Baseball America has released their 2022 Top 100 Prospects list today and there are four Cincinnati Reds prospects on the list. Cincinnati kept it simple with their four as they landed two pitchers and two shortstops on the list.
Shortstop Jose Barrero topped the list for the Reds, coming in at #33 overall on the list. He split his minor league season between Double-A Chattanooga with the Lookouts and Triple-A Louisville with the Bats. Between his two stops he hit .303/.380/.539 with 19 doubles, a triple, 19 home runs, and he had 16 stolen bases. He would also participate in the Futures Game during All-Star weekend where he drew a walk and hit a monster home run. Later in the season he would be called up to Cincinnati for the final two months of the year and would play sparingly, hitting .200/.286/.320 while spending more time in the outfield than at shortstop for the big league club.
Hunter Greene wasn’t far behind Barrero on the list as the right-handed starter clocked in at #35 overall. Like Barrero, he split his time in the minors in 2021 between Double-A and Triple-A. He would make seven starts for Chattanooga and post a 1.98 ERA in 41.0 innings with 14 walks and 60 strikeouts. Cincinnati then sent him to Triple-A for the rest of the season. He had some hiccups along the way there, but the then 21-year-old was the youngest player in the league for most of the season and racked up 79 strikeouts with 25 walks in 65.1 innings while posting a 4.13 ERA. Overall he threw 106.1 innings with a 3.30 ERA and 139 strikeouts.
Another Red followed Greene on the list as left-handed starter Nick Lodolo came in at #36 on the Baseball America list. He began the year in Chattanooga as well and he was utterly dominant when he was on the mound, but unfortunately an issue with blisters on his pitching hand limited him for nearly a month and a half during the year. The lefty posted a 1.84 ERA in 44.0 innings spread out over 10 starts with 9 walks and 68 strikeouts. He would make a brief appearance in Louisville later in the season where he made three starts for the Bats, striking out 10 batters in 6.2 innings while allowing four runs. Between the two stops the 23-year-old had a 2.31 ERA with 11 walks and 78 strikeouts before he was shut down for the final month.
Elly De La Cruz burst onto the prospect scene this summer and he went from a relatively unknown player to basically the Doge Coin meme of the dog riding the rocket to the moon. De La Cruz jumped from not being rated among the Reds top 30 prospects entering the year to being rated 77th overall in baseball when the season ended. The switch-hitter began the year in Goodyear at the complex level with the ACL Reds, but was quickly promoted to Daytona after posting an OPS over 1.200 in the first two weeks there. He finished the season with 50 games in Low-A with the Tortugas where he hit .269/.305/.477. The 19-year-old had 35 extra-base hits in just 61 games during the year.