All of Cincinnati Reds baseball, both at the Major League level and at the Minor League level is over for 2016. Some players will be playing fall and winter league ball during the offseason, but Reds related activities are over.
That makes it a good time to look back at my preseason predictions that I made here at Redleg Nation. Here were the six players that I tabbed as the “top prospect” on each roster when the season began for that team:
Arizona League Reds: Michael Beltre
Billings Mustangs: Nick Senzel
Dayton Dragons: Tyler Stephenson
Daytona Tortugas: Keury Mella
Pensacola Blue Wahoos: Nick Travieso
Louisville Bats: Jesse Winker
How did I do; Rookie League edition
With the rookie ball teams, I feel like I freaking crushed it. Now, I think that anyone with even the smallest amount of knowledge would have picked Nick Senzel as the top prospect on the Billings Mustangs. The 2nd overall pick in the draft makes that an incredibly easy pick. It was the Arizona League Reds pick that makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. I went with Michael Beltre before the season began after he hit .220/.273/.293 the season before as a 19-year-old in Arizona. He went out and posted an .880 OPS between the AZL Reds and the Billings Mustangs.
The AZL Reds roster didn’t have a true “can’t miss”, or even a true Top 20 prospect entering the season on it. It was honestly a tough choice, but Beltre stood out from a tools standpoint among the roster and I was a believer in the tools to step forward. I didn’t see them stepping forward as quickly as they did, though.
How did I do: A-ball
With the Dayton Dragons I took catcher Tyler Stephenson. His season didn’t go as planned. A concussion was followed by a wrist injury and he never played more than two-and-a-half consecutive weeks before hitting the disabled list. He eventually would have wrist surgery late in the season. Eventually Nick Senzel would lay claim to this one, and he was even named the entire league’s top prospect on Monday. However, he wasn’t an option to choose from and at the end of the season, I’d still stick with Tyler Stephenson among the players that were there to choose from, but Shed Long was easily the top prospect among those who played enough during the season.
In Daytona I wound up picking Keury Mella. That pick didn’t work out. Where did I go wrong? Well, the control problems that showed up in August of 2015 followed him into 2016 and it led to struggles in a very pitcher friendly league. Of course, even if he had a good season it would be tough to say that at the end of the year it was the right pick as Aristides Aquino put together a heck of a year for the Tortugas and at the end of things he was easily the top prospect on the team in my book.
How did I do: Upper Minors
I picked Nick Travieso as the top prospect on the Pensacola Blue Wahoos to start the year, and while he had a solid season, he probably is just the third best pitching prospect from that team. Amir Garrett took another step forward this year, as did Sal Romano, and both seemed to have passed Travieso by for the time being. Garrett, however, takes the spot as the top prospect that came through Pensacola, earning a promotion to Triple-A with his performance.
In Louisville I pegged Jesse Winker as the top prospect, and while he didn’t hit for much power during the season, he was still the best prospect on the team to start the season. That basically came down to Winker or left handed pitcher Cody Reed (Robert Stephenson did not start the season with the Bats, so he wasn’t accounted for here). While it’s a close call between Reed, who struggled mightily in his rookie season, and Winker, I am willing to give a slight edge to Winker here.