The 2020 Cincinnati Reds are in a competitive window at the Major League level, which leaves the current state of the system in a retooling phase. Still, the Cincinnati Reds Top-25 contains a good balance of prospect talent and some intriguing targets for deeper dynasty leagues.
Part of the reason for the retooling phase is that nearly half of the current MLB players on the roster have been developed from within over a period of time: Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Tucker Barnhart, Jesse Winker, Phillip Ervin, and five members of the bullpen: Robert Stephenson, Tyler Mahle, Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen, and Raisel Iglesias. Of course, future Hall of Famer Joey Votto and newcomer professional import Shogo Akiyama (unranked below) will hit atop the lineup for the Reds.
The other part of the 2020 state of the system is that some top prospect talent has been traded in order to acquire established MLB veterans. Time will tell what these deals will mean for the Reds, but it wasn’t too long ago that the top of the system boasted top 100 prospect names like Taylor Trammell (San Diego), Jeter Downs (Boston Red Sox), and Josiah Gray (Los Angeles Dodgers). Nonetheless, there are some dynamic athletes in the list below to keep an eye on in your dynasty leagues.
Minor League Affiliates
Triple-A: Louisville – International League
Double-A: Chattanooga – Southern League
Single-A (Advanced): Daytona – Florida State League
Single-A (Full): Dayton – Midwest League
Short-season Single-A: None
Rookie: Greeneville – Appalachian League, Billings – Pioneer League, one team each in the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona League.
All other team top-25 prospect rankings can be found here.
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New Top-25 Cincinnati Reds Prospects
1. Nick Lodolo, LHP, Age: 21, ETA 2021
2019 Stats (RK, A): 18.1 IP, 2.45 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 0.0 BB/9, 14.7 K/9
Lodolo leads the Cincinnati Reds Top-25 as a high floor mid-rotation type of starter with the chance to be an SP2. After being drafted 7th overall in 2019, Lodolo was the first pitcher selected in the draft, and that subsequently led him to be a popular early selection in many 2019 FYPD. Despite headlining a relatively weak pitching draft class, it doesn’t take away from the kind of impact that Lodolo could have on a dynasty team. While the stuff isn’t overpowering, the 6’6″ lefty provides safety in the command and pitchability realms to help your ratios and not create his own jams, and misses enough bats where he can project to fortify a rotation. He put up an eye-popping 30 K against 0 BB in his professional debut, and this polished college arm should be in the Majors soon especially with Cincinnati in a contention window.
2. Hunter Greene, RHP, Age: 20, ETA 2023
2019 Stats (A): Did Not Play
On name alone, Hunter Greene generates excitement. The former 2nd overall selection in 2017 has been lauded as a mega-talent with a sky-high ceiling. He ascended to the Futures Game stage in 2018 where he blazed his big fastball that touched 103 MPH. Greene underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the entirety of the 2019 season. We’ll have to see how he bounces back from the surgery, but Greene remains so young that there’s still time to dream on his potential impact. Greene may lose valuable innings in 2020, but should still gain reps under the supervision of the team complex and be brought along at a pace to balance his pitching development with his health.
3. Jonathan India, 3B, Bats: R, Age: 23, ETA 2020
2019 Stats (A+, AA): .259/.365/.402/.767, 18 2B, 5 3B, 11 HR, 11/16 SB, 11.5 BB%, 21.5 K%, 428 AB
India was selected 5th overall in 2018, and the former Florida Gator has shown a reasonable power-speed combination with the ability to get on base during his professional tenure. India has settled into being viewed more of a high floor type of dynasty player, which may be a minor source of frustration for ceiling-chasing dynasty owners who likely spent a top-3 selection on him during their 2018 FYPD. If you keep your expectations around a corner infielder type of producer, India should be a perfectly safe player to roster. He should be most useful as a pairing to cover SB and OBP deficiencies of another player on your roster, but there’s still some upside here as an all category producer who is pretty close to MLB ready.
4. Jose Garcia, SS, Bats: R, Age: 21, ETA 2021
2019 Stats (A+): .280/.343/.436/.779, 37 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 15/17 SB, 5.5 BB%, 18.4 K%, 404 AB
Jose Garcia enjoyed a breakout campaign at High-A this year, pushing him into top-100 consideration among dynasty prospects. We saw a season with pretty loud extra-base hit output: Garcia’s batted ball profile was similar to 2018, suggesting he could max out at gap to gap power and 15-HR type of bat. This, paired with an ability to put up around 15 SB, is a very useful fantasy player. Garcia’s low BB rate should keep him as a clear option for your middle infield position, and he’s a stronger play in standard AVG versus OBP formats. Garcia’s strong defensive abilities will keep him in the lineup, providing your roster with some flexibility should your starting SS go down with an injury.
5. Michael Siani, OF, Bats: L, Age: 20, ETA 2022
2019 Stats (A): .253/.333/.339/.672, 10 2B, 6 3B, 6 HR, 45/60 SB, 8.7 BB%, 20.5 K%, 466 AB
While Siani should impact future fantasy lineups with speed being the primary draw, his defense is what will ultimately pave the way for him to be a starting CF and hasten his way up the ladder through the minors. Siani can flat out go get it in the outfield and backs it with a cannon for an arm. Defense matters in this case in dynasty baseball because he will be in the lineup so often, and there’s added strong-side platoon safety with Siani batting left-handed. While he’s yet to set the world on fire offensively as a pro, Siani has an adept on-base ability which lets his speed come into play. I like what I see from the swing, so if the hit tool follows the athleticism and he’s able to put the ball in the air he can really take off in dynasty rankings.
6. Stuart Fairchild, OF, Bats: R, Age: 23, ETA 2020
2019 Stats (A+, AA): .264/.352/.441/.794, 29 2B, 3 3B, 12 HR, 6/12 SB, 9.6 BB%, 18.0 K%, 401 AB
Fairchild finished 2019 on a high note, where he excelled during his promotion to Double-A. Putting up a .380 OBP and a BB rate (10.6%) that was neck in neck with his K rate (12.8%) was a testament to his growth offensively. He’s quiet in the box and uses his strong legs to drive the ball, emphasizing a pull tendency at over 50% for 2019. Fairchild is a good all-around athlete, who with hit tool and SB refinement could grow into a productive dynasty target in this Cincinnati Reds Top-25.
7. Tyler Stephenson, C, Bats: R, Age: 23, ETA 2020
2019 Stats (AA): .285/.372/.410/.782, 20 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 0/0 SB, 10.2 BB%, 16.5 K%, 312 AB
Stephenson is on the brink of contributing to the big league roster and has a similar offensive profile to the incumbent starter in Tucker Barnhart. The 6’4″ Stephenson has 5 inches on Barnhart, so it’s difficult to envision that Stephenson’s game power is presently not unlike the hitter who just passes the double-digit HR mark. Stephenson should ultimately grow into more game power and could max out at around 20 HR while contributing good average and OBP performances year in and year out. He may supplant the gold glover Barnhart eventually, though he could chip in right away as a platoon partner as Barnhart put up a .391 OPS against lefties last season. He’s a catching prospect, so value Stephenson accordingly in dynasty, but I like him most in two-catcher formats at this juncture.
8. Tony Santillan, RHP, Age: 22, ETA 2020
2019 Stats (AA): 102.1 IP, 4.84 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 4.7 BB/9, 8.1 K/9
The big-bodied hurler spent the entire year at Double-A after concluding his 2018 season there. He fared better there during those 11 starts versus the 2019 campaign largely due to control. His 4.7 BB/9 was more than double his 2.3 BB/9 rate in 2018. Opponents were also able to lift the ball in the air at a higher rate in 2019 coupled with a career-low GB % at 34.7%. Santillan should break into the big leagues in a multi-inning relief role given that the rotation can’t even give Tyler Mahle consistent starts out of the gate this year. Santillan can bring the heat and touch 98 MPH, and he’ll need to regain his control if he’s to project as a mid-rotation starter.
9. Rece Hinds, 3B, Bats: R, Age: 19, ETA 2024
2019 Stats (RK): .000/.200/.000/.200, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 0/0 SB, 20.0 BB%, 30.0 K%, 8 AB
If big time power prospects are your cup of tea, then you’ve arrived at the right spot in the list with Rece Hinds. Hinds is an imposing 6’4″ with long limbs and bat speed for days. While we didn’t get a significant sample in his debut season due to health, Hinds is more of a project and will work through swing and miss issues but ultimately could be a force at peak. Reds fans will look at Hinds’ profile and think of Edwin Encarnacion and hope that Hinds ends up peaking with them instead of another organization as E5 did.
10. Tyler Callihan, 2B/3B, Bats: L, Age: 19, ETA 2023
2019 Stats (RK): .263/.298/.442/.740, 10 2B, 6 3B, 6 HR, 11/14 SB, 4.2 BB%, 21.0 K%, 224 AB
Callihan is a masher who radiates hit and power. The lefty stroke is strong from the sturdy framed infielder and he delivered a bunch of extra-base hit output during his rookie campaign. Though a below-average runner, Callihan is opportunistic on the basepaths. The biggest question is the defensive home (2B is probably best case scenario), so he’ll have to really mash and bring up the BB rate if he’s to stick in the lineup day in and day out as he advances in his development.
11. Ivan Johnson, SS, Bats: S, Age: 21, ETA 2023
2019 Stats (RK): .255/.327/.415/.742, 10 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 11/15 SB, 8.6 BB%, 21.9 K%, 188 AB
Johnson is a fantasy prospect that I really like coming out of this past draft class. He’s a switch hitter, where the game power is more prevalent in the RH stroke (5/6 HR came right-handed during his debut). He should stick in the middle infield on either side of the bag defensively, and could blossom into a 20-HR, 8-10 SB type of player. Considering he’s either a free agent in most shallower dynasty leagues or cost an owner a back end FYPD draft pick in a deeper league, Johnson is a good secondary trade piece to target who represents some upside.
12. Lyon Richardson, RHP, Age: 20, ETA 2022
2019 Stats (A): 112.2 IP, 4.15 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, 8.5 K/9
The 2nd rounder in 2018 had an excellent year developmentally, as the former high school arm logged well over 100 IP in full-season ball. He showed great control for a pitcher so young as he attacked the zone with his fastball/slider/changeup/curveball arsenal. He gave up his fair share of contact at over a hit per inning but that’s a perfectly fine place to be at this stage since he is trusting his pitch mix instead of nibbling. Richardson is an athletic pitcher who could take off this year and one who’s worth keeping close tabs on in this system.
13. Jameson Hannah, OF, Bats: L, Age: 22, ETA 2022
2019 Stats (A+ w/OAK, CIN): .274/.339/.369/.708, 28 2B, 4 3B, 2 HR, 8/16 SB, 7.7 BB%, 21.2 K%, 442 AB
Hannah was a 2019 trade deadline acquisition for Tanner Roark, and the Reds did very well by scoring a prospect like this in exchange for 10 Roark starts. This may be a bit bold but Reds fans will see flashes of Taylor Trammell in the game of Hannah: he’s a hit and speed outfielder, not quite as explosive, but he makes good contact to drive the ball and impact the game on the basepaths. The Reds capitalized on a sneaky buy-low window on the former 2nd round selection and could look like a heist when we look back years from now.
14. Mariel Bautista, OF, Bats: R, Age: 22, ETA 2023
2019 Stats (RK, A): .240/.309/.341/.650, 13 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 23/35 SB, 6.5 BB%, 20.3 K%, 386 AB
Bautista represents a toolsy upside prospect who is one of the more dynasty relevant in the Cincinnati Reds Top-25. While Bautista didn’t have the massive breakout many dreamed on this past season, he showed an intriguing power-speed blend. Bautista should maintain his plus speed since he has an ideal frame to add more bulk, and his BB rate was just high enough and his K rate was just low enough to keep the concerns in check. When he puts a good swing on the ball, it’s a righty swing that you can watch on loop it’s so picturesque. If Bautista can even incrementally take a step forward in the hit/on-base departments while adding strength, he could have much more chatter around him in the coming year.
15. TJ Friedl, Bats: L, Age: 24, ETA 2020
2019 Stats (AA): .235/.347/.385/.732, 11 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 13/17 SB, 10.7 BB%, 18.6 K%, 226 AB
Friedl is a bit of a throwback as an undersized player who can hit for a good average, scrape his way on base, and run like the wind. Friedl has a great swing, reminding me a little bit of Brock Holt with good bat to ball skills and just all around looking like a ballplayer. Unlike Holt, Friedl won’t be able to help on the infield as a lefty thrower, and his arm limits him to either left or center depending on who’s out there on a given day. Friedl may get stretches as a starter covering for injury but may max out as a very good fourth outfielder and pinch hitter.
16. Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP, Age: 24, ETA 2020
2019 Stats (AAA): 137 IP, 6.04 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, 7.7 K/9
When considering the 2019 campaign for Gutierrez, the most important element was logging a third straight season over 100 IP. Gutierrez is a 6’0″ righty who’s size plays up due to long limbs and good extension with a sizable stride. His exceptional curveball paired with his average fastball and changeup gives him a good arsenal. With some adjustments to tunneling and sequencing, and perhaps adding a wrinkle to his fastball, Gutierrez should see MLB time in 2020.
17. Packy Naughton, LHP, Age: 23, ETA 2020
2019 Stats (A+, AA): 157 IP, 3.32 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9, 7.5 K/9
Prospectors tend to bump a player due to his name, and Packy Naughton certainly doesn’t disappoint in that regard. Naughton is fun to watch with his high energy delivery. He’s listed at 6’2″ and he rears back in a deep leg load and slight twist, which helps create deception particularly for his changeup and breaking ball. Naughton will have a good test against AAA hitters upcoming and could wind up as a spot starter or multi-inning reliever that emphasizes pitchability.
18. Ryan Hendrix, RHP, Age: 24, ETA 2020
2019 Stats (RK, AA): 24.1 IP, 1.85 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, 11.5 K/9
When you’re digging through film and honing in on an organization, it’s fun to see how teams have a type. It doesn’t take long to see similarities in how Hendrix and Robert Stephenson look on the mound. Hendrix doesn’t have the pedigree or former starter aspirations that Stephenson came up with, but Hendrix does have a long 6’3″ frame with strength and a filthy fastball-slider combination. Stephenson really vaulted forward this season by upping his slider usage from 40-57%, and Hendrix could enjoy the same boost with a variation in pitch usage. Hendrix is on the 40 man roster and should be right there with Joe Kuhnel (21) contributing in the Reds bullpen in 2020. Of the two, Hendrix has a higher ceiling for an ultimate bullpen role.
19. Allan Cerda, OF, Bats: R, Age: 20, ETA 2024
2019 Stats (RK): .220/.360/.470/.829, 6 2B, 0 3B, 9 HR, 2/4 SB, 12.1 BB%, 33.9 K%, 132 AB
Cerda is a good sleeper prospect in the Cincinnati Reds Top-25. He’s a long-limbed 6’3″ who has a loose, quick swing. He has good plate coverage and approach, paired with an exceptional ability to put the ball in the air. His long swing contributes to the swing and miss at present, but fortunately, he’s able to get on base at a high clip. He brings enough athleticism to profile in either center or right field defensively, another positive to the profile. You can see how Cerda’s swagger and physical maturity jumps out among his peers, and the confidence should help him grow through the system. There’s plenty here to be excited about.
20. Quin Cotton, OF, Bats: R, Age: 22, ETA 2023
2019 Stats (RK): .283/.376/.409/.785, 14 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 8/16 SB, 12.4 BB%, 17.9 K%, 237 AB
Cotton is a right/right outfielder who had a really solid professional debut, sporting a double-digit BB rate and sub-20% K rate. He uses the whole field and goes the other way with authority by emphasizing a 44% opposite field batted ball profile. If he’s able to pull the ball more, cut his 55% ground ball percentage, and refine his SB approach, he could really make some noise. A strong athlete, Cotton has a broad set of tools that should make him fantasy relevant. Cotton was a good find by the Reds in the 8th round and looks to have a major league future as a center or right fielder who can contribute all category production.
21. Joel Kuhnel, RHP, Age: 24, MLB in 2019
2019 Stats (AAA): 53.2 IP, 2.18 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, 8.4 K/9
2019 Stats (MLB): 9.2 IP, 4.66 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 4.7 BB/9, 8.4 K/9
Kuhnel made it to the big league in 2019 on the back of a dominant season where he netted 14 saves at both the AA and AAA levels. Kuhnel is a big 6’5″ 260 lb force on the mound who averages 96 MPH on the fastball and can top out at 100 MPH. Kuhnel throws a 4 seam fastball, sinker, slider, and the occasional changeup to lefties. He won’t post outrageous K rates which may settle him into a setup role at peak, but his fast arm could make the former 11th round pick a fan favorite in Cincinnati.
22. Michel Triana, CI/OF, Bats: L, Age: 20, ETA 2023
2019 Stats (RK): Did Not Play
The Reds have had a good amount of success relative to other organizations with players from Cuba, and they hope the same for the lefty slugger in Michel Triana. The calling card here is the big raw power. He represents a unique July 2 talent because of his advanced age, though there’s plenty of rawness in the hit and fielding departments. Triana will likely debut at 3B, though could make his way to a corner outfield spot with 1B as the last resort. We don’t quite know what we have until we get more footage of him, but Triana is a worthy flier because of the kind of power he could deliver in the confines of friendly Great American Ballpark.
23. James Marinan, RHP, Age: 21, ETA 2023
2019 Stats (A): 79.1 IP, 5.56 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 3.4 BB/9, 5.4 K/9
While the Dodgers and Reds have lined up on some major deals over the last year, the Dodgers shipped Marinan to the Reds in exchange for Dylan Floro. As a former Dodgers prospect, it’s noteworthy in itself since they are an adept organization who traditionally gets good value picking from the back of the draft with arms like Marinan. He’s a starters body at 6’5″ with some strength and can bring the fastball up to the mid 90’s and feature two breaking balls. Don’t scout the stat line here due to some health issues and a new organization, but Marinan is a good development project for the Reds who could grow into a mid to back of the rotation starter.
24. Braylin Minier, OF, Bats: L, Age: 16, ETA 2025
2019 Stats (RK): Did Not Play
The Reds spent nearly $2M on a signing bonus for the slender shortstop. He’s over 6’0″ at just 16 years old, which is the type of frame you want to chase in these very young prospects. At the plate, Minier has a high stance and throws his hands at the ball to generate power. As he develops, he should incorporate his lower half and add more loft. He’s one to monitor as a long term project, though information will be hard to get over the next year or so unless he really impresses.
25. Tejay Antone, RHP, Age: 26, ETA 2020
2019 Stats (AA, AAA): 146.1 IP, 4.00 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9, 8.2 K/9
Though he’s the most senior member on the Cincinnati Reds Top-25, Antone is a groundball specialist that also has the ability to miss bats. The fact that he kept his ERA at a manageable figure dealing with the AAA juiced ball is a testament to his ability to work the sinker-slider-curveball-changeup arsenal. With a 40 man roster spot, and a sturdy 6’3″ frame, Antone is a good expanded roster candidate in 2020 to deliver some multi-inning appearances and keep the ball in the park for the Reds.
Next 10 Reds Prospects: Jacob Heatherly (LHP), Jose Acosta (IF), Yan Contreras (SS), Cash Case (2B), Noah Davis (RHP), Brian O’Grady (1B/OF), Jose Salvador (LHP), Michael Medrano (RHP), Michael Beltre (OF), Alfredo Rodriguez (SS).
Ben Wilson is a member of the FantraxHQ team as a Minor League Prospect Analyst and Dynasty Fantasy Baseball writer. Ben’s work can also be found on Prospects1500.com and formerly on Real McCoy Minors News. Ben is also a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA). For more content from Ben, follow him on Twitter @TBDubbs11.
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