Kiley McDaniel of ESPN has released his Top 100 prospects list and it’s the best showing this offseason for the Cincinnati Reds. McDaniel ranks six Reds prospects inside of his Top 100.

Cincinnati’s top prospect on every list you’re going to find is Noelvi Marte, and that doesn’t change here. The infielder comes in at #35 on the list and in the “55 Future Value Tier”, which would translate to an above-average regular (be that a position player or a starting pitcher). Marte, who reached the big leagues with the Reds in August after posting an .820 OPS in both Double-A and Triple-A this season, put up an .822 OPS in Cincinnati over the final six weeks of the season. He’s the only Reds prospect in the 55 Future Value Tier of players.

The next player on the list from the organization was Connor Phillips at #54. The organization’s top rated pitcher according to McDaniel is described as having “top-five best raw stuff in the minor leagues”. But he also is described as having below-average command and there’s risk involved in whether he turns into a true starting pitcher, a true reliever, or something in the middle. Like Marte, Phillips began the year in Double-A, got promoted to Triple-A, and then made a late-season debut in Cincinnati. You could see the upside as he struck out 180 batters across his three stops in 125.2 innings, but he also walked 70 batters in that same time frame and the more advanced hitters in Triple-A and the big leagues made him pay for that.

The next Reds player to show up on the list was their 1st round draft pick from 2023 – Rhett Lowder. He didn’t make his professional debut after the draft as the club shut him down after he went 15-0 with a 1.87 ERA in 19 starts for Wake Forest as a junior. In his 120.1 innings for the Demon Deacons he walked just 24 batters and had 143 strikeouts.

A handful of spots down the list was another right-handed pitcher in Chase Petty. McDaniel notes that Petty’s fastball was known in high school for being a triple-digit heater, but as a pro he’s gone to more of a sinker in the 93-95 MPH range. And that pitch did him quite well in 2023 along with his other stuff, as he didn’t give up a single home run in 68.0 innings and posted an ERA of 1.72. An elbow injury cost him the first month of the season and when he returned the club limited him to four innings or 65 pitches per start – whichever came first. He showed strong control, walking just 15 batters and striking out 66 of them while leading the farm system with a 55% groundball rate. Interestingly, he was hitting 99 MPH this month in his prep to get ready for the season.

In the spot directly behind Petty on the list was a guy he was teammates with in Dayton for half of the season, Sal Stewart. The 32nd overall pick in 2022, Stewart’s season got out to a slow start, but a swing adjustment led to him hitting .305/.416/.486 with more walks than strikeouts from May 31st through the end of the season. Not only did he hit well, Stewart showed up in better shape in 2023 and was more athletic and quieted some of the questions about his defense.

Rounding out the list for Cincinnati was another guy who spent time with High-A Dayton, Edwin Arroyo. The shortstop, like Stewart, got out to a slow start in 2023 at the plate but turned things around. Through the first 36 games he had a .545 OPS. From that point forward he hit .281/.360/.480 as a teenager, and spent the final week with Double-A Chattanooga.

Baseball America only ranked three of the Reds prospects as Top 100 guys. ESPN has six guys listed here. One of the guys, Sal Stewart, ranks 7th overall in the Reds farm system for Baseball America. At RedsMinorLeagues.com I had Stewart rated 9th in the organization. It’s an impressive showing for a club who just last season graduated the likes of Matt McLain, Spencer Steer, Elly De La Cruz, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Brandon Williamson, and Andrew Abbott.

39 Responses

  1. redBB

    Wow! 6! That being said Marte is still way too low.

  2. Mauired

    Reds and Orioles are basically mirror images of each in their respective leagues. Both small market teams with way too much losing over the last few decades. Both now have the best young teams in baseball, and apparently for the Orioles it has meant increased value and led to a big sale. I wonder if the Reds continue to follow the Orioles model and a sale comes in the next few years? Castellini is 12 years younger than Angelos (O’s owner) but he doesn’t seem genuinely interested in following through on paying for an annual championship contender as promised to the fans. It’s been the opposite for the majority of his ownership. It would be great to see a heavy hitter but the team and put the money into it to keep all these young stars here for the next 10-20 years. It would be great if Jim Koch or August Troendle were Reds fans and were willing to buy the franchise.

    • LDS

      Works for me. The sooner the better. As cheap as the Reds have been under Bob, if Phil takes over for dear old dad, it will be much worse.

    • LarkinPhillips

      I was reading that the O’s owner bought the team in 1993 for 173 million and is now selling it 20 years later for 10 times that at 1.725 billion. No way cheap bob and crew could pass up that kind of return.

      • Old Big Ed

        Well, it’s been 31 years since 1993, anyway, but it was a good investment.

      • LarkinPhillips

        @OBE, full face palm moment from me there. Guess that’s what happens when you are running on just a couple hours sleep. 24+7 seems like such easy math. haha

      • Greenfield Red

        Using the Rule of 72, it’s increased roughly 10 X in 31 years, that equates to about 9.53% per year. It’s a good rate of return, but not the jackpot many think.

      • TR

        I remember in 1953 when the St. Louis Browns were practically given away to Baltimore and became the Orioles. At the same time, Gussie Busch bought the St. Louis Cardinals and stabilized that franchise after the financial troubles of Cardinal owner Fred Saigh. I imagine there are many wealthy people who would like to buy a majority of the Reds franchise, but I doubt that would be approved by the Cincinnati business community unless the person(s) were natives or residents of Cincinnati or the metro area.

      • Oldtimer

        Bill DeWitt sold the Reds to Francis Dale (et al) for $7 million in 1967.

        Worth a lot more than that today. More than 100X more. Maybe 200X.

      • Greenfield Red

        I like the story of the greatest Sports deal in history. When the ABA folded in the mid 70s, all but one of the disolved franchises took the $1 million buyout from the NBA. 2 brothers owned the St. Louis Spirits and negotiated their own deal for a tiny fraction of NBA TV revenue FOREVER. At that time there were only 2 or 3 games televised per week. Flash forward to the Bird/Magic era and then on from there. They’ve made billions and I think their children agreed to Sunset the deal for a lump sum of more billions. Deal of the Century.

      • Greenfield Red

        Correction: The Silna Brothers netted $300 million up to 2014, and then negotiated a final payment of $500 million from the NBA. Not billions as I previously mentioned, but $800 million. Pretty good payment to agree to disolve the Spirits of St. Louis.

      • Greenfield Red

        Oldtimer, if indeed the Reds value has gone from 7 mil in 1967 to 1.4 bil today, that’s about a 10% annual return for 57 years. About the same as a Lg Cap Stock Fund.

    • Old Big Ed

      There are some similarities, for sure.

      I do not know the details, but Peter Angelos has been ill for a while, and the Wall Street Journal has reported that the deal was structured to avoid an enormous capital gains tax, if the franchise was fully sold before Peter Angelos died. The Reds ownership group does not appear to be faced with a similar tax issue.

      But I agree that ownership may want to sell out the next few years. The team is poised to generate more free cash flow than it ever has, so about 2027 may be about the right time to sell it. Castillini does have a fiduciary duty to his investors, so there will be some pressure to sell if the right offer is made.

      • JB WV

        Angelos has dementia and his son is making the decisions. Orioles fans are glad they’re selling the team. My brother in-law is a season ticket holder here. Wish I could sell him.

      • Old Big Ed

        Yeah, there were a lot of Angelos v. Angelos lawsuits flying around, along with the MASN lawsuit. They settled the family lawsuits about a year ago, but apparently not without some continued acrimony. Son John was designated the baseball “control person” per MLB issues, and son Louis was head of the law firm (and feeling he was squeezed out of baseball).

        So, they all pretended for a while that the Orioles weren’t for sale, and then accepted the offer of the Rubenstein group. Money talks.

    • Jeff

      Orioles are not a small market team but good point

  3. Redsvol

    I find the age of the Reds players who are too rated to be the most impressive. Several of these guys played as teenagers (19) last year. And most were playing at levels where the average player age was much higher than their own. As opposed to the dodgers prospects who almost all are in their 20’s and a couple even 24/25 years old.

    It seems likely these 6 will get much better with another year or two of experience. I don’t trust the stats from Dominican or Arizona complex league but I do start to pay attention when they do well in single and double A.

    Let’sGO!!!!!!

  4. TennTom

    If I am the Reds, I sell high on the future hype of Edwin Arroyo.They still need an established frontline pitcher and could package along with Barrero, who is out of options and David Bell will never start on a consistent basis. So many of these so-called prospects never pan out at the ML level. Plus, the Reds have a #2 draft pick coming so they can replenish.

  5. RedsGettingBetter

    If the Reds haven’t graduated a few of this 6 rookies last season we woud be talking about the Cincy team sporting just about 6 top 100 prospects on either BA as BP and maybe 9 top prospects in MLB pipeline and ESPN… This is not including other underrated guys for different reasons that should be ranked too (Collier, Rodríguez, Jorge, Dunn)…. just ridiculous

  6. DaveCT

    Nice to see Sal Stewart get some recognition, and it may be somewhat prescient going into a full season at Dayton, if not a split between Dayton and AA, after most of the year on those big fields in Florida. McDaniel always keys in on some lesser heralded guys that are ready for bigger things.

    • Greenfield Red

      Agree on Stewart. I think Collier will have a big year too.

    • The Duke

      I’ve been on the Sal Stewart bandwagon, good to see a national publication giving him some love. I think we start to see him grow into his power more this year and could have 20+ HR while hitting for good average and high OBP.

  7. doofus

    I think that Sal Stewart is an under-the-radar hitter.

  8. Oldtimer

    Early 1960s. Reds had these players in their farm system.

    #14. Tommy Helms. Tony Perez. Tommy Harper. Cookie Rojas. Claude Osteen. Mike Cuellar. Luis Arroyo. Tony Gonzalez. Among others (Cesar Tovar, Deron Johnson, etc).

    Most hits & ROY 63. ROY 66. HOF. 15 Year MLB. Also 15 Year MLB. Another 15 Year MLB. 20 game W & future CYA. NYY closer in 61. 15 Year MLB.

  9. MBS

    It’s cool to see Stewart making a top 100 list. I’d love to see him and Collier end up on a few more lists by end of the year.

  10. Melvin

    A lot of good young players already on the team and more on the way. It’s a very good thing. However if it doesn’t turn into winning it really doesn’t matter. Hopefully it will.

    • TR

      It’s a good point. The Reds are loaded at the major league level and have an outstanding farm system. But looking back to the late sixties, I had no idea at the time, the BRM was on the way when Sparky Anderson, a relatively unknown, took over for Dave Bristol in 1969, and then the Reds started consistently winning series. The potential for winning it all now is there, just a question of putting it all together.

  11. wolfcycle

    So with Cam and Sal basically at the same point of their careers, if we are pushing for playoffs/division would we consider using one of these guys as a center piece to get that extra piece mid season? I still think CC will make big strides this year. If I remember correctly he was only 18 all or most of last season.

    • Greenfield Red

      For me, if it were to give the Reds a legit shot at the WS yes. If it’s to get the last Wild Card then no.

      • The Duke

        For now I don’t think it’ll be an issue as I think Sal starts in Dayton and Collier goes back to Daytona until he shows more with the bat.

      • Amarillo

        I’m in complete agreement. I’d rather not “go all-in” only to lose a bo3. Most of our top prospects are 20 years old and under, and if we let them develop and build value, they could potentially be traded for even better players.

      • Redgoggles

        I respectfully disagree. Take the Braves last year, the clear best team over the course of the season, who didn’t even make it to the WS. We have to avoid pushing our chips in for one year if it means jeopardizing the long term success, and hope a team gets hot in October.

      • greenmtred

        I agree. For bad teams, the WS is not a realistic possibility. For good teams, even very good teams, winning the WS is a crapshoot. In no way assured. It follows, I think, that the best strategy is to build a team for the long term. The more years a team is in contention, the better the chance of being in the WS. The Reds may well have enough talent at the MLB level and in the minors to be relevant for years.

      • Tom Reeves

        The Reds have a team built for a long run. Frankly, it’s as long of a run window as any team can currently build. And the minors still have a lot of talent to possible extend the window.

        The team is improving its cash position after Covid. The TV contract issues will eventually be resolved – probably before 2025. Meaning, for a small market team, the team should have some financial stability because of cost controlled talent and a lack of expensive free agents. The team should be able to add some select talent in short durations after 2024.

        Add that all up and it says that for a small market team, this team is about as well positioned as possible. It took a long time to figure out a successful strategy for the Reds but I think Krall’s finally done it.

        Pretty good for owners who supposedly hate winning.

      • Optimist

        Greenfield is correct – no need to trade to make the playoffs, only trade to advance thru the playoffs. Most recent example I can recall is the Cubs-Yanks deal – Prospect Torres for Aroldis – worked to both teams’ satisfaction.

  12. Greenfield Red

    I agree Tom. I think a lot of bad decision making over 20 or so years came together in 2021 and 2022. We may not have liked what Phil said or the flippant way he said it, but it was an accurate assessment of the Reds at that time. It ripped the Bandaid off, and because of Nick Krall et al, the Reds are in an almost unimaginably good position just a couple of years later. I really wish fans would quit bashing the ownership and front office. Both have been remarkable in the last 2+ years in my opinion.

    • Tom Reeves

      Exactly Greenfield. The only reasons Phil shouldn’t have said what he said are because it was dumb to say on opening day and the “where are you going to go?” comment was easily misinterpreted as suggesting fans are stuck with the Reds no matter what (what he meant was where would you go for a new owner who has enough money to buy the team, is connected to the city enough to keep the team here, and doesn’t care about losing money). He wasn’t wrong but it was dumb thing to say and an even worse time to say it.

      But I think the 2020 and 2022 financial loss and Phil’s comment lit a fire and drove a massive strategy change.

      The Castellanis were trying to follow the cardinals strategy to 3M in annual attendance – which would fuel keeping popular talent and adding more talent to win. It never materialized. Reds fans simply don’t show up in those sorts of numbers when the team wins and it gets really bad when the team loses. That strategy coupled to Covid led to the mess in 2020.

      It’s hard to believe the Reds have recovered this quickly. Had Bally Sports been stable, we might even be further along. Krall deserves some significant credit. I don’t know if we’ll have playoff baseball in Cincinnati in 2024 but we’re going to have a fun, exciting season with a really strong shot at the playoffs and hopefully beyond.

  13. 2020ball

    There were a number of mistakes i can think of from ownership and the FO almost every year that i havent seen this year. Some of those were forced by the broadcast deal uncertainty and an unnamed pandemic, sure, but stunk of moves to appease the investor group and not the fanbase.