Cincinnati Reds Top 20 Prospects

Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images North America

Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images North America

10.) Rookie Davis – RHP

Date of Birth: 4/29/93
Height/Weight: 6’5/245 Pounds
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Trade with New York Yankees in 2015

A mammoth figure on the mound, Davis stands 6-foot-5 and tips the scales at 245 pounds and has a power arsenal to show for it. A 14th round pick by out of high school by the Yankees in the 2011 draft, Davis has always had the arm talent, but an epiphany in 2015 has Davis shooting up prospect lists.

After sporting a 3.0 BB/9 in 2014, Davis lowered that number to 1.8 and bumped his K/9 from 7.6 to 8.9 in 2015. His fastball sits comfortably in the mid-90’s with nice, late cutting life. He pairs it with a power-curve and disguises both of them with consistent arm speed.

Despite his frame, he fills it out well as a stocky, but athletic pitcher. Ultimately, his improved command made Davis a legitimate prospect that anchored the Reds’ return for Aroldis Chapman and another strong season in 2016 will serve him well moving forward.

9.) Antonio Santillan – RHP

Date of Birth: 4/15/97
Height/Weight: 6’3/240 Pounds
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Drafted 2nd round in 2015 out of HS

Santillan has about as much “arm potential” as anyone in this system. A second-round pick in last year’s draft, Santillan has a comfortable mid-90’s fastball with good run that can touch 98 and a hard-biting curveball with a strong, late break.

A good shortstop with a projectable bat in HS, the Reds took the 6-foot-3, 240-pound RH as a pitcher, hoping to capitalize on his live arm and big, athletic frame. His stuff is still raw, but entering his age-19 season, Santillan has time to refine his issues.

Among those problems are some quirks in his delivery. He flares his hips open a little early — probably the culprit to some control problems although easily correctable — doesn’t remain balanced on his leg-kick and throws his weight forward early. These issues not only hinder his control, but can limit his fastball’s movement and his curve’s late bite at times.

However, with his athletic frame, Santillan should have little problem refining his mechanics and using his electric arm with a devastating FB/CRV combo to work his way up to a frontline starter. He could easily be in the top-five a year from now, but will need to show progress with his control in 2016.

8.) Phil Ervin – OF

Date of Birth: 7/15/92
Height/Weight: 5’10/205 Pounds
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Drafted 1st round in 2013 out of college

Ervin isn’t the lethal .330 hitter with an absurd power-speed combo he showed in his first professional season in 2013, however, Ervin still has a nice power-speed element to his game, leaning more on his speed from his compact 5-foot-10, 205-pound frame with a strong lower half. That strong lower half plays a role for him at the plate, too. With 14 HR and 71 RBI in 2015 across High-A and AA, Ervin does have some HR-potential.

The problem for Ervin is his .379 SLG in part because of just 21 doubles and a .241 AVG. What he has proven to us is he probably won’t be a top-of-the-order catalyst that the Reds had hoped for when they took him in the first round, but he remains an intriguing athlete with above-average speed and decent power potential that could play well at the bottom of an order or off the bench.

Ervin has a short stride to the ball paired with a compact, heavy swing which allows him to square the ball up with hard contact. However, his swing can get lofty causing him to swing and miss, and his hips have a tendency to open up early causing him to be pull-heavy and susceptible to off-speed pitches. He doesn’t have to cheat on his swing thanks to good bat speed, but a wide stance also hurts his ability to consistently hit anything but a fastball.

Ervin has the tools — that made him a first round pick — to be a dynamic player, but inconsistencies in his plate mechanics have inhibited his growth an may hamper his long-term role.

7.) Amir Garrett – LHP

Date of Birth: 5/3/92
Height/Weight: 6’5/210 Pounds
Bats/Throws: Left/Left
Acquired: Drafted 22nd round in 2011 out of HS

Garrett, the former St. John’s basketball player, committed himself to baseball full time in 2014 and it’s beginning to show. With an athletic 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame, Garrett has a live arm with a fastball that sits comfortably in the low-90’s but can be dialed up to mid-90s when needed … without much effort. But the left-hander is far from a finished product. Despite harnessing his control since committing to baseball, Garrett loses his dominance out of the stretch. His fastball slows down, it doesn’t explode on hitters and he doesn’t always maintain balance through his windup. His changeup is average at best although he’s beginning to make it a more useful pitch. His breaking pitch is a solid No. 2 offering, but isn’t a wipeout pitch just yet.

What Garrett does do well is adjust to hitters. As a lefty, he stands on the third-base side of the rubber and throws with a straight arm motion to lefties, but uses an across-the-body motion to righties. He turns his breaking pitch more into a slider against righties and is tough to hit when he’s on. His high leg kick can be intimidating, but his delivery is still a work in progress.

After spending 2015 in High-A in his age-23 season, Garrett could be pushed quickly in 2016, but patience will be key as he has just two complete seasons of baseball only … and coincidentally, or not so much, they happened to be the two best seasons of his career.

6.) Keury Mella – RHP

Date of Birth: 8/2/93
Height/Weight: 6’2/200 Pounds
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Trade with San Francisco Giants in 2015

Mella, two years younger than Garrett, too spent 2015 in High-A. His numbers were slightly more impressive and at two years younger, doesn’t appear to need as much work as his elder — even if his ultimate upside isn’t quite as high.

In 20 starts, he sported more than a strikeout per inning, showed above average control and was tough to square up. At 6-foot-2 200 pounds, he has a durable frame that he pairs with a great mound presence.

Using a short stride, Mella whips his arm forward and boasts a nice-tailing fastball. However his FB has a tendency to lose it’s life — possibly due to a stride toward third base in his delivery causing him to throw across his body — which renders him hittable. But Mella complements his low- to mid-90’s fastball with a hard-biting curveball and an average changeup that does show some tumble when it’s working. He hits his spots fairly consistently, but can hang his 78-80 mph curveball without the devastating late bite.

Overall, Mella can pitch for strikeouts but has shown he’s willing to run his two-seam into righties and away from lefties to induce ground balls while using his curveball to keep the hitters off-balanced. When he’s on, he’s nearly unhittable, but, as was the case after his trade to Cincinnati, his bad days feature a loss of control. His strong strikeout numbers and low homeruns-allowed total express that he might fare well in managing the outings in which he doesn’t have his best stuff.

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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