Listed below are the top 5 prospects in the Cincinnati Reds organization as ranked by Jason Parks and Baseball Prospectus. To view the full feature, please visit this link.
Prospect rankings primer
Last year's Reds list
The Top Ten
- RHP Robert Stephenson
- CF Billy Hamilton
- OF Phillip Ervin
- RF Yorman Rodriguez
- LF Jesse Winker
- RHP Jon Moscot
- RHP Ben Lively
- RHP Michael Lorenzen
- LHP Ismael Guillon
- C Jose Ortiz
1. Robert Stephenson
Height/Weight: 6’2” 190 lbs
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2011 draft, Alhambra HS (Martinez, CA)
Previous Ranking: #2 (Org), #78 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: 4.86 ERA (16.2 IP, 17 H, 18 K, 13 BB) at Double-A Pensacola, 3.05 ERA (20.2 IP, 19 H, 22 K, 2 BB) at High-A Bakersfield, 2.57 ERA (77 IP, 56 H, 96 K, 20 BB) at Low-A Dayton
The Tools: 7+ FB; 7 potential CB; 6 potential CH
What Happened in 2013: The 20-year-old pitched across three professional levels, finishing the year in Double-A, missing more than a bat an inning and holding hitters near the Mendoza line.
Strengths: Easy plus athlete; fluid delivery; creates sharp angle to the plate and excellent extension; fastball is plus-plus offering; routinely works in the mid-90s; touches upper 90s in most outings; curveball flashes well above-average potential; thrown with velocity and hard vertical snap; true wipeout offering; shows feel for a changeup; good control for power arm; ultra-competitive.
Weaknesses: Can lose plane because of the delivery; pitches can flatten out; tendency to work up in the zone; changeup is fringe at present; flashes plus but overthrows the pitch; too firm in the upper 80s with a more deliberate release; more control than command at present.
Overall Future Potential: 7; no. 2 starter
Realistic Role: 6; no. 3 starter
Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; limited Double-A experience.
Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: There’s no doubt that the fantasy upside is huge for this fireballer. Stephenson has the raw stuff to strike out a batter per inning and log a lot of them—the question is where his ratios will fall. His realistic ceiling, especially pitching at Great American Ball Park, is that he’s around a 3.40 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, which gives him top-20 starter potential.
The Year Ahead: Stephenson is one of the most electric arms in the minors, a true frontline type with two 70 (or better) pitches and the makings of a quality changeup. He’s still turning his control into command, but for a power arm, he shows advanced pitchability and feel for sequencing and location. This could be a special arm, one that reaches heights above his paper projection, especially if the changeup matures into a plus pitch and the fastball command refines. Stephenson will continue to miss bats at the Double-A level in 2014, and could reach the majors over the summer if he continues to take steps forward.
Major league ETA: 2014
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