Time for a quick spin around the farm system to highlight a few guys who, for one reason or other, missed out on the top 25. Even though they didn't crack the top 25, there are some players of interest here and guys who could move well up on the 2011 list with a strong performance this year.
MATT FAIREL - LHP
The Reds selected Fairel with the 1049th overall pick in the 35th round of the 2008 draft. Fairel was drafted out of Florida State University as a draft eligible junior.
In his professional career, Fairel has a career 3.03 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, and 7.7 K/9 during his stints in low-A and high-A. Overall, solid production, but he has yet to face a level of competition that is appreciably better than what he faced in his Florida State days.
Fairel has good polish, but questionable stuff. As of now, the comparison for Fairel that continues to leap to mind is Sam LeCure. A polished college hurler with fundamentally sound mechanics, but also short on pure stuff.
Fairel's mechanics are solid, but with a few interesting components. Fairel, much like LeCure, seems to unpack his leg kick prematurely. He builds up good potential energy with a leg kick that comes up past parallel, but he drops the knee before he begins to drive towards the plate. As a result, his delivery bleeds energy, which makes it less efficient than it could be. In addition, Fairel also has a unique arm action. His arm action is free and fluid, but his arm swing after breaking his hands is more circular than is typical. He drops his pitching hand down and brings it up with a circular motion towards third base.
Fairel is intriguing, but he needs to prove that he has enough pure stuff or guile to succeed against advanced competition.
KYLE LOTZKAR - RHP
It begins and ends with health. Stress fractures are troubling for pitchers, as throwing a baseball is an unnatural motion to begin with. Add in a flaw in his pitching mechanics and it could be a consistent, lingering problem. On the plus side, Minnesota Twins pitching prospect Kyle Gibson is back and pitching very well after sliding down the first round of the 2009 draft due to a stress fracture in his pitching arm. So, there is hope for Lotzkar and he's young enough to bounce back. Still, he has to get healthy first.
MARK SERRANO - RHP
The Reds selected Serrano as a draft eligible junior out of Oral Roberts University in the 6th round of the 2009 draft with the 179th overall pick. As a junior, he ranked sixth in Division 1 baseball with 132 strikeouts.
Serrano features an 89-91 mph fastball, a potentially plus slider, and an average change-up. He used his arsenal to completely dominate the Pioneer League and Midwest League. For Billings, he posted a 1.42 ERA, 0.947 WHIP, and an 8/0 K/BB ratio in 6.1 innings. He quickly earned a promotion to Dayton where he posted a 2.20 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and a 57/12 K/BB ratio in 49.0 innings. For Dayton, he split time between the bullpen and the rotation, but he ultimately profiles better in a relief role.
Here's a quick look at Serrano in action, courtesy of RedsMinorLeagues on YouTube:
As you can see, he features fairly clean mechanics with no obvious red-flags. However, the main drawback on Serrano is his age, as he is already 24 and will be 25 in September. So, while his performance in 2009 was dominant, he had a significant age v. level advantage.
MARIEKSON GREGORIUS - SS
An intriguing shortstop prospect from the Netherlands Antilles. He's one of the better defensive infield prospects in the system and has a very strong arm. Also working in his favor is that he comes from a baseball family.
In 2009, he played in 50 games for Billings where he hit .314/.363/.387. Right now, he lacks the necessary power to drive the ball, but he has physical projection left to his game. He stands 6-1 and tips the scales at 152, so he'll fill out as he matures physically.
His career is still in its infancy, but the potential is undeniable.
ENERIO DEL ROSARIO - RHP
In 2009, Del Rosario quickly climbed the organizational ladder, making stops at three different levels. For high-A, he pitched 50 innings and posted a 1.98 ERA. For double-A, he pitched 6 innings and posted a 1.59 ERA. For triple-A, he pitched 25 innings and posted a 1.09 ERA. He throws a 90-92 mph fastball with very good sink, a slider, and a changeup. His repertoire is conducive to generating groundballs at a very good clip, which should play well in Great American Ballpark.
Del Rosario had a pretty pedestrian career going before the Reds altered his arm-slot. By lowering his arm-slot, Del Rosario was able to add velocity and movement. Obviously, if Del Rosario can sustain his 2009 level of performance, then he could be on the fast track to the MLB bullpen.