Congratulations to Mr. DeSclafani for rounding out our top five of our Community Prospect rankings. We look forward to him using his four pitch arsenal, mid 90's fastball, and excellent command of the strike zone as he looks to crack the Reds rotation this season. Make us not miss Mat Latos so much!
Yorman Rodriguez, OF, 22
Highest 2014 Level: MLB (Cincinnati Reds)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: .331 OBP in AA Pensacola
Most Worrisome Fact: 117 K's in 502 PA's
Alias(es): Tool Shed, Our Man, Michaelangelo
Here he is again, your perennial 5 tool player. The guy that has been on this list longer than anyone else. Yorman had himself an up and down year. He started off slow, found himself injured, but came on like gangbusters at the end. His hot end to the season was rewarded with a September call up to the big league squad, even if Bryan Price never played him. The slow start had me hating pretty hard of Yorman at the beginning, but he ended up putting up a better season at AA than the year before. He rose his BB% to 9.4, lowered his K% to 23.3, and raised his ISO 10 points. His K rate is still way too high, but he continues to improve on his walk ability. Yorman has all the tools to succeed as we have talked about before, but it all depends on him putting it all together. He'll have to do it soon because he has only one option year left with the Reds. Here is a fun fact. Yorman is 22. The Reds signed him when he was 16. If he were a normal American player he'd just be finishing up his college career.
Phillip Ervin, OF, 22
Highest 2014 Level: A (Dayton)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 30 steals with 5 caught stealing.
Most Worrisome Fact: 7 home runs in 561 PA's
Alias(es): Uncle Phil, Magic, Phil-pieces, The Slammer from Samford, Phlervin
Phillip Ervin was a 2013 first round pick out of Samford University. He was the first ever first round pick from the university. Ervin has all the tools to be a top prospect. He has outstanding bat speed, good power, speed, and looks to be able to stick in CF. What he's had problems with is injuries, and it looks like injuries derailed his 2014 season. At the start of the season it is discovered that Ervin had double secret wrist surgery in the off season. Apparently, it was some pretty serious stuff and his offense suffered for it. He stuck it out and played the entire year, but we were hoping for more out of a 21/22 year old first round pick in single A. He hit .237/.305/.376 in 2014, but his BB% (8.2%) and K% (19.6) weren't the worst things in the world. He did steal 30 bases, and reports made it sound like his defense in center was good. I'll assume he starts the season in A+ Daytona and hopefully can put the 2014 season in the rear view mirror.
Nick Travieso, SP, 20
Highest 2014 Level: A (Dayton)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 3.03 ERA in 142 innings
Most Worrisome Fact: 3.93 FIP
Alias(es): Naughty Nick, Krampus
Nick Travieso was a bit of a surprise pick when the Reds selected him 14th overall in the 2012 draft. His first full season in 2013 where he threw 81 innings of 4.63 ERA ball had people questioning the selection. 2014 saw Travieso break out in a big way in his second year in Dayton. He increased his innings to 142, dropped his ERA to 3.03, lowered his walk rate and increased his K rate. He finished off the season strong, posting a 1.22 ERA in his final 9 starts, holding the opposition to a.164/.280/.232 line. Travieso should start the 2015 season in Daytona.
Aristides Aquino, OF, 20
Highest 2014 Level: Rookie (Billings)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: .285 ISO in 307 AB
Most Worrisome Fact: 4.9% walk-rate
Alias(es): Aristides a Little Bit Taller, Aristides a Baller; Skee-Lo; Heiress Titties
I'm a fan. Guys like this might be my favorite type of prospect to follow. Tantalizingly gifted, raw, flashes of brilliance, lots of refining needed. This 6'4/190 Dominican power-speed threat put together a really nice 2014 season in Billings: .292/.347/.577 with 16 HR and 21 SB in a mere 71 games, facing mostly college pitchers. Fangraphs' Kiley McDanielhears from a Reds exec that Aquino is the "most advanced Latin hitter the organization has had in a long time." There are potential contact issues, evidenced by a 21.5% K-rate, and a puny 4.9% walk-rate is far from ideal, although his solid defensive track record suggests he'll likely end up a RF. Scouts are raving about him, and with another big season he could have some serious helium in future top 100ish lists. He'll start in Dayton.
Nick Howard, SP, 21
Highest 2014 Level: Low-A (Dayton)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 1.16 WHIP
Most Worrisome Fact: 6.1 K/9 (SSS, these stats mean very little)
Alias(es): Richie Cunningham
2014's 19th overall first-round pick out of Virginia, Nick Howard is another college reliever-cum-starter drafted by the Reds. Howard has three potential pitches (fastball, slider, change) that could eventually play at the major league level, with the changeup being the weakest of the three. He managed 33.2 innings of 3.74 ERA ball at Dayton before the season ended, then started 6 games in the AFL to a less appetizing but equally meaningless 4.43 ERA. His ceiling isn't as high as some of the other pitchers in the system, but he looks to be at worst case a solid relief option. He'll likely start in the rotation for the newfangled Daytona Tortugas.
Jonathon Crawford, 23, SP
Highest 2014 Level: Low-A (West Michigan)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 1.163 WHIP, 2.85 ERA in 123.0 IP
Most Worrisome Fact: 6.2 K/9 and 1.70 K/BB ratio
Alias(es): Johnny Crawfish, Crawdaddy, Johnny Crawson
Jonathon Crawford was the 1st round (20th overall) pick of the Detroit Tigers in the 2013 draft. A product of the University of Florida Gators, there are some questions if Crawford can stick in the rotation. He has a power arm with an easy mid 90's fastball, and can dial it up to 98 if needed. He also throws a potential plus slider, and is working on a changeup. What scouts do not like is his unrepeatable delivery that makes it hard for him to finish his pitches, particularly his slider. This makes some scouts believe that he is a reliever, but has the potential to be a shut down closer. Crawford has pitched well in the minors, but struggled to put batters away via the strikeout in single A West Michigan. Expect the Reds to give him every opportunity to start, but at the age of 23 his fastest route to the majors would be through the bullpen.