Cincinnati Reds Top 20 Prospects

Source: Rob Tringali/Getty Images North America

Source: Rob Tringali/Getty Images North America

5.) Cody Reed – LHP

Date of Birth: 4/15/93
Height/Weight: 6’5/220 Pounds
Bats/Throws: Left/Left
Acquired: Trade with Kansas City Royals in 2015

Reed, much like Garrett, is another tall, athletic lefty, but is visibly more refined. Touching mid-90’s with his fastball, Reed has improved his velocity recently which helped him turn the corner in 2015. Reed plays off his powerful fastball with a slider that shows flashes of being a wipeout pitch. He gives himself a reliable three-pitch mix with a solid changeup.

He mixes his pitches well and after drastically improving his control in 2015, his mix of pitches became that much more dominant. He has already shown to be nearly un-hittable against lefties (as his stuff can be near impossible to pickup), but if his improved control is for real, he could prove to be a No. 2 or 3 starter as a power lefty.

4.) Tyler Stephenson – C

Date of Birth: 8/16/96
Height/Weight: 6’4/225 Pounds
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Drafted 1st round in 2015 out of HS

A catcher at 6-foot-4, comparisons to Matt Wieters seemed inevitable. However Stephenson impressed during his senior year of high school prompting the Reds to take him with the 11th overall pick in last year’s draft and proving that the comparison went further than stature. Similar to Wieters, Stephenson has good raw power in his big frame, although he struggles to tap into it during games due to a tendency for his swing to get long.

A mediocre approach at the plate has also hindered his ability to use his raw power, but entering just his age-19 season, Stephenson has the potential to correct the issues with time.

He features a slightly open stance with a strong, shoulder-width base and has shown an ability to muscle the ball at times with a little leg kick. While he won’t be a gold glove backstop, his defense isn’t a liability and he should have no problems sticking there.

Ultimately, there’s a lot to like about Stephenson, but more reps will show us if he can take the next steps or not. Could be No. 1 on this list a year from now if everything goes right.

3.) Jose Peraza – 2B/CF

Date of Birth: 4/30/94
Height/Weight: 6’0/180 Pounds
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Trade with Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015

After a midseason trade from the Braves to the Dodgers in 2015, Peraza was perceived as an overrated prospect who had been around for a while. Instead, he kept hitting near .300, being a threat on the bases and earning a major league promotion … all in just his age-21 season.

While power isn’t a part of Peraza’s game, he has enough extra-base pop to keep opponents honest. He pairs that with a knack for putting bat on ball and near-80-grade speed. With a career .302 AVG in the minors and two 60+ SB seasons, Peraza profiles as a prototypical leadoff hitter.

However, Peraza has a tendency to be overmatched by good pitching and struggles to consistently make good contact. An interesting piece on Peraza is that he has been pushed from league to league fairly aggressively and that may be playing a part in his sustained success at each stop. Of course he is just now entering his age-22 season and has a formidable track record, but 2016 should give us an idea on if he can remain as a top-of-the-order catalyst, or if he becomes a seven- or eight-hole hitter with speed.

Regardless, Peraza will almost certainly see time in Cincinnati in 2016, possibly seeing time at 2B, SS and CF. If the Reds can convince Brandon Phillips to accept a trade, Peraza could become the full-time starter at second before season’s end.

2.) Robert Stephenson – RHP

Date of Birth: 2/24/93
Height/Weight: 6’2/200 Pounds
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Drafted 1st round in 2011 out of HS

On upside alone, Stephenson would be the No. 1 guy in the system. However, entering his age-23 season, he still struggles with control evident by his career 4.0 BB/9 which was elevated due to deteriorating control the past two seasons (4.9 and 4.7 BB/9). The upside comes into play when you glance at his 9.8 K/9 and his age-20 season where he jumped all the way to AA and combined to throw 136 strikeouts in 114 1/3 innings, with just 92 hits, 35 walks and a sub-3.00 ERA. He looked to be on his way to the class of the next elite arms. But those rumblings stopped after he looked much more hittable the past two seasons.

With that said, he still has the athletic frame, live arm upper-90’s fastball with a hard breaking ball that scouts look for. At times Stephenson looks great, nearly unhittable, despite a high-effort delivery. However, he has essentially remained a two-pitcher pitcher who can be squared up too often. He has a big leg kick in his delivery, but remains under control, although he tends to overthrow out of the stretch leading to struggles with runners on base.

Ultimately, if Stephenson can put it all together, he has the tools to be a frontline starter, but if his control is beyond correction, Stephenson will just be another exciting arm that never quite lives up to the hype. He should see time in Cincinnati at some point in 2016 regardless.

1.) Jesse Winker – OF

Date of Birth: 8/17/93
Height/Weight: 6’3/210 Pounds
Bats/Throws: Left/Left
Acquired: Drafted 1st round in 2012 out of HS

Winker isn’t the most intriguing prospect in the Reds’ system, nor does he have the greatest upside, but he has just enough of both to propel him to the No. 1 spot.

What Winker does is get one base. Whether it’s base-hits, or taking a pitcher deep into counts, Winker has a good feel at the plate. When he’s on, he has an easy swing, hits the ball where it’s pitched and can square a pitch up and take it deep with solid bat speed and a strong lower half.

The issues?

He battled consistency. Once looking like a shoe-in for one of the better left fielders to come, Winker has since struggled at the plate. He struggles to make good contact on high pitches, but also drops his bat head too far on the low pitches causing him to pop them up. He has become more balanced in the box, but continues to play with his stance, which could be an issue for his consistency. While his bat speed is solid, he can get caught cheating fastball making him susceptible to any off-speed pitches and often has to over-commit pre-pitch for power.

With that said, Winker still hit .282 with 13 HR, 55 RBI and a 74/83 BB/K ratio as a 21-year-old in AA. He may not be a superstar, but he still looks like a reliable LF with flashes of greatness. Could be anywhere from a No. 2 to a No. 6 hitter, but should see time in Cincinnati at some point in 2016 — and could be a long-shot to win the LF job out of spring training.

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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