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.