Lyon Richardson returned to Dayton in 2021 after spending his 2019 season there, too, though this time it was in High-A play after a year lost to the pandemic. The strikeouts were up against the better competition - 10.8 per 9, up from 8.5 - but so, too, were the walks (4.5 compared to 2.6).
More concerning, though, was his dip in velocity, especially given that his fastball is what made him a 2nd round pick out of Jensen HS (Florida) back in 2018. As it turns out, there was some serious damage in that right arm, and Richardson’s 2021 ended with Tommy John surgery that will keep him sidelined until the 2023 season. Still, he just turned 22 years old in January, and a typical recovery will have him back as a 23 year old and primed to pick up his fireballing ways in the Cincinnati Reds system.
He lands at #21 in the 2022 Community Prospect Rankings. Onward to the voting for spot #22!
Jared Solomon - SP (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).
Malvin Valdez - OF (18 years old)
2021 at a glance: .218/.363/.347 in 212 PA in the Dominican Summer League; 25 SB
Pros: Prototypical power/speed combo who projects as a potential middle-of-the-order bat and CF; 17.0% walk rate in DSL play
Cons: 34.4% K-rate in DSL play, pitch recognition must improve
This CPR update led off with comparing Ariel Almonte to Christian Yelich, with Almonte having signed during the international window in 2021 for some $1.85 million. Enter Malvin Valdez, who signed for $1.9 million in that same window, and let’s go ahead and compare him to...Mike Cameron.
Power and speed for days with the ability to cover CF? Yeah, that’s exactly the kind of upside teams look for all over the planet, and in Valdez, the Reds hope they’ve found that rare combo in a player - one who can expertly cover one of the most difficult defensive positions and be perhaps the biggest bat in the lineup, too.
There’s obviously a long, long way to go with Valdez, of course, and he struggled more in the DoSL than did Almonte just last year. With these kinds of tools, though, we’ll be plenty patient, and hope that as his pitch recognition improves, a lot of the swings and misses we saw from him during his first pro PA in 2021 turn into barreled rockets down the line.
Dauri Moreta - RHP (25 years old)
2021 at a glance: 1.02 ERA in 53.0 IP split between Chattanooga Lookouts (AA-South) and Louisville Bats (AAA-East); 2.45 ERA in 3.2 IP with Cincinnati Reds
Pros: Fastball that sits 93-97 mph, tremendous command
Cons: Slider/change as secondary offerings could use some work
From a purely statistical perspective, Moreta’s 2021 season cannot be classified as anything other than a breakout. He put up a ridiculous 13 game, 20.1 IP scoreless streak with AA Chattanooga, breezed into the AAA Louisville bullpen without missing a beat, and finally earned a call-up to Cincinnati where the big league bullpen had been foundering most all season long.
From a projection perspective, his 2021 season looked to be a bit of a breakout, too. He’s an incredibly fastball-dependent reliever, and his fastball velocity has ticked up a handful of MPH over the last two seasons, the kind of development that could make that approach more palatable in the bigs. Fortunately, it hasn’t come with a loss of command, something that was his calling card back when his heater sat in the low 90s. He had a 58/9 K/BB ratio between Chattanooga and Louisville, and that kind of zone dominance should help him play anywhere - with anywhere likely being Cincinnati, should this lockout ever end.
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.
Which Cincinnati Reds prospect is deserving of spot #22 on this year’s Community Prospect Rankings?
This poll is closed