The people spoke and then the people chose. Aristides Aquino the man with all the tools but yet to bring it together is #19. Here's to hoping young Vlad can bring it around in year 2016. Today, you get two new prospects to pick from because I love you.
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, Sloppy 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.
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, Danny Tanner Rainey, Tanner I Hardly Knew Her
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.
Jose Lopez, 22, RHP
Highest 2015 Level: Rookie (Billings)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 10.6 K/9 in his pro debut. 1.91 ERA with a 6.14 K/BB over his final 7 starts in 2015.
Most Worrisome Fact: High likelihood of ending up in a bullpen role.
Alias(es): No known aliases.
Jose Lopez fits the mold of hard throwers with low mileage on their arms that the Reds can't seem to stay away from. Lopez, a New Jersey native, was taken in the 6th round of the 2014 draft out of Seton Hall, where he logged just 99 innings between his freshman and sophomore seasons. With a fastball that could touch 98, as well as a power slider, Lopez was predicted to be a high-round pick before he blew out his elbow and ended up needing Tommy John surgery. The Reds took a risk selecting Lopez in the 6th round, but they hope that with a full recovery, they could end up with a steal in the 6'1" righty.
Lopez made his debut in Billings this past season, and the Reds were careful with the young hurler as he slowly upped his innings after a long break from the mound. Midway through the short season, the Mustangs let off the reins a bit, and Lopez dominated over the home stretch. All told, he finished the season with a 3.16 ERA over 57 innings, striking out 67 and walking 19.
He's still a long way from the majors, and the Reds may be a bit more conservative upping his innings year to year if they want to keep him in a starting role. However, with a high 90's fastball, and an above average slider, they could choose to fast-track him for a bullpen role in the more near future.
Seth Varner, 24, RHP
Highest 2015 Level: A+ (Daytona)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 12.18 K/BB ratio in 138.2 innings. Hates walks.
Most Worrisome Fact: He's 24 years old and doesn't have much of a ceiling.
Alias(es): Varn Verner, Cow Varner
First, I'd like to wish Seth Varner a happy 24th Birthday. He just turned 24 yesterday, so that's pretty cool. I've never seen BB-Ref with a HAPPY BIRTHDAY on it before. Varner was a 10th round pick out of the 2014 draft from Miami of Ohio and is one of those high floor, low ceiling type of players. There isn't a whole lot of projectability out of the guy except that he's smart and knows his way around the pitching mound.
Varner started out the 2015 season in Dayton and did some pretty incredibly things. I can't really remember how many games in a row he did this, but it was a lot. There were something like a million starts where he didn't walk a single batter and struck out a million batters. That sounds kind of impossible but it's pretty close. In all, he had a 15.40 K/BB ratio in Dayton. He struck out 77 batter with only 5 walks and a 2.88 ERA. When promoted, Varner continued with the pinpoint control. He had a 9.5 K/BB ratio with 57 strikeouts with 6 walks and a 2.97 ERA. His K/9 was above 8.0 in both leagues.
I'd really expect Varner to start the season in AA due to his age and abilities. Plus, it looks like he could use a challenge. He isn't an exciting prospect if you look at scouting reports, but he obviously knows how to pitch. If you're into numbers he's definitely a guy to watch.
Zach Weiss, 23, RHP
Highest 2015 Level: AA (Pensacola)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 6.00 K/BB ratio and 12.7 K/9 in 63.2 innings
Most Worrisome Fact: He's strictly a reliever? That's it.
Alias(es): Weiss Guy, Weiss Cheese
Zach Weiss has been in the Reds organization since 2013 when he was a 6th round pick out of UCLA. He's one of the few guys in recent memory, at least that I can remember, the Reds have let work primarily as a reliever, and he has never disappointed. Frankly, he probably should have been on these lists earlier, but that's a testament to how deep this system is and how dumb I am. In 2015, Weiss put up a 1.98 ERA in 63.2 innings split between A+ and AA. He averaged 12.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 which is quite nifty.
Weiss was also allowed to showcase his talents in the Arizona Fall league where he pitched 9 innings with a 6.00 ERA. He was hit around a bit, but he never surrendered a home run and struck out 11 with only 1 walk. So, that ERA doesn't matter much at all. He's been one of the best relievers in the farm system the past couple years, and it is very realistic to expect him to see some time in Cincinnati this year.