The vote for the second spot on our list was very close between Hunter Greene and Taylor Trammell with Trammell coming out the victory. The same cannot be said about the third spot on our list as you have made it clear there is a gap between the top three and the rest of the crowd. There’s very little argument about how the voting has played out so far. Hunter Greene rounds out the top three on the list, slipping one spot from last year. Though, if you think about it that’s a good thing. It has nothing to do with Greene and everything to do with Trammell. I think the decisions coming up are going to be much harder which continues to show the excellent depth that has been built in the farm system.
Tony Santillan, 21, RHP
Highest 2018 Level: AA (Pensacola)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 2.3 BB/9 at both A+ and AA over 149 innings. 8.1 K/9
Most Worrisome Fact: Can he continue to show that control without diminishing his stuff?
Alias(es): Santigold, Tony The Tiger, The Seguin ‘Stache
Tony Santillan had one of the most impressive, and honestly more surprising 2018 campaigns for a Cincinnati Reds farm hand. The young man was a former 2nd round pick in 2015 out of Texas, and it feels like he’s been around forever. But, the kids is only 21 years old and will turn the double deuce in April. Santillan was so impressive last year that he advanced two levels and held his own against every players real test in AA. In fact, his strikeout rate increased (8.8 K/9 vs. 8.1 K/9) while keeping an identical walk rate. Santillan was a bit more hitable in 2018 vs. 2017 but he drastically improved his control which was the one thing really holding him back.
Santillan sports a fastball that is reliably in the high 90’s with a 55 grade slider and change up. What scouts, and fans, will be looking for in 2019 is if that control improvement is for real. I think we saw a real maturation in Santillan which should really put him in Top 100 discussion on prospect lists. There’s some good argument that Jonathan India and/or Tyler Stephenson should be put up for a vote before Santillan but screw that. I’m excited for Santillan and it would be huge for the Reds if he continues to shine.
Jonathan India, 3B/SS, 22
Highest 2018 Level: Class A (Dayton)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: Has a ton of power and is an above-average defender with a strong arm.
Most Worrisome Fact: 28 strikeouts in 27 games in Dayton last season.
Alias(es): Bollywood, Johnny Baseball
As one of the best all-around bats in college baseball in 2018, Jonathan India was selected 5th overall by the Reds in last June’s draft. While he entered the Spring as a projected 2nd or 3rd round pick, he destroyed SEC pitching last season to the tune of a .350/.497/.717 line with 21 dingers which vaulted him up the draft boards. After waiting until the last week before the signing deadline, India struggled a little in his first taste of professional baseball. He hit .240/.380/.433 with 6 home runs while walking 28 times and striking out 44 times between Greeneville, Billings, and Dayton. It’s always difficult to read into those first seasons for college draft picks, though. College seasons start in mid-February and last until June, and that post-draft break before he begins playing in the minors makes for a weird timeline.
India’s best attribute is his power, as he hit 21 home runs in his final season at Florida and another 6 in the minors. Defensively, he primarily played third base in college but split time at third and shortstop in the minor leagues. He is a great athlete with an above-average arm, so the Reds are hopeful that he can play multiple positions around the diamond. Look for India to start in Class-A Dayton in 2019.
Tyler Stephenson, C, 22
Highest 2018 Level: A+ (Daytona)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 45 walks against 98 strikeouts. Played in 109 games.
Most Worrisome Fact: Can he continue to avoid the injury bug? .250 batting average and a drop off in production in the last part of the season.
Alias(es): Ty Steve, Bat Flip, The Mountain of Kennesaw
Tyler Stephenson was the 11th overall pick by the Reds in the 2015 draft. He was lauded for his athleticism and power. While being a high school catcher he was considered to be a rather safe pick for multiple reasons. Scouts believed he had all the skills to stick behind the plate and for him to be able to hit against more advanced pitching. Not just hit but hit for serious power. Injury issues have shorted most of his early seasons but in 2018 he found himself healthy for probably the first time for an entire professional season. All he did is show why the Reds drafted him #11 overall and has bumped up the prospect lists as a result.
Stephenson hit .250/.338/.392, and he has the potential to hit for even more power. What scouts like about Stephenson is his ability to control the strike zone even though he’ll probably never be a great contact hitter, and he’s shown that ability the past two seasons. He is 6’4 and gives off a bit of a Matt Wieters vibe due to body type which will probably cause him some contact and strikeout issues. Stephenson has a cannon of an arm and has been growing quite well behind the dish. There’s been zero talk of moving him away from the catcher position, and he should start the season at AA. A reasonable timeline is for to be getting a shot as a starting catcher in 2020/2021.
Who is the Reds #4 prospect?
This poll is closed
Tony Santillan, RHP
Jonathan India, 3B/SS
Tyler Stephenson, C