After watching Joey Votto ply his trade around these parts for the better part of two decades, it’s pretty clear the Red Reporter arm of Cincinnati Reds fans values the heck out of a quality OBP. Sal Stewart, who you just voted as the #7 prospect in the Reds farm system in this year’s Community Prospect Rankings, brings that to the table in spades.
His .395 mark last year paced the Class-A Daytona Tortugas, and his .397 mark after being brought up to High-A Dayton continued right on course. That’s what Sal will always bring to the table, but if the batting practice thump he’s flashed can finally begin to show up more in games, the Reds might have a full-on offensive superstar on their hands.
Congrats to Sal, and on to the voting for spot #8 on the list!
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).
Alfredo Duno, C/DH - 18 years old
2023 at a glance: .303/.451/.493 with 6 HR, 6 SB, and 38/41 BB/K in 195 PA for the Dominican Summer League Reds
Pros: Plus arm and agility at the catching position paired with plus raw power and elite bat speed
Cons: Served only as DH during his DSL season, so we’ve not seen those potential catching tools on display yet; if he grows any more, he could be forced to move off catching altogether
Alfredo Duno is still very much the ink and paper of his scouting report and little more at this juncture, even if what’s written on there makes your eyes widen with almost every word. Signed for $3.1 million out of Venezuela during last year’s international signing window, he’s got talent galore that, if continually developed, could see him boast the kind of skills that make one an All Star catcher.
Great arm strength, athleticism defensively behind the plate, an eye at the plate (38/41 BB/K last season), elite raw power, and bat speed that should make him a consistent hitter for average? So far, he’s checked most all of those boxes at least somewhere along the line, though we’ve just simply not had the chance to see it play out at a high enough level to truly get blown away.
He’s not had that chance...yet. He’ll begin to get it in 2024.
Hector Rodriguez, OF/2B - 20 years old
2023 at a glance: .293/.343/.495 with 16 HR, 18 SB, in 499 PA split between Daytona Tortugas (Class-A Florida State League) and Dayton Dragons (High-A Midwest League)
Pros: High contact, low-K% left-handed swing that’s showing increased power; plus speed
Cons: Compact build, swings a lot (perhaps too much); infielder the Reds are trying to convert to CF
Acquired as a savvy piece of the deal that sent Tyler Naquin to the New York Mets a few summers ago, Rodriguez smashed his way through the pitcher-friendly Florida State League last year like few others. Like no other, really - his .510 slugging percentage was hands down the best in the league, well ahead of fellow CPR nominee Carlos Jorge’s .483 in second place.
Rodriguez sputtered a bit in his 14 games in Dayton post call-up before his season ended early due to a leg injury, but he returned to ball this winter in the Dominican Winter League and smashed again while there. His line-drive producing swing and plus speed to leg out triples led to an .831 OPS in DWL play and a nod as the league’s Rookie of the Year, showing that he’s already put his injury issues aside.
If he sticks in CF, that combination of speed and power offensively will profile tremendously going forward.
Who is the #8 prospect in the Reds system?
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