Top 30 Cincinnati Prospects: No. 17

Silva Climbing Steadily up Reds Organization

Juan Silva has never been a top-rated prospect in the Cincinnati system, but he's also never failed to get on base consistently while moving up the lower levels of the Reds system. He has good speed and will get a chance to prove he has a future as a top-lineup hitter at Pensacola this year.

Juan Silva entered the Cincinnati organization out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy from an eighth round selection in 2009. Since then he's steadily worked his way up the lower levels of the organization and shown that he knows the way to first base at each stop. Last year at Bakersfield he slashed .271 AVG/.386 OB/.414 OB with eight home runs.

Even though he eclipsed the .400 mark slugging, that's not quite as impressive when considering he was in the California League and it was a bit disappointing that he did not improve his home run total from the previous year at Dayton. He did homer eight times with the Dragons in 2012, so there's reason to believe that he can crack the double digit level going forward. That's not as big of a concern since he's defining himself more as a top-lineup hitter and improved his stolen base total to 31 last year.

Silva is left=handed and stands 6'0/190#. All of his action has been in the outfield and last year he bounced around all three spots while sharing time with a few other highly-rated prospects at Bakersfield. He managed to get regular action and has shown improved range in the corners. His putouts while in center were a little low, but he still ran down more than two per game. Overall his leather has been reliable over the past couple of seasons during which he's been charged with only five errors. He's also been clocked off the mound at 88 mph, so he should have plenty of arm wherever he plays.

His versatility may pay dividends one day if there is an opening for a utility outfielder, but if he continues to get on base at a clip over .350 there will be a regular job for him somewhere. Right now at the age of 23 he'll need to focus on sustaining his progress against AA pitching in the Southern League.

Silva showed up in the Cincinnati organization more polished than expected and he's made a prototypical ascent thus far, mastering every level without being rushed through any of them. He'll resume his trip through the pipeline and if his past record is any indication he should be ready for AAA in 2015. He'll probably continue to bump his head against other competition for playing time but he's always produced well enough to get regular action and should get a lot of opportunity to show his skills at Pensacola this year.

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