Cincinnati Reds Top 20 Prospects

Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America

Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America

15.) Eric Jagielo – 3B

Date of Birth: 5/17/92
Height/Weight: 6’2/215 Pounds
Bats/Throws: Left/Right
Acquired: Trade with New York Yankees in 2015

Jagielo is your typical power-hitting corner infielder. Across his last two seasons — in high-A and AA — Jagielo has hit a combined 27 HR in 150 games including 112 RBI and an AVG near .260. A first round pick of the Yankees in 2013, this is exactly what Jagielo was drafted to be, even a couple of picks higher than another Yankees first-round pick that year Aaron Judge.

A power-hitting lefty with good loft to his swing, Jagielo’s power should be here to stay, but his sometimes all-or-nothing swing makes him susceptible to the strikeout. Jagielo also has fringy speed and movement and a mediocre arm that have some thinking he will be forced to first base. Either way, it will be Jagielo’s bat that carries him to Cincinnati, and assuming it stays par for the course, he should have no problem doing that. If the glove doesn’t improve, he could be forced to a first-base or bench role, however. He’s entering his age-24 season with just 58 games above High-A so the pressure is on to develop quickly.

14.) John Lamb – LHP

Date of Birth: 7/10/90
Height/Weight: 6’4/205 Pounds
Bats/Throws: Left/Left
Acquired: Trade with Kansas City Royals in 2015

Somewhat of a forgotten man for the Reds, and now maybe the least heralded prospect from the trio the Royals sent to Cincinnati for Johnny Cueto, Lamb is far from irrelevant. A former top prospect for Kansas City, arm troubles (including Tommy John surgery) allowed him to start just a combined 14 games across the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

In his first season back, Lamb was as hittable as ever and clearly wasn’t the same pitcher he was  pre-injury. However, Lamb took a step forward in 2014 before taking another again in 2015, showing a watered-down version of his nearly-unhittable stuff from before with a strikeout per inning. He was different this time around though, seeing his fastball fall from the mid- to upper-90’s down to the 90-91 mph range, but with just 94 hits allowed across 111 1/3 AAA innings in 2015, Lamb seemed to be more than just a shell of himself.

While his FB sits around 90 mph, he carries it deep into games, and while previously viewed as a high velo/K frontline starter, he still produces solid results as a reformed pitcher who uses good command and control to produce strikeouts. His BB numbers still toe around 3.0 including a 3.4 BB/9 in his 49 2/3 major-league innings last season, but should be better in his second go-round in Cincinnati, presumably in 2016.

Ultimately, Lamb’s stuff was better pre-injury, but he uses it better now post-injury. After struggling with nearly everything once coming back, Lamb has been able to slowly but consistently work through it using a strong four-pitch repertoire filled by a fastball/cutter, curveball and changeup. His fastball can still get swing-and-misses, his cutter induces weak contact and his ability to mix speeds has been crucial in his post-injury success.

He should settle in fine as a mid- to backend-rotation starter, probably as soon a 2016.

13.) Alex Blandino – SS/2B

Date of Birth: 11/6/92
Height/Weight: 6’0/190 Pounds
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Drafted 1st round in 2014 out of college

Blandino’s calling card is his quick bat and knack for getting on base, something that made him a first round pick of the Reds in 2014. A college third baseman, the Reds have him at shortstop and with the arm of a third baseman, his glove-work profiles fine up the middle.

But his offense what will get him to the majors. In 80 games at High-A in his age-22 season last year, Blandino hit .294/.370 with seven HR and a 31/56 BB/K ratio. However he did appear to be overmatched once promoted to AA hitting just .235 in 30 games … although sported an even better 18/21 BB/K ratio. He has a tendency to get out in front and lunge forward during his swing, with an uppercutting follow-through. Has shown the ability to tighten his swing up some in games, but it can still get long at times. His sketchy swing mechanics cause him to rely on guessing pitches allowing him to be fooled often, but when he guesses correct, does show some solid raw power for a middle infielder.

Still Blandino is a career .280 hitter in the minors, albeit with a laughable 16 steals in 33 attempts as he’s not much of a runner, and if he improves in AA during 2016 he could be a middle-infield option for the Reds by 2017. There’s times looking at Blandino that will make you think ‘wow, he can be a nice middle-infield bat,’ but other times have you thinking ‘eh, this guy is vastly overmatched.’ He clearly has the potential, so he’ll have to prove he can get it done on a consistent basis.

12.) Nick Travieso – RHP

Date of Birth: 1/31/94
Height/Weight: 6’2/225 Pounds
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Drafted 1st round in 2012 out of HS

I’m not as high on Travieso as others, but here’s a look at what he can do. A sturdy 6-foot-2, 225-pound righty, Travieso saw his fastball creep into the low-90’s sometimes touching mid-90’s using his strong lower half, and despite repeating A-ball at 18- and 19-years-old, was still nearly two years young for his level.

In 2015, he got a promotion to high-A Daytona where he had his best season yet. He improved his ERA to sub-3.00, reached his highest K/9 with 7.3 and lowered his HR/9. To put the final touches on an impressive 2015 campaign, Travieso dominated in the Arizona Fall League. In 22 innings across five games, he had 20 strikeouts (8.2 K/9) and just three walks (1.2 BB/9) with a 2.05 ERA and an even 1.00 WHIP. If Travieso proves in 2016 that he did indeed turn a corner in 2015, he could find himself higher on this list next year.

But the cause for concern? He won’t be a high-strikeout, top-of-the-rotation starter and has shown spotty control for a pitcher without dominating stuff. His arm motion can get a little over-the-top with a slight movement across his body. His upper-half can fall behind at times, too, forcing him to throw with more arm than he should have to with his sturdy lower half. However, he has battled this with a good feel for pitching, an improving slider with just enough late break, a straight changeup, and an ability to induce ground balls to shorten innings.

If his stuff continues to improve and he finds more consistency, his makeup should profile well into the middle of an MLB rotation. If not, he may be nothing more than a backend starter, or just an extra arm.

11.) Ian Kahaloa – RHP

Date of Birth: 10/3/97
Height/Weight: 6’1/185 Pounds
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Drafted 5th round in 2015 out of HS

An athletic 6-foot-1, 185-pound righty, Kahaloa has raw arm talent that elevated him to a fifth round pick in the 2015 draft as a 17 year old. Entering just his age-18 season, Kahaloa currently relies heavily on his mid- to upper-90’s fastball, but does carry a slider and a changeup. The two secondary pitches are both behind his FB, but his breaking pitch shows signs of being a solid pitch. His changeup is wildly inconsistent, but does show signs of life and he has time to improve it.

Maybe most impressive was his professional debut. At age 17 in 24 Rookie-ball innings, Kahaloa notched 31 strikeouts to just six walks and allowed just 16 hits. He finished with a 2.25 ERA and a 0.917 WHIP, although two wild pitches and two hit-batters shed light on the control issues he’ll need to refine.

Regardless, Kahaloa has plenty of time to work out his kinks, and should be projected to do so. He’s a guy that could flame out in time, but his raw arm talent leads me to believe he’ll be shooting up this list sooner rather than later.

And for what it’s worth, to give you all something to run with, Kahaloa has some Chris Archer to him. So do with that what you wish, just be sure to remember this name.

One Response

  1. Lou Renzi

    Unfortunately – I think 2016 will be the worst year in Cincinnati Reds history. They got rid of 3 all stars for 9 minor league prospects. I doubt Mesaroco and Bailey will ever be as good as they were before the iinjuries. They will struggle to win 50 games.


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