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mound_patrol
11-29-2005, 12:25 PM
1. Homer Bailey
2. Jay Bruce
3. Travis Wood
4. B.J. Szymanski
5. Chris Denorfia
6. Rafael Gonzalez
7. Miguel Perez
8. Tyler Pelland
9. Joey Votto
10. Travis Chick

Went on to say the Reds have made some good picks with these younger pitchers, but are a few years away from being able to contribute.

ED44
11-29-2005, 01:09 PM
So, Chick is the better of the two we got for Randa? I thought Germano would be on there somewhere...

Red Leader
11-29-2005, 01:15 PM
So, Chick is the better of the two we got for Randa? I thought Germano would be on there somewhere...

Germano= closer to the majors.
Chick= higher "ceiling"

M2
11-29-2005, 01:18 PM
Scary list. Exactly one guy has done anything of note in the high minors.

Though for the first time in four years the Reds' first round draft pick from the preceding spring doesn't make #1 on the list. He's #2. Mind you, I'd put him at #1.

15fan
11-29-2005, 01:25 PM
Scary list. Exactly one guy has done anything of note in the high minors.

Though for the first time in four years the Reds' first round draft pick from the preceding spring doesn't make #1 on the list. He's #2. Mind you, I'd put him at #1.

Yep.

Reading that list, it came through loud & clear that the cavalry won't be arriving any time soon...

Milezinni
11-29-2005, 01:44 PM
At least there is a cavalry.

M2
11-29-2005, 01:46 PM
At least there is a cavalry.

More like a bunch of boot camp cadets. Denorfia's the only guy who's ridden a horse.

15fan
11-29-2005, 01:49 PM
At least there is a cavalry.

I was actually trying to make the point that the cavalry won't be arriving any time soon because there is no cavalry.

Period.

Ravenlord
11-29-2005, 01:49 PM
how does Guevara avoid this list? does he have one good pitch, and one or two pitches needing major development?

M2
11-29-2005, 02:00 PM
how does Guevara avoid this list? does he have one good pitch, and one or two pitches needing major development?

I figure 2006 is the make or break year for Guevara as a prospect. If he tools on AA hitters like he's done in A ball, then he's got to gain prospect status.

Then again, it's pretty hard to justify keeping Guevara off a prospects list that has Miguel Perez on it. For all we know Guevara might even have a better stick than Perez.

Ravenlord
11-29-2005, 02:08 PM
I figure 2006 is the make or break year for Guevara as a prospect. If he tools on AA hitters like he's done in A ball, then he's got to gain prospect status.

Then again, it's pretty hard to justify keeping Guevara off a prospects list that has Miguel Perez on it. For all we know Guevara might even have a better stick than Perez.
as it is, i'm not sure why he hasn't at least spent token time in AA already.

drafted in 2003, he was sent to Dayton (3.43 ERA, 8.47 H/9, 0.92 HR/9, 3.20 BB/9, 8.92 K/9, 39.1 IP) after dominating Billings in his first pro year.

at age 22 in Dayton, 2.86 ERA, 7.46 H/9, 0.95 HR/9, 3.81 BB/9, 14.29 K/9.

at age 23 in Sarasota, 2.45 ERA, 6.80 H/9, 0.35 HR/9, 2.45 BB/9, 11.40 K/9.

seems like he was dominating High A pretty good, he's 23 years old, so why not give him at least 3 weeks in Chattanooga's pen?

i just have this weird feeling the Reds (read as O'Brien) are ignoring him because Baseball America is ignoring him.

Reds Nd2
11-29-2005, 03:01 PM
Anyone else suprised by the absence of Bergolla and Howard?

flyer85
11-29-2005, 03:03 PM
Anyone else suprised by the absence of Bergolla and Howard?yes, especially with the inclusion of Perez and Gonzalez.

M2
11-29-2005, 03:04 PM
Anyone else suprised by the absence of Bergolla and Howard?

Partially, though I'm more surprised by the absence of Medlock and Rosales.

ochre
11-29-2005, 03:09 PM
Partially, though I'm more surprised by the absence of Medlock and Rosales.
Yep. I was just thinking the same about Medlock particularly. They must think he's too short.

I believe BA has seen Rosales as a fluke. I think its based on how they rated him coming out of college.

Reds Nd2
11-29-2005, 03:22 PM
yes, especially with the inclusion of Perez and Gonzalez.

I was a little stumped by Gonzalez, but BA has been pretty enamoured with Perez' catch and throw skills.

SteelSD
11-29-2005, 03:23 PM
Yep. I was just thinking the same about Medlock particularly. They must think he's too short.

I believe BA has seen Rosales as a fluke. I think its based on how they rated him coming out of college.

Leaving Rosales off that list is a crime.

Freakin' guy posts .998 and .918 OPS seasons in his last two college seasons then just keeps on trucking while advancing up the minor league food chain. Didn't miss a beat, led Pioneer League Shortstops in Fielding Percentage (.983) and DP's (29) while smacking the cover off the ball and then only got better offensively at Sarasota. Even if he doesn't end up at SS (we all know how that goes), the guy has "fast track" written all over him if he continutes to hit.

Medlock is a guy who scouts keep saying doesn't have the pure stuff to get folks out but then just keeps getting folks out. At less than 6'0" tall, I can see where someone would project him down a list, but to float names like Perez and Chick instead of Medlock at this point is pretty silly.

BA's schtick has been to routinely hype guys they've hyped in the past. It's convenient, but stupid.

Reds Nd2
11-29-2005, 03:26 PM
Partially, though I'm more surprised by the absence of Medlock and Rosales.

I'm asking here, because I don't know, but isn't 23 a little old to be pitching in high A ball?

SteelSD
11-29-2005, 03:29 PM
I'm asking here, because I don't know, but isn't 23 a little old to be pitching in high A ball?

He turned 23 on November 8th, 2005 according to thebaseballcube.com.

M2
11-29-2005, 03:32 PM
I'm asking here, because I don't know, but isn't 23 a little old to be pitching in high A ball?

You mean Guevara, right?

Yeah, it's about a year older than the norm, but it's not wantonly out of line.

Milezinni
11-29-2005, 03:37 PM
I was actually trying to make the point that the cavalry won't be arriving any time soon because there is no cavalry.

Period.

You don't think Baily, Wood, or Perez have serious ML potential?

Why not?

Now that Bowden-hurry-up-and-get-here-if-your-arm-doesn't-blow-out is gone, they have a chance to develop at a higher percentage pace....

Reds Nd2
11-29-2005, 03:37 PM
He turned 23 on November 8th, 2005 according to thebaseballcube.com.

Thanks Steel. For some reason I thought his birthday was early in the year.

Reds Nd2
11-29-2005, 03:39 PM
You mean Guevara, right?

Yeah, it's about a year older than the norm, but it's not wantonly out of line.


I was refering to Medlock. Didn't he spend the year at Sarasota? But as Steel pointed out, he wasn't as old as I gave him credit for being. My bad for relying on memory and not looking it up first.

M2
11-29-2005, 03:39 PM
You don't think Baily, Wood, or Perez have serious ML potential?

Why not?

Now that Bowden-hurry-up-and-get-here-if-your-arm-doesn't-blow-out is gone, they have a chance to develop at a higher percentage pace....

Perez isn't a pitcher ... though his chances might be better if he were because he's from the Dan Sardinha school of hitting.

Reds Nd2
11-29-2005, 03:43 PM
He's having a pretty good winter. Whatever that's worth
.289/.357/.421 (Perez)

M2
11-29-2005, 03:49 PM
I was refering to Medlock. Didn't he spend the year at Sarasota? But as Steel pointed out, he wasn't as old as I gave him credit for being. My bad for relying on memory and not looking it up first.

Yeah, that threw me for a moment. Medlock's actually on a pretty good track. Say he does well in AA next year and then in AAA in 2007. In that case he'd probably debut in the majors in late 2007 at age 24. Aaron Harang just got over the hump at age 27. Brandon Claussen's hoping to follow in his footsteps at age 27. Medlock could be in his first full major league season at age 25 if he progresses on schedule. Though his GB/FB ratio concerns me.

ochre
11-29-2005, 04:11 PM
Leaving Rosales off that list is a crime.

Freakin' guy posts .998 and .918 OPS seasons in his last two college seasons then just keeps on trucking while advancing up the minor league food chain. Didn't miss a beat, led Pioneer League Shortstops in Fielding Percentage (.983) and DP's (29) while smacking the cover off the ball and then only got better offensively at Sarasota. Even if he doesn't end up at SS (we all know how that goes), the guy has "fast track" written all over him if he continutes to hit.

Medlock is a guy who scouts keep saying doesn't have the pure stuff to get folks out but then just keeps getting folks out. At less than 6'0" tall, I can see where someone would project him down a list, but to float names like Perez and Chick instead of Medlock at this point is pretty silly.

BA's schtick has been to routinely hype guys they've hyped in the past. It's convenient, but stupid.
I'd probably have both in my top 6 or so. The reasons I listed were the only things I could think of as far as reasons (poor) to leave them off.

rdiersin
11-29-2005, 04:14 PM
Yeah, that threw me for a moment. Medlock's actually on a pretty good track. Say he does well in AA next year and then in AAA in 2007. In that case he'd probably debut in the majors in late 2007 at age 24. Aaron Harang just got over the hump at age 27. Brandon Claussen's hoping to follow in his footsteps at age 27. Medlock could be in his first full major league season at age 25 if he progresses on schedule. Though his GB/FB ratio concerns me.


Why does his GB/FB concern you? Don't get me wrong, I know its below 1, and that is a concern, but I am not sure how much of one. While there is some correlation between HR and GB/FB, the magnitude of the correlation coefficient is on the order of .35 or so (for the majors). Not particularly substantial. I guess, what I am trying to get at is that he has had good HR/9, I think in both of his years. Once in a hitters park and the other in a pitchers league. I guess the telling year will be the next when he has to adjust to AA.

Also, are there any studies relating GB/FB ratio in the minors? I am not aware of any. I am just a little suspect of it, at least in the minors. It just seems that in the lower minors there are lower GB/FB ratios to me. I haven't looked at it totally yet, so this is why I guess I am asking. Just a quick look is all that I have given it. It seems to me that superior pitchers in the minors may get more pop ups than as they progress, thereby making the GB/FB ratio difficult to predict as a player moves up.

Reds Nd2
11-29-2005, 04:27 PM
Yeah, that threw me for a moment.

Though his GB/FB ratio concerns me.


If people could only read my mind (or I could could type my thoughts more clearly), my life would be so much easier. :)

These are the career numbers for Medlock. No wonder you like this guy.
K/9 - 9.18
K/BB - 3.91
WHIP - 1.14

Doesn't look like he has a problem missing bats.

M2
11-29-2005, 04:49 PM
Why does his GB/FB concern you? Don't get me wrong, I know its below 1, and that is a concern, but I am not sure how much of one. While there is some correlation between HR and GB/FB, the magnitude of the correlation coefficient is on the order of .35 or so (for the majors). Not particularly substantial. I guess, what I am trying to get at is that he has had good HR/9, I think in both of his years. Once in a hitters park and the other in a pitchers league. I guess the telling year will be the next when he has to adjust to AA.

Also, are there any studies relating GB/FB ratio in the minors? I am not aware of any. I am just a little suspect of it, at least in the minors. It just seems that in the lower minors there are lower GB/FB ratios to me. I haven't looked at it totally yet, so this is why I guess I am asking. Just a quick look is all that I have given it. It seems to me that superior pitchers in the minors may get more pop ups than as they progress, thereby making the GB/FB ratio difficult to predict as a player moves up.

I don't know about studies, but it's always seemed to me that the upper minors (and the California League) is where previously successful flyball pitchers tend to encounter longball problems. Once they run into more mature hitters those flyballs start to travel a little farther and trouble can ensue. In general, I'm down on flyball pitchers these days. Oh, I wouldn't mind Curt Schilling or John Smoltz, but the Reds have bitten into too much electrified flyball cheese of late. Medlock had a 0.7 ratio last year. It's not a death sentence by any means, but it does cause me some concern that it could lead to a steep increase in his homer totals. The good news is that he's had no problem in that area up until now (except for his brief stint in Potomac and that may have been the result of being advanced too quickly). Hopefully Medlock follows the Ryan Madson path, where no one loves him too much and he can learn from a year-long stop at every level.

Puffy
11-29-2005, 04:49 PM
This list makes me sad.

Steve4192
11-29-2005, 05:09 PM
i just have this weird feeling the Reds (read as O'Brien) are ignoring him because Baseball America is ignoring him.
Actually, it usually works the other way around. For the team-by-team prospect lists, BBA relies pretty heavilly on the teams internal assessment of their prospects. That often leads to productive guys getting left off of the list because the parent organization doesn't think they have a great 'ceiling'.

M2
11-29-2005, 05:15 PM
Actually, it usually works the other way around. For the team-by-team prospect lists, BBA relies pretty heavilly on the teams internal assessment of their prospects. That often leads to productive guys getting left off of the list because the parent organization doesn't think they have a great 'ceiling'.

Exactly. Part of what that list tells you is where the Reds' minds are at.

Milezinni
11-29-2005, 05:39 PM
Reds "minds" are about to change heads. Hopefully.

Steve4192
11-29-2005, 05:39 PM
I don't know about studies, but it's always seemed to me that the upper minors (and the California League) is where previously successful flyball pitchers tend to encounter longball problems.
For my purposes, I tend to look at HR/H ratio for pitchers in the low minors rather than straight HR/9IP.

Some guys put up ridiculous H/IP pitch numbers in single-A and that really skews their HR/IP rate. With inexperienced pitchers, I am more concerned with the quality of contact they allow when they fail to miss bats rather than the gross results over 9IP. Bruce Chen was always a guy who put up acceptable HR/9IP ratios in the minors but once he stopped missing bats his HR/9IP rate jumped because he couldn't maintain his crazy minor league H/IP rates.

I don't know where to slot Medlock just yet. His HR rate in his first exposure to high-A was pretty ugly, but he rebounded nicely this year in the FSL. Of course, the FSL also has a reputation as being one of the most pitcher friendly leagues in professional ball. The big question is can he hold onto the gains he made this year, or will he regress when he steps up to the Southern League.

M2
11-29-2005, 05:51 PM
For my purposes, I tend to look at HR/H ratio for pitchers in the low minors rather than straight HR/9IP.

Some guys put up ridiculous H/IP pitch numbers in single-A and that really skews their HR/IP rate. With inexperienced pitchers, I am more concerned with the quality of contact they allow when they fail to miss bats rather than the gross results over 9IP. Bruce Chen was always a guy who put up acceptable HR/9IP ratios in the minors but once he stopped missing bats his HR/9IP rate jumped because he couldn't maintain his crazy minor league H/IP rates.

I don't know where to slot Medlock just yet. His HR rate in his first exposure to high-A was pretty ugly, but he rebounded nicely this year in the FSL. Of course, the FSL also has a reputation as being one of the most pitcher friendly leagues in professional ball. The big question is can he hold onto the gains he made this year, or will he regress when he steps up to the Southern League.

Great way to slice that bread. I'm using HR/H on a regular basis from here on out.

The Southern League can be pretty pitcher friendly too, so Medlock, assuming he keeps maturing, might not run into any longball demons until Indianapolis.

FWIW, I love what he's done to date, it's just that one proclivity that makes me a little nervous.

ochre
11-29-2005, 05:53 PM
Great way to slice that bread. I'm using HR/H on a regular basis from here on out.

The Southern League can be pretty pitcher friendly too, so Medlock, assuming he keeps maturing, might not run into any longball demons until Indianapolis.

FWIW, I love what he's done to date, it's just that one proclivity that makes me a little nervous.
All the more reason to be pimping him hard. Shine him up as a top 2-3 prospect and use him in a trade.

Milezinni
11-29-2005, 06:07 PM
Not me,

I like to watch the pitcher in a game. See what kind of stuff he has overall, and see how he uses it to get batters to hit into the various defensive alignments based on the various situations that come up.

See how he pitches to situational baseball. Because in my mind, that's all that matters.

I factor in what I know about the strategic tendencies of the Coach, and then try to come away with an impression of whether or not he could succeed under the coaches strategy, or was it a case of being in the wrong "system".

One of the reasons Coaches get fired is because they can't utilize the strengths of his players into a strategy that works.

Is that the pitchers fault?

I mean, if he is pitching into the strategy devised by the coaching staff, and get's rocked unmercilessly, is that the fault of the pitcher?

Or is the pitcher missing his spots? And just can't work in anyone's system? Is his stuff "off" today?

90+% of the pitchers in baseball do not call their own game, so, who is a good pitcher, and who isn't?

princeton
11-29-2005, 06:16 PM
This list makes me sad.

why? rock bottom is only barely above us

M2
11-29-2005, 06:21 PM
why? rock bottom is only barely above us

Just curious on your thoughts about the BA rankings since you've been known to make a Reds top prospects list every now and then. I haven't been able to muster a list in months. I get lost somewhere around number three and figure there's no way I'll make it to ten.

princeton
11-29-2005, 06:44 PM
Farm system 2003-2005 reminds me of 1994-1997 except that they can't blame Marge

M2
11-29-2005, 06:50 PM
Farm system 2003-2005 reminds me of 1994-1997 except that they can't blame Marge

That's basically my take too.

Puffy
11-29-2005, 06:52 PM
Farm system 2003-2005 reminds me of 1994-1997 except that they can't blame Marge

This list makes me sad.

Betterread
11-29-2005, 07:42 PM
Farm system 2003-2005 reminds me of 1994-1997 except that they can't blame Marge

Does that mean that you believe Wily Mo Pena, Edwin Encarnacion and Brandon Claussen will turn out to be less successful than Jason LaRue, Aaron Boone and Brett Tomko? (all six players mentioned were prospects that were given significant roles for the ML team)
Or are you talking about the drafts for those years? For the sake of comparison, I think the bad years for Reds drafts were 1999-2002 (only yielding Ben Broussard- with hope for Joey Votto and Chris Denorfia). 2003 has turned out badly, but 2004 and 2005 still hold promise.

Reds Nd2
11-29-2005, 07:58 PM
For my purposes, I tend to look at HR/H ratio for pitchers in the low minors rather than straight HR/9IP.

Some guys put up ridiculous H/IP pitch numbers in single-A and that really skews their HR/IP rate. With inexperienced pitchers, I am more concerned with the quality of contact they allow when they fail to miss bats rather than the gross results over 9IP.

The GB/FB doesn't give you a cause for concern then? It seems to me that this would be of paramount importance, especially if a pitcher began to miss bats. I'm asking, because GB/FB is the first thing I look at. It's troublesome to me if a pitcher is getting most of his non strikeout outs, on fly balls.

Falls City Beer
11-29-2005, 08:02 PM
Does that mean that you believe Wily Mo Pena, Edwin Encarnacion and Brandon Claussen will turn out to be less successful than Jason LaRue, Aaron Boone and Brett Tomko? (all six players mentioned were prospects that were given significant roles for the ML team)
Or are you talking about the drafts for those years? For the sake of comparison, I think the bad years for Reds drafts were 1999-2002 (only yielding Ben Broussard- with hope for Joey Votto and Chris Denorfia). 2003 has turned out badly, but 2004 and 2005 still hold promise.

Really? 2004 holds promise? Do tell. Err, never mind, I'd rather not endure another Bailey stat-skewering. Which leaves this question: how can one player with an enormous "if" tag hanging around his neck qualify as a "promising" draft?

And please, please count me among the dubious of the 2005 draft. Bruce, Wood, the whole damn lot. Too young; they're like homunculi at this point.

rdiersin
11-29-2005, 08:30 PM
The GB/FB doesn't give you a cause for concern then? It seems to me that this would be of paramount importance, especially if a pitcher began to miss bats. I'm asking, because GB/FB is the first thing I look at. It's troublesome to me if a pitcher is getting most of his non strikeout outs, on fly balls.


The thing about Medlock, is if you look at the game log, you see that after his first four starts he only gave up 2 HR. That's right, he gave up 4 of his HRs in his first four appearances of the year. Furthermore, he had a GO/FO ratio closer to 1, in 0.85. (I should say that if you go by the box scores and find the GO and FO and calculate the GO/FO, you don't get the GB/FB that BA has in their stats. At least I didn't, but it was close.)

The one cause for concern that I had was that it seemed that he was shut down early in Sarasota, and I never heard anything about that.

Aronchis
11-29-2005, 08:44 PM
The key difference between the mid-90's system vs. now are the arms. These guys are legit power hurlers. They throw heat. Whether they develope anything with that heat is of course questionable, but the raw talent is there compared to the mid-90's system which offered very little in terms of raw talent. I would say this is a big year for Bailey,Gonzo,Pelland,Chick,Vallygirl and Ward of the "power" throwers. Lets see how they develope with some softer tossers like Medlock, Stevens,Lecure and Fisher mixed in.

O'brien is either going to leave the team with a increasing number of power arms beginning to sprinkle into the upper minors, or the status quo which we have had for the last 20 years. It could influence the new GM's timetable and such. Do you rebuild over in a 5-6 year plan? Or go more for a 1-2 year plan based on talent already inside the organization? Pray for the best.

Reds Nd2
11-29-2005, 08:49 PM
I haven't checked the game logs, but you bring up some very good points about Medlock. My questions were meant to be in judging pitchers overall, GB/FB is the first thing I look at. Milton has me a little gun shy, I guess.

Steve4192
11-29-2005, 08:59 PM
The GB/FB doesn't give you a cause for concern then? It seems to me that this would be of paramount importance, especially if a pitcher began to miss bats. I'm asking, because GB/FB is the first thing I look at. It's troublesome to me if a pitcher is getting most of his non strikeout outs, on fly balls.
Cause for concern?

Sure ... if the player is an extreme flyball pitcher and has shown problems keeping the ball in the park. Otherwise, I don't worry too much about it. Just beacuse a guy is a flyball pitcher does not mean that he is, or will be, gopher prone. Pedro Martinez, Johan Santana, Jason Schmidt, and Mark Prior are all flyball pitchers and they've all been pretty good at keeping the ball in the park.

In general, I feel GB:FB rate doesn't have much predictive value as to whether a guy will develop 'gopheritis' at some point in the future. I feel his actual HR/H rate is a much better indicator of future success/failure.

In Medlock's case, he is nowhere near being an 'extreme' flyball pitcher, and has had his HR rate in control for most of his career. At this point, I am cautiously optimistic, but I will reserve the right to change my mind if the Southern League goes all 'Whack a Mole' on him in 2006.

Falls City Beer
11-29-2005, 09:35 PM
Farm system 2003-2005 reminds me of 1994-1997 except that they can't blame Marge

Right. Now we have a clear picture of what it looks like to have all of the idiots pulling in one direction.

Kc61
11-29-2005, 09:41 PM
This list confirms my view that DanO has succeeded in terms of stocking the Reds system with better minor league prospects. I find the list pretty encouraging.

Bailey, Bruce, Wood are all high level young prospects. The 2005 draft had a number of other good ones, particularly pitchers (Ward, LeClure, etc.) who are not even on this list. Guys like Pelland, Gonzalez and Chick are solid arms (not a junk baller among them). Add in the injury rehabs (Dumatrait, Gardner, Pauly), relievers (Guevera, Shafer) and some others (Germano, Medlock) you are starting to see some real depth.

Many of these guys are in the lower minors, but in two years, if they stay healthy, they will start to emerge. I'm glad the Reds drafted Bailey out of high school rather than a lesser talent at the college level. (Top college guys were gone when Reds drafted in first round, as I recall.)

I'd like to look at the top 30 list BA issues every year. I think, perhaps, for the first time in a while, it will be worth reading beyond prospect number 12 or 13.

rdiersin
11-29-2005, 09:47 PM
I haven't checked the game logs, but you bring up some very good points about Medlock. My questions were meant to be in judging pitchers overall, GB/FB is the first thing I look at. Milton has me a little gun shy, I guess.


I understand, and GB/FB is important for major league pitchers since it is very consistent from year to year. Its just not the most important. Defense independent stats such as DIPS and FIP are much more consistent, at least that has been my experience. And Milton pretty much fails there too.

M2
11-29-2005, 11:56 PM
The key difference between the mid-90's system vs. now are the arms. These guys are legit power hurlers. They throw heat.

Ty Howington, Ricardo Aramboles, Rob Bell and Chris Gruler threw plenty of heat. So what.

Back in the '90s, Brett Tomko threw hard. Johnny Ruffin could blow the doors off your car with his heater. Curt Lyons had a power pitcher profile. IIRC, Mo Sanford earned some Bob Gibson comparisons. John Roper had a plenty good arm. Kevin Jarvis and Tim Pugh could dial it in the mid-90s as well.

Yeah, this crew will solve all the club's problems. That line ought to come with a built-in Rocket T. Squirrel shaking his head at it. Now, it's possible this pack of teenagers could develop into something good, but they haven't done anything yet and there's 30 teams out there with kids who can tickle a radar gun. So far this crew hasn't done much to distinguish itself (Travis Wood being the lone exception).


Does that mean that you believe Wily Mo Pena, Edwin Encarnacion and Brandon Claussen will turn out to be less successful than Jason LaRue, Aaron Boone and Brett Tomko?

Hard to call Claussen a Reds product. In fact, and this speaks volumes, the three guys you picked out of a hat to defend the Reds system all came to the organization via trade.

Superdude
11-30-2005, 01:13 AM
BA's so into tool it's rediculous! Perez is just a pathetic hitter and Gonzalez got absolutely torched in low A.

Where is Howard, Bergolla, and Dumatrait? At least they have had some success.

Betterread
11-30-2005, 01:14 AM
Really? 2004 holds promise? Do tell. Err, never mind, I'd rather not endure another Bailey stat-skewering. Which leaves this question: how can one player with an enormous "if" tag hanging around his neck qualify as a "promising" draft?


Please keep inmind that BA named 3 draftees from 2004 in the Reds' top 10. So at least a few other people share the opinion that there was some potential talent from that draft. I thought that was what this thread was about.
I don't know if you read over what you are writing, but you take a contemptuous tone in some of your posts. If you value how clearly your thoughts are communicated, you ought to try a little harder to be more articulate and less hostile. This is just a suggestion, and you are free to ignore it.

SteelSD
11-30-2005, 01:33 AM
This list confirms my view that DanO has succeeded in terms of stocking the Reds system with better minor league prospects. I find the list pretty encouraging.

That list includes players ranked #4, #6, #7, and #10 who've done absolutely nothing in the Reds' system. The #8 guy (Pelland) can't get really get anyone out. That's bad because if you're going to carry your prospect label based on your arm, at some point your arm needs help you actually record a goodly number of Outs. The number 5 guy (Denorfia) began last season as a 24-year old AA player and projects as a backup OF.

You may not realize this, but that list actually stops at #3. If you'd gain any insight by reading past #12/13 it would only be to catch the guys BA wasn't smart enough to include in the top 10. But it's academic really, because BA has done a great job of turning itself into the blindfolded dart board rag of tools evaluation.

There's a very simple difference between a good farm system and a bad farm system. With a good farm system, you'd have a difficult time deciding who to leave off a top 10 prospect list. With the Reds farm system, it's a struggle to figure out who's worth including.

Aronchis
11-30-2005, 02:52 AM
BA's so into tool it's rediculous! Perez is just a pathetic hitter and Gonzalez got absolutely torched in low A.

Where is Howard, Bergolla, and Dumatrait? At least they have had some success.

So he got "torched" in limited low A innings as a 19 year old, he did well in Billings, his proper age level. That is why people don't like drafting High School pitching, because it takes years for it to develope "most" of the time.

lollipopcurve
11-30-2005, 10:10 AM
The BA list is what it is -- part pact between BA and the organization to make high picks look good, part echoing of earlier BA rankings/assessments, part objective evaluation. So, my assumption is that there are kernels of truth (how good are these guys?) and interest (how do the Reds feel about these guys?). Not easy to know which is which, though...

In this case...

Surprised to see Raffy Gonzalez, and surprised to hear about his conditioning issue (which was forecast when he was drafted, but not reprised this past year, at least to my knowledge). Glad to read about that power arm, though, and some of his numbers at Billings were impressive for a 19-year-old.

Where's Dumatrait? He had a good year at AA, especially for a first season back from TJ. I think he was on the list last year, so it's a mystery that he has dropped off...

BJ -- the most important position prospect in the system, in my opinion. He didn't make my top ten, because I need to see more ABs, and he's pretty old. But if he emerges, a power-hitting switch-hitter somewhere in the middle of the Reds lineup, it will be exciting.

Votto -- I had him at #9 too. Worried about Joey.

No Bergolla or Howard -- Never got love from BA, never will. Both are underrated, I think.

No Rosales -- They're wrong.

No Medlock -- I hope others are right about Cal. But I'd be surprised if the organization keeps him as a starter at AA. Go Cal.

Kc61
11-30-2005, 12:14 PM
That list includes players ranked #4, #6, #7, and #10 who've done absolutely nothing in the Reds' system. The #8 guy (Pelland) can't get really get anyone out. That's bad because if you're going to carry your prospect label based on your arm, at some point your arm needs help you actually record a goodly number of Outs. The number 5 guy (Denorfia) began last season as a 24-year old AA player and projects as a backup OF.

You may not realize this, but that list actually stops at #3. If you'd gain any insight by reading past #12/13 it would only be to catch the guys BA wasn't smart enough to include in the top 10. But it's academic really, because BA has done a great job of turning itself into the blindfolded dart board rag of tools evaluation.

There's a very simple difference between a good farm system and a bad farm system. With a good farm system, you'd have a difficult time deciding who to leave off a top 10 prospect list. With the Reds farm system, it's a struggle to figure out who's worth including.

I take your point, but still think this is a stronger group than in past years. More potential. I agree with you that many of the names on the list are unproven.

ochre
11-30-2005, 12:17 PM
I take your point, but still think this is a stronger group than in past years. More potential. I agree with you that many of the names on the list are unproven.
It isn't any stronger a group than in years past. Basham, Gardner and Pauly were seen as just as good as any of those pitching prospects in their time. They flamed out from similar levels as these guy will be pushed to in the next year or so. The only way they are ever going to be able to claim that their list is "stronger" will be if they can get acclaimed prospects through AA unscathed. At this stage its still illusionary.

Falls City Beer
11-30-2005, 01:19 PM
Please keep inmind that BA named 3 draftees from 2004 in the Reds' top 10. So at least a few other people share the opinion that there was some potential talent from that draft. I thought that was what this thread was about.
I don't know if you read over what you are writing, but you take a contemptuous tone in some of your posts. If you value how clearly your thoughts are communicated, you ought to try a little harder to be more articulate and less hostile. This is just a suggestion, and you are free to ignore it.

Do you have anything substantive to say about each 2004 draftee's merits? Or are you just relying on a dubious appeal to authority? I would have expected better from you.

tbball10
11-30-2005, 02:21 PM
is anybody on here a subscriber that would post the scouting reports on the top 10? there is also a chat at 2:30 i read, so if you guys chat, post ur results.

jmcclain19
11-30-2005, 02:27 PM
is anybody on here a subscriber that would post the scouting reports on the top 10? there is also a chat at 2:30 i read, so if you guys chat, post ur results.

When Carl Lindner led the charge that bought Marge Schott out of her majority ownership of the Reds, he seemed like a white knight charging in to save the team.

In 1999, Lindner’s first year as the team’s CEO, Cincinnati went 96-57 and lost a National League wild-card playoff game to the Mets. Before his second year, the Reds landed Ken Griffey Jr. in a trade with the Mariners. With a push for a new stadium getting underway, the club’s future seemed bright.

But Griffey got hurt, manager Jack McKeon was let go in a messy squabble after the 96-win season and the Reds quickly found themselves near the NL Central’s basement, dreaming of a .500 season. Cincinnati has endured its worst stretch in 50 years, putting up losing records for five straight seasons.

If there’s any hope for the franchise now, it’s the thought that a new ownership group, led by local businessman Robert Castellini (a minority investor in the Cardinals), will provide the financial backing and the direction to get the Reds back on track. By the time the sale was announced in November, Linder was a lightning rod for fan dissension.

There’s plenty of work to be done. The Reds got a short-term attendance jump and some increased revenues out of the move to the Great American Ball Park in 2003. But their payroll remains in the bottom half of the NL, and a $19 million spending spree before the 2005 season proved foolish. Cincinnati lavished nearly $35 million in contracts on Eric Milton, Ramon Ortiz and Paul Wilson, who went a combined 18-31, 6.15. Milton’s 6.47 ERA nearly set a record for worst ever by an NL starter.

The blame for the misguided pitching binge can be pointed squarely at the Reds’ inability to develop starting pitching in recent years. The farm system has delivered plenty of outfielders (Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns and Wily Mo Pena) and enough other position players to form the building blocks of a contender. But being a Cincinnati pitching prospect has been hazardous. Ricardo Aramboles, Bobby Basham, Phil Dumatrait, Richie Gardner, Chris Gruler, Josh Hall, Ty Howington, Luke Hudson and Thomas Pauly all have had their careers delayed or derailed by arm problems.

In an attempt to stanch the bleeding, general manager Dan O’Brien instituted a tandem-starter system with strict 75-pitch limits for the lower levels of the system. That didn’t stop Gardner or Pauly from going down in 2005, but the Reds believe they’re cutting down on the number of injuries.

The added caution, plus Cincinnati’s emphasis on adding quality arms to the system in recent drafts, could be a key to turning the team around. But while Homer Bailey, Travis Wood and Rafael Gonzalez give the team hope for the future, they’re at least a few years away. The Reds will have to plug holes from outside the system, as few prospects in the higher levels are ready to contribute.



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1. HOMER BAILEY, rhp Age: 19 Ht: 6-3 Wt: 190 B-T: R-R
Drafted: La Grange (Texas) High, 2004 (1st round) Signed by: Mike Powers



Background: Bailey has been pitching in pressure games since before he started shaving. He outdueled Ryan Wagner in the Texas 3-A state championship game as a freshman, and capped his high school career with a second state title as a senior. He ranked No. 1 on this list a year ago after signing for a $2.3 million bonus as the seventh overall pick in 2004, when he was also named BA’s High School Player of the Year. The Reds are exercising extreme caution with him, hoping he can avoid the injury bug that has claimed so many of their best pitching prospects in recent years. He pitched just 12 innings after signing in 2004, and was limited by a tandem-starter system with a strict 75-pitch limit in 2005. He worked six innings in a start only once all season and went as many as five innings in just five other outings, yet still managed to claim the title of top pitching prospect in the low Class A Midwest League. He was sidelined for a couple of weeks in April as he worked back from minor knee surgery, a problem that had nagged him since high school. While his first full season was unremarkable statistically, he showed glimpses of his promise in the final month with a pair of scoreless five-inning outings, including an 11-strikeout two-hitter.

Strengths: Bailey has front-of-the-rotation stuff. He’s armed with two plus pitches—a 92-94 mph fastball that touches 96-97 with good life, and a hard 12-to-6 curveball with potential to be a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He pounds the bottom of the strike zone and usually hits his spots. His control will be another plus. Though he did issue more than his share of walks in 2005, the Reds attribute that to their insistence that he work on his secondary pitches. A former basketball player, Bailey is a natural athlete with an effortless arm action and clean delivery that bode well for future projection. He should get stronger, as there’s room to pack more weight on his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame.

Weaknesses: Bailey’s changeup always will lag behind his two knockout pitches. It’s presently a below-average pitch with just a little sink. He did make it a point to throw the changeup more in 2005, and he did a better job of delivering it with the same arm speed he uses with his fastball. Bailey doesn’t always stay on top of his curveball. He also needs to improve his consistency and show that he can pitch effectively on nights where he doesn’t have his best stuff. Like many dominant high school starters, he didn’t have to work on such nuances as holding runners and quickening his move to the plate. He has made steady improvement in both areas, and he has addressed his rhythm and tempo on the mound. Bailey has admitted that baseball is more of a job than a passion. To achieve his potential as an ace, he’ll have to stay focused as he moves up the ladder.

The Future: While the Reds have yet to turn Bailey loose, they may challenge him with a jump to Double-A Chattanooga in 2006. Though he’s not on the 40-man roster, he has been invited to big league camp to get a taste of what awaits him. He could be poised for a breakthrough season.

2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Dayton (Lo A) 8 4 4.43 28 21 0 0 104 89 5 62 125 .232



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2. JAY BRUCE, of Age: 18 B-T: L-L Ht: 6-2 Wt.: 206
Drafted: HS—Beaumont, Texas, 2005 (1st round) Signed by: Brian Wilson



Background: Bruce went from unknown to prospect during the summer of 2004, and his surge continued last spring as he emerged as the cream of a quality crop of Texas high school outfielders. He went No. 12 to the Reds and signed for $1.8 million. He ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Rookie-level Pioneer League in his debut.



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Strengths:
Bruce draws comparisons to Larry Walker and Jeremy Hermida for his sweet stroke, above-average arm and athleticism. He profiles as a power-hitting right fielder, but the Reds intend to keep him in center until he grows out of the position. He can turn on a fastball, but he also has shown the ability to use the entire field with good bat speed. He has plus speed and good overall instincts.
Weaknesses:
Like many young players, Bruce needs to work on the finer aspects of the game, such as reading pitchers and honing his basestealing technique. He occasionally gets antsy at the plate instead of sitting back and waiting on pitches to drive.
The Future:
Bruce will make his full-season debut at low Class A Dayton. A five-tool talent, his bat will dictate how rapidly he advances.



2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
GCL Reds (R) .270 .331 .500 122 29 33 9 2 5 25 11 31 4 6
Billings (R) .257 .358 .457 70 16 18 2 0 4 13 11 22 2 2



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3. TRAVIS WOOD, lhp Age: 19 B-T: R-L Ht: 6-0 Wt.: 165
Drafted: HS—Alexander, Ark., 2005 (2nd round) Signed by: Mike Keenan



Background: Wood is the highest-drafted Arkansas high school pitcher since the Reds took Dustin Moseley in 1999’s supplemental first round. Wood intrigued teams by reaching 95 mph with his fastball as the draft approached, and he dominated two Rookie leagues after signing for $600,000.



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Strengths:
Wood’s changeup drops off the table and already rates as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He fools hitters by repeating the same arm speed and motion as when he throws his fastball. He regularly hit 93-94 mph and threw to both sides of the plate with good life during the summer. He also features a cutter.
Weaknesses:
Wood’s curveball isn’t as developed as his other pitches. The Reds have made refining his curve a point of emphasis, and they promoted him to Rookie-level Billings to work with curveball specialist Butch Henry. Wood has some effort in his delivery.
The Future:
Wood aced his introduction to pro ball and seems more than ready for low Class A. He has considerable upside, though coming up with a reliable breaking ball will be crucial.



2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
GCL Reds (R) 0 0 0.75 8 7 0 0 24 13 0 7 45 .157
Billings (R) 2 0 1.82 6 4 0 0 25 15 0 13 22 .174



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4. B.J. SZYMANSKI, of Age: 23 B-T: b-R Ht: 6-5 Wt.: 215
Drafted: Princeton, 2004 (2nd round) Signed by: Mike Misuraca



Background: A two-sport star at Princeton, Szymanski was the football team’s leading receiver and led the baseball team to the Ivy League title as a junior in 2003-04. Already lacking experience thanks to his dual-sport commitment, he has been hampered by injuries as a pro. A quadriceps injury shortened his 2004 debut, and he missed time in 2005 because of arthroscopic knee surgery and a broken hand.



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Strengths:
When healthy, Szymanski showcases three impact tools, including explosive raw power from both sides of the plate. He has 30-homer potential in the majors. A chiseled athlete, he can fly around the bases and cover the gaps in center field. His arm is average.
Weaknesses:
Szymanski’s swing gets long, and strikeouts and a lower batting average will be a tradeoff for his power. He’s still raw and must improve in the fine points of the game, such as getting jumps and running the bases. Injuries have limited him to just 272 pro at-bats.
The Future:
Coming into 2005, Szymanski looked poised for a breakout season. Ticketed for high Class A Sarasota, he’s again a prime candidate if he can stay in the lineup.



2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Dayton (Lo A) .262 .332 .471 191 32 50 8 1 10 26 21 57 7 1



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5. CHRIS DENORFIA, of Age: 25 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-1 Wt.: 185
Drafted: Wheaton (Mass.), 2002 (19th round) Signed by: John Brickley



Background: With his September callup, Denorfia ensured his title as the top male athlete in Wheaton (Mass.) College history. He earned Division III all-America honors in 2002, when he batted .467.



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Strengths:
He doesn’t have overwhelming tools, but Denorfia has surprised scouts with his improved hitting and power the last two seasons. He displays a good feel for the strike zone and works counts in his favor. He’s a solid runner with enough range to play center field. He’s average defensively in center field and he has enough arm strength to play right.
Weaknesses:
Denorfia doesn’t have many glaring weaknesses. He doesn’t have exceptional bat speed and his swing doesn’t naturally produce loft power. He’s already getting everything out of his ability, so there isn’t much projection left to him.
The Future:
Denorfia is ready to contribute in Cincinnati after a strong Arizona Fall League performance. He may not be more than a fourth outfielder, especially with the Reds’ position depth.



2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Chattanooga (AA) .330 .391 .564 188 40 62 17 3 7 26 17 38 4 3
Louisville (AAA) .310 .391 .505 323 50 100 12 6 13 61 41 54 8 3
Cincinnati .263 .364 .421 38 8 10 3 0 1 2 6 9 1 0



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6. RAFAEL GONZALEZ, rhp Age: 20 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-1 Wt.: 232
Drafted: HS—New York, 2004 (4th round) Signed by: Jason Baker



Background: Gonzalez signed with the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic in 2003, but that deal was voided because he was a U.S. citizen who had played at Manhattan’s George Washington High before moving to the Dominican as a junior. After signing for $315,000 as a fourth-round pick in 2004, he disappointed the Reds by showing up out of shape for spring training, leaving him unprepared to handle low Class A.



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Strengths:
His stuff is just a tick behind Homer Bailey’s for the best in the system. Gonzalez throws 92-94 mph and peaks at 97, and he also shows a plus curveball and an average changeup at times.
Weaknesses:
Gonzalez has a soft, thick lower half and struggles to keep his weight under control. His stamina and stuff suffered in 2005 until he dedicated more time to cardiovascular work. His secondary pitches and control are very inconsistent.
The Future:
The Reds hope Gonzalez learned his lesson and will be better equipped to succeed in low Class A in 2006. He flashes top-of-the-rotation stuff but must dedicate himself to realize his potential.



2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Billings (R) 3 0 3.43 11 6 0 1 42 36 7 23 37 .234
Dayton (Lo A) 3 5 9.35 10 5 0 0 26 24 5 24 22 .250



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7. MIGUEL PEREZ, c Age: 22 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-3 Wt.: 190
Signed: Venezuela, 2000 Signed by: Jorge Oquendo



Background: Though he has hit just .240 above Rookie ball, Perez made his big league debut before he turned 22 in September. His defensive ability has helped him land jobs in the Venezuela Winter League the past two offseasons.



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Strengths:
Perez is the organization’s best defensive catcher, with well above-average throwing and receiving skills. He erased 44 percent of basestealers in 2005 and likes to pick off runners with snap throws to first base. He handles pitchers well and runs well for a catcher.
Weaknesses:
Perez’ bat hasn’t caught up with his catch-and-throw skills and may relegate him to a backup role. He has limited power (nine homers in five pro seasons) and plate discipline, though the Reds think he could hit 10-15 homers annually. When he keeps his hands back, he does a better job of driving the ball.
The Future:
After his short September audition, Perez will go to Double-A in 2006. With the productive tandem of Jason LaRue and Javier Valentin, the Reds don’t need to rush Perez.



2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Sarasota (Hi A) .268 .305 .347 291 36 78 11 0 4 33 16 63 7 1
Louisville (AAA) .208 .275 .292 72 5 15 3 0 1 5 5 19 0 0
Cincinnati .000 .000 .000 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0



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8. TYLER PELLAND , lhp Age: 22 B-T: R-L Ht: 6-0 Wt.: 200
Drafted: HS—Bristol, Vt., 2002 (9th round) Signed by: Ray Fagnant (Red Sox)



Background: Cincinnati acquired lefties Phil Dumatrait and Pelland from the Red Sox for Scott Williamson at the July 2003 trade deadline. While Dumatrait has been waylaid by Tommy John surgery, Pelland quickly emerged as the top lefty in the Reds system. After posting an 8.66 ERA in low Class A in 2004, he made a successful transition to full-season ball, jumping to high Class A, in 2005.



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Strengths:
Pelland throws his four-seam fastball at 92-93 mph and can dial it up to 95 at times, and he also has a lively two-seamer. He commands his fastball well, and shows the ability to spin a plus curveball. He’s a good athlete who has dominated in spurts.
Weaknesses:
Pelland’s curve is inconsistent. When it’s not on, hitters can sit on his fastball because his circle changeup is below average and hasn’t developed as expected. At 22, he’s still far from a refined product, as his control numbers suggest, although as a Northeastern pitcher, he doesn’t have many innings on his arm.
The Future:
Pelland has a fresh arm, but needs to take a significant step forward as he approaches Double-A. If he can’t improve his secondary pitches, a future in the bullpen awaits him.




2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Sarasota (Hi A) 5 8 4.05 30 15 0 0 102 103 5 63 103 .270



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9. JOEY VOTTO, 1b Age: 22 B-T: L-L Ht: 6-3 Wt.: 200
Drafted: HS—Toronto, 2002 (2nd round) Signed by: John Castleberry



Background: The Reds tried to cut costs in the 2002 draft with disastrous results, as Denorfia and Votto are the lone bright spots from that crop. After establishing himself as the system’s best power prospect, he had a disappointing 2005 and continued to struggle in the Arizona Fall League.



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Strengths:
Votto can launch balls out of sight in batting practice. He drew 90 walks in 2004, showing a disciplined, mature approach. For a big man and former catcher, Votto runs the bases well, and he has grown into a solid defensive first baseman with an above-average arm for the position.
Weaknesses:
Votto lacks plus bat speed and his swing lengthened in 2005. Perhaps too passive in the past, he seemed to start guessing, finding himself behind fastballs and ahead of offspeed offerings. He especially struggled against lefties, hitting .193 with a .315 slugging percentage.
The Future:
Votto’s prospect stock has taken a hit, though he’s still the top first-base prospect in the system. He needs to rediscover his short stroke and trust his natural hitting instincts in Double-A in 2006.



2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Sarasota (Hi A) .256 .330 .425 464 64 119 23 2 17 83 52 122 4 5



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10. TRAVIS CHICK, rhp Age: 21 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-3 Wt.: 220
Drafted: HS—Whitehouse, Texas, 2002 (14th round) Signed by: Dennis Cardona (Marlins)



Background: Four years into his pro career, Chick has played for three organizations. A little-known Marlins prospect when he was traded for Ismael Valdez in 2004, he quickly blossomed for the Padres and was one of the surprises of spring training in 2005. After he stalled in Double-A, San Diego sent him and Justin Germano to Cincinnati for Joe Randa last July.



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Strengths:
Though Chick’s velocity was down in 2005, he still had a 91-92 mph fastball that touched 94. His hard slider has good bite and is an average pitch with above-average potential. Chick has a solid pitcher’s frame.
Weaknesses:
After dominating low Class A in 2004, Chick couldn’t handle jumping to Double-A. He was a victim of big innings all season, unable to get out of jams. His slider was inconsistent, while his changeup remained below-average. He’s more of a thrower than a pitcher.
The Future:
Chick has to hone his slider and maintain his mechanics to get back on track. He’ll probably repeat Double-A in 2006. Unless his changeup develops, he projects as a power middle reliever.



2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Mobile (AA) 2 9 5.27 19 19 1 0 97 107 12 40 92 .279
Chattanooga (AA) 2 2 4.86 8 8 0 0 46 47 5 27 21 .270

jmcclain19
11-30-2005, 02:28 PM
I've also submitted a handful of questions already.

Post on this thread if you want any others asked.

M2
11-30-2005, 04:09 PM
Has the BA chat stalled after one question for anybody else?

Benihana
11-30-2005, 04:10 PM
Contrary to what most of the so-called experts on here would say (or lament), I would actually praise the Reds for the top three guys on this list. While it may be quite premature, and a great deal can happen between now and whenever any of these three scratch the surface of a major league field, I would say that these are the top three prospects the Reds have cultivated in some time, save Dunn and Kearns. Yes, they are very young and have proven very little at advanced levels, but Bailey and Wood are the best looking home grown pitching prospects in some time. And I think virtually everyone likes what they see from Jay Bruce so far.

M2
11-30-2005, 04:14 PM
Contrary to what most of the so-called experts on here would say (or lament), I would actually praise the Reds for the top three guys on this list. While it may be quite premature, and a great deal can happen between now and whenever any of these three scratch the surface of a major league field, I would say that these are the top three prospects the Reds have cultivated in some time, save Dunn and Kearns. Yes, they are very young and have proven very little at advanced levels, but Bailey and Wood are the best looking home grown pitching prospects in some time. And I think virtually everyone likes what they see from Jay Bruce so far.

What's different about Bailey and Wood from say Howington and Gruler or Aramboles and Gillman?

Seems to me they're up where they are because there's no one to push them lower (like Kearns and Dunn did with those other guys I just mentioned).

flyer85
11-30-2005, 04:16 PM
I was a little stumped by Gonzalez, but BA has been pretty enamoured with Perez' catch and throw skills.however he has shown zero ability to hit at any level.

Got to love it when #7 on the list is a guy that BA says "PROJECTS TO A BACKUP CATCHER"

WOOHOO!!

lollipopcurve
11-30-2005, 04:16 PM
Has the BA chat stalled after one question for anybody else?

Yeah. The guy's probably tapped his knowledge of the Reds system anyway. They do a lot better by other teams.

M2
11-30-2005, 04:17 PM
Yeah. The guy's probably tapped his knowledge of the Reds system anyway. They do a lot better by other teams.

It does seem to be a task they give to the duffers doesn't it?

flyer85
11-30-2005, 04:19 PM
Pedro Martinez, Johan Santana, Jason Schmidt, and Mark Prior are all flyball pitchers and they've all been pretty good at keeping the ball in the park.that's because they are among the best at missing bats.

lollipopcurve
11-30-2005, 04:20 PM
What different about Bailey and Wood from say Howington and Gruler or Aramboles and Gillman?

Valid point re: Howington (who had 1 good year at high A, I believe) and Gillman (who was good in the GCL his first year, though nowhere near as good as Wood was). Gruler and Aramboles never showed much. When/If Wood and Bailey have another year in which they maintain their prospect status, I think they'll pass those guys.

Benihana
11-30-2005, 04:26 PM
Valid point re: Howington (who had 1 good year at high A, I believe) and Gillman (who was good in the GCL his first year, though nowhere near as good as Wood was). Gruler and Aramboles never showed much. When/If Wood and Bailey have another year in which they maintain their prospect status, I think they'll pass those guys.

Exactly.

jmcclain19
11-30-2005, 04:29 PM
Keeps stalling out because BA's "Expert" is busy taking phone calls and doing other things.

Nice

New Fever
11-30-2005, 04:33 PM
Shouldn't Edwin Encarnacion, be considered with the prospect group? If he is, it makes the group look a little better, with a top 20 prospect in baseball leading the way. He missed BA cut off by less than 50 abs which is about 13 to 15 games. Wily Mo Pena and Ryan Wagner are still around the ages as most of these guys so I don't think the Reds young players aren't that bad.

Doc. Scott
11-30-2005, 04:35 PM
I think the Reds should push Szymanski to AA. He'll be a little old for High-A and the FSL may mess with his numbers. Even if he doesn't fulfill that athletic potential, if played right he can be a trade chit for the next two years or so. Conversely, Bailey heading to AA may very well be regrettable (not because of the league, but because of Homer's age and development level).

The club is constantly doing the opposite: they're challenging their pitchers and coddling their hitters. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

M2
11-30-2005, 04:46 PM
Keeps stalling out because BA's "Expert" is busy taking phone calls and doing other things.

Nice

You can tell it's a priority chat for them.

"J.J. Cooper is busy flossing his dog's teeth, but he'll back to take your Reds questions as soon as he finishes with that and watching his DVD collection of 'The Real Gilligan's Island'."

M2
11-30-2005, 04:52 PM
Valid point re: Howington (who had 1 good year at high A, I believe) and Gillman (who was good in the GCL his first year, though nowhere near as good as Wood was). Gruler and Aramboles never showed much. When/If Wood and Bailey have another year in which they maintain their prospect status, I think they'll pass those guys.

That's basically my point. I think it's cart before the horse until these guys have a big season somewhere. Ideally you'd like to see kids that haven't put together that full season rank lower on the list. Obviously the Reds have far from an ideal situation, but this strikes me a lot like putting Gruler at the top did three years ago. Sure, the kids have got potential, but right now this is a reach.

jmcclain19
11-30-2005, 05:36 PM
You can tell it's a priority chat for them.

"J.J. Cooper is busy flossing his dog's teeth, but he'll back to take your Reds questions as soon as he finishes with that and watching his DVD collection of 'The Real Gilligan's Island'."


Exactly - we're now 2 hours in and the guy has answered less than 30 questions. Pretty pathetic

puca
11-30-2005, 05:42 PM
That's basically my point. I think it's cart before the horse until these guys have a big season somewhere. Ideally you'd like to see kids that haven't put together that full season rank lower on the list. Obviously the Reds have far from an ideal situation, but this strikes me a lot like putting Gruler at the top did three years ago. Sure, the kids have got potential, but right now this is a reach.

Well at least they do have potential (unlike many of the others on this list).

Seeing that BJ is #4 on their list tells me everything I need to know about this organization. Not that I think BA are great at this, but when a too-old-for-the-level position player that did not dominate is the 4th best prospect on anyone's list....well that is scary.

Go away DanO....please!

jmcclain19
11-30-2005, 05:47 PM
Anyway, here is the rundown so far

He did answer a few of mine - and perhaps some from a few other redszoners


Moderator: J.J. Cooper will begin taking your Reds questions at 2 p.m. ET

Moderator: Hi guys, here we go, maybe a minute or two early. Fire away with your Reds queries.

Q: Trevor from Davis, Ca asks:
what kind of player do you see Joey Votto being? Is there a current major league player you would compare him to?

A: J.J. Cooper: I'll have to stick with a comp that I think John Manuel came up with first last year: Brian Daubach. Like Daubach, Votto has shown (at times) a pretty good batting eye with decent lefty pop, although Votto has a chance to have a little more power than Daubach had. There are reasons for more concern about Votto than a year ago, but the Reds have reason to hope that his FSL struggles were more of an aberration than a sign that more experienced pitchers have found holes.



Q: Rho from Korea asks:
How how of a ceiling does Bailey have? Real #1 starter? Does he compare to Beckett?

A: J.J. Cooper: The comparisons to Beckett are understandable considering they are both fireballing Texans. And their stuff at this age is pretty similar (As a 19-year-old, Beckett was 93-94 mph, touching 97 with a plus 12-6 curveball and a developing changeup). Bailey has the ceiling of being a No. 1 starter, because he has two plus pitches and the potential for a third average pitch, but to become a No. 1, he also has to develop plus command and plus makeup. As far as his command goes, it's not plus yet, but few hard-throwing 19-year-olds have plus command, it develops. As far as has makeup, the Reds love his competitive nature, but he's also made it clear that baseball isn't his entire life. That's a plus as far as being a well-rounded adult, but he'll have to show that he's willing to pay the price in terms of effort and hard work that it takes to be a major league ace. He has a chance to be the No. 1 that the Reds have been waiting years for, but it's a ways away.



Q: Joe from Long Beach, CA asks:
What happened to Chris Dickerson? I know he's not supposed to be the next big thing, but after his success at Dayton in 2004, I expected him to move forward, not regress.

A: J.J. Cooper: If we were having this chat in late June, we would have been talking about the big steps forward he made. Dickerson's season fell apart in late July. He seemed to wear down and he got too focused on hitting home runs, which actually led to his power disappearing. Dickerson's tools compare favorably with almost anyone in the organization, but he's got a slew of CFs right behind him (Szymanski and Bruce) that means he better turn those tools into production soon.



Q: Jeff Brown from Chicago asks:
I noticed that Bobby Basham pitched very well at the end of last season in Double AA for the Lookouts. Has he returned to form of a few years ago as a potential pitching prospect?

A: J.J. Cooper: He hasn't returned to the form he had before the injuries, but the Reds were encouraged, as he showed increasing arm strength while staying healthy. He was pitching at 87-88 mph for much of the season, well off of the low 90s he sat at before the labrum tear, and his slider isn't the plus-plus pitch it was before. But by the end of the season, Basham was touching 92-93 mph again, and his slider showed improvement. It's unlikely he'll ever be the pitcher he would have been pre-injury, but the Reds have some hope that he'll still be a useable major leaguer, as they expect him to show more improvement next season as he continues to build back his arm strength.



Q: Jeff Brown from Chicago asks:
Was Phil Dumatrait on your radar to make the top ten? I find it intriguing that he was left off having made the list the last few seasons. I am sure that despite his low ERA control is his limiting factor. Can we also attribute his omission to a higher quality pool of talent in the Reds farm system?

A: J.J. Cooper: Dumatrait was one of a couple of guys who just missed the top 10. You hit the nail on the head, Dumatrait's command just wasn't there this year. He did a good job of pitching out of jams and limiting the damage that all of his walks did. Also, his ERA is a little misleading, as he also gave up 13 unearned runs. A lot of times, command is the last thing to come back after Tommy John, so next season will be a big test for Dumatrait. If he can improve his command, his stuff and pitchability means he could be a useful backend of the rotation starter, but command is the key.



Q: Jeff Brown from Chicago asks:
Do you know injured pitching prospects Thomas Pauly and Richie Gardner are supposed to be healthy for the 2006 season? If healthy, which do you think has a higher ceiling?

A: J.J. Cooper: If both of them are healthy, I'd say Gardner has a slightly higher ceiling, just because of his feel for pitching. But neither of them is healthy right now. The Reds are pretty tight-lipped about exactly when the two are expected to return to the mound, so we have to do a little tea-leaf reading. Neither have been put on the 40-man roster, and Pauly was not sent to instructs after team doctor Tim Kremcheck had said he would be ready to go by instructs at the time of the surgery. I'd expect both to pitch at some point in 2006, but I wouldn't be surprised if neither of them was ready on Opening Day. And as in most shoulder surgery cases, I'd be surprised if they were back to their pre-injury form in 2006.



Q: Greg from Alex City, Al asks:
How big an upside does LeCure have and how close to the Top Ten was he? Do you consider the Reds 2005 draft an improvement over the last few drafts? Thanks, GC

A: J.J. Cooper: Sorry, phone call that I had to take led to a break there. Lecure wasn't in the top 15 consideration, but he'll make the top 30. Comparing this Reds draft to the recent drafts is somewhat of an easy curve, as the 2000, 2001 and 2002 drafts were largely black holes that left the system trying to restock. But yeah, I think that the 2004 draft and the 2005 draft have definitely been improvements. Bailey and Bruce are two top-level additions to a system in need of high ceiling talent, and Szymanski and Wood are also high-ceiling guys. In the past two drafts, the Reds have also taken chances on guys like Philippe Valiquette and Rafael Gonzalez that could end up paying off as being low-cost, high ceiling guys as well.



Q: Jon from Peoria asks:
Dayton struggled again this year record-wise and there weren't too many guys that had good statistical years. Is there anybody at that level besides Bailey and Szymanski to keep an eye on? What are your thoughts on Bobby Mosby?

A: J.J. Cooper: I think first baseman Tonys Gutierrez is a nice sleeper. He's a good defensive first baseman who has shown the ability to hit for average, draw a walk and has developing power. Adam Rosales, the shortstop during the second half was also a nice find for the Reds. He has an unconventional swing, but it seems to work, and his other tools are better than expected.



Q: Tom T from Houston asks:
What do you think Zach Ward's ceiling is? I hear he's supposed to have great stuff, but after the team shut him down post-draft he hasn't pitched a professional inning. Do they view him as a potential #1#2 guy, or is it just too early to tell?

A: J.J. Cooper: Ward doesn't project as a No. 12, but he could end up being a solid middle of the rotation guy. His delivery caused concern for some scouts, but the Reds pitching instructors looked at it and said they believed it would be OK, and he has been durable throughout his college career. He has the chance to have two plus pitches, which gives him a chance to move quickly in a Reds system that needs pitching.



Q: Mike Marinaro from Tampa, FL asks:
J.J.: Thanks for addressing Reds' prospect Q's today. I've been following Homer Bailey since his remarkable senior year in High School. I know all about his pitching ability. My question regards his attitude (not to be assumed as negative) about playing baseball. I read the comments posted in BA last season about baseball being more of a job than a passion for Homer. I took them as light-hearted and somewhat comical. I find it difficult to believe that Homer would not have played baseball his entire life had he not enjoyed it. He wouldn't be as good as he is if he wasn't competitive. In that post Homer said he and his friends never talk about baseball. I find it hard to believe none of the players on his state championship team were his friends. I also find it hard to believe that if they were, they never discussed baseball. I took the whole thing as more of a joke. I heard him speak to Jonathan Mayo last season. He spoke very maturely and professionally about his craft and the difficulties in finding a rhythm in the tandem system. Is anybody in the Reds' organization truly concerned that Bailey does not take baseball seriously?

A: J.J. Cooper: No one in the Reds organization has raised any questions of his makeup with me in my discussions with them, and in my (very, very limited) meeting with Bailey, he was very professional. But I would say that its not an attribute that you want to promote, and while you say that you can't believe that a player would play baseball all these years if it wasn't a love of theirs, ask Jeff Kent. He's carved out a very long, and very lucrative career as a baseball player despite the fact that he admits that he only does it because its his job, and he has no interest in the game when he's not being paid to play. I'm not trying to say that Bailey has shown any signs of being unwilling to work, but I do think he meant what he said when he said that baseball was his job.



Q: Jim from Vermont asks:
What is Tyler Pelland's upside? Can he be a front of the rotation starter or is he a 4th or 5th at best? Also, any thought about making him a closer? He seems to resemble Billy Wagner quite a bit with his velocity, size and the fact he is a lefty.

A: J.J. Cooper: Have to disagree with you on a Billy Wagner comp. Pelland is significantly bigger than Wagner, and when it comes to velocity, there is no comparison. That's not a knock on Pelland, but Wagner's velocity is one of those rare, "arm touched by God" kind of things. He was sitting at 96-97 mph as a starter, and touching 100 mph when he was coming up through the minors. If you're looking for a best-case comp for Pelland, at least one scout has mentioned Mike Hampton. Pelland doesn't project right now as a front-end of the rotation starter because he doesn't have a consistent second plus pitch, he projects more as a No. 3 or No. 4, which would suit the Reds just fine if he can continue to progress.



Q: Jack Logan from Oakland, CA asks:
The Reds were once very high on Ty Howington before he boarded the team's injury train. However, I noticed he pitched at the Rookie level at the tail of last year. In your opinion does he have a chance to resurface this year?

A: J.J. Cooper: He has a chance to resurface, as he was slowly worked his way back into pitching at the very end of the year, but he's a long ways away from getting back to where he was, and we're talking about a guy who has essentially missed two entire seasons since last taking the mound. At this point, anything he can give the Reds is a bonus.



Q: Jim from Coral Gables asks:
What are your opinions on two of the more impressive prospects on the Sarasota roster, Calvin Medlock and Chris Dickerson. I know neither of them are huge prospects but both were impressive when I saw them.

A: J.J. Cooper: I've already talked about Dickerson, so to answer your question about Medlock. He did a lot of things to help his prospect status this season. In his second taste of high A, he showed a better curveball and better arm speed. As sleepers go, he's one of the more interesting guys the Reds have, although he's not a top prospect.



Q: Blake Guyer from Madison, WI asks:
Who are some of the guys from the 2005 draft that we should watch out for as far as having some breakout campaigns in 2006?

A: J.J. Cooper: Bruce and Wood are the obvious two. After them, Ward is another guy who could emerge in 2006.



Q: Blake Guyer from Madison, WI asks:
Is a Travis Wood Scott Kazmir a fair comparison; both undersized hard throwing high school lefties. Or does the fact that Kazmir has the good breaking ball and Wood lacks one knock off the comparison?

A: J.J. Cooper: Not really a fair comparison. Kazmir is a high 90s power pitcher whose fastballslider combo can be unhittable. Wood is more of a low-mid 90s fastballchangeup guy with a changeup that is rarely seen in a first-year high school guy. Wood's good, but Kazmir was considered the best high school arm coming out of his class, Wood looks to be one of the best arms to come out of his class.



Q: Don from Rosemont, IL asks:
Does Denorfia have enough ability to be a starting OF or does he project more as a utility guy?

A: J.J. Cooper: In the right situation, Denorfia is the kind of guy who could be a useful starting OF. He doesn't do anything to blow you away, but he just does everything well. He has the misfortune of being ready to play at a position that the Reds are overstocked at, but if given a chance, I think he's a guy who could put up a .290.370.450 year with good defense and speed, which is very useful.



Q: Blake Guyer from Madison, WI asks:
Where would Bruce or Bailey rank in a good system's top ten, like the dodgers'?

A: J.J. Cooper: Hmmm, interesting question. The Dodgers are a system where the No. 15 guy looks like a pretty sure thing, so that's a tough system to break into. Bailey would make the top 3-4 in almost any system I'd say. He compares favorably with Mark Rogers, who is No. 2 in the Brewers system, which is still a pretty talented system. A guy like Bruce may drop to No. 4-5 in some other systems, simply because he's yet to play full-season ball. You'd love to be able to rank him a little lower to let him prove himself in a full-season league before he sits at No. 2, but his tools compare favorably with most outfield prospects.



Q: Steve from Owltown asks:
Where does Rice alum Paul Janish fit in the mix? There was discussion about his fielding being ready for the big time? He was hurt last year but seemed to be getting traction?

A: J.J. Cooper: Janish is a great fielder, although he has to rehab his arm after Tommy John surgery. The T.J. will not help his rise through the system, but its his bat that will determine his ceiling. He's got the glove to be a major leaguer, he just needs to prove he's strong enough at the plate to move up.



Q: Steve from Yellow Jacket Alley, Texas asks:
Is Steven Kelly ranked in the top 30? What role do you see for him?

A: J.J. Cooper: Little know Baseball America fact, editor-in-chief John Manuel has Steve Kelly's cap from a visit he made to the Rusty C when he was our college maven. If Kelly hadn't been shutdown with elbow problems, he would have made a run at the top 30. As it is, he's a potential No. 5 starter with fringy stuff but a feel for pitching. Guys like that need to have the breaks line up for them to make it to the majors and stick, but it does happen.



Q: Scott Grauel from cleveland asks:
i would like to hear your thoughts on dane sardinha and dustin mosely. do they project as major league regulars or not? it looks as though you feel miguel perez has much more upside then dane? and if you do feel they will contribute, when?

A: J.J. Cooper: Catchers often take longer to develop offensively than other positions because of the demands of working behind the plate. But that said, the time for Sardinha to show he can develop offensively is starting to run out. He'll be 27 just a couple of days after Opening Day, and he's put up a .300+ OBP only once in five minor league seasons. Perez is as good as Sardinha behind the plate, with a better arm, and with more of a chance to improve offensively to a point where he could be a No. 1 catcher. Mosley's no longer in the system, as the Angels picked him up in the Ramon Ortiz trade before the 2005 season.



Q: Nate from Denver asks:
Hi JJ, thanks for doing the chat. Has the minor league system as a whole improved under Dan O'Brien? What changes do you think have improved the farm, and what changes do you think still need to be made(aside from cutting down on injuries)?

A: J.J. Cooper: I do think the system has shown signs of improvement over the last two years, although it still has a ways to go. I happen to have a 2003 prospect handbook here, and if you compare the top 10 from that year (Gruler, Basham, Pena, Encarnacion, Moseley, Howington, Aramboles, Larson, Hall, Schramek) this one matches up pretty well. The decision to go to a tandem-starter system in the lower minors is a case of trying to do something to fix the injury problem. It hasn't always worked, but it is a sign of being proactive to try to fix a glaring problem. A couple of years ago, the Reds were continually hamstrung by budget problems when the draft rolled around. They still aren't going to go way over slot for guys, but the willingness to sign Bailey and Bruce in the past couple of years is a clear sign that the team is putting more emphasis on bringing in high-ceiling talents.



Q: Nate from Denver asks:
Travis Wood seems to be a lot better than most, including Baseball America, thought he would be coming out of the draft. If he can develope that 3rd pitch, what do you see as his ceiling? Does he have front line stuff?

A: J.J. Cooper: Reports going into the draft that we had said he has was a fastball pitcher with a decent changeup. The change is a lot better than that, which gives him a higher ceiling. Lefties with fastballs and changeups can go a long ways, he's a long way off, but he has the chance to be a solid No. 2 if he develops over the next 3-4 years.



Q: Nate from Denver asks:
The Reds seem to have a pretty good top 3, but after that, does the list drop off talent wise? It sounds like BJ has a good ceiling, but to only have a little over 250 professional at bats, and be ranked number 4? Does that reflect weakness in the Reds system?

A: J.J. Cooper: I think your assesment is pretty fair as far as where a drop-off occurs. The Reds number of low-risk, high ceiling guys falls off pretty quick. After No. 3 the list is a combination of high-risk, high-reward guys (Szymanski and Gonzalez for example) and some lower risk, lower-reward guys (Chick and Denorfia for example). Denorfia almost assuredly will be a major leaguer, although he's unlikely to be an all-star. Gonzalez could be a No. 2 on a big league staff, but he also could never make it out of Double-A.



Q: Josh from Phoenix asks:
What about Carlos Guevara & David Shafer - who were both left off the list. It seems to be that both could be quick moving relivers who could rocket thru the system next year if given the right chance. I know Guevara tends to be a one trick pony with his screwball, but he's put up impressive numbers for two straight years. Shafer seemed lights up before his promotion to AA.

A: J.J. Cooper: It's a copout by me, but I want to see Guevera do it at Double-A. His KIP has been very nice for two years now, but there are a number of one-pitch, trick pitch guys who have dominated lower levels and then hit a wall in Double-A. One that comes to mind is Todd Pennington, an Indians reliever who dominated in low-A and high A but has seemed to hit a wall up to now in Double-A. Shafer will make the top 30, but his move to the bullpen full time means he has a lower ceiling than a year ago, when he still projected as a starter.



Q: Josh from Phoenix asks:
Calvin Medlock has put up numbers for the last two seasons that suggest he could be one of the Reds best pitching prospects yet he is not included. Any particular reason why?

A: J.J. Cooper: Medlock will make the top 30, but the list of successful righty avg fastballplus-changeup guys in the majors isn't very long, which worked against him in the rankings. He'll need to continue refining his curveball if he's going to make it to the majors. He does have an advanced feel for pitching.



Q: Josh from Phoenix asks:
Rafael Gonzales in the Top 10? Is the inclusion of an overweight pitcher who has a career 1.50WHIP in 100+ pro innings a commentary on how bad the Reds system is or is there more that meets the eye with him?

A: J.J. Cooper: There is some more than meets the eye, which in the case of a guy Rafael's size, is saying something. Gonzalez makes the top 10 on projection. His stuff could end up being only a notch below Bailey's if he gets in better shape and improves his command. Admittedly he's a high-risk ranking, but stuff like his is relatively rare.



Q: Seamus from the woods of New England asks:
What happened to William Bergolla? He was on the list last year, goes to AAA and hits .292 at age 22 with solid defense and speed, and drops lower on the prospect ladder? Has the system improved, or did he show a critical weakness?

A: J.J. Cooper: Bergolla just barely missed the top 10. No critical weakness, just a sign that he's a defensespeed second baseman has a somewhat limited ceiling. His bat could develop, as he's still young for a guy on the cusp of the majors, but right now he doesn't hit for power or get on-base much, which limits him to a bottom of the order guy.



Q: Scott Lindsey from Phoenix, Arizona asks:
How close did Kevin Howard come to the list? Does he just project as a utility guy, a regular, or the new breed of uber utitility player (i.e. Chone Figgins)? Does he have the power to eventually hit 20 homers, or more of 10-15?

A: J.J. Cooper: Howard does project as a bat-first utility guy, which is an unusual role. He doesn't really stand out anywhere defensively, but his line-drive swing could make him a useful .290 hitter with 10-15 homers at the major league level one day, if a team will live with below-average defense.

jmcclain19
11-30-2005, 05:50 PM
More


Q: Josh from Phoenix asks:
I have to wonder about the inclusion of Miguel Perez. Since rookie ball in 2002 - he's been a pretty mediocre to bad hitter for three straight seasons now. He hasn't shown any plate discipline at any level and his strikeout rate is getting worse. He could be one of the greatest defensive catchers but if he can't swing the bat I don't know how he'll move up at all in the high minors. What is it that keeps makes this kid one of the Reds best prospects?

A: J.J. Cooper: He's a 70 defensively at a position where defense plays, and there is still some projection left in his bat. Admittedly, Perez has little chance to be a star, but he projects as a backup catcher at worst, with a chance still to develop into a starting catcher.



Q: Mike from Boston asks:
Tools vs. performance question. Miguel Perez has got catch-and-throw tools and he's on the list even though he's got a thoroughly putrid bat. Adam Rosales does nothing but knock the cover off the ball (and supposedly, according the BA draft report card, he has a good arm too), but he doesn't make it. Tyler Pelland makes the list despite yet another lackluster year. Meanwhile Calvin Medlock (same age, but no pedigree) outperforms him yet again, showing quality at a level where Pelland struggled for the second year in row, but he's not in the top 10. Is the tools emphasis on this list coming from the Reds, you or both? There doesn't seem to be much excitement here for players who've actually accomplished something.

A: J.J. Cooper: If we wanted to rank this list simply on stats, really you can do that as well as us. The stats are in black and white. What we're trying to do is blend stats with tools and projection to try to gaze into a crystal ball into several years in the future. Rosales easily made the top 30, and I wouldn't be stunned at all if he was in the top 10 next year, but you have to put some context to the numbers. Perez played at high A, Triple-A and the majors as a 2122-year-old this year. Rosales, who is a half-year older than Perez, was dominating rookie-ball and a short stint in low Class A. Rosales didn't make the top 10 yet because he needs to prove that he can stick at SS, or that his bat will be enough to carry him if he moves to 3B, and it will be much easier to get a read on him after he has a full season in the minors. As far as Pelland vs. Medlock, its based on projection. Medlock's stuff does not rate as highly as Pellands. Admittedly, performance does matter, but when you are talking about guys still in A ball, projection still matters as much, if not more.



Q: Mike from Boston asks:
No Phil Dumatrait, Justin Germano or Elizardo Ramirez here (not that they should be). Were the Reds not selling them or were you not buying?

A: J.J. Cooper: All 3 will likely make the top 30, and in Dumatrait's case he didn't miss the top 10 by much, but in Germano and Ramirez' case, they project right now as more back-end of the rotationbullpen guys.



Q: Doug from Woodbury, LI asks:
Pelland seems to be a guy who could immediately go into the closer role with two potentially dominant pitches. Why wouldn't they try to groom him as a closer? (i.e. Haehnel, Bray...)

A: J.J. Cooper: Because you can always make a guy a closer later on, while if you move a guy to the pen, it usually closes the door on a starter role. That's why relievers almost always rank lower on these lists than starters--failed starters with good stuff can become top-notch relievers. Good relievers with good stuff rarely can become top starters, and it's harder to find starters.



Q: Mike from Boston asks:
If you had to form a baseball team on a desert island and you had to choose between Chris Dickerson and Javon Moran for your CF, which one would you pick?

A: J.J. Cooper: Is the baseball team playing right now? Then I'd take Moran, he's produced at Double-A. Dickerson has a higher ceiling, but if you're asking me which will have a better 2006, I'd take Moran.



Q: Mike from Boston asks:
Fair to call 2006 a make or break year for Szymanski's prospect status?

A: J.J. Cooper: Make or break may be a little strong, but he NEEDS 450 at-bats. He was already behind as far as his development because of his two-sport status at Princeton. Now he's missed almost another year because of injuries.



Q: Richard from Indianpolis asks:
Several minor league players made some significant jumps late in the year in 05. Adam Rosales jumped from Billings to Dayton and played well once he got there. John Purdom jumped from Dayton to Chattanooga and Drew Anderson jumped from Dayton to Louisville; both played sparingly after their promotions. What is your take on these guys?

A: J.J. Cooper: Already touched on Rosales. Anderson's promotion to Triple-A seemed a little strange to me, and was more a sign of need to fill a spot at Triple-A than a merit-based promotion. Purdom ended up winning the Reds top batting award at instructs. He's got a better bat, and worse glove, than most Reds catching prospects. He's not going to touch the top 30 this year, but he has gotten at least a little notice in the Reds system.



Q: Mike from Boston asks:
Tonys Gutierrez rolls out of bed and hits. Supposedly he's got a good glove too. I know his power isn't there yet, but he's still fairly young. Does he make this list with another strong season?

A: J.J. Cooper: The Reds would like to see Gutierrez develop his power, but yeah, he's a guy who could move well up the list next year with a solid year at high Class A. He can hit, fields his position well and could develop some power.

jmcclain19
11-30-2005, 05:51 PM
Still more


Q: Maggie from lucasville , Ohio asks:
The Reds traded randa to the padres for Chick and Germano. What do you think of this trade and can you tell me about the players in question?

A: J.J. Cooper: Not a bad trade when you pick up a guy as a relatively low-priced FA and turn him into prospects. Chick was considered one of the top arms in the Padres system just a year ago. He had a subpar year this season, but there's enough in that arm to take a risk on. Germano is a little fringy, but with a feel for pitching, with a couple of breaks and a good year, he could be in the majors next season, so the Reds get two arms that could help before two long for a guy they needed to get rid of to make way for Encarnacion anyway.



Q: Bob from Portsmouth , Ohio asks:
Any dimonds in the rough that nobody knows of yet that will break out in the future ?

A: J.J. Cooper: Michael Jones is rawer than raw, and is 5 years away at least, but his bat and athleticism could turn him into something interesting years from now.



Q: Tom from Kokomo, IN asks:
Assuming the Reds sign noone else to man second base and Ryan Freel begins the season as the starter at 2B. Who is best equipped to take his place when he self destructs, William Bergolla or Kevin Howard?

A: J.J. Cooper: If he can stay healthy, Freel isn't a terrible option at 2B. If he goes down, Bergolla is much more ready to step in right now, as Howard's defense at 2B is a question mark.

jmcclain19
11-30-2005, 06:24 PM
Final wrap up


Q: Brad from Lansing, MI asks:
What's your opinon about the Tandem Starter system? It seems to me that the system is too cautiuos and the pitchers do not get the innings they need to develop.

A: J.J. Cooper: If any team had a reason to try a tandem starter system, it's the Reds. After watching starter after starter go down, they needed to change something. The Rangers have seem some of their guys progress fine after working through a tandem starter system, and by eliminating the tandem starter system as they move up, they do get a chance to get lengthened out in the higher levels of the system. I don't think the Reds could state right now whether the tandem starter system has helped or not, but they had plenty of reason to err on the side of caution with their young arms.



Q: Steve from New Jersey asks:
Does the apparent success of the high draft picks from the last two drafts signal a turnaround in the Reds drafting - or is it a mirage or too early to tell. It is hard to see the Reds rebounding without some homegrown cheap talent on the roster. While this has happened some with the offense, there appears to be no help in sight.

A: J.J. Cooper: The Reds have to develop pitching to compete in the Central unless the new ownership clears the way for a major bump to the budget. The last two years have shown signs of hope for that, as Bailey and Wood, and some of the other guys, could develop into the pitching that the Reds haven't developed in years. But you did hit on a major point. Almost all of the Reds pitching prospects are in low A, high A or short-season ball, so there is a lot of projection, and some time before these guys are ready. Weaknesses that don't show up in rookie-ball often appear when a guy hits High A or Double-A. A year from now, we'll know a lot more about Bruce and Wood. If they are still sitting at No. 2 and No. 3 on the Reds list, it's a good sign.



Q: Joe from Long Beach, CA asks:
Was LeCure's grades that bad at Texas that'd he'd sign with Cincy in the 4th round? This could be a steal for the Reds...

A: J.J. Cooper: His inability to pitch during the 2005 season did play some factor in his draft ranking. His stuff is good, not great, but yeah, if he had been pitching every Friday for the Longhorns, he may have been a 2nd or 3rd round pick.



Q: Jim from Bronx asks:
The Reds have not protecte Kevin Howard on the 40 man roster? Any idea why they made this decision?

A: J.J. Cooper: Howard is the guy who is the biggest risk among the Reds unprotected players in my opinion, especially as scouts just watched him torch the AFL. The Reds are at 40 on their 40-man roster, and Howard projects more as a utilityman than an everyday second baseman, so it was a risk they apparently were willing to take.



Q: Dwight Howard from Under The Rim asks:
Is Chris Gruler done?

A: J.J. Cooper: Gruler's not done, but he's also not what he once was hoped to be. After missing nearly three seasons with injuries, he's a longshot who has a long hill to climb to get back on track. He's not likely to crack the top 30 at this point.



Q: Bob from Marietta, Ga. asks:
What do you hear about Bo Lanier the 10th round pick from Georgia ? Reports I've read say he touches 94-95.

A: J.J. Cooper: great fastball, has nothing else right now, so he's got work to do to refine his arsenal of pitches.



Q: Brandon from Cincinnati asks:
Which of the unprotected Reds do you think has the best chance of being taken in the Rule V draft? What about some of the unprotected, injured pitchers like Gruler, Gardner or Pauly? Are there teams out there with deep pockets willing to take the risk and keep them on the DL for a full year?

A: J.J. Cooper: I don't think anyone is going to take a pitcher coming off of shoulder surgery, too many unknowns to take that risk, especially as the success rate on shoulder surgeries is significantly lower than tommy john surgery.



Moderator: Thanks guys, I better get back to working on biz beat. Sorry I couldn't answer every question.

Superdude
11-30-2005, 06:28 PM
I think Bailey's control is going to majorly improve next year, along with his numbers.

Early in the year, Bailey had an ERA of like 2.00, even better K numbers than he had at the end of the year, and better control because he was throwing almost all fastballs. He's got good command with the heater.

I watched him when his ERA and BB's were starting to inflate, and he was using his curveball and changeup a lot more. But Alonzo Powell said that Bailey improved his curveball location a bunch at the end of the year and had like a 3.50 in the last month.

Milezinni
11-30-2005, 06:38 PM
J.J. Cooper is so full of it

You guys listen to a word of this BS, and you will be looking left when the next starter comes from the right.....and it will be YOU who looks like he doesn't know what he is talking about, at least when it comes to evaluating a major league ballplayer....

Afterall, the Reds aren't selling jeans......and they are not selling prime time TV series' on the WB either.

I hope this guy doesn't have any influence on the organization.....

Mod edit note: Masked profanity is a no-no.

wheels
11-30-2005, 06:47 PM
J.J. Cooper is so full of @#$@!!!!

You guys listen to a word of this BS, and you will be looking left when the next starter comes from the right.....and it will be YOU who looks like he doesn't know what he is talking about, at least when it comes to evaluating a major league ballplayer....

Afterall, the Reds aren't selling jeans......and they are not selling prime time TV series' on the WB either.

I hope this guy doesn't have any influence on the organization.....

What?

How about a little elaboration?

cincyinco
11-30-2005, 07:34 PM
What?

How about a little elaboration?

The guy has none. He just has his "feel" for the game.. :rolleyes:

I agree with him that there is more to baseball than stats.. tools, projections, skills, etc do play out. But he dismisses anything statistical as meaningless...

sigh.

Overall I feel the list is probably the strongest its been since oh.. 99/2000. Things are improving IMHO, slowly but surely. Yeah, these guys are all in the low minors, but you have to start somewhere.

Most subscribers here want impact college level talent that will be ready NOW. I dont think thats the right way to approach rebuilding a franchise that is in such a putrid state of well being. You take the highest level talent in the draft you can, regardless of position and if they play highschool/college.

I think Dan'O has done a decent job. Could it be better? Sure, but I agree that the last few years Bowden was here, his drafts were "black holes" as it was put. Nothing to show for it save Ryan Wagner. And how good has he looked?

I think everyone needs to take a deep breathe, calm down, and realize that while these guys are young, they have a ton of talent. You can point out Gruler/Howington/Basham etc all you want, but the fact of the matter is that these guys ARE NOT them!!! You can't group them in with those pitchers, they have to be judged on their own merits.

I also think you guys critize for the way BA evaluates their talent too much. They have said time and time again that they try their best to blend stats with tools and projectability. Which is why you see Gonzalez so high on this list. Ba openly states their evaluation philosphy and they still get ragged on. Take it for what its worth, but there's no need to get upset about the way they evaluate prospects.

Dumatrait has a lot of questions, as do Gardner and Pauly. Both had shoulder problems, I wouldn't put them on a top 10 list either. Shoulder injuries spell death for pitchers. Rosales is a college player who didn't play above A ball. I'm excited about him, but I also dont necessarily disagree with keeping him off the list. He should be MORE THAN ABLE to do what he did against the low levels. Now if he does it again in AA, then I think you see him on next years top 10 for sure. A lot of the guys everyone is clamoring for on the top 10 list(Guevera, Medlock, etc) really don't have that high of a ceiling and dont project as much at the ML level. They're putting up these numbers against low level competition as it is, need to prove themselves more.

I dont know, I just think after reading this thread a lot of ppl here are far too criticle about things, and are going with their opinions based purely on stats. Which is important, but defenitely not the ONLY factor you should use when looking at a player. Potential is worth something guys, as much as you may hate the word and dislike hearing it.

BoydsOfSummer
11-30-2005, 07:43 PM
Top Ten Prospects: Cincinnati Reds
Complete Index of Top 10s

By J.J. Cooper
November 30, 2005

Live Chat! J.J. Cooper takes your Reds questions at 2:30 p.m. ET Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2006.

When Carl Lindner led the charge that bought Marge Schott out of her majority ownership of the Reds, he seemed like a white knight charging in to save the team.

In 1999, Lindner’s first year as the team’s CEO, Cincinnati went 96-57 and lost a National League wild-card playoff game to the Mets. Before his second year, the Reds landed Ken Griffey Jr. in a trade with the Mariners. With a push for a new stadium getting underway, the club’s future seemed bright.

But Griffey got hurt, manager Jack McKeon was let go in a messy squabble after the 96-win season and the Reds quickly found themselves near the NL Central’s basement, dreaming of a .500 season. Cincinnati has endured its worst stretch in 50 years, putting up losing records for five straight seasons.

If there’s any hope for the franchise now, it’s the thought that a new ownership group, led by local businessman Robert Castellini (a minority investor in the Cardinals), will provide the financial backing and the direction to get the Reds back on track. By the time the sale was announced in November, Linder was a lightning rod for fan dissension.

There’s plenty of work to be done. The Reds got a short-term attendance jump and some increased revenues out of the move to the Great American Ball Park in 2003. But their payroll remains in the bottom half of the NL, and a $19 million spending spree before the 2005 season proved foolish. Cincinnati lavished nearly $35 million in contracts on Eric Milton, Ramon Ortiz and Paul Wilson, who went a combined 18-31, 6.15. Milton’s 6.47 ERA nearly set a record for worst ever by an NL starter.

The blame for the misguided pitching binge can be pointed squarely at the Reds’ inability to develop starting pitching in recent years. The farm system has delivered plenty of outfielders (Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns and Wily Mo Pena) and enough other position players to form the building blocks of a contender. But being a Cincinnati pitching prospect has been hazardous. Ricardo Aramboles, Bobby Basham, Phil Dumatrait, Richie Gardner, Chris Gruler, Josh Hall, Ty Howington, Luke Hudson and Thomas Pauly all have had their careers delayed or derailed by arm problems.

In an attempt to stanch the bleeding, general manager Dan O’Brien instituted a tandem-starter system with strict 75-pitch limits for the lower levels of the system. That didn’t stop Gardner or Pauly from going down in 2005, but the Reds believe they’re cutting down on the number of injuries.

The added caution, plus Cincinnati’s emphasis on adding quality arms to the system in recent drafts, could be a key to turning the team around. But while Homer Bailey, Travis Wood and Rafael Gonzalez give the team hope for the future, they’re at least a few years away. The Reds will have to plug holes from outside the system, as few prospects in the higher levels are ready to contribute.

1. HOMER BAILEY, rhp Age: 19 Ht: 6-3 Wt: 190 B-T: R-R
Drafted: La Grange (Texas) High, 2004 (1st round) Signed by: Mike Powers

Background: Bailey has been pitching in pressure games since before he started shaving. He outdueled Ryan Wagner in the Texas 3-A state championship game as a freshman, and capped his high school career with a second state title as a senior. He ranked No. 1 on this list a year ago after signing for a $2.3 million bonus as the seventh overall pick in 2004, when he was also named BA’s High School Player of the Year. The Reds are exercising extreme caution with him, hoping he can avoid the injury bug that has claimed so many of their best pitching prospects in recent years. He pitched just 12 innings after signing in 2004, and was limited by a tandem-starter system with a strict 75-pitch limit in 2005. He worked six innings in a start only once all season and went as many as five innings in just five other outings, yet still managed to claim the title of top pitching prospect in the low Class A Midwest League. He was sidelined for a couple of weeks in April as he worked back from minor knee surgery, a problem that had nagged him since high school. While his first full season was unremarkable statistically, he showed glimpses of his promise in the final month with a pair of scoreless five-inning outings, including an 11-strikeout two-hitter.

Strengths: Bailey has front-of-the-rotation stuff. He’s armed with two plus pitches—a 92-94 mph fastball that touches 96-97 with good life, and a hard 12-to-6 curveball with potential to be a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He pounds the bottom of the strike zone and usually hits his spots. His control will be another plus. Though he did issue more than his share of walks in 2005, the Reds attribute that to their insistence that he work on his secondary pitches. A former basketball player, Bailey is a natural athlete with an effortless arm action and clean delivery that bode well for future projection. He should get stronger, as there’s room to pack more weight on his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame.

Weaknesses: Bailey’s changeup always will lag behind his two knockout pitches. It’s presently a below-average pitch with just a little sink. He did make it a point to throw the changeup more in 2005, and he did a better job of delivering it with the same arm speed he uses with his fastball. Bailey doesn’t always stay on top of his curveball. He also needs to improve his consistency and show that he can pitch effectively on nights where he doesn’t have his best stuff. Like many dominant high school starters, he didn’t have to work on such nuances as holding runners and quickening his move to the plate. He has made steady improvement in both areas, and he has addressed his rhythm and tempo on the mound. Bailey has admitted that baseball is more of a job than a passion. To achieve his potential as an ace, he’ll have to stay focused as he moves up the ladder.

The Future: While the Reds have yet to turn Bailey loose, they may challenge him with a jump to Double-A Chattanooga in 2006. Though he’s not on the 40-man roster, he has been invited to big league camp to get a taste of what awaits him. He could be poised for a breakthrough season.
2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Dayton (Lo A) 8 4 4.43 28 21 0 0 104 89 5 62 125 .232

2. JAY BRUCE, of Age: 18 B-T: L-L Ht: 6-2 Wt.: 206
Drafted: HS—Beaumont, Texas, 2005 (1st round) Signed by: Brian Wilson

Background: Bruce went from unknown to prospect during the summer of 2004, and his surge continued last spring as he emerged as the cream of a quality crop of Texas high school outfielders. He went No. 12 to the Reds and signed for $1.8 million. He ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Rookie-level Pioneer League in his debut.

Strengths:
Bruce draws comparisons to Larry Walker and Jeremy Hermida for his sweet stroke, above-average arm and athleticism. He profiles as a power-hitting right fielder, but the Reds intend to keep him in center until he grows out of the position. He can turn on a fastball, but he also has shown the ability to use the entire field with good bat speed. He has plus speed and good overall instincts.


Weaknesses:
Like many young players, Bruce needs to work on the finer aspects of the game, such as reading pitchers and honing his basestealing technique. He occasionally gets antsy at the plate instead of sitting back and waiting on pitches to drive.


The Future:
Bruce will make his full-season debut at low Class A Dayton. A five-tool talent, his bat will dictate how rapidly he advances.

2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
GCL Reds (R) .270 .331 .500 122 29 33 9 2 5 25 11 31 4 6
Billings (R) .257 .358 .457 70 16 18 2 0 4 13 11 22 2 2

3. TRAVIS WOOD, lhp Age: 19 B-T: R-L Ht: 6-0 Wt.: 165
Drafted: HS—Alexander, Ark., 2005 (2nd round) Signed by: Mike Keenan

Background: Wood is the highest-drafted Arkansas high school pitcher since the Reds took Dustin Moseley in 1999’s supplemental first round. Wood intrigued teams by reaching 95 mph with his fastball as the draft approached, and he dominated two Rookie leagues after signing for $600,000.

Strengths:
Wood’s changeup drops off the table and already rates as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He fools hitters by repeating the same arm speed and motion as when he throws his fastball. He regularly hit 93-94 mph and threw to both sides of the plate with good life during the summer. He also features a cutter.


Weaknesses:
Wood’s curveball isn’t as developed as his other pitches. The Reds have made refining his curve a point of emphasis, and they promoted him to Rookie-level Billings to work with curveball specialist Butch Henry. Wood has some effort in his delivery.


The Future:
Wood aced his introduction to pro ball and seems more than ready for low Class A. He has considerable upside, though coming up with a reliable breaking ball will be crucial.

2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
GCL Reds (R) 0 0 0.75 8 7 0 0 24 13 0 7 45 .157
Billings (R) 2 0 1.82 6 4 0 0 25 15 0 13 22 .174

4. B.J. SZYMANSKI, of Age: 23 B-T: b-R Ht: 6-5 Wt.: 215
Drafted: Princeton, 2004 (2nd round) Signed by: Mike Misuraca

Background: A two-sport star at Princeton, Szymanski was the football team’s leading receiver and led the baseball team to the Ivy League title as a junior in 2003-04. Already lacking experience thanks to his dual-sport commitment, he has been hampered by injuries as a pro. A quadriceps injury shortened his 2004 debut, and he missed time in 2005 because of arthroscopic knee surgery and a broken hand.

Strengths:
When healthy, Szymanski showcases three impact tools, including explosive raw power from both sides of the plate. He has 30-homer potential in the majors. A chiseled athlete, he can fly around the bases and cover the gaps in center field. His arm is average.


Weaknesses:
Szymanski’s swing gets long, and strikeouts and a lower batting average will be a tradeoff for his power. He’s still raw and must improve in the fine points of the game, such as getting jumps and running the bases. Injuries have limited him to just 272 pro at-bats.


The Future:
Coming into 2005, Szymanski looked poised for a breakout season. Ticketed for high Class A Sarasota, he’s again a prime candidate if he can stay in the lineup.

2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Dayton (Lo A) .262 .332 .471 191 32 50 8 1 10 26 21 57 7 1

5. CHRIS DENORFIA, of Age: 25 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-1 Wt.: 185
Drafted: Wheaton (Mass.), 2002 (19th round) Signed by: John Brickley

Background: With his September callup, Denorfia ensured his title as the top male athlete in Wheaton (Mass.) College history. He earned Division III all-America honors in 2002, when he batted .467.

Strengths:
He doesn’t have overwhelming tools, but Denorfia has surprised scouts with his improved hitting and power the last two seasons. He displays a good feel for the strike zone and works counts in his favor. He’s a solid runner with enough range to play center field. He’s average defensively in center field and he has enough arm strength to play right.


Weaknesses:
Denorfia doesn’t have many glaring weaknesses. He doesn’t have exceptional bat speed and his swing doesn’t naturally produce loft power. He’s already getting everything out of his ability, so there isn’t much projection left to him.


The Future:
Denorfia is ready to contribute in Cincinnati after a strong Arizona Fall League performance. He may not be more than a fourth outfielder, especially with the Reds’ position depth.

2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Chattanooga (AA) .330 .391 .564 188 40 62 17 3 7 26 17 38 4 3
Louisville (AAA) .310 .391 .505 323 50 100 12 6 13 61 41 54 8 3
Cincinnati .263 .364 .421 38 8 10 3 0 1 2 6 9 1 0

6. RAFAEL GONZALEZ, rhp Age: 20 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-1 Wt.: 232
Drafted: HS—New York, 2004 (4th round) Signed by: Jason Baker

Background: Gonzalez signed with the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic in 2003, but that deal was voided because he was a U.S. citizen who had played at Manhattan’s George Washington High before moving to the Dominican as a junior. After signing for $315,000 as a fourth-round pick in 2004, he disappointed the Reds by showing up out of shape for spring training, leaving him unprepared to handle low Class A.

Strengths:
His stuff is just a tick behind Homer Bailey’s for the best in the system. Gonzalez throws 92-94 mph and peaks at 97, and he also shows a plus curveball and an average changeup at times.


Weaknesses:
Gonzalez has a soft, thick lower half and struggles to keep his weight under control. His stamina and stuff suffered in 2005 until he dedicated more time to cardiovascular work. His secondary pitches and control are very inconsistent.


The Future:
The Reds hope Gonzalez learned his lesson and will be better equipped to succeed in low Class A in 2006. He flashes top-of-the-rotation stuff but must dedicate himself to realize his potential.

2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Billings (R) 3 0 3.43 11 6 0 1 42 36 7 23 37 .234
Dayton (Lo A) 3 5 9.35 10 5 0 0 26 24 5 24 22 .250

7. MIGUEL PEREZ, c Age: 22 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-3 Wt.: 190
Signed: Venezuela, 2000 Signed by: Jorge Oquendo

Background: Though he has hit just .240 above Rookie ball, Perez made his big league debut before he turned 22 in September. His defensive ability has helped him land jobs in the Venezuela Winter League the past two offseasons.

Strengths:
Perez is the organization’s best defensive catcher, with well above-average throwing and receiving skills. He erased 44 percent of basestealers in 2005 and likes to pick off runners with snap throws to first base. He handles pitchers well and runs well for a catcher.


Weaknesses:
Perez’ bat hasn’t caught up with his catch-and-throw skills and may relegate him to a backup role. He has limited power (nine homers in five pro seasons) and plate discipline, though the Reds think he could hit 10-15 homers annually. When he keeps his hands back, he does a better job of driving the ball.


The Future:
After his short September audition, Perez will go to Double-A in 2006. With the productive tandem of Jason LaRue and Javier Valentin, the Reds don’t need to rush Perez.

2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Sarasota (Hi A) .268 .305 .347 291 36 78 11 0 4 33 16 63 7 1
Louisville (AAA) .208 .275 .292 72 5 15 3 0 1 5 5 19 0 0
Cincinnati .000 .000 .000 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0

8. TYLER PELLAND , lhp Age: 22 B-T: R-L Ht: 6-0 Wt.: 200
Drafted: HS—Bristol, Vt., 2002 (9th round) Signed by: Ray Fagnant (Red Sox)

Background: Cincinnati acquired lefties Phil Dumatrait and Pelland from the Red Sox for Scott Williamson at the July 2003 trade deadline. While Dumatrait has been waylaid by Tommy John surgery, Pelland quickly emerged as the top lefty in the Reds system. After posting an 8.66 ERA in low Class A in 2004, he made a successful transition to full-season ball, jumping to high Class A, in 2005.

Strengths:
Pelland throws his four-seam fastball at 92-93 mph and can dial it up to 95 at times, and he also has a lively two-seamer. He commands his fastball well, and shows the ability to spin a plus curveball. He’s a good athlete who has dominated in spurts.


Weaknesses:
Pelland’s curve is inconsistent. When it’s not on, hitters can sit on his fastball because his circle changeup is below average and hasn’t developed as expected. At 22, he’s still far from a refined product, as his control numbers suggest, although as a Northeastern pitcher, he doesn’t have many innings on his arm.


The Future:
Pelland has a fresh arm, but needs to take a significant step forward as he approaches Double-A. If he can’t improve his secondary pitches, a future in the bullpen awaits him.

2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Sarasota (Hi A) 5 8 4.05 30 15 0 0 102 103 5 63 103 .270

9. JOEY VOTTO, 1b Age: 22 B-T: L-L Ht: 6-3 Wt.: 200
Drafted: HS—Toronto, 2002 (2nd round) Signed by: John Castleberry

Background: The Reds tried to cut costs in the 2002 draft with disastrous results, as Denorfia and Votto are the lone bright spots from that crop. After establishing himself as the system’s best power prospect, he had a disappointing 2005 and continued to struggle in the Arizona Fall League.

Strengths:
Votto can launch balls out of sight in batting practice. He drew 90 walks in 2004, showing a disciplined, mature approach. For a big man and former catcher, Votto runs the bases well, and he has grown into a solid defensive first baseman with an above-average arm for the position.


Weaknesses:
Votto lacks plus bat speed and his swing lengthened in 2005. Perhaps too passive in the past, he seemed to start guessing, finding himself behind fastballs and ahead of offspeed offerings. He especially struggled against lefties, hitting .193 with a .315 slugging percentage.


The Future:
Votto’s prospect stock has taken a hit, though he’s still the top first-base prospect in the system. He needs to rediscover his short stroke and trust his natural hitting instincts in Double-A in 2006.

2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Sarasota (Hi A) .256 .330 .425 464 64 119 23 2 17 83 52 122 4 5

10. TRAVIS CHICK, rhp Age: 21 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-3 Wt.: 220
Drafted: HS—Whitehouse, Texas, 2002 (14th round) Signed by: Dennis Cardona (Marlins)

Background: Four years into his pro career, Chick has played for three organizations. A little-known Marlins prospect when he was traded for Ismael Valdez in 2004, he quickly blossomed for the Padres and was one of the surprises of spring training in 2005. After he stalled in Double-A, San Diego sent him and Justin Germano to Cincinnati for Joe Randa last July.

Strengths:
Though Chick’s velocity was down in 2005, he still had a 91-92 mph fastball that touched 94. His hard slider has good bite and is an average pitch with above-average potential. Chick has a solid pitcher’s frame.


Weaknesses:
After dominating low Class A in 2004, Chick couldn’t handle jumping to Double-A. He was a victim of big innings all season, unable to get out of jams. His slider was inconsistent, while his changeup remained below-average. He’s more of a thrower than a pitcher.


The Future:
Chick has to hone his slider and maintain his mechanics to get back on track. He’ll probably repeat Double-A in 2006. Unless his changeup develops, he projects as a power middle reliever.

2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Mobile (AA) 2 9 5.27 19 19 1 0 97 107 12 40 92 .279
Chattanooga (AA) 2 2 4.86 8 8 0 0 46 47 5 27 21 .270

Photo Credits:
Bailey, Szymanski: Dan Arnold
Perez: Mike Janes
Denorfia: Bill Mitchell
Chick, Pelland, Votto: Steve Moore
Wood: Cliff Welch
Bruce: Rodger Wood


Copyright 2005 Baseball America. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Site Map | FAQ/Troubleshooting

SteelSD
11-30-2005, 08:54 PM
I also think you guys critize for the way BA evaluates their talent too much. They have said time and time again that they try their best to blend stats with tools and projectability. Which is why you see Gonzalez so high on this list. Ba openly states their evaluation philosphy and they still get ragged on. Take it for what its worth, but there's no need to get upset about the way they evaluate prospects.

Here's the problem...

If you read that chat transcript closely, you'll see blatant methodology contradictions.

Perez makes the list because of his defense even though he's got a limited upside. Bergolla misses the list while skilled defensively because Cooper claims he has a limited upside.

Szymanski (college player) hasn't done much in the system and can't stay healthy, yet makes the top 10 list (at #4 no less) based on upside, yet Adam Rosales (college player) needs to "prove it" to Cooper over a "full season". That's funny to me because Rosales (297 PA) has an almost identical minor league experience level at this point versus Szymanski (302 PA) AT THE SAME LEVELS.

And a huge head-scratcher regarding Rosales is Cooper's demand that he prove he can stay at Short when Rosales would be a top 10 guy in anyone's system at ANY position should he continue to put up the same offensive numbers as he climbs through the system. That was just a mind-blowingly dumb thing for Cooper to say and a great example of how completely arbitrary the thinking is. College middle infielder joins the system, puts up the same number of minor league PA as College outfielder, dusts College outfielder offensively, and leads his first minor league in Fielding Percentage and Double Plays, but needs to "prove it" while College outfielder ends up at #4 on the top prospect list.

Here's another pretty good example of Cooper's fractured thought process:

Cooper: "Admittedly, performance does matter, but when you are talking about guys still in A ball, projection still matters as much, if not more."

Yeah...see...the thing is that "performance" and "projection" are NOT mutually exclusive concepts. If BA would figure that out, they'd do a much better job.

And I wouldn't mind Baseball America so much if they'd actually find a consistent methodology and stick to it. It's quite obvious that they're a "tools-first" publication. Ok. Fine. Then put together a list of best tools in an organization and leave it at that. But don't insult folks who actually do care about whether or not a player can do it on the field by acting as if you're somehow "incorporating" performance data into an evaluation that is, in the end, a subjective determination based on an entirely different methodology.

Betterread
11-30-2005, 10:02 PM
Do you have anything substantive to say about each 2004 draftee's merits? Or are you just relying on a dubious appeal to authority? I would have expected better from you.

I think the 2004 draftees in rounds 1,2,4,5,7 have all displayed the potential that got them drafted by the Reds. Many times, draftees don't adjust to proball and don't show the potential they showed in amateur ball, for whatever reason. So in the first 2 years after the draft my modest expectations are that the draftees maintain their athleticism (i.e. don't get injured or display quick rehabilitative powers) and show their abilities frequently enough to inspire hope. In addition, the round 10 draftee - Terrell Young - was not expected to provide much the first full year in pro ball. In 2006, if this guy makes a full season club, he has the stuff to really emerge. That means that I hold out hope that these 6 players plus any others which may emerge may eventually help the ML club.

Superdude
11-30-2005, 11:45 PM
Terrell Young! I'm drooling right now...

What a freaking arm! He was hitting 97MPH in the gulf coast this season. Tag that along with a wicked curve and this guy has one of the top two or three arms in the system.

M2
12-01-2005, 01:27 AM
Excellent points Steel.

I was really impressed by John Sickels going back to review how his top prospects projections panned out. BA's greatest fault is that it never audits itself. It takes no responsibility for its bad projections or investigates what caused those bad projections in the hopes of avoiding similar ones in the future.

But I came to the conclusion a number of years back that what it's doing isn't trying to determine who the actual best prospects in a system are. It's publishing the values of baseball's futures market.

What BA just told us isn't that Homer Bailey is the Reds' best prospect. It told us that he's the Reds' most valuable prospect. Guys who seem overvalued like Szymanski, Perez and Pelland probably are the prospects the Reds should be looking to put into deals this winter.

SteelSD
12-01-2005, 02:54 AM
Excellent points Steel.

I was really impressed by John Sickels going back to review how his top prospects projections panned out. BA's greatest fault is that it never audits itself. It takes no responsibility for its bad projections or investigates what caused those bad projections in the hopes of avoiding similar ones in the future.

Sickels impresses me as well. The very fact that he's willing to have a mock amateur draft with us dumb fans is a real big deal to me. Rather than being stand-offish, Sickels is engaging and introspective. More than anything else, that allows him to not spend half his time trying to figure out how to excuse away his misses.


But I came to the conclusion a number of years back that what it's doing isn't trying to determine who the actual best prospects in a system are. It's publishing the values of baseball's futures market. What BA just told us isn't that Homer Bailey is the Reds' best prospect. It told us that he's the Reds' most valuable prospect.

Oh, no doubt. I just wish they'd use this disclaimer:

"Baseball America does not specialize in ranking prospects based on probability. That is, we have no idea whether any of the players on our lists will ever manifest their skills in a way that would allow them to actually hit, play defense, or acquire Outs for their MLB ballclub in the future. We do, however, like their physical tools and think they look hot in jeans."


Guys who seem overvalued like Szymanski, Perez and Pelland probably are the prospects the Reds should be looking to put into deals this winter.

There will always be a market for players whose tools outweigh their baseball skill because there are always going to be some number of teams who value the potential of tools over the projectibility of performance. Unfortunately, the current Reds front office makes them one of those teams.

Milezinni
12-01-2005, 11:31 AM
Geez Steel, you mean...you....mean you...actually....agree with me? This is weird, and I don't know what to think?!?


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The only way you could ever "judge" whether a player is ever going to crack a big league roster is to watch them play and evaluate the success rate between what they are supposed to do, told to do, trying to do, what they are doing, and whether or not they succeeded.

And if they fail, know why....the stats and numbers just don't tell you that. Sorry, but it's true.

And a deep knowledge of mechanics and strategy doesn't hurt.

That's why you see some rook making his ML debut, go 3 for 6, or hit a home run in consecutive at bats and yet the team will turn around and send him back down to the minors, meanwhile another player will get the call go 0-7 and stick around.

And it's not just their defense....

It's their gameplan, and approach at the plate. No matter what the success, you have to be able to play the game right. You have to know what you are doing at all times.

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Besides, I say stats are misleading and not a very accurate barometer to a player's value. But I don't believe they are completely meaningless, they have a place in baseball, if you take them with a grain of salt and know what to, and not to, read in them.

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As far as elaborating on Mr. Cooper, and Baseball America, or MLB experts in general, I definitely think they fall under the "old" ideology of judging the "look" of a player. And I think they are "looking" at the wrong things.

This pitcher is a true prospect because he hit's 95 mph on the gun, and this one needs more seasoning because he can't get it over 90 consistently?!?

Tell that to Greg Maddux, or Mark Buerhle, or Jamie Moyer, or on and on and on......

Who cares if they are drafted in the first round or look good on the mound, or in the batters box. Who cares if a player weighs 350 lbs, or a team drafts 3 Leprachauns in a row. Or dwarves for that matter. All that matters is if they can execute a gameplan with any level of success.

I mean be honest, how many of you here actually predicted the call ups of players like Chris Denorfia, or Jason Standridge, or Brian Shackelford?

I know on another message board I was on this season alot of people were shocked and appalled that Standridge and Shackelford got the call over Booker.
And the numbers don't back up the move, but, there you go.......a perfect example.

These guys, Cooper, BA, etc...are definitely trying to select who is going to be on the next $6,000 rookie card, or poster child or prime time teen idol on WB.

Give it up, just watch them play, and try and determine who plays the game right....forget the bells and whistles....and stop trying to blow smoke up our @#$$.......

Not to mention they are being paid for their opinions and they have to sell papers, so to speak. Doesn't make them right.

Milezinni
12-01-2005, 11:33 AM
80% warned?!?

Doesn't look like I am going to stick around long enough to get my -50.....oh well.