It’s no secret the Cincinnati Reds are not a true contender in the MLB yet. But they do have a sneaky good farm system brewing in the likes of Dayton, Chattanooga, and Louisville. Some big-name prospects that are bound to find a home in the major leagues, as well as some guys who people don’t talk much about but can very quickly rise to the top of prospect rankings. We will go through a list of the top 10 prospects for the Cincinnati Reds, with some who might even be in the big leagues as you are reading this.
The Reds are currently in the middle of the NL Central and slightly playing better than expected, after just coming off a series win vs the New York Mets. Something that’s been a hot topic for the Reds and the fans is these prospects, who most think 3-4 players on the list have no business staying in Louisville and should have been promoted to Cincinnati already. And With the MLB draft lingering in just a few months, this prospect list is bound to change very soon
10- Sal Stewart
Starting out this list we have the Reds’ latest 2nd round pick, Sal Stewart. Stewart is a hitter-first player who plays 3rd but is likely to be moved to 1st or become a primary DH. Stewarts’ rookie year was a big success ending the year with a near .300 AVG with just over a .850 OPS, while it was a pretty short sample size it was promising for the kids’ development. While this year he hasn’t been the same hitter with a .207 AVG and a low SLG%. Stewart could sneak his way into being a core piece for the Reds’ future.
9- Brandon Williamson
Williamson was the big prospect the Reds received in the Jesse Winker/Eugeiono Suarez trade before the 2021 season. The Southpaw has struggled this season with a near 7 ERA but with his 4 big league-level pitches, Williamson could settle in very quickly in the future. With a fastball touching 95 and a 12-6 curveball. Williamson was added to the 40-man roster before this season and even saw some time in spring training, having some mixed results. The Reds hope the 25-year-old Southpaw can find his stride this season and possibly make his debut later in the year. And with a Reds rotation that has some glaring holes with the four/five spots. Williamson could be the answer very soon.
8- Chase Petty
Petty was acquired last year by the Reds in exchange for Sonny Gray to the Minnesota Twins. Petty was high on the Reds draft board in the 2021 draft, and they ultimately selected SS Matt McLain who will be mentioned later on this list. Petty was known for high velocity in High School but that has since dropped to mid-90s since being drafted. Petty has shown signs of being a more complete pitcher throughout the last few years. The 20-year-old right-hander hasn’t pitched much this year due to injury. But in the four innings he has Petty allowed only one hit on three strikeouts ending with a 2.25 ERA. Petty is still a few years away from having a shot at the Reds rotation and could potentially be moved to the bullpen. But if he keeps his development going. He has a real shot at being something special in the big leagues.
7- Cam Collier, 60th ranked via MLB.com
Collier was the Reds 1st round pick in the 2022 MLB draft. The 18-year-old was immediately slotted in as one of the highest-ranked prospects in the Reds organization. As well as coming in as the 60th best overall prospect according to MLB.com Collier, who was the youngest hitter in the draft is currently in low A ball with the Daytona Tortugas batting a .224 AVG and a .705 OPS. While in a slump Collier is a sure pick to be rising through the charts within the next couple of years with the Reds organization.
6- Andrew Abbott
My highest-ranked pitching prospect for the Reds shouldn’t be a shocker to anybody, Abbott started the year out mainly ranked outside of the top 10 for the team, most people slotted him in as the 11th-best overall prospect but after a dominant start to the season, Abbott slots in as the 6th best prospect on this list. Abbot started the year with the AA Lookouts, and after posting a 1.15 ERA through three starts and a dominating 36 strikeouts through just 15 innings, Abbot was promoted to the AAA Bats. And he hasn’t been much different, through only three starts Abbot has an ERA of 3.00 and 24 strikeouts through 15 innings. The southpaw has been compared to fellow Red Nick Lodolo who used to be the Reds’ top prospect, and with a rotation of Greene, Lodlolo, Ashcraft, and Abbott, this Reds rotation could be near the top of the league very soon
5- Christian Encarnacion-Strand
Encarnacion-Strand or CES for short, has been an incredible power hitter for the AAA Louisville Bats since starting the season back from injury. Strand, who was acquired from the Minnesota Twins during the 2022 trade deadline that sent RHP Tyler Mahle to the Twins in exchange for prospects Spencer Steer and Encarnacion Strand. Steer, who has already found himself as an everyday player for the Reds is viewed as the biggest piece from the trade, but some may argue that Encarnacion-Strand could be even better in the long run. Strand has shown incredible power so far and was one of the biggest standouts during Spring Training for the Reds. Since returning from injury he has posted a .347 AVG with a 1.092 OPS in 75 ABs along with an incredible 8 home runs, 3 coming from 1 game. When he gets ahold of a baseball he will send it out of any stadium he’s in. Launching a 471-foot home run on Thursday the 12th, Strand is almost certain to be a top power hitter years down the line.
4- Edwin Arroyo, 36th ranked via MLB.com
Edwin Arroyo comes in as the 4th ranked prospect on this list, acquired in the Luis Castillo trade during last years trade deadline. Arroyo was the Mariners 2nd round pick in the 2021 draft and impressed immediately. After being sent to Cincinnati, the 19-year-old was able to put on a lot of strength during the offseason leading to more power at the plate. The switch hitter’s time at the plate this season hasn’t been his best with a..172 AVG and ..491 OPS. Arroyos’ best trait might be his fielding, not only is he a switch hitter but he can throw with both his left and right hand. If Arroyo can get hit bat going a little more, he has a great chance to be a franchise shortstop for this Reds team, which is already loaded with infield talent.
3- Matt McLain
Matt McLain might be the hottest name when it comes to the Cincinnati Reds prospect room right now. Mclain was originally drafted to the Diamondbacks in the 2018 draft out of High School, instead of signing in Arizona he decided to pursue his dream of playing at UCLA. After his time in college, McLain was the Reds 1st round pick in 2021 Although he has seemed to find his footing with the Bats so far, it wasn’t always great for Mclain after being drafted. When he was aggressively thrown into AA ball to start his career a 15% strikeout number from his time at UCLA shot up to an alarming 28%. Through 133 ABs this year McLain has an impressive .346 AVG along with a 1.171 OPS with a team-leading 12 home runs. McLain is likely the next big named prospect to be called up to Cincinnati with a struggling shortstop group, McLain might be the answer to those problems.
2- Noelvi Marte, 24th ranked via MLB.com
Marte comes in as the 2nd-ranked prospect on this list as well as the 24th of all prospects via MLB.com. Marte was acquired via trade with the Seattle Mariners in the blockbuster Luis Castillo deal, included in the same package with Edwin Arroyo that we mentioned earlier. There are not many prospects with such raw power as Marte. Slashing 36 homers over the last two seasons and has been getting hot for the AA Lookouts. Marte is currently batting a .284 AVG and a ..844 OPS with five homers to start the young year. Marte found himself starting to slump a little at the beginning of the season, but after slashing two home runs as well as a walk-off on the 6th of May, if he can keep it up Marte might be closer to a promotion to AAA Louisville then we think, especially with guys like Mclain and Encarnacion-Strand playing at such a high level, the Bats could end up needing a spot for the right-hander in the near future.
1- Elly De La Cruz, 7th ranked via MLB.com
It shouldn’t be a surprise that De La Cruz tops this list and is the #7th ranked prospect in all of baseball. Coming off a huge breakout season, the Dominican-born 21-year-old comes in as the Reds’ top prospect on almost every prospect ranking you will see. MLB.com has him at a 60 overall prospect being way above average. But some will argue De La Cruz should be even higher. De La Cruz started the season for the Bats on the IL due to a minor injury suffered during spring training. When he came back Cruz posted a 1-21 at the plate. Since then, he’s been back to his old self and has been crushing the ball. On Tuesday May 9, 2023 De La Cruz hit three balls over 116 MPH, those being two home runs and a double. That is the first time a player has done that three times in a game since the start of the Statcast era.
But De La Cruz isn’t just a great switch-hitting power threat, his speed and arm talent level him out to be the top prospect he is, throwing a ball earlier this year at 100 MPH across the diamond and ending up as the fastest from any player in Triple-A this season, as well as a 70 graded speed. De La Cruz will be one of the fastest players in the MLB once he gets called up. On Wednesday, May 11th, De La Cruz was able to score from first after a routine single into center field, after being bobbled a little from the center fielder, he seemingly effortlessly ran through all the bases and reached home for a run.