Jesse Winker dethroned Robert Stephenson in a vote that wasn't even that close. It seemed the most heavily prevailing opinion was that Winker seems more stable, and something about the deflated offensive environment making a hitting prospect more valuable. It also sounded like people just felt like we were voting for 1A and 1B and Winker is the bomb. You'll have quite a few more choices today as we try to figure out who #2 is.
Robert Stephenson, SP, 22
Highest 2014 Level: AA (Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 9.2 K/9 in Pensacola last year.
Most Worrisome Fact: Walks, so many walks. 4.9 BB/9
Alias(es): Bob Steve, Treasure Island, Da Steves
Bob Steve is our incumbent #1 prospect from 2014. The vote between him and Billy Hamilton wasn't even close, with Stephenson picking up 76% of the vote. Robert has the best arm in the system and the highest ceiling. This is why he is at the top of the list in 2015, even if he had a rough year at the age of 21. Stephenson has no problem striking guys out, but has had control issues the past two years. This was mainly his problem last year. A 1.376 WHIP and a 4.74 ERA in 136.2 innings pitched isn't pretty. He has an electric arm with a fastball that has touched 100 MPH and a super wicked bendy curve. A pitching prospect with a hiccup year isn't a bad thing. If anything it could turn him into a better pitcher down the line. It's better to run into mistakes at the minor league level than the major league level. He has all the ability to be an ace. it's just about putting it all together. In most opinions, Stephenson will probably start at AAA Louisville and if he pitches well he could find some opportunities in Cincinnati.
Michael Lorenzen, SP, 23
Highest 2014 Level: AA (Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 3.13 ERA in 120 innings with a 3.3 BB/9
Most Worrisome Fact: 6.3 K/9
Alias(es): Michael Low-ERA-Zen, Stretch, HeatClif
Lorenzen was the 38th Overall pick of the 2013 draft out of Cal State Fullerton. You probably already know that fact, and you also know he was a dual threat player in college. It was up in the air whether he would be a center fielder, relief pitcher, or a starter as a professional. The Reds drafted him in the first round because they felt he could be a successful starter. He stared off in 2013 in Single A Dayton and finished in AA Pensacola, a very aggressive promotion schedule. He spent most of that time in the bullpen until the Arizona Fall League when he began a transition to starting. The results were pretty bad. The reason the Reds keep challenging him is his electric arm. Lorenzen can sling it up there in the high 90's, while working in the low to mid 90's when he starts. He also shows a plus slider and is working on a changeup. In 2014, Lorenzen made the Reds look smart. He put up a 3.13 ERA in 120 innings. That's a lot of innings, but he got it done. It seemed the Reds were asking Lorenzen to work on pitching and developing rather than blowing every one away. He struggled with his strikeouts (6.3 K/9) but kept his walks in check (3.3 BB/9). He also did a good job of limiting his hits and home runs. It looks like Lorenzen will get a shot to start in AAA in 2015. Oh, and January 4th was Michael's birthday! Happy Birthday! WEEEEEEEEEE!
Anthony DeSclafani, SP, 24
Highest 2014 Level: MLB (Miami Marlins)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 1.4 BB/9 in the MLB with a 5.2 K/BB ratio
Most Worrisome Fact: 6.27 ERA in 33 innings with Miami.
Alias(es): Dino Spumoni, Tony Spaghetti 2.0
Anthony DeSclafani was the headliner in the deal for Mat Latos. He was a 6th round pick out of the University of Florida by the Toronto Blue Jays. He's pretty use to trades after being traded from Toronto in the Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle trade. DeSclafani throws a low to mid 90's fastball with a plus slider and a workable changeup. He has also been working on bring back his curveball. DeSclafani is an aggressive pitcher who tries to control the strike zone and generate ground balls. I posted his MLB numbers above because that seems to be what people focused on the most. His MLB peripherals were good, but his results were not. He showed the same ability to strikeout batters and keep walks low in AA and AAA last year. I like to believe that his MLB numbers could have been a lot better. DeSclafani will challenge for a spot in the Reds rotation, and if he fails will start in AAA.
Raisel Iglesias, SP/RP, 24
Highest 2014 Level: Arizona Fall League
Eye-Poppingest Fact: Gave up only 1 hit in 7 innings in the AZL
Most Worrisome Fact: Walked 3 batters in those 7 innings.
Alias(es): Racy Church, Tiny Dancer
Raisel Iglesias was signed by the Reds this summer for 7 years and $27 million dollars. The eye poppingest and most worrisome facts are kind of a joke. All we've seen Iglesias do is throw 7 innings in the Arizona Fall League. They were 7 scoreless innings and he only gave up 1 hit. If the Reds gave this much money to a guy you expect him to be good and that's why he going up on the voting list. Iglesias can hit mid 90's out of the bullpen and has a good slurve/slider thing and has been working on a changeup. He throws from a variety of different arm slots and is an athletic kid. He is probably ready for AA right now. Most scouts view Iglesias as a reliever, but the Reds have had luck turning relievers in to starters and that seems to be their plan for Iglesias. Another draw back is his build. He only measures in at 5'11 and 160 pounds, but scouts also believe he could fill out more.
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,
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, Phil-pieces, The Slammer from Samford
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.