Baseball America’s Reds top 30 prospects, new names in top 30–21.
Every year about this time publications release each team’s top ten prospects with some analysis on each player. At Baseball America they release a Prospect Handbook each season and this year I was able to get my hands on one. It is 511 pages of prospect greatness, but I will be focusing on the new names into the Reds top 30 today.
More than one-third of the names on the top 30 this season were not on the list in 2014. You will see what number they land at on the list and also a quote from the staff at Baseball America on that said player. Without further ado lets get started.
Coming in at #27 on the list is brand new Red Chad Wallach. Wallach came over in the trade for Mat Latos to the Miami Marlins and has shown good skills in his time in the minors. BA had some good things to say about Wallach, including his ability to be a good game caller. He reworked his swing before 2014 and came back and hit .321 with a .430 on-base percentage.
One spot up at #26 is Tyler Mahle. The seventh round pick in 2013 found immediate success at Billings, but isn’t the type of pitcher to overpower you. He sits at 88–92 with plus control, according to BA. If he can gain “a tick” on his fastball he has the ability to project as a back end starter. He does have plus control, only walking 23 batters in 111 innings the past two seasons since being drafted.
Up the list a bit at #23 is Wyatt Strahan. The 2014 third round pick is in the top 30 for the first time after his first pro season. BA had some good things to say about Strahan as well. “He generates swings and misses with 94–96 MPH fastball up in the zone, but is at his best when he throws a 92 MPH two-seam low in the zone, with plus sink.” When I see the last part of that sentence on a scouting report I get excited because of the ability to throw ground balls. If he’s not a huge strikeout pitcher and relies on balls in play to get outs, the balls on the ground are the best route to go.
This next name, Bats fans will recognize as left-handed pitcher David Holmberg is in the top 30 at #21. He spent most of last season with the Bats, excluding a couple of stints with the Reds. He struggled a bit at the beginning of the season, but came into his own down the stretch and saw success. Holmberg doesn’t throw extremely hard, so he has to rely on his change up to get outs. BA sees him in Triple-A again this season, and as a possible depth option for the Reds. He saw his walk rate go up last year, but not because “he’s lost his feel for throwing strikes, but because his lack of stuff forces him to nibble.” We will see if his conditioning will help his velocity this season and possibly see a few more strikeouts and a lot less walks.