In a tight vote over the weekend, Chase Petty was tabbed as the #7 prospect in the Cincinnati Reds system by you, the voters in our 2023 Community Prospect Rankings. That’s well earned, too, as Petty won’t turn 20 years old until April and held his own against players averaging over 4 years his senior while with High-A Dayton to end last season.
The prize of the Sonny Gray deal and former 1st round pick of the Minnesota Twins should make it to AA Chattanooga at some point during the 2023 season, so enjoy him in a Dragons uniform while you can.
On to the voting for spot #8!
Brandon Williamson, LHP - 25 years old
2022 at a glance: 4.11 ERA, 9.0 K/9, 5.6 BB/9, 1.56 FIP in 122.2 IP split between Chattanooga Lookouts (AA Southern League) and Louisville Bats (AAA International League)
Pros: Four-pitch mix with deceptive fastball that works well up in the zone to 96 mph; lanky lefty delivery; sweeping 12-6 curveball
Cons: Lost command in a bad, bad way in 2022, with walks an issue as he failed to find the strike zone with consistency
The most visible piece of the deal that sent Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez to the Seattle Mariners, Williamson comes with all the tools in the world. He’s a 6’6” lefty who was teammates at TCU with Nick Lodolo and, if you squint, there are plenty of comps between the two.
While Nick is already excelling in the bigs, however, Williamson is in need of refining his delivery and command, as that’s what has held him back so far. If he gets it back, though, he’s got all the makings of an impact starter for the Reds as soon as this year, and is the most ready-made big league arm in the system at the moment.
Spencer Steer, IF - 25 years old
2022 at a glance: .274/.364/.515 with 23 HR, 30 2B in 492 PA split between Wichita Wind Surge (AA Texas League), St. Paul Saints (AAA International League), and Louisville Bats (AAA International League); .211/.306/.326 with 2 HR in 108 PA with Cincinnati Reds
Pros: Average to above-average just about everywhere, with solid plate discipline, decent pop, and enough defense to play all over the infield
Cons: If you’re a glass-half-empty kind of person, you just read his Pros and saw nothing jump off the page
Is Spencer Steer the next Todd Frazier? Can cover SS if need be, but pretty competent defending all over the place on the dirt. Can bonk some homers, though ‘homer bonker’ isn’t exactly what you think of when you first see him. Does just about everything well and, in a pinch, is the perfect player to slot-in as a replacement part so the whole machine doesn’t skip a beat.
Wouldn’t that be nice?
The parallels are certainly there, and that’s a good thing for Steer. Frazier, after all, had a helluva big league career even if he did block every single person who ever existed on Twitter. Steer’s skillset seems quite similar in that he can hit for decent enough average, doesn’t strike out at an alarming rate, has solid pop, and owns a glove that’ll play anywhere. The only thing that could spell for him, of course, is landing at #2 on the depth chart everywhere because he can instead of ever winning spot #1 anywhere. At worst, though, that’s the kind of good utility player all good teams have, though it does look like he’ll get a shot to show he’s an everyday 3B beginning on Opening Day this year.
Connor Phillips, RHP - 22 years old
2022 at a glance: 3.78 ERA, 12.3 K/9, 5.4 BB/9, 1.17 WHIP in 109.2 IP split between Dayton Dragons (High-A Midwest League) and Chattanooga Lookouts (AA Southern League)
Pros: Elite stuff, Trackman darling; Swing and miss stuff with three-pitch mix
Cons: Control issues, especially once he reached AA
The late-announced piece that made the trade of Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker to Seattle slightly more palatable, Phillips certainly is the exact kind of arm that makes teams invest in pitching coaches. Arms like his simply don’t come along super often, but carving his precision down to being measured in centimeters instead of meters seems to be the work in progress.
His fastball can touch 98 mph, he’s got a big bender of a curve that’ll freeze anyone on its day, and a slider that’ll tempt even the best hitters to swing over it and out of their shoes. Of course, there are also days where it’s obvious early that he’s missing his spots, at which point opposing hitters know to simply take their pitches and eventually first base.
Keep in mind that Phillips just turned 21 years old a month into the 2022 season, and after switching organizations and earning a promotion to AA Chattanooga was nearly 3.5 years younger than the average batter he faced there. The hope is that the Reds and their pitching gurus can harness his ability, and if so they’ll have a gem of a pitcher for the future of their rotation.
Sal Stewart, 3B - 19 years old
2022 at a glance: .292/.393/.458 in 28 PA with the Reds Arizona Complex League (ACL); drafted 32nd overall by the Reds in the 2022 MLB Draft
Pros: Advanced RH bat with plenty of power projected; good arm at 3B
Cons: Might end up a bit too big and lumbering to stick at 3B
Cincinnati Reds pitching guru Derek Johnson spent a ton of time working as the pitching coach for Vanderbilt under head coach Tim Corbin, who’s still running the show there today. The work there by the two turned the program into a perennial national title contender and formed bonds between Johnson and many of his players - many of whom have swung through Cincinnati since Johnson joined the Reds with success in varying roles. Sonny Gray has pitched at an All Star level, Curt Casali has been here for two stints now, and Caleb Cotham rose through the coaching ranks to land the Phillies pitching coach job, for instance.
So, when the Reds drafted Sal Stewart 32nd overall last summer and gave him enough money to forgo his commitment to play at Vandy, I’m guessing there was a good bit of information exchanged on the kid. That his reputation as perhaps the best HS bat out there preceded him was obvious; I’m simply hypothesizing that the Reds leveraged that kind of relationship to know as much as they could about Stewart, and that all they heard was positive, positive, positive.
That makes his skillset of being big with both plus pop and contact ability incredibly intriguing, even if defense isn’t his calling card. The bat, folks, will make him move through the ranks incredibly fast, beginning in Daytona this spring.
Andrew Abbott, LHP - 24 years old
2022 at a glance: 3.81 ERA, 12.1 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.25 WHIP in 118.0 IP split between Dayton Dragons (High-A Midwest League) and Chattanooga Lookouts (AA Southern League)
Pros: Pounds strike zone; deceptive delivery on mid-90s fastball; plus curve
Cons: Still working on a changeup as a third pitch; struggled when he reached AA
The Andrew Abbott that toed the rubber for five games in Dayton last season was positively untouchable. In 27.0 IP at High-A, he allowed only 16 hits and 7 walks, his 0.85 WHIP nearly matching his absurd 0.67 ERA. That’s right, he allowed a grand total of 2 ER in those 27.0 IP, and promptly earned a promotion to AA Chattanooga.
That’s where things went a bit awry.
On the whole, he pitched to just a 4.75 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 91.0 IP at the higher level, his walk rate nearly doubling from his Dayton days while seeing a slight dip in his K-rate, too. A big chunk of that came in a four-start stretch in late June, however, when he was barraged for 20 ER in just 14.2 IP - in his 10 starts after that to finish the year, he pitched to a 3.38 ERA. That included a trio of starts to actually wrap his season in which he didn’t allow a single earned run, showing that he certainly began to figure out how to dominate again at that level while also finishing the year on a high-note, a good sign for a potential starter down the road.
Given what he showed at his best during 2022 and the Reds lack of investment into their big league rotation, I’m still of the opinion that we’ll see Abbott make his big league debut this summer. The only question will be if it’s due to attrition ahead of him on the depth chart or because he simply continues to pitch too well to keep down any longer.
Who is the #8 prospect in the Cincinnati Reds system?
This poll is closed