After years of rebuilding, stopping short, and rebuilding again, the Reds are finally on the right path. Their young players are emerging, and now they have a core at the Major League level. The best news is that several high-end prospects remain that should help the team over the next few years.
Noelvi Marte should be the starting third baseman to begin 2024 and join a young and extremely talented infield. A little further away are some high-end pitching prospects, including 2023 first-round pick Rhett Lowder. Don’t sleep on Chase Petty or Julian Aguiar. Both have mid-rotation ceilings.
The playoff window officially opened in 2023 but should get into high gear starting next season.
- Top Prospect: Noelvi Marte
- Biggest Mover: Ricardo Cabrera
- Biggest Disappointment: Cam Collier – yes, I said it!
- Emerging Prospect: Alfredo Duno
1. Noelvi Marte (3B/SS)
- Highest Level: Majors ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 3B
- Tools Summary: He growing into double-plus power, but as he fills out, speed will become less part of his game. I think he hits with a chance to be a full-time regular with impact potential.
There continues to be a lot to like in Noelvi Marte’s profile. While he’s filling out and will likely need to move to third base long-term, he’s developing more power and has always controlled the strike zone well, posting average to above-average strikeout and walk rates. He’s still a good runner, but the speed will reduce as he fills out. Long-term, he could have a 25+ home run bat at third base, hitting .260+ with 60 to 80 points on top of that in OBP.
He did get a promotion to the Majors on August 19, and the Reds kept his at-bats under the ROY threshold, so he still makes our list.
2. Edwin Arroyo (SS)
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 10 SS
- Tools Summary: He’s held his own as one of the youngest players in High-A, showing power and speed.
Edwin Arroyo was one of the youngest players in High-A in 2023, and despite the .248 batting average, he held his own. He came into camp noticeably stronger and hit the ball with more authority (.427 SLG). He could develop into a 20-home-run bat if he adds even more loft.
He’s also a plus runner, so he could be a 20-20 performer, at least early in his career. It will come down to how much he hits as to whether he’s a full-time regular or a star. He can be aggressive at the plate, but most of that has to do with him being young for a level. I think he hits; therefore, the upside is a Top 10 shortstop in the game.
He did get a taste of Double-A to end the season and that is likely where he will be assigned to begin the 2024 season.
3. Cam Collier (3B)
- Highest Level: Low-A ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 3B
- Tools Summary: He’s a high-floor player who projects as a plus hitter with 20 home run pop.
Cam Collier didn’t have the season I would have hoped. In 111 games in Low-A, he slashed .246/.349/.356 with six home runs and five stolen bases. I was expecting more, particularly around his ability to make contact (23% K-Rate). He still has that beautiful lefty swing, and I believe he will hit and hit at a high level, but he clearly did not show it in 2023.
Part of the problem is he beat everything into the ground (53% GB-Rate), and with his speed, he could not beat out many infield hits. He’s a high-floor prospect with a chance to hit .280+ with a .350 OBP and 20 home runs, but he has a long way to go.
4. Rhett Lowder (RHP, #7)
- Highest Level: DNP ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 30 SP
- Tools Summary: 70-grade change-up with a chance for at least a 60 slider. Plus, he throws strikes. If the Reds can get him to throw harder, he has the ceiling of a number two starter.
The Reds have done an excellent job in developing pitchers of late, so when the Reds went early on Rhett Lowder, I immediately set up in my chair. It’s not a big fastball, but he’s got a double-plus change-up with a slider/sweeper that, over time, could grade out as plus. Plus, he throws strikes.
In his draft year, he walked less than two per nine; and this is the most critical aspect of his profile. You see, Major League teams are drafting pitchers like Lowder, with plus secondary pitches and the ability to throw strikes, and getting them to throw harder. It would not surprise me to see him touching 97 shortly after the Reds get him into their system. The upside is a number two starter.
After a long college season, the Reds held him back in the Complex and did not send him to an affiliate. He should start the 2024 in High-A.
5. Ricardo Cabrera (SS)
- Highest Level: Low-A ETA: 2026-27 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 10 2B/3B or Top 15 SS
- Tools Summary: Power and speed potential with a feel to hit.
Ricardo Cabrera was among the most highly touted International players signed in the 2022 window, agreeing to a $2.7 million bonus with the Reds. While he didn’t show much in the DSL in 2022, 2023 has been different. He’s showed power, speed, and a great approach at the plate, walking more than he struck out. He even got promoted to Low-A in the last week of the season and hit .316.
There’s a ton of upside with Cabrera with a chance to be an impact infielder. If he stays at shortstop, the ceiling is a Top 15 player. However, if he moves to second or third, the ceiling can quickly rise to a Top 10, if not more.
6. Chase Petty (RHP)
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2025-26 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 40 SP with upside.
- Tools Summary: He has the building blocks of a top-of-the-rotation arsenal and shows excellent control.
Chase Petty was the Twins’ first-round pick in 2021 and was traded to the Reds prior to the 2022 season. He spent most of the season pitching in High-A, posting a 1.95 ERA with a strikeout an inning. He did start the season on the IL with an elbow issue but returned in May and showed no issues. The Reds kept tight control of his innings, not allowing him to go over four in an outing. He finished the season in Double-A, where he continued to pitch well.
His arsenal has improved since he was drafted, with his fastball now touching 97 MPH while flashing a plus slider and change-up. He’s only 6 feet 1 and could be homer-prone as he works through the system. But it’s an athletic delivery with control and the building blocks of a plus arsenal.
7. Carlos Jorge (2B)
- Highest Level: High-A ETA: 2026-27 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 2B
- Tools Summary: He’s showing a feel to hit with plus speed and a chance for future average power.
Carlos Jorge built on his 2022 breakout season, where he slashed .295/.400/.483 in 86 games in Low-A. He did get a promotion to High-A to finish the season where he struggled, striking out an uncharacteristically 32% of the time in 23 games. Despite the struggles in High-A, I love his feel to hit as he does not expand the strike zone, making solid, hard contact. He’s a plus runner and stole 32 bases. There is also more power in the bat, and as he continues to add weight to his 5-foot-10 frame, he could pop 12 to 15 home runs annually.
8. Julian Aguiar (RHP)
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 SP with upside
- Tools Summary: He’s athletic with some physical projection remaining. If he can add another grade to his fastball, which seems likely, he could become very interesting.
Julien Aguiar was the Reds’ 11th-round pick in 2021 out of El Camino Junior College. He’s tall and lanky with plenty of physical projection remaining, which has become the type of profile the Reds like to acquire. The delivery isn’t great, but he gets good extension and spin on his 92 to 94 MPH fastball. He’s starting to repeat his delivery, and the results are that he’s throwing more strikes. His command needs improvements, as does his secondary pitches, but there is a nice base from which to work, particularly if he adds velocity, which I think he will.
9. Hector Rodriguez (OF)
- Highest Level: High-A ETA: 2026 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 OF with risk
- Tools Summary: Makes great contact with plus speed and, in 2023, has added some power to the mix.
Hector Rodriguez was originally signed by the Mets but was acquired by the Reds in the trade that sent Tyler Naquin to the Mets. He’s a plus runner who’s never stolen many bases but makes his living making contact. Up until this year, that contact was tons of singles. He got stronger over the off-season, and the Reds added loft to his swing, and the results have been noteworthy. He’s aggressive at the plate, but besides that, there’s a lot to get excited about. He’s a kid under the radar in Dynasty Leagues, and with the Reds seemingly finding gold under every stone, he’s someone to consider for your team.
10. Connor Phillips (RHP)
- Highest Level: Majors ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling: Lock-down closer
- Tools Summary: He has a big arm, but his delivery and his inability to throw strikes likely moves his role to the bullpen.
Connor Phillips throws hard with his fastball averaging 96.8 with a high spin (2408). His money pitch is his sweeper that misses a ton of bats when he can throw it for strikes. He rarely throws his change-up, and when he does, it has proven ineffective. The delivery has effort, with him losing balance on his landing, leading to too many walks. While the Reds want to develop him as a starter, I think he will be a reliever with a chance to be a lock-down closer.
I realize that arms like his don’t grow on trees, and many of you would like to see him higher ranked, but he’s a bullpen arm until he throws more strikes and develops a better change-up.