2014 Community Prospect Rankings: Michael Lorenzen is Your #9 Prospect

Matt Brown [via MinorLeagueBall.com]

Number Nine... Number Nine... Number Nine...

The mysterious Michael Lorenzen takes home the ninth spot on our list, edging out Ben Lively by a mere two vote margin. As was previously noted, Lorenzen got an invite to big league camp at spring training, making him the fast track-iest prospect we've seen since Mike Leake. A couple more position players join the ranks today.

BEN LIVELY, 21, RHP
Highest 2013 Level: Low-A (Dayton Dragons)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 4.31 K/BB; 12.3 K/9
Most Worrisome Fact: Despite a 4-pitch arsenal, none project as plus-plus
Aliases: Blake, Live-Arm Lively

Ben Lively had one of the best debuts for a Reds pitching prospect in a long time. He went his first 7 starts without allowing an earned run. He was striking guys out left and right, and wasn't walking many. Lively's stock is certainly up this year, and another season of peripherals anywhere close to what he showed last year will keep him towards the top of prospect lists. I list him here over Michael Lorenzen because he has a better chance of sticking as a starter, though I know many will disagree. Lefties hit him slightly better, but he doesn't appear to have much trouble with them, at least so far. I'm really high on this kid.

CARLOS CONTRERAS, 23, RHP

Highest 2013 Level: AA (Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
9.6 K/9 in Bakersfield last year.
Most Worrisome Fact:
Walks, and lots of 'em.
Alias(es):
Mary Mary Quite Contreras

Another interesting prospect here, Contreras was signed out of the Dominican Republic as a teenager, and the Reds have been very slow with his development, keeping him in short season rookie leagues for his first four years. His first full season came in 2012 where he tossed 60 innings of 3.12 ERA out of the bullpen with a 9.3 K/9. Carlos made the transition to the rotation in 2013, where he kept up his high K rate (9.6 K/9) in Bakersfield, but saw his BB/9 rise to 4.1 with a 3.80 ERA in 18 starts. His last 8 starts of the year came in Pensacola where his K/9 plummeted to 5.5, but despite the lack of strikeouts, his ERA dropped to 2.76 over his final 42 innings. Contreras has an above average fastball that can touch 97, but sits in the mid 90's. His change-up shows potential, but his breaking ball needs a good deal of improvement. His mechanics are a little sloppy, and make it difficult for him to have a consistent release point, which leads to the lack of command and high walk rate. If he can improve his control and refine his breaking ball, Contreras could find himself in a big league rotation someday. But his fastball/change combo would easily play well in the bullpen.

JON MOSCOT, 22, RHP
Highest 2013 Level:
AA (Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
8.6 K/9 over 2 levels in 2013
Most Worrisome Fact:
1.302 WHIP and 8.8 H/9 in 2013
Aliases:
Gopper, Sweet White Wine

The Pride of Pepperdine followed up a solid rookie league campaign, posting a 4.30 ERA in 146 innings between Bakersfield and Pensacola. His ERA was inflated a bit by 115 innings in the California League, but he dropped his ERA to 3.19 in 6 AA starts. Moscot has a four pitch repertoire, and coaxes a lot of ground balls. He was a little more hittable in 2013 than he was in his first season, but if he can keep the walks down, he could settle in as a mid-rotation starter, or as a Sam LeCure-esque bullpen arm.

DANIEL CORCINO, 23, RHP
Highest 2013 Level: AAA (Louisville Bats)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 1.23 ERA, 8 K, 0 BB in 7.1 Winter League innings
Most Worrisome Fact: 2013. All of it.
Aliases: Lil Cueto, Cuetinho

Oh how the mighty have fallen. The kid who was once billed as the successor to Johnny Cueto is looking more like the ghost of Eric Milton at the moment. Everything fell apart for Corcino in 2013 as his K-rates tumbled, his walk-rates skyrocketed, and he allowed homers at a 2012-Bronson Arroyoian rate. His control went the way of the dinosaur and the beeper, and he carried a 7+ ERA into freakin' June. His best month was July, which saw him sport a 4.50 ERA in 30 innings with 14 walks and 16 strikeouts. I think it's safe to say that if he struggles out of the gate for a month or two, he might be relegated to the bullpen full-time. He pitched well in the Dominican Winter League, albeit in 7.1 innings, but didn't walk anyone and struck out 8, working from the bullpen. Let's hope it's a sign of things to come.

CHAD ROGERS, 24, RHP
Highest 2013 Level:
AAA
Eye-Poppingest Fact: Survived a shark attack
Most Worrisome Fact: 6.6 K/9
Aliases: Sharkbait, Mr. Rogers, Hangin' Chad

A nice value pick in the 28th round of the 2010 draft, Chad Rogers started his career as a reliever in Dayton before being converted to a starter in 2012. His ultimate path to the bigs (besides catastrophic injuries to current starters) may still be as a reliever, but he's shown an ability to keep the ball on the ground and in the ballpark, while limiting his walks. He's by no means a flashy prospect, but he could very well be a contributor at the big league level as a long man, fill-in starter, or reliever. Again, not sexy, but certainly necessary. Also, he survived a freakin' shark attack. That gets points in my book.

JOSE ORTIZ, 20, C

Highest 2013 Level: Rookie (Billings Mustangs)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: .232 ISO in 2013
Most Worrisome Fact: .525 OPS in Billings, 1.076 on the road
Aliases: Lil' Papi, Puerto Rican Johnny Bench

It looks like the Reds may have grabbed a major steal in the 17th round of the 2012 draft. There were doubts at the time that Jose Ortiz would sign, but he did, and went on to tear up the competition in the AZL in 2012: .359/.469/.538 in 49 PA. Ortiz spent this past season in Billings where he continued his dominance at the plate, slashing .262/.321/.494 with 8 wangers and 14 doubles. Power hitting catchers are a very rare breed, but by all accounts, he has the defensive chops to stick behind the plate. Ortiz should get his first taste of full season ball this season in Dayton, and I'm super excited to see the kid play.

KEVIN FRANKLIN, 19, 3B

Highest 2013 Level: Rookie (AZL Reds)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: More raw power than Iggy Pop
Most Worrisome Fact: 20 errors in 37 games
Aliase(s): Franklin Comes Alive

The Reds reached a little bit in the 2013 draft picking Kevin Franklin in the 2nd round to lure him away from Arizona State. Franklin provides big time power, which the system is currently lacking, but comes with the contact issues found in a lot of sluggers. If he's able to shorten his swing and improve his pitch recognition, he should still have power to spare. On defense, Franklin is athletic enough to stick at 3B for now, but if his struggles continue he may end up being moved to a corner OF position or 1B later on. He's a bit of a project, but at 19, he has a lot of upside and plenty of time to figure it out.

SETH MEJIAS-BREAN, 23, 3B

Highest 2013 Level: High-A (Bakersfield Blaze)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: .837 OPS over two levels in 2013
Most Worrisome Fact: He's a bit old for his level and hasn't faced advanced competition yet, but so far so good.
Aliases: Three-Brean Casserole, Seth Matthews Band

On the heels of his stellar 2013 season, Seth Mejias-Brean was the recipient of the Chief Bender Award, as the Reds' minor league player of the year. His jamtastic line of .305/.379./.457 with 11 ding-dongs and 36 doubles was accomplished mostly in Dayton, with a brief 3-game cup of coffee in Bakersfield. SM-B split time at both first and third base this season (with more games at first), but this was largely due in part to injuries decimating the low minors depth chart at 1B. Scouts tend to think he can stick at third. Being 23, and a three-year college player, Seth could be a fast mover. I suspect that he will start the season in Bakersfield, but he could get the call to AA quickly if his bat stays hot.

JUAN SILVA, 23, OF

Highest 2013 Level: High-A (Bakersfield Blaze)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: .386 OBP in 2013, .376 career OBP
Most Worrisome Fact: .413 career SLG and durability concerns
Aliase(s): High Ho Silva

Not actually property of the Dodgers (thanks, MiLB.com), Juan Silva seems to be one of the more underrated prospects in the Reds system. Injuries have slowed his development, but the kid knows how to get on base. He's played all over the outfield, more in LF than anything else, but he logged 33 games in CF in 2013. His offensive game would profile well in center, but you'd like to see more power if he ends up getting moved to a corner spot. After a full season in Bakersfield, this will be a big year for Silva making the jump to AA.

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