Bryce Bonnin and his fastball/slider combo claimed the #11 spot in this year’s Community Prospect Rankings. It’s an elite enough two-pitch mix where he could feasibly be in consideration for a bullpen spot at the big league level as early as this year, if need be, but the hope is that he’ll still be able to develop enough alternate offerings to round into a starter at the highest level.
On to the voting for spot #13!
Matheu Nelson - C (23 years old)
2021 at a glance: Hit .330/.436/.773 in 53 games at Florida State University and hit .179/.343/.321 in 35 PA between ACL Reds (Arizona Rookie League) and the Dayton Dragons (High-A Central League).
Pros: Incredible raw power to all fields, strong arm behind the plate.
Cons: 17 of his 35 PA in the minors ended in a strikeout last season.
Matheu Nelson was one of the breakout players in all of college baseball in 2021. After a covid-shortened season in 2020, Nelson went absolutely nuts, hitting .330/.436/.773 with 17 doubles and 23 home runs. That was enough for the Reds to use their Competitive Balance Round A pick on him and select him 35th overall in the 2021 draft.
Nelson is a power-hitting catcher who can hit the hell out of the ball all over the field. Once he makes contact, it’s going to go a long way, but the issue starts with actually putting the bat on the ball. He struggled with strikeouts in college and struck out in 17 of his 35 plate appearances in the minor leagues. Defensively, Nelson has a strong arm that helps neutralize the running game. He does show some inconsistencies with receiving, according to scouts, so there is still some work to be done with him. If he can shore up his contact issues and receiving issues, Nelson has the potential to be a very productive catcher in the big leagues.
Lyon Richardson - RHP (22 years old)
2021 at a glance: 5.09 ERA in 76.0 innings for the Dayton Dragons (High-A Central League); 91/38 K/BB.
Pros: Mid-90’s fastball, average slider and curve ball that he can throw for strikes when he’s on.
Cons: Velocity has never hit the reported 98 MPH that he threw in high school at the professional level. Has struggled to get batters out in the minors.
Things have been pretty difficult for Lyon Richardson since the Reds took him in the second round of the 2018 draft. He was an athletic, two-way player committed to the University of Florida when the Reds paid over slot value to get him. Mainly known as an outfielder, he was relatively new to pitching when he was drafted and his upper-90’s fastball really impressed scouts. Unfortunately that raw talent hasn’t translated at the professional level.
Richardson has a career 4.88 ERA in three minor league seasons since getting drafted back in 2018. There were some signs of improvement last season, but he still struggled mightily with his command, walking 4.50 batters per 9 innings in 2021. He did improve his strikeout totals, fanning nearly 11 batters per 9 last season, so the stuff is there when he’s on. Hopefully another full season on the mound will help things start to materialize for Richardson in 2022.
Allan Cerda - OF (22 years old)
2021 at a glance: 17 HR in just 363 PA split between Daytona Tortugas (Low-A Southeast League) and Dayton Dragons (High-A Central League); .250/.361/.523 (.884 OPS) overall
Pros: Big-time power potential, good enough combo of range and arm to look palatable as a CF long-term
Cons: Plenty of swing and miss in his game, still a chance he ends up as a corner OF
Anyone who has followed Cincinnati Reds prospects since their affiliation with the Daytona Tortugas has come to know just how much of a pitcher’s park their home stadium is. It’s tough to sock homers in that place period, let alone as a right-handed hitter.
Allan Cerda, though, put his power stroke on display in his 2021 time there, blasting 14 homers in just 66 games as a Tortuga and opening a lot of eyes in the process. It finally put some tangible numbers alongside Cerda’s projectible power, something that’s been his calling card since the Reds signed him in the international signing period back in 2018.
He’s going to strike out a lot, which he’s already done. Hitting for a high-average might not ever be there, either. Still, he’s a guy who can work a walk, can knock the patchouli out of the ball, and may well be able to keep playing CF even at the big league level.
Which Cincinnati Reds prospect deserves spot #13 in the 2022 Community Prospect Rankings?
This poll is closed