Thursday, November 14, 2013

Baseball America releases top 10 list of Reds prospects

In case you missed it, Baseball America released its annual list of organizational prospect rankings on Tuesday, and believe it or not, dynamic speedster Billy Hamilton wasn't at the top of the list among Reds up-and-comers. That honor went to right-handed pitcher Robert Stephenson, instead.

Stephenson, the team's first round pick in the 2011 draft, recorded a combined 7-7 record and 2.99 ERA at three different levels in 2013. He began the season with Single-A Dayton, before earning a promotion to Single-A Bakersfield, and then eventually finishing the year at Double-A Pensacola.

Baseball America managing editor J.J. Cooper had high praise for the California native, calling him the best pitching prospect Cincinnati has had since Homer Bailey. Cooper also said that Stephenson could make his major league debut as soon as next season.

Meanwhile, Hamilton ranked No. 2 on the list after the same publication named him the club's top prospect a year ago. The switch-hitting infielder-turned-outfielder showed flashes of brilliance in his short stint with the Reds at the end of last season.

Outfielders Phillip Ervin, Jesse Winker, and Yorman Rodriguez rounded out the top five among Reds prospects, while four pitchers (Michael Lorenzen, Carlos Contreras, Nick Travieso, Ben Lively) and a catcher (Tucker Barnhart) comprised spots 6-10.

In addition to its top 10 list, Baseball America also named players with the best "tools" in the organization.

Here is a quick look at those:

Best Hitter for Average: Phillip Ervin
Best Power Hitter: Jesse Winker
Best Strike-Zone Discipline: Jesse Winker
Fastest Baserunner: Billy Hamilton
Best Athlete: Billy Hamilton
Best Fastball: Robert Stephenson
Best Curveball: Robert Stephenson
Best Slider: Curtis Partch
Best Changeup: Ismael Guillon
Best Control: Drew Cisco
Best Defensive Catcher: Tucker Barnhart
Best Defensive Infielder: Tanner Rahier
Best Infield Arm: Cory Thompson
Best Defensive Outfielder: Ryan LaMarre
Best Outfield Arm: Yorman Rodriguez

What do you think about the rankings?

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