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chicoruiz
12-12-2006, 04:59 PM
The list is up on his website. No major surprises but a few minor ones (to me anyway):

-LeCure is in the top ten.

-Szymanski is rated ahead of Moran (although when you get that far it's all pretty interchangeable).

-No mention of Carlos Guevara at all.

-And Brandon Watson is on the list despite being waived. Tsk, tsk, Mr. Sickels.

Superdude
12-12-2006, 05:07 PM
Brandon Watson? Was this a top 200 list?

dougdirt
12-12-2006, 05:19 PM
I am not sure about the list, Javon Moran has hit .330 since he has been a Red, isnt too old for his level really and isnt ranked but BJ Szymanski is?

Josh Ravin was hitting 96 this summer, and has 3 commandable pitches but isnt ranked?

Superdude
12-12-2006, 05:24 PM
I'm glad I passed on Sickels book.

chicoruiz
12-12-2006, 06:05 PM
Ravin is mentioned in the big group ranked below the top 20. No mention of Wirfin Obispo at all, either... I know he's just a baby in baseball terms, but when you mention about 40 guys, I'd think you'd have room for him.

I gotta say I was underwhelmed by the list. I started reading Sickels' stuff a while ago because of his past association with Bill James, but to be honest I'm not sure what he brings to the table that any bright person with a BA subscription and Internet access can't do just as well.

dougdirt
12-12-2006, 06:11 PM
I agree. Sickels used to do his own scouting, but now he just gets word from other people he knows and hardly sees any prospects play in person these days.

Cooper
12-12-2006, 06:13 PM
Sickels knows his stuff. He may make a mistake based upon who's been released, etc....but his analytical skills are better than any other minor league guru out there. I like how he breaks things down using 7 skills instead of the 5 tools. A 5 tool framework leaves a lot to be desired. I also like his sabermetric bent which cuts thru a lot of the tools b.s.

I think a good case could be made that he my be the best minor league guru out there. To nail him on his (in)ability to to know whether or not a player has been waived is akin to discounting an arguement bsed on somebody's lack of spelling skills.

Doc. Scott
12-12-2006, 06:17 PM
Sickels rarely ever puts short-season players on his top 20 lists unless they're highly touted from the draftnik press. I wouldn't have expected him to rank Ravin.

Watson over Moran, though, is a fairly serious omission.

Superdude
12-12-2006, 06:34 PM
Sickels knows his stuff. He may make a mistake based upon who's been released, etc....but his analytical skills are better than any other minor league guru out there.

I'm not really ripping him for that. It's not easy keeping track of every organization's prospects, but he doesn't really provide any information that the average fan couldn't gather on their own. He may have great analytical skills, but it's not hard to figure out that Bailey is a top pitching prospect and that Drew Stubbs is a toolsy outfielder with questionable hitting ability.

Aronchis
12-12-2006, 06:53 PM
Ravin's problem is, when you watch his video, he doesn't have textbook mechanics and struggles to maintain them throughout the game, the anti-Bailey.

He will have to get more consistant with his mechanics(I wouldn't change them).

Superdude
12-12-2006, 07:16 PM
He will have to get more consistant with his mechanics(I wouldn't change them).

He looks like a panzy though.

HokieRed
12-12-2006, 08:54 PM
I was a bit disappointed with his list. Granted it must be awfully hard to keep up with all of every team's prospects, but that is supposed to be his specialty. His list doesn't show any real in-depth familiarity with the Reds. IMHO, Strait should be on it somewhere, at least in the mentions, and Carlos Fisher should be in the top 20, though near the bottom still. As a potential left-handed starter who's moved three levels in the last two years, Vasquez deserves at least to be mentioned.

lollipopcurve
12-12-2006, 08:58 PM
He praises systems with no top-end talent and rips the Reds with some high-end guys. I don't think he gets it.

Doc. Scott
12-12-2006, 09:23 PM
He praises systems with no top-end talent and rips the Reds with some high-end guys. I don't think he gets it.

Well, it is fairly accurate to say the Reds have a few top-tier prospects and then a bunch of interchangeable spare parts. Sickels seems to prefer "deep" systems that might not have many A prospects but have lots of B's. I don't know.

We're still better off than we were in 2003, at least.

Cooper
12-12-2006, 09:25 PM
His best stuff you gotta pay for -.

lollipopcurve
12-12-2006, 09:33 PM
Well, it is fairly accurate to say the Reds have a few top-tier prospects and then a bunch of interchangeable spare parts.

To me the assessment of "depth" is extremely inexact. I don't care if it's Sickels, BA or whoever. The #11-40 prospects in any system are all hit or miss, in my opinion, and their ability to make it will depend on whether somebody takes a liking to them and wants to give them an opportunity. The strong majority of prize talent is in the top 5 -- that's where your core players come from, in most cases, and it's worth at least 50% of a system's "final grade," in my opinion.

dougdirt
12-12-2006, 09:53 PM
I agree completely lolliepopcurve. I will take a Bailey, Votto and Bruce and no one else in the system (not that I think we have no one else in the system, just making a point) over a system with no one like those three, but a deep system of marginal players who might one day be a backup outfielder or bullpen guy. Your bread and butter is to produce key cogs, especially as a smaller budget team.

cincyinco
12-12-2006, 11:22 PM
I agree. Sickels used to do his own scouting, but now he just gets word from other people he knows and hardly sees any prospects play in person these days.


To be fair, his life has been changing quite a lot lately.

Deaths in the family(not just the cat..heh), new baby being born, buying a house, etc. etc. Most of that should have settled down by now, so things should be getting back up to speed.

All this, while he does his minorleagueball.com site for FREE. Its FREE. Its a one of the only other communities I visit regularly to discuss baseball.

He still has it, you just got to pay for it - get his newsletter. Its much more loaded and in depth. Check it out. And remember that the other things he offers up to the public are Free. In this day and age when ESPN makes you pay to read an "insider" article that I can view for free from the DDN website, I think its refreshing, and I appreciate what he does for the community.

The Reds list can be debated, but at the same time its not like we're arguing over a loaded system. The farm has improved a lot IMO, but it is still in bad shape. Lets hope John is less busy this year and gets to see some of our newly drafted guys... I think the list will look a lot different, and hopefully better, next year.

lollipopcurve
12-13-2006, 08:25 AM
its not like we're arguing over a loaded system. The farm has improved a lot IMO, but it is still in bad shape.

I disagree. When you've got the high-end talent the Reds do, I don't think your system is not in bad shape. I think it's become almost automatic for people to classify the Reds' system as poor -- it's just received wisdom, recycled.

Cooper
12-13-2006, 09:30 AM
having a lot mid-talent players allows you more opportunites to swing and miss. If you have 10 arms that have mlb ability you can probably hope for only 2 or 3 breaking through to the other side. It becomes a game of black jack -you can't figure on winning every game but you can move the odds slightly in your favor by having more arms with talent.

With pitching prospects being so volatile, i think i would rather have more mid-level talent than less high end talent (i.e. 5 mid level guys being more valueable than 1 high end guy). What you have to figure out is "what is the break even point". All of this is kind of a silly arguement anyway because that's not how talent is gathered. They really don't have to make that kind of decision unless it's a trade.

As for Sickels, I agree with cinycinco. Sickels was really the first guy to go out there and try to make a living writing exclusively on the minor leagues and when he started he was so far out in front of others it wasn't even close. With the advent of the internet, there's been an influx of guri (is that a word?), but i really believe he still has the best stuff out there.

Red Heeler
12-13-2006, 05:37 PM
I disagree. When you've got the high-end talent the Reds do, I don't think your system is not in bad shape. I think it's become almost automatic for people to classify the Reds' system as poor -- it's just received wisdom, recycled.

Bailey and Votto may be able to help the Reds this year, but probably not on opening day. It may even be opening day 2008 before either is ready to play in the majors. Jay Bruce is still likely two years away. The filler below them on the prospects list is even farther away. The problem is not that the Reds don't have anyone who might help. The problem is that any potential help is years away. Ask Dustin Mosely, Ty Howington, Bobby Basham, et al. how many potholes are in that road.

Any system that has several prospects who are ready to see action on a major league diamond is ahead of the Reds even if those prospects do not have the ceiling of Bailey and Bruce.

Aronchis
12-13-2006, 09:01 PM
Bailey and Votto may be able to help the Reds this year, but probably not on opening day. It may even be opening day 2008 before either is ready to play in the majors. Jay Bruce is still likely two years away. The filler below them on the prospects list is even farther away. The problem is not that the Reds don't have anyone who might help. The problem is that any potential help is years away. Ask Dustin Mosely, Ty Howington, Bobby Basham, et al. how many potholes are in that road.

Any system that has several prospects who are ready to see action on a major league diamond is ahead of the Reds even if those prospects do not have the ceiling of Bailey and Bruce.

I disagree. So in 2008 Bailey and Votto will be ready to start along with a handfull of middle relievers. Cueto will be closing in and Wood beginning in the upper minors and 'stud' bats like Bruce has the potential to be, move quickly in their third year. That is darn close in many ways and there are always "surprise" prospects who move fast(Terrell Young and Watson may be on the list after 2007). Sounds close to me.

So by the end of 2008, Bailey/Votto/Bruce/Cueto/Medlock/Shafer will be all on the major league roster with whoever knows Krivsky will dig up with his transitional analysis or replacing the guys who got traded of that list. Patience and health is what we need.

LoganBuck
12-13-2006, 09:46 PM
5 top end draft picks this year will certainly help.

dougdirt
12-14-2006, 11:14 AM
Sickels has the Detroit Tigers system up now, they have a very similar breakdown as the Reds top 20.


Grade Tigers Reds
A 0 1
A- 2 1
B+ 0 1
B- 5 3
C+ 7 4
C 6 10

The Reds have the highest rated player, Homer Bailey with an A. The Tigers have 1 more player with a B rating, with 5. The Reds have 4 B playeers, but they have a B+ in Joey Votto while the Tigers dont have any. The Tigers have 13 C type players, while the Reds have 14. The Tigers have more C+ typers. So, the Reds are stronger in the top 6, where players will pay more dividends and Sickels says this about the Reds:


Obviously this system is weak right now. The Grade C guys are all interchangeable on the list depending on what you want to emphasize.
The Reds In One Sentence: This system has two future stars in Bailey and Bruce, two very good prospects in Votto and Cueto, then a bunch of questionmarks and spare parts.

Sickels said this about a simliar Tigers system


The Tigers in One Sentence: This system has two outstanding prospects at the top, but it falls apart quickly after that, depleted by the graduations of Verlander, Zumaya, and Granderson over the last two years.
Not much depth here at all. Tigers hitting prospects have a tendency to strike out a lot. They also have a lot of ground ball pitchers. There are some interesting guys in the '06 draft class, but we need a year to see how they pan out.

Seems like the two systems are quite similar according to Sickels. It will be interesting to see what Baseball America ranks the two systems when they release their depth chart.

cincyinco
12-14-2006, 12:49 PM
I agree completely lolliepopcurve. I will take a Bailey, Votto and Bruce and no one else in the system (not that I think we have no one else in the system, just making a point) over a system with no one like those three, but a deep system of marginal players who might one day be a backup outfielder or bullpen guy. Your bread and butter is to produce key cogs, especially as a smaller budget team.


I agree completely lolliepopcurve. I will take a Bailey, Votto and Bruce and no one else in the system (not that I think we have no one else in the system, just making a point) over a system with no one like those three, but a deep system of marginal players who might one day be a backup outfielder or bullpen guy. Your bread and butter is to produce key cogs, especially as a smaller budget team.

Its important to have the high end talent, agreed. But its also important to have the "depth" - the best systems, such as LAA, LAD, ARI, MIN, MIL etc - have both of these. The top end talent, and mid level talent beyond the first 3 spots.

The problem with the Reds is they have Bailey, Bruce, and Votto, and then what? Cueto has question marks, as does Wood, and Stubbs, etc. Every guy has legit question marks, or is in the low levels of the minor league system - so its hard to gauge value of these guys...

It won't look the same this time next year, as some of those questions will be answered. Stubbs could break out, or bust... Cueto could continue to dominate and move up - which would certainly enhance his value and up his grade.

The rest of the "C" guys on the Reds, are players who are either in the very low rungs of the Reds minor league system, or are guys who should have a very limited impact/role at the ML level. Relievers, 4th outfielder types, etc.

Jovan Moran may have put up a better performance than BJ Syzmanski, but who has the higher ceiling? Certainly BJ does. Its almost certain that Moran isn't going to be anything special, or have a huge impact on any ML team. And while it certainly looks doubtful that Syzmanski will, if he figures it out - and reaches his ceiling, it could have a starting role for a few years.

Really, we're arguing about fringe ball players, and IMO its not really a big deal. The Reds system is in better shape than it was previously, and I really like Buckley's draft looking back on it - but the system still has a lot of questions, its talent still remains mostly in the low levels, and it still has a lot of progress to make.

The 2007 draft looks to be very promising, and we have a few extra draft picks. Lets hope we can restock the farm, and the rest of our guys continue to make solid progress. Once Cueto, Wood, Stubbs, Ravin, Watson, etc start to mature and move up the ladder, we should have both good depth, and solid prospects. The Dan'O era of talent should start making its way to the upper levels this year, with a few of those guys starting to bang on the door to the ML club(hello Bailey!).

Eventually, we shoud hopefully have a steady flow of in-house talent coming up through the minors, and every level will have a prospect or two worth getting excited about. Call me crazy, but I'm not going ga-ga over guys like Shafer, Salmon, Coutlingous, etc.

IslandRed
12-14-2006, 02:59 PM
Jovan Moran may have put up a better performance than BJ Syzmanski, but who has the higher ceiling? Certainly BJ does. Its almost certain that Moran isn't going to be anything special, or have a huge impact on any ML team. And while it certainly looks doubtful that Syzmanski will, if he figures it out - and reaches his ceiling, it could have a starting role for a few years.

Not to hijack the thread, but "ceiling" is one of those words that means different things to different people. Szymanski just turned 24 years old and has stagnated at Low-A ball. The only basis for giving him any kind of high ceiling is his natural athletic ability, and he's past the point where that should carry much weight in evaluating him. If he was 18 years old, that would be one thing. At 24, he's just another toolsy guy who can't hit very well. I don't see any reason to keep speaking of him as a high-ceiling prospect.

Superdude
12-14-2006, 03:23 PM
At 24, he's just another toolsy guy who can't hit very well. I don't see any reason to keep speaking of him as a high-ceiling prospect.

It's not that he's likely to reach his potential at all, but Szymanski's athletecism still gives him a big cieling if he ever learns to hit the ball.

cincyinco
12-14-2006, 03:28 PM
Not to hijack the thread, but "ceiling" is one of those words that means different things to different people. Szymanski just turned 24 years old and has stagnated at Low-A ball. The only basis for giving him any kind of high ceiling is his natural athletic ability, and he's past the point where that should carry much weight in evaluating him. If he was 18 years old, that would be one thing. At 24, he's just another toolsy guy who can't hit very well. I don't see any reason to keep speaking of him as a high-ceiling prospect.

You're right, it is important to clarify the term "ceiling".

To me, it means the type of player a guy will be if everything came together properly, no injuries, etc.

Jovan Moran has a "ceiling" of a 4th outfielder. Thats likely the highest level of ability that his talent will take him in the game. He will more than likely never amount to anything more than an extra outfielder.

While BJ hasn't lived up to expectations, his skill set, tools, and athleticism all lend scouts to believe that if - as i stated earlier - everything comes together and he maxes out his potential - he would be a starting outfielder on a ML ballclub.

Its worth noting that the results with BJ certainly haven't been there, and thats disheartening in terms of his prospect status for sure. But its also worth noting that BJ was a "two-way" star at the ivy league school he went too, and has only been playing baseball full time for a couple of years now - most of which has been injury plauged. So he's rather raw in terms of his development, despite his age. He could very well have a "Chris Denorfia" type emergence, late in his career. He's worth keeping around for now, but his status has certainly slipped significantly, and is still slipping. He's got a lot of work to do.

But just because the results aren't there yet, doesn't mean they wont be.

I try to preach this when talking about prospects... every prospect is unique in terms of development, and as a person. I'd recommend taking a look at John Sickels' "prospect retro's" he does over at minorleagueball.com - where he discusses how some of the more heralded players of the past several decades performed as prospects, their progress through the minors, and what they ultimately ended up as. Even some of the best guys, treaded water in the minors, then suddenly exploded onto the scene. And then there are some like Greg Jeffries, who lit it up - but never amounted to anything.

Here is a prospect retro of one of our very own Reds players..

http://www.minorleagueball.com/story/2006/5/8/154726/7672

Just search for "prospect retro" under the search link on his page..

chicoruiz
12-14-2006, 04:20 PM
If Sickels realy does provide in-depth, insightful content in the stuff you have to pay for, maybe I was too harsh on him. But if that's the case, he should at least provide an example on the free website to let you know what you'd be paying for. To ask for money based only on what he posts on the website is a marketing calamity.

cincyinco
12-14-2006, 04:43 PM
If Sickels realy does provide in-depth, insightful content in the stuff you have to pay for, maybe I was too harsh on him. But if that's the case, he should at least provide an example on the free website to let you know what you'd be paying for. To ask for money based only on what he posts on the website is a marketing calamity.

Ask, and you shall receive... note - there is an actual sample letter, albiet and old one from 2001 on the link - i just posted what is included in the letter. Please visit the link for the actual sample. He also posts tidbit samples of the newsletter on minorleagueball.com

http://www.mastersball.com/sickels/services.htm


SIGNUPS FOR THE 2006 JOHN SICKELS BASEBALL NEWSLETTER AVAILABLE NOW

The email newsletter will now consist of the following:

1) One weekly in-depth prospect report, similar to my old weekly reports for ESPN.com.

2) One weekly Down on the Farm Mailbag, like I did for ESPN.com.

3) At least one league organization report per week (alternating NL and AL). Some weeks there will be two.

4) Travel and scouting updates on what I see during my travels during the season.

5) Updates to the 50/50 list as the season progresses.

The newsletter will come out a minimum of three times per week during the season, often four times, and run through the end of the year. If you sign up after the start of the newsletter, you get all the back issues of course.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The newsletter is a seperate entity from the blog. Readers of both will note that there is not duplication. Typically, the newsletter will expand on basics outlined in the blog, and only newsletter subscribers are privy to book updates, list and grade previews.

And here is a sample from minorleagueball.com

http://www.minorleagueball.com/story/2006/11/8/113916/674

I can't quote it, its not able to be copied/pasted..so check the link.

IslandRed
12-14-2006, 06:11 PM
You're right, it is important to clarify the term "ceiling".

To me, it means the type of player a guy will be if everything came together properly, no injuries, etc.

You're right. What I meant, and probably didn't say just right, is that a ballplayer's ceiling is not static. It needs to be adjusted based on where a guy is, and while everyone is different, it's not a reach to say that a 24-year-old is not likely to make the big leaps a 19-year-old is. Whatever Szymanki's natural athletic ability, the lack of rapid improvement in his baseball-playing ability and the limited amount of time left before his natural physical peak suggests his best-case scenario isn't nearly as good as it was two years ago. He has tools, but the time for them to translate into skills (tying this back to John Sickels) is running out.

cincyinco
12-14-2006, 08:46 PM
You're right. What I meant, and probably didn't say just right, is that a ballplayer's ceiling is not static. It needs to be adjusted based on where a guy is, and while everyone is different, it's not a reach to say that a 24-year-old is not likely to make the big leaps a 19-year-old is. Whatever Szymanki's natural athletic ability, the lack of rapid improvement in his baseball-playing ability and the limited amount of time left before his natural physical peak suggests his best-case scenario isn't nearly as good as it was two years ago. He has tools, but the time for them to translate into skills (tying this back to John Sickels) is running out.

I might be nitpicking, but I don't really think of the term "ceiling" as being flexible - to a large degree. Its pretty firm, i.e. static IMO with a bit of variation here and there..

Now whether a player reaches his ceiling or not is an entirely different question... :)

As for Szymanski, I agree with your assessment on him. Time is defenitely running out, but due to his rather "raw" background, and two way sports status(and given these types of players development curves in the past), its not out of the realm of possibility that he could make some strides this year. Though it was discouraging to see him regress.

Its doubtful BJ ever amounts to anything at the ML level. But then again, its doubtful that Moran will either... and this goes back full circle to my original post about Moran vs Szymanski.. you're arguing over nothing really. They're both prospects that are a dime a dozen in MLB. They have some Tools, but have some glaring holes in their game as well. They have a lot of work to do. And its not likely they'll ever amount to anything.. and time is running out..

IslandRed
12-14-2006, 10:47 PM
I might be nitpicking, but I don't really think of the term "ceiling" as being flexible - to a large degree. Its pretty firm, i.e. static IMO with a bit of variation here and there..

Now whether a player reaches his ceiling or not is an entirely different question... :)

I get your point. We're really talking about two different ceilings, I guess -- the natural and the practical. My thinking is influenced by the articles I've seen on development. We all know about the "age 27 peak" theory, and one of the BP guys made a convincing case that the development curve for the typical player is flattening out by the time he's 24, and improvement from there on comes in hard-won increments rather than leaps and bounds. As you've noted, B.J. has maybe a little more wiggle room in his development curve than most other guys going into their age-24 seasons, but he's still at the point where the gap between what he is and what he will be starts narrowing rapidly; that can't help but affect our projection of what he can be. Whatever his natural ceiling was, his practical ceiling -- i.e., the best-case scenario as tempered by reality -- isn't as high as it was two years ago.

But, I'm nitpicking too. On the big picture, you're absolutely right. Neither Moran nor Szymanski is a meaningful asset.