If you were able to watch the MLB Futures Game on Sunday, you caught a glimpse of why so many folks are increasingly high on the talent in the Cincinnati Reds farm system. Hunter Greene threw dozens of 100+ mph heaters - topping out at 103 mph on the radar gun - and he wasn’t even the most decorated Reds prospect on the day. That honor, and the Larry Doby Award for game MVP, went to OF Taylor Trammell, who homered and tripled on the day.
Both, as you’d guess, feature prominently in Baseball America’s most recent Top 100 prospects update, the first such one they’ve compiled since the 2018 MLB Draft was completed and draftees signed with their new clubs. BA released that earlier today.
Perhaps just as exciting is that neither is actually considered the top prospect in the Cincinnati system, since that honor still belongs to the injured Nick Senzel. He checks in at #4 overall, up from #8 overall when BA last did their rankings at the end of May. Likely out for the rest of the 2018 AAA season thanks to a busted finger, what Senzel showed with AAA Louisville prior to his injury was plenty good to be considered one of the absolute elite prospects in the game, as he backed up his impressive 2017 season by hitting .310/.378/.509 in 193 PA while getting defensive time at 3B, SS, and 2B.
Next up was Trammell at #21, who earned his roster spot on Team USA for the Futures Game on the back of a .295/.394/.421 start to his season with A+ Daytona, where he’d hit 6 homers, 4 triples, and 9 doubles in 325 PA to go along with 16 stolen bases. That’s quite the rise up the rankings for him, too, as he’d been #48 overall prior to the season and 28th in their May update.
Greene checked in at #31, which is pretty much where BA has had him in the rankings for some time now. He began the season at #29, dropped to #38 after his rough April, and is now back on the climb thanks largely to a 10 game stretch from mid-May to the start of July that saw him post 50.2 innings of 2.31 ERA ball, with an imposing 59/9 K/BB in that span. Of course, stats largely mean little in breaking him down at this point, since he’s barely 18 years old, on strict innings monitoring, and is facing guys 3-4 years older than he is for Class A Dayton - but even then, that’s a hell of a stretch of pitching.
Rounding out the Reds in the rankings is the recently drafted Jonathan India, at #46. Drafted 5th overall just last month, the infielder from the University of Florida immediately enters the top-half of the rankings, which is a pretty danged solid endorsement from BA that the Reds made pretty good use of their first round pick. It’s likely he’ll join Greene in Dayton in another few games after shaking off the rust for Greeneville in the short-season Appalachian League, where he’s hit .276/.475/.621 with a pair of dingers in just 9 games.
All told, it’s quite the impressive contingent the Reds have at the moment, especially when you consider that all have entered the system since the 2016 MLB Draft. In fact, as our former fearless leader Joel Luckhaupt pointed out, it’s the first time the Reds have had four prospects in the Top 50 since 2008, when each of Jay Bruce, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, and Joey Votto held that honor - and those four turned out pretty, pretty well.