With a commanding 61% of the overall votes cast over the weekend, Noelvi Marte has claimed the #2 spot in this, the 2023 Red Reporter Community Prospect Rankings!
The 21-year old brings an impressive blend of power and patience at the plate, and as he continues to mature and evolved, the long-time shortstop seems to have the inside track to play a whole lot of 3B for the Cincinnati Reds going forward. On top of his impressive 2022 season, he’s a player who has also seemingly gotten better and better each year as a professional, with Baseball America in particular growing more and more fond of his skills - he’s risen from the #92 overall prospect in the game prior to 2020 to 73rd a year later and #18th just last year.
You’ll likely get the chance to catch him with AA Chattanooga to begin the 2023 season, though a quick promotion to AAA Louisville would surprise almost nobody.
On to the voting for spot #3!
Edwin Arroyo, SS - 19 years old
2022 at a glance: .293/.366/.480 with 14 HR, 27 SB in 528 PA split between Daytona Tortugas (Class-A Florida League), Modesto Nuts (Class-A California League), and the Reds Arizona Complex League
Pros: Prototypical shortstop defense with good arm, range, and glovework; wiry athleticism; line-drive power with potential for more from the switch-hitter
Cons: Struggled in Reds system play post-trade (.227/.303/.381 in 109 PA with Daytona); 28.4% K% while with Daytona
If you looked closely at the Reds incredibly deep options at the shortstop position, it’s Arroyo who would, defensively, catch you eye most and have you muttering ‘that’s a shortstop.’ He’s a natural there, with fluid movement, good instincts, quick glovework, and a potent arm, all of which looks like it will translate well.
Offensively, he stood out tremendously while with Seattle and, as Doug Gray noted at Reds Minor Leagues, that wasn’t purely due to the league’s notorious offensive environment - his home park in Modesto was actually hell on power hitters! It’s what we saw from him in Daytona post-trade that has us wanting to see more before truly anointing him, however, as there was much more swing and miss there than anyone had hoped to see.
That said, he was over 3 years younger than average there as just an 18 year old, and the sky is still very much the limit for the former 2nd round pick.
Cam Collier, 3B - 18 years old
2022 at a glance: .370/.514/.630 with 2 HR in 35 PA in the Reds Arizona Complex League
Pros: Excellent bat to ball skills from the left-side of the plate; excellent arm that profiles perfectly as a 3B
Cons: Cons?! Get outta here with your Cam Collier Cons!
Rafael Devers just signed a $332 million extension with the Boston Red Sox, and when you watch Cam Collier hit, the optimist in you says ‘wow, there’s a lot of Rafael Devers there!’ That’s the kind of potential that made him in the mix for the top overall pick in last summer’s draft, and is why the Reds were giddy to land him so late (and doled out an over-slot bonus to sign him).
There’s just so, so little on which to bank just yet, and he’s still years away from the big leagues even in the most aggressive of promotion plans. Still, if he takes to Daytona this spring the way he did to pro play in the Complex League last year, he’s going to rocket up every list imaginable in a hurry given how toolsy he is already.
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.
Matt McLain, SS - 23 years old
2022 at a glance: .232/.363/.453 with 17 HR, 27 SB in 452 PA with Chattanooga Lookouts (AA Southern League)
Pros: Natural defender with good instincts, and enough athleticism to stick at short for now; solid hit tool with more gap power than outright; advanced approach at the plate
Cons: Tools and performance didn’t exactly line up in 2022; posted just a .697 OPS in Arizona Fall League showcase
Matt McLain came to the Reds as a 1st round pick out of UCLA, and did so with the reputation of a pretty well-formed product: good hitting, advanced approach at the plate with good strikezone recognition, doubles power, and polished defense. That was all on display in his brief 2021 stint with High-A Dayton, and the stage was set for him to move quickly from there.
2022 was different, however. Not bad, per se - he walked 70 times in 103 games and showed much more pop than many expected with 17 HR - just different. He seemed to abandon some things in search for more pop, and hit just .232 with 127 K in that time - a K-rate spike of nearly a full 8%.
With it, I think he gave a lot of folks the uncertain thought of wait a second...who is the real Matt McLain? For someone who’d been such a purported ‘known quantity’ for so long, that’s tough for many to digest, hence why he’s in a bit of prospect-ranking limbo. How he turns the corner in a 2023 season that will begin with AAA Louisville will shed a ton of light on what the Reds really have in him.
Chase Petty, RHP - 20 years old
2022 at a glance: 3.48 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 1.17 FIP in 98.1 IP split between Daytona Tortugas (Class-A Florida State League) and Dayton Dragons (High-A Midwest League)
Pros: Rare combo of fastball that flirts with triple-digits and the ability to still hit the strike zone; developing slider with potential to be a devastating secondary offering
Cons: Third pitch (changeup) needs improvement; ‘max-effort’ delivery potential might limit his workload
Petty, the prize of the deal that sent Sonny Gray to Minnesota, was a 1st round pick of the Twins back in 2021 and has the talent to warrant it, in hindsight. He topped out at 102 mph in high school with his heater, and while he has scaled that back a bit as a professional the arm talent is clearly there.
On top of that, the impressive overall first season he produced in the Reds system came as a 19 year old, and while in High-A Dayton for the final third of the season he was over 4 years younger than the average player in the league. Clearly, the Reds trust his stuff, and while he’ll need a better third offering to truly convince us he’ll be able to stick it out as a starter long-term, the idea that he’ll be able to further refine that pitch given time is absolutely there. Honestly, his proximity to the big leagues - 2025 is likely the earliest we’ll see him - is the only thing that’s denting his overall status, in my mind.
Who is the #3 prospect in the Cincinnati Reds system?
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