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2014 Community Prospect Rankings: Have Mercy! Uncle Jesse is Your #5 Prospect

Rippers gonna rip.


Jesse Winker and his fabulous hit tool takes home the #5 spot for the second year in a row. Here's where shit starts to get weird, as arguments could be made for any of these guys to be next. One more pitcher added to the list today.

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 and Lucas Giolito. 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.


Highest 2013 Level: AA (Pensacola Blue Wahoos)

Eye-Poppingest Fact: 8.1 K/9 over four levels in 2013.

Most Worrisome Fact: Lack of secondary offerings may relegate him to the bullpen.

Aliase(s): Um... Lorenzen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (That's pretty bad, someone give us a better one.)

Selected by the Reds with the 38th overall pick in last summer's draft, Michael Lorenzen might be the most intriguing prospect in the system right now. Lorenzen was a two-way player at Cal State Fullerton, logging time in center field as well as in the bullpen. Initially, the Reds hinted at trying him in the field as well as on the mound, but it now appears the Reds want him to focus on starting. Over the last few years, we've seen some possible trends starting to emerge with Buckley's drafts, and Lorenzen fits a few of those. First, he's a gifted athlete that has not focused on one specific talent as of yet (much like Billy Hamiton and Amir Garrett), he's a college reliever they would like to convert to starting (Cingrani), and he doesn't have a ton of innings on his arm (Travieso, Cingrani). On the mound, Lorenzen has an easy delivery with very simple mechanics. His fastball, which was clocked as high as 99 mph this year, is his best pitch, but scouts think his slurve-y breaking ball could become another above average offering. He still needs to add a third pitch to the mix, most likely a change, to be a viable starter. In a small (21 inning) sample size over four (?!) levels, Lorenzen posted a 3.00 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 5.6 BB/9, 1.571 WHIP, 0.9 HR/9 line, almost exclusively out of the bullpen. I'm not sure why he was moved around so much in a two month time frame, but I'd expect him to start the season in Dayton or Bakersfield next year.


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.

Aliase(s): 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.


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

Aliase(s): 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.