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2015 Community Prospect Rankings: Phillip Ervin is Your #8 Prospect

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Uncle Phlervie rising above the rest.

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Phillip Ervin, in what was a very close and honestly shocking vote, snuck ahead the rest of the field and claimed the #8 spot on our list.  Ervin has all the tools to make him a quality major league outfielder.  He has tremendous bat speed, good hit tool, and the power, speed, and defensive ability any team would want.  2014 was stolen from him due to injuries the year before, but hopefully this year he is primed to move up the ladder and show why the Reds spent a first round pick on him.  Have fun in Daytona, Phillip!

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 McDaniel hears 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.

Amir Garrett, 22, SP

Highest 2014 Level: Low-A (Dayton)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
Career high 8.6 K/9 in 133 innings
Most Worrisome Fact:
Career 3.8 BB/9
Alias(es):
No known aliases

Late in the season, Amir Garrett made the decision to focus on baseball full-time and give up on playing college basketball.  That in and of itself would have been a reason for Garrett to improve his prospect status, but he also turned in what was by far his best season as a professional in 2014.  After topping out at 57 innings in 2013, Garrett hurled 133.1 innings of 3.64 ERA ball in 27 starts this past season.  His K/9 of 8.6 was a career high, and while still not great, his 3.4 BB/9 was a career low.  Garrett had a 13-game hot streak that stretched from June to August where he held the opposition to a 1.63 ERA and a .517 OPS against that showed the promise that has the young lefty shooting up prospect lists this winter.

Alex Blandino, INF, 22

Highest 2014 Level: Low-A (Dayton)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
12.2 BB% and .218 ISO in 131 PA's in Billings
Most Worrisome Fact:
27.6 K% in 152 PA's in Single A Dayton
Alias(es):
The Great Blandino, Alexander The Great, Blandiyes

Alex Blandino was the 29th overall pick of the 2014 draft out of Stanford University.  He was considered a well polished prospect, with good offensive potential, and a rather safe pick.  The big question about his game is if he can stick at shortstop.  He played little of the position in college, but the Reds look determined to see if he can hack it.  Blandino made the most out of his opportunities in 2014, signing quickly, and getting in 283 PA's at two level.  Blandino dominated the Pioneer league with a .309/.412/.527 line.  He regressed when he was promoted to Dayton, but still put up a respectable .261/.329/.440 line.  I want to believe he was tiring towards the end of the year causing the spike in strikeouts.  Want to see something cool?  Look at his counting stats.

Season Team G AB PA H 1B 2B 3B HR R RBI BB IBB SO HBP SF SH GDP SB CS AVG
2014 Reds (R) 29 110 131 34 19 10 1 4 20 16 16 0 18 4 1 0 4 6 3 .309
2014 Reds (A) 34 134 152 35 20 10 1 4 20 16 13 0 42 2 3 0 2 1 2 .261

They are almost identical if you ignore the strikeouts.  Just something interesting I noticed.

Daniel Corcino, SP, 24

Highest 2014 Level: MLB (Cincinnati)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
4.13 ERA in AA.
Most Worrisome Fact:
1.61 K/BB in AA.
Alias(es):
'Lil Cueto, Cuetinho

Daniel Corcino had one of those seasons that make you scratch your head.  His 2013 was abysmal, so the Reds had him go back down to AA for 2014.  He pitched decently well with a 4.13 ERA in 143.2 innings pitched.  His K/BB ratio was below two.  His walks were too high, and his strikes too low.  To be honest, he was probably surviving from a low BABIP.  He pitched a few innings at AAA, but then was a September call up to the Reds.  He would pitch 18.2 innings with a 4.34 ERA in 3 starts and 2 relief appearances.  His rate stats were basically the same in Cincinnati compared to Pensacola, albeit with a short sample size.  Corcino has all the tools to be a very good pitcher with a mid 90's fastball and a very promising slider, but it is all about putting it together.