The Cincinnati Reds are struggling mightily right now, and if you’re hoping for something different on the farm, there’s little for you here. A dentist’s lobby sounds more comfortable than Walt Jocketty’s office at the moment. Without further ado, here are the stock reports for the Reds’ top 10 prospects.
10. Yorman Rodriguez, OF
This young man’s stock was trending down in Week 1. As of Week 8, it’s plummeting like Tesla. He’s slashing .212/.252/.386. That’s similar to what Jay Bruce is doing, only he’s doing it against Triple-A pitching.
He’s only 38 games into the season, 138 plate appearances total, but his development seems arrested. He only slashed .262/.331/.389 last year—and that was in Double-A. More alarming, now in his seventh minor league season, Rodriquez is slashing a career .257/.311/.394. This is his first season in Triple-A.
There aren’t any power numbers to line it in silver. He has 44 home runs total in, again, his seventh season. Rodriguez is only 22 years old, but if you’re looking for evidence that suggests a turnaround, I don’t have any.
9. Aristides Aquino, OF
Aristides Aquino has only played in 16 games and has 58 plate appearances for the Dayton Dragons, but he’s batting .226/.288/.321. This 21-year old is currently in his fifth minor league season within the Reds organization; his first two were in the Dominican Summer League.
His fifth-year slash line is a far cry from the .292/.342/.577 he slashed with the Pioneer League Billings Mustangs in 2014.
8. Nick Travieso, RHP
Overall, the Reds’ 2012 first-round draft pick is doing just fine as a starter for the High-A Daytona Tortugas. He’s 2-3 with an ERA of 3.71 in eight starts and has recorded 37 strikeouts in 43.2 innings pitched.
But it’s been a rough May for Travieso, especially over his last two brutal starts in which he’s allowed seven earned runs in his last 10 innings pitched. Travieso has allowed 45 hits in that time and has a benign WHIP of 1.35 because of it, but he’s only walked 14 batters.
Timing is everything—his stock could improve by his next start. I wouldn’t advise selling.
7. Amir Garrett, LHP
The 6’5″ former St. John’s University basketball player is performing well with the Daytona Tortugas. In eight starts, he’s 1-3 with a healthy 3.03 ERA. In 35.2 innings pitched, he has 36 strikeouts and 17 walks.
Garrett hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs all season. He struggled with command in his last start, surrendering three walks and three earned runs, making for an early exit at 4.2 innings. But if three earned runs is his worst start of the year—and it is—then he’s doing well.
6. Anthony DeSclafani, RHP
You see for yourself. On the year, Anthony DeSclafani has been a great addition to the big league staff. He’s 2-4 in eight starts and has a 3.80 ERA to show for it. Any team would take that from a prospect that, on a healthy roster, would probably be a No. 4 or 5 starter.
But he’s a No. 3 right now following Homer Bailey’s season-ending surgery, and it’s been a hard May for the 25-year-old right-hander. He’s given up 19 earned runs in his last four starts, but it’s not by any measure terrible—two of the starts were quality starts. He surrendered six earned runs in his introduction to the World Series champion San Francisco Giants, but that’s not knocking his stock. Not here.
He’s been everything the Reds could have hoped for so far.
5. Nick Howard, RHP
The Reds are changing the plans for last year’s first-round draft pick. Nick Howard entered a stretch of starts in the middle of April that ended with him returning to the bullpen. He gave up 10 earned runs in that time and never made it further than the fourth inning.
His command has been poor all year as a starter. In his five starts, Howard went 2-2 with a 4.35 ERA and a really disappointing WHIP of 1.83. That’s why he’s back in the bullpen now, where the Reds found him closing games in the College World Series.
In two innings of relief, he’s given up no runs. He struck out a batter in each, something the young right-hander is very good at. In his last start before going to the bullpen, Howard only lasted three innings, in which he gave up three earned runs and walked six batters— and struck out seven.
Perhaps Howard is right where he needs to be.
Stock: Down, but trending up.
4. Michael Lorenzen, RHP
Michael Lorenzen is another rookie whose growing pains we’re witnessing at the MLB-level, a notable feat for someone who didn’t make the roster out of spring training. He has been very serviceable to a team in need of emergency arms.
In three Triple-A Starts, Lorenzen is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA. In three starts with the Reds, he’s 1-1 with an impressive 2.81 ERA. He’s since been relegated to a bullpen capacity in favor of Jason Marquis. As a reliever, he’s allowed three earned runs in three innings pitched, though all three came against the World Series champions in one appearance.
The Reds could really use his services as a starter, though his innings pitched will undoubtedly play a role in his utilization.
3. Jesse Winker, OF
With Bruce doing so poorly, there are few prospects that encourage Reds fans more than Jesse Winker. Unfortunately, it’s been a bad 2015 for him, too.
Winker’s slashing a poor .227/.329/.320 and has just two home runs in 128 at-bats this season. He only played in 21 games last year for the Double-A squad and slashed just 208/.326/.351. Injury definitely played a factor, but when you consider how he’s doing this year, it’s going to hurt his stock.
Winker has four hits in his last 21 at-bats.
2. Raisel Iglesias, RHP
Raisel Iglesias is another Reds prospect that is already contributing at the major league level, marking the third player on this list to be called up. In two starts for the Reds, he’s 1-0 with a 3.94 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.
Like Lorenzen, he’s also coming out of the bullpen right now in favor of Jason Marquis. He allowed two runs in his most recent appearance against the American League champion Kansas City Royals, and a run before that against the Giants, but both of his starts were really productive.
Iglesias can be very serviceable from the bullpen, but the Reds should utilize one of these two young starts to replace Marquis, provided their interest is still to compete.
1. Robert Stephenson, RHP
We end this inventory on a bad note. The Reds’ coveted 2011 first-round draft pick and No. 1 prospect according to BaseballAmerica.com is currently 2-4 in seven starts with a 5.45 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP.
First the good: The young right-hander has 35 strikeouts in 34.2 innings pitched. That’s good. He also has 24 walks in that span. And that’s bad. In one start, he walked seven batters.
It just hasn’t been good for the Reds’ No. 1 prospect. Since reaching Double-A in 2013, Stephenson is 9-16 with a 4.89 ERA.
In SportingNews.com’s most recent “Risers and Fallers” article by Frank Neville, both the Reds’ top-two prospects in Winker and Stephenson were listed as “fallers,” for what that’s worth.
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