Top 30 Reds Prospects: No. 15

Cisco Prepares for First Full Professional Season

When Cincinnati went over slot to sign Andrew Cisco in 2009 they were expecting to get a polished pitcher with exceptional command above the norm for a high school pitcher. What they didn't expect was that Tommy John surgery would postpone his debut until last season. After dealing with the bad news Cisco rewarded them by living up to expectations during a solid debut at Billings.

Andrew Cisco came from a baseball family. His brother pitches in the Phillies organization and their grandfather Galen Cisco was a long time pitching coach. It was no surprise for him to already show polished skills on the mound before Cincinnati selected him in the sixth round of the 2010 draft. He probably wouldn't have waited as long had there been no concerns on sign-ability, but the Reds went over slot with a $975,000 bonus to deny his services to the University of Georgia. Unfortunately they would have a long wait before seeing his first professional pitch against competition because he underwent Tommy John surgery that kept him out of action until 2012.

He finally debuted at Billings last season and got off a slow start, partly because the Reds were cautious and limited his pitches. He finished the season strong and ended up with a 4-1 record and a 3.39 ERA which would have been good enough for the second lowest in the Pioneer League had he thrown more innings. By the end of the season he was routinely going for five frames per start and allowed one run or less in seven of his last nine outings.

Now at 21 years old he figures to move rapidly up the Cincinnati organization. He offers a low-90's fastball and mixes it up with a curve and changeup that he throws with good command as evidenced by his K/BB ratio of 45/7. He also is effective at inducing ground balls and had a ground/air out ratio of 1.3 while tossing only four pitches that were hit for home runs in 58 innings.

Some question his stature (6'0"/185#) for having limitations on a future as a starter, but the Reds have no reason to remove him from the rotation at this time. He's ready for promotion, but it's uncertain where he'll begin the season in 2013. Dayton is the next step, but he was once identified as a candidate for a fast track before falling behind from the surgery. If he does begin his season with the Dragons the Reds will probably keep an eye on him for a move to Bakersfield sometime during the season.

Physical limitations and absence of overpowering stuff limit Cisco's projections to a mid-rotation pitcher. However he's more of a low ceiling/high floor prospect with limited downside risk and a safer bet to wear an MLB uniform someday. His first minor league season suggests that arm troubles are behind him and he's a finesse pitcher throwing with a consistent form that should help durability. 2013 will be big for him as he prepares for his first full professional season. He came into the Cincinnati organization with a reputation for instinct and control beyond his years and thus far has lived up to the billing.

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