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2015 CPR: Nick Howard is the #10 Prospect

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The 2014 first-rounder rounds out the top ten

Howie do it
Howie do it
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Reporter community is lower on the former UVA closer than most other outlets, but Nick Howard easily took home the #10 spot on our rankings with more than half the votes. He follows in the mold of Tony Cingrani, Michael Lorenzen, Nick Travieso, etc. in that he's got big stuff with limited innings on his arm, and the Reds are trying him as a starter. He's got three potential pitches (FB, CH, SL), which will help him in his quest to remain in a rotation, and Keith Law recently said he thinks Howard has the best chance to stay a starter long-term. It'll be interesting to see how he holds up with a full year in the rotation, likely in Daytona.

Aristides Aquino, 20, OF

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.

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.

Alex Blandino, 22, INF

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

Daniel Corcino, 24, SP

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.

Jon Moscot, 23, SP

Highest 2014 Level: AAA (Louisville)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
3.13 ERA at Pensacola in 2014
Most Worrisome Fact:
6.5 K/9 in 2014
Alias(es):
Gopper

With a wealth of right-handed starting pitching prospects in the organization, it's easy to forget about Jon Moscot.  The former 4th-round pick has climbed the organizational ladder all the way from rookie ball to AAA in just two and a half seasons.  This season saw his strikeouts drop to an all-time low of 6.5 K/9 in 2014 from 8.6 K/9 in 2013, which is worrisome, but he was also able to lower his walk rate to 2.7 BB/9 on the year.  Moscot doesn't have a huge arm, but his control is above average, and he commands 4 pitches.  He'll likely start the season in Louisville, with a chance of getting a call-up should the Reds need a starting pitcher at some point this season.

Kyle Waldrop, 23, OF

Highest 2014 Level: AA (Pensacola)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
.902 OPS across 2 levels in 2014
Most Worrisome Fact:
.432 BABIP in A+, .357 in AA
Alias(es):
NASCAR; From the Window to the Waldop

A 2010 12th-rounder out of high school, Kyle Waldrop has gradually improved his game and enjoyed a breakout 2014 season in which he smacked 55 extra-base hits between Bakersfield and Pensacola. Waldrop's got big raw power, and started hitting to all fields this past season. His success may partially be attributed to an unsustainable BABIP, particularly the .432 mark in A+, though he maintained a .315/.359/.517 slash in 252 PA after his promotion to Pensacola despite a more realistic .357 BABIP. He's not known for his defensive prowess, however, limiting his future role to LF or 1B, both of which appear to be taken by the #1 prospect on the list and some Canadian, respectively, but he certainly has the potential to be a major league contributor. It'll be interesting to see how much of his success was luck driven, and he could stand to walk a bit more, but Waldrop made tangible strides this year and looks to build on it. He's definitely one to keep an eye on going forward.