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Three Reds in Arizona Rookie League Top 20.

 

   According to Baseball America's rankings, shortstop Junior Arias checked in at No. 5. LHP Ismael Guillon ranked ninth and RHP Jonathan Correa came in at No. 12.

   Arias, 18, is a 6-foot-2, 188-pounder from the Dominican Republic. While he’s more likely a third baseman or corner outfielder down the line, Arias was regarded as the AZL’s top shortstop this season. Arias can hit. His AZL line was 6-25-.287/.336/.482. He was 4-for-7 in stolen base attempts, although his speed is above average, as is his arm. His 58 strike outs and 12 walks in 195 at bats show a need for improved plate discipline, but that 31 of his 56 hits went for extra bases exhibits promise. Arias improved dramatically after going .231/.304/.389 in 2009 in the Dominican Summer League. AZL managers were very impressed with Arias’ present bat and potential.

   Guillon is a 6-3, 185-pound starter from Venezuela. The Reds signed him two years ago when he was 16 and he had Tommy John surgery. Guillon made his stateside debut this season and led the AZL in opponents batting average (.193), strike outs (73) and whiffs per nine innings (11.5). Guillon is a fastball/changeup guy. His heater reaches 92 and his change is regarded as plus. Tom Browning loves the kid and is eager to see Guillon develop a more reliable breaking ball.

   Guillon went 3-3 with a 3.32 ERA, allowed just 39 hits and 23 walks in 57 innings. He is regarded as the third-best pitching prospect in the AZL, the top LHP and possibly the best pitcher likely to remain as a starter.

   Correa, 19, is a 6-1, 168-pound native of the Dominican Republic. Tommy John surgery limited him to just 36 innings in the DSL the last two years, but he was very impressive in eight starts in the AZL before moving on to Billings. Correa went 4-2 with a 2.06 ERA, struck out 49 and walked nine in 39 innings. He allowed 36 hits and held foes to a .243 average. Correa sits in the 90-92 range but has hit 94 without losing movement. He throws a slurve and a promising change. Correa is said to pitch with maturity beyond his age.

   This is a testament to Cincinnati’s work in Latin America. The Reds are aggressive there and are seeing fruit from that.

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