Stock Up, Stock Down for Cincinnati Reds' Top 10 Prospects for Week 14
Billy Hamilton has been fantastic for the Cincinnati Reds in 2014, but the club has plenty of talent in the minor leagues that fans should be keeping an eye on.
Cincinnati doesn't have many players who are ready to make the jump from the minors to the majors just yet, but by the end of this season, the Reds will have a good idea of what they have in their system.
There are some promising outfielders, but other than those select few, the Reds' top prospects are all pitchers. The team is loaded with talented arms in the minor leagues. A few of the team's recent first-round picks are beginning to show what they can do, and they have been impressive.
The Reds have a couple of representatives at the 2014 Futures Game, so for those who haven't had a chance to see some of the team's top prospects, be sure to tune into that game.
Check out how the organization's top prospects have done lately, with the rankings via the Reds' official website.
No. 10: RHP Daniel Corcino
2014 season stats (Double-A): 18 G/17 GS, 95.1 IP, 7-6, 4.63 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, 70 K/55 BB
July stats: 1 GS, 0-1, 5.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R (4 ER), 4 K/4 BB
Daniel Corcino was a highly touted prospect before last season, but things have not gone well for him since the beginning of the 2013 season. He struggled in Triple-A last year, and he hasn't been able to right the ship at all in 2014.
The right-hander got hit around in spring training, and the Reds assigned him to Double-A, which is where he had a lot of success just two seasons ago. The assignment could have been the perfect opportunity for Corcino to have some success and regain confidence. That hasn't happened yet.
Since a strong May (2.20 ERA in six starts), Corcino has been roughed up. Had he continued to pitch well, he would have made it tough for the Reds to keep him at Double-A all season.
Unfortunately, he has allowed 13 runs over just seven innings in his last two starts of June. He allowed only seven hits in those two starts, but three of those hits happened to leave the park.
Corcino still has plenty of potential, but until he can show that he can handle Double-A, he's going to have a tough time getting back to Triple-A.
No. 9: LHP Ismael Guillon
2014 season stats:
Single-A: 13 G/12 GS, 65.1 IP, 4-1, 3.17 ERA, 1.041 WHIP, 69 K/27 BB
Double-A: 3 GS, 0-1, 12.1 IP, 11 H, 18 R (17 ER), 9 K/8 BB
July stats (Double-A): 1 G, 0-0, 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R (3 ER), 5 K/2 BB
Ismael Guillon struggled last season because he had a tough time throwing strikes (95 walks in 121.1 innings). This season, he has found his control and is doing well.
The southpaw's stock was rising as he impressed while pitching for the Dayton Dragons in Single-A. He had begun to live up to his potential, and he was good enough to earn a promotion to Double-A.
The progress has stopped since the promotion.
Guillon is once again struggling with his control, albeit in a small sample size. As he gets more innings under his belt at the new level, he should be able to adjust. For now, it's just a temporary step back.
No. 8: OF Yorman Rodriguez
2014 season stats (Double-A): 66 G, .245/.299/.348, 5 HR, 5 2B, 3 3B, 24 RBI, 5 SB
July stats: 5 G, .200/.250/.200, 0 HR, 0 2B, 1 RBI
Last season, Yorman Rodriguez really put himself on the map. He hit .259 and recorded 54 extra-base hits between Single-A and Double-A. For some reason, he hasn't been able to build on that success this season.
Rodriguez appeared in 66 games in Double-A in 2013. Through his first 66 games this season, most of his numbers have dropped. He does, however, have one more triple and one more home run than he did last season. His strikeouts are down, but his batting average has actually dropped.
Consistency has been an issue for the outfielder this season. Rodriguez got off to a great start in April, but his batting average dramatically dropped in May. In June, he rebounded nicely. The trend has continued into July, although it's only the first week of the month.
Rodriguez has some pop and speed. The 21-year-old is going through some struggles right now, but if his season trend continues, expect his stock to begin rising once again not too long from now.
No. 7: RHP Nick Travieso
2014 season stats (Single-A): 15 GS, 1 CG, 80.2 IP, 7-4, 3.46 ERA, 67 K/16 BB
July stats: 1 GS, 1-0, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 5 K/2 BB
Nick Travieso was the Reds' first-round pick in 2012, and so far, he is showing tremendous progress early in his career.
After impressing with the Dayton Dragons in 2013, Travieso has been even better this season. His only problem lately has been consistency. Dating back to late May, the right-hander has alternated good starts and getting roughed up.
Travieso doesn't really walk many batters, but when he walks fewer than two batters in a start this year, he has allowed more than two runs only once.
Showing such good control this early in his career is a great sign for Travieso. His stuff is good enough to get hitters out, so as long as he throws strikes, he will continue to rise in the prospect rankings.
Travieso is coming off another strong start, so the Reds have to be happy with the progress that they have seen out of him.
No. 6: LHP David Holmberg
2014 season stats (Single-A): 10 GS, 44.1 IP, 0-4, 5.28 ERA, 30 K/22 BB
July stats: 1 GS, 3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 K/1 BB
The overall numbers for David Holmberg don't look great, but since he has returned off the disabled list for the second time, he has been pretty good.
The southpaw has been plagued by injuries this season. He missed some time in spring training because of a leg injury, and shoulder issues have forced him to go on the disabled list twice this season.
It looks like he is finally healthy because he is pitching well right now.
Holmberg has not allowed more than three runs in any of his four starts since coming off the disabled list, which was good enough to equate to a 1.99 ERA for the month of June.
The left-hander was acquired before the season because the Reds needed starting pitching depth for Triple-A. The team has to call someone up to pitch one of the games of its doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs this week, and that man will be Holmberg, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay. Holmberg's recent surge has been enough to earn him a spot start.
No. 5: RHP Carlos Contreras
2014 season stats:
Double-A: 9 G/3 GS, 20 IP, 2-1, 2.70 ERA, 1.300 WHIP, 27 K/11 BB
MLB: 2 G, 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 K/1 BB
July stats: 1 G, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 K/1 BB
Carlos Contreras impressed the Reds enough with his early season performance that they called him up to help stabilize the bullpen. Since being called up two weeks ago, the 23-year-old hasn't had many opportunities to prove that he is ready for the majors.
The right-hander has shown fairly good control throughout his time in the minors. Of course, in the one appearance in the majors that he has walked a batter, a run has scored. That's something that should stand out to him.
The way the Reds starters are pitching, Contreras isn't going to see much action. All he can do at this point is show that he can come and pitch without being rusty. That's tough for some pitchers, but it's something that he has to learn to do right now. At some point, the team will likely send either Contreras or Jumbo Diaz back down to the minors, but for now, they need to take advantage of the rare appearances they do make.
No. 4: RHP Michael Lorenzen
2014 season stats (Double-A): 16 GS, 88 IP, 4-4, 2.45 ERA, 1.205 WHIP, 63 K/28 BB
July stats: 1 GS, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R (0 ER), 5 K/1 BB
The way that Michael Lorenzen is pitching right now, it's easy to see why he is so high up on this list.
The right-hander has allowed more than three runs in a start only twice in his last 10 starts. Since the calendar flipped to June, he has allowed a total of five runs in 22 innings. To put that in perspective, he allowed seven runs in just 2.1 innings in his last start of May.
Lorenzen has been very impressive no matter whom he has faced, but left-handed batters have done very little against him. He has held left-handers to a .221 average and only two home runs, which are remarkable numbers for a right-handed pitcher.
Robert Stephenson is getting all of the attention when it comes to arms in the Reds' system, but outside of Ben Lively, no pitcher has been more impressive than Lorenzen.
No. 3: OF Jesse Winker
2014 season stats:
Single-A: 53 G, .317/.426/.580, 13 HR, 15 2B, 49 RBI, 5 SB, 46 K/40 BB
Double-A: 16 G, .197/.315/.328, 2 HR, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 13 K/11 BB
July stats: 5 G, .182/.217/.455, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Jesse Winker put himself on the map last season, and his hot hitting carried over to the beginning of the 2014 season. He earned himself a promotion to Double-A, and now, it's time for him to make an adjustment.
The outfielder projects to be a five-tool player. He has shown off what he can do at Single-A. He can hit for average and power, and he has a good idea of the strike zone. The 20-year-old can also use his speed to make plays on the bases.
Winker has shown a lot of promise at such a young age. This season marks the third straight season that he has played at a new level. He is seeing that the pitching gets tougher as he moves through the system, but he has been able to adjust every step of the way so far.
Winker will get a chance to show what he can do against some of the most promising pitchers in the minors at the 2014 Futures Game.
It's tough to say that a player's stock has dropped at all when he has only played in a handful of games at a new level for the first time. If he is unable to make an adjustment at Double-A in the near future, Winker's stock will begin to drop slightly. For now, it's holding steady as he gets his feet wet.
No. 2: OF Phil Ervin
2014 season stats (Single-A): 81 G, .226/.297/.358, 3 HR, 20 2B, 6 3B, 36 RBI, 19 SB (2 CS)
July stats: 5 G, .211/.238/.316, 0 HR, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 0 SB (1 CS)
Phil Ervin was Cincinnati's first-round pick in the 2013 MLB draft, and last year, he showed why he was picked so high. This season, he has finally struggled at the plate.
The outfielder got off to a tough start this year, but his average had increased in every month as the season moved along. However, his .268 average in June is the only month (so far) in which his average has been above .214.
Ervin is only in his second season as a professional baseball player, so he is going to go through struggles like every other young player does. How he responds to his early season struggles will be something to watch the rest of the season. He has improved throughout 2014, so that's a good sign.
No. 1: RHP Robert Stephenson
2014 season stats (Double-A): 17 G/16 GS, 87 IP, 3-6, 4.24 ERA, 1.310 WHIP, 87 K/45 BB
July stats: 1 GS, 0-0, 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 K/4 BB
Robert Stephenson is the Reds' top prospect, but right now, he is still trying to figure out how to get hitters out at Double-A.
The right-hander went 0-2 with a 4.86 ERA in four starts at Double-A last season, and now that he is starting to get more innings under his belt at the level, he is beginning to show improvement. He has allowed more than three earned runs in a start only twice in his past 10 starts.
Stephenson is putting up decent numbers, but he could still benefit from better control. He is averaging a walk every other inning, which can affect his ability to go deep into games. Right now, he is averaging just over five innings per outing. He projects to be a front-of-the-rotation starter, but that also means he will have to eat innings.
The 21-year-old will have a shot at being called up if he can continue to improve this season.
Cincinnati will soon get a good look at how Stephenson can do against some of the most promising young players in the minors. The pitcher was selected to participate in the 2014 Futures Game.