Cincinnati Reds’ 2021 Preseason Top 50 Prospects

Vincent ranks the Top 50 prospects for the Cincinnati Reds.

As we prepare for the season ahead, the Pitcher List staff will be creating profiles for every fantasy-relevant player for 2021. Players will be broken up by team and role through starting pitchers, bullpen, lineup, and prospects. You can access every article as it comes out in our Player Profiles 2021 hub here.

The Cincinnati Reds have an interesting blend of high floor/low ceiling and low floor/high ceiling prospects. The system is still a little top heavy, but the 2020 draft picks bring more balance to the top half of the list than the Reds have had in recent years. The Reds have a number of intriguing players that have yet to play above the Rookie level that could either jump up this list significantly a year from now or fall off of it completely.

Here’s a look at their top 50 prospects, including when they are expected to debut and how you should value them in deep dynasty formats.

Note: These Top 50 lists are all done through a fantasy baseball-focused lens. Many players who are ranked higher or lower on other platforms will get a boost here. For example, players who profile as middle relievers or glove-first infielders likely won’t have much fantasy relevance, so they won’t be ranked as highly.

 

 1. SS Jose Garcia

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: MLB

Garcia struggled in his MLB debut in 2020, hitting just .194 and finishing his 24-game stint with a wRC+ of 3. Those numbers are disconcerting but it’s important to remember that the shortstop’s highest level of competition to that point was High-A and the only reason he was on the roster was to help the Reds make a playoff push during an abnormal season.

Garcia broke out in 2019, slashing .280/.343/.436 in 104 games at High-A, recording eight home runs and 15 steals along the way. The 22-year-old has plus speed and good pop in the bat, and if it all comes together, Garcia has star potential. He’s an above-average defender too, so there aren’t any concerns about him switching out of the premium position anytime soon.

The plate approach is Garcia’s main weakness and is what holds him back from being one of the game’s top prospects. Even in his breakout 2019 campaign, Garcia only walked 5.5% of the time. The aggressive style increases the risk in his profile and he may need to spend more time in the minors before he is truly ready for the bigs.

ETA: 2021

 

2. LHP Nick Lodolo

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: A

Lodolo doesn’t have much pro experience under his belt but in the 18.1 innings he’s logged between Rookie Ball and Low-A, he’s simply been dominant. In Lodolo’s 18.1 frames, the lefty struck out 30 batters without issuing a single walk.

Naturally, Lodolo won’t be this unhittable as he begins to face tougher competition but it’s just further evidence as to why he is considered one of the better pitching prospects in all of baseball. The Reds took Lodolo seventh overall in the 2019 draft and the 6’6” hurler offers a three-pitch mix, all of which project to be above-average.

While all pitching prospects come with some relief risk, Lodolo’s pitch mix and ability to limit free passes make him a safer bet to reach the majors as starter than most of the other of the game’s top arms.

ETA: 2022

 

3. C Tyler Stephenson

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: MLB

Stephenson has been an above-average bat at every level of the minors. In an era where teams struggle to get any sort of offensive production from their backstops, the Reds have catching prospect in Stephenson whose value comes from in the batter’s box.

The 6’4”, 225-pound Stephenson is built to hit home runs but that type of production has yet to materialize in games. He’s never hit more than 11 home runs in a single season, but Stephenson is a high-contact hitter with a solid approach (10.2% walk rate, 16.5% strike rate at AA in 2019) and is an offensive weapon nonetheless.

If the in-game power does come, Stephenson could become one of the best offensive catchers in the majors. If it doesn’t, he still has a high floor as an everyday backstop who hits for a good average and gets on base at a high clip.

ETA: 2021

 

4. RHP Hunter Greene

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: A

From a stuff perspective, Greene is one of the most electric prospects in the minors, with a fastball that easily tops 100 mph. The Reds took Greene out of high school with the second overall pick back in 2017 and, at the time, Greene was considered to be one of the better high school pitching prospects in recent memory.

Greene’s performance as a professional has been uneven. He tossed 68.1 innings at Low-A in 2018, striking out 30.3% of batters but recording a 4.48 ERA. His FIP and xFIP were in the low-to-mid 3s, though, indicating he may have had some bad luck and he was much better in the second half of the season. Greene had Tommy John surgery in 2018 and hasn’t thrown a professional pitch since, so there are a lot of question marks in his profile.

On upside alone, he’s still one of the more exciting pitching prospects in baseball. The injury history and lost developmental time now make him more of a risk than he was coming out of high school. There is also a chance he becomes a reliever if his secondary pitches do not materialize.

ETA: 2024

 

5. OF Austin Hendrick

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: N/A

Hendrick projects as a middle-of-the-order thumper. He’s a left-handed corner outfield power bat and many scouts had the 19-year-old as the best power hitter in the 2020 class. The Reds selected Hendrick with the 12th overall pick.

Like many power-hitting corner outfielders, Hendrick comes with potential swing-and-miss issues. How his approach is against professional competition will give a better indication on just how real those issued might be. But for now, the power upside alone makes Hendrick one of the higher-ceiling position players in the Cincinnati system.

ETA: 2024

 

6. 3B Jonathan India

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: AA

India hasn’t quite performed up to expectations in his minor league career after being drafted fifth overall by the Reds in 2017. The third baseman’s output hasn’t been—he has a .779 career OPS—but the power has yet to surface.

Whether or not the power comes will determine how much of an impact India will be. He has walked more than 10% of the time at every level and he grades out as an average to above-average defender, so he is likely to be a big-leaguer either way, but he will need to start clearing the fences more often to lock in an everyday role.

India reportedly battled a wrist injury in 2019. Wrist injuries are notorious for zapping a hitter’s power, so there is a chance we see more of a power bat in 2021.

ETA: 2021

 

7. OF Michael Siani

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: A

Siani is a burner. The speedy outfielder stole 45 bags in 121 games at Low-A in 2019. With his speed, Siani is an easy plus defender in center and that alone could earn him a big-league role down the line.

The question becomes whether Siani’s bat will be good enough for him to be able to put his legs to use. The outfielder posted a 100 wRC+ in his 2019 campaign and while an average bat to go with his plus speed and defense would make Siani an above-average real-world player, he has shown limited power and it remains to be seen if he can get by without it against tougher competition.

ETA: 2023

 

8. RHP Lyon Richardson

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: A

Richardson is formerly a switch-hitting two-way player but he’s shifted to focusing on pitching. The right-handed spent the entire 2019-season at A-ball and tossed 112.2 innings, finishing the year with a 4.15. For someone so new to focusing on just pitching, Richardson was able to limit the free passes and keep the ball in the yard, posting a 6.6% walk rate. And 6.9% HR/FB. So while the ERA doesn’t look like anything special, Richardson was likely a better pitcher than the results showed.

Richardson currently features a four-pitch mix and the Reds will continue to trot him out as starter. It may take Richardson a few years to move through the system as he continues to focus entirely on pitching, but there is breakout potential in the profile.

ETA: 2024

 

9. 1B/2B/3B Tyler Callihan

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: R

Callihan projects as one of the better hitters in the Reds system. He didn’t tear the cover off the ball in his pro debut in 2019, posting a .740 OPS, but he was just 18 years old. Callihan has been aggressive at the plate to start his career with a walk rate under 5%, but the bat to ball and power skills both project to be above average as he matures. While he did steal 11 bases in 57 games in 2019, Callihan doesn’t have the kind of speed to be a threat on the basepaths as he moves through the minors.

It is still unknown where Callihan will end up on the diamond. It is assumed he will hit enough that his position won’t ultimately matter, but he will be a lot more valuable if he winds up at second or third instead of first.

ETA: 2024

 

10. 3B Rece Hinds

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: R

Hinds has some of the best raw power in the minors. That alone gives him a higher ceiling than most players in the system. But the 20-year-old only has three professional games under his belt and at 6’4”, 220 pounds, it’s unclear where he is going to play defensively. He’s a long way away and 2021 should give a better indication on whether Hinds is a potential star or someone who will struggle against professional competition.

ETA: 2025

 

11. RHP Christian Roa

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

The Reds took Roa in the second round with the 48th overall pick. He’s a 6’4” righty with a four-pitch mix with all offerings projected to be average or above. His fastball sits in the low 90s. He struggled in four appearances for Texas A&M, especially with walks, issuing nine in 20 innings. Still, he struck out 35 in those same 20 innings and the walks weren’t an issue in prior seasons. He will be tested out as a starter and the pitch mix gives him a good chance to stick as one.

ETA: 2024

 

12. RHP Tony Santillan

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

Santillan took a step backwards in 2019 after a solid 2018 campaign. The big righty spent all of 2019 at AA and had trouble with his control, posting a 11.6% walk rate, nearly double the number he finished with the season prior.

To this point, the Reds have tried him exclusively as a starter but if he continues to issue free passes he will likely move to the bullpen. He did battle injuries in 2019, though, so a bounce back 2021 season could be in store.

ETA: 2022

 

13. 2B/SS Ivan Johnson

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: R

Johnson is a toolsy middle infielder. He has the potential for above-average power and speed, but where he will play defensively and how consistent his bat-to-ball skills are remain in question. The switch-hitter played 46 games of Rookie Ball in 2019 and finished with a respectable .255/.327/.415 triple slash to go with six homers and 11 steals.

ETA: 2024

 

14. RHP Riley O’Brien

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: AA

O’Brien is a lanky right-hander who has had success at each of his stops in the minors, posting a 2.83 ERA in 232 innings. O’Brien features a three-pitch mix and was used primarily as a starter in the Rays organizations before the Reds acquired him for Cody Reed in August. O’Brien has struggled with walks, though, and his 9.8% walk rate at AA in 2019 is actually the lowest of his career. Increased control could lead to breakout as O’Brien has been able to strike batters out at every level.

ETA: 2022

 

15. OF Allan Cerda

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: R

Cerda is a lottery ticket at this point but he’s shown a knack for knocking the ball out of the park, hitting 15 homers in 90 professional games. He did strike out 33.9% of the time in 2019, though, so unless there is some improvement in that area it’s unlikely he will be able to remain successful as he begins to face better quality pitchers.

ETA: 2025

 

16. OF TJ Friedl

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: AA

It feels like the lost 2020 minor league season hurts guys like Friedl the most. He’s now 25 years old and still will likely have to showcase his talents at AAA before getting a big-league look. Friedl holds his own at the plate despite not being much of a power threat. The speedy outfielder has a career .277/.369/.412 triple slash in the minors and has been able to swipe bags at every level. He started hitting the ball in the air more in 2019 but it was likely the cause in his batting average taking a dip (just .235 in 65 games at AA). Something like Ender Inciarte’s peak years feel like Friedl’s best-case offensive ceiling if he finds his way into a full time job, but he’s more likely to be a part-time player at this point.

ETA: 2022

 

17. C Jackson Miller

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: N/A

Miller was taken by the Reds in third round of 2020 draft. He’s making the leap from high school so that, paired with the fact that he’s a catcher, makes it feel like he is forever away. That being said, Miller grades out as solid across the board and being a left-handed hitter with some contact and power ability gives him a nice advantage over most catchers in the minors.

ETA: 2025

 

18. RHP Vladimir Gutierrez

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: AAA

Gutierrez struggled at AAA in 2019. The righty finished the 137-innings campaign with an ugly 6.04 ERA and saw his strikeout rate dip from 23.2% to 19.2%. Still, he posted a K-BB above 17.0 in his two prior seasons, so there is hope Gutierrez and his four-pitch mix. The Reds have used him exclusively as a starter to this point but a shift to the bullpen may come soon if he continues to let up runs. Gutierrez was also popped with a PED suspension in June so there is an uphill battle ahead.

ETA: 2021

 

19. OF Mariel Bautista

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: A

Bautista tore up the Rookie Ball level from 2015-18 before struggling in the Midwest League in 2019. Bautista is a legitimate power/speed threat, maybe more so than anyone else in this system. He still has several levels to climb, and there is still time for him to do so, but he will need to start to produce against better pitching in order to reach the bigs.

ETA: 2024

 

20. RHP Graham Ashcraft

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: R

Ashcraft throws gas and has some of the best stuff in the system. The Reds ran him out as a starter in 2019 but there is good relief risk here, given some injury history and previous control issues. The stuff on its own is some of the best in the system and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ashcraft speed his way through the minors as a reliever.

ETA: 2023

 

21. C Eric Yang

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: R

Yang doesn’t have much power but has shown great bat-to-ball abilities and advanced approach in collegiate and pro careers. He walked at an 11% clip in his 51-game Pioneer League debut in 2019 and hit .290. Yang can get on base, but the lack of power caps his upside.

ETA: 2024

 

22. RHP Noah Davis

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: R

Davis was drafted by the Reds in the 11th round in 2018, but if it wasn’t for requiring Tommy John surgery, he likely would have gone much higher. The right-hander offers a four-pitch mix he had mixed results after returning to action in 2019. The Reds have been running him out as a starter and he should have more success in 2021 now that he is a few years away from his surgery.

ETA: 2024

 

23. LHP Jacob Heatherly

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: A

Heatherly has had serious control issues so far, issuing 66 walks in 87 professional innings. That alone should give him a shorter leash as a starter than most and there is a chance he is a relief-only prospect if the walks continue. Heatherly also missed most of 2019 with a shoulder injury so it has been a long time since he has seen game action.

ETA: 2024

 

24. RHP Bryce Bonnin

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: N/A

The Reds took Bonnin in the third round of the 2020 draft. The right-hander pitched to mixed success at the collegiate level, spending his freshman year at Arkansas before playing the next two at Texas Tech after being cut by the Razorbacks. Bonnin has good strikeout numbers but issued 63 walks in 97.2 collegiate innings. He currently offers a variety of pitches but the slider is his best offering and it’s likely he ends up as a fastball-slider reliever if he cannot keep the walks in check.

ETA: 2024

 

25. RHP Jared Solomon

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: A+

Solomon has a four-pitch mix and the right-hander has been moderately successful at keeping runs from crossing the plate in his minor league career. The walks, though, are a major concern and it is unlikely that he will be able to skate by with double-digit walk rates as he continues to face tougher competition.

ETA: 2024

26. RHP Jose De Leon

 

Age: 28

Highest Level: MLB

De Leon once had a lot of buzz as a prospect, but injuries in recent years have made him somewhat of a forgotten man. In 425 career minor league innings, most of them as a starter, the right hander posted a 3.25 ERA and K/9 above 11.  The ability to strike hitters out has always been De Leon’s strength, but he has also featured inconsistent control throughout his career.

Now 28, it’s likely that the former top prospect is going to have a bullpen role for the foreseeable future. There is some bounce-back potential here though, given the former pedigree, if he does get a shot to start sometime down the line.

ETA: 2021

 

27. OF Malvin Valdez

Age: 17 

Highest Level: N/A

The Reds signed Valdez on January 15. The 17-year-old is a toolsy outfielder with well above average speed to go with plus power. Given his tools, he has immense upside. We will have to wait and see how consistent he will be in terms of making contact, and he is forever away.

ETA: 2026

 

 

28. 3B Michel Triana

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

Triana is a corner-field power bat. He has yet to play a professional game after signing with the Reds for $1.3 million out of Cuba so it will be telling in how he performs against quality competition. He’s one of the higher upside players on the backside of this list just because the power is real and the rest of the skill set is still to be determined.

ETA: 2025

 

29. OF Ariel Almonte

Age: 17

Highest Level: N/A

Almonte signed with the Reds on January 15. He’s a power-hitting lefty corner outfield bat from the Dominican Republic. Just 17 years old, Almonte will likely spend a few years at the Rookie level to fine tune his bat-to-ball skills.

ETA: 2025

30. OF Mac Wainwright

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: N/A

Wainwright was a two-sport athlete in high school but will now focus solely on baseball after being selected 113th overall by the Reds in the 2020 draft. Wainwright also battled some injuries in his high school career which may have caused his draft stock to drop and for the Reds to find a potential steal. The power should be the carrying tool for Wainwright and he should grow into more of it as he reaches his 20s.

ETA: 2026

 

31 . RHP Miguel Medrano

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: R

Medrano had a successful 60.1 innings in the Pioneer League in 2019, posting a 3.13 ERA and a 21.5% K-BB rate. Medrano has an advanced ability to limit walks, issuing a free pass in just 5.8% of plate appearances. He’s still several levels away and his changeup is his only plus offering, but pitchers who limit walks can get by without electric stuff.

ETA: 2024

 

32. RHP Ryan Hendrix

 

Age: 26

Highest Level: AA

Hendrix is a relief only two-pitch prospect. He’s posted a career 2.55 ERA in the minors but has had some injuries in the past (he pitched just 24.1 innings in 2019). His fastball-curveball combination racks up strikeouts, but Hendrix has also shown inconsistent command at times. He should get an MLB look soon.

ETA: 2021

 

33. OF Quinn Cotton

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: R

Cotton showed some promise in the Pioneer League in 2019, posting a triple slash of .283/.376/.409 in a 61-game professional debut. Despite finishing with eight steals and four home runs, Cotton is likely to be more of a power hitter than a threat on the basepaths moving forward. The 12.4% walk rate is certainly encouraging, but he still has several levels to climb and will be 23 years old come Opening Day.

ETA: 2023

 

34. RHP Joel Kuhnel

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: MLB

Kuhnel pitched in three different levels in 2019, including a small cup of coffee in the majors. He’s a relief-only prospect with a fastball that reaches the triple digits. His walk rate jumped significantly at the Triple-A and MLB levels so it remains to be seen if he can limit free passes against the toughest competition. The Reds outrighted Kuhnel to Triple-A in October but he cleared waivers.

ETA: 2021

 

35. RHP Case Williams

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: N/A

The Colorado Rockies selected Williams with the 110th overall pick in the 2020 draft. He’s extremely raw at this point but has a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s that could uptick even more as he matures. He has more upside than most of the pitchers on the back half of this list but he is forever away from the majors and has a lot of development in his future.

ETA: 2026

 

36. RHP Joe Boyle

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

The Reds took Boyle in the fifth round in 2020 and his stuff is exciting, but he still has a lot of fine tuning to do. Boyle is a hard-throwing right-hander that can touch triple digits with his heater. He also has a plus slider to round out his two-pitch mix but he struggles to throw strikes with any consistency. Boyle is a relief-only profile.

ETA: 2025

 

37. RHP James Marinan

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: A

Marinan is back-end starter prospect that battled an elbow injury in 2019. He was still able to toss 70.1 innings in 17 starts, but finished with just a 5% K-BB. The right-hander also allowed 10 home runs in 2019 after surrendering just one in the two previous seasons combined.

ETA: 2026

 

38. 2B/SS Esmil Torres

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: R

Torres walked more than he struck out in 42 Dominican League games which is always an encouraging sign, especially for a then 17-year-old. He swiped 16 bases, too, but was also caught nine times. He may trade some of that speed for power as he matures but there is some upside here, especially if the plate approach is real and more a result of Torres and less so because of DSL pitching.

ETA: 2026

 

39. OF Junio Tamares

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: R

Tamares had a successful debut in the Domincan League in 2019, finishing the 54-game campaign with a 112 wRC+. He also stole 13 bases and walked 12.1% of the time. He only hit one home run and had a .095 ISO but still has plenty of time to grow into power.

ETA: 2025

 

40. OF Fidel Castro

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: R

Castro spent the 2017-19 seasons at the Rookie level and posted big numbers, only once having a wRC+ lowers than 132 in six different leagues. Of course, these are all small samples and Castro strikes out at an alarming rate. In his 43 games in the Arizona League in 2019, Catsro struck out 33.7% of the time. He has some good thump in his bat, but it won’t matter much if the strikeouts continue to be a problem.

ETA: 2024

 

41. 3B Debby Santana

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: R

Santana has big power but plate approach concerns. He’s been able to skate by as a league-average bat so far in his minor league career, but he stuck out 29.5% of the time in 2019 and walked in just 2.9% of plate appearances. It is not likely that he will be successful with those types numbers once he begins to face tougher pitching.

ETA: 2025

 

42. SS Yan Contreras

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: R

Contreras has considerable upside but he is all projection at this point. He is a potential speed/power combo at a premium position but he is forever away with more development ahead of him than just about anyone in the system.  Contreras only hit .145 in his 20 game pro-ball debut, but he did walk 16.7% of the time, so there is some reason to believe he can make strides in 2021.

ETA: 2025

 

43. C Chris Okey

 

Age: 26

Highest Level: AAA

Okey has had an up-and-down career in the minors. Due to strikeout issues, he is never going to hit for a high average, but he did show some signs of power in 2019, posting a .195 ISO at AA. He’s most likely a backup backstop and given that Tyler Stephenson is one of the Reds’ top prospects, Okey will probably need a change of scenery in order to carve out significant playing time somewhere.

ETA: 2022

 

44. INF Alejo Lopez

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: A+

Lopez has been able to hit for a high average at every level, posting a career .297 number in 325 games. He has some speed, nabbing 40 bases in that time, but the lack of power (just two home runs in 124 games in 2019) limits his upside substantially.

ETA: 2023

 

45. OF Danny Lantigua

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: R

Lantigua is a switch hitter with a solid power-speed combination. Unfortunately, he strikes out an alarmingly rate and that hinders his ability to put either attribute to use. Lantigua struck out nearly half the time in 2019 so he will need to make giant strides going forward to have a shot to move through the system.

ETA: 2025

 

46. C Daniel Vellojin

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: R

Vellojin enjoyed a breakout season in the Dominican Summer League in 2019, posting a 155 wRC+ and a triple slash of .314/.444/.451 in 51 games. He also walked more than struck out and stole eight bags. His ability to walk may be his best quality as he walked at 16.3% clip in 2018 where he otherwise struggled.  The power so far is minimal but he should grow into more while trading off some speed as he matures. Vellojin is still mostly an unknown at this point and we should learn more once he plays stateside.

ETA: 2026

 

47. RHP Spencer Stockton

Age: 24

Highest Level: R

Time isn’t on Stockton’s side as he’s already 24 and hasn’t played above the Rookie level. That being said, the right-hander has a 2.06 ERA in 56.2 career innings. In both his seasons he’s also posted a strikeout rate greater than 30% and a walk rate lower than 4%, so this is a potential diamond in the rough for the Reds, but he has several levels to go and needs to prove he can be effective against stronger competition.

ETA: 2024

 

48. OF Lorenzo Cedrola

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: A+

The Reds acquired Cedrola from the Red Sox in 2018. The outfielder has great speed but minimal power. He’s also aggressive in the box with a career walk rate under 5%. Still, he doesn’t strike out often and is able to hit for a solid average and put his legs to use. The upside is capped unless some power comes along.

ETA: 2024

 

49. SS Miguel Hernandez

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: A

Hernandez is a great defensive shortstop which gives him a shot to make the majors at some point even if the bat never comes along. The shortstop struggled at the plate in 2019, posting a .245/.284/.337 triple slash, but his speed gives him some value on the basepaths.

ETA: 2025

 

50. OF Darlin Guzman

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: R

Guzman has shown some serious power at the Rookie level, finishing with a .259 ISO in 47 Dominican League games in 2019. The 5.1% walk rate needs improvement and it remains to be seen if the left-hander would be able to have as much success against stateside pitching with that type of aggressive approach.

ETA: 2025

Photo by Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)

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