The Cincinnati Reds showing on the Top 100 prospect list at Fangraphs is quite underwhelming. Eric Longenhagen and Tess Taruskin released their list this morning and the Reds have just two prospects listed.

Cincinnati has had as many as six prospects on other Top 100 prospect lists in the last few weeks, so having just two on this one comes as a bit of a surprise. But it’s not just the lack of players that made the list that’s a surprise, it’s where the club’s top ranked prospect falls on the list that’s a bit surprising, too.

Noelvi Marte, the 22-year-old third baseman who made his debut last August and hit .316/.366/.456 with six steals and 10 extra-base hits in 35 games with the Reds, doesn’t show up on the list until #41. That’s the lowest he’s been rated on lists from Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, ESPN, and Baseball Prospectus. He has been as high as #21 on the MLB Pipeline list this year.

Within the scouting report from them on Marte they make notes about his swing and how it holds back his power potential some. They do make sure to mention he’s still a well-rounded, everyday caliber third baseman at the big league level, though.

You don’t have to look that far down the list from there to find the only other Reds prospect. Rhett Lowder, the club’s 1st round draft pick from 2023, is just three spots behind Marte at #44 overall. The right-handed pitcher went 15-0 at Wake Forest last year with a 1.87 ERA, but after the draft he didn’t pitch. The Reds assigned him to High-A Dayton late in the year, but the purpose was to get him used to the life of a professional baseball player and there was never any intention on having him get on the mound in games. He didn’t pitch in instructional league, either. Lowder is currently in Goodyear and in big league camp with the Reds as a non-roster invitee.

David Laurila, one of the columnists at Fangraphs, has an accompanying article published this morning specifically on Lowder. While he does speak a bit about Lowder, he actually interviewed him within the article and there’s some interesting notes within, including this exchange about his different pitches:

Laurila: That said, do you have a specific pitch where movement is the most important thing, as opposed to a pitch where location is most important?

Lowder: “My changeup is a pitch where I look more at the movement, because I think I get more swing-and-miss in different spots with that one. My other pitches… with my slider, the thing I prioritize most is philosophy. The shape isn’t as important to me as long as it’s hard. And then, with the fastball, pure command is what I care about.”


29 Responses

  1. Optimist

    The optimistic take is 2 in the top 50.

    • earmbrister

      That was the earmbrister take too [ ; o)

  2. Doc

    Maybe they figured they get more clicks by only including two!

  3. Little Earl

    Reds had 5 last year:
    De La Cruz

    • Little Earl

      2022 they had Greene, De La Cruz and Lodolo (and Marte with Minn).
      2021 they had only Barrero and Stephenson.

      Fangraphs does a terrible job evaluating Reds players.

      • Justin T

        Using hindsight, who did they miss?

  4. Indy Red Man

    I don’t delve into prospects like alot of you guys, but somehow I doubt there are 100 prospects out there better then Connor Phillips? He’s got atleast #3 starter stuff. Lyon Richardson too. He’s got a monster arm. I would think he’d be around 80-90 on the prospect list atleast? If he could cut down the walks he might morph into an Alzolay type reliever.

    • Doug Gray

      Phillips? Sure.

      Lyon Richardson? He’s not even in my Top 15 Reds prospects at this point. He came back this year throwing hard, but he also isn’t being asked to throw a lot of pitches (or hasn’t yet). Gotta show you can maintain that kind of stuff while actually being asked to throw 90+ pitches for 5-6 months. Unlike Chase Petty, who also wasn’t asked to throw a lot of pitches/innings, Petty was real good in the past as a starter. Richardson was not.

    • MBS

      I think both are likely headed to the pen by next year. Either could become HL type guys.

      • David

        If Connor Phillips goes into the bullpen, it would be a huge waste of talent. He still has to master his control, but he has great stuff.
        Ditto Chase Petty, although he is further away from the Majors.
        Rhett Lowder will probably end the year in AAA ball, because I think after he gets started this season, he will be dominating at the AA level.

        Lyon Richardson? Still!!! coming back from TJ surgery. I have not been terribly impressed with his minimal performance at the ML level.

      • MBS

        Phillips lack of control is the main reason I think he’s headed to the pen. Add Lowder, and Petty to the mix, and it feels like the most likely scenario.

        Greene, Ashcraft, Lodolo, Abbott, Williamson, Lowder, and Petty seem like the top 7 on the depth chart for 2025. You may also have Montas, and/or Martinez still around in 2025 further complicating Phillips chances of establishing himself as an everyday member of the rotation.

        I’d guess we’d get more use out of Phillips, and Richardson as relievers. I’d probably add one more of the LHP’s listed above into the pen. That would leave us with 6 SP’s, and the rest of the depth in AAA would be with younger prospects, and veteran guys picked up on minor league deals.

      • Oldtimer

        The late Don Gullett started in the bullpen. Jim Maloney started in the bullpen. Sammy Ellis and Billy McCool started in the bullpen. All became starters eventually.

      • Optimist

        I’m with Oldtimer on this one, and IIRC the Cardinals have continued this pattern – introduce a highly regarded prospect to MLB with months, if not a season, in the bullpen – plenty of long relief/spot start chances, and gradually work them into the rotation. Even with 1 or 2 injuries, the Reds finally have the depth to do this – they got lucky last year with Abbott starring right out of the gate.

  5. RedsGettingBetter

    Fangraphs is a Reds hater…
    It’s very interesting what Lowder said about his pitches and how the strategy , philosophy or whatever is applied when he is playing…it is about polishing and maturity.. He looks smart…I can´t wait to see what he can do this year…

    • Brian

      there’s honestly not a big difference between 80 and 150. The 100 cutoff is arbitrary.

      • Lars

        That is the difference between 80 and 150 (I’m a mathematician)

  6. Amarillo

    I think Fangraphs has had too many talented writers leave their team. I really haven’t been impressed with most if their content the last 2-3 years.

  7. Jimbo44CN

    All of these prognosticating sites are a crapshoot in my opinion. You just dont know how some of these kids will develop, or not. Not baseball but just look who was the losing QB in the superbowl. You just never know.

    • JB

      Exactly. I rate these sites right up there with the weatherman.

    • TR

      You hit it. Go with the flow. Play the games and use the eye test to see how they perform on the field. Everything, including the great game of baseball, has it’s ups and downs.

  8. Mark Moore

    I call shenanigans on this list.

    But 2 in the top 50 is good as noted.

  9. Mike W

    I like thinking “Two in the Top 50”, too, but I can guarantee you my son Sean, who dominates his fantasy leagues year after year, is a better judge of talent than Fan Graphs Top 100. And no way there are 100 prospects more ready for the ML than our Connor Phillips. Talking is fun, but I cant wait to see our young studs hit, pitch, field and run the way we only saw a glimpse of last year! Let’s Go Young Red Machine!

  10. JohnnySofa

    Wow, lots of people ready to throw some hands here. Fangraphs doesn’t populate their top 100 with at least 6 players from the Reds system, so they must suck. Hmm. Or could it be that the Reds mined their best players last season and now … deep breath everyone … the only farm system you regularly keep an eye on isn’t nearly as bountiful as you thought?

    • Optimist

      Actually, it’s perhaps the opposite, it may be more bountiful this season, but you have to keep Brian’s comment (and many others in prior threads) above in mind – namely, there’s a big dropoff after the top 5, then the top-20 prospects, and really not much difference between, say, #50 and #200. With that, is it better to have 6 top-100 prospects, or 10 in the top-200? The Reds probably have more in the top-200 than they’ve ever had. Finally, I have a suspicion Marte is underrated – and yes I understand the peripheral analytics show some over-performance, but if a criteria for a top-10/20 prospect is a high floor, then Marte should fit right in. He just doesn’t have any glaring holes in his game.

    • Justin T

      ESPN has the Reds at #14 in their farm system rankings. Itd be fine if they didn’t trade everything of value for this #14 system. Castillo and Gray trades netted a single top 100 prospect and that facts goes against the narrative that we got these great young players in those trades.

      • Optimist

        ? Arroyo, Marte and Petty? They’ve all been rated in various top-100 lists, perhaps at different times, but BK went into detail on the value returned. Sure, still need to prove it, but they clearly got highly rated players, if not top-10 rated players.

  11. Redbb

    Fangraphs routinely sucks for a lot of things including this

  12. Jpser05

    Keith Law at The Athletic has 5 Reds in the top 100, including Collier as the #2 Red at 50.

    • Mark Moore

      Very interesting. Law normally tends toward not favoring our Reds. It’s all relative until a “prospect” blossoms and we see the results in The Show.