With an off day today it seemed like it might be a good day to check in on how some of the Cincinnati Reds top prospects have performed in the first few weeks of the season. There’s been a mixed bag of production, and a few injuries that have kept some guys off of the field for a bit of time, too.

Let’s start with the injuries. Among the Top 25 Reds prospects, five guys are currently on the injured list (and one is suspended for 80 games). Edwin Arroyo, the clubs #3 ranked prospect, is out for the season after a shoulder injury in the spring led to shoulder surgery. 2023 1st round pick (38th overall) Ty Floyd injured his elbow this spring and the club shut down the #14 rated prospect from throwing for a bit and he’s been placed on the 60-day injured list. #24 prospect Jose Acuna has also been on the injured list all season.

Outfielder Jay Allen II began the year with High-A Dayton, but he finds himself on the injured list right now with knee inflammation. The #20 prospect expected to return to the lineup soon. Outfielder Jacob Hurtubise, who is on the 40-man roster, is also on the injured list. The #24 prospect injured his shoulder diving for a ball early in the season and has only played in three games with Louisville this year. Outfielder Blake Dunn, the Reds #15 prospect, isn’t on the injured list, but he’s injured and has only been used as a pinch runner for Louisville over the last eight days.

The big performers

While it feels like the Top 25 has a whole lot of injuries going on – and it does – there’s some good stuff going on in there, too. Rhett Lowder, the team’s 1st pick in last years draft and #2 prospect is currently pitching with High-A Dayton and his first two starts have gone quite well. He’s allowed one run in 9.0 innings on six hits and two walks while striking out 10 batters and 67% of the batted balls he has allowed have been on the ground.

After having a solid, but unspectacular 2023 season, Cincinnati’s 2022 1st round pick Cam Collier is out to a great start this season. Still just 19-years-old, the Reds 5th rated prospect began the year with a 9-game hitting streak before it ended last night. Still, he’s hitting .310 with 12 runs batted in, and he’s slugging .548. In his 10 games he’s already hit three home runs for Dayton.

Ricardo Cabrera, the Reds top international signing in 2022, has made his way up to Single-A Daytona and he’s out to a strong start for the Tortugas. The #7 prospect in the farm system is hitting .276/.432/.552 with as many walks as strikeouts through eight games. His .984 OPS is great on it’s own, but when you consider the league average OPS is .661 it really puts into context how well the 19-year-old is hitting currently.

Hector Rodriguez has done nothing but hit since he arrived in trade from the New York Mets in 2022. The outfielder is the team’s #13 prospect and he now finds himself in Dayton where through 11 games he’s hitting .333/.372/.513.

To round this part of the list out, right-handed reliever Zach Maxwell has been dominant for Double-A Chattanooga. The 25th ranked prospect hit 102 MPH last night in Biloxi and through four games he’s allowed one hit, walked two batters, and he’s struck out nine of the 15 hitters he’s faced.

The Struggle Bus

The Pitchers

Connor Phillips and Lyon Richardson both made their big league debut’s last year with the Reds. And they both had their struggles in doing so, but neither were really ready for that promotion but the team was running out of healthy arms and didn’t have much of a choice but to make the moves. Both are now back in Triple-A, but they are both struggling early on.

Phillips, the #4 rated prospect in the system, has made three starts and given up 11 earned runs in 12.1 innings while walking nine batters, hitting another one, and striking out just nine batters. Richardson has a lower ERA – 4.26 – but it’s hiding a lot of struggles within. In 12.2 innings he’s given up 15 hits, hit a batter, walked 15 batters, and struck out just 12.

The Hitters

There’s a group of four hitters in the Top 25 who are really struggling to put the bat on the ball early on this season. Rece Hinds has struck out 30 times in 69 plate appearances so far in Louisville. The 12th rated prospect has historically struggled to make contact, but every level he’s eventually made adjustments and cut down on his strikeouts only to have to then do it again when he’s promoted.

Carlos Jorge has been in the top five in OPS in every league he’s played in in the minor leagues that he’s spent more than a month in. He’s been a very good hitter since he began his career in 2021. But this season the #8 prospect has struck out 18 times in 37 plate appearances to begin his season with Dayton.

Also in Dayton is Victor Acosta. The 19-year-old infielder has struck out 14 times in 30 plate appearances and is hitting just .074. The 19th rated prospect is just 2-27 with a triple so far this year.

Down in Daytona it’s been a struggle for Esmith Pineda. The outfielder ranks as the club’s #21 prospect. The 19-years-old is hitting just .108 and has 17 strikeouts in 40 trips to the plate.

The Standouts

Among the non-Top 25 prospects, a few guys are out to strong starts, and none better than that of Dominic Pitelli. The 22-year-old was Cincinnati’s 7th round pick last year out of Miami. He’s a bit old for the Single-A Florida State League, but he’s also hitting .436/.450/.769 with five doubles, a triple, two home runs, and four stolen bases in the first nine games of the season.

Also down in Daytona is Brian Edgington. He is very old to still be in Single-A Daytona, but the 25-year-old has 15 strikeouts without a walk and has allowed just seven hits in 14.0 innings to go with a 1.29 ERA.

Edgington’s rotation mate Adam Serwinowski is much more age appropriate. The 20-year-old lefty has made two starts and has allowed just three hits and walked one batter to go along with 12 strikeouts in 8.0 shutout innings for the Tortugas.

62 Responses

  1. Rednat

    do we start trying to rebuild around Collier?
    I think he is going to be a star in this league.

    with the depth at pitching we have do we try to package Greene and Lodolo and Aschraft for some more young hitting prospects? just thoughts that go through my mind after only scoring 5 runs this weekend

      • David

        Never rebuild….Reload.

        The Reds (and any other smartly managed franchise…does that describe the Reds?), need to be willing to trade or part with players that are either too expensive or their performance has deteriorated, and promote the promising minor league guys.
        The past decade has shown the Reds were slow to do either, and thus did not maximize the return on players that were just going to be too expensive to keep, and did not move on from players that just did not develop as expected.

    • citizen54

      Fangraphs has him at a 40 FV due to a hole in his swing and the fact he is unlikely to stick at third base. Probably not the guy to build around. Also, Greene has been very good this year and Lodolo looked very good in his first start. Kind of crazy to want to trade them at this point when they both could pan out to be TOR guys.

      • Doug Gray

        Fangraphs also rated a 24-year-old reliever with a career 5.29 ERA with 3.1 total innings above A-ball who has 64 walks in 83 innings as the Reds 10th best prospect, so it’s probably time we stop placing all the much into their rankings.

      • LDS

        Greene has been very good this year? Greene has an ERA of 4.35 and a WHIP of 1.306. His BB9 is 3.9 and he gives up nearly a hit an inning, He has only 20.2 innings in 4 starts. His SO rate is up (so are his BB%) and his HR rate is down. His pitch count per start is up though his innings pitched is not. He’s in his 3rd season and he’s 9-21 with a 4.60 ERA. That’s a long way from top of the rotation stats. Maybe he’ll grow into it. Someone will always come up with comps that started similarly and succeeded in the long run. Whether Greene isn’t receiving good coaching, refuses to listen, unable to apply, etc., the bottom line is that while he has a lot of potential, he’s a long way from demonstrating it.

      • citizen54

        @Doug FG isn’t always correct but the concerns about Collier’s coverage of belt high pitches and his propensity to make bad throws to first should be a factor. Maybe he addresses these flaws later on but for now he isn’t someone teams should be planning to build around. The fact that they currently have Collier below the 24 year old reliever should be eye opening.

        @LDS WHIP, ERA and Wins are old school stats that almost no one uses to evaluate players anymore. You should be looking at things like FIP+ or xERA. As for number of innings pitched, starters these days are pitching less innings than before. Luis Castillo also has 4 starts and has a whopping 21.2 innings. Geroge Kirby who the Reds just faced has 4 starts and 20.1 innings.

        Note sure why Greene gets so much hate here. He’s on a pace for 3-4 WAR and has been the Reds best SP so far.

      • Doug Gray

        No team is seriously planning on building around a teenager. They may hope that one day they can, but they aren’t actively thinking about doing it.

        I think you’re right though, the fact that they have Collier below the 24-year-old reliever should be eye opening. But not for the reason you are suggesting.

      • citizen54

        Are you seeing any of the stuff they are seeing such as errant/late throws to first or top half of the plate coverage or are they just crazy?

      • LDS

        Old school stats? Now that’s funny. W/L, ERA, WHIP, etc still matter a great deal. Some of the “modern” stats that folks like to tout here are the MLB equivalent of participation trophies. A starter that rarely goes beyond five innings isn’t a TOR pitcher. It’s not hate. It’s merely an observation of reality. Greene could be. He has the potential. But, he has a long way to go.

      • Doug Gray

        Wins and losses for a pitcher are not telling at all in today’s game. When guys went 7 every night it was somewhat telling. Today when no one is asked to do that, it’s just not useful on an individual level.

      • DaveCT

        There is a bias against Greene expressed here. There is valid criticism as well. The expression “hate” is too vague as it can imply both. I, for one, am done dealing with the bias. Not my job. In fact, my take is the Reds would do themselves as well as Greene a favor by trading him.

      • greenmtred

        Saying that W/L is not a very useful stat for pitchers is not at all the same as saying that wins aren’t important. Among the problems with the stat for pitchers is that it is heavily dependent upon his team’s offensive production and defense, so it gives very incomplete information about the pitcher’s contribution.

    • Rob

      Rebuilding is past tense. 2024 was susposed to be the first year of contention for the new Reds but Christmas came early in 2023 and we spent the winter beefing up the soft spots (bullpen) and depth with a bunch of free agent signings. The top prospects are here but it make take a year of polish for us to be elite. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that this team is groomed (and expensed) to win a lot more than last year’s 82 games. With all the offensive injuries though, it may have to come a different way than last year’s first place in August and downtrodden finish. I could very easily see this team bobbing around 3rd place and 500 and needing mega buys to overcome the injuries and deficits of the first 100 games.. We will have to see how Krall steers this ship over the next few months, but after the spending over the winter, there won’t be any throwing in the towel in July.

      • David Williams

        What LDS said.
        Outs and innings and wins.
        Everything else is noise.

    • Jon

      Please tell me this is sarcasm. The Reds are in their first season of expected contention since 2020-2021 (and only their third since 2014) and we’re talking about trading the Reds’ top three young starting pitchers for more bats? When they already have no significant SP depth in AAA. If anything, the Reds need to add at the deadline by acquiring talent and taking on bad contracts from other teams in the process to lessen the cost in prospects given up.

    • Jason Franklin

      I agree. He is a guy the Reds really need on the team. He is patient and takes walks. Makes contact. Manages his K’s. Takes good at-bats.

  2. SultanofSwaff

    I love that Zach Maxwell has only surrendered 3 home runs in 73 career IP so far. Reducing each at-bat into a mostly 2 outcome scenario (strikeout or walk) has a lot of value. He might slot nicely in front of Cruz and Diaz.

    Can’t wait to check out Dayton when they come to Beloit in May.

  3. old-school

    Where does Cam Collier project positionally at the MLB level? Does he stick at 3b?

    • Jason Franklin

      Seems like he may be better suited as a 1b or corner outfielder from what it seems.

    • Jim Walker

      Maybe DH when the Reds figure out DH is for more than just giving an “everyday” position player a “half day off”. So far this year, they are getting it right with Martini (although I might flip him and Fraley) from the LH side but are hog tied from the RH side.

      • old-school

        @ Jim, with what we’ve seen the past 5 years from Bell and his handedness tendencies, it is a priority to identify a solid lefty hitter who can hit lefties. TJ Friedl does it. Juan Soto does it. Freddie Freeman does it. joey Votto used to. Good lefties who can hit lefties are unicorns though so if Collier can progress through the minors, he’s a long term keeper in my opinion and part of an everyday lineup.

  4. Mauired

    I understand most of the top minor league talent is concentrated in Dayton. But tough to see the nearest reinforcements in the upper levels mostly struggling or injured. Lyon Richardson and Connor Phillips were supposed to be depth for the starting rotation. They seem like bullpen guys now. Hinds is kinda like Benson. Needs a lot of time to develop. Dunn and Hurtubise join Friedl as CFs out of action. Even big trade pickups Andrew Moore and Chase Petty in AA are getting lit up. I was hoping Moore could breakout since he’s the only active player left from Luis Castillo trade. Everyone else is either released, suspended, or out for the season injured.

    • Doug Gray

      Andrew Moore’s been lit up everywhere.

      I’m willing to give Petty more than a handful of innings given he’s one of the youngest pitchers in Double-A.

    • AllTheHype

      Not the greatest start overall for the Reds MiLs, for reasons you stated, as well as Arroyo out for the year. Phillips has not shown any kind of consistency in the zone from start to start to stick as starter, at least not yet. He could be an impact reliever, potentially.

      Hoping Petty turns the corner soon. Unlike Phillips, he is consistent in his command, normally. Our pitching hopes should be focused on Lowder and Petty.

      • Doug Gray

        Here’s the one thing with Petty to watch: His command in the minors came when he was throwing 93-95. He’s now throwing upper 90’s and it hasn’t been there. Again – it’s early and he’s very young, still quite inexperienced, and he’s got a track record of throwing strikes – but it is something I know that I am keeping an eye on.

      • AllTheHype

        Yeah great point. It’s also a reason to cut him a little slack, early in the season. Hopefully translate into him missing more bats this year, but if the command sees a big dropoff, it won’t be worth it.

      • DW

        Agreed. Lowder and Petty look legitimate and fit well for GABP with their high ground ball rates. Phillips and Richardson both have great arsenals, that would play great at the MLB level, but lack consistency and command. I’m not willing to give up on Phillips and Richardson yet, as you never know when a guy will turn the corner, but they appear destined for the bullpen at some point. Or maybe trade pieces.

  5. AllTheHype

    Curious about the progression of Adam Serwinowski for sure.

    Shame we don’t get to watch Arroyo this year.

    • SultanofSwaff

      So far as I can tell, there’s no video of Serwinowski on YouTube. Can anyone point me to one?

      • DaveCT

        Sultan, this amateur saw his first 2024 game on the tube and I’d say has good control of his fastball but is understandably shy of command, as many of his strikes which beat his peers in the FSL were center cut. His motion is a little jerky jerky but he seemed to repeat it well. He was mostly, if the grey matter recalls, sitting around 95; his breaking ball had a decent shape to it, too, though not as much control as the fastball. One to watch, certainly. A long ways away, as well.

  6. Pete

    If the Res should finish anywhere around .500 for the month of April, they will be well ahead of the game for various reasons. Not the least of which is David Bell teams have had horrible starts in April. I don’t know what this is about but it’s a fact.

  7. Rednat

    My understanding of the “Ray’s Way” is that it is a game of chess where you are continually moving pieces around to fill holes. The rebuild is never technically “over”.

    Seems like we have plenty of pitching throughout our system but not enough offense. I’m not talking about a fire sale but I do think we are going to have to make some trades to get more young prospect position players

    • MBS

      I think most people think of a rebuild as a 3 – 5 process that starts with a fire sale, and not a continual process.

      The definition of your “Rays Way” sounds more like a retooling. BTW I certainly hope we don’t fully adopt the Rays way. I hate to say it but our ideal model should be the “Cardinals Way”. Their player development is as good imo, but they don’t sell off all of their assets. They keep a more experienced, and expensive MLB roster.

    • David

      I think you have to be a little ruthless in evaluating your own talent. Organizations tend to fall in love with some of their players, because of personal attachments. And over-value some players.
      It’s early, lets not get in a panic yet about pitchers in the minors.

      What I would be worried about is the depth and quality of the Reds’ bullpen. There is about half of the bullpen I would start to think about getting rid of, if those pesky contracts weren’t in the way.
      I don’t think Buck Farmer, Justin Wilson, or Emile Pagan are going to get any better. And ditto for Lucas Sims. I could be wrong and….it’s still early.
      But for starters, I would bring up Santillan (in about a month if he pitches well) to replace one of Farmer, Wilson or Sims. Santillan was pitching great for a while this Spring, and then had a bad outing in AAA ball.
      We have a lot of money in Pagan.

      • DW

        Gibaut pitched well in some big situations last year too. Could be nice getting him back soon.

      • Erik the Red

        Your comments on the bullpen are accurate and I would add the jury is still out on all of Krall off season acquisitions. Almost all of had major meltdowns throughout the first 18 games.

  8. Mike W

    Hi all. Thx for all your comments. I learn so much!
    One guy mentioned Red’s notoriously slow starters. I think the only common denominator the last 5 years is Bell?
    Another guy mentioned lack of offense. I agree completely and think it’s because of a lineup that doesn’t maximize our talent. If unchanged, Bell’s lineup will give India 67 more PA’s than Elly. In what world does that make sense?
    I know it’s SUPER early and I can only imagine never works out this way, but EDLC’s current numbers would project to season ending totals of:
    .956 OPS
    .600 SLG
    .277 BA
    45 HRs
    99 RBI’s
    63 SBs
    144 runs scored
    It will be fun to see how he’s doing after 41 games?
    I’m wearing my Crosby Field slump buster shirt today.
    Go Reds!

    • David

      The Reds started slow under Bryan Price, too.

      I think it might be lack of preparation, lack of stress on fundamentals, lack of intensity, especially in the last 10 days of Spring Training.
      But mostly just bad pitching, bad preparation of the pitching staff. This year, the Reds have a pretty young pitching staff, but other years, pitchers would come out of Spring training and hack around for a month until they got into some kind of groove.

      • Jason Franklin

        You may be on to something when it comes to intesity. I think a lot of the current generation of mlb players are more about having fun and being laid-back, not being hard as nails or determined. Maybe the Reds need someone like that on the team to light some fires? Maybe the Reds would be a better team with a firebrand of a manager then the nice guy that sums up Bell.

      • Jason Franklin

        Intensity, not intesity. 🙂

      • TR

        Team intensity originates from ownership. Management then hires the field manager they prefer. For now, the choice of the principal owner, Mr. Castellini, is David Bell.

      • Grand Salami

        Also those teams were bad overall. The whole season was a ‘slow start’.
        It’s tough to say a slow start when these teams weren’t really .500 teams to begin with. Their winning percentage may have been lower than other portions of the season but it’s part of the season none-the-less.

      • greenmtred

        Public displays of intensity? Maybe hire actors to be MLB managers. Bill Belichick was generally sphinx-like during games and verged on non-communicative in interviews. The intensity that matters is not necessarily intensity that we would see on the screen. I also recall the ridicule that Bell received here when he argued with the umps. And it was funny, too: he didn’t throw bases around but he was certainly over the top on occasion.

  9. DaveCT

    Ricardo Cabrera with his first AB tonight, a hard line drive up the middle for a hit. This kid is really fun to watch. I don’t know what his barrel rate is, but I’d say he just can flat out hit.

    • AllTheHype

      And as I type, Cabrera now 2 for 2, Stewart with a double, and Collier with his 4th HR.

      Those 3 are the position player future I believe. Let’s hope anyway.

      • DaveCT

        Just saw that on MiLB. Harold Reynolds (I know, I know) comped Collier to Devers. You know who I see? Dan Driessen. The Cobra.

      • AllTheHype

        The mid-last season swing change to elevate the ball more seems to have had a positive impact for Collier. Some say Marte could benefit from more elevation too, given his above avg exit velos.

        I’m high on Marte. Stinks he lost 1/2 year but we do gain a full year in control with that.

      • MBS

        Collier added his 5th HR as well. His FB % now sits at 42.4%. He’s nearly evened out his GB to FB rates. Small sample size and all but 5 HR’s in 45 AB’s is pretty darn good. He had all of 6 HR’s last season.

      • AllTheHype

        Could be a top 50 prospect by mid season if that bat keeps showing itself.

      • Mauired

        Could be in AA or higher as a teen if he keeps it up.

  10. JayTheRed

    Maybe major league baseball needs to redefine what equates to a win and lose for major leagues starters. I am more of a fan of quality starts. 6 full innings with 3 runs or less given up. Seem like a reliable number to show if the pitcher is good or not.
    A manager is not going to keep a guy in over and over again if they are giving up 5 or 6 runs in 6 innings of work, so this seems like a fair measurement of quality.

    Perhaps just drop wins and loses completely. How many starting pitchers have winning records with their win / lose totals by the end of the season. Not very many.

    Baseball seems to want to change a lot of rules about the game already, seems like a logical next step to create new stats or remove ones that have little meaning anymore.

  11. Mike W

    JayTheRed, I get what you’re saying and agree with your concepts, I just never liked people calling 6 innings giving up 3 runs a “quality”start. I wouldn’t want any of my pitchers to have a 4.5 ERA. “Quality” teams average scoring about 5 runs a game, and I don’t think they’d be in 1st place if they gave up 4.5. Personally I’d say 3 or less runs over 7 innings to earn a “quality start” designation. I know, I’m tough!

    1st place Cleveland is scoring 5.1 runs per game (RPG)
    1st place Dodgers are scoring 5.0 RPG.
    1st place Rangers are scoring 4.7 RPG
    1st place Yankees are scoring 4.7 RPG

    If a guy is going to give up 3 ERs, I’d need him to go 7 before calling it a “quality start.”

  12. Rednat

    I went to the dragons game tonight. This Collier kid looks tough. He hit 2 missiles out in to the stands in right field. Off a hard throwing lefty to boot. Don’t think he will be in Dayton roo much longer

  13. AMDG

    Collier & H Rod have performed well, but what about their teammate Sal Stewart?

    Only 20 years old, has more career BB’s than K’s, and hit well in high A last year.

    Also, his OBP is currently about 100 points higher than Collier, and 50 points higher than Rodriguez.

  14. VaRedsFan

    Paul Skenes for the Pirates was sent directly to AAA where he is dominating.
    While Lowder went a few picks later and gets to A+ Dayton. I wonder if he is a little ticked off about that?

    • AllTheHype

      I don’t think there are any comparisons to Skenes’ stuff among his peers in that draft.

    • Nick in NKY

      Interesting point, but I feel like a good comparison would require more in depth discussion of the respective AAA clubs, or systems as a whole for that matter. Could very well be that the Pirates have little else on the shelf, and so no reason to park Skenes anywhere else. Could also be that he’s just better? I don’t know either way, but I suspect that if Lowder keeps up what he’s doing, he won’t be in Dayton very long.

    • AMDG

      Skenes was the 1st overall pick.

      Lowder at 7 and Dollander at 9 are both in high A.

      Lodolo started in AA, but also pitched in Rookie & A ball the year before.

      Lowder in high A doesn’t seem outlandish. It probably won’t be long until he is moved up.