Malvin Valdez has shown some promising tools in his young career. He can fly around the bases and in the outfield and has power for days. If he can improve his swing and miss rate there could be something exciting there. One more vote for one last spot, here comes #25!
Joe Boyle - RHP (22 years old)
2021 at a glance: 2.29 ERA in 19.2 IP split between the Reds’ Arizona Complex League (7.0 IP) and Daytona Tortugas (Low-A Southeast)
Pros: Tremendous triple-digit fastball, elite strikeout ability (41 K in 19.2 IP)
Cons: Duck! Or, jump! 14 BB, 2 HBP, 2 WP in those 19.2 IP
The 6’7” Boyle throws some serious heat, man. Routinely sitting at or above 100 mph with his fastball, he mixes in a hard slider that, paired with a frame that makes it feel like he’s stepping on home plate at his release point, makes him a strikeout machine. The only problem is, of course, that the scouting report shows that a whole lot of those offerings are going to miss the zone, and batters have reacted accordingly.
That big frame and hard motion means it’s been a bit of a struggle for Boyle to repeat his delivery, and it’s up to the Reds new pitching gurus to figure out how to make it so. If so, the former 5th round pick out of Notre Dame is going to be a fast-track asset in the team’s relief corps, as that kind of arm talent simply doesn’t show up very often.
Jared Solomon - RHP (24 years old)
2021 at a glance: Same as his 2020 at a glance, which is to say...nothing. Solomon missed all of 2021 after a lack of a 2020 MiLB season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery
Pros: High-spin fastball that runs up to 99 mph, plus slider.
Cons: The injury, obviously, and that he’s not pitched in a game since 2019; questionable change-up puts his ability to stick as a starter in question, as does control.
Solomon yielded just 5 HR in over 115 IP during the 2019 season, the last season in which he posted any sort of stats for us to break down. It was a season that mixed in early struggles with command, some brilliance in the middle, and some shoulder issues he managed to pitch through while progressing from (then) Low-A Dayton to (then) High-A Daytona. On top of that, his ability to spin the ball was highlighted specifically during the early days of the Driveline revolution around Spincinnati, and it looked like he was precisely the kind of in-house prospect the new pitching gurus would perfectly mold.
The unfortunate followed, of course, and Tommy John surgery was then required, meaning we’ve not seen him since those 115.1 IP of 3.98 ERA, 8.7 K/9 ball. Still, there was enough that Solomon showed to prompt the Reds to add him to their 40-man roster last winter and keep him away from any would-be Rule 5 Draft selection, and it’s clear they think his upside is still pretty damn promising. Not bad for a former 11th round draftee out of Lackawanna College (PA).
Justice Thompson - OF (21 years old)
2021 at a glance: .239/.362/.375 in 106 PA between the AZL Reds (Arizona Rookie League) and the Daytona Tortugas (Low-A Southeast League).
Pros: Above average runner and defender, decent raw power.
Cons: Concerns about hit tool translating to the next level.
Justice Thompson shot up the draft board in 2021 after transferring from Northwest Florida State Junior College to the University of North Carolina. In his ACC debut, he had three hits, including a double and a home run, along with a steal and two incredible catches in center field. That was enough to catch the eyes of a lot of scouts in attendance, and led the Reds to draft him in the sixth round of last season’s draft. He played 7 games in the Arizona Rookie League, where he hit the ball well, before finishing the season in Daytona. He hit 2 doubles and 2 dingers in Daytona with 13 walks against 23 strikeouts in 21 games with the Tortugas.
Thompson shows some good, raw power and a good eye at the plate. While he has a good walk rate, there are some concerns with his swing and miss numbers, especially against fastballs. He is also an above average runner and solid defender. Look for him to begin the season in Daytona.
Which Cincinnati Reds prospect deserves the #25 ranking in this year’s Community Prospect Rankings?
This poll is closed