Tyler Mahle takes home the gold as he rounds out the top five of the Reds farm system. Things will start to get a little stickier as we go forward. There are many deserving names to round out the next five in the group, but they are much closer together and all have some negatives that can be argued. Another pitcher has been added to the list.
Antonio Santillan, RHP, 20
Highest 2017 Level: A (Dayton Dragons)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 9.6 career K/9.
Most Worrisome Fact: 4.4 career BB/9.
Alias(es): Santigold, Guns Up Tony.
The Reds selected Santillan in the 2nd round of the 2015 draft out of Seguin, TX. While the right-hander has been known as a fireballer that will blow people away, he struggled with command during his first two minor league seasons. His first full season in MiLB showed why the Reds thought so highly of him back in 2015, as he put up his best season of his young career with Low-A Dayton. He improved his command and posted a career-best 3.9 BB/9 in 2017 while still striking out 9 per 9 innings. His best start in 2017 came back on May 8, where he dominated Cedar Rapids by striking out 10 over 6 innings while giving up only 1 run and no walks.
He will be 21 for most of the 2018 season, so he has plenty of time to continue to work out his control issues. Hopefully he uses his strong 2017 to continue to improve in 2018. Santillan will most likely start the 2018 season in Daytona.
Shed Long, 2B, 22
Highest 2017 Level: AA (Pensacola)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: .922 OPS in A+ Daytona with with 30 extra base hits in 279 plate appearances. 11.9% BB rate in AA with a drop in his K%
Most Worrisome Fact: Defense is shaky according to scouts, and his numbers slid when promoted to AA with .227/.319/.362 line.
Alias(es): Tool Shed, Shed To Bed, Shed Blockers, Shed Shocked
Shed Long was drafted in the 12th round of the 2013 draft out of Jacksonville, Alabama as catcher. You’ll notice he doesn’t play catcher anymore (just like Joey Votto), the last time playing the position coming in rookie ball. Not much was known about the kid until he reached Class A Dayton at the age of 19, and he’s never really looked back.
Shed is a guy that does a lot of things right. He won a wiffle ball HR derby at Reds Fest in 2016 one handed because he was recovering from surgery. That’s just really cool. He’s also one of those toolsy players the Reds are coveting that seem to know how to take a walk. His career line in the minors is .279/.353/.444. That’s plenty of power from a 2B, and he can run pretty well. However, the stolen base is not a huge part of his game.
There are some iffy parts though. It’s been speculated that Shed might not be able to stick at 2B, and he did hit a slide on his first go around at AA. Much of that seems to be BABIP driven as it dropped from .368 to .271 once he was promoted. For the rest of his career he’s sported BABIPs in the mid .300s, but even if it reverted to league average his numbers would have looked much better. One glimpse of hope is that this was could be just a fluke. He showed more patience and struck out less once reaching AA. Look for Long to start the season once again in AA, but look for a mid-season promotion to Louisville. With Senzel, Blandino, Scooter, and Dilson Herrera all vying for crowded infield and outfield spots in the near future, having a guy like Shed Long is a good problem for the Reds.
Jose Siri, OF, 22
Highest 2017 Level: Low-A (Dayton Dragons)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: Professional career high .530 SLG and 24 HR in 2017 (previous: .483 SLG in Summer Dominican League in 2013, 10 HR at Billings in 2016); Midwest League record 39-game hitting streak.
Most Worrisome Fact: 6% walk percentage isn’t going to get it done
Alias(es): Apple, “Siri, get me a hit”, Jose “Ask” Siri, Jose “Rotis” Siri
Jose Siri is raw, but damnit if he doesn’t display everything you want to see in a top prospect. For instance, Baseball America ranks him as the Reds best prospect in the following categories: Best Power Hitter... Best Athlete... Fastest Base Runner... Best Outfield Arm...
They only rank 15 of those, by the way, and several of them are pitching categories.
Anyway, Siri lit the Midwest League on fire, breaking the hitting streak record and setting it at 39 games for the league. It ended badly with a Great Lake Loon, well, throwing at him before walking him in his last at bat of the game.
Him and Taylor Trammell will have to get out of each others way when it comes to the outfield, but it wouldn’t be super surprising to see Siri make a quick move to AA (at 22 years of age) while letting Trammell man CF at A+. This is what you call “A Good Problem to Have.”
Siri might have the most upside of any non-Senzel prospect in the system, but he hasn’t locked all of it in yet. Should he reach AA Pensacola and do his thing there, watch for Siri to skyrocket not only up this list, and not only prospect lists, but the Reds pecking order.
Vladimir Guttierez, RHP, 22
Highest 2017 Level: Class A+ (Daytona)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 8.2 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 4.95 K/BB ratio
Most Worrisome Fact: 4.46 ERA in 103 innings pitched.
Alias(es): Gooter, Little Vlad, Vlad The Impaler
At the end of the 2016 season, the Reds signed the 6’0 190lb right handed pitcher out of Cuba for $4.75 million. He’s recently just pitched his first season in the Reds organization, and outside of some late season wearing down did nothing to show the signing wasn’t warranted. In fact, he’s one of the more exciting arms in the system.
Guttierez is a pitcher who sits in the 92-95 MPH range, but can dial it up to 97 if he needs to. Scouts have stated his curveball is a plus pitch, but he needs to refine a third pitch to be successful in the majors. I’ve heard he’s a lot like Iglesias in that he will throw his curveball at multiple angles and speeds. That may lessen his need for a improved third pitch, but it wouldn’t hurt to add one. Vlad is also known for his wonderful control, which was on full display last year. Only Tyler Mahle has shown a better grasp at getting batters out while still striking them out and limiting walks.
The one concern about Guttierez is whether or not he’ll be able to stick in the rotation. He has all the stuff, like Iglesias, but he also gets all the negative comparisons of Iglesias. Vlad is slight of size for what you’d normally consider a starting prospect, and he did tend to wear down near the end of the season. I’d like to chalk that up to him being younger, and it does appear the Reds are being much more cautious with the young man. They also have the time to do so. Coincidentally, Gutierrez’s ERA’s went down with each month last year, until his last start, but so did his strikeouts. Going from a 11.7 K/9 to a 5.2 K/9 average in July and August. Even with all the concerns, you can’t ignore his upside, which is why you find him as a choice at this point.
Who is the Reds #6 Prospect?
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Antonio Santillian, RHP, 20
Shed Long, 2B, 22
Jose Siri, OF, 22
Vladimir Guttierez, RHP, 22