were warning signs in 2012, however: promoted to AA, he saw a huge drop in his k/9 rate (10.1 k/9 to 7.9) and a scary increase in his walk rate (2.2 bb/9 to 4.1 bb/9). 2013 was really just more incremental declines in performance at AAA, with his strikeout rate dropping by almost 2 per nine, and his walk rate increasing all the way to 5 bb/9. All one can hope is that he figures it out, because the stuff is supposed to be excellent.
Carlos Contreras projects with a line that is quite similar, but he was working at Bakersfield and Pensacola rather than Louisville last season. A recent convert to the rotation, his strikeout rate took a huge hit when he was promoted mid-season to AA.
While I've not been blown away by David Holmberg's minor league numbers, and while he might not really be ready for the big leagues just yet, he does project as having the best MLB ERA of any Reds prospect right now. The reports are that he's a high-floor, low-ceiling kind of guy, and that's something the Reds could most definitely use.
Ben Lively ranks right with him on the prospect charts, but as a 2013 college draftee, he has only pitched 4 innings above rookie ball. Still, his performance last season was amazing. If he continues to dominate this year, I'd think that he could be promoted aggressively.
Michael Lorenzen, another 2013 draftee, is interesting because he split time between pitching and the outfield last season. He converted to starting in the Arizona Fall League last year (with rather terrible results) after impressing as a reliever during the regular season across four(!) different Reds affiliates. Now no longer working as a position player, we'll see if he can figure out starting this season. If not, he seems like the kind of guy who could e promoted quickly.
The last I'll mention in this group is Jon Moscot. He posted really nice strikeout and walk numbers last year in Bakersfield, and didn't show much drop-off in a short stint at Pensacola. He seems to have been hurt by the long ball thus far, though I do wonder how much of that could be related to throwing in Bakersfield (as I remember, it's a homer-friendly park?). In any case, this is a big year for him. With a strong showing in AA this year (where I'm guessing he'll begin the year), he could be in line for a mid-season promotion to Louisville. Tony Blengino likes him.
Age-20 Pitchersbeing drafted in 2011, Robert Stephenson has done nothing but impress. He made it all the way to AA last season, posting good strikeout numbers and (usually) good control across three stops as he toured through the minors. He did get a bit wild in AA, but I'm not going to fret over 16 innings. Oliver seems concerned about his home run rate, but that figure is way higher than the other systems: Steamer has him at 1.09 hr/9, and ZIPS has him at 1.43 hr/9. It wouldn't be surprising if he is a fly ball pitcher given his power, and if he can keep his strikeout numbers up I am not worried about the home runs. He might not be ready for the big leagues just yet, but with a good year, he can certainly be debuting with the Reds this fall, and competing for a rotation gig next spring. He's easily the guy that I'm most excited about in the Reds' farm right now.
Age-19 Pitchersstill likes him, but reports lost velocity vs. high school and extreme fly ball tendencies. I'd like to see his strikeout numbers shoot up a fair bit before I get excited about him.
So, what Reds pitchers in the minors are you most excited about? Who am I misjudging here, or who have I overlooked?