Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds’ 2007 number one draft pick, catcher Devin Mesoraco, their No. 1 prospect.

Joining Mesoraco on the top ten list are, in order of ranking: 1B/OF Yonder Alonso, 2B/SS Billy Hamilton, OF Yorman Rodriguez, C Yasmani Grandal, RHP Brad Boxberger, SS Zack Cozart, 3B/OF Todd Frazier, 3B Juan Francisco and LHP Donnie Joseph.

According to the list, starting pitching appears to be a weakness. Mayo list only two pitchers in the top 10, both of whom are relievers. However, there are a few starters, such as Tony Cingrani and Josh Smith who likely could crack the top 10 soon.

Cingrani, a 6′ 4″ LHP out of Rice University, went 3-2 with a 1.75 ERA and 0.80 WHIP while striking out 80 batters in 51 and 1/3 innings with the Billings Mustangs.

Smith, a 6′ 2″ RHP out of Lipscomb University, struck-out 166 batters in 142 and 1/3 innings, while posting a 14-7 record with a 2.97 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with the Dayton Dragons.

Several of the Reds top ten prospects have some major league experience and below is an outlook on their future.


Devin Mesoraco

Mesoraco was called up in September and played in 18 games for the Reds, batting .226 with two homeruns and six RBI in 50 at bats.

The scouting report on Mesoraco is he can hit for power and average. Has a plus arm, allowing him to shut down the running game. He currently is listed third on the depth chart, but rumor has it Ramon Hernandez will not be returning.

Yonder Alonso

After Johny Gomes was dealt in July, Alonso was called up to play left field. This likely will be his position for the next few years as Reds GM Walt Jocketty says he is not planning on moving Joey Votto.

This season with the Reds, Alonso was very productive, batting .330 with a .545 slugging percentage in 88 at bats. He is likely to play some first base next season, but look for most of his playing time to be in the outfield, for now.


Billy Hamilton

Mayo thinks Hamilton might be the fastest guy in the minors. Could be, he stole 103 bases this year in Dayton. Mayo also says he has plate discipline way beyond his years. That might be wishful thinking. I have not seen it and his 133 strikeouts vs. 52 walks indicates he may not be as disciplined as Mayo would like to think.

Hamilton projects to be a good lead-off hitter but must work on his swing and become a better bunter to take full advantage of his speed. The Reds may move him to the outfield. His arm and speed suit him well for the outfield and defensively he is weak in the infield.

The Reds will not be afraid to move him quickly.

“He’s a kid we cannot, and will not, be afraid to push. He has to much ability,” said Reds vice president of scouting, player development and international operations Bill Bavasi.

Yorman Rodriguez

According to Mayo, Rodriguez has all the tools you could ask for, and he’s figuring out how to use them. Mayo believes he can be the prototypical five-tool right fielder.

This season (2011) Rodriguez hit .254 with seven home runs and 40 RBI in 280 at bats at Dayton. He also had 20 stolen bases.

His estimated time of arrival is 2014 and he appears to be on pace.


Yasmani Grandal

The scouting report for Grandal reads as such: A natural leader behind the plate, he’s a slightly better defender than Mesoraco all-around but not as good a hitter. He does have pretty good pop, thought.

Grandal enjoyed a very successful 2011 season and advanced from A-ball to AAA. Most of his time was spent between A & AA, where he batted. 306 with 14 homeruns, 68 RBI and a .500 slugging percentage.

Grandal is estimated to arrive in the big leagues in 2013. Look for him to become the everyday catcher in 2014 or ’15.


Brad Boxberger

Boxberger is the Reds top rated pitching prospect and seems to have adjusted to coming out of the pen. He has a power arm with the arsenal of a starter.

His estimated time of arrival is 2012 and based on his 2011 season, it appears he is ready. He posted 11 saves with a 2.03 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 62 innings of work between AA Carolina and AAA Louisville

Even though he is not listed on the current 40 man roster, look for him to leave camp with the Reds next spring.


Zack Cozart

Reds fans liked what they saw of Cozart in 2011 and the short-stop position appeared to be his until an elbow injury cut his season short. The injury required Tommy John surgery, leaving the door slightly open for Paul Janish.

Look for Cozart to be the Reds regular shortstop by 2013, if not sooner.


Todd Frazier

Even though Todd is listed as the Reds No. 8 prospect, he really isn’t seen as anything more than a utility type player with the Reds. Mayo labels him a super-utility guy.

He has some pop in his bat and runs the bases well. It’s possible he has a brighter future in the AL as a DH.

Juan Francisco

Francisco made the Reds 25-man roster out of spring training but was later sent down to AAA. He is listed as the No. 1 third baseman on the Reds depth chart and looks to be the 2012 everyday third baseman. The Reds like his power and he should bode well at GABP.


Donnie Joseph

Mayo labels Joseph as a future set-up man, but if he does not gain better command (30 BB in 58 and 1/3 innings) he could be a long way from his 2012 estimated arrival.

Don’t look for him to be with the Reds anytime soon.

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