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2014 Community Prospect Rankings: Phillip Ervin is #3

OF prospects galore!

Samford's Son
Samford's Son
Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE

2013 first-rounder Phillip Ervin takes home the #3 spot on our list. With plus bat speed and a nice assortment of offensive weapons, Ervin projects to be a nice, well-rounded OF. I'm excited to see what this season brings for him. Couple new names today, which I'm sure are the wrong ones because you people are impossible to please. This is a casual exchange.

Highest 2013 Level:
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 16 HR in 2013 after just 5 in 2012
Most Worrisome Fact: Defensive questions could limit him to 1B
Aliases: Uncle Jesse, Rip Van Winker, The Fonz

Winker followed up a great 2012 (and a spot at #5 on last year's CPR) with a solid 2013. We really saw his power develop this year, as he slugged 16 homers to go along with 18 doubles and 5 triples. Like Ervin, he's a disciplined contact hitter, walking (13%) almost as much as he strikes out (15.4%). Some scouts wonder if he can stick in the outfield, but so far he's shown no tangible signs of needing to move out of LF. His value will certainly take a hit if he's forced to move to 1B, but even still he could turn into a Yonder Alonso-type there. Kid just doesn't strike out.

Highest 2013 Level: AA (Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: Dem tools. So many tools. Drooly tools. More tools than a Duke home basketball game.
Most Worrisome Fact: Still strikes out three times as often as he walks
Aliases: Our Man, Michelangelo, Tool Shed

Yorman Rodriguez has been debated ad nauseum here. We know his raw tools are off the charts. We have yet to see him truly harness his skills. But 2013 was a huge step forward, and 2014 will be a big, big year for Our Man. If he can build on the very real improvements he made in '13, notably an uptick in BB% (career high 8.7% in half a season in AA), slightly lower K%, and flashes of in-game power, then it will be time to start getting even more re-excited for this kid. But patience has been the name of the game, and that, at least, hasn't changed.

Highest 2013 Level:
AA (Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
.348 OBP in 2013, his highest since Rookie ball.
Most Worrisome Fact:
Durability, maybe? He's yet to top 100 games in a single season thus far.
Bad Mother Tucker, Drive by Tuckers, Tucker? I hardly knew her!

Tucker Barnhart has been one of the most consistently consistent player in the Reds minor leagues over the last three seasons - slashing .273/.344/.387 in 2011, .247/.330/.363 in 2012, and .260/.348/.348 in 2013. His 41 games in AA at the end of 2012 brought down his overall numbers, but his second stint in AA was much more successful at the plate while still providing the stellar defense he's been known for throughout his minor league career. As a switch hitter, Tucker hits much better from the left side of the plate (.754 OPS as a LHB vs. .428 OPS as a RHB). The comparison to Ryan Hanigan still seems apt, and if he can continue to get on base at the rate he has, we may see him in Red sooner rather than later.

Highest 2013 Level:
Low-A (Dayton Dragons)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
A plus fastball that can reach the upper 90's. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Most Worrisome Fact:
Still a very raw pitcher that needs time to develop.
Naughty Nick, Krampus

The Reds reached a bit in the 2012 draft selecting Travieso, a high school pitcher that was expected to drop to the supplemental round or later. Chris Buckley and his scouting team said they'd been following him for a while, and really liked the kid, so I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one. Even though he was drafted before Michael Wacha. There is still a lot of upside with Travieso, and though his first full season as a professional wasn't all that great, he has plenty of time to develop into a top of the rotation starter. If not, his fastball/slider combination will still work well in the back end of the bullpen.

Highest 2013 Level: Low-A
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.

Highest 2013 Level:
MLB (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: There isn't much flashy about Holmberg, but he commands 4 pitches well and has a very high floor
Most Worrisome Fact: K/9 of around 6.5 the last two years
Aliases: Mongo, Swedish Chef, Yossi's new Matt Maloney

Holmberg was acquired from the Diamondbacks in the three-team trade that sent Ryan Hanigan to the Rays. Ranked as the #6 prospect in a pitching-rich Arizona system, Holmberg is a command/control lefty with four pitches that could play at the major-league level, with a plus changeup as his best offering. He has an easy, repeatable delivery, but is a bit of a fly-ball pitcher, which could give him problems in GABP, though many scouts like him to reach his potential as a 3/4 starting pitcher. He'll almost certainly start at AAA to begin the year.