5 Cincinnati Reds Prospects You Must Watch During Spring Training
5 Cincinnati Reds Prospects to Watch in Spring Training
The Cincinnati Reds have developed into a perennial National League Central contender over the past five seasons. Despite being in a relatively small market, the Reds have done a great job of acquiring elite talent for their roster.
One thing the Reds have done very well to create their success of late has been utilize their homegrown talent. Of the projected 2014 depth chart, there are 13 impact players who are homegrown: Devin Mesoraco, Joey Votto, Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart, Chris Heisey, Billy Hamilton, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Mike Leake, Tony Cingrani, Sam LeCure and Aroldis Chapman.
Utilizing the farm system is a huge key for small market teams to succeed. With limited budgets, teams like the Reds aren't capable of being major players in the free agent market. If they were able to, they likely would have re-signed Shin-Soo Choo as he was clearly a huge factor in their 2013 season.
The Reds will likely be able to keep competing for many more years. They still have Votto and Bruce locked up for the foreseeable future. Hamilton, Cueto, Leake, Cingrani and Chapman aren't going anywhere. The biggest question mark for the Reds moving forward is what will happen with Bailey -- will they trade him, extend him or let him leave as a free agent?
As far as offseasons go, the Reds have had a disappointing winter. They came into the winter hoping to trade second baseman Brandon Phillips, but they weren't successful on that front. They wanted to get a resolution to the Bailey situation, but they didn't do that either. They didn't really upgrade anywhere, though they did downgrade in the outfield by losing Choo and by trading extremely underrated catcher Ryan Hanigan. For Reds fans, at least Spring Training starts soon so they can move on past this terrible offseason.
5. Michael Lorenzen
In 21 innings between four minor league levels in 2013, Michael Lorenzen pitched to a 3.00 ERA with 8.14 K/9 and 5.57 BB/9. He has an excellent fastball and a changeup that is still a work in progress. Lorenzen worked his way through the farm system at a rapid rate, going from rookie-ball all the way to Double-A in less than half a season.
4. Yorman Rodriguez
According to Baseball America, the best outfield arm in the Reds' system belongs to Yorman Rodriguez. In 1,579 career minor league at-bats, Rodriguez has a .259/.310/.396 triple-slash line. Luckily for Rodriguez, he is known more for his defense. He is still a very toolsy player, but he needs to start getting some production at some point if he wants to stay on the prospect radar.
3. David Holmberg
A tall southpaw, David Holmberg is the stereotypical crafty lefty. He has a wide range of pitches and has excellent command of all of them. In five minor league seasons, Holmberg has a 3.40 ERA with 8.00 K/9 and 2.50 BB/9.
2. Robert Stephenson
Robert Stephenson is the owner of the best fastball and best curveball in the Reds' farm system. In 179.1 innings in the minor leagues, Stephenson has a 3.06 ERA with 10.44 K/9 and 2.91 BB/9.
1. Billy Hamilton
Everyone knows about Billy Hamilton at this point. He is a speedster who used to play in the infield, but the Reds have transitioned him to the outfield to replace Shin-Soo Choo. Hamilton can steal bases with ease, and he is possibly the best base stealer since Rickey Henderson. The questions surrounding Hamilton, however, are basically everything that doesn't include base running. Can he hit? Can he field? I guess we'll found out soon.