It’s that time of year again. Time to give this prospect junkie his fix. Last year, I did farm system rankings for all of baseball, and so I wanted to do so again. As I explain with any farm system rankings, this is a completely subjective business. I do watch minor league baseball, I do a lot of research on the players, and I do talk to people who do talent evaluation in baseball. I certainly don’t have the clout in the prospect world that the guys at Baseball America have, nor do I care to. This is meant to be fun for me, and hopefully fun and informative for the reader. At the very least it should allow for some debate from other teams’ fans, as well as allow Tigers fans a glimpse into other organizations farm systems, so when the Tigers make a trade, there may be some knowledge of who they are getting. Last year, the Texas Rangers took the top spot. Who will it be this year?
1. Billy Hamilton(CF)- If you follow prospects, I don’t have to tell you Hamilton’s speed is elite. He may be a guy that could steal 100 bases in a season, part of that because he is an improved hitter. Given his speed, he could be a plus defender in CF. Just needs time out there.
2. Robert Stephenson (SP)- Stephenson projects to have a mid to upper 90′s fastball, a possible plus curve, and is working on a change. Reports I got from some that saw him in the Midwest League were positive on the stuff, but there is still plenty of polish needed.
3. Daniel Corcino (SP)- Corcino is a smallish right hander, but he has really good stuff. Corcino has a fastball that runs into the mid 90′s with a chance for two other big league average pitches in his change and a slider. A mid rotation starter.
4. Tony Cingrani (SP)- Cingrani is the possessor of two plus pitches in his fastball and a change up, but he needs to develop his breaking ball further, as it is below average. If he doesn’t, he still has the chance to be a late inning pitcher that could dominate.
5. Jesse Winker (OF)- Winker has the potential to have the kind of bat that will play just about anywhere on the diamond. And it looks like that will have to be either LF or first base. He isn’t terribly athletic, but I don’t think that will matter.
6. Kyle Lotzkar (SP)- Command and health are obvious issues here, but stuff isn’t. Lotzkar has strikeout ability, and with improved command could push towards the middle of a rotation.
7. Nick Travieso (SP)- Travieso is a big bodied pitcher who can get his fastball up to the mid 90′s, but sits in the low 90′s currently. He also shows a potential plus slider, but needs to develop a change.
8. Ismael Guillon (SP)- Guillon is a smallish lefty that has solid stuff across the board. He sits in the upper 80′s low 90′s with fastball, and shows an above average change up. His breaking ball is solid as well.
9. Henry Rodriguez (2B)- Rodriguez is a real good hitter and he is solid defensively. Yet, he seems to get dismissed in prospect rankings mostly because the tools aren’t eye popping.
10. Dan Langfield (RP)- Langfield is a three pitch guy, but one that is rare in the sense that a change up isn’t a part of that. Nor is a split finger. Langfield throws hard in the mid 90′s and pairs that with a hard slider and a curve. Think he will profile nicely in the back of a pen.
Just Missed The List:
Mejias-Brean projects as an above average defender with a solid bat at the hot corner. Ranier kind of projects along the same lines as Mejias-Brean, but maybe with a bit more power projection and a little less hit tool. Reynoso is an exciting young OF with great potential.
Rodriguez, despite his troubles, is still young and still loaded with tools, but has now been relegated to sleeper status. Waldrop is a big physical kid with solid tools who performed well in the Midwest League at age 20.
The Reds system is a solid one that has the potential to look even better a year from now. I think Stephenson and Corcino have at least mid rotation potential, but the other top arms have some question marks attached to them. Winker is a hitter, and Hamilton should be a contributor at the major league level soon.
There is good balance between pitching and hitting with a slight nod to stronger pitching, but the reservations I have on some of the guys ability to reach their ceilings holds me back a bit. Reynoso is the big one that could take a leap in the rankings, as could pitcher Jeremy Kivel.
Reds fans should be excited about some of these guys, but that excitement needs to be tempered a bit.