So, as of 8am, we have another tie in the prospect rankings. This has been a strange year for prospect ranking. Whatever. We'll skip to #22 and we'll add one that probably should've been on the list already. Whatever.
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, LHP
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.
Jon Moscot, 24, RHP
Highest 2015 Level: MLB (Cincinnati)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 3.15 ERA in AAA (54.1 IP)
Most Worrisome Fact: Still not striking anyone out, coming off major injury
Alias(es): Gopper, Moscot-o d'Asti
Better late than never! Moscot reached the majors last year while the Reds auditioned everyone with a functioning arm for places in the starting rotation, and he figures to be a big part of the plan (at least initially) moving forward. Moscot made three starts for the Reds in 2015 before an ill advised, ill fated attempted tag out in a rundown. Moscot suffered "pretty significant" damage in his non-throwing shoulder and elected for surgery to get it put back together. He was shut down for the year.
Moscot doesn't wow with pure stuff, but possesses four pitches that are at least average. While previous names and winners on this list are able to throw pitches right by people, Moscot sits only in the 89-90mph range, touching 94mph at his peak. What he does better than many of the pitching prospects on this list, and what's keeping him relevant, is mix his pitches really well. His slider is said to be above average, and with the wide repertoire, he's been able to have success all the way through the minor leagues.
He doesn't strike out many (only 5.63 K/9 in AAA last year, down a full strike out from a still-low total of 6.69 in AA the year before), and that may eventually catch up to him as he begins to face the elite challengers. It remains to be seen how much of a setback the injury proves to be, but he certainly dodged a bullet that it was his left and not his right shoulder.