After Minor League Baseball was scrapped in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MLB affiliates resumed play in 2021 under a restructured format. Reds prospects were able to get back out on the field and pursue their dreams of playing in the big leagues.
The Reds enjoyed the fruits of their Minor League system this past season with players like Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson and Vladimir Gutierrez, among others, offering significant contributions. Heading into 2022 and beyond, the organization is confident that this wave of talent is just a sign of things to come from its pipeline.
“We are very excited about the direction our system is heading as we build towards more sustainability at the Major League level,” Reds vice president and general manager Nick Krall said. “Through our efforts in the Draft, international scouting and player development, we are seeing an influx of talent in both pitching and position player groups. Our players already in the organization are flourishing across many levels of the Minor Leagues as well, along with these new additions. The Reds are committed to growing players from within, and the efforts of our staff and players in 2021 allowed us to make great strides towards that goal.”
Here is a recap of the Reds’ farm system in 2021.
Manager: Pat Kelly
2021 Record: 51-68
While the Bats fell short of a winning season, there was plenty of individual talent on display to be excited about in 2021. At the plate, the biggest story was the rapid development of Jose Barrero. The talented shortstop made major strides with the bat, hitting a team-high 13 home runs and driving in 38 runs, fourth on the team. He did so in only 45 games while hitting .306 with a .392 on-base percentage. Barrero earned a spot in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and played his way onto the Reds' roster, where he appeared in 21 games. The 23-year-old should play a significant role in the Reds’ future. Outfielders Narciso Crook and TJ Friedl produced offensively as well. Crook hit 11 homers with 41 RBIs, while Friedl hit 12 long balls and contributed 36 RBIs.
After early success in Chattanooga, Reiver Sanmartin was elevated to Louisville where he went 8-2 with a 3.94 ERA over 21 games, including 14 starts. Sanmartin made his Major League debut in September, starting two games against the Pirates and allowing just two runs in 11 2/3 innings pitched. Following his promotion from Double-A, Dauri Moreta continued his success, posting a 0.68 ERA in 24 games. Moreta gave up two earned runs over 26 1/3 innings. Phillip Diehl led all Triple-A pitchers in games played. The southpaw made 58 appearances out of the bullpen with a 2.47 ERA and 71 strikeouts.
Manager: Ricky Gutierrez
2021 Record: 58-54
The Chattanooga Lookouts finished second in the North Division of Double-A South, just one game behind Birmingham. The team featured two players named to the Double-A All-Star team: outfielder Lorenzo Cedrola and designated hitter Wilson Garcia. Cedrola led the Lookouts with a .320 average and a .356 on-base percentage in 106 games. He also totaled 61 RBIs and a league-best seven triples. Garcia provided the pop with a team-best 18 home runs, and his 64 RBIs tied for second in the league.
On the mound, the top two prospects in the Reds' organization spent the early part of the season with the Lookouts. Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene dominated, with Lodolo posting a 1.84 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 44 innings over 10 starts and Greene doing similar damage with a 1.98 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 41 innings over seven starts. Lodolo was named to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, joining Barrero at the prospect showcase.
Graham Ashcraft kept the momentum going after his callup from Dayton with a 3.36 ERA in 14 starts. Reliever Dauri Moreta caught the eye of Reds brass with just four earned runs allowed in 18 games, earning a promotion to Louisville and eventually the big leagues. Right-hander Randy Wynne was nearly untouchable in September, finishing with three wins in three starts and a 0.50 ERA over 18 innings. His efforts earned him Double-A South Player of the Month honors.
Manager: Jose Moreno
2021 Record: 65-55
The Dragons finished their season tied for first place in the High-A Central League’s East Division. While falling just short of reaching the postseason championship series, the Dragons’ .542 winning percentage was their highest in a season since 2011.
Outfielder Jacob Hurtubise led the league in on-base percentage (.413) and led Dayton with a .283 average, fifth in the league. He also played in the most games and collected the most hits for the Dragons while his 39 stolen bases ranked third in the league. From a power standpoint, outfielder Quin Cotton led the team in home runs (10) and RBIs (41). Outfielder Brian Rey collected back-to-back Batter of the Week Awards in May, tallying six homers and 19 RBIs in his 13 games with Dayton before his promotion to Chattanooga. Rey’s production was recognized when he was named the organization’s Batter of the Month.
The sixth-ranked prospect in the Reds' organization, Ashcraft was electric with the Dragons in 2021. During a stretch of four starts beginning on May 30, the righty pitched 23 innings without allowing an earned run. With the aid of a 99 mph fastball, he also racked up 30 strikeouts in that span. He was named the Reds Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June and was promoted to Chattanooga. Eduardo Salazar was the rotation’s anchor this season, leading the Dragons with 19 starts and 98 innings pitched while compiling a 3.49 ERA.
Manager: Gookie Dawkins
2021 Record: 60-60
After a thrilling comeback win on the final day of the season, the Daytona Tortugas finished their 2021 campaign with a .500 record, good for third place in the East Division of the Low-A Southeast League. One of the driving forces of this year’s Tortugas squad was outfielder Allan Cerda, who was named a Low-A Southeast Postseason All-Star. In 66 games, Cerda led Daytona’s offense with 14 homers and 42 RBIs.
Catcher Daniel Vellojin was an on-base machine, drawing 72 walks in 88 games and reaching base at a .401 clip. Shortstop Jose Torres, assigned to the team in mid-August after being selected in the third round of the 2021 MLB Draft, finished the season strong and earned the Low-A Southeast’s Player of the Month Award for September. For the month, Torres finished second in the league in average (.404), hits (23), total bases (39) and slugging percentage (.684). The Reds’ No. 7 and No. 8 prospects, infielders Rece Hinds and Elly De La Cruz, debuted at the Low-A level this year. Hinds ranked second on the team with 10 homers, and De La Cruz led the team with seven triples despite playing only 50 games.
James Proctor was one of 21 pitchers to start for Daytona and displayed the most consistency. Proctor had a 1.77 ERA in his 12 starts with 52 strikeouts. Bryce Bonnin made just seven starts before being promoted but tied for the team lead with four wins as a starter and recorded a 1.41 ERA. Out of the bullpen, Vincent Timpanelli made 20 appearances, racking up 41 punchouts in 24 2/3 innings pitched while yielding just five earned runs.