The crew over at Fangraphs made an early season update to their Top 100 prospect list this week and the Cincinnati Reds saw one of their prospects move onto the list. After Andrew Abbott’s outstanding start to the season he climbed onto the list at #91. He joins Elly De La Cruz (#5), Spencer Steer (#48), Edwin Arroyo (#53), Cam Collier (#71), and Noelvi Marte (#97).

If you haven’t kept tabs on just how well Andrew Abbott’s start to the 2023 minor league baseball season, take a seat because your legs might get weak while reading. Over his first three starts of the season he allowed just two runs – they were earned, but shouldn’t be but an outfielder lost a shallow fly ball in the lights and had it land about five feet behind him with two outs, allowing two runners to score. In his 15.2 innings he struck out 36 batters and walked just three of them.

That earned him a promotion to Triple-A, where he made his first start with the Bats on Wednesday afternoon. It was his first time pitching with an automated strikezone (which is being tested in Triple-A this season in weekday games) and he would walk three batters in his first 1.1 innings before settling in. The lefty gave up a 2-run home run in the 5th inning – the only runs he allowed in the game – and would give up just three hits and strike out seven over five innings in his debut with the Bats.

He currently has a 1.74 ERA in his 20.2 innings where he’s allowed just nine hits, walked six batters, and struck out 43 of the 73 hitters he’s faced this season. It’s been an interesting journey for Abbott, who pitched out of the bullpen at Virginia in his first three years before moving into the rotation as a senior. All he did that season was strike out 162 batters in 106.2 innings, leading to a 2nd round selection in the draft by the Reds. Cincinnati kept him a starter after the draft and he’s now thrown 151.2 innings as a pro to go with 58 walks and 224 strikeouts.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand goes off

Just yesterday we wrote a little bit about the good start that Christian Encnaracion-Strand was having after coming off of the injured list. Well it was merely a preview of what was coming when the game began for the Louisville Bats on Thursday. The corner infielder had five hits on the day, including a double and two home runs.

Since being activated after missing the first three weeks of the season, Christian Encarnacion-Strand has gone 9-19 with five extra-base hits in four games. He’s hitting .474/.524/1.053 with eight runs batted in. It’s only been four games, but that’s one heck of a way to make up for some lost time.

He wasn’t the only Bat that went off on Thursday, though. Elly De La Cruz had four hits in the game, including the fastest triple in minor league baseball this season. And Matt McLain kept his hot start going. He’s now up to .329/.470/.633 on the season with 19 walks and 22 strikeouts in 100 plate appearances for Louisville.

56 Responses

  1. Jim t

    Lots of talent getting close to ML ready. I think it’s important that we give them time to finish their development and give them some time to get accustomed to the position they will be playing in the majors. Lots of sorting to do.

    • MBS

      I agree, I’m as excited for these guys as anyone. I don’t want to rush them, but I don’t want to hold them back either. A couple of weeks is hardly enough time to make a call on a prospects readiness. If it takes till 24, then it takes till 24,but I’m pretty confident that by the trade deadline we’ll have 3 or 4 prospects up from AAA.

    • JayTheRed

      As much as I think these guys are going to help the MLB level team I want them to wait until maybe July until they are called up. The only way that should be different is if there is an injury or maybe to cover at 1b. I have this odd feeling that Votto is done. There just is so little evidence that he will return this season. It’s sad but he has to take care of himself and if he feels he can’t help the team then it might be best for him and the team both.

    • Melvin

      “I think it’s important that we give them time to finish their development and give them some time to get accustomed to the position they will be playing in the majors. Lots of sorting to do.”

      McLain is playing 2B right now. Do you think that will be his position when he comes up? I think that’s ultimately where he will end up but probably not this year unless they’re going to move India to another position or trade him. I’d rather see McLain up now even if it’s at DH. If someone is going to spell Barrero at SS I’d rather it be McLain. …or DLC. Not Newman.

  2. DHud

    Might be the only prospect list that has Steer over those next 3 names

  3. David

    Yes, but CES is not on the Top 100 Prospects list, so obviously he is just not that good. 😉
    The more I see of him, the more I think that the Reds stole him in the trade. This guy is just a really talented hitter. Strong, fast bat speed, covers the zone. There are guys who are a lot better as minor league hitters?

    Now that Spencer Steer is in the Majors, I wonder what he has to do to get off the Prospect List? Complete a whole season in the Majors?

    Interesting also that Noelvi Marte is scuffling pretty good as a hitter in AA. I am sure he will get it going soon. He is a Top 100 guy.

    There are, no doubt, some great future players on that Top 100 list. But like most “lists” made up by “experts”, the real world sometimes turns that stuff into bird-cage liner.

    • RedBB

      Fangraphs lists are pretty flawed IMO. They have Siani #12 ahead of CES #13 o the Reds prospect list. It would be easier to argue that CES is our #2 prospect.

      • David

        I don’t think that Mike Siani will actually ever make it in the Majors outside of being a reserve outfielder. He is fast, can steal bases, is a true Centerfielder. But…I don’t think he can hit worth a lick.

      • MBS

        I agree about Siani, but I think he’d be a great 5th OF. Great defensive replacement, and good pitch runner, and he won’t kill you to start from time to time when the starters need a blow.

  4. RedBB

    Also Lyon Richardson is now tied for #115 overall on their prospects lists and #7 Reds prospect. They only rank the top 115 but he is next in line with about 20 other prospects with a future value rating of 45+

  5. Wayne Nabors

    I’m still trying to figure out why people keep saying Don’t rush him,he is 23 I think and he hits wherever he goes,Atlanta brings their guy’s up at 20,why can’t reds

    • Doug Gray

      Atlanta brought up the best prospects on the planet at 20, not fringe top 100 guys. But specifically with Abbott – he didn’t even start in college until he was a senior, and as a professional he has 29 starts in full season baseball.

      I wouldn’t be against bringing him up right now. But I get why you wouldn’t want to, and why some would consider it “rushing” him – he had a 4.75 ERA in AA last season. He’s had 3 great starts this year and one solid one.

      • Wayne Nabors

        I was referring to encarnacion strand,but I wouldn’t be opposed to bringing abbot up after a few starts either

      • Optimist

        How about the Cardinal way with Abbott – bring him up for the bullpen. Limit his pitch count, but use him for multi-inning situations. Send him back down in August for a end of season rotation role to set up next season.

      • DaveCT

        I keep referring back to the fact that this is only Abbott’s second season of full season ball, and he’s just four stats into it.

        There’s a lot of validity in players learning to handle the physical challenges and the day to day grind of a full season in the minors.

        But I also think Abbott is close. I’ve seen him 3 times this season, and he’s pitching as if he knows he’s close, too. I think he’s a guy with a very, very high aptitude — I mean, less than two years ago he was a college reliever and he’s on the cusp of a ML call-up.

        If nothing else, all in good time. After all, the club knew when to call Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft and Diaz up. If it’s his time the next time his name is called in the AAA rotation, I’d trust them.

    • Jonathan

      @Wayne Nabors – its as simple as Ronald Acuña Jr >anyone the Reds have to offer besides Elly De La Cruz and Jay Bruce over the last 15 years

      Spencer Strider is a better comp to Andrew Abbott and he was 23 when he was called up in 2022.

    • RedBB

      No reason to bring him up this year as we have zero chance of making the playoffs. 2024 is a different story. I think we will see McClain or CES later this year though to appease the fan base and next year we see the other and Elly..after 2 weeks of course.

  6. RedsGettingBetter

    CES takes the things at AAA as he left them in ST. The numbers are really absurd. He hit .571/.556/1.192 in 26 PAs with just 2 Ks during ST when he was cut out due to be injured. Of course , it’s a small sample size as well as in AAA but it’s a remarkable performance so far….Let’s continue keeping an eye on him…

  7. Redsfan11

    As pessimistic as I am, I can’t help but get excited at the potential of 2024. With Votto and Moustakas contracts off the books with their buyouts the payroll will next to nothing. Their rotation could be:

    Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Abbott, then sign a 5th PROVEN veteran with all their open payroll.

    Then get CES, EDLC, McClain all up here with India, Stephenson, Steer.. (&maybe Barrero and Senzel?) LOTS of young talent. Will need to sort out the postions they play, but fill the remaining 2 spots with PROVEN veteran bats.

    this team could be good and cheap which would make Bobby happy

    • Melvin

      Wouldn’t it be nice for Williamson to finally figure it out and be the fifth starter next year? Can’t remember ever having three lefties in the rotation at once.

      • David

        Good point, but I think at this time, Williamson is going backwards.

        Maybe Levi Stoudt or Boyle or….somebody.

        But the general consensus is that the 2024 team could be very good. And the ownership could afford to hire BP pitchers and others to round out the line-up. Barring some injury…somewhere.
        How COULD they screw this up? Stay tuned.

      • Melvin

        Yeah as we well know what ownership can afford and what they will do are two different things. lol

    • Tar Heel Red

      Who would you have play where? Personally I think Stephenson 1B, McLain 2B, De La Cruz SS, Steer 3B, India LF and Encarnacion-Strand DH. Center and right fields yet to be determined (Barrero/Senzel?).

  8. Optimist

    Generally agree about the need to determine a defensive role in MiLB rather than the new position tryouts the Reds have been using in MLB.

    With that general rule, though, the exception is CES. He may need more games at 1b for defensive experience, but it is the least demanding defensive role in the field. Further, he’ll be DHing a fair amount as well. Is there something in the analytics or secondary stats holding him back – high BABIP, weakness at certain pitches/spots, lingering health issue?

    If Joey and Myers continue to have issues, shouldn’t CES be up in June, unless the hitting goes ice cold?

    Several other prospects may have higher ceilings, but CES may be very good and fills a need right now.

    • Melvin

      If CES keeps killing the ball like he is now he should be up before June in my view. He can at least DH. Myers can take a back seat. I’d personally like for him to learn a little outfield eventually. He can already play 3B. Senzel is kind of the wild card. It’s only been two games. Personally I think if he’s doing well he should be traded before another injury. Don’t wait too long though. It might be a good idea to trade Senzel along with Myers, Newman, and Fraley as soon as it’s feasible. Maile too if possible. Not much is said about Hopkins but he’s been doing really well down in AAA too. .338/.402/.568 in 21 games with over 80 PA.

      • Optimist

        Melvin, TBH CES has minimal defensive experience anywhere. I thought he floundered at 3b during a short spell last season, and while I suppose he could play LF sparingly, he has all the attributes you want in a 1b/DH. Settle him there and let the others fill the more important defensive slots while he shows whether his hitting can keep up with MLB pitching.

      • Melvin

        Sure. He can learn other positions later. Just get his bat up here soon even at the DH. If Votto does come back, and I personally think he will, it’s going to get really crowded for PT at 1B/DH along with Stephenson.

      • DaveCT

        Dhing for a rookie who has been in the field their entire lives is thought to be a negative. Dhing on a day off from playing in the field, or with a nagging in jury, fine. But I, personally, don’t know of any successful DH’s that were rookies and youngin’s. Though if he comes up after Votto’s return, playing 4 games a week and Votto 3, that could work.

      • Melvin

        Yeah. There would be time for him (CES) at 1B too. I agree.

  9. Melvin

    In a perfect world it would be nice to have all the positions locked down as to who is going to play where before these guys come up. I don’t see how that’s going to happen though with so many of them. Finding out how these players are actually going to hit in the majors is a determining factor.

  10. LDS

    And the open roster slot goes to MATT REYNOLDS. The Reds are as predictable as sunrise. As usual, it solicited the Pavlovian response from Bell.

      • Melvin

        I can only imagine the starting lineup tonight. I AM planning on watching the AAA game. Might be a lot more fun.

      • Kevin H

        Bats seem to have no relief pitching.

        18-16 ouch

      • Melvin

        It’s Krall’s responsibility. We can say Bell is pulling his strings but if that’s the case Krall has to stand up and be a man to stop it.

      • LDS

        Regardless, this illustrates perfectly why I want Bell gone long before the prospects start arriving. Bell is trying hard to recreate the Reds in his own image- – utility players with middle of the road stats. In fact, Bell’s MLB career stats are better than Farmer, Reynolds, Newman, and a whole host of his favorite players. Bad, bad management practice.

  11. Votto4life

    What the Reds should do before opening day 20224:

    1. Hire a veteran manager with a track record of success
    2. Sign a middle of line-up professional hitter who can drive in runs
    3. Sign a solid starting pitcher
    4. Sign a couple of good bullpen arms
    5. Extend Stephenson, Ashcraft and Lodolo. Personally, I would include India.

    There is absolutely no reason why Red’s ownership couldn’t pull this off.

    • LDS

      Come on Kevin, surely you didn’t expect they’d select a 23-year-old hitting .329 with a 1.103 OPS when they can pick a 32 year-old, mediocre journeyman hitting .263? And had to open a 40 man roster slot regardless, so that wasn’t it. As I said, the Reds are as predictable as sunrise. Never a young guy when you can have old and mediocre. As someone named it the other day, it’s Bell Ball.

      • Kevin H

        I hoped McLain yes, however not surprising.. Remember too the service time thing. REDS want that extra year of control.

        I am hopeful after Mid May some of these guys get a shot.

        Cruz, Strand, and McLain oh and Hopkins. If they got rid of 3rd catcher that would be great too

      • Melvin

        If McLain comes up killing the ball it would be hard to justify sending him back down when Myers comes back. Might jeopardize Bell’s I mean Newman’s spot. Whatever smh This organization just does not know how to win consistently.

      • LDS

        The whole service time game hasn’t exactly been a boon to the Reds though. New owners and fire everyone in the entire organization: the Bells, Larkin, Krall, the entire cadre of yes men and sycophants.

  12. Kevin H

    With Reynolds being called up.

    Hopefully we see a lineup of
    India, 2b
    Friedl, cf
    Steer,1b
    Fraley rf
    Stephenson c
    Fairchild lf
    Senzel 3rd
    Barrero ss

    And Ramos DH

    • LDS

      I’d like to see that lineup as well, but I wouldn’t be putting any of my money on it. I’ll not be surprised to see Newman and Reynolds both in the lineup tonight, although the A’s are starting a RH’er. Reynolds, though, is a solid .230 hitter, against both LH & RH pitchers.

      • Melvin

        “I’d like to see that lineup as well, but I wouldn’t be putting any of my money on it.”

        Wouldn’t be a good idea. That is if one likes his/her money.

    • Kevin H

      Just hit me.

      This would of been a great chance for Hopkins who did well last year and well again this season so far. To play outfield

      • LDS

        It would have been a good choice as well. But, again a “may be good” isn’t as attractive to the Reds as a “never was and never will be”.

    • LDS

      Remarkably, this is tonight’s lineup, other than a couple of order changes. So, either Kevin has inside connections, or the tweet came out earlier than the 2:30 time stamp.

      • Kevin H

        No I don’t have inside connections. LOL

        Or anything. Just guess lol

      • Melvin

        Kevin is a genius. 🙂 Batting order is a little different as thankfully TS isn’t moved down to 5th but still a genius. No Newman or Reynolds. Must be killing DB. 🙂

  13. MK

    With 50 MLB games and two hundred plate appearances Steer doesn’t have much time to be on a prospect list.

  14. IndyDoug

    How about this lineup beginning say 6/1/23:
    1.India 3B
    2.Freidl CF
    3.De La Cruz SS
    4.Enc-Strand DH
    5.Steer 1B
    6. McClain 2B
    7.Stephenson C
    8.Ramos RF
    9.Fraley LF
    WTHN?

    • Melvin

      Getting closer and a lot better than we have now. 🙂

    • Beaufort Red

      Fraley or Senzel, whoever’s hitting.