Amir Garrett's ceiling has always been through the roof, but there was one pesky problem: basketball. It has only been recently that Garrett has left the basketball dream behind him and focused solely on baseball. The singular focus has paid off; Garrett has excelled in his two years of only baseball and has thusly raced up prospect rankings. He's very likely to be a consensus top 75 prospect in all of baseball and you, great Reds fans, have voted him your #6 prospect.
After some wonky voting, we finally got a voting system down that horrible, no fun people can't ruin. In doing so Tyler Stephenson also walked away with the #5 prospect spot, which is pretty dang impressive consider his short time as a professional. If you think you over voted you probably didn't as many national prospect nerds are also valuing him this high. The Lord Bat Flip of Kennesaw Mountain will hopefully get to show us some more with the Dayton Dragons and acclimate himself to Cincinnati Reds fans.
Alex Blandino, SS/2B, 23
Highest 2015 Level: AA (Pensacola)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: .364 OBP through A+/AA, 13% BB% in AA
Most Worrisome Fact: Declining ISO, SLG; Positional questions
Alias(es): The Great Blandino, Alexander the Great, BlandiYES
After a slow start to 2015, Alexxandre Field Blandino tore through A+ for the Tortugas, finishing his stint in Daytona with a .294./.370/.438 line in 342 PA before being called up to Pensacola in August. Overall, the Great Blandino finished 5th in the Florida State League in OPS while playing the vast majority of the time at shortstop.
Blandino consistently shows an advanced approach at the plate, with terrific on base skills and always willing to take a walk. He doesn't have a lot of power (as demonstrated by his declining slugging and ISO percentages as he's climbed through the minor league ranks). His numbers dipped a bit when he moved to AA, and he struggled mightily in the Arizona Fall League (.516 OPS in 69 PA), but he's barely 23, and has shown his ability to adjust quickly in the past (he struggled similarly in 2014 in his move from Billings to Daytona before owning Daytona this past year).
His bat will get him to The Show, but there are questions about whether he will be able to stick at shortstop. He played primarily at third base in college, but doesn't have the power profile to be ideal there in the major leagues. Some scouts see him as a future 2B, which the Reds seem to have the market cornered on (though, to Blandino's credit, he trades the ++ speed with on base ability).
Blandino will almost assuredly take another hack at AA, at least initially, but if he continues to get on base, he could see time in Cincinnati as early as 2017.
Keury Mella, RHP, 22
Highest 2015 Level: A+ (Daytona)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 9+ SO/9, 106 K in 103 IP
Most Worrisome Fact: control/feel issues may limit to bullpen
Alias(es): Mella Yella
No offense to Adam Duvall, but Keury Mella was the big get in the Mike Leake trade. At six foot two inches, 200 pounds, the right hander is a presence on the mound, who features an electric fastball that sits 93-95 mph, hits 97 mph, and moves all over the place. In case that wasn't imposing enough, Mella also features a power curve that feels pretty slurvy. There's also a changeup that freezes opposing batters when it's there. All told, the stuff is real.
The concern comes with the secondary offerings. Neither the curve nor the change are anything resembling consistent right now, and that fact reared its ugly head in 2015. In 80+ IP with San Jose, Mella walked nearly 3 per 9, and that only got worse when he moved to Daytona. I don't think it's fair to call Mella "wild", but he's been described as "rough" by many scouts, and there are concerns that feel issues will relegate him to the bullpen in the major leagues.
But, as mentioned with Reed, the Reds have zero need to try and rush Mella. He could start in AA for 2016, but if the Reds want to stash him in A+ and have him work on his control and secondary offerings to ensure they consistently find the strike zone, they're totally free to do so. Mella's got considerable upside, but he's still very raw.
Nick Travieso, RHP, 21
Highest 2015 Level: A+ (Daytona)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 2.70 ERA in 93.1 IP
Most Worrisome Fact: 7.3 SO/9 could stand to rise
Alias(es): Naughty Nick, Krampus
So speaking of presence on the mound, Travieso stands 6'2" and 225lbs and looks down right portly. But his command of his pitches is legit, featuring a fastball in the 93-95 mph range, a good slider and a passable changeup. He throws strikes and, despite the lowish strikeout totals, consistently induced weak contact and a lot of ground ball outs.
2014 saw Travieso repeat A ball to great success, but he had no problems in his full season at A+ in 2015. Posting a 2.70 ERA, 1.200 WHIP in 93.1 IP, Travieso acquainted himself just fine. That showing convinced the Reds to send him to the Arizona Fall League, where all he did was own fools in 22 IP, posting a 2.05 ERA and 1.000 WHIP.
As the 14th overall pick in 2012, Travieso has kept learning and kept building and kept getting better and has not at any point made the Reds regret taking him that high. He's already got 3 pitches that look like they'll play at the major league level, and he's gotten better in every season as a professional. Because of that, he's a rapid mover up the Reds prospect lists.
Phil Ervin, OF, 23
Highest 2015 Level: AA (Pensacola)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: .409 OBP in 66 PA in AA; 34 SB between A+ and AA
Most Worrisome Fact: .379 SLG in 541 PA in 2015
Alias(es): Mr. Magic, Phlerv
Ervin was the 1st round pick of the Reds in 2013 out of Samford University, and at times in his two years in the system he has dazzled with his raw talent. Prior to the 2014 season, Baseball Prospectus saw enough in his game to rank him the #63 prospect in the game, but since that point he's fallen a bit in the eyes of many prognosticators, and it's somewhat easy to see why.
The OF owns a cumulative .253/.341/.406 batting line in his 1302 career MiLB plate appearances, and while he's not yet spent time in any league known for promoting offense, that's still not the haughtiest production. He's stolen 78 bags in that time, however, and that's emblematic of the kind of speed that has some scouts convinced he can cover CF. And, if that's the case, that overall batting line becomes significantly more palatable.
Parts of Phlerv's 2015 season showed distinct promise, as he bookended the season with a pair of stints that somewhat masked how unproductive the middle portion had become. He bashed 7 dingers in April alone, slashing a stellar .346/.429/.692 in 91 PA in Daytona at the time, but hit just .217/.316/.300 in 384 PA there for the rest of his time before being called up to Pensacola. Still, his 12 dingers ranked as the sixth most in the Florida State League, and finished his season with a flawed, yet decent .235/.409/.412 line in 66 PA in his first taste of AA ball in Pensacola.
Rookie Davis, 22, RHP
Highest 2015 Level: AA (Trenton)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 4.96 K/BB ratio, 1.8 BB/9 in 130.2 innings in A+ and AA+
Most Worrisome Fact: Stuggled some in short stint in AA with a 4.32 ERA and 1.380 WHIP in 33 innings.
Alias(es): The Rook, Rookie of the Years, Charlize
Rookie Davis was the one of the headliner prospects coming back for Aroldis Chapman in the deal with the Yankees. While the trade was controversial for its return, Rookie Davis is a higher prospect than many think and had a pretty impressive minor league season in 2015. Davis is a hard throwing righty with a very athletic build (something like 240lbs of pure muscle) that the Yankees decided to turn into a pitcher instead of a slugger after the draft.
He's a young guy that seems to have some quality control of his pitches, keeping his walks low and striking out a decent number of batters. Davis was widely respected in Yankee land (which sounds gross after I type it) and was quickly moving up their prospect rankings. I don't see any reason it wouldn't be the same here, and I'm excited to see what he can do in AA Pensacola.
Yorman Rodriguez, 23, OF
Highest 2015 Level: MLB (Cincinnati)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 112 wRC+, highest in five years, basically best offensive numbers in five years
Most Worrisome Fact: 5.2% in 2015; the walks, they weren't great, and they're going in the wrong direction
Alias(es): Our Man, Your Man, the Tool Box, Y-Rod?
Hey everyone, Yorman Rodriguez is still a prospect. He's been here since the Big Red Machine, it seems, and just spent a full year at AAA Louisville. He's still got a lot of things to be excited about. Even though his walk and strikeout rates trended back down and up, respectively, his batting average and slugging percentage improved, along with his wRC+ and ISO numbers, from his second go-round in AA. Yorman started slow in 2015 (again), batting .237/.267/.420 in April and May (176 PA). After that, he turned on the jets: .309/.356/.439 in 150 PA before ending the season on the DL with a calf injury, so he was unable to show at all with the big league club. He's out of options, so he's going to have to stick with the Reds this season or be gone to some other club. The Reds have plenty of people to try out for a Yorman-like role, but it'd be shocking (and a bit disappointing) if Yorman doesn't spend at least a little bit of time with the Reds this season before they decide to ship him on his way.