The Cincinnati Reds top 15 was a tough one to narrow down. The top two were easy, as they are in a class of their own. Three and four are a clear second tier, but five through eleven are yet another tier their own that could be easily argued for in just about any order. Then there were about twenty guys that could have landed in the final four spots. In the end, the tie break came down to players who stand out with a certain skill more so than others. This is a list that is sure to spark much debate (feel free to let me know it in the comments), but I like the order I ended up with.
Triple A: Louisville Bats (Internationals League)
Double-A: Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Southern League)
High-A: Bakersfield Blaze (California League)
Low-A: Dayton Dragons (Midwest League)
Advanced Rookie: Billings Mustangs (Pioneer League)
Complex-Rookie: AZL Reds (Arizona League, DSL Reds & DSL Rojos (Dominican Summer League)
Ismael Guillon – LHP
Date of Birth: February 13, 1992
Height/Weight: 6’2″/218 lbs.
Acquired: International Free Agent
Analysis: Guillon has a low 90’s fastball, a solid change, and a curve that flashes plus potential. He has impressive strikeout numbers, but his control is a concern. He had Tommy John Surgery when just 16 and has been advancing slowly through the minors, repeating Rookie ball and Low-A, but he does have the potential of making a big league rotation in time.
2014 Prognosis: He will finally make it to High-A, and if he shows improved command, he may be able to make the jump to Double-A this season.
Ryan Wright - 2B
Date of Birth: December 3, 1989
Height/Weight: 6’1″/194 lbs.
Acquired: 2011, 5th round
Analysis: Wright is not a guy who will jump out with any plus tools, but he has an impressive feel for the game. He bounced back from a very poor defensive season in 2012 and put up a decent .980 fielding percentage in 2013. He does a good job of getting bat to ball and can hit for a solid average, but he will never hit for much power or steal many bases. While the most realistic role for him will be as a bench infielder, he might be able to continue playing beyond his tools and become a decent starting second baseman someday.
2014 Prognosis: Wright should make the jump to Double-A and have success this season. He is the perfect candidate to earn a trip to the Arizona Fall League if he has a decent season.
Daniel Corcino – RHP
Date of Birth: August 26, 1990
Height/Weight: 5’11″/205 lbs.
Acquired: International Free Agent
Analysis: Corcino is a traditional drop-and-drive right handed power pitcher with tons of torque. His numbers in Triple-A in 2013 were ugly, but he has seen bullpen work this winter and has looked good. Based on his struggles in the rotation last year, and his low, thick body, a mid-to-late inning relief role might be perfect for him. He features an above-average fastball and change, with a slider that has potential.
2014 Prognosis: His is on the 40-man roster, so he will get a good look at big league camp this year. He will likely head back to Triple-A to kick off the year in the bullpen, and if he has some success there, he could be visiting the Queen City early this season.
Tucker Barnhart - C
Date of Birth: January 7, 1991
Height/Weight: 5’11″/195 lbs.
Acquired: 2009, 10th round
Analysis: Barnhart is a plus defensive catcher who has solid potential despite a lack of pop in the bat. He will never hit with much power, nor is his average going to impress anyone, but his eye at the plate will keep his on-base percentage high enough to make an impact. He catches with a slightly open stance, even when nobody is on the bases, but he does have soft hands and a good, quick arm.
2014 Prognosis: After a solid performance at the Arizona Fall League, Barnhart was added to the Reds 40-man roster. He will likely start the season at Triple-A, but given he is one of just three catchers on the 40-man, he should see some time in the big leagues this season.
Nick Travieso – RHP
Date of Birth: January 31, 1994
Height/Weight: 6’2″/215 lbs.
Acquired: 2012, 1st round (14th overall)
Analysis: Travieso has some inconsistency in arm slot across all his pitches, and has yet to find his strike out pitch, but he was drafted 14th overall for a reason. He has a plus fastball, and plus potential in his slider, although it has more of a cutter. His change needs to be developed, and his walk rate is average at the current time. He is probably a future fourth or fifth starter.
2014 Prognosis: A bump up to High-A is in store for Travieso, where he will be tested. He will need to prove he can keep the ball down and hitters off-balance if he is to succeed in the California League.