The overly melodramatic title notwithstanding, this year's prospect rankings has a bit of a different feel. In years past we discussed and celebrated the gradual ascendance of the Reds farm system into one of the best in baseball. But after years of gathering prospects, graduating a few to the major league club, and generally hoarding good young players, Walt Jocketty has (finally) cashed in on the talent surplus. The unfortunate side effect of this exciting offseason is a significantly depleted system, but the cupboard is far from bare. The system still has plenty of exciting players from rookie ball up to AAA. It's your job to decide who is the best.
For those of you unfamiliar, the Community Prospect Rankings is your chance to vote on who you think are the top prospects in the Reds system. We'll start today with the #1 prospect, and a pool of 6 players. We'll add players to the pool every couple of days. Want to vote for a guy who isn't yet on the list? Make your voice heard in the comments!
After the jump find stats for all of the players in the first tier, as well as each player's basic strengths and weaknesses. We've also listed the player's Baseball America ranking, if applicable. Once John Sickels releases his rankings in a few days, we'll include those as well.
This first vote should be a no-brainer, but y'all have had some crazy ideas before, so who knows. Happy voting!
Daniel Corcino, RHP, 21, BA-#4--(Dayton) 3.42 ERA, 139.1 IP, 156 K, 34 BB, 1.163 WHIP
Pros: Excellent fastball-slider combo, elite strikeout numbers, and excellent control, especially for a young pitcher
Cons: Slightly undersized (5'11", 165), needs to prove durability by throwing over 150 innings
Zack Cozart, SS, 26, BA-#3--(Louisville) .310/.357/.467/.825, 7 HR, 32 RBI
(Cincinnati) .324/.324/.486/.811, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Pros: Polished, above average defense at SS. Above average power for the position. Good contact skills.
Cons: Below average plate discipline and walk rate. Already 26, has he peaked?
Billy Hamilton, SS/2B, 21, BA-#2--(Dayton) .278/.340/.360/.700, 3 HR, 50 RBI, 103 SB
Pros: Speed. Switch hitter. Speed. Excellent middle infield range. Speed--Many think he's the fastest player in baseball
Cons: Almost zero power, strikes out too much for a guy with no power, and needs refinement defensively.
Devin Mesoraco, C, 23, BA-#1--(Louisville) .289/.371/.484/.855, 15 HR, 71 RBI
(Cincinnati) .180/.226/.360/.586, 2 HR, 6 RBI
Pros: Plus power potential, advanced plate approach, much improved defense, strong arm
Cons: Simply needs to prove himself: Can he call a good game, play solid defense, AND hit MLB pitching?
Yorman Rodriguez, OF, 19, BA-UR--(Dayton) .254/.318/.393/.711, 7 HR, 40 RBI
Pros: Tool shed--Chance for above average power, speed, contact skills, and defense.
Cons: Durability--has only played 122 games total the last 2 seasons. Very raw both at the plate and in the field. Very aggressive plate approach.
Robert Stephenson, RHP, 18, BA-#5--No Professional Stats
Pros: Good size, outstanding velocity (has hit 97), good control, and a potential plus curveball. Supposedly has a very good makeup.
Cons: As a high school pitcher with no pro experience, he's about as risky of a prospect as there is. Can he avoid injury, develop his secondary pitches, and consistently get professional hitters out?