By a predictably large margin, you fine Red Reporters overwhelmingly voted Nick Senzel as the top prospect in the Cincinnati Reds system. The 3B/2B/SS/LF(?)/RF(?) has crushed pitching at every stop along his path to the majors, and with the likelihood that he reaches the big leagues at some point - at some position - in 2018 on the horizon, he truly represents the future of this particular organization at this juncture.
With Senzel off the board, let’s get to finding out who #2 works for, with two other notable prospects included in the voting.
Hunter Greene, RHP/DH (maybe??), 18
Highest 2017 Level: Rookie League (Billings Mustangs)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: This dude could literally be one of the best ever.
Most Worrisome Fact: He pitched 4.1 IP of Rookie ball at 17 years old, so, really I don’t care what happened; He may not reach the Reds rotation before Joey Votto is collecting Social Security.
Alias(es): John Deere Greene, Hunter “I Hardly Know Her!” Greene
The Reds selected Hunter Greene with, you guessed it, the 2nd overall pick in the draft this past June. He was viewed as not only the most talented player in the draft, but maybe even a generational talent out of high school in California.
We didn’t see a lot of Hunter Greene in 2017; he was shut down in late April in anticipation for the draft, and then didn’t actually sign his contract with the Reds until minutes before the deadline in July. He received a signing-pool bonus record breaking amount of $7.23 million for his troubles. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said this of the then 17 year old prep star: “If there was ever a young man who could live up to a Sports Illustrated cover at age 17, I think Hunter is that young man.”
The 6’ 4” Greene is super athletic and profiled as a 1st rounder in the 2017 draft had he decided to apply his trade at shortstop. The Reds selected him at the top of the draft for his pitching abilities, however, with a fastball that tops out at 102 MPH with little effort. The Reds showed willingness to let Greene swing the bat at the beginning of his professional debut. All he did was hit a two run, standup triple in his fourth professional at-bat, playing as a DH. It’s not super likely that the Reds continue the experiment of letting the former two-way star play both ways, and shortly after the season Greene even admitted that he’s more accustomed and confident with his pitching routine than trying to do both.
Still, it’s no doubt that the Reds were able to nab a potentially franchise changing talent at the top of the 2017 draft. The only thing we have to judge Hunter Greene on right now is potential, but that potential has no ceiling. The sky is the limit for the 18 year old.
Taylor Trammell, OF, 20
Highest 2017 Level: A (Dayton Dragons)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: .450 SLG with 13 HR, 10 triples while also stealing 41 bases and being the legitimate future at CF.
Most Worrisome Fact: 21.5% K rate. Really, this is the most nitpicky I could get. He also walked at a 12.4% rate, which is really good.
Alias(es): TT, Tay Tram, Tramm-a-lamma-ding-dong, Tinker Taylor Trammell Spy
Taylor Trammell came to the Reds in 2016 with the 35th overall pick, a competitive balance pick, out of Georgia. Trammell was thought of at the time as a Top 20 pick. So, having him slide to the Reds at #35 was pretty huge, and most of us that were paying attention to the draft at the time were over joyed. The young man has an amazingly high ceiling, but was thought of at the time as being a high athletic, but very raw pick. Think of a Billy Hamilton type with more power.
Taylor got off to a hot debut in Billings, beating up on mostly high school kids, but it was 2017, in Dayton, where Trammell really lit it up. The knock about him being raw? It was crap. Trammell showed one of the more advanced approaches in the Minor Leagues in 2017, and he was only 19 years old. Right now he’s one of the more intriguing prospects in all of baseball. If Jose Siri didn’t have a freakish season, more people would have been focusing on Trammell.
What sets Trammell apart from the rest, and has him rising high on these lists, is being able to do everything well. It also has to do with him being willing to take a walk, with the noted 12.4% walk percentage above. He also showed pretty good power with a .169, nice, ISO. He hit 13 dingers, 10 triples, 24 walks, and stole 41 bases while only being caught 12 times. Trammell would be the #1 prospect in many systems, but with the ridiculous talent the Reds’ system holds Trammell will only be in the Top 3.
Tyler Mahle, RHP, 23
Highest 2017 Level: MLB (Cincinnati Reds)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: Mahle needed just 89 pitches to sit the Mobile Bay Bears in order last year while with AA Pensacola. All of them. The Perfect Game was actually Mahle’s second career no-hitter, as he logged one in 2016 with Daytona.
Most Worrisome Fact: His fastball isn’t exactly blazing, as it averaged just 92.9 mph in his stint with the Reds last year; a career 8.3 K/9 through his 5-year MiLB career is solid, yet not overwhelming.
Alias(es): Poppin’, Flogging, Mahle-able, Tinker Taylor Tyler Mahle
Mahle is a classic example of a pitcher who doesn’t just throw, he pitches, and it’s that master-of-craft ability that has seen him crack many Top 100 overall prospect lists as he’s risen through the minors. A 2.85 career ERA in 558.0 MiLB innings is impressive in itself, but a minuscule WHIP of 1.10 and rock solid 4.48 K/BB in that time stand out as much, if not moreso.
While he’s got the ability to run a fastball up to 96-97 mph at times, that’s not at all what he uses to get batters out. Rather, he pounds the strike zone relentlessly, and his 1.9 career BB/9 in those MiLB innings exemplifies it.
The former 7th round pick cracked the big leagues for the first time in 2017, yet holds still holds his rookie status. And while his initial outings with the Reds didn’t flash the same kind of peripherals we’ve seen from him in the minors, he once again managed to keep runs off the board - something the litany of young pitching peers of his failed at across miserably, by comparison.
Considering he got just 59.1 innings of time at AAA Louisville before his late-season call up by Cincinnati, there’s a chance he opens the year with the Bats in 2018. However, if he shows in Spring Training the kind of arsenal and effectiveness he’s flashed throughout his career, a spot in the Opening Day rotation is by no means out of the question.
Jesse Winker, OF, 24
Highest 2017 Level: MLB (Cincinnati Reds)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: A .904 OPS and 133 OPS+ in 47 games with the Reds, featuring his patented on-base ability (.375) and the return of his power stroke.
Most Worrisome Fact: His defense is average, at best. Also, his power nearly evaporated completely at the upper levels of the minors, though the hope is that multiple wrist injuries were the culprit - and are now fully healed.
Alias(es): Stinky Winky, Uncle Jesse, Winker Taylor Soldier Spy
If it seems like Jesse Winker has been at or near the top of this list for a generation, you aren’t wrong. Since being a supplemental 1st round pick out of high school in 2012, Winker has long been well regarded in prospect circles thanks to his gifted offensive game.
Heck, MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo once picked Winker to lead all of Minor League Baseball in hitting back in 2015, and we all nodded that it was completely possible.
Winker peaked as the #26 overall prospect in the game by MLB Pipeline prior to that 2015 season, and was a universal Top 100 prospect by them, Baseball Prospectus, and Baseball America for several years running, but when his power disappeared, so too did his prospect status despite him still possessing several other, valuable traits.
If the car crash and multiple wrist injuries he’s fought through over the last few years were both the reason for his power evaporating and are now fully healed, though, we’re talking about a sweet-swinging lefty with elite on-base skills who once won the Class A Dinger Derby title while an All Star with the Dayton Dragons. And that, folks, is exactly the kind of corner OF the Reds could use in their everyday lineup for at least the next six years.
Who is the Reds’ #2 prospect?
This poll is closed