Due to the large number of candidates for the number one spot on our coveted rankings, and today’s Georgia Senate double runoff elections, we decided to added our own little wrinkle to our Community Prospect Rankings. Not to mention there was a plurality of votes, and we never actually set a true majority! So, you will now be presented with the top two vote getters to decide who takes the throne. Vote wisely, vote well, unless it’s for the guy I don’t like.
Go Democracy! No fraud here! Don’t even think about calling us to find you some “votes”! No objections!
Tyler Stephenson, C, 24
Where he spent 2020: Alternate site, aside from 20 PAs in MLB.
What excites you: Above-average bat for a catcher, has made progress behind the plate.
What scares you: Still sort of lumbering behind the plate, with lingering contact issues.
A first round pick by the Reds back in 2015, Stephenson made up for the time it took between his first pro contract and his major league debut by hitting a home run in his first career at-bat. As promising as Stephenson’s first sample of MLB experience was, it was still small enough that we are largely going off of the reports we had after 2019. Those reports assigned him massive raw power grades, but came with the caveat that he has yet to show much of it in real games, while grades on his arm range from average to way, way above.
Because of his size (6-foot-4, 225 pounds), Stephenson has faced on uphill battle in terms of proving his mettle as both a receiver and pitch blocker. Those areas of his game were mostly unflattering when he first broke into pro ball, but have supposedly improved a good deal and now aren’t expected to hamper his potential as a starting catcher. Even better news: his injury-proneness, once considered a red flag early in his career, hasn’t shown up as much of late. Stephenson is in line to share catching duties with Tucker Barnhart on the big league squad in 2021.
Hunter Greene, RHP, 21
Where he spent 2020: Alternate site.
What excites you: Fastball velocity that peaks well above 100 mph, anecdotal reports of breaking ball development, exceptional makeup.
What scares you: Has only thrown 72.1 innings in 3.5 years since being drafted.
Since Lee Jenkins’ glossy profile of Hunter Greene ran in Sports Illustrated in April 2017, his bright star has kept getting dimmer. He was a two-way prospect whose abilities as a shortstop and pitcher were both said to be worth first round picks, but Cincinnati quickly squashed his position player side after selecting him with the second overall pick. Then he was given the chance to throw in full-season A-ball in Dayton, only to give up 19 runs over his first 17 innings, spanning seven starts. Shortly after he began to deliver much better results, he was shut down with an elbow injury. That injury in 2018 turned into Tommy John surgery at the start of 2019, leading to Greene going the last two full seasons without throwing a pitch during a live game.
If there’s anyone who could withstand that many setbacks and still be a highly-regarded prospect, though, it’s Greene. He reportedly has a much different delivery post-injury, and Reds Director of Pitching Kyle Boddy has said Greene’s slider has advanced far beyond the average grades it received when he was still a prep. Evaluation of Greene’s outstanding makeup hasn’t changed much since that SI profile either. There’s a heightened risk of him needing to throw out of the bullpen, but Greene still carries frontline starter potential.
Who should be the #1 prospect?
This poll is closed
Tyler Stephenson, C
Hunter Greene, RHP