Tyler Mahle has finally made the list and it's about dang time. Mahle has dominated every level he has played, and out performed pitchers who supposedly have better stuff and high ceilings. He's been putting some good innings on his arm and looks ready to hit Daytona and begin to move quicker if he performs well. Seeing him get to AA Pensacola would be pretty sweet.
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.
Blake Trahan, 22, SS
Highest 2015 Level: A (Dayton)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 25 BB/24 K in Billings. Very good defense and speed.
Most Worrisome Fact: Power. Looked bad in 35 at bats in Dayton.
Alias(es): Blake Tree-hee-han, Kinder Kid
Blake Trahan was the Reds third round selection out of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He's a high floor player who played with Alex Bregman on the US National teams. He's a very good defensive player at shortstop, with some speed, and he knows how to use the bat. Trahan doesn't have the highest of ceilings. He cruised through Billings and got a short cup of coffee in Dayton where he didn't play very well. Third round picks aren't usually something to get super excited about, but Trahan looks like he can play a little bit of baseball and many scouts liked this pick by the Reds.
Gavin LaValley, 21, 3B/1B
Highest 2015 Level: A (Dayton)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: .343 OBP, 29 doubles in 530 plate appearances
Most Worrisome Fact: 4 HR and 114 strikeouts. Can he play 3B?
Alias(es): Deep in LaValley, LaValley of the Shadow of Death, LaValley Girl
Gavin LaValley fared pretty dang well in his first taste of pro ball in 2014. Scouts have said he has some of the best bat speed they've witnessed. He's also a pretty big guy, though, he's lost a tremendous amount of weight since being drafted. With the high potential LaValley has shown, the Reds decided to give him a full season at Dayton, and he held his weight. There was no pun intended with that one.
LaValley put up a respectable .267/.343/.358. He struck out a bit much, probably had too many errors, and obviously didn't hit for the power we all expected. Though, he did hit 29 doubles, which is pretty decent. You know who else hit for low power his first season in Dayton? Joey Votto. He hit one home run. Joey hit 19 dingers the next year, and the rest is beautiful history. Gavin LaValley is basically Joey Votto, and I'm just gonna leave it at that.
Antonio Santillan, 18, RHP
Highest 2015 Level: Arizona League Reds (Rookie)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 98 mph fastball, 8.7 K/9 w/ AZL Reds
Most Worrisome Fact: 19.2 career IP as a professional
Alias(es): il Santo, Guns Up Tony
The Reds picked Santillan out of high school in Texas with the 49th overall selection in the 2015 MLB Draft, and they did so because the 6'3" hurler throws absolute fire with his fastball and has a curve that could develop into an outright knee-buckler. He opted to sign for above-slot money instead of going to Texas Tech, and with that his pro career was underway.
In just 19.2 IP, he showed solid strikeout ability (8.7 K/9) while with the AZL Reds, though he did struggle with command (11 BB, 1.32 WHIP). Still, his projectability is such that Baseball Prospectus had him as the #10 prospect in the Reds system, which follows along with MLB.com saying he had "the most electric arm in the state of Texas in the 2015 Draft." He's still years away, but it's high time we added someone toolsy to dream on to this list.
Tanner Rainey, 23, RHP
Highest 2015 Level: Billings (Rookie)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: Mid 90's fastball. 15 games started in 2015, 8.7 K/9
Most Worrisome Fact: Lack of experience, age, durability
Alias(es): Rainey Skies, Tanner Mom
Tanner Rainey was the Reds 2nd round pick out of West Alabama University with a big arm. He was a two way player for the Division II West Alabama, leading the division in home runs and slugging percentage, but the Reds plan on using his big right arm on the mound. Rainey sits in the mid 90's and touches 97 on the radar gun with a potential plus slider. He also throws changeup that he can throw for strikes but doesn't look to be a great pitch.
Rainey is a big guy at 6'2 235 pounds. He played 1B at West Alabama which explains where all that power came from. The things he has working against him right now is his age and lack of a third pitch. As the Reds have with most college relievers, they'll try and see if he can stick as a starter first. However, he looks to be a guy you'd look to fast track for a major league bullpen. He has definite closer potential.