You may not know him yet but Reds prospect Donnie Joseph could end up in a big league uniform before the season is out.
By now we should all know the name Billy Hamilton. You know him, the Cincinnati Reds prospect that already has 46 steals through 44 games played—that guy. Well, this article is not about him. Rather, about five Reds prospect names that every Reds fan needs to know not named "that other guy."
Do not let the trade of Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, and Brandon Boxberger to San Diego this offseason fool you into thinking that the Reds traded the farm away. They definitely gave up a tremendous amount of talent in the trade for Mat Latos, but the Redlegs have been bringing in a consistent flow of solid prospects through the draft each year.
They may have gotten rid of some high level minor league talent, but they have many more youngsters developing in the lower and mid-levels. Billy Hamilton sure gets us excited, but it is the other young stars that surround him that should really be getting us excited. This proves that the Reds are set up for the long haul and not just the immediate future.
So, without further ado, let's look at some prospects making news down on the farm. Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of each page to their player profiles on MiLB.com.
Donald Lutz hits for power and average but may be just another first baseman blocked by Joey Votto
Signed in 2007 as an undrafted free agent, Donald Lutz has shown solid progress at each stop this far in the minors. At Low-A Dayton last year, the now 23-year-old first baseman put up a slash line of .301/.358/.492 with 20 home runs in his first full season of play.
Through 45 games and 183 at-bats this season at High-A Bakersfield, Lutz leads the California League in home runs with 13 and has a slash line of .306/.363/.617.
Lutz had a nice showing in spring training with the big club this season and should begin moving up through the system rather quickly. At the advanced age of 23, he will begin knocking on the door of the bigs as early as next year.
The only question with Lutz is his defense at first. He has committed five errors this season already. With his weak defensive abilities and the fact that he is blocked by Joey Votto at first, look for him to become possible trade bait if he continues his progression at the plate. DH seems to be calling his name.
Check out the player profile of Donald Lutz here.
Kyle Lotzkar may be finally reaching his potential now that he is healthy.
Many people seem to have forgotten about Kyle Lotzkar over the past few seasons. A supplemental first-round draft pick out of high school in 2007, Lotzkar was once a highly regarded talent.
But injuries have slowed his career immensely. Throughout his first four professional seasons, Kyle Lotzkar has never pitched more than 66.2 innings in a season. This year he seems to be feeling healthy and is off to a great start.
Lotzkar began the season at High-A Bakersfield, going 3-0 through five starts before a promotion to Double-A Pensacola. The fact that he has already earned a promotion to Double-A says a lot about how the Reds evaluate his abilities.
Through seven starts this year between the two teams he is 4-1 with a 1.90 ERA through 42.2 innings with 42 strikeouts. Not too bad for a kid whose career was almost derailed before it really even got started.
Lotzkar could begin seeing big-league time as early as 2013, but most likely look for him in 2014.
Check out Kyle Lotzkar's player profile here.
Henry Rodriguez packs a punch with his small frame.
This 22-year-old second baseman has been raking his way through the ranks. Simply put, he can flat out hit. His batting averages over the past four years have been .316/.322./.305/.320.
This year at Double-A Pensacola his batting average sits at .348 through 33 games. Rodriguez got injured a few weeks back and should be making a return to the lineup relatively soon.
Listed at only 5'10" and 150 lbs, Henry Rodriguez is not big, but he produces surprisingly consistent power. He had a great showing in spring training this year and should end the season at Triple-A Louisville.
Don't be surprised to see him getting some at-bats with the big club next season. Rodriquez is going to hit in the majors. Expect him to get chances at third base as the Reds begin to figure out where he fits in.
He reminds me of a lot of Martin Prado of the Atlanta Braves. Prado is a bit bigger, but their play and abilities are similar.
Check out player profile of Henry Rodriguez here.
Donnie Joseph could be the next bullpen flame-thrower for the Reds
Maybe you have heard of him and maybe you haven't.
Donnie Joseph was a third-round pick out of the University of Houston in 2009. This left-handed flame thrower is mowing down hitters and will be in Triple-A by the end of the All-Star Break.
The kid punched out 103 batters in 65 innings in 2010 and had a 2.08 ERA before taking a step back with control issues last season, as he posted a 6.94 ERA in 58.1 innings.
He took this offseason and got himself recomposed and, boy, is it paying off. He has allowed only one run through 23.1 innings for a 0.39 ERA, with a 34/5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He is 24 years old and looks to be making large strides on his way to the big club.
I would not be surprised to see Joseph in a Reds uniform come late season if relief pitchers Nick Massett and Bill Bray have not healed from their injuries.
Check out Donnie Joseph's player profile here.
Tony Cingrani was a 2011 third-round pick out of Rice University. The tall lefty threw 51.1 innings for Billings last season after signing with the Reds. He posted a 1.75 ERA and a remarkable 80/6 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
He began this season at High-A ball in Bakersfield and has promptly thrown up excellent numbers that have begun gaining some national attention.
Through nine starts and 51.1 innings, he has posted a 1.05 ERA with a 69/12 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The kid is showing that he can pitch with power and command.
I would expect to see Cingrani in Double-A after midseason. Depending on his performance, there is a possibility that he could end the year with a start in Louisville.
Tony is definitely one of those prospects that you should be keeping an extremely close eye on throughout the rest of this season.
Check out Cingrani's player profile here.