Earlier this morning, after a week long slow burn that I teased yesterday, John Sickels over at Minor League Ball, revealed his rankings/grades/thoughts of the top 20 Reds prospects.
Keep in mind that these rankings/reviews are only small blurbs about the players potential, and they are preliminary and subject to change at this point. If you want all of the full scouting reports along with the final, set in stone rankings, you'll have to plunk down some cold, hard cash for the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book.
Let's take a look at John's rankings:
Next week, we'll be taking a look at how our rankings stack up against the multitude of prospect rankings done by the professionals. Obviously, you'll have to follow the link above to find out the grades and reviews of each of these players, but I do want to highlight a few that I thought were interesting or noteworthy.
First of all: Jose Peraza is the highest here than he's been on any of the other lists I've seen.
Age 21, hit .293/.316/.378 with 17 walks, 45 strikeouts, 33 steals in 481 at-bats between Braves and Dodgers Triple-A teams, hit .182 in 22 big league at-bats with three steals. He was overhyped entering 2015 but I think some folks are over-correcting entering 2016. The underlying skill set for both good (contact hitting, plus speed) and bad (lack of power, erratic glove) has not changed. Maybe a cross between Rafael Furcal and Dee Gordon?
Ya hear that, Mr. Law? Anyway, this is one of the better reviews we've gotten of Peraza since he was sent over from the Dodgers in the Todd Frazier trade, and I think it makes an important point (one that I pointed out in the comments yesterday): The skills, both the ones that are there and the ones that are lacking, that made Jose Peraza jump onto the prospect list, are still there.
Sickels sees the Reds having a multitude of middle-rotation guys. Sickels sees each of the following potentially fitting into that role: Garrett, Mella, Davis, Travieso, Mahle, Lamb, and Strahan. Of the ones who don't work out there, of course, can head to the bullpen, where their above average pitches become even more dangerous.
On the other hand, a few of the bottom guys may end up breaking out with their electrifying stuff. For instance, Antonio Santillan:
Age 18, second round pick from high school in Texas last year, posted 5.03 ERA with 19/11 K/BB in 20 innings in rookie ball, very raw but excellent stuff, can hit 97-98 and has a power curve. Command, mechanics need development but certainly a high ceiling arm.
And Tanner Rainey:
Age 23, college senior drafted from West Alabama in 2015, compensation round, unusual background as first baseman/closer in college but being developed as starter, 4.27 ERA with 57/28 K/BB in 59 innings in Pioneer League, more potential than numbers imply due to athleticism, live arm, 93-96 fastball, plus slider. Lots of sleeper markers with this one.
Santillan is obviously a million years away, but that arm is the real deal. And Rainey may make quick moves due to his age.
Notables not ranked: Yorman Rodriguez, Aristides Aquino, Taylor Sparks, Gavin LaValley, Zach Weiss.
Overall, Sickels is very complimentary of the Reds system, and from the sound of things, they get a higher mark than twelfth best from him. He even goes as far as saying "elite," which is music to my ears.