As we get closer and closer to the start of spring training the national publications are in full on “prospect ranking season”. Most places have released their Top 100 lists and now they are beginning to release their farm system rankings. Today saw both ESPN and Baseball America released theirs, with ESPN ranking the Cincinnati Reds farm system 10th and Baseball America ranking them 11th in Major League Baseball.
ESPN’s ranking of the farm system at #10 is a good showing, particularly given that in the last year the club has graduated Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Spencer Steer, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Brandon Williamson, and Andrew Abbott. The farm system has tumbled a little because of that, going from 5th in these rankings a year ago, but that’s to be expected. Within the division, the Reds are third behind the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers – who just improved their farm system after acquiring several highly rated prospects in the Corbin Burnes trade yesterday. Following the Brewers and Orioles trade, the Reds now have as many Top 100 prospects on the ESPN list as any team in the game with six of them.
The crew at Baseball America (editors note: While I do write a monthly column on the Reds farm system for Baseball America, I am in no way involved with their rankings) had Cincinnati a spot lower than ESPN, coming in at #11. They note that even with all of the graduations of 2023, the Reds still have a deep farm system. Like the ESPN list, the farm dropped down the ranks a few spots – a year ago Cincinnati was at #8. The Cubs and Brewers are both rated higher than the Reds here. Baseball America only rated three Reds prospects in their Top 100 list, but their depth beyond those three plays large.
As things appear today, the Reds will likely rely on their farm system far less in 2024 than they had in 2023. A big part of that is simply that they relied on it heavily in 2023 and many of the guys found success and have now established that they are big leaguers. That leaves fewer spots for guys to come up and play in this year if guys remain healthy.
With that said, Noelvi Marte seems like he’s going to get plenty of playing time in 2024. Beyond him, though, it may be more of a situation for guys who get their opportunity to come up if someone is injured and the club needs someone to fill in.