Cincinnati Reds Top 30 Prospects

February 16, 2024

The 2024 Preseason Top 30 lists are built around the idea of certainty and future Role. Similar to industry projection systems such as Future Value (FV), Overall Future Potential (OFP), and Grade, Role is a way to describe to what degree a player will add value to his organization at peak.

Our scale is a bit more conservative than other grading systems. We take into account recent seasonal performance, proximity to impact, metric/data analysis, and industry conversations to build a case for the most likely outcome for any given player.

It is important to note these Role labels are fluid and can change as a player moves up the developmental ladder. It is not uncommon for a player to change his role projection over even one month. Players jump from a Role 35 to a Role 40 quite quickly.

Things like mechanical adjustments and physical maturation can alter a player’s projection seemingly overnight. Players change. Keep that in mind.

Below is our Role chart used to place future projection on players.

20No organizational value. Non-prospect.
30Organizational value, filler. Likely peaks at Triple-A or below.
35Potential up-and-down, Quad-A prospect. Has some tools. Development necessary to secure prolonged MLB role.
40Back-up at MLB level. No. 5 starter on non-competitive team. Depth.
45Potential starter on contender. Bench player for championship-level team.
50Starter on a championship-level team. Lacks star ceiling. Steady. Potential No. 4 starting pitcher.
55Potential all-star. Some impact. Above average big-league regular. Mid-rotation starter on a contender.
60All-star level player. Impact. Middle-of-the-order bat. No. 2 starter on good team.
70Perennial all-star. Will contend for seasonal awards. Potential MVP/Cy Young upside. No. 1 starting pitcher. Ace.
80Hall of Fame upside. Generational. MVP/Cy Young Favorite some years. Organizational pillar who can carry an entire franchise at times.

You will not find players with a sub-50 Role on our Top 100 Prospect List. You are also unlikely to find any sub-35 Role players on a Top 30 board. Generally, organizations will have at least 30 players with big-league projection.

All rankings and roles by Joe Doyle
Player notes by Jason A. Churchill

Despite the Reds graduating Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Spencer Steer, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, it’s still probably atop 10-15 farm system thanks to depth and a handful of answers in the top 10.

Noelvi Marte appears to be the guy at third, Connor Phillios and CHse Petty look like high-leverage relievers if they don’t start, and Edwin Arroyo looks like a big-league second baseman in a year or two.

Rhett Lowder offers some projectable rotation help without muchreliever risk, and there’s plenty of back-end/bullpen depth, too.

1Noelvi Marte3B55
2Connor PhillipsRHP50
3Rhett LowderRHP50
4Edwin ArroyoSS50
5Chase PettyRHP50
6Leonardo Balcazar2B/SS45
7Cam Collier3B45
8Sal Stewart3B45
9Alfredo DunoC45
10Carlos Jorge2B45

Marte came over in the trade that sent Luis Castillo to Seattle and he climbed all the way to the majors last season,and flashed bat-to-ball to support his 70 raw power.

He’ll use the middle of the field and his pull side for power, but started shooting the backside a little more in 2023 before his call-up, a sign he’s still looking to hit and let the power come.

He’s a natural shortstop with plenty of arm and agility for third base, and while it’s just slightly above-average speed at this point, he’s a smart runner on the bases and knows how to steal a bag.

Phillips was also acquired from Seattle, but in a diffeent trade. Cincy sent Eugenio Suare and Jesse Winker to the Mariners for Phillips, Brandon Williamson, Justin Dunn, and Jake Fraley.

He has above-average stuff, led by a big velocity 94-98 mph and two breaking balls. His changeup and slider are ahead of the curveball, but all thre could end up weapons if the right-hander remains a rotation threat.

Phillips has never posted a walk rate under the 9.5% he left in Double-A in 2023, seeing that number rise to 16.9% in Triple-A before a short-sample 13.5% rate in his five starts in the majors last season.

Lowder is a sure starter, not only throwing a lot of strikes at Wake Forest but measurably commanding his fastball-slider-changeup combo so well he was taken off the board at No. 7 last July.

The changeup is plus, but he will touch 97 mph with plane, and his slider was on the right track when the draft came. He’s probably not long for the minors, and it’s a No. 3 profile with a lot of efficiency.

Arroyo was in the trade with Marte and the now-DFA’d Levi Stoudt and the switch hitter continues to perform admirably against older competition.

He was three-plus years younger than the average arm in the California League in 2022 when he posted a .316/.385/.514 slash with 39 extra-base in 87 games before the deal went down, and he was three-plus years younger thanhis competition in High-A a year ago.

The numbers weren’t gaudy last season but he kept the strikeout numbers down (21%), still showed some punch, and handled shortstop well enough to profile well at second, where the expectation is he’ll finally get ample time in 2024.

11Ty FloydRHP45
12Ricardo CabreraSS40
13Sammy StafuraSS40
14Lyon RichardsonRHP40
15Cole SchoenwetterRHP40
16Julian AguiarRHP40
17Jacob HurtubiseOF40
18Hector RodriguezOF40
19Carson SpiersRHP40
20Adolfo SanchezOF40
21Zach MaxwellRHP40
22Victor AcostaSS35
23Christian RoaRHP35
24Ariel AlmonteOF35
25Rece HindsOF35
26Hunter HollanLHP35
27Logan TannerC35
28Jay Allen IIOF35
29Cade HunterC35
30Mat NelsonC35

Floyd‘s fastball is his bread and butter, touching 98 mph and showing all the metrics a club would want. He has two breaking balls, the best of which is a low-80s slider, but he can throw a short curveball for strikes. His changeup should be a real option for him from the get-go in pro ball.

There’s bullpen risk with Floyd due to control and command questions, but the floor is relatively high thanks to his fastball value, and he’s likely to skate through the lower minors rapidly.

Rodriguez is just 5-foot-8, but the swing is short to the ball with some bat speed and he projects to make a lot of contact, hit for average, steal a few bases and play an average centerfield.

Maxwell is all reliever with below-average control and command, but his fastball-curveball combo suggest at least a middle reliever and perhaps an arm capable of pitching in high-leverage spots. He’s consistently in the mid-90s and has hit 100 mph, and his slider is a hard breaker he can bury versus lefties and get righties to chase away.

Tanner is a fringe-average backstop who struggled at the plate last season. He does have above-average pwoer to get to and will draw walks, suggesting a backup role led by extra-base ability and solid defense.

Joe Doyle
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