clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2024 Community Prospect Rankings: Connor Phillips is the #5 prospect in the Reds system!

But will he be in the team’s Opening Day rotation?

Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Emilee Chinn/Cincinnati Reds/Getty Images

The results at the big league level for Connor Phillips in 2023 weren’t anything to write home about on the surface. Five dingers, 18 runs allowed (16 earned) in just 20.2 IP for the Cincinnati Reds, all of which came as the Reds were scratching and clawing to remain relevant in the race for the playoffs.

There are silver linings galore with Phillips, however, who we just voted as the #5 prospect in the stacked Reds farm system. He was just 22 years old, after all, and not at all in the Reds initial plans for the 2023 big league season at all. Were it not for the copious injuries to the team’s pitching staff, he’d have stayed marinating in the minors where he fanned 154 in just 105.0 IP between AA and AAA. The thing is, the K-rate stuck around in his initial foray into Major League Baseball, and it wasn’t any fluke - anyone who watched him saw the stuff that, when harnessed a bit more, will actively retire big league hitters for years to come.

He needs some polish, as do most all prospects, but Phillips’ ceiling remains sky high. The only question now is how soon we see him back in a Reds uniform, and in what role.

On to the voting for spot #6!

Cam Collier, 3B - 19 years old

2023 at a glance: .246/.349/.356 with 6 HR, 5 SB in 461 PA for the Daytona Tortugas (Class-A Florida State League)

Pros: High contact left-handed bat with excellent strike zone command

Cons: Not the most athletic defender or base runner, who may have to move off 3B; power still developing

Let’s start with a Florida State League refresher course, shall we?

The notoriously pitcher-friendly league saw just 7 qualified hitters post a season-long OPS over .791, with nobody better than .883. And Cam Collier - at just 18 years old - hit 21 doubles, a mark that tied him for the 8th most in the league (with 28 being the most). His .349 OBP was 20th best in the league, and when considering the environment and his age, his 2023 season was a better overall performance than his league-suppressed numbers might indicate.

His bat is going to play, and play well once it gets to a more offensive environment. The only remaining question, though, is whether it will play well enough to compensate for his lack of plus defense or baserunning, something we’ll begin to discover in 2024 when he tackles the Midwest League in Dayton for the first time.

Sal Stewart, 3B/2B - 20 years old

2023 at a glance: .275/.396/.416 with 12 HR, 15 SB in 518 PA split between the Daytona Tortugas (Class-A Florida State League) and Dayton Dragons (High-A Midwest League)

Pros: More walks (84) than strikeouts (77) last year, advanced strike zone command; raw power

Cons: In-game power still developing; questions whether he’ll stick defensively at 3B

The Reds selected Sal Stewart out of high school in Florida with the 32nd overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, doing so despite knowing he was committed to baseball powerhouse Vanderbilt University. Perhaps they knew something, or had some inside info from former Vandy pithing coach Derek Johnson, since they managed to get Stewart signed for just the 40th highest bonus of the draft class despite that strong commitment.

Stewart has hit the ground running as a pro, flashing each of the impressive tools that made him so highly regarded as an amateur. He’s got elite command of the strike zone, and the power he flashes in batting practice (and dinger derbies) even began to show through in his time in Daytona, a league that’s notoriously pitcher-friendly. Frankly, if he hadn’t seen some of that power dip after his promotion to Dayton, he’d rank higher on my own personal list than I think he’ll land here. If that power shows up from day one in 2024, however, I think it’s pretty clear he’ll be on-track to be a quality, quality big league bat in short order.

The only real question with Sal, though, is where he’ll land defensively. Despite a strong arm (and enough speed to swipe 15 bags last year), his defense at 3B hasn’t exactly been lauded so far. If he can become even passable there, however...

Carlos Jorge, 2B/CF - 20 years old

2023 at a glance: .282/.374/.464 with 12 HR, 32 SB in 450 PA split between the Daytona Tortugas (Class-A Florida State League) and Dayton Dragons (High-A Midwest League)

Pros: Impressive 13.2% walk rate with Daytona; obliterated Florida State League pitching despite its proclivity for pitching-friendliness; four true tools and potential for plus power/speed

Cons: Moved off SS already, still searching for a defensive identity; struggled in initial 23 G for High-A Dayton after mid-season promotion (.674 OPS)

Listed at just 5’10” and 160 lbs, Jorge isn’t the kind of player who would wow you getting off the bus, but he possesses plus speed and a sweet, sweet left-handed swing that can spray liners all over the field. His power is progressing, and that paired with an elite eye at the plate led him to the single highest OPS in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League last year (min. 250 PA).

He was signed out of the Dominican Republic as a SS, but he’s already been moved to 2B primarily, though last season saw him begin to get clock in CF (due both to his talent and to a crowded infield mix his age that includes both Cam Collier and Sal Stewart also looking for their defensive roles). If he can stick at either of those spots - or hell, at both! - his offensive profile looks promising, with 15-20 homer upside and enough speed to swipe 30+ bags in the cards. If he has to move to 3B or a corner OF spot, however, that outlook becomes dimmer due to the offensive expectations of players in those spots.

This season will be a defining one for Jorge as he’ll begin back in Dayton with a chance to show that his early success in the lower minors can translate to better competition. The tools, though, are very much there.

Ricardo Cabrera, SS/3B - 19 years old

2023 at a glance: .346/.475/.531 with 5 HR, 24 SB in 202 PA split between the Arizona Complex League Reds and Daytona Tortugas (Class-A Florida State League)

Pros: High contact rate & plus hit tool; developing power while remaining selective at the plate; plus speed

Cons: Likely will need to move off SS for good

The Cincinnati Reds swung big to sign Cabrera for $2.7 million during the 2022 international signing period, and he’s begun to make them look wise in their decision already. He blistered ACL pitching at age 18 last season while adding 21 steals in just 39 games at that level, eventually joining the Daytona Tortugas for their final stretch run.

His bat is what defines him at this stage, with a swing that allows him to use all fields with relatively low swing and miss to it. Most every scouting report I’ve come across suggests he’s got power potential he’s yet to tap into, too, with room to grow as well.

It’s that growth that may ultimately lead him to 3B, as he’s got the arm for the position while his range and mechanics at SS aren’t exactly plus at this point despite his speed. Add in that the Reds have an abundance of SS-caliber prospects around his level (Leo Balcazar, Carlos Sanchez, and the recently drafted Sammy Stafura, among others), and we may well see him get even more run at 3B in 2024 than he got last year. Still, if the bat continues to develop as it has so far, where he lines up defensively won’t be at all what defines him.

Ty Floyd, RHP - 22 years old

2023 at a glance: 4.35 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 120/37 K/BB in 91.0 IP for Louisiana State University; Drafted in the 1st round (38th overall) by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2023 MLB Draft

Pros: 95+ mph fastball from low release point whose ride allows him to flourish up in the zone (a la Tyler Mahle); excellent command of primary pitches

Cons: Low-use secondary offerings (slider, change) that still need a lot of work to avoid landing as a reliever

Floyd’s delivery and mastery of his go-to offering - a rising fastball from a low-ish arm angle that is deceptive as heck to hitters - means his upside is that of a big league reliever in very, very short order. If he can manage to improve his slider and change, though, he’s got the kind of control of the zone that could make him a very effective mid-rotation starter, too.

Said delivery elicits memories of both Tyler Mahle and Lucas Sims, in many ways, an almost abrupt, short-armed motion that creates deception to go along with mid-90’s gas. Said approach was incredibly effective during his time with LSU, including a spotlighted 17 K game against the University of Florida in the highest profile game in which Floyd has pitched thus far (the College World Series).

Poll

Who is the #6 prospect in the Cincinnati Reds system?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Ty Floyd
    (14 votes)
  • 41%
    Cam Collier
    (79 votes)
  • 27%
    Sal Stewart
    (53 votes)
  • 14%
    Ricardo Cabrera
    (27 votes)
  • 9%
    Carlos Jorge
    (18 votes)
191 votes total Vote Now