It was a promising season for the Cincinnati Reds and their young prospects. The team made the playoffs in 2020 and had several young players see time with the Major League club. Jose Garcia was called up, as well as Tejay Antone and Tyler Stephenson. Reports say that Hunter Greene’s rehab has gone extremely smooth, and he is looking better than ever. The team drafted slugger Austin Hendrick in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft and signed a solid group of talent in the international signing period. The farm system has talent and could see several more of their prospects debut in 2021. Without further ado, let’s get to the list; the Cincinnati Reds top prospects for 2021.
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Cincinnati Reds Top Prospects
1. Austin Hendrick, OF
With the 12th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, the Cincinnati Reds selected Austin Hendrick. Hendrick has drawn lofty comps to players like Bryce Harper, thanks to his big raw power. He makes loud contact and posted a max exit velocity of 105 miles-per-hour in high school. That ranked him 99.8 percentile among all hitters. There is no denying how much power that Hendrick has.
The concern with Hendrick is whether he will make enough contact to tap into that power. His swing can get violent at times, but he has gone through streaks where he looks like a better-than-average contact hitter. Other times, Hendrick looks lost at the plate. The good news is, he has plenty of time to improve his contact skills and continue his development at the plate.
Overall, the skills are there for Hendrick to be an elite fantasy asset. His plus power will play up even more playing his home games in Great American Ballpark. Hendrick’s hit tool should get to average, and there is a real chance he can be a 35 home run bat. If you have an FYPD draft coming up, Hendrick is a fantastic target.
Here's Austin Hendrick hitting absolute bombs at Wrigley Field.#Reds fans can now wait on the day it comes in a Cincinnati uniform.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) June 11, 2020
2. Hunter Greene, RHP
It seems like eons ago that Hunter Greene was selected second overall by the Cincinnati Reds. That was just 2017, but it will be over two years since Greene pitched in a game when he retakes the mound in 2021. Greene underwent Tommy John Surgery in April 2019.
Greene has one of the best fastballs in the Minors, easily reaching triple-digits. He is your prototypical starting pitcher, standing 6’4/215 pounds. Greene is extremely athletic and repeats his deliver well. He counters his big fastball with three offspeed pitches in his curve, slider, and changeup. His impressive four-pitch mix is topped off by plus command.
The upside is there for Greene to be a frontline starting pitcher. 2021 will be a big season in Greene, furthering his development, especially in his return from Tommy John. Reports out of fall instructs were promising, so Greene will be one to watch this season. Do not be surprised to see him as the Cincinnati Reds’ top prospect before long.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 3, 2021
3. Nick Lodolo, LHP
While Hunter Greene has the highest upside of the starting pitchers in the Reds system, Nick Lodolo may have the highest floor. Lodolo was one of the top college arms in the 2019 draft class. It was a relatively weak class, but Lodolo broke out in his junior year at TCU, leading him to be taken 7th overall by the Reds.
Lodolo has three average or better pitches in his fastball, slider, and changeup. At 6’6, 205 pounds, some projection is left in Lodolo’s frame, and reason to believe he could add weight and velocity. Command and control are Lodolo’s strengths, though. He hits his spots consistently, which helps considering his fastball velocity sits in the low-90s.
The reports out of the alternate training site were less than stellar. Lodolo came into camp in poor shape, and he did not look like himself. Lodolo needs to prove himself in the spring and into the 2021 season. The floor is there for Lodolo to be a solid SP3, but he needs to prove he can perform against high-level talent.
4. Jonathan India, 3B
After a dominant career at the University of Florida, the Reds selected Jonathan India fifth overall in the 2018 MLB Draft. Expectations were high after India posted a career slash of .310/.411/.530 against some of the best college competition. He also hit 31 home runs and stole 41 bases over 672 career plate appearances.
India’s time as a professional has been less than stellar. The performance has been lacking, and injuries have hampered his development. Reports out of the alternate training site were positive, which is encouraging. There are still reasons to believe the bat can develop, and India could be a solid Fantasy asset. 2021 will be a huge make-or-break year for him, though. If India proves he can handle himself at the plate, he may debut by mid-season. The talent has always been there; it is just a matter of putting it all together. Don’t be surprised to see India jump several spots on the Cincinnati Reds top prospects list over the next several months.
5. Rece Hinds, 3B
Rece Hinds was the Reds’ second-round pick in the 2019 draft, and even though he has only played three professional games, his stock could be ready to soar. Reports out of the alternate training site and fall instructs raved about Hinds progression as a hitter. Hinds has proved some doubters wrong, and the progression is a big part of his chance to soar up the Cincinnati Reds’ top prospects list.
Scouts have always raved about Hinds’ raw power. There is easy 30 home run power in his bat, especially in Great American Ballpark. In fall instructs, Hinds posted a max exit velocity of 117 mph. For reference, only four hitters did that in 2020. If the hit tool improvements stick in-game, Hinds will be a highly coveted Fantasy asset. Be sure to buy now before his stock takes off.
Rece Hinds (@HindsRece) shines 🌞
The @LSUbaseball commit & top 2019 #MLBDraft prospect goes off in the 🥇 game of @USABaseball #TOS18, to the tune of two homers and 7 RBIs. More: https://t.co/kVXvqDMyVi pic.twitter.com/XfVSBgqfVq
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 23, 2018
6. Jose Garcia, SS
I will be the first to admit; I am not as high on Jose Garcia as most. He is a better real-life asset than Fantasy. Garcia has a plus glove and arm that should allow him to stick as a premium shortstop. He made his MLB debut in 2020 and was less than stellar.
What hurts him in Fantasy is a questionable hit tool and approach. Garcia has always walked at a meager rate throughout his professional career. If he can improve the approach and tap into his hit tool more, there is intriguing power/speed upside. Reports are that Garcia spent the offseason bulking up and working on his swing. If things click, Garcia has the upside to be the Cincinnati Reds’ top prospect for Fantasy Baseball.
7. Tyler Stephenson, C
Tyler Stephenson also made his MLB debut last season and started off with a bang. He homered in his first Major League plate appearances and then followed that up with a single and a walk against the Cubs. Stephenson only saw 20 plate appearances across eight games last season but looked solid.
Stephenson has a ton of raw power that has yet to translate in-game but could definitely come. He has also displayed a solid hit tool and the ability to hit for average. Stephenson has a chance to play more in 2021 but could be stuck on the short side of a platoon with Tucker Barnhart. But, if Stephenson proves his worth and plays most days, he could be a solid Fantasy asset.
8. Tyler Callihan, 2B
Tyler Callihan brings an intriguing skill set to the second base position for Fantasy Baseball purposes. He may shift to third base in time, but his bat will play. The Reds selected him in the third round of the 2019 draft but paid him double slot value to keep him away from his commitment to the University of South Carolina.
Callihan is a solid athlete for his size and brings an aggressive approach to the plate. There is plenty of raw power in his profile, and his hit tool appears to be average or better. The Reds’ organization gives him high marks for his Baseball IQ and believes he will make necessary adjustments to be a solid hitter.
— Kyler Peterson (@KPeterson813) November 26, 2018
9. Lyon Richardson, RHP
Lyon Richardson is a new pitcher convert after playing outfield most of his career. In his senior year of high school, the team converted him to a pitcher, and he showed off his velocity, hitting 97 mph in high school. Richardson brings four solid pitches to the table in his fastball, changeup, curve, and slider. He repeats his delivery well and shown he can handle a starter’s workload. 2021 will be a big season for his career progression as a pitcher.
10. Michael Siani, OF
The Reds spent their 2018 fourth-round pick on a speedy centerfielder who excels in the field. You can find Michael Siani making tremendous catches and covering a ton of ground in centerfield. He is a tremendous athlete who is capable of compiling a ton of stolen bases. In 2019, Siani stole 45 bases in 121 games in Single-A. There is also developing power as Siani has bulked up his 6’1/195 pound frame. He gets easy bat speed, and there is some natural loft. If he continues to develop at the plate, Siani could be what scouts refer to as a five-tool player.
11. Tony Santillan, RHP
It has been an up and down career for Tony Santillan since being drafted by the Reds in the second round of the 2015 MLB Draft. Santillan was the Reds’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2018 but struggled in 2019 as new pitching philosophy was implemented across the Reds’ organization. Santillan will be 24 years old this season, and it will likely be a huge make or break year for him. His fastball, slider, and changeup combo have the chance to be really good, but Santillan will need to improve his command to stick as a starting pitcher.
12. Christian Roa, RHP
Asa Lacy was the clear ace of the Texas A&M rotation, but Christian Roa was a formidable number two behind him. There are still several unknowns with the righty, who appeared to be in a breakout, at least strikeout-wise in 2020. Roa was dominant in the fall of 2019 and began the 2020 collegiate season striking out nearly 40 percent of the hitters he faced over 20 innings. For reference, he struck out just 22 percent of hitters in 48 innings during his sophomore season.
Roa displays good command and has a fastball that flashes above-average when he has the arm side run working. Other times, it is flat and easy to hit. His curve, slider, and changeup are all solid pitches as well. Overall, Roa needs to be more consistent with his arsenal. If he does, there is some upside to like.
13. Ivan Johnson, 2B
Ivan Johnson has an intriguing power/speed combo that will play up if his hit tool develops. In his rookie ball debut in 2019, Johnson hit six home runs and stole 11 bases over 210 plate appearances. Johnson is a switch hitter who creates natural power from the left side and good gap-to-gap power from the right side. He is capable of playing at second base or shortstop. The future development of Johnson will hinge on his contact ability. The former JuCo standout is in for a huge development year in 2021.
Exclusive video of @Chipola_BSB INF Ivan Johnson’s (@IvanTheGreatXI) home run in his very first AB of the game. Almost cleared the batter’s eye in CF. Via @TrackManBB the ball exited at 99 mph and travelled 407 feet @PBR_JUCO #MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/c6hLbQDzlP
— PBR Florida (@PBRFlorida) February 21, 2019
14. Malvin Valdez, OF
Malvin Valdez received the largest signing bonus from any player the Reds’ signing during the 2020-2021 J15 signing period. Valdez has plus speed and is a natural center fielder. He generates solid bat speed, so there is potential for him to grow into more power. If we see the power and hit tool developing when Valdez comes stateside, his stock could soar thanks to him already being a great runner.
15. Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP
The Reds’ paid out a huge signing bonus to Vladimir Gutierrez back in 2016 when they signed him for 4.75 million. The expectations were high, but Gutierrez has struggled throughout his professional career. 2019 was rough as Gutierrez posted a 6.04 ERA in 27 starts in Triple-A. He was also suspended 60 games in June of 2020 for PED use. The talent is there as Gutierrez has an excellent fastball, changeup, and curveball combo. The command is lacking and will need to improve for Gutierrez to take the next step. The Reds still believe in his talent and the potential for him to be a starter long term. 2021 will be a huge year for him once he returns from suspension.
16. Mac Wainwright, OF
Mac Wainwright was the Reds’ 2020 fourth-round pick out of St. Edwards High School near Cleveland. Wainwright never had a chance to improve his draft stock after missing the summer before his senior year with a fractured tibia and then having a shortened senior season. Wainwright has a strong work ethic and is highly athletic. He produces high-end bat speeds and exhibits solid raw power. The hit tool and pitch recognition still need refinement, but the Reds love Wainwright’s profile and believe he can develop into a solid right fielder.
17. Ariel Almonte, OF
Ariel Almonte was the other big international signing for the Reds. He is already physically developed at 6’4/190 pounds while only being 17 years old. Almonte is a left-handed hitter that has a solid contact approach. There is power projection if he continues to grow into his frame and add more power.
18. Carlos Jorge, 2B
Carlos Jorge is from the same baseball development hub as Malvin Valdez. Jorge does not hit for much power yet, but he often makes loud contact. He is a left-handed hitting middle infielder from the Dominican Republic. Jorge’s strength is his speed, as he clocks plus run times. Reports are his hit tool is steadily improving.
19. Braylin Minier, SS
Braylin Minier was part of the Reds’ 2019 international class and was the youngest player invited to fall instructs. Minier is built to play shortstop at 6’0/160 pounds. There is room for him to add some muscle to his frame, leading to more power. If Minier’s hit tool continues to develop, he could get to average or better. Minier’s stateside debut in 2021 should give us a better idea of how he projects moving forward.
20. Graham Ashcraft, RHP
When you look at Graham Ashcraft’s stat line, you won’t come away overly impressed. Don’t let that deter you from the fact that Ashcraft has really good stuff. Ashcraft was a sixth-round draft pick out of the Mississippi State in 2019. His fastball sits in the mid-to-low 90s but can get up to 97. His slider is arguably his best pitch as he gets a ton of spin and movement. Ashcraft’s changeup and his command will determine if he sticks as a starter long term.
Thank you for taking the time to read my Cincinnati Reds’ Top Prospects for Fantasy Baseball.
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