Stock Up, Stock Down for the Cincinnati Reds' Top 10 Prospects for Week 7

Tyler Duma@@TylerDuma_BRFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2014

Stock Up, Stock Down for the Cincinnati Reds' Top 10 Prospects for Week 7

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    Al Behrman/Associated Press

    The Cincinnati Reds' top-10 prospects have made some solid strides in recent weeks, but more so in Week 7 than any other to date.

    This week, the team saw the stocks of multiple top-10 prospects rise, with just two players—David Holmberg and Carlos Contreras—inactive for the week. All in all, it was a solid week for the top 10, despite disappointing showings from the likes of Yorman Rodriguez and Billy Hamilton.

    Others—namely Jesse Winker and Phillip Ervin—made huge waves this week and have helped their stock tremendously—more Ervin than Winker.

    So, with formalities out of the way, let's dive into this week's stock report for the club's top-10 prospects.

10. Nick Travieso, RHP

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    Last Week's Stats: 2 GS, 0-0 W-L, 7.2 IP, 9.41 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 3.5 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.00 K/BB


    After a disappointing showing in his first full season of professional ball, Nick Travieso has rebounded in a huge way through the first third of his 2014 season. Over 10 starts—53.1 innings pitched—the 20-year-old boasts a strong stat line, including a 2.87 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP and season averages of 7.3 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 4.78 K/BB and 7.3 H/9.

    Travieso has nearly halved his walk rate from the 2013 season, walking just 4.2 percent of batters, compared to 7.8 percent in 2013. More impressive, though, is the fact that he's done that all while raising his strikeout rate—19.9 percent in 2014, up from 17.5 percent in 2013.

    The first outing of his week came back on May 21, and it was monumentally better. Over five innings pitched, Travieso allowed just one earned run on one hit and no walks while striking out three.

    Despite a solid first outing, Travieso's Week 7 numbers look awful when combined into one single stat line, but that's the result of one horrible appearance—his worst of the season—on May 26. In that outing, Travieso went just 2.2 innings, allowing eight earned runs on eight hits and three walks.

    The Florida-prep product will look to rebound in his next start after surrendering a season-high eight earned runs in his last start.

    2014 Stats: 10 GS, 5-2 W-L, 53.1 IP, 2.87 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 7.3 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 4.78 K/BB

    Stock: Down

9. Ben Lively, RHP

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    Last Week's Stats: 1 GS, 1-0 W-L, 5.1 IP, 3.39 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 13.6 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 4.00 K/BB


    Ben Lively has done nothing but dominate opposing hitters all season long. The 22-year-old has made 10 starts this year and owns an ERA of just 1.03 over 61 innings pitched.

    The UCF product has five starts of zero earned runs and three more in which he allowed just one. All in all, Lively boasts some eye-popping metrics and has allowed more than one earned run on just two occasions—two earned runs in both instances.

    Lively made just one start this week, and it marked just the second time he allowed two earned runs in a single game. The young righty still managed to get the win, however, going 5.1 strong innings, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out eight. 

    2014 Stats: 10 GS, 8-1 W-L, 61.0 IP, 1.03 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 10.8 K/9, 1.3 BB/9, 8.11 K/BB

    Stock: Even

8. David Holmberg, LHP

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    Last Week's Stats: N/A


    Upon arriving in Cincinnati, Holmberg looked to be the next pitcher in line should someone in the starting rotation go down with an injury. This has happened on two such occasions, but injuries and poor play have kept Holmberg from assuming a starting role with the big league team.

    Aside from two starts—his first of the season, and his most recent on May 17—the 22-year-old lefty has been solidly disappointing, allowing a 10.50 ERA and a 2.50 WHIP over five starts—18 innings pitched.

    Holmberg didn't get to pitch this week, and he's been dealing with some nagging injuries over the entirety of the 2014 season. Holmberg's last start was somewhat encouraging, as he allowed just one earned run on nine hits and three walks, while striking out five over 4.2 innings pitched.

    He'll look to continue on that mild bit of success when he returns to the team.

    2014 Stats: 5 GS, 0-4 W-L, 18.0 IP, 10.50 ERA, 2.50 WHIP, 6.5 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 1.44 K/BB

    Stock: Even

7. Carlos Contreras, RHP

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    Last Week's Stats: N/A


    Right-hander Contreras finished up a solid 2013 season with a great showing at Double-A Pensacola. This year, he was reassigned to the Blue Wahoos' rotation, but he has yet to attain that same level of success he experienced in 2013.

    Over four games pitched—three starts—Contreras has managed just a 3.95 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP, with averages of 11.2 K/9, 5.9 BB/9, 1.89 K/BB and 6.6 H/9.

    Contreras has done a masterful job of generating swings and misses—as evidenced by his 11.2 K/9—but his control has escaped him early on, and it shows in his 5.9 BB/9.

    Contreras hasn't pitched in nearly a month, the result of a nagging back injury. When he does return, he'll look to limit his walks and try to stake his claim to a top-five spot in the Reds' prospect rankings.

    2014 Stats: 4 G, 3 GS, 1-1 W-L, 13.2 IP, 3.95 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, 5.9 BB/9, 1.89 K/BB

    Stock: Even

6. Michael Lorenzen, RHP

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    Last Week's Stats: 1 G, 0-1 W-L, 7.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 3.8 K/9, 0.00 BB/9, UND K/BB


    After an impressive first-season showing in 2013, Michael Lorenzen has been masterful in 2014. The 22-year-old was drafted as a reliever/center fielder, but he transitioned into the Double-A starting rotation to start the 2014 season and the results have been impressive to say the least.

    Over 10 starts, Lorenzen boasts a sub-2.00 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP and season averages of 6.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 2.22 K/BB and 7.1 H/9.

    Lorenzen was in great form for his lone start in Week 7, allowing two runs (zero earned) on six hits and three strikeouts over seven innings pitched. Lorenzen took the loss—his third of the season—but by no fault of his own. This marked the second time in the 2014 season that Lorenzen took a loss when allowing one or less earned runs.

    2014 Stats: 10 GS, 2-3 W-L, 58.2 IP, 1.99 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 6.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 2.22 K/BB

    Stock: Up

5. Jesse Winker, OF

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    Last Week's Stats: 7 G, .520/.636/.760, 1 HR, 0 3B, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 3 R, 4-8 K/BB, 0 SB


    Winker, the 49th overall overall selection in the 2012 MLB draft, is on an absolute tear in just his second full season as a professional. The 20-year-old put forth an impressive effort in 2013 and has followed that up with an even better showing in 2014, slashing .324/.425/.520 over 39 games—179 plate appearances.

    On top of that gaudy slash line, Winker boasts counting stats including five home runs, 14 doubles, 29 RBI and 26 runs scored. Winker has flashed outstanding plate discipline as well this season, posting a K/BB ratio of 30-27.

    Miraculously, Winker was able to improve his stock even further this week, posting a bullish stat line, including a .520/.636/.760 slash line, one home run, three doubles, five RBI, three runs scored and eight walks to just four strikeouts.

    Winker is in the middle of just his first appearance at High-A Bakersfield, but he's showing that he has little, if anything, to prove there anymore. A promotion to Double-A Pensacola is sure to come sometime this season. 

    2014 Stats: 39 G, .324/.425/.520, 5 HR, 0 3B, 14 2B, 29 RBI, 26 R, 30-27 K/BB, 3 SB

    Stock: Up

4. Yorman Rodriguez, OF

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    Last Week's Stats: 6 G, .091/.130/.091, 0 HR, 0 3B, 0 2B, 1 RBI, 1 R, 7-1 K/BB, 0 SB


    Through 36 games played in the 2014 season, Rodriguez has done nothing but prove his misrepresentation in this list. I ranked the 21-year-old as the team's No. 4 prospect heading into the 2014 season, but, at their current rates of play, Winker will surely pass him when midseason rankings come out in July.

    After an outstanding 2013 season, in which he gave fans a true glimpse of his actual potential, Rodriguez has been a solid disappointment in 2014.

    This week, Rodriguez continued that trend, slashing a paltry .091/.130/.091 with zero extra-base hits, one RBI, one run scored, a 7-1 K/BB ratio and zero stolen bases.

    Rodriguez has the potential to be a true five-tool player; however, he's done little to show that this season and needs to cut down on his strikeouts in order to find his stroke.

    2014 Stats: 36 G, .243/.287/.329, 2 HR, 2 3B, 2 2B, 7 RBI, 15 R, 43-9 K/BB, 4 SB

    Stock: Down

3. Phillip Ervin, OF

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    Last Week's Stats: 7 G, .345/.375/.517, 1 HR, 0 3B, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 4 R, 8-2 K/BB, 4 SB


    After tearing up the Pioneer League (Rookie League) and Single-A Dayton last season, Phillip Ervin has hit a bit of a roadblock here in early 2014. 

    Through 49 games, the 21-year-old carries a .218/.280/.308 slash line with 14 extra-base hits (one home run), 26 RBI, 23 runs scored, 47-16 K/BB and 16 stolen bases. Ervin has seen his strikeout rate balloon out to a whopping 21.6 percent—17 percent in 2013—while his walk rate has dropped from 12.5 percent in 2013, to 7.3 percent in 2014.

    While his season totals are disappointing, his last week was a major step in the right direction.

    Over seven games played, Ervin managed a staunch .345 batting average with a .375 on-base percentage and a .517 slugging percentage. On top of his triple-slash components, Ervin tallied his first home run of the season to go along with two doubles, four RBI, four runs scored and an 8-2 K/BB ratio.

    Ervin's strikeout rate was still astronomical—he struck out at a 25 percent clip in Week 7—but he seems to be swinging the bat with some confidence after an otherwise solid week at the pate.

    2014 Stats: 49 G, .218/.280/.308, 1 HR, 2 3B, 11 2B, 26 RBI, 23 R, 47-16 K/BB, 16 SB

    Stock: Up

2. BIlly Hamilton, OF

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Last Week's Stats:  6 G, .150/227/.200, 0 HR, 0 3B, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R, 4-2 K/BB, 2 SB


    Hamilton hasn't had the start that the Reds fans would have hoped for. Over 46 games played, the 23-year-old boasts a .245/.287/.335 slash line with nine extra-base hits (one home run) 10 RBI, 20 runs scored and a solid stolen base total, sitting at 18 for the year.

    Hamilton hasn't been great, but excluding his first five games played—he only logged plate appearances in the first three—the Mississippi-prep product owns a .266/.305/.364 slash line and all 18 of his stolen bases.

    This week, however, Hamilton was rather disappointing, logging a .150/.227/.200 slash line with one double, two RBI, one run scored, two steals and a 4-2 K/BB ratio over six games played.

    Hamilton's value will be defined by how often he's able to get on base. This week, and throughout the 2013 season, Hamilton has found extreme difficulty in doing this with any regularity. Unless he's able to turn things around and start being a more patient and disciplined hitter—18.2 percent strikeout rate compared to a 5.3 walk rate—his season will continue to disappoint.

    2014 Stats: 46 G, .245/.287/.335, 1 HR, 3 3B, 5 2B, 10 RBI, 20 R, 31-9 K/BB, 18 SB

    Stock: Down

1. Robert Stephenson, RHP

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Last Week's Stats: 2 GS, 0-0 W-L, 12.1 IP, 1.46 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 8.0 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 1.83 K/BB


    Robert Stephenson, the Cincinnati Reds' top prospect, is starting to come around here in 2014. Over his last five starts, Stephenson owns an 1.48 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP and averages of 9.8 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and 3.30 K/BB.

    The California prep product has performed well for most of the month of May, and that trend continued here in Week 7.

    Over 12.1 innings pitched, the 21-year-old allowed an 1.46 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP while averaging 8.0 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 and 1.83 K/BB. Stephenson was downright outstanding this week, and he looks to be figuring things out here in his first full season at the Double-A level.

    2014 Stats: 11 G, 10 GS, 2-4 W-L, 58.0 IP, 3.26 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 10.2 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, 2.44 K/BB

    Stock: Up

    All stats are current through play on May 27, 2014 and come courtesy of, unless otherwise noted.