Caveat: No matter what the system, projection systems are NOT the ideal method to evaluate minor league players. Scouting-based approaches work better, period. But I can't scout. And blending projections with top prospect lists was something that I took to doing when I was into fantasy baseball a few years ago. If nothing else, it's place to start when trying learn players. Keep in mind that all numbers below are projections for what the player would do in the major leagues. In most cases, that's not relevant to what they'll do in the minors this season. But it gives you an idea of how well they have developed to this point.
Graduating from this cohort last year was Billy Hamilton, and Tucker Barnhart seems just about ready to assume his career as a backup major league catcher. He will probably never be much of a hitter, but he'll field well enough to be a valuable bench player.
Seth Mejias-Brean had another nice first half in Bakersfield last season, but struggled a bit when promoted to Pensacola. If he can make the adjustment this year, he could be in Louisville by mid-summer. I don't know if he will be a starter, but he could be an intriguing utility bat that provides nice on-base skills as early as next season.
Chad Wallach was recently acquired in the Mat Latos trade, and has shown outstanding plate discipline skills so far. I understand that his defense is well behind his offense, but I would like to see the Reds be fairly aggressive in promoting him this season given the state of his bat.
2013's first-round draft pick Phil Ervin had a miserable season last year. Injuries might have played a role, and it's worthwhile to remember how high we were on him this time last season. I'm sure he'll repeat Dayton; let's all hope he has a big season. Wouldn't it be strange for the one Reds' first round bust in recent years to be a college position player?
Alex Blandino is interesting to me, because it seems like Reds fan-prospect guys are more down on him than the national prospect guys. That rarely happens, especially with an offense-oriented middle infielder. Yeah, he probably won't stick at shortstop. Nevertheless, he is showing decent power, which was the big concern on him when he was drafted out of Stanford. I like him a little bit. And quit it with the Chris Valaika comps, people.
Aristides Aquino is rose quickly in the prospect rankings this year on the back of his strong showing in Billings, but he still has yet to play over rookie ball. I'm finding myself intrigued by Carlton Daal as the only middle-infielder not named Alex Blandino in the Reds system to make a top-prospect list, although Kiley McDaniel, at least, doesn't seem very impressed by his defense.
Jose Ortiz is a guy I keyed in on last year as being an interesting hitter out on the fringe. For some reason, however, he didn't get a lot of playing time in 2014. I haven't seen any reports of injury. When he played, he didn't hit very well, but he didn't play a lot.