The Reds have been going through a rebuild, and while they appear to be turning the corner it has allowed them to stockpile some intriguing young talent in the minor leagues. They may not have “elite” names, but there are numerous intriguing names that could make an impact (and some could arrive as soon as 2020). Who are the most intriguing? Who should we be watching closely? Let’s take a look:
1) Hunter Greene – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2022
Grade – B+
The second overall selection in 2017 missed all of 2019 due to Tommy John surgery, and that will likely cost him time at the start of 2020. While he posted a 4.48 ERA over 68.1 IP at Single-A in ’18, he showed the skill set that we look for:
- Strikeouts – 11.72 K/9
- Control – 3.03 BB/9
- Groundballs – 41.2%
While we’d love to see a better groundball rate, the skills are there to be a top of the rotation stud. That’s no guarantee, especially coming off surgery, as we’ll have to give him time as there’s no guarantee that he completely returns to the pitcher he was before it.
2) Jonathan India – Third Baseman
ETA – 2020
Grade – B
Selected fifth overall in 2018, India is on the fast-track as he saw time at High-A (367 PA) and Double-A (145 PA) and it isn’t out of the question that he arrives in the Majors late in ’20 (or in ’21). He showed an ability to get on base consistently (11.5% walk rate), but there are questions across the board:
- Power – .402 SLG (18 doubles, 5 triples, 11 HR)
- Strikeouts – 21.5% strikeout rate (11.1% SwStr%)
He showed a better contact rate during his brief time at Double-A, with a 9.2% SwStr%, and he also had an impressive 15.2% walk rate. The power did take a step backwards (6 extra base hits), but there’s raw power that he should learn how to tap into. He also has a little bit of speed (11 SB) and has the makings of a 20/10 third baseman (with the potential for a little bit more power) with a solid average.
3) Nick Lodolo – Left-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2021
Grade – B
To call his first taste of professional baseball impressive would be an understatement, as he had 30 K vs. 0 BB over 18.1 IP split between Rookie Ball and Single-A. There are questions about his ability to stick in the rotation, whether it’s his three-quarters delivery or the lack of a true third pitch (reports have his changeup sitting in the upper 80s, which doesn’t give the separation from his low 90s fastball). Time will tell if he can work out those issues, though the two-time first round pick (he had previously been selected by the Pirates, but opted not to sign) will certainly be given the opportunity to prove that he can handle it.
4) Tyler Stephenson – Catcher
ETA – 2020
Grade – B
Stephenson spent the year at Double-A (363 PA), taking a significant step forward in his approach (despite the move from High-A the year before):
- Strikeout Rate – 21.8% to 16.5%
- Walk Rate – 10.0% to 10.2%
- SwStr% – 9.9% to 8.2%
While he only hit 6 HR last season, he added 19 doubles and 1 triple and the expectation is that he’ll mature into more power. With catchers we have to give them time, considering the other responsibilities, and with Stephenson’s approach he should be able to tap into it. There’s talk that he could be forced out from behind the plate, but if he can handle the position defensively he has the upside of a Top 10 option.
5) Jose Garcia – Shortstop
ETA – 2022
Grade – B-
Garcia has shown promise since signing out of Cuba, though it’s clear that he’s still learning/maturing at the plate (defensively there aren’t many concerns). Despite moving from Single-A to High-A he showed improvements in both his strikeout rate (21.7% to 18.4%) and walk rate (3.7% to 5.5%), though he’ll still need to improve upon his 11.9% SwStr%.
Maybe he doesn’t mature into a significant source of power, but 37 doubles, 1 triple and 8 HR shows signs that he could be a 12-15 HR threat. He also has some speed (15-for-17 in SB attempts), giving him an intriguing mix.
Garcia finished the season particularly strong, hitting .378 with 3 HR and 7 SB in 98 August AB, while also adding 10 doubles with 10 K vs. 3 BB. It’s a small sample size, but how he starts 2020 will be key. If he can carry this success into the new season his stock will start to soar.
The Next Five:
6) Michael Siani – Outfielder (Grade – B-) – Speed… Speed… Speed… That’s clearly the name of the game for Siani, who went 45-for-60 in SB attempts at Single-A. While the average wasn’t there (.253), his approach wasn’t terrible with an 8.7% walk rate and 8.7% SwStr%. With his speed he should be able to develop even more in that regard and there is the potential that he develops into a 10+ HR threat. With the ability to stick in centerfield, the potential is there to be a difference making outfielder.
7) Tony Santillan – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C+) – He was supposed to take another step forward in 2019, but instead he regressed. It was his second go-around at Double-A and his strikeouts (8.09 K/9), control (4.75 BB/9) and groundballs (34.7%) all went in the wrong direction. A year ago the thought would’ve been that he’d be ready to arrive in the Majors early in 2020, but he never reached Triple-A and now a move to the bullpen is possible.
8) Tyler Callihan – Second Baseman (Grade – C+) – Selected in the third round of the 2019 draft, there are questions regarding his approach as he didn’t show an ability to draw walks (4.2% walk rate) and swung and miss far too much (13.8% SwStr%) at Rookie Ball. He did show an intriguing combination of power and speed, with 22 extra base hits and 11 SB, and if he can refine his approach his stock could take a step forward.
9) Rece Hinds – Third Baseman (Grade – C) – There’s unlimited power potential, though the second round pick was limited by a back injury (and that’s always going to give cause for concern). He’s also going to have questions surrounding his ability to make enough contact to tap into his power, but right now his health is the primary concern.
10) Lyon Richardson – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C) – A second round pick in 2018, he showed strikeouts (8.47 K/9) and control (2.64 BB/9) at Single-A, though a 39.3% groundball rate brings questions. He needs to improve on his changeup, otherwise as a two-pitch pitcher his future likely lies in the bullpen. The stuff is there to develop into a back-of-the-rotation option, as he has the ability to maintain his control and a solid strikeout rate. There needs to be development, but there’s enough to keep him on radars.
Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com
Make sure to check out all of our 2020 prospect rankings: