The former top prospect (by some accounts) in the San Francisco Giants system, Keury Mella takes spot number 10 in the 2016 Red Reporter Community Prospect Rankings. The biggest chip the Cincinnati Reds received in the Mike Leake trade, Mella looks set to start 2016 in AA Pensacola with his 97 mph fastball on full display.
As for spot #11, vote away.
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.
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.
Sal Romano, RHP, 22
Highest 2015 Level: AA (Pensacola)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 3.46 ERA in 104 A+ innings, 2.9 BB/9
Most Worrisome Fact: 1.3 WHIP, 6.8 K/9
Alias(es): Sweaty Sal, Slippy Sal, Used Car Salesman Sal, Romano Cheese
Sal Romano has been a pitcher slowly making his way up the prospect rankings year to year and is either over valued or under valued each year, in my opinion. Last year, Sal made it AA at the age of 21 years old. He did horrible, and that's why I didn't add his numbers to most worrisome fact. They weren't just worrisome, they were scary bad. He did put up a respectable year in Daytona, though.
Sal has a fastball that sit in the low to mid 90's, and he can control it well. He tries to limit walks and keep batters off the bases, and that has led to some relative success so far in his career. His one big draw back is he hasn't show much of a strikeout pitch in his short career.
Tyler Mahle, 21, RHP
Highest 2015 Level: A (Dayton)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 2.43 ERA, 1.5 BB/9, 8.0 K/9, 5.40 K/BB in 152 innings pitched
Most Worrisome Fact: Average stuff
Alias(es): Darth Mahle, Poppin' Mahle, Good Golly Miss Mahle
I'm super biased, but I think Tyler Mahle is one of the more interesting and exciting pitching prospects in this system once you get out of the Stephenson, Garrett, Reed group. He's 21 years old and just finished A ball in Dayton. And when I say he just finished it, I mean he completely dominated it. He destroyed it. Mahle is a former 7th round pick that has picked apart every single level of baseball he has played in, and he's done it with a very average arm.
Mahle is considered to be an already well polished prospect and intelligent guy. He doesn't throw hard (sitting in the very low 90's) and has an average slider, curve, and change-up. However, he can throw all those pitches for strikes and does it often. Plus, he has some kick ass nicknames. Also, how many A ball pitchers do you see throwing 150 innings? It's because he was so incredibly dominant..