Minor League Baseball is finally back. Every Tuesday I’m going to write something about the farm system, but exactly what topic that is would change each week depending on how the wind is blowing. For this week I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at how the top prospects are performing through two weeks into the season.

The Highlights

Hunter Greene! The Reds top prospect hadn’t pitched since July of 2018 (in games, at least) after undergoing Tommy John surgery and then the 2020 minor league season being cancelled. But Greene has come out firing and ready to make up for missed time. On Sunday he made his third start of the season for Double-A Chattanooga and struck out 10 batters in 6.0 shutout innings as he moved to 3-0 on the year with a 1.69 ERA. In total he’s thrown 16.0 innings and allowed eight hits, walked just three batters, and he’s struck out 25 of the 59 batters he’s faced.

Nick Lodolo, Greene’s rotation mate in Chattanooga, has made two starts this season and has allowed just one earned run in 8.1 innings while allowing seven hits, walking four, and striking out 13 of the 35 hitters he’s faced. He’ll take the mound tonight for the Lookouts as he makes his third start of the year.

Capping the Double-A roster in the top prospects category is Jose Garcia – giving the Lookouts all three of the organization’s top prospects. The shortstop is out to a great start. He’s played in all 12 games for Chattanooga and he’s hitting .354/.418/.750 with five doubles, a triple, and four home runs.

If you are looking at possible replacements in the rotation for a struggling Jeff Hoffman, pressure may soon be coming from Tony Santillan. He’s made two starts this season with Triple-A Louisville and has allowed one earned run in 8.0 innings while walking two and striking out 13 batters.

Perhaps you could also look at Santillan’s teammate Vladimir Gutierrez. After a strong spring training he’s carried it into the start of the year for the Bats. He’s made two starts and allowed three runs in 11.0 innings on just six hits and four walks while striking out 14 batters.

Down in Daytona their offense has been clicking and one big reason for that has been second baseman Tyler Callihan near the top of the lineup getting on base all year. The infielder has hit .342/.400/.421 with five walks and just three strikeouts in 10 games played for the Tortugas.

If you are looking for someone to put on your “helium” list that player may be Daytona outfielder Allan Cerda. Through 10 games played he’s hitting .281/.429/.688. He’s walked eight times, but he’s also struck out 14 times in 42 trips to the plate. There are a lot of tools there to work with and if he can cut the strikeouts down just a little bit things could really begin to click.

The Top 25 Prospect Rundown

Others who are hot

Switch-hitter Alejo Lopez is hitting .423/.483/.519 with more walks (6) than strikeouts (4) on the season for Double-A Chattanooga.

Catcher Mark Kolozsvary has only played in eight of Chattanooga’s 12 games so far, but he’s made all of them count. He’s hitting an absurd .519/.594/1.000 with nine extra-base hits and as many walks (5) as he’s had strikeouts.

Brian Rey has played both second base and center field for the High-A Dayton Dragons this year. He’s also won the High-A Central League’s Player of the Week both weeks of the season, but even that doesn’t quite put into perspective what he’s done. In 10 games he’s hit .450/.442/1.025 for the Dragons with three doubles, a triple, six home runs, one walk, and just two strikeouts all year. He’s outhomered one team in the league, and is tied with another.

Danny Lantigua is getting his first taste of full-season baseball this year with Daytona and so far he’s been seeing beach balls. The outfielder has hit .410/.439/.641 with six doubles and a home run for the Tortugas.

Braxton Roxby is a guy who fits into the Spincinnati mode of pitching as much as anyone. The 22-year-old reliever is making his professional debut with the Dayton Dragons this year and in his four appearances so far this season he’s struck out 11 batters with just two hits allowed in 6.0 shutout innings.

Left-handed pitcher Reiver Sanmartin has made two starts and one relief appearance for Double-A Chattanooga and has allowed just one earned run in 12.0 innings. He’s also struck out 15 batters while giving up just five hits and four walks.

Alfredo Rodriguez may be having the best two week stretch of his professional career right now. The shortstop has played in 11 games for Triple-A Louisville and is hitting .344/.447/.531 and has as many walks (4) as he has strikeouts in 38 plate appearances.

The Actual Farm Teams

Team W L RS RA
Louisville Bats 3 8 34 54
Chattanooga Lookouts 8 4 75 52
Dayton Dragons 8 4 54 40
Daytona Tortugas 6 6 73 40

28 Responses

  1. Klugo

    Good enough to make you think we will be sellers at the trade deadline.

    • 2020ball

      Doubtful, the teams played well enough not to sell.

  2. Roger Garrett

    Do we have anybody down there that could play first base?We obviously had to move and are still moving guys around to play first and now third while Moose is out.Seems like we ought to be preparing or maybe should have already done so for injuries to our older players.Just wondering.

  3. Matt O'Neal

    If Hoffman has a bad game on Friday night against the Brewers, I think his replacement will be whoever has the best showing in the Louisville rotation this week. All 5 starters have pretty good stat lines.
    I’d be intrigued to see O’Brien called up. He gave up one unearned run over 7 innings against AAA’s best offense (r/g).

    With Monday’s off day, the Reds could also just skip Hoff’s next start, and call someone up for the May 31st game, so they have more time to evaluate the early season success of the AAA arms.

    • RedsFan11

      Jeff Hoffman : 8 starts : 2-3 / 4.67 ERA / 1.50 WHIP / 32K / 34.2 IP

      Luis Castillo : 8 starts : 1-5 / 7.71 ERA / 1.8 WHIP / 29K / 37.1 IP

      • Matt O'Neal

        I get that too. Castillo just has a more decorated resume and I’m hanging on to hope that it clicks. If he has another rough outing or two, I’m more than okay with finding any reason to IL Castillo and let him try to figure it out with a rehab start or two for Louisville.

      • MBS

        I’m there on Castillo now. I think he’ll turn it around, but 10 days on the IL for “fatigue” wouldn’t hurt his ego like a bullpen role, or demotion would. It would let him save face and hopefully figure out what happening. Maybe Dr. Miley can give him advice?

  4. Matt O'Neal

    Another thought- even though he is far from being considered a prospect – Brad Brach has been good for Louisville so far. 5 1/3 innings, 2 hits, 1 walk, and 10 Ks.

  5. SteveLV

    Know it’s early, but the overall system looks like it was underestimated heading into the season. The big three at the top tearing it up would seem to move them up in the rankings by themselves, but almost everyone in the top 15 other than Freidl and, maybe, Bautista, seem on the right path to think they could make a contribution at the big league level at some point. Not a top 5 system, but doesn’t seem like a 16 – 19 system, either.

    • SultanofSwaff

      That’s what I don’t get about these silly rankings. For every other organization, they give added weight to high ceiling prospects. Lodolo, Greene, Garcia, and Tyler Stephenson have that kind of ceiling and yet the national press shrug their shoulders.

  6. RedsGettingBetter

    Reds will be picking up some prospects among top 50 in the 2021 draft. It would be an excellent chance to strength much more their farm system, of course, if they are wise in the selection of players and having some luck too…

  7. SultanofSwaff

    The Reds have starting pitching depth, so I’d like to think they won’t ride or die with Hoffman and that a decision has to be coming soon as we’re 30% into the season….he is what he is. You have upgrades in Santillan, Lodolo, and Greene (break glass in case of emergency…I like Gutierrez in long relief at first).

    Hoffman has never been a good starting pitcher—too many hits allowed, yet somewhat stingy with the HR. I think it’s time to see if his stuff will play up out of the bullpen. The metrics say his strength is the first time thru the order and his slider is plus plus, so why not whittle down his repertoire to feature that pitch more and let him air out the fastball in short stints?

    Santillan is my choice. A big body 2nd rounder with multiple full seasons of starting under his belt. He’s ready to step in and give us 25 starts.

  8. Tim

    We will never compete with other teams without serious competition within our team. Underperformers should have a short leash and hungry over achievers should have opportunities. Field our best players every game and the Reds will make the playoffs

    • Rod Andrews

      I agree. I’ve said this forever. Certain players get paid more for a reason. They should be starting every game. If Bell can’t figure this out, he needs to go. Time grows short quickly.

  9. RedBaron

    Interesting to see TJ Friedl still in your top 10 Doug. What are you seeing that I am missing? TIA

    • Doug Gray

      I haven’t updated my Top 10 in a long time, mostly. Anyone who was in the Top 25 as of the draft last year simply moved upwards, and anyone who graduated/was traded since then fell off the list and others moved up the list. My reasoning for not updating was pretty simple: There just wasn’t enough information on guys without a season. We knew what Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo were doing because they were at the alternate site. But we didn’t really know how about 150 other guys were doing because they were at home. So I made the executive decision (it’s one of the perks of being your own boss) to just not update the rankings like other places did. I want the info to be as accurate as possible and I just felt that there was so, so much information missing.

      With regards to Friedl – he wouldn’t be a top 10 guy right now if I re-ranked. But with Stephenson, India coming off the list, and trades taking several others off the list that were ahead of him, his ranking in the teens pushed him up by default. That said – I like him as a future quality utility guy. He’s got plus speed, can play defense, and I think he can hit enough to be a quality lefty bat off the bench – just one without a bunch of power. He missed all of the second half of 2019. He did spend the 2020 year at the Reds alternate site.

  10. Gonzo Reds

    I’m really disappointed with the limited team rotation in AAA this year that the Lookouts won’t be traveling to Jacksonville to play. Gets pretty boring for the fans when your whole schedule is made up of only 5-6 other teams to play and of course it makes for a lot more time for the teams to get to fighting familiarity. Imagine if the Reds had to play their whole schedule against just the hated Cards, Brewers, Scrubs, and cellar dwelling Pirates.

  11. Rednat

    the outfield was once a strength of our farm system. now seems to be a weakness.

  12. TR

    Smooth fielding, good hitting, lefthanded throwing first basemen are a rarity these days. A lot less reaching to tag out the runner on 1st. base.

  13. Doc

    I think it is amazing that these guys are hanging around .500 without a pitching staff, questionable base running, and with mediocre defense. The hitting has to be commended.

    Guaranteed contracts took a lot of the enjoyment out of baseball for me, and I think we are seeing the ramifications this season. Castillo has yet to prove he has what it takes to be a top of rotation pitcher. Yes, he has had some stretches of brilliance, but not in 8 starts this year, and there is not a decided upward trajectory. I understand giving Hoffman a decent trial, but 8 starts in and he appears to be going backward.

    I don’t care how good a team’s bullpen and offense are, they cannot consistently win with starters going 3-5 innings and putting the team in a crooked number early hole. I don’t understand why Antone is not given the chance to start, given that he has been a starter until joining the Reds. He is wasted in a bullpen that is trying to hold teams to a 3-8 run deficit.

    • JayTheRed

      The manager runs the team and who gets to get starts and who comes out of the bullpen.

      Something has to be done about Castillo though and your right Hoffman seems to be getting a little worse each time out.

  14. WannaBe

    Jose Garcia – Can someone explain to me why Garcia is not being given a contract to play SS ?
    I guess, I just don’t fully understand the workings of things.

    • Doug Gray

      Because he had 1 walk and 26 strikeouts in the Major Leagues last year and was clearly in over his head at the plate. So he’s in the minors playing at a more appropriate level to allow him to develop and not be completely overwhelmed by facing big league pitchers.

      • WannaBe

        I hear ya. But that was last year. How is he doing now? Apparantly last year did not seem to scar him for life, being overmatched like he was. If he comes up now and is overmatched again, he would at least provide defense which is not laughable like this year has been. I never remember a Reds team that has been this poor defensively.

      • Doug Gray

        If you want him to actually be a starter someday then he needs to be in the minors. If you are only worried about improving the defense there are a lot of other options. The problem is that the Reds are in a bad place because the ownership isn’t willing to spend the money to get a real shortstop. So instead they’ve turned to this weird let’s-give-it-a-shot situation where a bunch of people are playing out of position with lesser defense than the potential alternative would be.

        Garcia needs to be a part of the future good Reds team – whenever that is (hopefully sooner rather than later). There’s almost no chance at all he’s ready to hit in the big leagues right now, though. Let him figure some things out in Double-A and Triple-A this year. See what happens. If you want to fix the defense….. it’s going to require you to sit someone making a bunch of money and Bob isn’t going to be happy with that.