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Doc. Scott
11-04-2004, 03:15 PM
MINOR LEAGUE FREE AGENTS

Please see the other thread on these players for further discussion:

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29241

Full list of six-year guys (take Etherton, Clark, Caraccioli, Shearn, Barreto, Kelly, Beattie, Stratton, and Rose off Reds' list):

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/news/041028falist.html

Now, Iíve tried to take the Redsí current organizational depth into consideration when compiling this list; for example, we know that Jesse Gutierrez will be a solid AAA 1B-DH type, so Iíve not wasted much time picking all the 30-year-old veterans who slugged .550 in the Pacific Coast League. Therefore, youíll see a preponderance of left-handed pitchers, catchers, relievers with strikeout power, and utilitymen who can hit. I didnít see much point in amassing fifth outfielders, first basemen, or slick-fielding shortstops. Originally I was going to try to knock this list down to 20 players, but I find myself stuck at 22.

These guys arenít in any particular order.

1. Sam McConnell, LHP (Atlanta)

Lefty cracked the majors at 28 after back-to-back solid years at AAA. Control pitcher, born in Middletown.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?Name=GBJD

UPDATE: Re-signed by Atlanta, 12/1.

2. Mike Rose, C (Oakland)

Draws a very impressive number of walks and switch-hits, but doesn't drive the ball too much. He's still one of the better AAA catchers out there, for sure.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?Name=GIDJ

UPDATE: Signed by Los Angeles to a minor-league deal + NRI.

3. Chip Ambres, OF (Florida)

Has power and speed (20 HR, 26 SB), but also a pretty damn good batting eye (76 BB in 2004, 72 in 2003). He just struggles to hit for average (.253 career). He'll be 25, and has two decent seasons in AA under his belt. http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=4387

UPDATE: Signed by Boston, 12/1.

4. Mike Nannini, RHP (Florida)

Will be just 25, and pitches to contact quite well (2.5 walks per nine, 2.64 for his career). Gave up a ton of homers in the PCL, but did much better in 2003 in AA. He's a former first-round pick of the Astros.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=6401

UPDATE: Signed by Toronto to a minor-league deal + NRI, 11/11.

5. Esteban German, 2B (Oakland)

I've always liked German, who seemed to have D'Angelo Jimenez-type skills (minus the power), but Oakland's yo-yoed him between the big-league bench and AAA for three seasons now. He'll be 26, and if Juan Castro is (hopefully) not back and Felipe Lopez or Anderson Machado find themselves jettisoned, German would be a very useful guy to have at AAA or on the bench.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=4249

UPDATE: Signed by Texas, 11/19.

6. Jeff Bailey, 1B (Boston)

He was actually used primarily as a catcher in AA, although he also plays first and the outfield, and hit .294/.404/.526 at age 25.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=4458

7. Andy Dominique, C (Boston)

Surprised the Sox let him go- he hit a very solid .267/.360/.442 in AAA last season, and has a career minor-league OPS over 800. Six-year catchers usually don't hit for crap.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=5154

8. Oscar Alvarez, LHP (Cleveland)

24-year-old lefty went 7-2, 3.36 as a swingman in AA, walking only 24 in 67 innings.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=4382

9. Tony Schrager, 2B (Boston)

A utilityman with a little power and a very solid batting eye; will be 28.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=6949

UPDATE: Signed by LA, 11/17.

10. Chris Mowday, RHP (Chicago Cubs)

23-year-old Aussie whiffed 61 in 57 IP at High-A with a 1.89 ERA and 41 hits allowed.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=6372

11. Kevin Tolar, LHP (Chicago Cubs)

Will be 34, but the veteran lefty has struck out 77 in 57 IP in 2004, 34 in 31.2 IP in 2003, 82 in 78 IP in 2002, and 73 in 56 IP in 2001, all in AAA. And his highest ERA in that span is 3.45.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=7628

12. Bryant Nelson, 2B (Chicago White Sox)

Veteran returned from Japan to hit .288/.350/.486 starting all season at second base, walking more than he struck out and stealing 13 bases to boot.. Also plays third and the outfield, and switch-hits. Has a pretty darn solid minor-league track record with the stick, too. Bryant will be 31 come 2005.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=20144

13. Michael Bumatay, LHP (Colorado)

Only 25, and misses bats effectively from the left side over his career, but couldn't handle the elevation in Colorado Springs.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=4721

UPDATE: Signed by Detroit. (11/19)

14. Les Walrond, LHP (Kansas City)

27-year-old had surprising success moving from the bullpen to the rotation at Omaha, throwing up 11 wins and a 3.06 ERA.


http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=7382


15, Jesse Carlson, LHP (Houston)

After two consecutive seasons in relief with an ERA under 2, Carlson turned in a 5.04 in his first year in AA at age 23- and got released? Huh? A 21/51 BB/K ratio in 57 innings isn't bad, either. I wonder what happened here?

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=21480

UPDATE: Signed by Toronto to a minor-league deal + NRI, 11/11.

16. P.J. Bevis, RHP (New York Mets)

Threw flames as a 23-year-old reliever in AA in 2003, K-ing 100 in 71 innings and allowing only 55 hits. After a midseason promotion to AAA in 2004, however, Bevis walked 23 in 26.2 innings. He'll be 25 in midseason '05.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?Name=EBFJ

UPDATE: Mysteriously appeared on the Mets' 40-man, so I guess he's re-signed. FURTHER UPDATE: I think that might be wrong.

17. Wilton Chavez, RHP (Montreal)

Will be just 24 in 2005, and has back-to-back seasons in the PCL under his belt; he posted ERAs of 4.24 and 4.64, and walked only 2.35 per nine in 2004.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=4873

18. Josh McKinley, C (Montreal)

McKinley is the Expos' #1 pick from 1998 (their #1 pick from '97, 3B Scott Hodges, is also on the freebie list), and after a promising enough 2003 in AA, he fell apart after a trade to the Texas organization. Returning midway through for his third stint at AA Harrisburg, the results weren't pretty. McKinley will be 26 and has a few intriguing skills- he switch-hits, can draw walks, and plays outfield and third in addition to catcher (mostly the OF in 2004).

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=6220

UPDATE: Signed by Boston, 12/1.

19. Pat Strange, RHP (New York Mets)

Originally set to come to the Reds late in the 2000 season along with Alex Escobar for Barry Larkin before Carl Lindner made Barry Publishers' Clearing House's newest winner, Strange reached AAA in 2002, but has stagnated there ever since. The Mets didn't bother calling him up in 2004, either. Strange is 6-5, 247 pounds, a former second-round pick, and will be 25 in 2005. A change of scenery might do wonders.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=7155

20. Martire Franco, RHP (Philadelphia)

Just 23 in 2004, and put up a 3.30 ERA and 15 saves (and walking but 2.13 per nine) in the AA Reading bullpen after struggling in previous years as a starter.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=5344

UPDATE: Re-signed by Philadelphia and given an NRI. (11/9)

21. Jeff Urban, LHP (San Francisco)

Ex-#1 pick (1997) out of Ball State who's held his own in the PCL three years running. 2.6 walks per nine for his career, three per nine in the PCL- not bad for a lefty.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=7298

22. Aquilino Lopez, RHP (Toronto)

2003 Rule 5-er triumph for the Jays fell apart in '04, grooving way too many. Only 24.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=6022

Finally, a couple of wildcards that Dan OíBrien is probably familiar with. I donít necessarily condone picking these guys up, but weíve seen from Jason Romano and Ben Kozlowski that D-Train is partial to guys he participated in drafting. Unfortunately, none of them are named Aponte or Coxstein.

W1. Jose Morban, SS (Baltimore)

Ex-Rule 5er (2003) that DanO should be familiar with (the O's stole him from Texas before that season), he hit under .250 at both High-A and AA. Don't be surprised.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=6349

UPDATE: Signed by Cleveland, 11/19. DanO is foiled!

W2. Reynaldo Garcia, RHP (Boston)

Ex-Rangers fireballin' reliever who didn't pitch in '04. Don't be surprised.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=20133

W3. Hayden Gardner, RHP (Philadelphia)

Another 23-year-old ex-Ranger who just started walking people in the past couple of years. Don't be surprised.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=5398

W4. Spike Lundberg, RHP (Philadelphia)

Ex-Ranger six-year FA who pitches to contact (2.5 walks per nine for career). He'll be 28. Don't be surprised.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=6055
UPDATE: Signed by Toronto to a minor-league deal + NRI, 11/11.

M2
11-04-2004, 03:22 PM
Great list. Mowday, Walrond, Strange, Urban and Lopez are all intriguing bullpenners. Maybe Bumatay too, though all I can think of when I read his name is "John Bigboo-TAY! TAY! TAY! TAY!"

Doc. Scott
11-04-2004, 03:28 PM
A now-forgotten result of Moneyball (version 1.0) is that the system also undervalues the 25-28-year-old high-minors veterans who have fallen from or aged beyond blue-chip prospect status. Every year a couple of guys in that category break through to the shock and awe of all the Baseball America types. Rarely do they become stars, but more often than you would think do they become useful backups and bullpenners and even Cory Lidles for the major-league minimum.

lollipopcurve
11-04-2004, 03:33 PM
I'd looked over the full list a few days ago, and Lopez and Urban caught my eye. You've done a great job here, Doc!

The Reds did well 2 years ago in getting Freel from this pool.

dougflynn23
11-04-2004, 03:54 PM
:D Great research! I'd add Shane Bazzell, OAK, RHP to this list. Bazzell went 15-3 with a 3.08 ERA in AA in 2004, and at 26 years of age has upside. He swings between starting and relieving.

REDREAD
11-04-2004, 03:57 PM
Doc, send your resume to DanO. That's an impressive piece of work there.

And you make an excellent point. As glaring as some of our needs are, we should look hard at this list.

Doc. Scott
11-04-2004, 04:02 PM
Well, I am an OU guy. Although I've never been to Texas. And I may talk too fast for him to understand me.

Steve4192
11-04-2004, 05:27 PM
A now-forgotten result of Moneyball (version 1.0) is that the system also undervalues the 25-28-year-old high-minors veterans who have fallen from or aged beyond blue-chip prospect status. Every year a couple of guys in that category break through to the shock and awe of all the Baseball America types.
My favorite all-time example of this is Geronimo Berroa.
http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/berroge01.shtml

That guy bounced around 11 years, with six different teams, before finally sticking with Oakland as a 29 year old. He spent five years as a Toronto farmhand, got snagged by Atlanta in the rule V draft, was released two years later, signed with Seattle, was purchased by Cleveland a month later, left Cleveland as a 6 year FA after the season, signed with Cincinnati, left Cincinnati after the season as a FA, signed with Florida, left Florida after the season as a FA, signed with Oakland.

In all that time, Geronimo was just killing minor league pitching, batting 295 with 151 career HR in the minors. Geronimo rewarded the A's with four good years including a monster 1996 campaign (290 BA, 36 HR, 106 RBI). Then, as soon as he started to get expensive, the A's deal him away to open up a spot for Ben Grieve.

Want to hear something really scary? Berroa was traded for Jimmy Haynes, and Grieve was traded for Corey Lidle. Consiering the Reds were one of the teams that jilted Berroa, could the 2004 Reds be explained by the curse of Geronimo Berroa?

buckeyenut
11-04-2004, 08:39 PM
Great list. Some real finds there. These are the ones from you list I like and think could fit.

Mike Rose, C (Oakland)
Chip Ambres, OF (Florida)
Mike Nannini, RHP (Florida)
Esteban German, 2B (Oakland)
Jeff Bailey, 1B (Boston)
Andy Dominique, C (Boston)
Oscar Alvarez, LHP (Cleveland)
Chris Mowday, RHP (Chicago Cubs)
Michael Bumatay, LHP (Colorado)
Jesse Carlson, LHP (Houston)
P.J. Bevis, RHP (New York Mets)
Wilton Chavez, RHP (Montreal)
Josh McKinley, C (Montreal)
Pat Strange, RHP (New York Mets)
Martire Franco, RHP (Philadelphia)
Aquilino Lopez, RHP (Toronto)
Reynaldo Garcia, RHP (Boston)
Hayden Gardner, RHP (Philadelphia)

Red Heeler
11-04-2004, 11:30 PM
If Bailey can play catcher at all, he would be my first pick out of this litter. With Corky gone, the Reds are depending on another scrap heap catcher like Valentin (blech!) or Sardinha (double blech!) as the second in line behind Larue. I highly doubt that Jason will be on the 2005 Reds whether through trade or non-tender.

Redmachine2003
11-05-2004, 08:24 AM
Why would Bailey need to play catcher? With a 97 mph fastball I think I would leave him as a pitcher. :MandJ: Or were you talking about Jeff and Not Homer :dflynn:

Doc. Scott
11-05-2004, 08:32 AM
My favorite all-time example of this is Geronimo Berroa.
http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/berroge01.shtml

That guy bounced around 11 years, with six different teams, before finally sticking with Oakland as a 29 year old. He spent five years as a Toronto farmhand, got snagged by Atlanta in the rule V draft, was released two years later, signed with Seattle, was purchased by Cleveland a month later, left Cleveland as a 6 year FA after the season, signed with Cincinnati, left Cincinnati after the season as a FA, signed with Florida, left Florida after the season as a FA, signed with Oakland.

In all that time, Geronimo was just killing minor league pitching, batting 295 with 151 career HR in the minors. Geronimo rewarded the A's with four good years including a monster 1996 campaign (290 BA, 36 HR, 106 RBI). Then, as soon as he started to get expensive, the A's deal him away to open up a spot for Ben Grieve.

Want to hear something really scary? Berroa was traded for Jimmy Haynes, and Grieve was traded for Corey Lidle. Consiering the Reds were one of the teams that jilted Berroa, could the 2004 Reds be explained by the curse of Geronimo Berroa?

Perhaps the finding of Ryan Freel off this very same list two years ago is the beginning of the end for Berroa's Curse, eh?

Just keep in mind, though- even a smashing success like Berroa still had only four seasons where he was an above-average major-league player.

A guy like Lidle, same thing- signed as an undrafted free agent by Minnesota in 1990; contract sold to Milwaukee in 1993; traded to the Mets in January 1996 for Kelly Stinnett; did well in the Mets system, got promoted, and had a decent season as a reliever (1997); was claimed by Arizona in the expansion draft; got hurt and missed almost all of 1998; claimed on waivers by Tampa, missed most of 1999; put in a mediocre 2000 season as a swingman; traded in the three-way deal that sent him to Oakland (and sent Grieve to Tampa, Angel Berroa to KC, and Johnny Damon to Oakland); had two decent seasons at the end of the Oakland rotation; traded to Toronto for two minor-leaguers (one of whom was Chris Mowday from my list); got lit up in Toronto in 2003 before coming to the Reds as a free agent; got lit up again in Cincinnati, traded to Philadelphia; did okay, now again a free agent.

Point: in general, guys that bounce around like this have a tough time sustaining success.

Doc. Scott
11-05-2004, 08:41 AM
:D Great research! I'd add Shane Bazzell, OAK, RHP to this list. Bazzell went 15-3 with a 3.08 ERA in AA in 2004, and at 26 years of age has upside. He swings between starting and relieving.

I did see Shane on the list. 15 wins in 119 innings (14 starts, 20 relief appearances) definitely takes a lot of Bankheadian luck, though, and his other numbers outside of a repeat year in High-A ball are mediocre. But here's his link.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=4526

Doc. Scott
11-05-2004, 08:55 AM
Just for grins, here are a couple of Jim Bowden Specials (tm):

Alex Fernandez, OF, San Diego (five-toolers)

Now HERE'S a Jim Bowden special. Fernandez has power, speed, and youth (24 in 2005), but struggles with plate discipline. He hit .260/.288/.373 last year in the PCL, but .303/.327/.454 before that. Is he worth a flier?

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?Name=FCHD

Cristian Guerrero, OF, Anaheim (five-tooler AND related to a celebrity!)

Brother of Vlad! And Wilton! Tools galore, no performance. Mike Glavine is out there too, you know.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=5532

Jack Cust, OF (think a Caucasian Kevin Mitchell):

It's been a steep drop for the ex-Arizona/Colorado phenom-turned-suspect, as he hit but .235/.358/.433 in 2004 and struck out 127 times in 400 PAs. Can still draw walks and hit a few homers, but his glove simply is too bad for anything but DH. Someone will pick him up.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=960

Marino Salas, RHP, Baltimore (recall the time when a 19-year-old Alexander Farfan was supposedly a serious competitor to make the pitching staff out of spring training?)

How much more of a question mark can you be? He puts up a 2.15 ERA in Low-A, then gets let go. We don't know how old he is, and his only other professional record is in rookie ball...?

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=45668

Jerome Gamble, RHP, Boston (second time's a charm?)

Ex-Bowden Rule 5 returnee has done okay (when healthy) at High-A in 2003 and AA in 2004.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=5378

Gookie Dawkins, SS, Chicago Cubs

Hit at an unprecedented level for Iowa- .329/.402/.555 in 67 games and 164 AB after coming over in midseason. Fluke? The Cubs think so. He'll be 27.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=10574

Kevin McGlinchy, RHP, Chicago Cubs (injury longshots)

Ex-Brave relief phenom has struggled upon returning from serious injury. A sleeper?

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=722

Luis Martinez, LHP, St. Louis (shady backgrounds)

After getting out of murder charges in the DR, he washed out of St. Louis. Still only 25, and supposedly has power stuff from the left side.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?Name=GBEI

Andy Vanhekken, LHP, Detroit (washout blue-chippers)

Ex-phenom, now treading water after cracking the big leagues in 2002. A finesse lefty who might benefit from a change of scenery, and maybe a move to the 'pen. He'll be 26.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=20161

Scott Hodges, 3B-SS, Montreal (#1 flops- collect a full set!)

Actually a third baseman, and Montreal's #1 draft pick in 1997, Hodges missed most of 2004 due to injury, and didn't hit when he played. He might be a reasonable flyer, although the results haven't really been there yet.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=4280

Jose Nunez, LHP, New York Mets (more injury longshots)

After putting up a 3.31 ERA in 2001 for the Padres in 51.2 innings as a 22-year-old rookie, Nunez hurt himself and has missed most of the last three seasons. If he's healthy...?

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?Name=BDDF

Jason Standridge, RHP, Tampa Bay

Yet another 1997 #1 (Auburn), Standridge couldn't find a way to stick despite four separate stints in four separate years with Tampa. But he kept pitching solidly enough at AAA Durham to find his way back. If he finds a way to chop a few walks off his line, he could be a contributor at age 26. Change of scenery, etc.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=170


Buddy Carlyle, RHP, New York Yankees (redemption for Marc Kroon)

-Ex-Reds draft pick returned with a vengeance from twists with injury and Japan to dominate AA and pitch well for Columbus, putting up a 21/92 BB/K ratio in 106.1 innings there. He'll be 27.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=9650

Marc Kroon, RHP, Colorado (but he's still around)

Believe it or not, Kroon has rebounded at age 31 to be a decent pitcher, closing at AAA Colorado Springs and whiffing 72 in 49.2 innings. Talk about longshots.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=13959

Gooby Gerlits, C, Toronto.

Should be picked up on name value alone.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=20524

Doc. Scott
11-05-2004, 09:14 AM
And one more thing: the Reds have re-signed RHP Joel Barreto, who is one guy on the minor-league free agent list that I thought was worth keeping. He may have been 23 and in High-A, but 101 Ks in 91.2 innings and a 1.33 WHIP (37 BB, 85 H) is pretty solid. He piled up big K numbers before that, too.

Good job, Dan and Tim.

A bunch of other guys were signed or released, but I didn't see any of The Twenty-Two.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/transactions/trans.html

Steve4192
11-05-2004, 12:12 PM
Point: in general, guys that bounce around like this have a tough time sustaining success.
You are absolutely right.

A big part of the reason they have trouble sustaining their success is that they are already pushing 30 by the time they get their big break. Within 3-4 years, age related decline starts to catch up to them. However, for a small market team, that window is perfect. Use 'em up for 3-4 years, and trade 'em when they start to get expensive.

Oakland did a masterful job with Berroa, getting great production out him while he was cheap and then dealing him for a stud SP prospect when he got expensive. The fact that the stud prospect turned into Jimmy Haynes tarnishes it a bit, but without the benefit of hindsight, it was a masterful move.

Doc. Scott
11-05-2004, 12:54 PM
I'm just trying to be clear that just because these guys can produce nice ratios in the minors, it doesn't mean we're looking at the 2008 All-Star team. A lot of the time they do well at their level because they're older than the average player.

If many of them had more visible "tools" or the right draft pedigree or were younger, they wouldn't be six-year minor-league free-agents to begin with. But there are always penny stocks that can grow out there.

I'm pleased that the Reds have already moved to grab a couple of their own guys and bring them back. It could do for Brian Rose what happened for Luke Hudson, for example.

Joel Barreto could be Luis Pineda, but he could also be Felix Rodriguez. Rob Stratton could be Geronimo Berroa if he can figure out what's a ball and what's a strike; he had the power skill, usually the last to develop, from a young age (which is what made him a first-round draft choice). The right batting coach can work wonders; look at the young Sammy Sosa.

Okay, I'm probably getting a little wishful here, but these things do happen, and it's fun to have imagined them in advance.

Red Leader
11-05-2004, 12:55 PM
I hope they sign that Bevis kid.

http://j-walkblog.com/blog/images2/beavis2.jpg

Yeah! Yeah!

Doc. Scott
11-05-2004, 01:04 PM
Fastball! Fastball! Huh-huh! Yeah!

Steve4192
11-05-2004, 01:36 PM
I'm just trying to be clear that just because these guys can produce nice ratios in the minors, it doesn't mean we're looking at the 2008 All-Star team.
I completely agree.

On rare occassions you can catch lightning in a bottle like Oakland did with Berroa, but the vast majority of the time these guys pan out to be bench fodder. Sign a bunch and hope a few become useful spare parts off the bench.

Doc. Scott
11-05-2004, 03:49 PM
Obviously, clubs have pretty much all winter to sign these guys, but not a one of the players I've spotlighted has been signed yet, as best I can tell from either BaseballAmerica.com or ESPN.

Red Heeler
11-05-2004, 04:19 PM
Hey Doc,
Thanks for all of the work that has gone into this!

Do you have any scouting reports about Jeff Bailey as a catcher? He would be worth a flyer as a 1B/OF utility guy for AAA, but as a AAA C, he looks like a prime pickup.

Bevis is pretty interesting, too. Although old for the league, he dominated AA ball last year. Honestly, do the Reds have 6 potential AAA relievers with more upside than him for 2005?

Bill
11-05-2004, 04:24 PM
Nice work, but I can recall just a couple years ago that just myself and one other poster were enthusiastic about the Freel signing. I am afraid it is a sign of the state of the club when it's fans are included in scouring over the minor league free agent list in hopes of finding affordable help for the big league team (as opposed to providing insurance at AAA as the primary goal).

Doc. Scott
11-08-2004, 08:52 AM
Well, some of the guys on the list would be AAA insurance and some might be able to help at the big-league level. Players like Esteban German, Bryant Nelson, and Tony Schrager are probably not potential starters, but they'd be a cut above the average AAA vet. I've found that what keeps many of the minor-league veterans and journeymen from breaking through is a lack of power or plate discipline (or both). The Reds' crop of AAA vets from 2004- Aaron Holbert, Jermaine Clark, Jim Chamblee, Steve Lomasney- were by and large a pretty average bunch, even as AAA veterans go. There are players out there who are better, both for Louisville's record and for when an opportunity opens up in Cincinnati. It's likely that the better AAA hitters have serious other problems with tools like the glove or the wheels- but I think we've learned the Bob Boone Lesson (taught Berenstain Bears-style) about how it's usually better to have bats on the bench than gloves.

Some of the young pitchers are fliers for the future. Dominican/Latin American pitchers who were signed as teenagers and saw their careers stall due to injury or momentary ineffectiveness; now they're free agents at 23 or 24, and already with high-minors experience. Guys like Jeff Bailey and Chip Ambres seem to have solid hitting skills and plate discipline and are obviously undervalued by their former clubs.

You just never know which guys are going to surprise and make an impact in the big leagues, whether it's the same year they're picked up or three years later. But the Reds would increase the chance of getting one of these pleasant surprises if they picked players who seem to have results on their records that would indicate greater potential.

Plus, it's a really slow time in between the end of the World Series and the winter meetings.

Bill
11-08-2004, 10:09 PM
Hey Doc. No I agree, it is worth the clubs time to take a close look at some of these guys as they will contribute to the organization and perhaps at the big- league level. I always have a few in mind that I think could make the jump to the bigs if given the shot- I was a Berroa fan actually but also of several more that failed when given the crack. Anyway, it's interesting to see a roundup of such players. My remark was aimed more at the increased level of general interest on the board toward such players just as a sign of where we have turned for signs of hope during the Lindner regime.

Doc. Scott
11-09-2004, 09:08 AM
Perhaps it's just fallout from the Bowden years, like, "where'd he get THAT guy?" Plus, with the steadily increasing level of talent in the majors and minors (due to the truly global player marketplace), it makes it more likely to find someone useful in the scrap heap going forward.


---
Little did I know at the time I slapped together my little report that other pundits were weighing in on the six-year guys.

From the Baseball Prospectus chat with Chris Kahrl, Guru of "Transaction Analysis":

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?chatId=89

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Will, aka RCS (Fredericton, NB): Of the six-year free agents, who could make a splash in 2005? Of last year's six-year free agents, who made the biggest splash in 2004? Did you notice any team's performing better than most others in signing the right players of this type?

Chris Kahrl: Much depends on who's doing the shopping. Certainly, some teams are more active than others in sifting through the minor league free agent bin, like the Reds, A's, Red Sox, even the Royals. The Yankees could really help themselves, but they barely bother to remember the names of anybody after the first twenty or so players in the organization.

Guys I like in this year's pool: C Mike Rose, UT Josh McKinley, OF Chip Ambres, RHP Brian Rose, perhaps 3B Jared Sandberg for teams with lefty platoonable pop in the infield corners. And Jack Cust, because if Cal Pickering can make it, why not Jack?
---

Doc. Scott
11-10-2004, 02:42 PM
From ESPN:

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Cincinnati Reds: Signed first baseman A.J. Zapp to a minor-league contract and invited him to spring training.
---

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?Name=HFDI

http://mariners.scout.com/2/279104.html

While not on Scott's List Of 22, Zapp does have some interesting qualities. 27 next April and 6'3"/190#, he was picked up by the Seattle organization after the 2002 season from Atlanta, the club that drafted him in the 1st round in 1996 out of high school in Indiana. According to Tacoma's website, Zapp still makes his home in Greenville, IN. He's also apparently big into local fitness (http://www.nifs.org/performance/ajzapp.asp).

The lefty-swinging Zapp hit 26 homers for AA San Antonio in 2003 and 29 homers for AAA Tacoma in 2004, but struck out 178 and 184 times. This second figure was a PCL record, breaking a mark set by the Trifecta of Doom of Rob Deer (1984), Gorman Thomas (1974), and Rob Stratton (2003). Those two years also saw him draw only 47 and 56 walks, respectively.

His .291/.365/.523 line in AAA may also seem tempered by the fact that it's the Pacific Coast League, well-known for being a hitter's circuit, but Baseball Prospectus showed earlier this season that the Tacoma park was actually playing at a Park Factor of 948 (i.e. as a pitcher's park; 1000 is neutral). Tacoma has also been a pitcher's park the previous several seasons as well (source: BP again).

So AJ certainly didn't live up to Atlanta's hopes, and he has issues with plate discipline and making contact, but he did just come off what is his best professional season since he was a teenager in rookie ball. Either the Reds have bigger and better plans for Jesse Gutierrez (a trade? having him catch regularly again?), or they're just stockpiling a 1B/DH in Louisville to help the Bats put a few fireworks on the scoreboard.

---
Or, as a poster at the Mariner Musings blog put it in haiku:

http://www.all-baseball.com/marinermusings/archives/012320.html

Haiku #29: A.J. Zapp

Zap! Pow! Bang! Bam! Whiff!
A six-year minor leaguer.
Homers and strikeouts.
---

Doc. Scott
11-11-2004, 10:53 AM
The Phillies released RHP Eric Junge yesterday. Remember that it was rumored Junge was to be one of the PTBNLs in the Cory Lidle trade. (I consider Elizardo Ramirez being that guy to be for the best, though.)

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=5833

Do you bother? He was recovering from injuries (two stints on the DL, with a labrum tear and elbow inflammation) in 2004, but put together two solid stints (better than Josh Hancock's, incidentally) at AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre in 2002 and 2003. He also did decently in twenty-something MLB innings. He'll be 28, and was originally drafted by the Dodgers in the 11th round out of Bucknell.

Doc. Scott
11-11-2004, 11:04 AM
Andrew Beattie was signed by Philadelphia off the Reds' six-year list a couple of days back.

Doc. Scott
11-12-2004, 08:22 AM
11/11: Toronto snatches three off the List of Twenty-Two: Spike Lundberg, Mike Nannini, and Jesse Carlson.

The Reds, on the other hand, snap up Jeriome Robertson. Oops.

Also, Florida signed catcher-utiltyman Jason Hill off the Reds' list. Hill split time with Brian Peterson at AA Chattanooga in 2004, hitting .297/.350/.405. He'll be 28.

Doc. Scott
11-15-2004, 08:08 AM
11/13: Cincinnati also inked another minor-league veteran, ex-Yankee lefthander Randy Keisler. A 2nd-round pick in 1998 out of LSU, the 6'3", 190-pound Keisler made it to the big leagues with New York by 2000. He struggled in big-league stints that year and in 2001 before missing 2002 with an injury (presumably arm surgery). He spent 2003 in AAA with the San Diego, Texas, and Houston organizations, pitching well in Portland (5-1, 2.61, 41.1 IP) and okay in New Orleans (2-3, 4.28, 48.1 IP), but badly in Oklahoma City (0-2, 8.53, 12.2 IP). He again made it to the big leagues that year with San Diego, but was beaten around in both of his starts. 2004 saw him move to the Mets organization, and after starting the season late due to more injuries, he settled in at AAA Norfolk and put up a 3.81 ERA in 22 games (21 starts). He allowed 145 hits in 130 innings, but walked just 45 and struck out 110. Seventeen unearned runs did help his ERA a little bit. Keisler will be 29 by Opening Day, and while he hasn't been successful as a starter in the bigs, no one's ever tried to convert him to the bullpen, either. Perhaps the Reds might give that a shot.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/profiles/KE/tbc4307.asp

In addition, Los Angeles signed catcher Mike Rose (#2) and ex-Reds farmhand Mike Edwards, a third baseman.

Doc. Scott
11-22-2004, 10:49 AM
According to Baseball Americaís Transactions page, the Reds have re-signed minor-league pitchers Lance Caraccioli (http://www.thebaseballcube.com/profiles/CA/tbc21476.asp) and Tom Shearn (http://www.thebaseballcube.com/profiles/SH/tbc7004.asp), as well as utilityman Aaron Holbert.

Caraccioli was picked up mid-season out of the Mets organization, and despite a 5.36 ERA in middle relief with them, he put up a 3.00 mark in 39 Chattanooga innings, despite 29 walks. Originally a Dodger draftee, Caraccioli looked like a good bet to make the bigs a couple of years ago after going from Los Angeles to Cleveland in the Jolbert Cabrera trade, but he faded in the Indians organization in 2003 and was demoted to AA when picked up by New York before the Ď04 season. Heís 27 for 2005, and may move back to AAA to start the year.

Shearn, out of Columbus Briggs High School and a draft-and-follow signing by the Houston Astros in 1996 (bingo! Dan OíBrien connection!), also looked at one time like an excellent bet to make the majors after he put up a 2.92 ERA in 2002 at AAA New Orleans. But what I presume were arm injuries sidelined him for all of 2003, and he was assigned to Chattanooga when the Reds signed him before last year. He started off very slowly in middle relief, but turned it on in the second half of the season and earned a promotion back to AAA for the final month of the regular season. Shearn didnít disappoint, posting a 2.55 ERA in 11 Louisville appearances. Heíll be 27 for 2005 as well.

I like both of these signings. Both pitchers are darkhorses to make the majors at some point if they get to the right place at the right time. The Redsí pitching staff has a solid chance of being that right place.


Holbert is a former #1 draft pick of the Cardinals wayyyyy back in 1990. He batted .271/.349/.361 for Louisville in 2004, playing a whole bunch of positions, and has solid versatility, speed, and plate discipline, albeit very little power. He did once reach the major leagues, in 1996 with St. Louis, but is 0-for-3 lifetime.

This signing doesn't really excite me, given the wealth of six-year talent out there. What about a guy like Bryant Nelson (see List of 22)?

Doc. Scott
11-22-2004, 11:02 AM
In other news according to BA:

-Pittsburgh has signed RHP Brian Reith to a minor-league deal.

-St. Louis has activated ex-Reds farmhand RHP Nate Cotton from the inactive list. Cotton, now 25, put up a 1.96 ERA and 34 saves for Dayton in 2002, and 28 more saves for Potomac in 2003, but hurt his arm and was released. The Cards picked him up, but he appeared in only one game in 2004.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/profiles/CO/tbc4987.asp

-Ex-Reds farmhand Chris Piersoll has re-upped with Baltimore. You may remember Piersoll from his cup o' java with the Reds in 2001. He hurt his arm and missed all of 2002 and 2003.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/profiles/PI/tbc1409.asp

Doc. Scott
11-23-2004, 11:41 AM
Unfortunately, B&B fans, PJ Bevis is now showing up on the Mets' 40-man roster.

Doc. Scott
12-03-2004, 08:57 AM
Trying to keep all this info in the same place:

The Mets have signed RHP Juan Padilla to a minor-league deal + NRI. I thought Padilla was a good guy to pick up when Cincinnati claimed him last year (great ratios) but it didn't work out. Interesting to see if he has more success back in the Big Apple.

Doc. Scott
12-08-2004, 10:43 AM
12/1 update:

-Boston signs Chip Ambres and Josh McKinley off the list at the top of the thread.

-Atlanta brings back Sam McConnell.

Florida signs ex-Reds prospect Jim Crowell, a LHP.

Philadelphia signs RHP Aaron Myette. Will he throw strikes this time?

RHP Shane Bazzell, mentioned earlier in this thread, signs with Texas.

Doc. Scott
02-09-2005, 09:22 AM
After a long period of general inactivity:

Cincinnati Reds

Signed RHP Jason Andrew, OFs Geraldo Cabrera and Pedro Swann, IF Norris Hopper, 3B Alex Palaez and SSs Rich Aurilia and Santiago Perez. Released OF Tiago Campos, RHPs Phillip Ellison, Carlos Herrera and Luis Noriega and LHP Jacobo Meque. Released RHP Luke Prokopec.
---

I kinda figured about Campos (http://www.thebaseballcube.com/profiles/CA/tbc20305.asp). He just couldn't hit anywhere but Billings. Ellison (http://www.thebaseballcube.com/profiles/EL/tbc22773.asp) was an indy pickup. Herrera (http://www.thebaseballcube.com/profiles/HE/tbc51187.asp) struggled in rookie ball at 23. Noriega (http://www.thebaseballcube.com/profiles/NO/tbc45547.asp) had control problems. Meque (http://www.thebaseballcube.com/profiles/ME/tbc22007.asp) was young, but had similar issues. (15 WPs and 36 BB in 49 IP at Billings). Prokopec we knew about- injuries.

As for the pickups:

Andrew (http://www.thebaseballcube.com/profiles/AN/tbc21344.asp), 25, is a right-handed reliever who was originally picked up as a NDFA by Texas. In three seasons, he never had higher than a 3.51 ERA at any level and cracked AAA for one game at the end of 2004, but can't be too well-respected by scouts. His numbers show lots of hits and few walks. I'm betting he's the mopup guy at Chattanooga this season.

I can't find anyone named "Geraldo Cabrera", although there's a Gerardo Cabrera. Rico suave?

Pedro Swann (http://www.thebaseballcube.com/profiles/SW/tbc18648.asp) is a very interesting pickup. A 34-year old veteran of fourteen minor-league seasons, Swann was originally drafted by Atlanta in 1991, but went to Detroit as a six-year FA following the 1997 season. He went back to Atlanta in 2000, and finally cracked the majors after hitting .305 at AAA Richmond that year. He struck out in both of his big-league at-bats. Following another year stuck at AAA, Pedro signed with Toronto for 2002 and managed another MLB stint, going 1-for-12. 2003 saw another new organization, Baltimore, and another cup of big-league coffee (3-for-14). He hit .277/.339/.443 for AAA Ottawa in 2004, but did not get the call this time around. Swann plays the corner outfield positions and hits lefthanded. He's got a lifetime batting average of .287, and is usually good for an OPS around 800 or so- walks around 10% of at-bats and 10-15 HRs. The Reds are his fifth organization.

Hopper (http://www.thebaseballcube.com/profiles/HO/tbc5712.asp), 26, was picked up as a six-year FA from the Royals organization. Drafted in the 8th round in 1998 as a high school outfielder, the five-foot-nine, 200-pound Hopper has hit .278 in his career but has very little power (two homers in 655 games). Naturally, he makes his living with defense, speed, and contact hitting. I would imagine he's the backup outfielder at Chattanooga this season, replacing Ramon Moreta. He did appear in four games at 2B for AA Wichita in 2004, but I don't know why he's being listed as an infielder.

Pelaez (http://www.thebaseballcube.com/profiles/PE/tbc6560.asp), 29, was a 42nd-round pick out of San Diego State by the Padres in 1998. With plenty of line drives and few strikeouts but mediocre power, little patience, and short stature (five-foot-nine), Pelaez rose to AAA by 2000, got a cup of coffee in 2002 (two for eight) and departed the SD organization for Anaheim after missing half of 2003 with an undisclosed injury. He appeared in just 92 games in 2004, but hit well for AAA Salt Lake (.317/.349/.456). Alex can play first, second, and third, and has hit .298 in his minor-league career and struck out only 320 times in more than 2,600 at-bats... but walked only 185 times. I'd think he's the new Jim Chamblee at Louisville.

Another utilityman, Perez (http://www.thebaseballcube.com/profiles/PE/tbc6560.asp), 29, spent most of 2003 in the Reds' organization. Signed as a free agent out of the DR in 1993, the switch-hitting Perez spent five years in the Detroit system and three with Milwaukee before getting the call in 2000 to MLB, hitting .173 in 24 games. San Diego picked him up for 2001 and he spent the entire year that year with the Padres, but injuries limited him to 43 games and a .198/.320/.210 line. He then proceeded to get signed by Texas, but missed most of 2002 with injuries as well. After the aforementioned 2003 with Chattanooga and Louisville (and a stint with Baltimore), Perez had a healthy 2004 in Texas, slaying the Texas League to the tune of .387/.452/.694 in 28 games, then hitting .265/.374/.416 in 89 games at AAA Oklahoma City. Santiago appeared at second, shortstop, third, and the outfield in 2004, but committed a total of 28 errors. He's a high-walk, high-strikeout hitter, but he set his personal best this past year with just fourteen homers. He does have some speed, stealing eighteen bases (career high: 31 in 2000). Meet Jermaine Clark's replacement.

Doc. Scott
02-09-2005, 09:43 AM
Other news:

-Arizona signed 11th-round 2004 pick Darryl Lawhorn, brother of 2004 Reds' 9th-round pick Trevor.

-Balitmore signed Reds' minor-league stalwart Bobby Darula, now apparently going by "Rob".

-Detroit has made it five organizations for ex-Red Gookie Dawkins.

-LA has picked up ex-Red farmhand and right-handed reliever Jorge Cordova, who was part of the deal that sent David Espinosa to the Tigers for Brian "Scuffy" Moehler back in '02.

-Philadelphia sold the contract of the newly-signed Aaron Myette, stalwart 2004 Louisville Bats and Canadian Olympic team closer, to the Sendai Golden Eagles of the Japanese Pacific League.

-Toronto picked up the Reds' #1 draft pick (fifth overall) from 1992, outfielder Chad Mottola. Mottola, now 33, is a veteran of eight organizations and thirteen minor-league seasons. He's appeared in parts of four seasons in the bigs (49 games total). Chad is nearing two hundred minor-league homers.

And finally, just to show how the jokes write themselves, the Washington Nationals have signed left-hander Ed Yarnall.

lollipopcurve
02-09-2005, 10:48 AM
Great stuff, Doc. Thanks.

TC81190
02-09-2005, 07:22 PM
-Toronto picked up the Reds' #1 draft pick (fifth overall) from 1992, outfielder Chad Mottola. Mottola, now 33, is a veteran of eight organizations and thirteen minor-league seasons. He's appeared in parts of four seasons in the bigs (49 games total). Chad is nearing two hundred minor-league homers.

Better known as, the reason the Reds don't have Derek Jeter.

Doc. Scott
02-10-2005, 12:01 PM
Yeah, good point. But at least he hit some jacks somewhere, right?

Also, by leaving the Mottola capsule facts-only, I thought I might get this thread blessed with a few more punctuation-less bits of wisdom from Mr. Princeton. It's like holy water. :D

Doc. Scott
02-17-2005, 09:59 AM
St. Louis signed ex-Reds Kevin Jarvis and Hector Mercado to minor-league deals. I'd been wondering what happened to Hector.

http://www.rotoworld.com/content/clubhouse_news.asp?sport=MLB&majteam=STL

Doc. Scott
02-17-2005, 10:03 AM
BA's latest transactions page has the Reds releasing two minor-leaguers: the interestingly-named Wellington Alvarado (http://www.baseballamerica.com/cgi-bin/statsfindplayer.pl?player=alvarado%2C+Wellinthon), a 1B, and RHP Francisco Olivares (http://www.thebaseballcube.com/profiles/OL/tbc51255.asp). Alvarado started with the Phillies in 2003 and struggled again in the GCL in 2004 and Olivares pitched a few games for that same club.

Doc. Scott
03-08-2005, 08:43 AM
Recovering fireballer Luis Pineda was in spring training with the Nationals this spring, because they just reassigned him to the minor-league camp.

He's still pitched only about 35 innings since having shoulder surgery in 2002. Washington is also his third organization since leaving Cincinnati.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/luis_pineda.shtml

BoydsOfSummer
03-08-2005, 09:47 AM
He could bring it. If I recall right,he touched off a little donnybrook against said Expos/Nats early in 2002. I nearly froze to death that night up in the cheap seats.

Doc. Scott
03-08-2005, 12:06 PM
Pineda's now approaching thirty, so his time grows short, but he had major-league stuff, no question. Just not enough of an idea where it was going.