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2018 Red Reporter Community Prospect Rankings: Scott Moss Is #18!

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The lefty from Florida ran away with the vote.

The votes lately have been relatively close, but that wasn’t the case for #18 as Scott Moss ran away with the spot. Moss is an exciting prospect that is just getting his feet wet as a starting pitcher. He has good control and good command of all three of his pitches. With another good season you could see Moss jumping up this list even more next year. On to #19!

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

BB-Ref Page

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 batters 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.

Keury Mella, RHP, 24

Highest 2017 Level: MLB (Cincinnati)

Eye-Poppingest Fact: Made progress limiting walks; cut his BB% by 2% from 2016

Most Worrisome Fact: Command; is still missing within the strike zone, and getting punished for it; still walks nearly 3 per 9 IP

Alias(es): Mella Yella, Numma Numma, Hella Mella

BB-Ref Page

So, this is what we wrote about Mella last year:

Mella is still big and he still throws hard, but he went from having a 2.59 SO/BB in 2015 to having a 1.70 SO/BB in 2016, along with a 1.565 WHIP and, well, it’s hard to project a successful future for the big right hander if he’s not going to strike anyone out.

A lot of the sentiment here is still true. His SO/BB ratio jumped back into the 2.5 range in 2017 because he was successful cutting into his astronomical walk rate from the previous year. However, the strikeouts were still down from their peak 9+ per 9 IP days within the Giantsorganization. And, as it showed in his cup of coffee at the MLB level, without being able to get the pitch by guys, his lack of command got pummeled.

Still, Mella is only still 24 years old and hasn’t really even had the opportunity to crack AAA in his career. The ball jumps out of his hand, his fastball clocking in at 94-97mph and touches 98mph, and he has a good breaking ball that he can throw for strikes.

Every year it looks more and more likely that he’d be better suited focusing his talents in the bullpen, but we said last year there was no rush to do so. Even one year later, there’s really not a rush to move him if they think there’s another stride he can make with his control. But he’s been in the organization for 2+ years now, and the book remains largely the same. Several guys will have to fail in front of him for it to matter in 2018 so we’re not exactly running out of time. But this year will go a long way in telling us what the Reds have for the future.

Phil Ervin, OF, 25

Highest 2017 Level: MLB (Cincinnati)

Eye-Poppingest Fact: SLG’d higher in 64 MLB PA than he had since his rookie year, actually basically healthy for a full season.

Most Worrisome Fact: Took a long time to get back into it after his first cup of coffee with the Reds (.431 OPS in 22 May games at AAA).

Alias(es): Uncle Phil, Phlerv,

BB-Ref Page

You’ll remember Phil Ervin as the Reds first round pick in 2013 out of Samford University. His pro career got of to a big start, mashing a healthy .989 OPS through his first 200 plate appearances, and basically doing exactly what a somewhat advanced college bat should do in those leagues. He parlayed that into the 63rd overall spot on Baseball Prospectus Top 101 prospects going into 2014.

However, his second season was somewhat of a sophomore slump. He injured his wrist that season, which seemed to sap most of the power we’d seen the previous year. But ever since, he hasn’t really been the same player, while also dealing with a nagging injury here and there.

If Phil and the Reds had their druthers, I’m sure he would’ve made his impact at the Major League level before last season. That said, it was mostly a successful season for the former first rounder. He acquitted himself nicely at the MLB level, his .259/.317/.448 slash clocked in at a 99 OPS+, which is perfectly okay for your first shot at the Show. His overall line at Louisville was severely marred by a disastrous month of May, where a .176/.231/.200 line basically tanked his season long numbers.

Looking at the season as a whole, though, that particular split seems to be the outlier. Plus, he still has the same physical gifts that he had when the Reds chose him out of Samford in the summer of 2013. I’m sure they wished that some of his rawer tools would’ve developed more or quicker, but he does show flashes of what made them take him so high.

As the Reds outfield is currently constructed, he’s going to find it difficult to carve out regular playing time in Cincinnati. Even then, he seems well suited to be a 4th outfielder right now. Will his ceiling develop higher than that?

Chris Okey, C, 23

Highest 2017 Level: A+ Daytona

Eye-Poppingest Fact: 2nd round pick in 2016. Decent defense. Was expected to be a relatively fast riser due to his bat. 8.8 BB%

Most Worrisome Fact: His 2017 season was horrible. .185/.266/.250 line. 28.7 K%

Alias(es): Annie Are You Okey, Okey Dokey, Okey Reese

BB-Ref page

I debated for a long while about whether or not to even put Okey up for voting yet, or even at all, but after thinking about it I decided he was still worth it. Okey was taken with the 2nd round pick in 2016, and, basically, because he’s a catcher he sticks. Okey was considered a safe pick when drafted. A guy that will stick behind the plate, take a walk, and hit for some decent power. That can be highly valuable. Getting any offensive production out of a catcher is a plus.

The problem is all that potential that was coming with the pedigree hasn’t show up yet. Okey pretty much shit to bed in 2016. It was one of the worst seasons we have seen. That doesn’t mean that the talent isn’t there, but he can’t have another season like 2017. First, he needs to cut down on the strikeouts. He continued to take walks, but you can’t strike out 30% of the time and expect to be a success. It just doesn’t work that way. Okey also didn’t hit for power, which was disappointing. Again, plenty of talent there, but he needs to show it. Lets see some more dingers.

Editor Note - It does appear that Okey played through a hammate bone injury last year. That could explain a lot of his struggles.

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
  10. Jeter Downs
  11. Tyler Stephenson
  12. Alex Blandino
  13. Jose Israel Garcia
  14. Stuart Fairchild
  15. Jimmy Herget
  16. Jose Lopez
  17. TJ Friedl
  18. Scott Moss
  19. ????????????????

Poll

Who is the Reds #19 prospect?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Tanner Rainey, RHP, 25
    (30 votes)
  • 5%
    Keury Mella, RHP, 24
    (15 votes)
  • 28%
    Phil Ervin, OF, 25
    (77 votes)
  • 54%
    Chris Okey, C, 23
    (148 votes)
270 votes total Vote Now