Is the tide turning for the Reds organization? The 2020 season was a smaller sample size, but if it’s any indication, the work that’s been done to rebuild is starting to pay off.
This year’s 31-29 record and Wild Card Series appearance marked the first winning record and postseason showing for the Reds since 2013. All those struggles led to some high Draft picks over the past several years and while '16 top pick Nick Senzel is the only one to have had a big impact in Cincinnati so far, there should be help coming soon.
Catcher Tyler Stephenson, the club’s 2015 first-round pick, showed he’s ready to help out during his brief stint in the big leagues this year and lefty Nick Lodolo, the '19 first-rounder, shouldn’t take too long to be ready as well and could beat a now-healthy Jonathan India ('18) to the Majors.
The system isn’t as deep as it used to be beyond the top five draftees (Hunter Greene is also healthy and will be ready to go in 2021), a reason why the farm system came in at No. 22 in the last farm system rankings (though that’s up two spots from our preseason list).
FARM SYSTEM RANKINGS
2020 Midseason: 22 | Preseason: 24
2019 Midseason: NR | Preseason: 9
2018 Midseason: 7 | Preseason: 8
2017 Midseason: NR | Preseason: 9
2016 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
2015 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
Only the top 10 systems were ranked from 2015 to 2019 preseason; the top 15 systems were ranked '19 midseason.
Trade: Riley O’Brien, RHP (No. 16)
All six of the Reds’ 2020 draftees are now on the Top 30, offering an interesting array of upside from the high school ranks (Hendrick, Miller, Wainwright) and college arms (Roa, Bonnin, Boyle) whose future roles are still up in the air. The Reds did more adding to their big league roster than to their farm system as they contended for the postseason, but they did make one deal adding a prospect, sending lefty Cody Reed to the Rays for O’Brien, a 25-year-old right-hander who has the chance to stick as a starter.
2021 IMPACT PROSPECT
José García, SS: The Reds could get contributions from Tyler Stephenson behind the plate and Nick Lodolo on the mound, but right now, García is the one without anyone in his path. He’s already shown he can handle his premium position defensively and could truly be an impact player if his bat starts to catch up.
2022 TOP PROSPECT
Hunter Greene, RHP: Reports on Greene at the Reds’ alternate training site were very positive and he should be going full tilt out of the gate next year. The Reds will undoubtedly be cautious with the right-hander and he’s yet to pitch above the Class A Midwest League, so there’s no reason to think he won’t be the best prospect in the system after a full, healthy 2021.
Hit: Jonathan India
Power: Austin Hendrick
Run: Jacob Hurtubise
Arm: José García
Field: Mike Siani
Best athlete: Rece Hinds
Fastball: Hunter Greene
Curveball: Vladimir Gutierrez
Slider: Ryan Hendrix
Changeup: Reiver Sanmartin
Control: Nick Lodolo
How the Top 30 Was Built
One of three teams with more than 20 original draftees on its top 30, Cincinnati has several first-rounders stacked at the top of their list. The top five are all first selections for the Reds in their given Draft year. Lodolo (No. 7 overall pick in '19), Greene (No. 2 in '17) and India (No. 5 in '18) were all top 10 picks, while Hendrick (No. 12 in '20) and Stephenson (No. 11 in '15) came just outside of the top 10. The Reds’ international efforts have yet to pay big dividends, though García did break through and contribute in the big leagues this past season. Jameson Hannah (No. 15) and O’Brien join James Marinan (No. 29) as the acquired prospects on the list.
Top 30 by Position
Once you get past the two arms at the top of the Top 30, it gets very bat-heavy, with prospects three through nine all making their livings as position players. That group consists of four infielders, a pair of outfielders taken as high schoolers out of Pennsylvania the last two years, and a catcher.