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2018 Red Reporter Community Prospect Rankings: Vladimir Gutierrez Is #9!

Vlad flexed his glutes and edged out the last few meters to claim the 9th spot in our rankings.

Cincinnati Reds Photo Day Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The young fireballer from Cuba takes the 9th spot in our 2018 Community Prospect Rankings. Now, it’s up to you to decide who will round out the Top 10. An outfielder was added to the list.

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’”

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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

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

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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

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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.

Stuart Fairchild, OF, 21

Highest 2017 Level: Pioneer League (Billings, R)

Eye-Poppingest Fact: .393 OBP in 234 PA at Billings

Most Worrisome Fact: .108 ISO despite being an advanced college bat in Rookie League

Alias(es): Stuart Little, Sweet Summer Fairchild, Stuballs

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The Reds 2nd round pick in 2017 out of Wake Forest, Fairchild signed for nearly $1.8 million and went to work in Billings, hitting .304 with a .393 OBP in 234 plate appearances.

Fairchild was an All-American as a freshman in college but faded a bit as a sophomore before coming on in his junior season. Fairchild is said to have the speed and athleticism to stick long term in CF with raw strength and bat speed to potentially make him threat at the plate.

There is some questions about his swing mechanics as he advances, as scouts see some swing and miss potential and question whether or not he’ll ever be able to hit well enough to tap into the power potential. Also, he slugged only .330 in 2016 stint in the Cape Cod League.

Regardless, he showed plenty a Billings to keep an eye on for his first full season in Dayton starting this season. If he can make the necessary adjustments, he’ll slot in as a lower ceiling but safer bet to produce in the outfield than some of his fellow, more highly regarded Reds prospects.

Up to date Community Prospect Rankings for 2018:

  1. Nick Senzel
  2. Hunter Greene
  3. Taylor Trammell
  4. Jesse Winker
  5. Tyler Mahle
  6. Jose Siri
  7. Shed Long
  8. Tony Santillan
  9. Vladimir Gutierrez


Who is the Reds #10 prospect?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    Tyler Stephenson, C, 21
    (123 votes)
  • 14%
    Alex Blandino, 2B, 25
    (43 votes)
  • 42%
    Jeter Downs, SS, 19
    (127 votes)
  • 2%
    Stuart Fairchild, OF, 21
    (8 votes)
301 votes total Vote Now