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All through his prep career at Farragut High in Knoxville, Senzel was never viewed as the star. Teammate Kyle Serrano drew the majority of the scouting attention, though the Reds' reports from that time did note they believed Senzel had a chance to become a very good player. But first, he needed to head to college. After three years at Tennessee, Senzel has now far surpassed Serrano as a prospect. As a junior in 2016, Senzel hit .352/.456/.595 with a Southeastern Conference-best 25 doubles while walking nearly twice as often as he struck out. He even stole 25 bases for the Volunteers. The Reds selected Senzel with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft and signed him for $6.2 million, the highest signing bonus for any member of the draft class and also the Reds' franchise record for a drafted player. He kept lining doubles as a pro, hitting 23 in 58 games at low Class A Dayton, where he ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Midwest League. Senzel was arguably the safest pick in the 2016 draft. Even scouts who aren't sold on him being an impact player see him as a polished college hitter who should move quickly. He has worked hard to develop into an above-average defender at third base, and even held his own in a stint at shortstop with Tennessee. Senzel has above-average short-range quickness thanks to quick hips. His hands are average, while his best asset defensively is his plus arm. Senzel's throws have plenty of carry, but they are even more notable for accuracy. He can throw from a variety of arm angles and doesn't need to set his feet to uncork an accurate throw. At the plate, Senzel is a hitter who sometimes drives the ball for power rather than a slugger who can hit. He stays balanced in his swing and has excellent pitch recognition, laying off tough breaking balls out of the zone while catching up to fastballs. His biggest vulnerability in his pro career has been when pitchers bust him up and in with fastballs, though he will yank the occasional inside pitch. All seven of his pro home runs were pulled to left field. He has average productive power, but he is more comfortable lining the ball from gap to gap. In batting practice he shows plus raw power. Senzel is a heady baserunner who has a knack for basestealing. He will turn singles into doubles by aggressively coming out of the batter's box and reading how outfielders play balls in the gaps. Senzel's long track record of production--he hit .300 or better in each of his three years at Tennessee and was the Cape Cod League MVP in 2015--makes scouts comfortable he will be a big league regular. The debate is just how much impact he will make. Senzel's excellent work ethic and surprising athleticism give him a chance to exceed some of those expectations. He projects as a .280-.290 hitter with 15-20 home runs, plenty of doubles and solid defense at third base. If he hits the high end of his projection, he is a plus hitter with plus power. Players with Senzel's type of hitting ability and strength sometimes exceed their power projections in the majors. He is ready for high Class A Daytona in 2017 and should reach Double-A Pensacola during the season. If all goes according to plan, Senzel should be competing for a job in Cincinnati by 2018.
One of three lefthanders the Reds acquired in the 2015 deadline deal that sent Johnny Cueto to the Royals, Reed dominated at Double-A Pensacola in 2015 and impressed at Triple-A Louisville in 2016. That did success did not continue in Cincinnati following his mid-June callup. Reed went 0-7, 7.36 in 10 starts and allowed 67 hits--including 12 home runs--in 48 innings. Reed's big league debut featured many lowlights but also several encouraging signs. He lived in the bottom of the strike zone with a 93-96 mph fastball and a hard 87-89 mph slider that starts on the outer half of the plate and finishes on the hands of righthanded batters. His low three-quarters arm slot gives lefthanded batters a tough look. However, Reed's fastball steadily backed up in the big leagues, in part because he was trying to guide the ball into the strike zone. His slider became less biting and more sweeping. Falling behind in counts, his fringe-average 85-87 mph changeup was effective as a groundball inducer that carries an element of surprise because he throws it so infrequently. Reed's control played as fringe-average in the majors, but his command is a bigger concern after he tended to catch too much of the plate in his debut. Reed still could develop into a frontline starter because he has two potentially plus or better pitches. He will compete for a Reds rotation spot in 2017.
Garrett's dream of becoming an NBA player met reality at St. John's where he was solid but never spectacular in two seasons. Because the Reds signed him for $1 million as a 22nd-round pick in 2011 out of high school, however, Garrett always had a fallback option. He has pursued baseball exclusively since 2014, and in that time the 6-foot-5 southpaw reshaped his body by gaining weight and advanced to Triple-A Louisville. Given his two-sport background, Garrett is one of the most athletic pitchers in the minors. That has allowed him to develop at a rapid rate and catch up with more experienced pitchers. At his best Garrett's plus 90-95 mph fastball and above-average slider keep hitters uncomfortable. His slider is not as consistent as it needs to be, which explains why he had trouble against more advanced hitters in Triple-A. His changeup can be an average pitch when he sells it and locates it, but he has below-average feel for the pitch and below-average command overall. Garrett can be a mid-rotation starter with improved command. Otherwise he could have a lengthy career as a lefthanded reliever relying on his fastball and slider. He heads back to Triple-A in 2017 and is a viable big league callup option at any time.
Stephenson made his big league debut in 2016 and works with as many as three above-average pitches, but his development has been anything but smooth since he reached Double-A Pensacola for the first time in 2013. The 2011 first-rounder cruised through Class A but has shown well below-average control in the upper minors with 4.8 walks per nine innings, and he recorded a similar rate in his first 37 big league innings. The high-90s fastball Stephenson once pitched with has not been present for two years. He generally pitches at 91-94 mph and will bump 96 when needed. He gets downhill plane on both his two- and four-seam fastballs, sticking predominantly with his four-seamer. He can now throw his above-average curveball for strikes and bury it for a chase pitch, but he needs to emphasize staying on top of it. Stephenson's split-changeup is crucial to his outlook but lacks consistency. It flashes above-average with late tumble but just as often lacks deception and movement. A number of Reds officials believe Stephenson has become too reliant on his offspeed pitches rather than pitching off his fastball. Stephenson has struggled in a similar manner as Homer Bailey, a prep first-round righthander drafted by the Reds in 2004. Stephenson can reach a mid-rotation starter ceiling if he sharpens his control, as Bailey did, and he has no glaring delivery flaws to resolve. He should return to the Reds rotation in 2017.
Even though Trammell was Georgia's high school football player of the year as a senior, he knew his long-term focus would be baseball. He carried a 4.0 grade-point average in high school, so teams had to take his Georgia Tech commitment seriously. The Reds had the highest bonus pool in the 2016 draft--nearly $14 million--and flexed that financial advantage to sign Trammell, a supplemental first-rounder taken 35th overall, for $3.2 million. Trammell handled an aggressive assignment to Rookie-level Billings with ease in his pro debut. He hit .303 and ranked third in the Pioneer League with 24 stolen bases. Trammell is a blazing runner who earns 70 grades on the 20-80 scouting scale and hits line drives with modest power. However, scouts won't be surprised to see him grow into a merely above-average runner with plus power as his upper body fills out to match his already developed lower half. Trammell plays center field now but scouts project him to left field based on his instincts and fringe-average arm. For a young hitter, his knowledge of the strike zone and hand-eye coordination are notable and could make him a plus hitter. Trammell impresses the Reds with his work ethic and he is a better-than-even bet to reach his ceiling as an impact left fielder. He will move to low Class A Dayton in 2017.
Winker always has been one of the most advanced hitters in his age group. He was a key member of USA Baseball's 18U team in 2011 and as a pro he has hit .296 in more than 2,000 plate appearances. But wrist injuries have sabotaged his 2015-16 seasons, leading to an evaporation of his power production and questions about his ability to profile in left field. Winker broke his wrist in 2015 diving for a ball in the outfield and missed time in 2016 with a sprained wrist. Most scouts believe Winker will hit for average. He uses the whole field, but his natural lefthanded swing path carries the ball to left-center field and produces more singles than doubles. Winker controls the strike zone, which has contributed to a .398 career on-base percentage. What he doesn't show is power in games, even though he hits for plus power in batting practice. Scouts project him to have average power (about 15 home runs), which combined with his on-base ability could make him an above-average offensive player. Defensively, he's a fringe-average left fielder with an accurate but fringy arm and below-average speed. Scouts who have seen Winker since high school are disappointed he hasn't seemed to get any stronger, but he can really hit. He should make his big league debut at some point in 2017.
Heading into 2015, Aquino appeared poised to build on an excellent season at Rookie-level Billings, but instead struggled at low Class A Dayton and returned to Billings. Assigned to high Class A Daytona in 2016, his production caught up to his tools as he ranked second in the Florida State League in home runs (23) and slugging percentage (.531). Aquino always has passed the eye test. He's a tall, broad-shouldered right fielder with athleticism to go with his impressive and still growing strength. He keeps his hands moving, pumping the bat throughout his pre-pitch setup, but he stays controlled in his stance with solid plate coverage. He takes a big rip, but it's a relatively level swing that keeps the bat in the hitting zone for a while. When he gets his arms extended, Aquino pulls the ball for home runs, but he's also comfortable driving the ball to right field for doubles and triples. Because of his power-oriented swing, he often turns in average run times out of the batter's box, but he's a plus runner underway and that speed plays both on the bases and in the outfield. He's an above-average defender in right with a double-plus arm. Aquino has prototype right-field tools, though his plate discipline issues enhance his risk profile. He has impact potential as he heads to Double-A Pensacola in 2017.
The Reds spent $450,000 to lure Romano from a Tennessee commitment as a 23rd-round pick in 2011. As he has filled out his 6-foot-4 frame, he has improved his consistency and stuff and in 2016 at Double-A Pensacola bounced back from a slow start to record strikeout (8.3) and walk (2.0) rates per nine innings that ranked among the best in the Southern League. Romano has started all but one game in his pro career, but scouts project him to the bullpen as a future lock-down closer. This despite his thick frame that suggests durability and above-average control required of starters. Romano's plus 93-98 mph fastball with boring action could top 100 out of the bullpen, and it pairs well with a plus 85-89 mph slider with late tilt. His below-average changeup is too firm and lacks deception, but scouts love Romano's competitiveness, his willingness to throw inside and his high-energy demeanor. Romano is ready to move to Triple-A Louisville as a starter, but a move to the bullpen still looms. As one scout put it, he needs to focus less on missing bats and more on breaking them with his shot-put of a sinker.
Gutierrez left the Cuban national team at the Caribbean Series in February 2015 after two effective seasons in the Cuban major league at ages 17 and 18. Poor workouts in 2015 kept him from getting the offers he expected, but he eventually signed with the Reds in August 2016 for $4.75 million after he showed an improved fastball. The Reds spent nearly $12 million on Gutierrez and Cuban shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez in 2016 as they blew past their international bonus allotment. At the time of his defection, Gutierrez possessed one of the best combinations of stuff and projection in the rapidly thinning Cuban pitching market. His fastball sat 88-93 mph in Cuba and was 92-96 in a three-inning workout for multiple teams in April 2016. His curveball, the best in Cuba before he came to the U.S., is back after what Gutierrez called an ill-conceived idea to shelve it for a slider. His high-70s curve is a power pitch with tight spin and downer action that could end up being a plus offering. He also still throws a slider as a less-effective but usable breaking ball. Though his changeup was an afterthought in Cuba, Gutierrez has developed an 83-84 mph change with deception and fade that could be average one day. The Reds previously signed athletic Cuban pitchers Aroldis Chapman and Raisel Iglesias, though Gutierrez is further from the big leagues than they were. He was a reliever in Cuba but has a ceiling of mid-rotation starter and will join high Class A Daytona in 2017.
The 11th overall pick in the 2015 draft, Stephenson endured an injury-marred full-season debut at low Class A Dayton in 2016. First he sustained a concussion when a ball caromed off a post during a soft-toss drill and hit him in the head. After he returned from the disabled list, he injured his wrist and missed all of June. He tried to return, but his wrist never fully healed, and he had season-ending surgery on his wrist in mid-August. When healthy, Stephenson's natural swing path takes the ball to right and right-center field, and he shows an ability to cover the plate. Scouts like his advanced approach and think he shows at least average hitting potential. Stephenson will have to work on pulling inside pitches to maximize his average power. He shows a plus arm, but his receiving and blocking seemed to suffer as the accumulation of injuries and struggles at the plate wore him down. Stephenson is big for a catcher and his footwork needs work, but he has the agility to be an average defensive catcher with a strong left hand to frame pitches on the corners. He will have to work hard to maintain flexibility and remain light on his feet. The Reds will give Stephenson a mulligan and he will return to Dayton in 2017 with the hope good health will equal better results.
Santillan is the classic young power arm, more thrower than pitcher at this stage. He fires a fastball up to 100 mph as a starter, which means he doesn't often have to deal with the subtler aspects of pitching because few can square up his heat. Therefore, his effectiveness wavers from start to start. When Santillan is direct to the plate, he dominates. In a pair of late-season starts at low Class A Dayton in 2016 he struck out 10 and allowed just four baserunners. When he spins off toward first base at the end of his delivery, however, he loses the strike zone and his slider loses its depth. As a young pitcher, Santillan doesn't yet diagnose his own delivery flaws promptly and usually requires visits from the dugout. He has the raw ingredients to succeed, including two pitches that could grade as 70s on the 20-80 scouting scale. Santillan's fastball is overpowering. He sits 95-98 mph, and his 84-87 mph slider also could be a plus pitch or better because of its power and depth. He mixes in a fringy changeup that is making strides. Listed at 240 pounds, Santillan is a thick-bodied pitcher, but that masks athleticism that should help him make adjustments. He will return to Dayton in 2017, but the sky is the limit if he keeps his delivery under control.
When the Reds drafted Mahle, the younger brother of Angels lefthander Greg Mahle, they bet on his projection. They hoped the athletic but skinny righthander would fill out and turn his fringe-average fastball into an above-average one while improved arm speed would also sharpen his breaking ball. That's exactly what has happened, as Mahle has developed from a starter touching 93 mph to one touching 97. He demonstrated his ability to dominate with his fastball at high Class A Daytona in 2016, when on June 13 he completed a nine-inning no-hitter. He authored the no-no while barely resorting to his near-average changeup, curveball and slider. Mahle manipulates his fastball from 88-96 mph and locates it with precision as he reads hitters' swings. On some nights his slider gives him a second above-average pitch, but most of the time he lives and dies with an above-average fastball. He works quickly and repeats his delivery. Mahle hit his first speed bump at Double-A Pensacola in 2016, and he'll return there in 2017.
Herget worked as a starter at South Florida but blossomed with a move to the bullpen as a pro. He spent all of 2016 at high Class A Daytona, but many of the scouts and managers who saw him in the Florida State League believe he could jump to the big leagues quickly. Herget's average stuff as a starter turned into plus stuff in shorter outings, but it's his rare combination of funkiness and above-average command that baffles hitters. He fires above-average 94-96 mph fastballs with armside run and occasional sink from a high three-quarters delivery, but every now and then he drops down to sidearm to run a 92-94 mph fastball in on a hitter from a release point he doesn't expect. Herget also quick-pitches at times and does whatever he needs to do to make the hitter uncomfortable. He will back-foot his plus slider with solid late tilt against lefthanded batters or even more effectively use it to get righthanders to roll over in pitcher's counts. Herget is a future setup man who could leap from Double-A Pensacola to Cincinnati by the end of 2017.
One of the top players in the 2013 high school class to make it to college, Okey was Clemson's everyday catcher for three years. He caught every game during his sophomore and junior seasons and signed with the Reds for $2 million as a 2016 second-round pick. After carrying such a heavy workload in college, Okey looked worn out by the end of his pro debut at low Class A Datyon. He hit six home runs and slugged .556 in July, but went homerless the rest of the season. When fresh, Okey hit .339/.465/.611 as a Clemson junior. He has average power potential and a fringe-average hit tool, though he needs to work on making more contact. He is an average runner who moves well despite bulking up the past three years. Okey's average arm would play better if he cleans up his balance and consistency of his throwing mechanics. He will box the ball when framing pitches every now and then, but he blocks balls in the dirt well. The Reds were enamored of Okey's leadership skills and his athleticism when scouting him in his amateur days, dating back to high school. He is ready to join what should be a loaded high Class A Daytona club in 2017.
Very few amateur players truly slip through the cracks today, but Friedl did in 2016. Multiple area scouts didn't realize Friedl, a redshirt sophomore at Nevada, was even eligible to be drafted. Those scouts who did didn't dig too deeply even after he hit .401. (He also ranked among Baseball America's top draft-eligible prospects from the state of Nevada.) After Friedl starred with USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team in 2016, everyone took a second look, and a bidding war ensued among teams that had money left in their draft bonus pools. The Reds won the bidding and signed Freidl for $735,000, the highest bonus ever for a non-drafted free agent. He is an above-average center fielder with 70 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale. Ideally, he becomes a top-of-the-order hitter thanks to his plus hitting ability, albeit with below-average power. Friedl's speed plays well on the bases but he has work to do to learn how to bunt for hits. He probably will begin 2017 at high Class A Daytona and has a floor as a fourth outfielder but at least a chance to be a regular center fielder.
The Reds drafted Long as a high school catcher in 2013, which makes sense considering his thick, short frame and above-average arm strength. He dropped catching after two years in Rookie ball, however, and moved to second base in 2015. Long has enough range and knocks the ball down well enough to be a fringy defender at the keystone with a slow first step and a bat-first profile. Though he's 5-foot-8, Long takes powerful lefthanded swings and offers yet another reminder that being short isn't an issue for a hitter as long as he has pop in his bat. He has plenty of power for the middle infield and shows average power with a bat path that gives him good extension and carry. He gets into good hitter's counts thanks to a discerning eye. Long hit 15 home runs between two Class A levels in 2016 to rank third most in the organization, and despite average speed he knows how to swipe a base as well. He heads back to high Class A Daytona in 2017 but should reach Double-A soon.
Signed for a below-slot $2 million as the 14th overall pick in 2012, Travieso has proven to be durable in his pro career. He broke his wrist when hit by a comebacker in 2015 and missed some starts, but he has avoided any significant arm or elbow injuries. However, Travieso has not blossomed into the front-line starter the Reds envisioned. His fastball that touched 97 mph in high school generally sits 91-93 as a pro and his fringe-average slider lacks the bite or depth of an elite pitch. His slider has a chance to become average, while his changeup is below-average. On the plus side, he throws his fastball with good armside run and pitches inside. He also knows how to pitch down in the zone with sink, but he lacks a putaway pitch, which forced him to nibble more than he would liked at Double-A Pensacola in 2016. He showed well below-average control because he refuses to give in to opposing batters, but he must find a way to make hitters uncomfortable if he's going to be more than a No. 5 starter or middle reliever.
Ervin has moved slowly for a first-round college position player, spending effectively one year at each Class A level and one year at Double-A Pensacola in 2016. Pitchers in the Southern League quickly learned not to challenge him on the inner half of the plate, especially with a fastball. Ervin has the bat speed and strength to make pitchers pay. Opponents also learned, however, that as long as they stayed outside, nibbling at the outer edge of the plate, Ervin could be neutralized. If he can learn to hit the ball to right field every now and then, his natural hand-eye coordination and average power give him a chance to be a solid performer with power. But four seasons into his pro career, Ervin hasn't learned that lesson. His below-average offensive track record--he hit .239 in 2016--stands in the way of an everyday job, especially because he's a fringe-average defender in center field to go with above-average defense in the corners. He fits best in left field because of his fringy arm. Ervin is an average runner out of the box because his pull-heavy swing costs him time, but he turns in better times on the bases. He led the Reds organization with 36 stolen bases and could be on track to be an extra outfielder in the majors.
After an effective season at high Class A San Jose in 2015 that included a midseason trade by the Giants to the Reds in the Mike Leake deal, Mella repeated the high Class A level at Daytona in 2016. He worked on getting more on-line to the plate, which traded some of the deception he got from his crossfire delivery for improved command and control. Mella's numbers seemed to back up in 2016, but scouts still see a future power reliever rather than the starter he is now. Mella's delivery has effort and is difficult to repeat. He gathers over the rubber in a deep coil, then throws into a stiff front side as his arm catches up to his lower half. As a reliever, his above-average 92-95 mph fastball should play up, and his above-average breaking ball also will improve. He won't need his fringy changeup in that role. Mella finished the 2016 season with an effective outing at Triple-A Louisville and could be in the mix for big league innings in 2017.
Astin was a dominating closer for Arkansas' College World Series team as a sophomore in 2012. He moved to the rotation for the Razorbacks in 2013 and spent much of the next three seasons trying ineffectively to start as a pro. After acquiring him in the 2014 trade that sent Jonathan Broxton to the Brewers, the Reds moved him back to the bullpen in 2016 and saw him comfortably slip back into the fireman role he was born to play. Astin's fastball-slider combo plays better out of the pen, and his heavy sinker down in the zone makes him a candidate for a manager looking for a ground ball. In a good outing by Astin, his catcher is going to get dirty because the 6-foot-1 righthander lives at the bottom of the strike zone--and below. His 92-96 mph sinker is extremely hard for righthanded battters to lift, and his hard 88-90 mph cutter-slider has just enough of a wrinkle to get weak contact as well. Added to the 40-man roster after the 2016 season, Astin is a viable bullpen option in 2017.
Before he ever reached full-season ball, Hernandez had already been released by the Giants, spent time in the independent Frontier League--where he made two appearances in 2015--and resurrected his career with the Diamondbacks. The Reds made him the first pick in the minor league Rule 5 draft in 2015, and a year later the Reds added him to the 40-man roster. Hernandez's well below-average control still gives him issues, but he has one of the best pitch combos in the minors. After working with then-Frontier Greys pitching coach Billy Bryk Jr., Hernandez tweaked his delivery to better transfer his weight. He now pitches with a pair of 70 pitches on the 20-80 scouting scale out of the bullpen, and with better command both could be 80s. His fastball sits 95-97 mph and will touch 100 on some nights, but his power curve is a better pitch. It's a high-spin, hard downer breaking pitch with exceptional velocity at 85-89 mph. Batters hit just .136 against Hernandez at two Class A stops in 2016, when he allowed just four extra-base hits. He will have to keep improving his control, but if he does, he could be a dominating reliever.
In his only full season in the Cuban major league, Rodriguez was voted the top defender at shortstop and the Serie Nacional rookie of the year. The Reds were linked to him almost from the moment he was eligible to sign, but they convinced him to wait to sign for $7 million after the July 2 signing period began in 2016 so they could land him and Cuban righthander Vladimir Gutierrez, whom they signed for $4.75 million. Had the Reds signed Rodriguez as part of the 2015 class, then they would have been ineligible to sign anyone for more than $300,000 in 2016. No one doubts Rodriguez's glove. He immediately becomes the system's best defensive shortstop with outstanding hands, range and feel for the position. He uses his plus arm to make plays deep in the hole, then uses his exceptional hands to barehand balls coming across in front of the second base bag. Rodriguez also is a plus runner, but at the plate he showed no power and no plate discipline in Cuba. The Reds see a line-drive swing with gap power, but scouts from other teams see a Rey Ordonez-style, bottom-of-the-order hitter with bottom-of-the-scale power. Rodriguez showed rust and had to melt away 20 pounds he had gained during his layoff, but he got back on track at instructional league. He will head to high Class A Daytona in 2017.
Beltre is a late-blooming but very intriguing switch-hitting outfielder who blossomed in part because he avoided the leg injuries that had slowed his development. He isn't as tooled-up as Rookie-level Billings teammate Jose Siri, but he has superior plate discipline that allows him to get better pitches to hit. Beltre is a plus runner who explodes out of the lefthanded batter's box, making any chopper a potential infield hit. He has some strength in his swing that gives him potentially average power. Both of Beltre's swings work best when he focuses on driving the ball to center field, something he did a better job of executing in 2016. Defensively, his arm plays a tick below-average because of a long arm action, but he has the arm strength to eventually become at least average. His speed plays in center field, where his routes and reads are raw. Beltre will attempt to handle a jump to low Class A Dayton in 2017.
If the 2016 draft had been held at the end of the 2015 summer season, Hendrix would have been a likely second-round pick. He dominated with USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team as its closer and was coming off a sophomore season at Texas A&M where he impressed both as a starter and reliever. But as Hendrix's velocity spiked in his junior year, his control disappeared. He lost his closer job and fell to the Reds in the fifth round. He signed for $410,000. Hendrix can touch 101 mph when needed, and he'll pitch at 96-99 with his four-seamer and supplement it with a 92-95 mph two-seamer. He throws a fringy changeup against lefthanders to keep them honest. But Hendrix's control and the development of his curveball will determine his future success. When he lands his power curve, it's a double-plus pitch with excellent spin. Not only has it become harder to control as he has gained arm speed, it becomes loopier when he dials back to locate it. Given his stuff, Hendrix won't need more than below-average control to succeed as a big league reliever. High Class A Daytona is his probable next step.
Most pitchers selected with high draft picks begin their pro career in the rotation, whether or not they project to be relievers. This gives them more innings and thus more opportunities to develop their control and secondary offerings. That plan didn't work with Rainey, a 2015 pick from West Alabama. When he started, he was largely a disaster. He mixed three pitches while commanding them well enough to get through five innings. Every now and then it worked, but typically he surrendered too many walks and wild pitches. A late-season move to the bullpen put Rainey back into his natural habitat by allowing him to just rear back and throw. His 95-97 mph fastball became livelier, and he put his ineffective changeup in his back pocket to focus on his slider. His potentially above-average slider got better as well. Rainey didn't allow a run in his final seven appearances out of the pen at low Class A Dayton in 2016, and his arm strength makes him a potentially valuable bullpen option.
Because he was drafted as a 17-year-old in 2015, Kahaloa was one of the younger players in the Rookie-level Pioneer League in 2016. For example, Kahaloa is less than a month older than Reds 2016 supplemental first-round pick Taylor Trammell. Kahaloa showed impressive feel and command in 2016. He generally worked in the bottom of the strike zone with average stuff that plays up because he hides the ball in his delivery. His fastball will touch 94 mph but generally sits 91-92. His curveball will flash average, and he has good feel for spin for his age. His changeup has improved, but it's still below-average because he needs better location, conviction and deception. Kahaloa's ability to locate his fastball keeps him ahead of hitters, and because he touched 96 mph regularly in high school he may be able to tap into more velocity. Even with his current stuff, Kahaloa could be a back-end starter.
If Weiss had been healthy in 2016 he would have pitched in the big league bullpen, and he could have provided a boost to a porous unit. Instead he never threw an official pitch in 2016, even though his elbow injury never required surgery. Every time Weiss tried to come back, his elbow wasn't ready. He spent the winter after the 2016 season in his normal training program and expects to be ready for spring training. The Reds gambled and left Weiss unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, but because of his health he was not selected. When healthy, he throws three above-average offerings--a 92-95 mph fastball he locates and a slider and curveball that both flash plus. He also has a below-average changeup and solid-average control. That four-pitch mix could work as a starter, but Weiss could excel in the bullpen. After a long layoff, he appears headed for Triple-A Louisville in 2017 to tune up.
In a system filled with a variety of potential second basemen and third basemen, Trahan stands out because of his defensive ability at shortstop. He probably won't play shortstop every day at the big league level, but his average defense there pairs well with his above-average arm. Trahan projects as an above-average glove at second base with good hands and reliable actions, but his versatility makes him a viable utility infield candidate. His above-average speed makes him an option in center field as he works to increase his versatility. At the plate, Trahan has a tendency to try to do too much. He focuses on making contact, driving the ball in the gaps, using the whole field and taking advantage of his speed. But at times his pre-swing load gets big and his swing gets too lengthy for a player with well below-average power. Trahan is a good bunter, which helps him maximize his average hit tool. He will join a crowded infield at Double-A Pensacola in 2017.
Guillon's career with the Reds stretches so far back that when he joined the organization, Edwin Encarnacion was the Cincinnati third baseman. Since then Guillon has missed a season because of Tommy John surgery and another season with a torn lat. But he bounced back in 2016 to show big league-caliber stuff again. Guillon's above-average 92-93 mph fastball will touch 95, but he uses it primarily to set up a plus changeup that earns some plus-plus grades. His control is well below-average, but even that is an improvement on seasons past. He sharpened his curveball to the point where it's a useable below-average pitch. Guillon has yet to reach Double-A and he will be 25 in 2017, so he needs to speed up his development. As a lefty with a plus fastball, a plus changeup and one of the best pickoff moves in the minors, Guillon still has a chance to be a useful reliever.
Hanson's future outlook will not come into view for several years because he is a cold-weather high school arm. He appeared destined for Kentucky until his velocity spiked as a senior and the Reds signed the 2016 fifth-rounder for $925,000. With Hanson's massive 6-foot-6 frame and velocity jump, he could develop a fastball that sits in the mid-90s. At this point, though, he struggles to keep his mechanics in sync. Hanson is understandably raw with a loose arm, but he's prone to overthrowing, spiking his curveball in front of the plate or sailing his fastball high out of the zone. His 91-95 mph fastball is excellent and his curveball will show flashes of being an above-average pitch. He has a lot of work to do on developing a changeup. The Reds will take it slow with Hanson, who heads to Rookie-level Billings in 2017.
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