Stuart Fairchild won Red Reporter’s vote as the 14th best prospect in the Cincinnati Reds system. I mean, it’s the humble opinion of the author that you’re all actually Very Wrong, but that’s okay. That’s why these are Community Rankings.
Jose Lopez, RHP, 24
Highest 2017 Level: AA Pensacola
Eye-Poppingest Fact: Only 114 hits allowed over 147 IP; 8.8 K/9
Most Worrisome Fact: 3 BB/9, not huge “stuff”
The Reds drafted Lopez in the sixth round of the 2014 draft. He was recovering from Tommy John surgery and wouldn’t make his debut in the system until 2015, pitching 57 solid innings for the Mustangs, striking out nearly 11 per 9. Things were a bit tougher in 2016 throughout A and A+, as his ERA pushed over 4 and his WHIP nearly 1.300. 2017 was solid, however, posting a 2.57 ERA over his stints in Daytona and Pensacola, with a K/9 near 9.
Lopez doesn’t have overwhelming stuff, probably due to the aforementioned Tommy John surgery. After reaching peak velo in college (upwards of 97 MPH), he hasn’t returned to those levels even three years after the elbow injury. Still, the fastball reportedly sits 90 to 93 MPH, with the capability to reach 95 MPH.
What he lacks in pure physicality he gains back in deception. One scout referred to it, relayed by blog fiend Doug Gray over at Reds Minor Leagues, as an “invisi-ball” because of the way Lopez hid it throughout his windup and delivery. Lopez also features a 12-6 curve and slider that are both average but potentially devastating if honed and used correctly.
We should see Lopez in Louisville sooner than later depending on how the pitching situation shakes out over Spring Training. Regardless, Lopez could be seeing time in Cincinnati this year, depending on how his year (and the team’s health) plays out. He as added to the 40 man roster this offseason, so you could possibly expect to see him in September, regardless.
Jimmy Herget, RHP, 24
Highest 2017 Level: AAA Louisville
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 2.90 ERA in 62 innings. 3.43 K/BB ratio
Most Worrisome Fact: K/9 rate dipped to a 7.8 in his promotion to AAA, but he also limited his walk rate.
Alias(es): I drink to Herget, Jimmy Eat World, Orange Herget
Jimmy Herget was a 6th round pick out of the University of South Florida in 2015. All he has done since being drafted is eat up the competition out of the bullpen. He’s a guy that shows an ability to limit the walks (3.3 BB/9), keep hitters off balance (7.0 H/9), and strike them out (11.0 K/9) over his limited career. Bullpen arms do not typically make it super high in the rankings, but this just about where you start to see the ones making noise. Jimmy is one of them making the most noise, and getting the most notice from the Reds.
There is a very real chance he starts the season in the Reds bullpen and could quickly become one of the more reliable arms out of that group. He’s a potential great anchor leading up to Raisel Iglesias, and I don’t even think I’m getting ahead of myself. It gets kind of rare to see a relief prospect that shows the type of control and strikeout numbers that Herget has displayed so far. True, his strikeout numbers dipped in AAA, but hopefully that was just a blip in the radar.
Herget shows a fastball that is clocked anywhere from 90-96, but he also throws from multiple arm angles that drives hitters crazy. He couples his excellent fastball with a pretty decent slider and change up that he can throw for strikes. He’s the type of guy that you’d like to see as a starter, but obviously it’s something he’s never really done and shouldn’t be attempted at this point. I’m just a bit crazy for minor league pitchers that display good K/BB ratios in the high minors.
Scott Moss, LHP, 23
Highest 2017 Level: Class A Dayton
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 10.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, and 3.25 K/BB ratio in 135.2 innings
Most Worrisome Fact: Injury Concerns? Age? Overuse?
Alias(es): Mossy Fo Fossy, Not Austin Ross, Butt Floss
Here, I have a quiz for you. Did you know that Scott Moss tore his UCL and had Tommy John Surgery his Freshmen year at the University of Florida? Did you know he sat out his entire Sophomore year? That he only pitched 23 innings his redshirt Sophomore year? That he never pitched more than three innings at a time until a 6 inning, 7 strikeout, performance against LSU late in the season? That the Reds then drafted him in the 4th round?
Good, and now you know. That’s a pretty freaking cool.
All Moss has done for the Reds has shown a 88-95 MPH fastball coupled with what scouts are calling an already plus slider. He has a change up to improve on, but showed good control and stuff as a 22 year old in Class A Dayton.
In all, Moss pitched 135 inning, which is by far the most he’s ever pitched in his career in one year, and I’m sure was a daunting task for Moss. He locked it down with a 3.45 ERA. Obviously, there are some concerns about his arm holding up, but look for Moss to go to A+ Daytona and hopefully get some time in AA. Quite a story for a guy that only pitched 23 innings in college.
Tanner Rainey, RHP, 25
Highest 2017 Level: AA (Pensacola)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 40% K%, 15.1 K/9
Most Worrisome Fact: Control: 4.8 BB/9
Alias(es): Have You Ever Seen the Rainey, Tanner “Mount” Rainey, Purple Rainey
2017 saw the West Alabama prospect move to the bullpen full time since being drafted during the Competitive Balance Round B portion of the 2015 Draft, where it was hoped his plus-plus fastball would play up in shorter stints. Guess what: it did.
Rainey struck out 40% of the batter he faced in 2017 between A+ Dayton and AA Pensacola, and now that he’s a full time member of the bullpen, he’s got an easier and maybe even a fast track to the major league squad. You may have heard this before, but the Reds could use quality bullpen arms.
Rainey still walks too many batters, but his fastball is legit, reaching up to 99 MPH, while his filthy power curve has the ability to make batters look foolish when they swing at one in the dirt. He’s got high-leverage usage upside here, and is already one of the higher ceiling strictly bullpen prospects in the system. However, the Reds have several arms they have to figure out how to use for this season, so others will get the first crack. Regardless, don’t be surprised to see Rainey see spot usage as early as this season.
Up to date Community Prospect Rankings for 2018:
- Nick Senzel
- Hunter Greene
- Taylor Trammell
- Jesse Winker
- Tyler Mahle
- Jose Siri
- Shed Long
- Tony Santillan
- Vladimir Gutierrez
- Jeter Downs
- Tyler Stephenson
- Alex Blandino
- Jose Israel Garcia
- Stuart Fairchild
Who is the Reds #16 Prospect?
This poll is closed
Jose Lopez, RHP, 24
Keury Mella, RHP, 24
Scott Moss, LHP, 23
Tanner Rainey. RHP 25