Cincinnati Reds Top 45 Prospects

Cincinnati Reds Top 45 Prospects

© Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Cincinnati Reds. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as our own observations. This is the second year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the numbered prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.

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Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

More Power-Over-Hit Types
Michel Triana, 1B
Cristian Santana, 3B
Ruben Ibarra, 1B
Debby Santana, 3B
Danny Lantigua, RF
Nick Quintana, 3B

The 22-year-old Triana signed for $ 1.3 million so long ago that 2022 is his 40-man evaluation year even though he enters it with just 50 games of affiliated experience, largely due to the timing of his signing and the pandemic. He has a middle linebacker’s build and plus raw power, but the hit tool and approach will make it tough for him to profile at first base, his likely destination. Cristian Santana is similar, except he has a plus arm and is a few years older. In fact, Triana, both Santanas here, and Danny Lantigua all have swing decision issues undercutting their power. If Triana is a linebacker, then Ibarra is a guard, as he measures in at 6-foot-5, 290 pounds. The Reds 2021 fourth rounder from San Jose State, Ibarra is incredibly athletic for his size and has yet to get to his raw power in games. Quintana has had a shocking fall after he was in the first or second round mix for most of his amateur career. He has hit under .200 at his last two assignments and was whiff-prone again this spring.

Contact, Low Impact
Francisco Urbaez, 2B
Lorenzo Cedrola, R16
Ashton Creal, R16
Jacob Hurtubise, R16
Leonardo Rivas, 2B

Urbaez, another good Florida JUCO find in this system, is a righty-hitting, slightly more athletic version of Alejo Lopez. Cedrola can run and barely swings and misses. His name was bandied about in Rule 5 rumors during the offseason, but he’s realistically a fifth outfielder. Creal, drafted out of an Illinois JUCO in 2019, has a collection of average tools and the most balanced skill set in this subgroup. Hurtubise was an undrafted free agent in 2020, signed out of Army. He had a .413 OBP in his first pro season. Rivas looked like a slam dunk utilityman early in his career, but his lack of strength turned out to be very meaningful and now he’s an upper-level depth option.

Twiddling Our Thumbs
Joel Kuhnel, RHP
Sam McWilliams, RHP
Brandon Bailey, RHP
Jacob Heatherly, LHP

This entire group has dealt with adversity, some of it injury and some of it performance-related. Kuhnel, 27, has had a long rehab from shoulder surgery and is now healthy; he’s pumping mid-90s gas out of the Louisville bullpen again. McWilliams also has a mid-90s relief look and commanded a big league deal two offseasons ago, but he has changed orgs a few times since then and struggled to carve out a consistent role. Bailey was an early pitch data darling who has dealt with multiple injuries; he’s still currently rehabbing. He’s a hungry dude who we’re betting will find his way back to the big leagues in someone’s bullpen. Heatherly has been 93-95 mph with a plus breaking ball at times but has also been wild and injured.

Still Projectable
Malvin Valdez, R16
Ariel Almonte, R16
Eduardo Salazar, RHP
Hunter Parks, RHP
Leonardo Balcazar, SS
Ilvin Fernandez, SS

Valdez and Almonte, who each signed for a little shy of $ 2 million in 2021, are classic body projection outfielders. Salazar had a velo spike at 2020 instructs that didn’t really hold throughout ’21, but his breaking ball did get better. He has a multi-inning relief shot. Parks is another JUCO draftee. He sits 94 mph and has an above-average breaking ball. Balcazar and Fernandez are deep projection shortstops. Balcazar is more skilled while Fernandez has a plus-plus frame, but 30-grade bat speed.

System Overview

They got two really good pitching prospects back in the deal, but the Reds’ need to attach Eugenio Suárez’s contract to Jesse Winker likely hurt their ability to get a more robust return from the Mariners in that trade. While the team spent the winter dismantling parts of the big league roster, only Brandon Williamson, Connor Phillips, and Chase Petty were acquired during this offseason’s fire sale, while Reiver Sanmartin and Riley O’Brien came over via earlier trades. The Reds amateur department is responsible for basically all of this prospect list (and Jonathan India).

Speaking of the amateur department, the Reds continue to find good junior college prospects and are great at assessing signability in Florida. Cincinnati’s backfields look like Texas’ did a few years ago: everywhere you look, there are big-framed, athletic projects with power and speed, but something that’s holding back their ability to make contact. In this system, it’s usually a plate discipline issue. That will likely be the undoing of several of the prospects on this list, but if any of them (especially Elly De La Cruz, Yerlin Confidan, and Allan Cerda) remedy this issue, they’ll unlock superstar ability. There are so many prospects like this in the system that surely one or two of them has to pan out, right? Right ?!

The approach portion of the skill set does seem to be a blind spot for the org’s international department, though candidly, it is a blind spot for the entire public-facing prospect evaluation industry, since we aren’t collecting plate discipline data across the entire player population at that level and lean on showcase performance and batting practice / in-and-out tools and skills when crafting our evaluations. It’s a consistent flaw for this system’s hitters.

The Reds did as well as anyone at signing and then developing undrafted 2020 players, and while Driveline Baseball founder Kyle Boddy has left the organization, he put in place infrastructure during his time there that will continue to help the Reds cultivate pitching from within. Perhaps drafting Andrew Abbott (mediocre velocity, enough strikes, great fastball and curveball shape) is an indication of the traits they’ll be looking to accentuate with those tools.

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