After wrecking Dominican Summer League play with a 1.015 OPS as a 17 year old, Carlos Jorge came to the states for the 2022 season and promptly wrecked the Arizona Complex League with a .935 OPS for the Cincinnati Reds club in Goodyear at age 18. Through 342 PA since being signed as an international free agent, he owns a .422 OBP, and the sweet-swinging lefty will enter the 2023 season as a 19 year old - likely in the Florida State League with the Daytona Tortugas.
He’s reportedly the owner of a ‘bodybuilder’s physique,’ is ‘short and muscularly dense,’ and can own the strike zone like few his age. The ‘explosive rotational athlete,’ per Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs, has a chance to hit his way through the minors in a hurry, part of the reason why Eric ranked Jorge 12th in the organization rankings (an org ranking that’s particularly strong overall, too).
Of all the under-the-radar guys in the Reds system these days, I think Jorge might be my favorite.
On to the voting for spot #19!
Lyon Richardson, RHP - 23 years old
2022 at a glance: Richardson missed all of the 2022 regular season while recovering from Tommy John surgery
Pros: A fastball that reaches the upper 90s with a slider/curve/change secondary mix
Cons: Has he ever really been healthy as a pro?
Here’s a way I made myself feel old: despite it seeming like I’ve written about Lyon Richardson forever, he was born in January of 2000. He’s still barely 23 years old.
The former 2nd round pick has thrown a grand total of 76 IP since the end of the 2019 season, however, with Covid first shutting things down for him before a 2021 season with decreased velocity eventually revealed the need for Tommy John surgery. That knifing left him on the sidelines for all of 2022, though as Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs noted, Richardson returned for instructional league play at the end of 2022 with velocity that was better than it’s ever been before.
Richardson checked in 21st on last year’s list, doing so before the influx of lots of other talented arms, but if he’s a) truly back and b) perhaps better than ever, that’s a large amount of arm talent in a guy on whom the Reds have been very, very high for quite some time. Ranking him here is by no means because of what he’s done on the diamond of late, but on what the renewed, healthy version of him might well begin to do when pitchers and catchers report in just a couple of weeks.
Victor Acosta, SS - 19 years old
2022 at a glance: .237/.348/.360 with 2 HR in 165 PA in Arizona Complex League (ACL) play split between the Cincinnati Reds organization and San Diego Padres organization
Pros: Solid walk rates, rangy infielder with plus run and plus glove ability, plus arm, developing switch-hitter
Cons: Production took a significant step back from his 2021 work in the Dominican Summer League
Victor Acosta went from being a prized signing of the Padres during the 2021 international signing period to the player sent to the Reds in exchange for Brandon Drury’s breakout last summer. It was something of a high price to pay for the Padres given Drury’s longer track record, but they were clearly in ‘win now’ mode last year and made the move.
For the Reds, it adds a piece that’s still very far off, but who has shown glimpses of being an infield stalwart for years to come. The glove is still very much ahead of the bat, but Acosta has shown acumen to suggest he’ll end up a switch-hitter with good plate recognition in due course. That he won’t turn 19 years old until this summer is both a good thing in terms of ignoring his current iffy stats and also in terms of setting your expectations for far, far down the road.
Plenty of tools possessed, plenty of patience needed.
Bryce Hubbart, LHP - 22 years old
2022 at a glance: 3 H, ER, 6 BB, 12 K in 7.1 IP split between Arizona Complex League (ACL) and Daytona Tortugas (Florida State League)
Pros: Whippy fastball that has touched 97 mph; four-pitch arsenal featuring potential 70 grade curveball; excellent results in Cape Cod League play in 2021 (against wood bat competition)
Cons: Still developing effective change-up; delivery described in ways varying from ‘funky’ to ‘wonky’
Hubbart, the Reds 3rd round pick out of Florida State University, truly burst onto the national scene with his Cape Cod League work during the summer of 2021 in which he earned All Star status. His velocity spiked into the upper 90s, his curveball kept wood-bat hitters completely off-piste, and he finished 31.1 IP with a minuscule 0.87 ERA and 0.71 WHIP - all while fanning 45 against just 8 walks. While he inevitably regressed a bit during his final season in Tallahassee, he pitched well enough there to show he’s clearly ready for next-level work.
Listed at just 6’1” and 181 lbs, he’s going to likely need to fill out a bit to withstand the rigors of starting pitching on a full pro-league slate, and do so without losing velocity or letting his delivery get in his way. We’ve not yet seen that from him - he hasn’t failed at it, he’s just not yet had the chance - but the hope is that his ability to get the most out of his offerings will outweigh his lack of a truly elite ceiling. If so, he could be the next in a solid line of lefties to emerge from the Reds system of late.
Daniel Vellojin, C - 23 years old
2022 at a glance: .199/.327/.358 with 10 HR in 271 PA split between Daytona Tortugas (Class-A Florida State League, Dayton Dragons (High-A Midwest League), and Chattanooga Lookouts (AA Southern League); .292/.430/.597 with 12 HR in 193 PA in Dominican Winter League play
Pros: Elite chase rate, elite walk rate, projectable power in athletic swing
Cons: Raw defensively, struggles to make contact (particularly up in the zone)
What’s the old adage again? You rarely see catchers traded at the trade deadline because it takes them a lot of time to get used to running a whole new staff mid-year?
Put yourself in Daniel Vellojin’s shoes during the 2022 season then, if you will. Despite logging just 271 PA all year in full-season ball, he was bounced from Daytona to Dayton to Chattanooga in that time, all while trying to run pitching staffs. The end result - offensively, at least - was a sub-par year for a guy who’d crushed Dominican Summer League play to the tune of an .896 OPS in his previous pro season.
That Vellojin settled in and mashed for the Vaqueros de Monteria in DWL play this fall when given one team for an extended stint was much, much more encouraging, and the hope is that he’ll get settled in quickly in a similar fashion for a Reds affiliate in 2023. If so, his plus pull power and elite strike zone recognition might help his prospect stock take completely off, as he’s a talented, athletic player at an absolutely essential position. Given that there’s a bit of a hole behind Tyler Stephenson in the catching ranks in the system, it’s Vellojin that’s giving me the vibes as the next backstop to emerge for the Reds at the big league level...if things go well this season.
Austin Hendrick, OF - 22 years old
2022 at a glance: .217/.306/.433 with 21 HR, 16 SB in 109 PA split between Daytona Tortugas (Class-A Florida State League) and Dayton Dragons (High-A Midwest League)
Pros: Big-time power from the left side, above-average throwing arm paired with athleticism that makes him a prototype RF
Cons: He strikes out enough to make you forget Adam Dunn ever did
There I go again, making the Adam Dunn comps. Hendrick is not 6’6” nor was he ever a QB for the Texas Longhorns, and after a rough couple of years after being drafted 12th overall, there’s not a scenario out there where he wouldn’t take Dunn’s 462 big-league homer career.
At the plate, though, there are ample similarities, though Hendrick’s making them at A-ball where Dunn made them at the game’s highest level. Immense power, when the bat connects with the ball, and more swing and miss than anyone out there would ever care for. Hendrick was also 19 upon being drafted out of high school, too, so he’s already ‘old’ for his development, and at age-21 was right on league-average in Dayton last year.
With those worries clearly stated, let’s at least state some reasons to even include him here. For one, he played high school ball in cold weather in PA, and that paired with the pandemic means he missed a ton of live action. On top of that, he hit .255/.377/.543 with 7 HR, 17 BB, and 30 K over his final 27 games of the 2022 season with Dayton, and the hope is that a corner was turned there that we’ll continue to see from him in Chattanooga to start 2023. Maybe, just maybe, that puts him on the slow, steady projection pace of a certain other former Reds 1st round pick out of a PA high school...
Who is the #19 prospect in the Cincinnati Reds system?
This poll is closed