Well, I think we've finally broken history here at Red Reporter. We've had election fraud shenanigans that have plagued the voting for a few days and new electoral system put in place. Due to hanging chad's and general tomfoolery, Alex Blandino and Nick Travieso both will walk away with the #7 spot. We're not about to get the RR Supreme Court (which is basically Ken and Scoberg) involved with this because we don't need a rehash of Bush v. Gore 2000.
Either way, both are very deserving players, and I bet they're super best friends. I bet they like sharing things, even fake rankings such as these. We should get them a commemorative banner to hang between their lockers in Pensacola (assuming that's where they both start the season). On to prospect #9. Shape it up this time, Floridians.
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.
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.
Eric Jagielo, 23, 3B/1B
Highest 2015 Level: AA (Trenton)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 18 home runs and .351 OBP in 385 plate appearances
Most Worrisome Fact: 94 strikeouts, injuries, and can he play 3B?
Alias(es): Juggs, Juggalo, Eric Jagielo Male Jigolo, Jam Jam Jagelow
Eric Jagielo wasn't the second piece (with Rookie Davis) in the Aroldis Chapman trade. Jagielo was a former first round pick that brings good power to his game and is willing to take a walk. He hit 18 home runs in 2015 in less than 400 at bats and put up a .284/.347/.495 line in 248 plate appearances. He does strike out quite a bit, but he makes up for that with his power and eye. He was originally drafted for his advanced college bat.
Now, I need to tell you about the bad. He strikes out too much, but I don't think that is awful. He's been injury plagued for most of his career, including 2015 with a knee injury. He's also been rated by scouts as being a poor third basemen defensively. Many think his future home is at 1B, which we know Joey Votto will hold down for another eight years.