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View Full Version : The future is bright in Cincy



OnBaseMachine
05-28-2008, 02:09 AM
I have to make a positive post. After a night like Jay Bruce just had how can you not be thinking positive right now? I just can't get over how unbelievable of a debut that was by Jay Bruce tonight. That is something I will never forget and I only wish I had been there to see it live. After watching an amazing performance like that it got me thinking about how bright the future in Cincinnati is looking right now. This is the most talented this team and organization as a whole has been in a long, long time. Probably the most talent this team has had since I was old enough to watch Reds baseball (early to mid 1990's).

Jay Bruce proved tonight why he is the best prospect in all of baseball. From the loud sound of the ball coming off the bat to the amazing way the ball jumps off his bat. I don't think I've ever seen a ball jump off a bat the way it does for Jay Bruce. He showed a well disciplined eye at the plate as he laid off some close pitches and took a couple walks and in his other atbats he made the pitcher throw him his pitch, and when they did Bruce made them pay. He's not afraid to go the other way as two his three hits were rocket line drives to left field. That's one of the things that make him such an elite hitter. I know it's only one game but I think this kid is going to be a very special player for a long time. He's a number one good guy and will be the face of the franchise for a long time.

But the great thing is, he's not the only super young talent the Reds have. In fact, there is plenty more behind him both on offense and pitching. Not too many teams in baseball have the young talent the Reds have. Maybe the Tampa Bay Rays. One of those young talents were on the field tonight - Johnny Cueto. He struggled with his command at times but he showed why he is a potential ace. His fastball clocks in in the mid-90's and he flashes a nasty slider and changeup that most pitchers could only dream of having. He's taking his lumps right now but he's going to be a special pitcher very soon. We've already caught some glimpses of his potential this season in his debut vs Arizona. The funny thing is he's not even the best young pitcher on the staff - that title goes to Edinson Volquez, who leads the majors in both ERA and strikeouts. Add in a bonafide horse like Aaron Harang and you got three potential top-of-rotation starters locked up for a long time. If that's not enough the Reds have 22-year old Homer Bailey in AAA. He's been a bit inconsistent this season but he clearly has the stuff to be great major league starter. The beauty of having Cueto/Volquez is it gives Homer Bailey time to work on some things in Triple-A and develop on his own time line. Besides Homer Bailey in Louisville, the Reds also have Daryl Thompson and lefty Matt Maloney. Thompson had a sub 2.00 ERA and averaged just under a K/IP in AA before getting the promotion to Louisville. Look for him to be in Cincy later this season. His upside is as a No. 2/3 starter. Matt Maloney is a big durable lefty with solid strikeout rates who profiles as an innings eating No. 4 starter. He too could spend some time in Cincy later this season. That is a lot of depth and talent to build a rotation on.

Another upside to having some depth in the rotation is it allows the Reds to move an arm into the bullpen and strengthen the weakness that is the bullpen. Obviously Francisco Cordero is great closer, and I think both Jared Burton and Bill Bray are two arms who are going to help in the bullpen. Josh Roenicke is another power arm currently in AA Chattanooga who profiles as a hammer arm out of the pen. That's four good arms to build around in the bullpen plus maybe a fifth arm from one of the starters.

Back to the offensive nucleus. I think it's becoming more and more obvious that the Reds have got to re-sign Adam Dunn. It's a no-brainer at this point. Dunn has always been a very good hitter but this year he seems to be improving and becoming an even better player. His defense seems to be improving and he's making improvements at the plate as he's now walking as much as he's striking out. Right now he's OPSing .969 and is on pace for 45 homeruns, 117 RBIs, and 127 walks. Tonight he became the franchise leader in most homeruns by a left-handed hitter - that's special considering the history of this franchise. Sign this guy long-term and build the offense around him and Jay Bruce and Joey Votto. Brandon Phillips is also improving his game and is another young exciting player to build around. Edwin Encarnacion is still only 25-years old and has flashed signs of big potential. Yeah he's still inconsistent right now but I think he'll develop into a fine player, and if he doesn't then Todd Frazier is not too far from reaching the majors. He's the next top prospect you'll be hearing about. He's not quite a Jay Bruce talent but he'll remind you of a Kevin Youkilis type player. Chris Valaika is another young hitter to watch, he's currently in AA.

Right now I see three holes the Reds need to fill. Shortstop, center field, and catcher. Shortstop may not really be a hole because I think Paul Janish can get the job done. He's a young guy with good range up the middle and though he'll never hit for much power, I do think he'll get on base enough to play SS everyday. Center field and catcher are the two main holes IMO. Grabbing a CFer who can cover some ground would improve the defense tremendously as it allows the Reds to move Bruce to RF, and he's a huge improvement over Griffey in RF. The Reds have two young center fielders in the minors in Shaun Cumberland (OPS right around .900 in AA) and Drew Stubbs is OPSing just under .800 in High-A while playing gold glove caliber defense. The Reds may just wait on one of those guys or they could choose to acquire a CFer via a trade. They'll have to look outside the organization to find a catcher as the only true good catcher prospect in the organization is Devin Mesoraco and he's in Low-A Dayton, probably four years from the majors. Craig Tatum is in AA but he profiles as a backup at best.

Walt Jocketty is a great GM and I think he recognizes the weaknesses of the team (defense, catcher, center fielder...all that goes hand in hand, another bullpen arm or two) and will work to shore it up. This team isn't in perfect shape right now but we're set up pretty good for the future and have a good GM to take this organization to the next level.

redsfan4445
05-28-2008, 02:14 AM
i went to the game and that was something special to witness..it was electric every atbat for Bruce and after tonight you will see attendance increase.. Many people around me were in awe of how well he played tonight..(one guy i talked too wondered what had we had both Hamilton and Bruce in our outfield.. oh to dream), but he is on the same road to success.. I am going to the game tomorrow night too.. Affeldt made it interesting in the 9th, but COCO bailed him out..lets hope they have a good homestand and can get the team going consistently.. There were loud boos when Patterson was pinch hitting and again when he did his usual pop fly out..

PuffyPig
05-28-2008, 09:30 AM
Nice post OBM.

I can't disagree with anything you have posted.

wheels
05-28-2008, 09:57 AM
OBM.....Your enthusiasm is one of the things that makes Redszone what it is.

Keep doing it with feeling.

I really hope this club comes together soon. It bugs me that there is a whole generation of kids that haven't seen the Reds play winning Baseball.

Hopefully this is the team you can grow up with.

BuckeyeRedleg
05-28-2008, 10:46 AM
Great post OBM. I agree with much of it.

I would also like to see them solidify the bullpen. Bailey (possibly) may be an important part of that bullpen sometime soon.

If, say a Matusz or Crow are drafted, we may have our other key cog to the rotation allowing Homer to move to the beullpen as setup and possibly future closer.

RedlegJake
05-28-2008, 11:19 AM
More and more I love the Bailey to the pen idea. He may be a perfect candidate for the start him from the pen routine.

top6
05-28-2008, 11:21 AM
I think it's becoming more and more obvious that the Reds have got to re-sign Adam Dunn.
I agree with you that the future is possibly bright IF this happens.

If it doesn't, though, then the best case scenario is that all Bruce does is replace Dunn. And then the Reds aren't improved at all, they're the same, and the future is the same.

BuckeyeRedleg
05-28-2008, 11:33 AM
I hope that they decide to negotiate a deal with Dunn during the season. Who knows, maybe they could have taken advantage of his early slump and lack of traditional beancounting stats (RBI) to have gotten him at a discount a few weeks ago. If they wait until after this season, which I feel will be a career year, they might not be able to afford him.

All one has to do is see the guy is in his prime at 28 and has averaged 42 HR 100 RBI and .920 OPS over the past 4 full seasons (ages 23-27), to know now is the perfect time to lock him up for 3-4 years.

I always thought it was a lame crutch of an excuse to say that they don't negotiate contracts until after the season.

IslandRed
05-28-2008, 01:18 PM
I always thought it was a lame crutch of an excuse to say that they don't negotiate contracts until after the season.

GMs say that to the media, but what they usually mean is, "we're not going to discuss it with you." I don't think the backchannel ever really shuts down. I imagine the Reds know what will take to keep Dunn here. Jocketty may be keeping the cards hidden as he waits to see how the season goes and what the trade market looks like, but if he decides he wants Dunn back and is willing to pay the price, it'll probably get done in a hurry.

Matt700wlw
05-28-2008, 01:19 PM
Hamilton may have been The Natural.

Jay Bruce is The Future...and The Future is now.

flyer85
05-28-2008, 01:23 PM
Last night Jocketty gave no indication the team was going to open negotiations anytime soon. His comments were that the organization would get together to decide best how to allocate their resources and that Dunns production would be difficult to replace.

BuckeyeRedleg
05-28-2008, 01:41 PM
GMs say that to the media, but what they usually mean is, "we're not going to discuss it with you." I don't think the backchannel ever really shuts down. I imagine the Reds know what will take to keep Dunn here. Jocketty may be keeping the cards hidden as he waits to see how the season goes and what the trade market looks like, but if he decides he wants Dunn back and is willing to pay the price, it'll probably get done in a hurry.

I'm not sure if it was DanO or Jimbo, but I remember one of them would not discuss contracts with players during the season.

vaticanplum
05-28-2008, 01:43 PM
Remember when OBM was a cranky dude?

Chip R
05-28-2008, 01:47 PM
I'm not sure if it was DanO or Jimbo, but I remember one of them would not discuss contracts with players during the season.


Pretty sure it was DanO and I don't think it's a bad policy. Why give the player an additional distraction?

KronoRed
05-28-2008, 01:47 PM
Remember when OBM was a cranky dude?

Sure, it was Sunday :D

OnBaseMachine
05-28-2008, 01:48 PM
Remember when OBM was a cranky dude?

:bowrofl:

You could always find the cranky OBM in game threads (and occasionally still can, check Sunday's game thread), but on ORG OBM is typically a very optimistic person. Sorry about the third person, I got caught up in the moment. :D

BuckeyeRedleg
05-28-2008, 02:02 PM
Pretty sure it was DanO and I don't think it's a bad policy. Why give the player an additional distraction?

I'm not saying it should be done for everyone but, in this case, I think the sooner the better.

I mean, they should at least try to get something done before the deadline.

If it's not meant to be, then at least they can trade him and know they tried to re-sign him.

red-in-la
05-28-2008, 03:23 PM
I am still a skeptic. After last night when Chris and George and then Walt-baby spent a lot of time telling me that they liked what they saw on a 2-5 raod trip frought with dumb plays and errors, with the rationalization that they saw the team starting to come together as a team......what else can I be?

If that road trip was coming together, somebody find Reggie Jackson for me.

Chip R
05-28-2008, 03:44 PM
I am still a skeptic. After last night when Chris and George and then Walt-baby spent a lot of time telling me that they liked what they saw on a 2-5 raod trip frought with dumb plays and errors, with the rationalization that they saw the team starting to come together as a team......what else can I be?

I don't blame you but what do you expect? They are just spouting the party line.

REDREAD
05-28-2008, 03:53 PM
I'm not sure if it was DanO or Jimbo, but I remember one of them would not discuss contracts with players during the season.

It was DanO.. Bowden extended several players midseason..

flyer85
05-28-2008, 04:00 PM
After last night when Chris and George and then Walt-baby spent a lot of time telling me that they liked what they saw on a 2-5 raod trip frought with dumb plays and errors, with the rationalization that they saw the team starting to come together as a team.seems like maybe the marketing folks and the broadcast team got together on Monday and came up with a plan to try and sell to the public.

RedsManRick
05-28-2008, 04:15 PM
seems like maybe the marketing folks and the broadcast team got together on Monday and came up with a plan to try and sell to the public.

I was thinking the same thing. Definitely seemed orchestrated to me.

nate
05-28-2008, 04:40 PM
I got the impression that WJ was talking about how the young players were coming together in that there was a core of them arriving with the big club simultaneously.

I didn't get the impression that WJ thought the team played well on the road trip. I didn't even get that impression from George.

WebScorpion
05-28-2008, 05:18 PM
I thought they were impressed by the team unity and attitude of the Reds during the 18 inning heartbreaker. The starting pitchers who were on their off day went and put on their spikes without being told, (I think Harang started it and the others followed suit.) I think the team was very determined to win that game and left it all on the field that night. That's all you can ask. Although they didn't win that game, I'd bet at the end of this season, to a man, they'll mark that game as a turning point.

SunDeck
05-28-2008, 05:44 PM
It bugs me that there is a whole generation of kids that haven't seen the Reds play winning Baseball.

Hopefully this is the team you can grow up with.

A generation of kids from Cleveland, 1969-1994 says hello.

vaticanplum
05-28-2008, 05:59 PM
A generation of kids from Cleveland, 1969-1994 says hello.

But that's Cleveland. Becoming accustomed to loserdom early can only serve them well in life.

SMcGavin
05-28-2008, 06:08 PM
I agree with you that the future is possibly bright IF this happens.

If it doesn't, though, then the best case scenario is that all Bruce does is replace Dunn. And then the Reds aren't improved at all, they're the same, and the future is the same.

I'm with you. The Reds need Dunn and Bruce. Do that and the Encarnacions of the world go from being iffy core players to very good complementary players.

OnBaseMachine
05-28-2008, 06:35 PM
They were just discussing Jay Bruce on Around the Horn on ESPN and both of the guys agreed that Bruce is going to be dynamite player. They also mentioned all the great young talent and the Reds have and said they're going to be a tough team to handle soon. It's nice to see the organization starting to get some outside recognition.

RedsManRick
05-28-2008, 06:44 PM
They were just discussing Jay Bruce on Around the Horn on ESPN and both of the guys agreed that Bruce is going to be dynamite player. They also mentioned all the great young talent and the Reds have and said they're going to be a tough team to handle soon. It's nice to see the organization starting to get some outside recognition.

I don't believe it. The point Around the Horn is to have egomaniacal journalists disagree with other at a very loud volume for 30 minutes. Agreeing on anything goes against ESPN principle.

TeamBoone
05-28-2008, 10:02 PM
I always thought it was a lame crutch of an excuse to say that they don't negotiate contracts until after the season.

And that's exactly what Walt Jocketty said during his two inning visit to the booth last night... except he inserted the word "normally".

red-in-la
05-29-2008, 12:07 AM
I don't blame you but what do you expect? They are just spouting the party line.

Well, I did dismiss Welsh and Grande, but then Jocketty joined them and said the same thing.....which made me think that it was the company line, and Jocketty IS the company line.....so, what I said remains.

My instinct is they are telling fans what they want to hear.

WVPacman
05-29-2008, 12:18 AM
I agree with you that the future is possibly bright IF this happens.

If it doesn't, though, then the best case scenario is that all Bruce does is replace Dunn. And then the Reds aren't improved at all, they're the same, and the future is the same.

Exactly,I agree with you 100% if the Reds don't keep Dunn here then we will not get no better b/c you can't replace 40 homers and 100 rbis.