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Cincinnati Reds

The Reds had a nice season in 2020 making the playoffs as a wild card team. The success primarily came on the back of their pitching. Unfortunately, most of that pitching was acquired and not homegrown and in the case of Trevor Bauer, will likely not be back in 2021.  Their positional players are also aging and mostly acquired with few coming through the development process.  It’s been proven time and time again, that the best teams in baseball are those that have a core of young home-grown players that are complemented by free agents.

In reviewing the Reds organization, the talent is there.  Jose Garcia and Tyler Stephenson made their major league debuts in 2020 and while neither had instant success, I believe both could have solid major league careers.  Hunter Greene leads the list and still has star potential.  Jonathan India is getting terrible reviews but I’m not ready to give up on him and he might become a nice buy-low candidate.  He might not be a star, but I still believe he could turn into a major league quality third baseman.

Prospect Quick Shot

  • Top Prospect: Hunter Greene
  • Biggest Mover: Jose Garcia
  • Emerging Prospect: Malvin Valdez

1. Hunter Greene (RHP)

  • Tool Summary: Alternate Site ETA: 2023-24 Fantasy Ceiling:  Fantasy Ace
  • Tools Summary: Premium velocity with a plus slider, athleticism, and make-up

After spending the entire 2019 season recovering from Tommy John Reconstructive surgery, Hunter Greene returned to action, albeit scrimmage games at the alternate site.  When healthy, he has a double-plus fastball that sits in the upper-90’s with a plus slider that is a real swing and miss weapon.  He used his time at the alternate site to work on his control and to develop a change-up.  Time will tell if he was successful.  I still believe his ceiling is a fantasy ace but clearly, surgery followed by a missed season adds risk to his profile.

2. Nick Lodolo (LHP)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2021-22 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 SP
  • Tools Summary: Big fastball and slider but delivery is lower three-quarters

Nick Lodolo is a big kid at 6-foot-6 with a plus fastball that he can touch the mid-90s that he couples with a plus slider.  The combination worked in college as well as his brief introduction to professional ball.  While the stuff is solid and it’s from the left side, there is a concern with his delivery.  He has a lower three-quarter delivery that isn’t too pronounced but still does open the question about him being a bullpen arm long-term.  However, the Reds will develop him as a starter, and given his pedigree, he could move quickly with a chance to see the Major Leagues in 2021.  The upside for me is a mid-rotation starter.

3. Jonathan India (3B)

  • Tool Summary: Alternate Site ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 3B
  • Tools Summary: Plus defender who can control the strike zone enough to be a full-time regular.  His 2019 was a down season though as he made a lot of weak contact

Jonathan India had a down season in 2019 and consequently, his stock took a hit.  He did show decent contact skills (21.5% K/9) and the ability to work a walk (11.3% BB/9).  However, he didn’t show a lot of power posting only a .375 SLG and hitting 11 home runs.  The reports I received were not encouraging as they were littered with poor and weak contact.  I’m not willing to give up as in reviewing his swing, there is plenty of loft and enough bat speed to hit for at least average power.  He’s a plus defender and should be able to hit enough to be a full-time regular.

4. Austin Hendrick (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2024 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 OF
  • Tools Summary: Big raw power but will come at the expense of contact

The Reds took Austin Hendrick with the number 12 pick in last June’s draft.  He profiles as a Jay Bruce type of talent with big raw power, a big arm, and poor contact.  While some will scoff at that profile, Jay Bruce has been a full-time regular through much of his career, appearing in four all-star games.  I think Hendrick has that type of potential.  He doesn’t have good speed and will only slow as he fills out.  His value will likely be determined by his OBP and we won’t know that until he gets some professional at-bats.

5. Jose Garcia (SS)

  • Highest Level:  Major Leagues ETA: 2020 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 SS
  • Tools Summary: Surprise promotion to the Major Leagues didn’t go particularly well, but the overall tools are rounding into shape.

The Reds promoted Jose Garcia in late August in what was a surprising move given that he had never played over High-A.  He was overwhelmed by the promotion hitting .194 with a slug of .194 striking out nearly 40% of the time.  However, after a nice ending to 2019 and a good showing in the Fall League, there is a lot to like.  He’s an above-average runner with good bat speed but a low launch angle that will give him more doubles than home run power.  As he gets comfortable with big league pitching, he should make solid contact although he’ll likely always have an aggressive approach.  The ceiling is a .270/.320/.425 with 12 to 15 home runs and 15+ stolen bases playing excellent defense at shortstop.

6. Tyler Callihan (2B)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 2B
  • Tools Summary: An offensively oriented player with good raw power and an ability to hit

The Reds drafted Tyler Callihan in the third of the 2019 Draft and has been a nice sleeper in Dynasty Leagues. He’s an offensive-oriented player with good bat speed that should be able to hit for 20 plus home runs in the future.  In his professional debut, he did show good contact but with an aggressive approach.  He’ll need to develop a more balanced approach as he works through the minor leagues for him to eventually hit his ceiling of a first division player.

7. Tyler Stephenson (C)

  • Highest Level:  Majors ETA: 2020 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 Catcher
  • Tools Summary: Improved contact rate but still waiting on the power to develop

Tyler Stephenson made his Major League debut in 2020.  In eight games, he hit two home runs but nearly struck out half the time.  The two-home runs were a surprise given his lack of power in the minor leagues while his contact reversed a trend that showed him making better contact.  Since it was only eight games, I’m not going to conclude too much.  I still like him as a full-time catcher who can hit a little bit with 15 to 20 home run pop.

8. Mike Siani (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 60 OF
  • Tools Summary: Plus speed with good contact.   Average at-best power

Mike Siani has alluring skills, particularly for fantasy managers.  In 54 games in 2019, he only hit .224, he posted a respectable .330 OBP with four home runs and 19 stolen bases.  He doesn’t have a ton of power and while he has strong wrists with plenty of bat speed, the swing is more geared to contact.  While the upside could be that of a fourth outfielder, there still is enough in the profile that I would want to own him in deeper Dynasty Leagues.

9. Tony Santillan (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2021 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 SP or a Closer
  • Tools Summary: Big fastball and slider but his control took a big step backward

I thought we might see Tony Santillan in 2020, but the Reds had different ideas and kept him at the Alternate Site for the entire season. He has the big fastball and has developed a plus slider, but control problems have been what has held him back. If the control takes a step forward, then he likely remains a starter.  If not, I think he moves to the bullpen with a chance to develop into a closer.

10. Rece Hinds (3B)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2023+ Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 60 OF with extreme risk
  • Tools Summary: Light-tower power but with big questions about his ability to hit

Rece Hinds carrying tool is double-plus raw power which is a product of great bat speed and strength.  He has great size at 6-foot-4, but it also produces a large strike zone and plenty of swing and miss.  Plus, there are questions about his ability to recognize spin and adjust.  The Reds will continue to spend time on his approach and pitch recognition skills.  If he can’t improve, he does have a cannon for an arm and could one day be moved to the bump.  For now, he will be developed as a position player (currently at third base but could move to the outfield).

11. Stuart Fairchild (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2021 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 75 OF
  • Tools Summary: Average tools but his glove and ability to get on base should get him to big leagues

Stuart Fairchild lacks a carrying tool but his ability to hit and play the outfielder should make him a major leaguer.  At worse, he’s a fourth outfielder in the big leagues but if he can add some power, he could become a full-time regular.

12. Christian Roa (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2022-23 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 60 SP
  • Tools Summary: Good size but the arsenal lacks any true plus pitch

Christian Roa got off to a rough start to the 2020 season.  As a promising junior at Texas A&M, he pitched to a 5.85 ERA in four starts.  As we all know, the season was then canceled and Roa never got a chance to show what he could do.  Still, the Reds thought enough to draft him in the second round of the 2020 Draft.  He has a fastball that will scrape the mid-90s and three average secondary pitches.  His size and delivery though point to possibly more in the tank, so I am putting a mid-rotation ceiling on him.

13. Lyon Richardson (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 60 SP or Reliever
  • Tools Summary: Stuff reportedly improved in 2020

Lyon Richardson was drafted in the second round of the 2018 MLB Draft and had a decent season in 2019 but one that didn’t warrant inclusion in the Reds Top 15.  I have reports that his stuff took a tick up at the Alternate Site with his fastball touching the upper-90’s.  Now, that was likely in short burst and might point to a bullpen role long-term, but the Reds have a large investment in him, and he has the size and delivery to point to a major league career.

14. Malvin Valdez (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Int’l player expected to sign ETA: 2024+ Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 30 OF
  • Tools Summary: Big tools and if he can hit, he could have huge fantasy upside

Malvin Valdez is predicted to sign with the Reds on January 15th and is one of the better athletes in the 2020-21 J2 Class.  He has elite bat speed and is a plus runner who tracks balls well in the field.  There are questions about how much he’ll hit, but if he can even make average contact, he has the chance for huge fantasy upside.

15. Ariel Almonte (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Int’l player expected to sign ETA: 2024+ Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 40 OF
  • Tools Summary: Big kid with an idea of what he is doing at the plate

Ariel Almonte is also predicted to sign with the Reds on January 15th.  He’s bigger and stronger than Valdez and should be able to hit for plus power.  Given his size, speed will not be part of his particularly as he fills out.  He’s already shown an ability to make solid contact with a semblance of an approach.

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