As part of the new rules for the 2020 Major League season, each of the 30 organizations will maintain a 60-man player pool for the duration of the campaign. Some members of the player pool will feature on the active Major League roster while others will work out at an
As part of the new rules for the 2020 Major League season, each of the 30 organizations will maintain a 60-man player pool for the duration of the campaign. Some members of the player pool will feature on the active Major League roster while others will work out at an alternate training site in the hopes of staying fresh for a potential callup or getting in much-needed development time.
The MiLB.com staff is rounding up the notable prospects in each organization’s 60-man player pool and analyzing what the new system will mean for their 2020 seasons.
If you're looking for a National League team on the rise, look no further than the north bank of the Ohio River. Between veterans like Joey Votto and Trevor Bauer and up-and-comers Nick Senzel, Tucker Barnhart and company, the Reds are looking to make some noise in the NL Central.
To that end, nine Cincinnati prospects have been added to the 60-man player pool for Spring Training, including the club's No. 1 Nick Lodolo and future third baseman Jonathan India, the fourth-ranked Reds prospect. Here’s a quick look at these players and where they will begin the summer campaign.
Nick Lodolo, LHP: With major presence on the mound at 6-foot-6, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2019 Draft made limited appearances in his first season. Still, he made quite an impression, posting a 2.45 ERA over 18 1/3 innings spanning eight appearances between Rookie Advanced Billings and Class A Dayton. Control was the biggest asset for MLB.com's No. 48 overall prospect -- he didn't issue any walks while striking out 30. Still a raw prospect out of Texas Christian University, Lodolo has all the stuff to quickly rise through the farm system. He'll be training at Prasco Park, the Reds' alternate site, and even though he lacks experience, his stuff is good enough that he could see Major League action, especially if Cincinnati is really competing in the NL Central down the stretch.
Hunter Greene, RHP: It's been almost two full years since the No. 57 overall prospect pitched in a Minor League game. But Greene appears to be healthy, and the club was confident enough to add him to the 60-man roster Wednesday, two nights before Opening Day. The No. 2 overall pick in 2017 was shut down long before his Tommy John surgery last April. Greene last pitched to a 4.48 ERA in 18 starts with Class A Dayton in 2018. His season ended when he strained his ulnar collateral ligament on July 26. He then tore the ligament the following spring. Greene was drafted as a two-way player out of high school but got just 30 professional at-bats before converting to pitching full time. His stuff could count among the most dominant in the Minors, with an 80-grade fastball that can reach more than 100 mph, a plus slider and a changeup. He hasn't been able to show it much, having pitched just 72 2/3 professional innings, but he should get some much-needed work at the club's alternate training site.
Jonathan India, 3B: In just two seasons in the Minors, the club's fourth-ranked prospect has risen to Double-A Chattanooga. In 2019, he hit .270/.414/.378 with three homers, three doubles, 14 RBIs, four stolen bases and 24 runs in 34 games with the Lookouts. He’s a solid third baseman with excellent mechanics and an above-average arm, and his approach at the plate vastly improved in 2019. He’s the future at the hot corner for the Reds and could possibly see playing time to give other players a rest during the shortened season.
Tyler Stephenson, C: Cincinnati's third-ranked prospect had a solid season for Chattanooga last year, batting .285/.372/.410 with 19 doubles, six homers, 47 runs and 44 RBIs. He was named an organization All-Star for the second time and played in the Arizona Fall League, where he received the Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award and was featured in the Rising Stars Game.
Jose Garcia, SS: Seen as India’s future partner on the left side of the infield, the native of Cuba put together a solid season at Class A Advanced in 2019, hitting .280/.343/.436 with 37 doubles, eight homers, a triple and 55 RBIs while stealing 15 bases and scoring 58 times. Only 22, Garcia has all the tools to be a star at shortstop with a strong arm and a lot of range. While he probably won’t make his MLB debut this season, his time in the Minors could be short.
Tony Santillan, RHP: A solid season in 2018 by the ninth-ranked prospect was followed by an up-and-down 2019 campaign that was marred by a tricep injury. Still, Santillan has the stuff that makes the Reds believe he could be a starter in the majors. A hard thrower at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, Santillan’s fastball averages in the high 90s while his offspeed pitches are still a work in progress. If he returns to 2018 form, he may come out of the bullpen this season.
Stuart Fairchild, OF: A solid defender with great range who can play all three outfield positions, Fairchild refined his swing last season and saw it pay off after his promotion to Double-A. In 42 games at Chattanooga, the 24-year-old Wake Forest product hit .275 with a .824 OPS, smacking 14 doubles, four dingers, 17 RBIs and scoring 25 times. He's a candidate for when guys need a breather in the outfield this season.
Tejay Antone, RHP: Another big guy -- 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds -- Antone, the Reds’ No. 20 prospect, posted a 4.00 ERA in 146 1/3 innings at two levels last season. He saved his best outings for last going seven innings in each of his final two starts while allowing just two runs on eight hits and striking out 19. Added to the 40-man roster for the 2020 season, Antone could see action as a middle reliever this year.
Ryan Hendrix, RHP: Despite missing three months of the 2019 season with a right elbow strain, the Reds’ No. 21 prospect showed why he could be special, putting up a 4-0 record and 1.85 ERA over 24 1/3 innings and holding hitters to a .172 average while fanning 31. His fastball ranges between 94-98 and his slider and curveball are both above average. He’s projected to be a middle reliever in the bigs and could be of use to the Reds down the stretch.
Joel Kuhnel, RHP: A big presence on the mound -- he comes in at 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds -- Kuhnel will be the only prospect training at the big league park. At Chattanooga and Louisville last year, the No. 22 prospect posted a 2.18 ERA over 53 2/3 innings in 41 appearances, fanning 50 batters while holding hitters to a .201 average. He got his first taste of The Show last season, making 11 appearances and recording a 4.66 ERA in 9 2/3 frames. His fastball is his strength, regularly reaching the high 90s and occasionally triple digits. He will likely pitch as a middle reliever for now but, as his stuff progresses, could work his way into a closer role.