Fireballing righty Tony Santillan claimed the #7 spot in this year’s Community Prospect Rankings in what was a fairly tight overall vote. The talented 21 year old to-be will likely start his season with A+ Daytona, and given how pitcher-friendly the Florida State League usually is, I’m excited as heck to see him dominate for the Tortugas from day one.
Now, for the voting on the #9 spot...
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.
Tyler Stephenson, C, 21
Highest 2017 Level: Low-A (Dayton Dragons)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 12.6% walk rate and .374 OBP in 2017.
Most Worrisome Fact: Has not been able to stay healthy over the last 2 seasons, power has dropped since arriving in MiLB.
Alias(es): Ty Steve, “Kennesaw”, “Bat Flippin’”
Tyler Stephenson was drafted in the first round of the 2015 draft as the 11th overall pick. Profiling as a catcher who could hit for both average and power, he came into the Reds’ system with plenty of hype. He was even slated as the number 2 overall catching prospect heading into the 2016 season by mlb.com.
The biggest issue facing Stephenson so far has been his ability to stay healthy. His 2016 season was pretty much derailed by injuries, as he suffered a concussion early in the season and then hit the DL three other times with left wrist issues. A drop in power was also an issue in 2016, as he only collected 8 extra-base hits over 39 games in Dayton. How much of that had to do with his wrist issues would remain to be seen.
Thankfully in 2017, we got a glimpse of what he could do when he was healthy. In 80 games in Low-A Dayton, he hit .278/.374/.414 with 6 home runs and 22 doubles while walking 44 times against 58 strikeouts. Unfortunately, in the middle of July when he was going on an absolute tear at the plate, his season ended with a torn ligament in his right thumb that required surgery. Hopefully 2018 will bring better luck on the injury side and we can see what he can do over a full season. Look for him to start in High-A Daytona this year.
Alex Blandino, 2B, 25
Highest 2017 Level: AAA (Louisville)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 32 walks against 37 strikeouts in 237 AAA plate appearances (.390 OBP). 49 total extra base hits in 2017.
Most Worrisome Fact: He’s getting a bit old for a prospect, there is still concern about his “Stanford” swing, and his defensive ability.
Alias(es): The Great Blandino, Blandiyes, The Standford of Swat, Alex The Great
Alex Blandino has been around for a while, and has been all over the prospect rankings. Right now you’ll see him lower on most, but that mostly has to do with his age. Here at RR that may concern us too, but he’s shown enough in the minors that we’re willing to wipe it away. Mostly, it has to do with his 2017 season which was the best of his career and came at the most opportune time.
Blandino has shown good plate discipline in the past and swats quite a few extra base hits as shown above. His detractors hate on him for where he went to school. If you didn’t know, Stanford hitting coaches usually change the swing of their players to fit a certain mold. They basically change everything to hit the other way, and are really big into small ball. When in reality you should never bunt and always hit dingers. That did not keep from Blandino from being the 29th overall pick in the 2014 draft. He was the compensation pick (when there was such a thing) for Shin Soo Choo signing with Texas.
Blandino has also been knocked for his ability to stay at 2B, but he’s also played all over the field since becoming a pro. As of right now, it seems the Reds have definitely noticed as Blandino has been instructed to get reps at a variety of different positions, including the outfield. There is a realistic shot to see him make the club out of spring training as a super sub bench bat. That would be pretty sweet. Blandino makes the list at this point because he looks to be a player that could add some real value right now, even if that isn’t top end value. He’s an extremely high floor player, while the upside potential may be limited, and so will his position in the field. It doesn’t help they’re telling Senzel to do everything they’re telling Blandino to do.
Jeter Downs, SS, 19
Highest 2017 Level: Rookie (Billings Mustangs)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: .370 OBP in debut season (featuring impressive 27/32 BB/K), first known Jeter to ever make plays going to his left at SS.
Most Worrisome Fact: 5 CS in 13 attempts, not named Larkin Downs, errors (if errors are still your thing).
Alias(es): Churchill, The Captain
The Reds plucked Downs out of Monsignor Edward Pace HS (Opa-locka, FL) with their second selection in the 2017 draft, some 29 picks after landing Hunter Greene. (That’s the same high school that produced Washington Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez, for reference). While Greene hardly sniffed the field with Billings in Pioneer League play, Downs spent the bulk of the Mustangs’ season as the everyday shortstop - where he largely excelled.
As an 18 year old roughly 2.7 years younger than the league’s average player, Downs hit a solid .267/.370/.424, including a super-impressive 8 game hit streak to start his professional career (in which he hit a bollocksy .370/.485/.593 with 2 dingers). He features great bat speed, improving power, and the former University of Miami commit looks the part to stick at shortstop given his above average range and arm strength.
Perhaps most importantly, he’s not yet traded away any of the Miami Marlins’ stars.
Up to date Community Prospect Rankings for 2018:
- Nick Senzel
- Hunter Greene
- Taylor Trammell
- Jesse Winker
- Tyler Mahle
- Jose Siri
- Shed Long
- Tony Santillan
Who is the Reds #9 prospect?
This poll is closed