With a smooth stroke that would make Carney Lansford smile and power potential the likes of Austin Riley, Sal Stewart is precisely the kind of hitting prospect on whom you should dream. Yes, he’s miles away from the big leagues, but that only adds to his hitting aura at the moment - failure, in any significance, has not yet crept into his profile.
The hope is that the hit tool that made him one of the first 32 players selected in last year’s MLB Draft continues to shine through, and that Stewart emerges as truly one of the best batsmen of his era. That’s his calling card, after all, and what prompted the Cincinnati Reds to swing big on him to forgo his commitment to play college ball at Vandy.
Stewart lands at #12 in our 2023 Community Prospect Rankings thanks to you, the voters. On to the voting for spot #13!
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.
Jay Allen II, OF - 20 years old
2022 at a glance: .225/.347/.324 with 3 HR, 43 SB in 383 PA split between Daytona Tortugas (Class-A Florida State League) and Dayton Dragons (High-A Midwest League)
Pros: 13.4% walk rate with Daytona; elite base-stealer (43 SB in just 91 total games); ability to play CF
Cons: Lack of pop
Allen hit the ground running in 2021 after being selected by the Reds with the 30th overall pick in that year’s draft, slugging .557 with a .440 OBP in a small-sample of work with the ACL Reds. While the walking ability stuck around in his first trip through full-season ball in 2022, however, the punch in his bat completely dried up.
Thing is, his power reportedly exists - it’s just that he had a difficult time putting that to work in-game during 2022. The hope is that since the bulk of his efforts last year came in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, we might get the chance to see it play a bit more as he advances. That’s the hope, at least.
Of course, it’s extremely worth noting that Allen was just 19 years old during his 2022 season, much, much younger than the averages in the leagues in which he plied his trade. There’s still a ton of time for him to figure out how to put his power into play in-game, even if it comes at a development rate that’s a bit less aggressive than the one the Reds put him on during last season. The tools there, after all, are aplenty.
Joe Boyle, RHP - 23 years old
2022 at a glance: 2.86 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 13.7 K/9, 7.5 BB/9, 4.1 H/9 in 100.2 IP split between Dayton Dragons (High-A Midwest League) and Chattanooga Lookouts (AA Southern League)
Pros: Triple-digit fastball with ride paired with above-average slider is a nightmare combo for hitters, especially when coming from his 6’7” frame
Cons: Where it goes, we just don’t know...
Boyle made starts in 22 of his 23 appearances during the 2022 season, though he pitched on a strict enough pitch-count to keep his overall IP to right at 100. In those 100 IP was a mix of brilliance (153 K) and absurdity (84 BB, 17 WP), though he did allow only 6 homers in that time, too.
The fact is, he’s just about as imposing as a pitcher can get, with his long, powerful frame bearing down on hitters even before he unleashes his fastball/slider devastation. The control, while a bit comical, is actually significantly improved from his days as Notre Dame’s closer, and if the Reds can just continue to harness his stuff even marginally year over year once more, Boyle could figure into the big league mix somehow as early as 2023.
He’s likely destined to be a reliever without a significant third pitch development, but after being stretched out a bit, the idea of him as a multi-inning option in the bullpen is incredibly intriguing in a Tejay Antone sort of way.
Who is the #13 prospect in the Cincinnati Reds system?
This poll is closed
Jay Allen II