reds certainly have that in Tony Cingani.  It’s especially pleasing when you have two quality lefties that are progressing very nicely. Ismael Guillon being the second one. Guillon was in the same international free agent class as fellow Reds pitching prospect, Daniel Corcino.  However, Guillon’s progress was derailed before even getting started. He required Tommy John surgery and didn’t make his pro debut until 2010.

Once Guillon made it onto the mound in 2010, he spent all of 2010 in the AZL and then all of 2011 in the Pioneer League. He pitched well for his young age, despite control and command issues. In 2012 the Reds did the right thing with Guillon. Instead of rushing him to full season A ball, they kept him behind for extended spring training and then sent him back to the Pioneer League.  This paid off for Guillon. He dropped his K rate and lowered his BB rate at Billings and earned the promotion to Low-A. He finished the season with an excellent 28.9% K rate and a much improved 10% BB rate, which the walk rate actually dropped 3% after his promotion.

Mechanically, Guillon has come a long ways in a short time.  His delivery is smoother, but it isn’t without issues.  The rotation of his hips is still too quick. A little more delay would decrease the workload on his arm. He also lands a bit closed off, causing more across the body action than needed. He also tends to land on his heel, rather than the ball of his foot, which tends to lead to less support and a more unpredictable release point and poor control. He ends up with his weight moving towards 3B after the release, putting him in an awkward fielding position. Fortunately, I think this is an easy fix for the Reds pitching coaches, and he made significant progress after his promotion to Low-A. On the plus side, his arm action is very good. He pitches from an over the top slot and his elbow remains in excellent position in relationship to his shoulder throughout the entire delivery.

Guillon features a 3 pitch arsenal. His fastball sits in the 91-92 mph range and can dial it up to 94 mph at times. It doesn’t have a lot of movement on it. His changeup is already a plus pitch. It’s a swing and miss out type pitch that makes his FB look a little faster than it is. Having a CU of this type at this level is huge. He also has a work in progress curveball. His breaking pitch should at least grade out as average down the road. Breaking pitches seem to be a little easier to develop than off speed, and this kid has already mastered the off speed.

Our Instinct: Rewind to the elbow injury that resulted in TJ surgery. Upon signing him, his physical revealed an elbow issue and the Reds voided his contract for $220,000 and resigned him for less. Because of a quirk in the rules, voiding the contract and resigning him left him exposed to the Rule V draft. This wasn’t an issue until last fall, whereas the Reds felt they needed to add him to the 40 man roster.  This is important because the clock has started on his option years. This means that Guillon has 3 seasons to advance to the majors. He has yet to pitch above Low-A.  It’s very likely he can advance to the majors in that time, but it absolutely limits his time table for setbacks; injuries or otherwise. He should start the season off at High-A and if things fall into place advance to AA before the season is over. ETA: 2015.

2013 in Review: Guillon struggled with his command and control for most of the 2013 at Low-A. However, he really finished strong over the month of August which was a positive sign. Despite a respectable 24.9% K rate, he finished with an ugly 17.6% BB rate. Things have to change for him to stand a fighting chance at High-A.

 

8. Dan Langfield, RHP 1/21/1991 H:6’2″ W:195 – Dan Langfield could be to the 2012 draft for the Reds, what Tony Cingrani was for them from the 2011 draft. A college arm, Langfield made his debut after signing in 2012 and posted a 33.8% K rate and a 10.8% BB rate in the Pioneer League. He features a mid 90′s fastball that reached the upper 90′s at the fall instructional league.

Langfield displays 2 breaking pitches, a tight 10-5 curveball and a hard slider, both are above average offerings that at times can merge together into what people like to refer to as a slurve. The slider was his primary in college and should be the pitch that becomes his main secondary. He’s been working on a changeup, which looks like it should be at least an average pitch.

Mechanically, Langfield has a smooth and clean delivery now. He pitches from a high 3/4 arm slot and does a good job keeping the elbow and shoulder at the same level. He has long arm action, with good arm speed, and a well  balanced, repeatable delivery on a good downward plane.

Our Instinct: Now 22 years old, will the Reds do with him what they did with Cingrani last year and skip over Low-A to High-A? We will have our answer soon enough. Langfield has the maturity and makeup to make the jump, however, unlike Cingrani he doesn’t have the control or command polished yet. He could struggle initially in the High-A California League if he can’t spot his pitches. He doesn’t have a high ceiling, but I don’t think the his floor is low either. He could turn into a reliable innings eating #4 or #5, with an obvious fall back as a high leverage arm with an excellent 2 pitch combo out the pen. He shouldn’t need a lot of time in the minors. ETA: 2015.

2013 in Review: Langfield suffered  a shoulder impingement and missed all of the 2013 season and valuable development time. He turns 23 in January and has yet to pitch above SS-A. Time is not on his side.

 

Tanner Rahier9. Tanner Rahier, 3B 10/12/1993 H:6’2″ W:205 – I tend to refer to the 2011 Perfect Game Wood Bat Championships in Jupiter, FL a lot in these articles. It’s something I plan to do this year, as I regret not making the trip in 2012. Tanner Rahier was one of my favorites from the group of high school seniors I saw back then. Rahier was a SS in Academy wood bat ball (instead of high school baseball), however the Reds felt it was in his best interest to move off the position and over to 3B from the get go.

Rahier has above average raw power and excellent bat speed. With the bat speed and a big leg kick, Rahier barrels the ball very well. He needs to rotate his hips better has he makes contact, as he tends to be late and over exaggerate his follow through though. He could hit for average at the next level, but didn’t show it at all in his 2012 pro debut. He needs to work on his plate discipline and pitch recognition as well.

Rahier has above average speed and will see his SB numbers jump in 2013.

Defensively, Rahier has a plus arm, reaching to the 90′s as he throws across the diamond and mid 90s off the mound, but he needs to work on being more accurate with his throws. He has soft hands and quick feet, but needs to read the ball better as he learns 3B. He definitely profiles better as a 3B than a SS.

Our Instinct: I’m giving Rahier a mulligan for his 2012 pro debut. His transition for SS to 3B didn’t go smoothly at all in the field. Offensively, His K rate of 19.6% wasn’t awful and his BB rate of 9.6% wasn’t bad either. He hit a lot of groundballs (52.9%) and his BABIP of .220 was flat out the product of bad luck.  He just hit the ball right at fielders. He’s likely to open up at Billings in the Pioneer League, which is a hybrid Rookie-A/Short Season-A team for the Reds.  If all falls right, he should make it to Low-A in quick order. The talent is there, but putting it together may take a little time. ETA: 2016.

2013 in Review: Rahier played all season at Low-A. He walked just 12 times and struckout 81 times over 410 at bats. His plate discipline was surprisingly raw. He slashed .222/.252/.320 with 7 HR. The potential is there, but the refinement is not. He just turned 20, so a return to Low-A in 2014 wouldn’t be horrible.

 

Jonathan Reynoso10. Jonathan Reynoso, OF 1/7/1993 H:6’3″ W:175 – After 2 really uninspiring seasons in the Dominican Summer League, the Reds brought Reynoso to their spring complex in 2012 and things started to click for him. His best tool is his plus speed and he stole 30 bases in 50 games, despite a marginal OBP.

He has some untapped raw power, that should start showing up this season as he gets stronger. He is very raw and his plate discipline, while getting better, is still ugly.

Our Instinct: There’s no question that the talent is there and he made excellent progress in 2012. He’s a high ceiling type of player that could reward the Reds for patience. He comes with a ton of risk though, and the plate discipline has to be conquered this season. He will likely open the season in the Pioneer League. ETA: 2016.

2013 in Review: Reynoso spent all of 2013 in the Pioneer League. As we said, plate discipline was an issue again for him. The tools are there, but he’s so very raw. I would expect him to get extra time at XST in 2014.

 

Seth Mejias-Brean11. Seth Mejias-Brean, 3B 4/5/1991 H:6’2″ W:210 – Seth Mejias-Brean made his pro debut in 2012 in the Pioneer League where he displayed both gap and HR power. He won’t be a big time power hitter at the next level, but should hit enough HR to justify him staying at 3B. Mejias-Brean is extremely athletic with quick hands and a balanced swing. He has a very sound approach at the plate and displays excellent discipline.

Defensively, Mejias-Brean has a plus arm, which isn’t surprising as he was an all state basketball player and football quarter back in high school. He has excellent foot work, makes strong accurate throws, and has the range to stick at 3B long term.

Our Instinct: Mejias-Brean is looking like a real steal for Reds in the 8th round. A lot of teams were turned off by his lack of HR power as a 3B in college. He hit just 3 HR in his college career.  The Reds obviously saw something in his mechanics and after a couple of tweaks, he hit 3 times as many HR’s in Rookie ball than he did in his entire college career. He should start the season with the Low-A Dayton Dragons, but should be able to move quickly to the High-A Bakersfield Blaze. He’s a player to keep an eye on as he could make it to the major leagues very quickly. ETA: 2015.

2013 in Review: Spent most of the 2013 season at Low-A. At 21 y.o. he was a little old for the league, but being a 2012 draft pick we are willing to cut him some slack. He slashed .305/.379/.457 with 11 HR including a late promotion to High-A, where he should start the 2014 season. Nice hard working player.

 

Jeff Gelalich12. Jeff Gelalich, OF 3/16/1991 H:6’1″ W:180 – Jeff Gelalich was the second of two outfielders taken in the first round of the 2012 draft by the Reds. Like Jesse Winker, Gelalich is a excellent all around outfielder that displays very good on-base skills. Previously drafted in the 41st round of the 2009 draft by the Phillies, Gelalich went on to have a good 3 year career at UCLA.

Offensively, Gelalich has clean and solid mechanics, though his stride is a little unusual. He gets his stride leg moving forward early, lifting it just a little and then sticks it back down, immediately raising back up on his toes coming out of his crouch and rotates his hips, shifting his load through the swing. It looks like he has 2 phases to it. Very unusual to say the least. Once he finishes his stride though, the swing is very clean with very good balance. I think this may have turned off many scouts, looking at this as a hitch in his swing. Gelalich has advanced pitch recognition and is an excellent base runner with good speed.

Defensively, he gets good reads and runs routes to the ball just fine. He has a strong arm that should play well at either corner outfield spot.

Our Instinct: Gelalich has a good ceiling as a potential power/speed combo guy. His floor is pretty high as well as someone who knows what to do at the plate. His debut in 2012 certainly doesn’t do his tools and skills justice.  The long college season and adjusting to pro ball, along with a couple minor injuries slowed him down.  The good news is that he got into pro play right out of college.  In the past, he likely wouldn’t have made his debut until this season. He should start the season at Low-A and move quickly to High-A before the season is over. He’s likely to be much higher on the list next season. ETA: 2015.

2013 in Review: Not the season we were hoping for from the 22 year old at Low-A. The power was non existent, which is a problem for a guy who strikes out a lot. He did steal 20 bases, but we need to see more from him in 2014.

 

13. Kyle Lotzkar, RHP 10/24/1989 H:6’5″ W:200 – Kyle Lotzkar rocketed on to the scene with an excellent pro debut for the Reds in 2007 after being drafted in the 1st round. Sadly, a series of injuries have plagued his development, including missing all of 2009 with Tommy John Surgery and he missed a lot of time in 2011 with a hamstring injury. 2012 looked to be a season to turn things around as he posted 112.2 innings for the season, which was much more than any previous season.

In regards to the elbow, Lotzkar has a notoriously high elbow in his arm action. A lot of pitchers get their elbow a little higher than the shoulder, but Lotzkar was on the extreme side, especially if you consider he was an over the top pitcher.  I say was because they have since moved him to the 3/4 arm slot, reducing the lasso effect on his arm.  He still gets his elbow higher than his shoulder, but the whipping action has been reduced.  There’s still cause for concern that there’s too much wear on his arm.

Lotzkar has solid stuff. His fastball sits in the low to mid 90′s range. He also has an above average curveball that borders on being a slurve, which flashes plus. The key pitch in his development is his change up that lags well behind the other 2 pitches.

Our Instinct: Lotzkar is mixed bag to me. He has the stuff to be a quality major league pitcher, possibly a decent #3. However, with the injury history and considerable injury risk going forward compounded with command issues and a lack of a quality 3rd pitch, he’s looking more and more like a bullpen guy. He could use some more time at AA, but will likely spend most of the season at AAA. I’m pretty sure this will be the season that determines his future as a SP or RP with the latter likely. ETA: 2014.

2013 in Review: Lotzkar spent all of 2013 in the bullpen where he belongs. The problem is he was terrible there too. After 10 appearance at AA, where he walked 11 batters over 8.1 IP, the Reds demoted him to High-A. He had an incredible .397 BABIP working against him, so his his ERA 8.05 wasn’t quite that bad. Still, he regressed from 2012 and walked a higher rate of batters, while striking out less. Time is running out on Lotzkar.

 

14. Ryan Wright, 2B 12/3/1989 H:6’1″ W:195 – What Wright lacks in physical tools and skills, he makes up with hard nosed and intelligent play. He’s the kind of baseball rat that makes his game play up with hard work. As I discussed in  my Touch’em All Reds article last May, the Reds moved Wright from SS to 2B and the transition appears to be a more natural fit.

He doesn’t have a ton of power or speed, but he’s making the best of what he does have with remarkable intelligence and instincts. At the plate he has quick hands and balanced swing, making excellent contact as he barrels the ball through the zone. On the bases he’s got an excellence sense of what’s going on before and after the ball is put into play.  He doesn’t have much margin for error and doesn’t make many mistakes.

Defensively, he doesn’t possess much in the way of speed, arm strength, or range. The move to 2B was needed and again his instincts and intelligence help him play up at the position and he should do fine there.

Our Instinct: Wright doesn’t have a high floor and is going to have to keep reading the action in the field, on the bases, and at the plate well, especially the strike zone, he can’t afford to let that slip away from him. He has the potential to be an average 2B at the major league level, however if that doesn’t pan out he should have no problem finding time as a utility infielder. He should be ready for AA this season. ETA: 2014.

2013 in Review: The 23 year old didn’t make the progress he needed to in 2013. He slashed .265/.311/.384 in a hitters league. Wright doesn’t strike out a lot, but he didn’t do enough to get on base either. He will be 24 next season and his prospect status will be put to the test.

 

15. Jeremy Kivel, RHP 10/16/1993 H:6’1″ W:200 – Jeremy Kivel missed much of his senior year of high school with a torn ACL. The Reds liked his fastball that topped out at 95 mph enough to sign the 2012 10th round pick to well above slot money, at $500,000. Tom Belmont wrote briefly about Kivel in one of his many 2012 draft coverage articles:

Jeremy Kivel RHP 10/16/1993 – A blow out of his ACL in his left knee caused a potential high draft pick to slip to the 10th round where the Reds took Kivel. He’s had surgery on both of his knees, but his mid 90s fastball gives him upside that many don’t have. He’s a raw product and will need plenty of time but is one to watch.

He works in the 92-94 mph range with his fastball that has good movement. He also has a 78 mph curveball that has plus potential, to go along with a 79 mph changeup that could turn into at least an average offering for him. He should be ready for baseball activities and make his pro debut in the Arizona Summer League in June. High upside, but high risk here as well. ETA: 2016.

2013 in Review: Kivel pitched 50.2 innings in the AZL in 2013. He was a little rough early on, but for the most part looked very good. He posted a 24% K rate and a 9.9% BB rate. He should be ready for full season ball in 2014.

 

16. Jacob Constante, LHP 3/15/1994 H:6’4″ W:215 – Jacob Constante signed with the Reds in January of this year from the Dominican Republic. Constante has a frame that doesn’t look like it belongs on a 19 year old. He’s mature and strong with very long arms. He throws a low 90′s fastball that tops out at 94 mph with room for more velocity. His cutter may be his best pitch and he throws it in the low 90′s with confidence. His breaking pitch can get a little slurvy, but looks like a plus potential curve with a nice hard break to it. A change up will likely be added to his arsenal in the near future. All 3 of his current pitches flash plus and the Reds saw enough at the Perfect game showcase this winter to give him $750,000 to sign. He should show up in the Arizona Summer League this season and is years from the majors.  Still, this a kid that could rocket up the rankings very quickly. ETA: 2016.

2013 in Review: The 19 year old Dominican went 0-1 with a 1.86 ERA and posted a 55/22 K/BB ratio over 38.2 IP in the Dominican Summer League for 2013. Will need to refine his command, but he looks promising and should make it to one of the Short Season leagues in the U.S., possibly even seeing action at Low-A in 2014. He’s one to watch.

 

17. Pedro Diaz, RHP 4/29/1993 H:6’0″ W:180 – The young Dominican posted a 3.16 FIP despite an ERA of 5.72 in the Arizona Summer League in his U.S. debut. His fastball sits in the 92-94 mph range with upper 90′s flashes. He also uses a slider that flashes plus potential and has a good feel for his changeup, which is an average offering already. He couldn’t buy an ounce of luck in the AZL as his .373 BABIP would indicate, everything was dropping. While his K rate of 20.1% was a little low, his BB rate of 6.5% was exceptional. He already has shown decent control. A little polish on his command and a little better luck at full season Low-A ball in 2013 and we could really have a break out player here. ETA: 2015.

2013 in Review: It was ugly for Diaz from the get go and didn’t get much better after a demotion from Low-A to Rookie-A. His command was off and his velocity was down. He will be 21 when next season starts and will need to make some adjustments to make it past Low-A.

 

18. J.J. Hoover, RHP 8/13/1987 H:6’3″ W:225 – This should be the last time we report on Hoover.  He’s going to start the 2013 season in the Reds bullpen and has closer upside, but will likely need a trade to make that happen. It’s looking like the Reds did quite well by trading Juan Francisco to the Braves for Hoover. ETA: Now.

2013 in Review: Hoover spent all of 2013 in the Reds bullpen and he was quite good. He went 5-5 with a 2.86 ERA and a 67/26 K/BB ratio over 66 IP. He should continue to be a reliable part of the Reds bullpen for years to come.

 

19. Jonathan Moscot, RHP 8/15/1991 H:6’4″ W:205 – The 2012 4th round draft pick from Pepperdine went 0-2 with a 2.63 ERA to go with a 26/6 K/BB ratio over 27.1 innings over 2 levels of Rookie-A ball in his pro debut in 2012. His fastball sits in the 90-91 mph range, but can hit 93 mph at time. It has nice sink to it and he uses it very well on both sides of the plate. Moscot also has an average change up and a work in progress slider that looks to be at least an average pitch. He’s an extreme ground ball pitcher (57.3% in pro debut) and a control specialist.  His ceiling fairly low, a #4 or #5.  If his secondaries don’t develop properly, his lack of velocity could make it difficult to find a career in the bullpen. Low-A could be his starting point in 2013, but could make it as far as AA this season. ETA: 2015.

 2013 in Review: Moscot survived a punishing High-A Cal league season. Despite going just 2-14 in the Cal, he posted a very good 22.6% K rate and a 7.3% BB rate, earning him a promotion to AA. Things looked a lot better for him there, he went 2-1 with a 3.19 ERA and a 28/12 K/BB rate over 31 IP. Look for him to start the 2013 season at AA.

 

20. Donald Lutz, 1B 2/16/1989 H:6’3″ W:235 – Clearly the deck is stacked against Lutz to stay at 1B and to stay in the Reds organization. Joey Votto is going to man that position for a long time. If that bat continues to develop he could see some time in a corner outfield spot and turn into a nice piece of trade bait. Lutz has come a long way since signing with the Reds as a non drafted free agent in 2008, making it as far as AA in 2012. He has above average power and while he is a big man, he isn’t slow on on the bases. He’s likely to see some increased time in the outfield in 2013, and could make it to the majors late in the season if all goes right. He should start at AA this season before moving up to AAA. ETA: 2014.

2013 in Review: Lutz Slashed .245/.310/.424 with 7 HR over 229 AB at AA in 2013. Along the way he made his mlb debut, going 14 for 58. He finished the season at AA and will likely start 2014 at AAA. He’s looking more the part of a reserve outfielder at this point. 

 

21. Tucker Barnhart, C 3/15/1994 H:5’11″ W:195 – The 2009 10th round draft pick doesn’t get a lot of attention based on his bat. However, the bat has made good progress and he has the potential to be an average offensive catcher, maybe a little more.

Defensively, he might be the best catcher in the minors. He frames the ball very well, possibly as well as some of the top framers in the majors, such as Brian McCann, Russell Martin, Jose Molina and Reds current catcher, Ryan Hanigan. There’s a legit reason why Hanigan is holding off Devin Mesoraco for the starting job. It’s not his bat as much as his abilities behind the plate and that includes framing pitches. Teams are always looking for a pitching edge, and framing pitches reduces a staff’s ERA. Barnhart is an exciting player to watch behind the plate. He possesses extremely quick feet and excellent agility. He has plus arm strength and keeps the opposition’s running game in check. His post pop rate of 1.8 seconds would explain how he throws out 40% of  those base thieves who would dare run on him. He’s an outstanding blocker that quickly gets in front of balls in the dirt rather than reaching for them with his glove. He should have little trouble handling advanced pitchers at each stop and at the major league level.

Offensively, Barnhart is a switch hitter, but is a far better from the left side. He hit .290 from the left and just .190 from the right, suggesting at some point he might become a left handed hitter exclusively. He has a balance wide stance and clean swing mechanics. He doesn’t have a lot of power, but makes excellent contact and could hit for a decent average.

It looks like he was rushed a bit too soon to AA in 2012, so look for him to start the season there again.  If everything clicks this summer, he could arrive at major league level very soon. ETA: 2014.

2013 in Review: Barnhart slashed .260/.348/.348 with 3 HR over 339 AB at AA in 2013. We’d like to see more from him at the plate, but these are passable numbers from an extremely good defensive catcher. He could get a look at some point in 2014.

biballblackno360Stick with Baseball Instinct and we’ll keep you a step ahead of the game. Check back soon as we release our top 21 prospects for each organization. While you’re here, check out our Baseball Instinct 360° – it’s our in-season top 360 prospects, and we will be updating it throughout the season. Also check out a friend of ours for all of your fantasy sports needs. Fantasy Rundown is updated religiously and is truly an awesome resource. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be, so don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at mailbag@baseballinstinct.comAnd while you’re at it head over to Facebook and join the Instinct page You can also follow us on twitter: @BaseballInstinc.



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