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2017 Red Reporter Community Prospect Rankings: Alex Blandino Is Your #21 Prospect!

Actually being included on the list and a nice plug from Wick Terrell can really take you places.

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Alex Blandino was kind of forgotten around these parts due to his injury and sub-par season in 2016.  I think we can both take some blame for that one.  2017 looks to be a make or break season for the young infielder from Stanford.  Can he impress with the bat and push himself back up the prospect lists for next season?  We'll just have to wait and see.

Keury Mella, 23, RHP

Highest 2016 Level: Triple A (Louisville)

Eye-Poppingest Fact: Great velocity on his fastball with a solid curve.

Most Worrisome Fact: 1.70 K/BB, 1.565 WHIP in 2016.

Alias(es): Mella Yella,

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Keury Mella was supposed to be the highlight of the Mike Leake, up until Adam Duvall won the everyday left field spot with the Reds and then smacked a bunch of dingers and earned an All-Star spot. So what do any of us know, really?

Mella is still big and he still throws hard, but he went from having a 2.59 SO/BB in 2015 to having a 1.70 SO/BB in 2016, along with a 1.565 WHIP and, well, it’s hard to project a successful future for the big right hander if he’s not going to strike anyone out.

It was kind of a one year blip at this point, I guess, but Mella’s future as a starter is in doubt. And that’s not necessarily such a bad thing, as Keury’s velocity was able to increase in shorter outings. Meaning the Reds could have another multi-inning hammer that the league is currently coveting.

The Reds have no reason not to give Mella a long starter’s leash in Pensacola in 2017.

Rookie Davis, 23, RHP

Highest 2016 Level: Triple A (Louisville)

Eye-Poppingest Fact: 2.94 ERA in Pensacola

Most Worrisome Fact: 5.5 K/9, hasn’t struck anyone out since A+ Tampa

Alias(es): Rookie of the Year, the Rook, Rookie "Miles" Davis, Charlize

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Rookie Davis seems like the last front to try and salvage the Aroldis Chapman trade, whatever burning wreckage is left to salvage. Davis brought the results in AA Pensacola, with a sub-3.00 ERA and 10 wins to 3 losses. It’s just… the other stuff. He struck out less than 6 per 9 to do it, while stranding nearly 80% of batters that reached base. I’d like to believe that the .254 BABIP allowed is sustainable, and maybe it is! But, you know.

Davis wasn’t good in Triple A, but he probably wasn’t really ready for it anyway, and he got very little time there. He was bussed back down to Pensacola for the playoffs. Rookie is a big dude, standing 6 foot 5 inches, 255 lbs. He can reach the high 90s with no problem, though scouts weren’t particularly impressed with him this year. He didn’t particularly wow anyone, anywhere.

He was #9 on this last year and, damnit, nothing in his results suggested that he’d lost anything. But, it’s all the other stuff (4.42 FIP, etc.) that have scouts down on his ceiling. With his good fastball movement and ability to induce weak contact, he might be able to succeed. He’s got a future with MLB, but I think it’s shrunk from his mid-rotation ceiling from a year ago.

Blake Trahan, SS

Highest 2016 Level: High-A (Daytona)

Eye-Poppingest Fact: .337 career OBP over 2 seasons. 25 SB in 2016.

Most Worrisome Fact: Power, .360 career SLG% over 2 seasons.

Alias(es): Blake Tree-hee-han, Kinder Kid

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Blake Trahan was drafted by the Reds in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft out of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. After smoking the ball in 47 games in Billings, the Reds promoted him to High-A Daytona where he really struggled. Going into 2016 the Reds kept him in Daytona and he initially struggled, hitting .128/.198/.186 over the month of April. He finally turned things around and had himself a solid year at the plate, slashing .263/.325/.321 in his first full season in Daytona. He is a high floor player who relies on speed, defense, and plate discipline as his biggest assets, demonstrated by his 25 steals and 49/73 BB/K in 2016. His biggest issue is his power, as he only has 5 home runs in his 2 seasons. He should see time at Double-A Pensacola in 2017.

Zach Vincej, SS

Highest 2016 level: Double-A (Pensacola)

Eye-Poppingest Fact: .309/.353/.434 after June 1 in 2016. Only 4 errors in 105 games at shortstop in 2016.

Most Worrisome Fact: Turns 26 in May and has not played higher than Double-A

Alias(es): Soft J, Cincy

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Always known for his defense, the former 37th-round pick out of Pepperdine finally had his breakout season in Pensacola in 2016. After hitting just .207/.270/.234 through May, he went on a tear starting in June, going .309/.353/.434 the rest of the way. He would follow that performance up by slashing .352/.425/.676 in the Arizona Fall League, good for the third-highest batting average in the league. Vinej has always made consistent contact and showed great plate discipline throughout his career, but his power was always lacking. While his strikeouts increased last season, he showed more power at the plate, doubling his extra base-hits from 15 in 2015 to 30 in 2016. He is getting up there in age (he turns 26 in May) so time is starting to run out for the shortstop, especially with the crowded infield situation in the Reds system at the moment, but the improvement at the plate combined with his exceptional defense is certainly encouraging for the Reds.

Gavin LaValley, 22, 1B/3B

Highest 2016 Level: Daytona (A+)

Eye-Poppingest Fact: 195 ISO, .334 OBP

Most Worrisome Fact: Can he play 3B?  It sounds like it's a no.

Alias(es): Deep in LaValley, LaValley of Death, Big Boomer Sooner

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Gavin LaValley has now been with the Reds since 2014 when he was drafted as a 1B that they thought had a chance to stick at 3B.  He was a very big kid that lost a ton of weight to get ready for pro baseball.  In all reality, he would have been a higher pick but concerns about his college commitment and his weight pushed him down to the 4th round of the draft.  The Reds continued to be interested despite those concerns because scouts raved about his tremendous bat speed.  Gavin is/was strong.

The strength and power had not shown up previously to this year, but he had shown a rather advanced approach to hitting for such a young player.  The ball wasn't flying over the fence or into the gaps with any kind of regularity but he was still finding himself on base.  After an injury slowed his start to 2017, LaValley showed he has some of that pop scouts fawned over.  He kept rather similar walk and strikeout rates, but his ISO rates spiked up about 100 points from his career average.  His final batting line for the season was .275/.334/.470.  He hit 11 dingers, 29 doubles, and 2 triples in 374 plate appearances.  The downside is he played 2/3rds of his games at 3B.  Gavin should start the 2017 season in AA.

UP-TO-DATE COMMUNITY PROSPECT RANKINGS FOR 2017:

1. Nick Senzel

2. Jesse Winker

3. Cody Reed

4. Amir Garrett

5. Robert Stephenson

6. Taylor Trammell

7. Luis Castillo

8. Aristides Aquino

9. Vladimir Gutierrez

10. Tyler Stephenson

11. Antonio Santillan

12. Sal Romano

13. Shed Long

14. Phil Ervin

15. Tyler Mahle

16. T.J. Friedl

17. Alfredo Rodriguez

18. Chris Okey

19. Ian Kahaloa

20. Jackson Stephens

21. Alex Blandino

22. ?????????????????