Jonathan India rounds out the top five for our Community Prospect Rankings. India will be looking to make some noise this Spring, if the Reds have any intention of moving any of their infielders, to try and take a spot at 3B or 2B. Reports are that he’s finally feeling healthy, having some wrist issues in the past, so it will be interesting to see if he will have some added pop to go with a more advanced approach at the plate he was showing in 2019.
The rest of the list is starting to get into that very low floor/high ceiling kind of territory that is sporting a lot of youngsters in the Reds farm system that show a lot of promise and sparkle.
Austin Hendrick, OF, 19
Where he spent 2020: High school, then instructional league.
What excites you: Outlandish raw power from the left side, good outfield arm.
What scares you: Swing-and-miss troubles hang a flashing red “boom or bust” sign on him.
The Reds used the 12th overall pick in 2020 on Hendrick, a 19-year-old high school prospect who has explosive raw power from the left side and possesses an arm suitable for right field. The Jay Bruce comparisons write themselves. Hendrick’s weaknesses are no small thing — big whiff risk, uncertain pitch recognition skills, fringey foot speed that will likely limit him to a corner spot defensively — and could certainly prevent him from carving out much of a big league career. The ceiling his power gives him, however, is quite high. He’ll be a fun follow wherever his first pro ABs start happening.
Tony Santillan, RHP, 24
Where he spent 2020: Alternate site.
What excites you: The stuff. Santillan throws hard (upper 90’s) and has some decent secondary offerings. When he’s on top of his game, he’s one of the best pitchers in the minors.
What scares you: Control. He’s been hot and cold with this in his entire career. More recently it was cold.
Two out of the three top prospects for the Reds were pitchers. Could Tony Santillan make it three in a row? Santillan has been one of the more exciting pitching prospects in the entire system since he was drafted out of the State of Texas as a prep arm in 2015. Even at one point being given the nickname at Red Reporter of Santigold. While he’s had his ups and downs, Santillan has always flashed that potential to be a top of the rotation kind of arm and has flirted with Top 100 prospect status in the past.
Santillan sports a top fastball, ranging into the upper 90’s and good secondary offerings. His control over his career has improved, which has caused his strikeout numbers to dip, but we’ve also seen maturity from the young man in the form of not always relying on the strikeout. In 2019, Santillan did not have the type of season he had hoped for due to injury and adjusting to some pitching changes the Reds brass, under the direction of Derek Anderson wanted him to make. This caused a 4.84 ERA and a doubling of his walk rate. Funny enough he also was a bit unlucky. Santillan will likely be in AAA to start the season and dark horse candidate to eventually join the rotation or the bullpen.
Lyon Richardson, RHP, 20
Where he spent 2020: Alternate site (for a time).
What excites you: A mid-90s fastball when right, two breaking pitches that project to be plus offerings, and very little mileage on an arm that didn’t get on the mound until his senior year in high school.
What scares you: Inexperience, mostly, along with some elbow soreness back in 2018 that led to a velocity drop, though that’s hopefully in the past.
Imagine, if you will, a pitching prospect in the Reds system who they plucked out of high school with a high pick and seven-figure signing bonus, one who flashed an upper-90s fastball in route to success with Class-A Dayton while still just a teenager.
We already talked about Hunter Greene, though, who checked in #2 in these rankings. This time, we’re talking Lyon Richardson.
The 2nd rounder from the 2018 draft is approaching the two-year anniversary of his Class-A debut, yet his still is just 20 years old, not hitting his 21st until later this month. And with a big fastball/breaking-ball combo already in his arsenal and just a 2.6 BB/9 during that 2019 run with the Dragons, I’m frankly surprised we’re all not higher on this kid’s potential. The 8.5 K/9 from 2019 is probably what has tempered his star, but that came during a year where his stuff sat in the lower 90s with some elbow soreness, both of which have reportedly been non-issues since.
FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen is a big proponent, ranking him #6 overall in the Reds system while noting that he expected Richardson to rise into the ranks of a Top 100 overall prospect during 2020 had there been a normal MiLB season in which to evaluate him.
His upside paired with the overhaul in the Reds pitching philosophy seems like the perfect match for him to truly breakout this year, and if you go purely on ceiling alone, he could well end up the second-best pitching prospect in the organization quite soon.
Mike Siani, CF, 21
Where he spent 2020: Alternate Site
What excites you: Excellent defense, good speed, and advanced approach at the plate for a younger guy.
What scares you: Will he grow some more, find that bat speed, and find the power?
Mike Siani has been around for a while now after being drafted in the 4th round of the 2018 draft out of Pennsylvania. The Reds tossed a $2M signing bonus at him to get him to go pro instead of going to college, and I’d say so far that has paid off. Mike Siani is arguably the best defensive player in the Reds system, making highlight reel plays what seems like almost daily. While his bat hasn’t necessarily come around as a pro as much as you would like, Siani has shown a more advanced approach at the plate than you see from most high school draftees.
We already know he can play top notch defense and for now we’re just waiting to see if Siani’s body maturation can lead to some better power and if his contact skills will improve to the point of him being a legit major league player. Right now, he’s a hope and a prayer because we need to see further development, but he’s fun hope and a prayer. Siani should start the Season in A+ ball but I could see a more aggressive approach of putting him in AA.
Who is the #6 prospect?
This poll is closed
Austin Hendrick, OF
Tony Santillan, RHP
Lyon Richardson, RHP
Mike Siani, CF