Welcome back! It’s the season premiere of the Redleg Nation Radio podcast, with Jason Linden joining me to discuss all the Cincinnati Reds offseason news. The conversation begins with the disappointment of the Reds losing out on a particular trade target, but it quickly turns to my recent run-in with top Reds prospect Hunter Greene on Twitter. Hilarity ensues.

We also discuss what could happen on Opening Day that would cause us to give up completely on Reds manager Bryan Price.

Music for this episode provided by Freekbass, a big Reds fan and a friend of Redleg Nation.

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3 Responses

  1. Gonzo Reds

    Article on ESPN with rankings and comments (there were links to the top prospect we all know but some good info on lower ones here):

    The Reds’ rebuild hasn’t gotten press, but they’ve stockpiled quite a bit of young talent from the major league team on down, capitalizing on the No. 2 pick in the past two drafts while adding a ton of up-the-middle players with later picks and on the international market.

    1. Nick Senzel, 3B (ranked No. 9)
    2. Hunter Greene, RHP (ranked No 22)
    3 Taylor Trammell, OF (ranked No. 41)
    4. Tyler Mahle, RHP (ranked No. 69
    5. Jose Israel Garcia, SS (Just missed)
    6. Jose Siri, OF
    7. Tyler Stephenson, C
    8. Jeter Downs, SS
    9. Stuart Fairchild, OF
    10. Alex Blandino, 2B/3B

    Non-top 100 prospects

    Jose Siri has some plus tools, but was old for the low-A Midwest League and took advantage of some weaker pitching. He has a long, hard swing that doesn’t have great speed to it, and makes some poor swing decisions at the plate. He’s an above-average defender and has a wide range of possible outcomes. Tyler Stephenson, the Reds’ first-round pick in 2015, played well in the first half in Dayton as a 20-year-old but tore a thumb ligament in July and didn’t return until instructional league. He has shown a better approach at the plate recently and still has BP power to all fields, with enough improvements in his receiving to project him to stay behind the plate.
    Law’s prospect methodology

    As always, these rankings combine my firsthand evaluation of players, copious input from MLB scouts and executives, and the players’ performance to date. Age and position also factor heavily into rankings, as players up the middle are more valuable (they’re scarcer) than those on the corners, and players who succeed while young for the levels in which they play tend to become better big leaguers.

    Player rankings are team-agnostic: A prospect would get the same ranking or evaluation if he played for Miami that he would get if he played for Colorado. Any numerical grades assigned to players are on the 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is major league average and 80 is Billy Hamilton’s speed or Joey Gallo’s power.

    Jeter Downs was the Reds’ second pick in the 2017 draft, 32nd overall, and is an advanced high school hitter with some question whether he can stay at shortstop long-term. The Reds sent him to the advanced rookie Pioneer League, where he posted a .370 OBP and tied for 15th in walks despite playing 10-15 fewer games than most players in the league. He does project to come into a little more power, maybe 15-20 homers with a high average and OBP, with a slightly better chance that he moves to third than stays at short.

    Stuart Fairchild, taken six picks later, is a strong kid with the potential for above-average power, showing some length in the early part of his swing, playing mostly center field for short-season Billings with a chance to stay there long-term. Alex Blandino has been overlooked in the system after a dismal 2016 season ruined by a nagging leg injury, but hit .265/.382/.453 between Double-A and Triple-A last year while playing second, short and third. I think he could start for some teams at second or third, lacking the defense to play short regularly, with just about any team able to use him as a utility infielder and 15-plus homer power with a strong OBP if he gets the playing time.

    Antonio Santillan (11) is 97-99 with a hard breaking ball and split-like change, still walking too many guys but worlds ahead of where he was a year ago, cutting his walk rate from 13.2 percent to 10.5 percent while spending his first entire year with a full-season club. I still think he’s a power reliever rather than a starter, but if he continues to improve his command and control he has above-average to plus starter upside. Jose Lopez (12) is an intriguing starter prospect, probably projecting to an average big leaguer if he holds up, 91-95 with a three-pitch mix, now healthy for two straight years after having Tommy John surgery while at Seton Hall. Shed Long (13) can hit for average with a little pop, but he’s a below-average defender at second who may have to move to the outfield. Aristides Aquino (14) has tools, with a 70 arm and 70 power, but he swings at everything, punching out 29 percent of the time as a 23-year-old in Double-A.

    Former first-rounder Phil Ervin (15) hasn’t shown much power in pro ball but can run, play all three outfield spots and work the count, enough to make him a good fourth outfielder on most clubs, with regular potential if he cuts down on his swing and focuses on harder contact rather than trying to hit the ball out of the park. Jacob Heatherly (16) was the Reds’ third-round pick last year, a 19-year-old high school product from Alabama, who’s 91-94 with good spin on his breaking ball but below-average command.

    Jimmy Herget (17) is 92-96 from a low slot with a short low-80s slider, limiting right-handed batters to a .220/.278/.293 line between Double-A and Triple-A. He’s working on his changeup, which is hard to turn over from his arm slot, but it might be good enough to keep him from being strictly a specialist. The Reds moved right-hander Tanner Rainey (18) to the bullpen full-time last year and he struck out 104 men in 62 innings (41.4 percent of batters). He’s got a big fastball/slider combination, lacking much of a third pitch for lefties. Alfredo Rodriguez (19) is a plus-plus defender at short with a 45 hit tool and 30 power; there is some hope in the fact that he puts the ball in play so often and maybe hits for enough average to be an everyday shortstop who bats seventh or eighth. First baseman Gavin LaValley (20) has huge pull power from the right side, but doesn’t get on base enough or use the opposite field well enough to profile as more than an up-and-down guy.

    2018 impact: Nick Senzel is nearly ready for a major league job, although third base is currently occupied in Cincinnati; the Reds will have to make room for him by midseason. Phil Ervin should be their fourth outfielder. Jesse Winker lost his rookie status last year, so he’s not on the list, but he should be one of the Reds’ corner outfielders to start 2018.

    Sleeper: I’m sanguine about Tyler Stephenson’s chance to go off this year in high-A if he can just get 120 or so games in; he’s improved many facets of his game but hasn’t had an extended, healthy stretch to show it to everyone.

    The fallen: Chris Okey was the Reds’ second-round pick in 2016, but the Clemson catcher broke his hamate bone in March and didn’t tell anyone, playing through it to a .185/.265/.249 line in 93 high-A games.

  2. Jonathan Linn

    Too much upside. I wouldn’t trade him either. He could be jose fernandez or dwight gooden or Josh Beckett. Who was the last prep SP prospect that was as highly rated as Greene who didn’t pan out??

    • Michael E

      Several, but usually it was injury. So many years to make it through the minor league obstacle course and I just don’t see the Reds bringing him up full time till 22 or 23. That’s five years where an arm injury is awfully hard to avoid for young pitchers. Not sure the rate of elbow/shoulder injuries, but it wouldn’t shock me to hear 40%+ have a significant injury in first 4 pro seasons.