Left-hander Andrew Abbott has thrown exactly 131.0 IP as a professional, in which time he has fanned an impressive 181 opposing batters. He breezed through the start to his 2022 season with High-A Dayton, and after taking a bit of time to settle in to his promotion to AA Chattanooga, he fired 16.0 IP of scoreless ball in his final three starts of the season with an impressive 21/3 K/BB in those outings.
He’s a polished product who knows exactly what works for him, pounds the zone, doesn’t overthrow, and gets outs at a prolific pace. It’s a method that’s seen him slowly rise up the ranks of the Reds pitching staff since being a 2nd round selection out of the University of Virginia, and it’s landed him at #10 on this year’s Community Prospect Rankings.
I’m of the opinion that he’ll be a part of the staff in Cincinnati at some point in 2023, too. For now, though, we move on to the voting for spot #11 on this year’s rankings!
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.
Carlos Jorge, 2B/SS - 19 years old
2022 at a glance: .261/.405/.529 in 154 PA with the Reds Arizona Complex League (ACL)
Pros: “bodybuilder’s physique,’ per FanGraphs; power driven by athleticism despite short build; good walk rate
Cons: Some swing and miss issues; lack of true defensive position at this point
After ripping his way through the Dominican Summer League in 2021, Jorge kept right on mashing in Goodyear in 2022, too. He has coaxed 49 walks through his first 342 PA as a pro in the Reds system, though his K-rate did spike to 26.6% there last season. If he can corral that, though, he’s got the kind of hit tool that could carry him to the bigs.
Of course, where he’ll play might be the issue. There are some worries that his lack of defensive prowess could see him moved to a corner outfield spot, and given his stature (listed at 5’9”, likely shorter than that) that draws into question whether he can pack enough pop to be an effective force there. For now, though, his power looks like it should hopefully continue to play, though he’ll face a stout test in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League for his next stop in Daytona.
Ricardo Cabrera, SS - 18 years old
2022 at a glance: .253/.363/.380 in 180 PA with the Dominican Summer League Reds
Pros: Chance to be a five-tool player, plus contact skills, emerging power, ability to stick at shortstop
Cons: He just turned 18 years old, and we’ve not seen him play in the states just yet
Signed for $2.7 million during last year’s international signing window, Cabrera was pretty universally considered to be one of the top players in his class. Owning the ability to use all fields with his bat and generate projectable pop already, his offense sure looked the part - and his .363 OBP in DSL play suggests he’s got a good eye at the plate, too.
Pair that with good movement on the infield, a plus glove, and a solid arm, and the Reds might have another young shortstop on their hands along with [/checks notes] the other 27 talented young shortstops on their hands.
Of course, we’re still a ways away from finding out just how projectable any of this is in the states, as he’s yet to even tackle Arizona Complex League play. There’s the chance he could skip that and head straight to Daytona in the Florida State League, of course, but I’d wager that’ll be more a late-2022 target than one to look for in April. Once he gets that platform to further show us how he stacks up against his peers, however, there are a good number of scouts to expect him to excel there quickly.
Michael Siani, CF - 23 years old
2022 at a glance: .252/.345/.405 with 14 HR, 52 SB in 569 PA split between Chattanooga Lookouts (AA Southern League) and Louisville Bats (AAA International League); 4 for 24 with 7 K, CS in September call-up with Cincinnati Reds
Pros: Elite CF defense, plus-plus baserunning, solid eye at the plate, power that emerged more in 2022 than any other season
Cons: Career .248/.336/.364 hitter in 1713 PA across MiLB career to date
If you’re an optimist, you see that Siani was signed out of a cold-weather high school and has improved each and every year in a slow, gradual way. He brings several plus tools that give him a high floor - he’s an elite defender in CF and can swipe bags with the best of them - and his 2022 season in the upper minors showed more pop than ever before, maintained an impressive 12+% BB-rate, and saw his K-rate drop by over 8%.
He’s getting better, and is still just 23 years old!
The pessimists out there see what he already has shown in over 1700 PA in the minors - a guy who is good at several things but whose bat likely will never play at the big league level.
If the pessimists are correct, Siani still has the kinds of tools that will make him a fine 4th/5th OF for years. That’s a good thing! That’ll make him a fine living! If the optimists are correct, however, we’re may be talking Kevin Kiermaier upside and the CF of the Reds future for the next half-decade. That’s an awesome thing!
Where Siani fits into the Opening Day mix might well play out in spring training when we finally get to see just how surgically repaired Nick Senzel is in CF. Siani might just take the job and run with it there, otherwise he’ll likely begin back in AAA with the chance to show he’s made yet another leap over this off-season.
Who is the #11 prospect in the Cincinnati Reds system?
This poll is closed