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Benihana
07-11-2008, 06:07 PM
At the halfway point in the season, let's take a look at how the system currently stacks up. Keep in mind this only looks at prospects currently in the minor leagues (thus, Homer Bailey is not eligible.)

GRADE A

1. Daryl Thompson RHP, 22, AAA
2. Todd Frazier 3B/LF, 22, A+
2a. Yonder Alonso, 1B, 21 unsigned (this is where he'd rank if/when he signs.)

GRADE B

3. Chris Valaika 2B/SS, 22, AA
4. Neftali Soto 3B 19, A
5. Kyle Lotzkar RHP, 19, A
6. Travis Wood LHP, 21, AA
7. Drew Stubbs CF, 23, AA
8. Devin Mesoraco C, 20, A

GRADE C

9. Juan Francisco 3B/1B/RF, 21 A+
10. Josh Roenicke RHP, 25, AAA
11. Matt Maloney LHP, 24, AAA
12. Zach Stewart RHP 21, A
13. Shaun Cumberland OF 23, AAA
14. Robert Manuel RHP 25, AA
15. Justin Turner 2B 23, AA
16. Sean Henry OF, 22, AA
17. Brandon Waring 3B/1B 22, A
18. Sam LeCure RHP 24, AA (welcome back)
19. Ben Jukich LHP, 25 AA
20. Danny Dorn OF, 23, AA

ON THE RADAR

21. Tyler Pelland LHP 24, AAA
22. Danny Ray Herrera RHP 24, AAA
23. Jordan Smith RHP 23, A+
24. Zach Cozart SS, 22, A
25. Justin Reed CF, 20, A

DROPPED OFF THE RADAR

Sean Watson

KEEP AN EYE ON (too early to rank)

Juan Duran OF
Clayton Shunick RHP
Evan Hildenbrant RHP
Alex Buchholz 2B/SS
Alex Oliveras OF

As always, a GRADE A ranking usually corresponds with being a Top 50 prospect in all of baseball. A GRADE B ranking would garner consideration for being a Top 100 prospect in the game, and is reserved for players who have the upside to work their way into a Grade A ranking. GRADE C players may intrigue a few teams and therefore have some trade value, but not enough to warrant being the centerpiece of any major trade.

The changes on this list are highlighted by the meteoric rises of last year's draftees Soto and Lotzkar, as well as Zach Stewart from this year's draft. Soto and Lotzkar are two bright spots on the Dayton roster that make the drive up I-75 worth making again. Stewart has been on fire in his professional debut, and is poised to be a very fast riser through the system. I wouldn't be surprised to see him start next season at Chattanooga, and if his success continues I wouldn't be shocked if he doesn't finish 2009 in Cincinnati. Meanwhile, Lotzkar and Soto could easily find themselves at the top of this list by season's end at the rates which they're currently going. Both have big time potential. Stubbs remains in the B class with his recent promotion and dazzling debut in Chattanooga, but I'd like to see him sustain his hot start for the remainder of the season. Next year will most certainly be Stubbs' make or break season, so I'm glad to see him wet his feet in Chattanooga this year. Travis Wood has struggled his last couple outings in Chattanooga, but should remain in the rotation there indefinitely, as he's already proven his mastery over Sarasota. Assuming he signs, it will be interesting to watch Alonso and Frazier challenge each other through the system. Both of them should have comparable major league ETAs, and with Joey Votto occupying either 1B or LF, there might only be room for one of them in the Reds' long term plans.

IMMINENT PROMOTIONS

Josh Roenicke should be with the Reds immediately.
Danny Dorn and Sean Henry should be bumped up to Louisville soon, but they may have to wait until a spot opens on the big club for Dickerson.
Robert Manuel should close games for Louisville as soon as Roenicke gets called up to the Show.
Ben Jukich and Sam LeCure should also be promoted to the Louisville rotation as soon as possible.
Zach Stewart looks like he could easily be the best bullpen arm in Sarasota right now.

LATE SUMMER CALLUPS

If he continues to mash and can find a position he can call home, Todd Frazier might get a taste of Chattanooga by the end of the summer.
If he doesn't get a spot start or two sooner, Matt Maloney will almost certainly get a big league tryout come September.
Tyler Pelland and Danny Ray Herrera should also get big league bullpen additions in September.
Adam Rosales looks to be a September callup, provided he doesn't relapse into his early season funk.

Thoughts?

BuckeyeRedleg
07-11-2008, 06:11 PM
Well done.

dougdirt
07-11-2008, 07:14 PM
I cant say I disagree too much. Few here and there, but overall nothing way out of whack other than Duran.

Benihana
07-11-2008, 07:26 PM
but overall nothing way out of whack other than Duran.

He's obviously the #1 guy to "Keep an eye on", which means it's too early to include him in the rankings because he's not yet in A ball. That's just my way of avoiding too big of discrepancies in the projection vs. likelihood of reaching debate.

Duran has undoubtedly one of the highest ceilings in the system, but in order to be eligible for my list you have to at least have made it to Dayton.

bellhead
07-12-2008, 07:44 AM
Stewart if he keeps putting up the numbers should be moved up to the B list. It´s good to know the minor system still has some talent left.

Kc61
07-12-2008, 11:46 AM
I expect Joshe Roenicke to be pitching the 7th inning in potentially winning games for the Reds by September. Or next April at the latest.

Don't see how this translates into a C prospect.

Soto is a good prospect but all the enthusiasm is overheated. Last year he came down to earth after a blazing start. Not a shortstop, apparently not a special defensive player. I think he's a good prospect for sure, in the top ten, but would avoid getting carried away.

Travis Wood is also rated a tad high. I know, he has a very good changeup. And he looks like a potential major leaguer. BA had him way lower down. Not a projectable hard thrower, he may make it, he may not. Yes, a good prospect, glad the Reds have him. But a tad high here.

Lotzkar, on the other hand, seems like a very exciting prospect with his velocity and success at a young age. Hillenbrandt looks to me as a very exciting prospect.

Right now, assuming Alonso is signed, I think Alonso and Todd Frazier are head and shoulders the top of the class. The next group to me is Thompson, Roenicke, and Lotzkar. Lotzkar is a hard throwing young pitcher whose performance in Dayton at this young age is very promising. And, ok, add Stubbs to this group because he is a true centerfielder and they don't grow on trees.

So I've got Alonso, Frazier, Thompson, Roenicke, Lotzkar, Stubbs as 1-6.

I would then put Valaika but uncertainty as to his position is an issue here. He looks like a solid hitting prospect, not a powerhouse but solid, whose infield position is up in the air. Sounds like a seven.

The last three of the top ten is then Soto at 8, Mesaroco at 9 (just on draft hype, really), and whomever you like at 10. Just going on this season's showing, I would probably pick Lecure or Maloney. Lecure's pitching at AA is fairly viewed as dominant right now. Maybe he's better than folks have projected. Maloney having a great stretch at AAA. A number of others vying for this spot, Francisco, Hillenbrandt, Wood included. Pick Lecure.

So Valaika, Soto, Mesaroco and Lecure 7-10.

Benihana
07-12-2008, 12:06 PM
I expect Joshe Roenicke to be pitching the 7th inning in potentially winning games for the Reds by September. Or next April at the latest.

Don't see how this translates into a C prospect.

Soto is a good prospect but all the enthusiasm is overheated. Last year he came down to earth after a blazing start. Not a shortstop, apparently not a special defensive player. I think he's good, in the top ten, but people are getting a bit carried away.

Travis Wood is also rated a tad high. I know, he has a very good changeup. And he looks like a potential major leaguer. BA had him way lower down. Not a projectable hard thrower, he may make it, he may not. Yes, a good prospect, glad the Reds have him. But a tad high here.

Lotzkar, on the other hand, seems like a very exciting prospect with his velocity and success at a young age. Hillenbrandt looks to me as a very exciting prospect.

Right now, assuming Alonso is signed, I think Alonso and Todd Frazier are head and shoulders the top of the class. The next group to me is Thompson, Roenicke, and Lotzkar. Lotzkar is a hard throwing young pitcher whose performance in Dayton at this young age is very promising. And, ok, add Stubbs to this group because he is a true centerfielder and they don't grow on trees.

So I've got Alonso, Frazier, Thompson, Roenicke, Lotzkar, Stubbs as 1-6.

I would then put Valaika but uncertainty as to his position is an issue here. He looks like a solid hitting prospect, not a powerhouse but solid, whose infield position is up in the air. Sounds like a seven.

The last three of the top ten is then Soto at 8, Mesaroco at 9 (just on draft hype, really), and whomever you like at 10. Just going on this season's showing, I would probably pick Lecure or Maloney. Lecure's pitching at AA is fairly viewed as dominant right now. Maybe he's better than folks have projected. Maloney having a great stretch at AAA. A number of others vying for this spot, Francisco, Hillenbrandt, Wood included. Pick Lecure.

So Valaika, Soto, Mesaroco and Lecure 7-10.


I like Roenicke a lot, and agree that he should be pitching the 7th inning in Cincinnati right now. However, the Reds brass for whatever reason still thinks that he is not as good of an option as Gary Majewski. Granted he got a very late start to his professional pitching career, but when you're 25 and getting passed over for Gary Majewski, it's hard to consider you a top prospect. Furthermore, relief pitchers, particularly those that aren't poised to become an immediate closer, generally get ranked lower because of their projected impact on games. I think that of this list, Roenicke and Thompson are far and away the most likely to have an impact on the Reds in the immediate future, however because Roenicke is considerably older than anyone else in the top group on the list, he falls a bit. Generally, once a guy turns 26 he's no longer even considered a prospect.

Valaika is definitely ahead of Stubbs at this point purely because of their offensive numbers. Whether or not he can stick at SS is a heavily debated topic, but for now Valaika is putting Stubbs' offensive numbers to shame at (until Wednesday) a higher level, and they both play premium defensive positions.

While Sam LeCure has put up very good numbers in the last month, he had a poor April and May- at least, for a "top prospect." I'm excited about his recent stretch and would like to see him challenged in Louisville, but proceed with caution here.

As far as Hildenbrant goes, I share your enthusiasm over his performance in the GCL, but like I said earlier to doug about Juan Duran, I refuse to rank anyone on the list before they can play in A ball.

And finally, while Frazier (and Alonso) is a great looking prospect, it's difficult to argue that both guys should be "head and shoulders" above Daryl Thompson, who has dominated AAA and even had a taste of major league success at the (same) age of 22. Oh yeah, and he throws in the mid-90's. I don't think you could say anybody in high-A will ever be head and shoulders above that.

fearofpopvol1
07-12-2008, 01:07 PM
I like Roenicke a lot, and agree that he should be pitching the 7th inning in Cincinnati right now. However, the Reds brass for whatever reason still thinks that he is not as good of an option as Gary Majewski. Granted he got a very late start to his professional pitching career, but when you're 25 and getting passed over for Gary Majewski, it's hard to consider you a top prospect. Furthermore, relief pitchers, particularly those that aren't poised to become an immediate closer, generally get ranked lower because of their projected impact on games. I think that of this list, Roenicke and Thompson are far and away the most likely to have an impact on the Reds in the immediate future, however because Roenicke is considerably older than anyone else in the top group on the list, he falls a bit. Generally, once a guy turns 26 he's no longer even considered a prospect.

But shouldn't this be your own analysis and projections (re: Roenicke)? Who knows why he is still in AAA. If you think Roenicke is better, then you should rank him as such and not worry about what the Reds (may) think. I think Roenicke is a "B" prospect at this point, based on his numbers this season and what he projects to be.

ChatterRed
07-12-2008, 01:12 PM
Well done.


x2. :thumbup:

SMcGavin
07-12-2008, 01:20 PM
Two guys who I've always thought were overrated: Chris Valaika and Travis Wood.

Danny Herrera is quite a bit lower than I'd place him also. How on earth is he behind Pelland?

Betterread
07-12-2008, 01:25 PM
Good list - I love to discuss these.
Here are my opinion, for what they're worth: Soto, Wood and Mesoraco are not in my top 10. They would be replaced by Maloney and Stewart. Soto would be close to the top 10. Mesoraco has been MIA offensively for weeks. Wood will need a lot of time to be ready, and will have to avoid injury.
Manuel and Jukich are not in the top 40 and Waring is barely a prospect.
I would replace them with Tatum, Valiquette and Terrell Young.
I also think Ravin and Scott Carroll are outlying prospects.

dougdirt
07-12-2008, 01:26 PM
Two guys who I've always thought were overrated: Chris Valaika and Travis Wood.

Danny Herrera is quite a bit lower than I'd place him also. How on earth is he behind Pelland?

Why do you think Valaika and Wood are overrated?

As for Pelland over Herrera.... probability to succeed in the majors is likely the biggest reason.

ChatterRed
07-12-2008, 01:59 PM
Good list - I love to discuss these.
Here are my opinion, for what they're worth: Soto, Wood and Mesoraco are not in my top 10. They would be replaced by Maloney and Stewart. Soto would be close to the top 10. Mesoraco has been MIA offensively for weeks. Wood will need a lot of time to be ready, and will have to avoid injury.
Manuel and Jukich are not in the top 40 and Waring is barely a prospect.
I would replace them with Tatum, Valiquette and Terrell Young.
I also think Ravin and Scott Carroll are outlying prospects.


Dag, I think Soto will be top 3 within a year in the system.

HokieRed
07-12-2008, 02:02 PM
Good list. It's always fun to think about these. Does last night get Ramon Ramirez somewhere on the radar screen? I think he should be. He's had some rough outings but has also pitched some very good baseball for Louisville. He's making a strong case for some kind of role on the pitching staff in Cinti.

Steve4192
07-12-2008, 02:05 PM
in order to be eligible for my list you have to at least have made it to Dayton.

Yonder Alonso at #2a?

SMcGavin
07-12-2008, 03:17 PM
Why do you think Valaika and Wood are overrated?


Argh, I just wrote a long reply, and my browser messed up and erased it.

Anyway, I don't think Valaika will hit well enough to stick as a major league regular. I look at his numbers and see solid but nothing special. If he can't stick at SS, which all reports say he can't, he looks like a utility guy. Travis Wood's control is quite bad, and his K numbers are good but not great enough to make me feel comfortable with all the walks (unlike a Lotzkar type). He needs to severely cut his walks without cutting strikeouts much at all, and that's hard to do as you move up the chain. As an aside, Wood was terribly overpromoted, so I don't blame him for the beating he's taking at AA. He was solid in Sarasota but not good enough to earn a promotion at his age.

There were more stats and justifications of those positions in the original reply, maybe I'll write it up again later.

Kc61
07-12-2008, 03:21 PM
I like Roenicke a lot, and agree that he should be pitching the 7th inning in Cincinnati right now. However, the Reds brass for whatever reason still thinks that he is not as good of an option as Gary Majewski. Granted he got a very late start to his professional pitching career, but when you're 25 and getting passed over for Gary Majewski, it's hard to consider you a top prospect. Furthermore, relief pitchers, particularly those that aren't poised to become an immediate closer, generally get ranked lower because of their projected impact on games. I think that of this list, Roenicke and Thompson are far and away the most likely to have an impact on the Reds in the immediate future, however because Roenicke is considerably older than anyone else in the top group on the list, he falls a bit. Generally, once a guy turns 26 he's no longer even considered a prospect.

And finally, while Frazier (and Alonso) is a great looking prospect, it's difficult to argue that both guys should be "head and shoulders" above Daryl Thompson, who has dominated AAA and even had a taste of major league success at the (same) age of 22. Oh yeah, and he throws in the mid-90's. I don't think you could say anybody in high-A will ever be head and shoulders above that.

Two points.

I think Alonso and Frazier are head and shoulders above the rest right now. Thompson has had success at 22 but seems to project as a number 4 type starter. So he's ahead of the game at age 22, a solid shot at being a good member of the rotation, but perhaps not the high end pitching prospect that, say, a Cueto was last year. I think Alonso and Frazier probably project as everyday players, possibly middle of the order guys, and so their ceiling may be higher.

As for Roenicke, I don't think it means anything that the Reds are using Maj right now. It's just a matter of the Reds deciding when JR is ready. He started the year at AA and the Reds are obviously making sure he's had enough minor league exposure. And he is a potential closer. His age shouldn't impact his standing because he got such a late start. Suppressing the "ratings" for relief prospects of Roenicke's caliber is ridiculous if you ask me, but I know many experts generally do rank relievers lower.

dougdirt
07-12-2008, 03:45 PM
Argh, I just wrote a long reply, and my browser messed up and erased it.

Anyway, I don't think Valaika will hit well enough to stick as a major league regular. I look at his numbers and see solid but nothing special. If he can't stick at SS, which all reports say he can't, he looks like a utility guy. Travis Wood's control is quite bad, and his K numbers are good but not great enough to make me feel comfortable with all the walks (unlike a Lotzkar type). He needs to severely cut his walks without cutting strikeouts much at all, and that's hard to do as you move up the chain. As an aside, Wood was terribly overpromoted, so I don't blame him for the beating he's taking at AA. He was solid in Sarasota but not good enough to earn a promotion at his age.

There were more stats and justifications of those positions in the original reply, maybe I'll write it up again later.

Not all reports suggest Valaika will move off of SS, just a majority. His bat should play everywhere though, minus first base, which he won't move to. right now Valaika's numbers over 500 AB's would be for 32 doubles and 20 HR at the age of 22. Those numbers project well to the majors. More than a utility guy.

As for Wood, lefty with a good fastball and a plus change up.... I will take my chances with that every day of the week. His control is a bit rough, but now is the time when thats not so much of an issue because guys are still learning pitches.

SMcGavin
07-12-2008, 04:09 PM
Chris Valaika, age 22, A+: 352 ABs, .295/.341/.429 - .770 OPS
Chris Valaika, age 22, AA: 236 ABs, .292/.351/.466 - .817 OPS

Like I said, respectable numbers, but nothing special. He hasn't been young for his level, he's from a college program and he turns 23 in a month. Suggesting his bat is going to play as a major league 3B or LF is a gigantic stretch.

dougdirt
07-12-2008, 04:41 PM
Chris Valaika, age 22, A+: 352 ABs, .295/.341/.429 - .770 OPS
Chris Valaika, age 22, AA: 236 ABs, .292/.351/.466 - .817 OPS

Like I said, respectable numbers, but nothing special. He hasn't been young for his level, he's from a college program and he turns 23 in a month. Suggesting his bat is going to play as a major league 3B or LF is a gigantic stretch.

Do you know what the major league averages are for 3B and LF?

This year for all 3B that qualify for the batting title the average 3B is hitting .273/.346/.410 for a robust .756 OPS.

For LF it would be .279/.352/.465 for an .817 OPS.

Valaika projects to his better than the average third baseman in the majors. I don't think he heads to the OF, but even so I think he could handle himself as a left fielder with the stick.

OnBaseMachine
07-12-2008, 05:01 PM
Soto is a good prospect but all the enthusiasm is overheated. Last year he came down to earth after a blazing start. Not a shortstop, apparently not a special defensive player. I think he's a good prospect for sure, in the top ten, but would avoid getting carried away.


Soto is an outstanding prospect with a lot of potential. He played through some elbow pain in the last few weeks which played a role in his numbers slacking off.

Benihana
07-12-2008, 08:35 PM
Yonder Alonso at #2a?

As I said, that's where he would be if and when he signs. If and when he does, he will be at least in Dayton, if not Sarasota.

Benihana
07-12-2008, 08:38 PM
But shouldn't this be your own analysis and projections (re: Roenicke)? Who knows why he is still in AAA. If you think Roenicke is better, then you should rank him as such and not worry about what the Reds (may) think. I think Roenicke is a "B" prospect at this point, based on his numbers this season and what he projects to be.




As for Roenicke, I don't think it means anything that the Reds are using Maj right now. It's just a matter of the Reds deciding when JR is ready. He started the year at AA and the Reds are obviously making sure he's had enough minor league exposure. And he is a potential closer. His age shouldn't impact his standing because he got such a late start. Suppressing the "ratings" for relief prospects of Roenicke's caliber is ridiculous if you ask me, but I know many experts generally do rank relievers lower.

That's fine, we'll have to agree to disagree. As I said, I hope (and think) that Roenicke will be a fine major league reliever, if not closer. However if you look at how I defined the grading system, Roenicke clearly belongs in the third category. He would intrigue some teams and therefore generate a fair amount of trade interest, but he couldn't be counted on to be a primary principle in any kind of major trade.

fearofpopvol1
07-12-2008, 09:09 PM
That's fine, we'll have to agree to disagree. As I said, I hope (and think) that Roenicke will be a fine major league reliever, if not closer. However if you look at how I defined the grading system, Roenicke clearly belongs in the third category. He would intrigue some teams and therefore generate a fair amount of trade interest, but he couldn't be counted on to be a primary principle in any kind of major trade.

To be fair though, I don't think Stubbs (or Mesoraco) would be a principle in any big trade nor would they likely bring much in a trade.

SMcGavin
07-12-2008, 09:09 PM
Valaika projects to his better than the average third baseman in the majors. I don't think he heads to the OF, but even so I think he could handle himself as a left fielder with the stick.

First of all, the average for guys who started the game at 3B this year is a .776 OPS according to this:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/bsplit.cgi?team=TOT&year=2008&lg=ML
Last year it was .784. So I'm not sure where you're getting that info.

Secondly it's good to hear an OPS around 775 at A+ and 800 at AA projects as an above average MLB third baseman. I guess the Reds are going to be set with Valaika, Justin Turner, Chris Heisey, and Michael Griffin all developing into bats that are above average as MLB third baseman. The future is going to be great.

Benihana
07-12-2008, 09:29 PM
To be fair though, I don't think Stubbs (or Mesoraco) would be a principle in any big trade nor would they likely bring much in a trade.

True, but I would guess that either one has more trade value than Roenicke at this point (despite the fact that Roenicke has a much better chance at being a major league contributor.)

dougdirt
07-12-2008, 09:39 PM
First of all, the average for guys who started the game at 3B this year is a .776 OPS according to this:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/bsplit.cgi?team=TOT&year=2008&lg=ML
Last year it was .784. So I'm not sure where you're getting that info.

Secondly it's good to hear an OPS around 775 at A+ and 800 at AA projects as an above average MLB third baseman. I guess the Reds are going to be set with Valaika, Justin Turner, Chris Heisey, and Michael Griffin all developing into bats that are above average as MLB third baseman. The future is going to be great.

Those exact numbers don't project to this or that, but when put up by certain people they do. As for where I got my numbers, I ran them for every player qualified for the batting title at each position, which is likely more accurate of 'average' because it doesn't take into account backups. Still, Valaika projects to hit well enough to play a MLB 3B.

NorrisHopper30
07-14-2008, 11:30 PM
How would you rate Soto's power on a scouting scale? Is he more of a gap shooter?

Would it be stupid for me to compare him to Hanley Ramirez at all? Both are 6'3 but Hanley has 20 lbs on Soto.

New Fever
07-15-2008, 12:42 AM
Callis ranked the top prospect for each team, the #1 prospect for Cincinnati: TBA Todd Frazier.
Graduations have thinned out the Reds system; first-round 1B Yonder Alonso will rank No. 1 upon his signing.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/ask-ba/2008/266517.html

redsof72
07-15-2008, 02:08 AM
I can only comment on the prospects on the Dayton club. Mesoraco is not one of the organization's top 20 prospects. Stewart should be moved up to grade B and should be ranked a little higher than Lotzkar, although Lotzkar has looked much better the last two times out with a FB at 90-91 and an excellent curve when he can throw it for strikes. Cozart should be moved slightly higher than than Waring. Both Horst and Jeffords are better prospects than Reed (and Mesoraco for that matter). Soto and Stewart are by far the two best prospects on the Dayton team. Tonight, Stewart hit 95 with his fastball and was throwing a slider that was unhittable. Soto was the best hitter on the Dayton team the minute he walked into the clubhouse.

crazyredfan40
07-15-2008, 09:24 AM
I can only comment on the prospects on the Dayton club. Mesoraco is not one of the organization's top 20 prospects. Stewart should be moved up to grade B and should be ranked a little higher than Lotzkar, although Lotzkar has looked much better the last two times out with a FB at 90-91 and an excellent curve when he can throw it for strikes. Cozart should be moved slightly higher than than Waring. Both Horst and Jeffords are better prospects than Reed (and Mesoraco for that matter). Soto and Stewart are by far the two best prospects on the Dayton team. Tonight, Stewart hit 95 with his fastball and was throwing a slider that was unhittable. Soto was the best hitter on the Dayton team the minute he walked into the clubhouse.

Did you really just say that Mes is not one of our top 20 prospects...Most would put him in the top 5 or at least top 10...

Curious why you say that...And Lotzkar is 18 and putting up some really good K numbers...He has top 3 of the rotation stuff...

I am really taking a liking to Cozart as well...

redsof72
07-15-2008, 02:11 PM
Many players are rated highly based on reputation for a couple of years if they were first round draft picks. You could find a long list of first rounders who never got higher than the Double-A level but at one time in their career, they were rated as one of the top five prospects in their organization. I have not completely given up on Mesoraco, but if you discount reputation and go strictly on what you see on the field (taking age into consideration, of course), here is what you see. You see a player who is, painfully, the poorest defensive catcher in the Midwest League in terms of receiving pitches and throwing. You see a player who holds his own at the plate and will usually give you a pretty good at-bat, who is probably an average Midwest League hitter with the ability to get quite a bit better with experience. He is also known to be a high-character guy with a strong work ethic, and that is important because he has a lot of work to do. I rate him as the eighth best prospect on the Dayton team right now. Lotzkar is coming fast. You are right, at age 18, he has a huge upside if he puts it all together. Cozart is a big league defensive shortstop who will continue to advance if he continues to get better as a hitter. Cozart is the best defensive player in the league at any position.

Betterread
07-15-2008, 02:21 PM
I can only comment on the prospects on the Dayton club. Mesoraco is not one of the organization's top 20 prospects. Stewart should be moved up to grade B and should be ranked a little higher than Lotzkar, although Lotzkar has looked much better the last two times out with a FB at 90-91 and an excellent curve when he can throw it for strikes. Cozart should be moved slightly higher than than Waring. Both Horst and Jeffords are better prospects than Reed (and Mesoraco for that matter). Soto and Stewart are by far the two best prospects on the Dayton team. Tonight, Stewart hit 95 with his fastball and was throwing a slider that was unhittable. Soto was the best hitter on the Dayton team the minute he walked into the clubhouse.

Thanks for sharing your observations. Have you seen Ravin pitch? and what do you think of him?

lollipopcurve
07-15-2008, 02:23 PM
Cozart is a big league defensive shortstop who will continue to advance if he continues to get better as a hitter. Cozart is the best defensive player in the league at any position.

Interesting. What do you see as Cozart's weaknesses as a hitter?

HokieRed
07-15-2008, 02:37 PM
Redsof72's post on Mesoraco's defense being the worst in the Midwest League interested/concerned me so I looked up some of the other catchers in the league. Just went down the list until I got bored to check on ages--and OPS's while I was at it. In each case this is the catcher with the most at-bats on the team (so I'm assuming this guy is the regular). Provides some interesting context for evaluating Mes's status/defense.
Beloit-Yersich, OPS .626, birthdate 10/07/86
Burlington-Eigsti .623, birthdate 8/24/85
Cedar Rapids-Pardo .623, birthdate 10/10/86
Dayton-Mes .674, birthdate 6/19/88
Ft. Wayne-Martinez .631, birthdate 4/3/85
Great Lakes-Jansen .704, birthdate 9/30/87
Kane County-Smith .781, birthdate 6/05/83.
Mesoraco is as much as 5 years younger than one catcher-Smith. Mostly two years younger than everybody else except Jansen and nearly a year younger than he is. If Mes is the worst catcher defensively in the league--which I have no way to judge, having not seen them--it may very well be because he is by far the least experienced. Just from this quick sampling, I'd say it's not too hard to say he's the only prospect among the MWL catchers. In general I think RZers need to remember this kid's being 20 is kind of a distortion--he is almost exactly one year removed from high school baseball, and in a northern state at that.

redsof72
07-15-2008, 02:45 PM
Ravin has a good arm but is very, very raw. He will generally pitch in the 90-91 range and hit 94 a few times a night. He has a good curve (not as good as Lotzkar's) but his command is very poor. His mechanics are extemely inconsistent. He has no business pitching in a full-season league at this point. He would be one to keep in the back of your mind but not to count on. Lotzkar is light years ahead of Ravin in just about every area.

I would rate the pitchers on that staff something like this as prospects: Stewart, Lotzkar, Horst, Jeffords, Klinker, Conatser, Ravin. Stewart was a great draft pick in the third round. Stuff wise, he might be the best in the league behind Jarrod Parker of South Bend, who was throwing 97 with a wicked curve in Dayton earlier this season.

OnBaseMachine
07-15-2008, 02:48 PM
Redsof72, I love reading your reports and opinions.

Another question for ya. What kind of stuff does Horst and Jeffords have? Do they throw pretty hard?

dougdirt
07-15-2008, 02:50 PM
Mesoraco has the defensive tools to be a strong defensive catcher, he just needs to work on them still. His footwork behind the plate isn't the best, but he is athletic enough to learn to use them better. His arm is the best catching arm in the system, his problem though is getting to the point when he throws the ball. Jumping up to throw the ball, he is still a bit slow. He takes his time still, making sure he sets his feet perfectly to throw the ball, which turns his pop time into a decent time despite his great arm. If he were even average from receiving the ball to jumping up to throw the ball, his pop time would be outstanding. As it is now, his pop time is merely decent and its being carried by his strong arm.

As for his receiving skills, they are a tad below average. This is the first time he has likely seen a lot of these pitches at the speeds/movement he is seeing them. Its a lot to take on. I am not too worried about him right now as a player though given his position and age. I will begin to worry when he is 23 and still having defensive issues (if he is still having them). For now, I just want him catching as much as possible, seeing more pitches, getting more reps at everything and learning. He has the tools to make himself a well above average defender behind the plate. He just needs the experience to take the tools and mold them to skills. Catching is a completely different animal than every other position.

redsof72
07-15-2008, 03:12 PM
I do not disagree with you at all about Mesoraco's youth. He is not only a year out of high school, he is a year out of high school in a state where the level of competition was certainly not as strong as Florida, Texas, California, etc. So he certainly deserves the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully, he keeps improving and someday is a solid major league player.

That being said, he has thrown out, I believe, 5 out of 58 base stealers. The number of balls that clank off his glove is certainly down from where it was earlier, but still, he has a long, long way to go defensively. I am not even worried about his offense right now. I agree with you, be patient, and hopefully he improves.

As far as Cozart, no particular weaknesses as a hitter. He just needs to make solid contact on a more consistent basis. Those aluminum bat hits in college are broken bat rollers in the minors with a wooden bat. If he can keep improving as a hitter, he will be a special player. His batting average climbed from under .200 to around .255 but has stalled a little. I would like to see him get it up to around .280 by the end of the season.

DougDirt, I would respectfully disagree with you on some of those things, although I do agree that some of his throwing problems are related to his difficulties in catching the ball. Still, Bour has the strongest arm of the catchers on that club.

dougdirt
07-15-2008, 03:17 PM
DougDirt, I would respectfully disagree with you on some of those things, although I do agree that some of his throwing problems are related to his difficulties in catching the ball. Still, Bour has the strongest arm of the catchers on that club.
I can say I have only seen Bour twice this year, so maybe it just wasn't the best day for him when I saw him. From what I saw though he was a notch below Mesoraco when I saw him arm wise. Certainly a better receiving catcher right now though, but he also has a lot more experience than Mes does.

redsof72
07-15-2008, 03:19 PM
Horst is a lefty with an average fastball of 89-90 but he has a big league change-up and I think RH batters are hitting around .180 against him on the year because they can't touch his change-up. He is trying to develop a better breaking ball to use against left-handers and if he can do that, he will be a solid prospect. He has a great pitchers' body and if he can add another mile or two to his fastball, it makes the outstanding change look even better.

Jeffords throws a little harder and has an above average fastball. He needed to improve his breaking ball and has. His slider looks like it might be a very good pitch. Both of these guys are developing and will have some excellent outings and then mix in a rough one.

redsof72
07-15-2008, 03:55 PM
All this and no talk about Soto, who hit .400 in his first week with the team and rocketed one ball after another all over the yard. This is a player that Reds fans should really, really be excited about. What are they going to do when Waring comes back in a few days? My guess is Parker goes to Sarasota and one of the two third basemen moves to first. Or you could play Soto in left field. I am just hoping they don't send Soto back to Billings, which Terry Reynolds said was a possibility. That would be a tough one to swallow.

dougdirt
07-15-2008, 03:57 PM
I think you are right redsof72. My guess is Parker goes to Sarasota, Waring heads to first for most of his time (with a start at 3B every now and again while Soto will DH) and Soto stays at 3B. I just can't forsee Soto heading back to Billings after showing what he has in Dayton.

OnBaseMachine
07-15-2008, 04:02 PM
I don't think they will send Soto back to Billings...that would be an awful decision. Soto looks like he has the ability to develop into an "A" class prospect. I'd like to see him stick at 3B but his bat is good enough to play anywhere. He's already got big time power despite having a long, wiry frame that will allow him to add 20-25 pounds and add more power. He broke all of Juan Gonzalez's homerun records in Puerto Rico so that gives you an idea of how much power he's got. Another thing I've noticed is he doesn't strikeout a whole lot as he's only got 13 strikeouts in 97 atbats. I think he's got the makings of a being a special player.

lollipopcurve
07-15-2008, 09:03 PM
I am just hoping they don't send Soto back to Billings, which Terry Reynolds said was a possibility. That would be a tough one to swallow.

Agreed. If Mesoraco can stay at Dayton and take his lumps, there's no reason Soto shouldn't. He may be a special bat -- certainly the best high school RH bat to come into the organization since Kearns.

redhawk61
07-15-2008, 10:16 PM
I don't think they will send Soto back to Billings...that would be an awful decision. Soto looks like he has the ability to develop into an "A" class prospect. I'd like to see him stick at 3B but his bat is good enough to play anywhere. He's already got big time power despite having a long, wiry frame that will allow him to add 20-25 pounds and add more power. He broke all of Juan Gonzalez's homerun records in Puerto Rico so that gives you an idea of how much power he's got. Another thing I've noticed is he doesn't strikeout a whole lot as he's only got 13 strikeouts in 97 atbats. I think he's got the makings of a being a special player.
He has got me really excited. We could be looking at him, conservatively, at AA by the end of the year next year, starting 2010 only a phone call away at Louisville.

mace
07-19-2008, 11:20 AM
Anybody know much about Shea Snowden? At 19 years old and 150 pounds, he has an 0.69 ERA for the GCL Reds (26 inn) and is high among the GCL leaders in several categories. The early returns would suggest that he and rotation-mate Evan Hildenbrandt, also 19, represent the next rank of top-flight starters in the Reds' system. Along with Kyle Lotzkar, of course. Regarding Hildenbrandt, I see that he went to a Mennonite college. Some Mennonites subscribe to the old-fashioned "plain" appearance in their dress, and others don't. Anybody know more about Hildenbrandt?

I'm not able to start threads, but I'd love to see one on the Reds' top pitching prospects, much like the one going on top hitting prospects.

camisadelgolf
07-19-2008, 01:27 PM
Both Snowden and Hildenbrandt signed for above slot money, so the Reds seem to like both of them quite a bit.