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View Full Version : Who is Redszone's #11 prospect?



OnBaseMachine
11-06-2008, 07:31 PM
Redszone's Top Prospects

Prospect #1 - Yonder Alonso
Prospect #2 - Todd Frazier
Prospect #3 - Neftali Soto
Prospect #4 - Drew Stubbs
Prospect #5 - Chris Valaika
Prospect #6 - Kyle Lotzkar
Prospect #7 - Daryl Thompson
Prospect #8 - Juan Francisco
Prospect #9 - Juan Duran
Prospect #10 - Chris Dickerson

OnBaseMachine
11-06-2008, 07:38 PM
I voted for Danny Dorn because of his great power and good on-base skills.

I left this poll open for three days because (1) traffic on here slows down on the weekends, (2) I'm going to Tennessee tomorrow and won't be back until Sunday night. I'll start the next poll when I get home that night.

WMR
11-06-2008, 08:17 PM
Yorman Rodriguez for me

RED VAN HOT
11-06-2008, 08:25 PM
I am sticking with Dorn for reasons I have previously stated. I noticed an 11th hour surge that put Mesoraco ahead of Dorn for second in the 10th place voting. I have no proof mind you, but I suspect voter fraud.

My concern with Mesoraco is that early last season a report had his defensive fundamentals (footwork IIRC) requiring much work. Offensively, he seems to be on track, but the defense is a concern to me. Can anyone from Dayton comment?

OnBaseMachine
11-06-2008, 08:27 PM
I am sticking with Dorn for reasons I have previously stated. I noticed an 11th hour surge that put Mesoraco ahead of Dorn for second in the 10th place voting. I have no proof mind you, but I suspect voter fraud.


Probably those Floridians.

GoReds33
11-06-2008, 08:31 PM
I went with Yorman. He seems like a great prospect, with huge potential. I almost voted for Mesoraco, but thought better of it.

REDblooded
11-06-2008, 09:39 PM
Yorman again for me.......

dougdirt
11-06-2008, 09:45 PM
Devin Mesoraco.

JayBruceFan
11-06-2008, 09:56 PM
Based on Mesoraco's numbers from this year, what is everyones reasoning for voting him so high?

Is it because he is a catcher? Or am I missing something?

I say this because I saw Mesoraco a lot in Dayton this year during BP and during catching drills and I wasn't that impressed with him.

dougdirt
11-06-2008, 09:57 PM
Based on Mesoraco's numbers from this year, what is everyones reasoning for voting him so high?

Is it because he is a catcher? Or am I missing something?

I say this because I saw Mesoraco a lot in Dayton this year during BP and during catching drills and I wasn't that impressed with him.

Tools and position for me. He has tools and athleticism behind the plate that with some work can make him a very good backstop.

JayBruceFan
11-06-2008, 10:02 PM
He needs to seriously work on his footwork and throwing.

He was throwing the ball into CF on simple catch and throw drills to 2B

And it wasn't just a one time thing

He did it on 4-5 throws in a row

HokieRed
11-06-2008, 10:25 PM
Voted Danny Dorn again. Still no Evan Hildenbrandt?

OnBaseMachine
11-06-2008, 10:33 PM
Voted Danny Dorn again. Still no Evan Hildenbrandt?

Crap. I knew I was forgetting someone. I'll put him on the next poll.

cincyinco
11-06-2008, 10:41 PM
Roenicke for me.. I would have voted for him last when I voted for Zach Stewart, but must have missed his name. His combination of closeness to the majors, impact to his team and games, and his stuff is too much to ignore for me. I realize a lot of this is about projection, so I dont rule out guys who are far away.. but at some point being close to the majors with some projection left and a good ceiling is too much to ignore.

I put him ahead of Dorn because I think Dorn is pidgeon holed as a platoon player. I dont like Dickerson at 10 personally, because I think he is what he is.. and he was close to Ramon Ramirez for me, but I'm not exactly sure what to make of Ramirez yet. I'd probably vote one of Ramirez, Stewart, or Mesoraco in the next vote. But I can't look past Roenicke right now.

fearofpopvol1
11-07-2008, 12:02 AM
Dorn as stated before. Is the 3rd time the charm?

REDblooded
11-07-2008, 01:11 AM
For me, I could go Yorman or Devin... Definitely wouldn't be upset to see Devin get the nod, but went with Yorman instead.

Dorn is ok, but not gonna go crazy over a platoon player at this point. I'd rather put faith in projectability and see what happens.

JayBruceFan
11-07-2008, 01:27 AM
Heisey until he wins

AmarilloRed
11-07-2008, 01:42 AM
Danny Dorn. I think he will be the Reds starting LF in 2010.

mth123
11-07-2008, 06:36 AM
Danny Dorn is the highest rated guy I have left, He's number 8 on my personal list and he already is a LH bat that can add some pop in a platoon role. I see him becoming a Matt Stairs type. Not a top end star, but a solid guy in the rank and file of major league baseball players. Others may have higher potential, but they also have high possibilities of becoming nothing.

I have Mesoraco rated lower than most do (#19) but just like with Valaika, I'm skeptical of guys whose bats are only assets at positions that they haven't demonstrated that they'll be able to play. Mes plays a spot dying for good players, but his defensive issues really bother me. His bat isn't special and if he can't stick at catcher, he's fodder. OTOH, if he gets it together at catcher, he moves up into my top 5. I know he was a number 1 pick, but he's a project that may never be completed. Usually number 1 picks rate higher if for no other reason than trade value, but I doubt that Mes would bring much back until he shows he can catch. I also think his number 1 status is a bit cheap. I'm guessing that the Reds knew they could reach a bit for need because they had a couple of sandwich picks at the end of round one to fall back on (those picks became Todd Frazier and Kyle Lotzkar). I'm not sure the Reds take on a project like Mes without the safety net that those other picks provided. As a result, his 1st round status gets a little less weight in the evaluation process than it normally would IMO.

camisadelgolf
11-07-2008, 10:17 AM
For me, it's between Mesoraco and Yorman Rodriguez. After 2009, I think Mesoraco will soon be one of the top-five catching prospects, so I'll go with him.

BRM
11-07-2008, 10:47 AM
I'll keep voting Dorn until he's off the board.

TRF
11-07-2008, 01:45 PM
I like Dorn alot, but went with Maloney. Solid numbers at every level and left handed. LH starters tend to take a little longer, but he's still pretty young, and has been very successful.

minor league career to date: 9.21 K/9 1.20 WHIP 7.69 H/9 .76 HR/9

His numbers are ver similar to Homer Bailey's except he allows a few more HR's but walks fewer guys. And he's left handed.

redsof72
11-07-2008, 03:10 PM
I saw Mesoraco this season and no way would I have him nearly this high. I think Stewart deserves a lot more support than he is getting. If you watched Lotzkar and Stewart on the same night in Dayton this season, you would say that Stewart throws harder, has a sharper breaking ball, and has much better command. I like Lotzkar a lot, but Stewart throws consistently 94-95 while Lotzkar is at 90-91 and once in a while, he will pop a 94 or a 95. Lotzkar has a good breaking ball, but it is not in the class of Stewart's slider. Lotzkar is three years younger, but that does not necessarily make him a better prospect. I would rate Stewart higher than Lotzkar based on seeing a lot of both this season. I don't think Lotzkar is overrated, but I think if you watch both guys pitch, it is hard for me to see how you could say Lotzkar is the better prospect.

dougdirt
11-07-2008, 03:24 PM
I saw Mesoraco this season and no way would I have him nearly this high. I think Stewart deserves a lot more support than he is getting. If you watched Lotzkar and Stewart on the same night in Dayton this season, you would say that Stewart throws harder, has a sharper breaking ball, and has much better command. I like Lotzkar a lot, but Stewart throws consistently 94-95 while Lotzkar is at 90-91 and once in a while, he will pop a 94 or a 95. Lotzkar has a good breaking ball, but it is not in the class of Stewart's slider. Lotzkar is three years younger, but that does not necessarily make him a better prospect. I would rate Stewart higher than Lotzkar based on seeing a lot of both this season. I don't think Lotzkar is overrated, but I think if you watch both guys pitch, it is hard for me to see how you could say Lotzkar is the better prospect.

Lotzkar being the starter instead of the reliever is what makes him the better prospect for me. Starters give you 175-225 innings. Relievers give you 60.

BRM
11-07-2008, 03:26 PM
Lotzkar being the starter instead of the reliever is what makes him the better prospect for me. Starters give you 175-225 innings. Relievers give you 60.

And Lotzkar projects to be a TOR starter as well, correct?

Betterread
11-07-2008, 07:22 PM
Lotzkar being the starter instead of the reliever is what makes him the better prospect for me. Starters give you 175-225 innings. Relievers give you 60.
Do you think he will pitch 175 innings next year? I don't.
He and Stewart pitched about the same amount of innings in 2008 for the Reds - and Stewart pitched a full college season also.
Lotzkar did not pitch more than 5 innings at a time - he's all potential as a starter. I want to see him start 20-25 games with 5 games of 7 innings + before I can assess him as a starter. Right now he's shown off a great arm with some nasty stuff, and that's exciting. But he has also shown that he is inexperienced at setting up hitters and pitching out of jams, which is not an issue for his age but are things he needs to learn.

dougdirt
11-07-2008, 07:33 PM
Do you think he will pitch 175 innings next year? I don't.
He and Stewart pitched about the same amount of innings in 2008 for the Reds - and Stewart pitched a full college season also.
Lotzkar did not pitch more than 5 innings at a time - he's all potential as a starter. I want to see him start 20-25 games with 5 games of 7 innings + before I can assess him as a starter. Right now he's shown off a great arm with some nasty stuff, and that's exciting. But he has also shown that he is inexperienced at setting up hitters and pitching out of jams, which is not an issue for his age but are things he needs to learn.

No, he won't pitch 175 innings next year. Injuries aside, next year has very little to do with Lotzkar's future as a starting pitcher. Lets remember that he was 18 years old last year. He is going to be raw somewhat, but nothing suggests he is going to not be a starter.

Betterread
11-07-2008, 07:54 PM
No, he won't pitch 175 innings next year. Injuries aside, next year has very little to do with Lotzkar's future as a starting pitcher. Lets remember that he was 18 years old last year. He is going to be raw somewhat, but nothing suggests he is going to not be a starter.
I agree with you, but I also remember how promising Justin Gillman and Brandon Love looked for 30 innings at low A before getting injured. As you found out in your interview with Lotzkar, he has to learn a new breaking pitch and a new motion. That will be challenging, as he needs to avoid injury and build up experience. If he doesn't learn to throw a reliable breaking pitch, chances of being an effective starter diminish considerably.

reds44
11-07-2008, 07:58 PM
Mesoraco based on being a catcher and his tools.

dougdirt
11-07-2008, 08:05 PM
I agree with you, but I also remember how promising Justin Gillman and Brandon Love looked for 30 innings at low A before getting injured. As you found out in your interview with Lotzkar, he has to learn a new breaking pitch and a new motion. That will be challenging, as he needs to avoid injury and build up experience. If he doesn't learn to throw a reliable breaking pitch, chances of being an effective starter diminish considerably.

He MAY need to learn a new breaking ball. There was nothing in there about him learning new mechanics/motion.

Mario-Rijo
11-07-2008, 08:57 PM
Danny Dorn is the highest rated guy I have left, He's number 8 on my personal list and he already is a LH bat that can add some pop in a platoon role. I see him becoming a Matt Stairs type. Not a top end star, but a solid guy in the rank and file of major league baseball players. Others may have higher potential, but they also have high possibilities of becoming nothing.

I have Mesoraco rated lower than most do (#19) but just like with Valaika, I'm skeptical of guys whose bats are only assets at positions that they haven't demonstrated that they'll be able to play. Mes plays a spot dying for good players, but his defensive issues really bother me. His bat isn't special and if he can't stick at catcher, he's fodder. OTOH, if he gets it together at catcher, he moves up into my top 5. I know he was a number 1 pick, but he's a project that may never be completed. Usually number 1 picks rate higher if for no other reason than trade value, but I doubt that Mes would bring much back until he shows he can catch. I also think his number 1 status is a bit cheap. I'm guessing that the Reds knew they could reach a bit for need because they had a couple of sandwich picks at the end of round one to fall back on (those picks became Todd Frazier and Kyle Lotzkar). I'm not sure the Reds take on a project like Mes without the safety net that those other picks provided. As a result, his 1st round status gets a little less weight in the evaluation process than it normally would IMO.

I'll be honest everything in me wanted to place Dorn ahead of Mesoraco lord knows I'm a sucker for production and proximity to the majors. But I resisted that notion here and i'll explain why in a second.

First I wanna say that you make a fair point about a players bat only being "productive" enough to be considered good if he can play that premium defensive position. I agree with that idea, but where I disagree is saying these 2 fit that argument.

#1 Valaika - 2B is a notch down the defensive chart for more than one reason. His range coupled with his arm make him inadequate at SS (for my taste anyway) because even if he gets to some balls he won't likely be able to throw out the average runner as well. However his arm is no detriment at all at 2B so it kinda assists his range there. So in essence what I'm saying when I say his range doesn't play well at SS, Is that his other tools don't allow his range to be suitable. And his bat will play at 2B as is, if his discipline and power improve (which I have no doubt about his power improving) he's not Jeff Kent but could be a Ryne Sandberg (.285/.344/.452) level player or slightly better. What's not too like about that?

#2 Mesoraco - I agree he looked miserable behind the plate and that part of the equation has yet to be determined. But we all know it's by far the toughest defensive position on the field and it takes an inordinate amount of time to play it well. So a tad over a full year in pro ball doesn't give it adequate time to reach a logical ultimate conclusion in my mind. I'm also not sure we have seen enough to suggest his bat isn't capable of far better #'s than we have seen to this point. In fact if you take into consideration that he was perhaps hitting at a level higher than his age/experience would normally slot him then you might feel he more than held his own. I'm not so sure he was at a level higher but it's definitely arguable. So taking those things into consideration coupled with his talent and current position i'd say his value right now exceeds a guy who has exhibited for multiple seasons now that he cannot hit pitchers who throw from one whole side of the mound and that his talent apparently doesn't represent a future defensive gem himself (at a far less important defensive position).

Really i'm not arguing your rankings, we all have reasons for why we rank guys where we do and that's fine. But are we really giving these guys enough thought or are we just looking at the surface, forming an opinion and going with that?

mth123
11-07-2008, 10:28 PM
I'll be honest everything in me wanted to place Dorn ahead of Mesoraco lord knows I'm a sucker for production and proximity to the majors. But I resisted that notion here and i'll explain why in a second.

First I wanna say that you make a fair point about a players bat only being "productive" enough to be considered good if he can play that premium defensive position. I agree with that idea, but where I disagree is saying these 2 fit that argument.

#1 Valaika - 2B is a notch down the defensive chart for more than one reason. His range coupled with his arm make him inadequate at SS (for my taste anyway) because even if he gets to some balls he won't likely be able to throw out the average runner as well. However his arm is no detriment at all at 2B so it kinda assists his range there. So in essence what I'm saying when I say his range doesn't play well at SS, Is that his other tools don't allow his range to be suitable. And his bat will play at 2B as is, if his discipline and power improve (which I have no doubt about his power improving) he's not Jeff Kent but could be a Ryne Sandberg (.285/.344/.452) level player or slightly better. What's not too like about that?

#2 Mesoraco - I agree he looked miserable behind the plate and that part of the equation has yet to be determined. But we all know it's by far the toughest defensive position on the field and it takes an inordinate amount of time to play it well. So a tad over a full year in pro ball doesn't give it adequate time to reach a logical ultimate conclusion in my mind. I'm also not sure we have seen enough to suggest his bat isn't capable of far better #'s than we have seen to this point. In fact if you take into consideration that he was perhaps hitting at a level higher than his age/experience would normally slot him then you might feel he more than held his own. I'm not so sure he was at a level higher but it's definitely arguable. So taking those things into consideration coupled with his talent and current position i'd say his value right now exceeds a guy who has exhibited for multiple seasons now that he cannot hit pitchers who throw from one whole side of the mound and that his talent apparently doesn't represent a future defensive gem himself (at a far less important defensive position).

Really i'm not arguing your rankings, we all have reasons for why we rank guys where we do and that's fine. But are we really giving these guys enough thought or are we just looking at the surface, forming an opinion and going with that?

Valaika is OB challenged and a comparison to a stellar defender who was an annual threat to lead the league in Total Bases is pretty optimistic for Valaika. In this era a .750 OPS is nothing special and Valaika's got a low OBP and his power is pedestrian. He needs to hit about .320 to OPS .800. His glove is not good enough for SS and we don't know if he can play 2B because the Reds haven't really given him much of a look. IMO his bat only plays well as a MI. His best chance is to have a Ryan Freel type career.

Mes is a guy who hasn't hit much and doesn't do anything to inspire confidence with the glove. He's got some tools and may put it all together one day. If he weren't a well known 1st round pick, I'd be touting him as a nice sleeper to keep an eye on. I want better than that for my top 10 prospect list.

dougdirt
11-07-2008, 10:33 PM
Valaika did hit 18 HR last season. Thats nothing to sneeze at.

Mario-Rijo
11-08-2008, 07:13 AM
Valaika is OB challenged and a comparison to a stellar defender who was an annual threat to lead the league in Total Bases is pretty optimistic for Valaika. In this era a .750 OPS is nothing special and Valaika's got a low OBP and his power is pedestrian. He needs to hit about .320 to OPS .800. His glove is not good enough for SS and we don't know if he can play 2B because the Reds haven't really given him much of a look. IMO his bat only plays well as a MI. His best chance is to have a Ryan Freel type career.

Mes is a guy who hasn't hit much and doesn't do anything to inspire confidence with the glove. He's got some tools and may put it all together one day. If he weren't a well known 1st round pick, I'd be touting him as a nice sleeper to keep an eye on. I want better than that for my top 10 prospect list.

Ok it's clear we see one thing differently you don't think Valaika will improve much if any and I do see more power and patience on the way. Why you assume he can't play 2B is interesting, the only SS's I've ever seen not capable of playing a better 2B are those who don't try to play it well. Valaika doesn't strike me as the type who is against working hard or is going to be put off by having to learn to make a turn on a DP or learn to cover 1st base on a bunt. It's probably easier to envision how a guy's game translates to another position by watching him play enough defense. I have seen him play enough defense to see it won't be an issue so I have no problem assuming this part of it.

With regards to Mes I can't argue his defense it was abysmal and unfortunately I can't offer much of a take on him as I haven't had the pleasure of watching him play. But I think he held his own with the bat taking age/inexperience into consideration. He and Dorn IMO are close in terms of value currently though I just see Dorn as the higher floor and Mes with the higher ceiling. The fact Mes is still at a premium defensive position gives him the nod for me. Next season if left at Dayton for at least half of it should tell alot more about Mesoraco's game and that could make him move up or down the prospect ladder alot.

mth123
11-08-2008, 08:12 AM
Ok it's clear we see one thing differently you don't think Valaika will improve much if any and I do see more power and patience on the way. Why you assume he can't play 2B is interesting, the only SS's I've ever seen not capable of playing a better 2B are those who don't try to play it well. Valaika doesn't strike me as the type who is against working hard or is going to be put off by having to learn to make a turn on a DP or learn to cover 1st base on a bunt. It's probably easier to envision how a guy's game translates to another position by watching him play enough defense. I have seen him play enough defense to see it won't be an issue so I have no problem assuming this part of it.

With regards to Mes I can't argue his defense it was abysmal and unfortunately I can't offer much of a take on him as I haven't had the pleasure of watching him play. But I think he held his own with the bat taking age/inexperience into consideration. He and Dorn IMO are close in terms of value currently though I just see Dorn as the higher floor and Mes with the higher ceiling. The fact Mes is still at a premium defensive position gives him the nod for me. Next season if left at Dayton for at least half of it should tell alot more about Mesoraco's game and that could make him move up or down the prospect ladder alot.

As far as Valaika goes, there are a lot of guys who can't play SS that go on to prove that they aren't very good at 2B either. Tony Womack, Felipe Lopez, Todd Frazier even Kevin Mitchell might be a few Reds related examples. For me its simple. I want a plus defender at both SS and 2B. The only way a guy who just "gets by" over there would be acceptable would be if he's a 900 OPS guy year after year. Its not worth compromising defense up the middle for a .775 or so OPS and I believe that is optimiistic for Valaika unless he develops a lot more patience. I see a .275/.335/.425/.760 type player. A guy like that better be a plus defender or I'd let some one else have him, or as I suggested earlier, make him a supersub so that his defense doesn't cause the cumulative drag on the staff that having a "gets by" type up the middle every day creates. I would need to see that Valaika holds down 2B capably for an extended period before assuming he can play there. Not being good enough at SS doesn't make a guy good enough at 2B automatically, especially when range is the question. If it was only his arm strength, then I'd probably feel differently.

I mostly agree on Mes, but where I have a hard time is giving him so much credit for "playing a premium position." If he'd have proven he could actually play that position I'd agree. As of now he's only proven that he has some tools and a lot of time to develop. Lots of guys like that.

SMcGavin
11-08-2008, 11:51 AM
Valaika did hit 18 HR last season. Thats nothing to sneeze at.

Yeah, I don't really have an issue with Valaika's power. It's the OBP that worries me.

I think mth is hitting the nail on the head with this one. If Valaika can play a good 2B, he's a solid prospect. I still worry about his OBP at 2B, but it's less of an issue and I could see him getting it up enough to stick there. If he has to move out of the middle infield, he's more than likely not an everyday player.

Unless the Reds think he's going to be a major league SS, I'd get him to 2B ASAP so we can see what he's got. Since they designated him the SS for AFL, that's probably not going to happen. Hopefully either a) they think he can really play SS or b) they are trying to keep his trade value high. If they expect a position change later but are just dragging their feet on doing it, that is poor management of your assets IMO.

BigRed07
11-08-2008, 12:34 PM
Valaika spent last winter playing 2B in Hawaii. He played around 30 games. Maybe the Reds saw something they didn't like and decided to leave him at SS.
He has the ability play SS in the big leagues. The question is will it be with the Reds.

dougdirt
11-08-2008, 01:49 PM
Yeah, I don't really have an issue with Valaika's power. It's the OBP that worries me.

I think mth is hitting the nail on the head with this one. If Valaika can play a good 2B, he's a solid prospect. I still worry about his OBP at 2B, but it's less of an issue and I could see him getting it up enough to stick there. If he has to move out of the middle infield, he's more than likely not an everyday player.

Unless the Reds think he's going to be a major league SS, I'd get him to 2B ASAP so we can see what he's got. Since they designated him the SS for AFL, that's probably not going to happen. Hopefully either a) they think he can really play SS or b) they are trying to keep his trade value high. If they expect a position change later but are just dragging their feet on doing it, that is poor management of your assets IMO.

I think Valaika has the ability to hit .300 in the majors on a fairly consistent basis. At that point his 40-50 walks per year isn't nearly as big of a deal as other guys only getting that many walks who are hitting .260-.280.

With the position thing, I am feeling a lot more confident about him sticking at SS than I was last year.

Highlifeman21
11-08-2008, 04:40 PM
Mesoraco based on being a catcher and his tools.

When I first glanced at this, I thought you said "Mesoraco based on being a catcher and a tool", at which point I was going to ask

"What did Mesoraco do to you?"

My bad!

Mario-Rijo
11-08-2008, 05:08 PM
I think Valaika has the ability to hit .300 in the majors on a fairly consistent basis. At that point his 40-50 walks per year isn't nearly as big of a deal as other guys only getting that many walks who are hitting .260-.280.

With the position thing, I am feeling a lot more confident about him sticking at SS than I was last year.

I agree I think Valaika is perfectly capable of hitting a consistent .300 and it's not like he's not taking any walks at all. Heck he's been hitting over .300 for his minor league career and has yet to fully develop his plate discipline. If he never finishes developing that part of his game yeah he's not gonna be anything special. But that remains to be seen and I think the odds are with him. I actually think he needs to struggle a bit 1st before he understands he needs to adjust his approach to swinging just at driveable pitches. Once he does that watch out.

As far as his defense I don't ever expect him to be a great defender but I do think he can play a suitable MI defense just probably at 2B. But Michael Young has stuck at SS for quite some time now and the 2 aren't much different if at all.

Screwball
11-08-2008, 07:15 PM
As far as his defense I don't ever expect him to be a great defender but I do think he can play a suitable MI defense just probably at 2B. But Michael Young has stuck at SS for quite some time now and the 2 aren't much different if at all.

But of course, Michael Young has Gold Glove defense somehow! ;)

SMcGavin
11-08-2008, 07:21 PM
I think Valaika has the ability to hit .300 in the majors on a fairly consistent basis. At that point his 40-50 walks per year isn't nearly as big of a deal as other guys only getting that many walks who are hitting .260-.280.

With the position thing, I am feeling a lot more confident about him sticking at SS than I was last year.

The problem is that he might have to hit .300 if he's going to have any kind of acceptable OBP. The past two seasons he's hit just over .300, and his OBP is a touch under .350. That OBP is OK, but it's trouble if it starts dropping much. We're asking him to transfer his minor league numbers right over to the bigs without a drop.

Offensively he's not all that different than the guy the Reds have at 2B right now. Brandon Phillips' 2006 season is pretty close to what I'm expecting from Valaika:

.276/.324/.427

If you're a middle infielder who plays top notch defense (Phillips), that's enough to be a pretty solid player. If you're a middle infielder who plays average defense (I'm hoping Valaika fits into this category), that's probably enough to get you a starting gig during your prime years. But if the D is below average, or you have to move out of the middle infield, that line is not an everyday player. So it comes back to the same question, where is Valaika going to play and how good is he going to be there?

Mario-Rijo
11-08-2008, 07:55 PM
But of course, Michael Young has Gold Glove defense somehow! ;)

Well he does do a fair job of maximizing what he is capable of but that doesn't make him the best defender at SS in either league so yeah I agree.

dougdirt
11-09-2008, 03:21 PM
The problem is that he might have to hit .300 if he's going to have any kind of acceptable OBP. The past two seasons he's hit just over .300, and his OBP is a touch under .350. That OBP is OK, but it's trouble if it starts dropping much. We're asking him to transfer his minor league numbers right over to the bigs without a drop.

Offensively he's not all that different than the guy the Reds have at 2B right now. Brandon Phillips' 2006 season is pretty close to what I'm expecting from Valaika:

.276/.324/.427

If you're a middle infielder who plays top notch defense (Phillips), that's enough to be a pretty solid player. If you're a middle infielder who plays average defense (I'm hoping Valaika fits into this category), that's probably enough to get you a starting gig during your prime years. But if the D is below average, or you have to move out of the middle infield, that line is not an everyday player. So it comes back to the same question, where is Valaika going to play and how good is he going to be there?

Taking every SS in baseball with 400 or more PA last year they had a .337 OBP and a .412 SLG. There is very little doubt that he could put up those numbers in my mind. People continue to harp on his 'plate discipline' as if he doesn't understand a ball or a strike. He does. He can hit take that outide pitch and drive it the other way for a hit and he does that rather than taking it. Its why he is a career .306 hitter in the minor leagues. Yeah, he won't walk a whole lot (although he was on pace for 40 walks this year over a major league season's worth of PA), but he is going to hit for an average with some pop.

mth123
11-09-2008, 03:29 PM
Taking every SS in baseball with 400 or more PA last year they had a .337 OBP and a .412 SLG. There is very little doubt that he could put up those numbers in my mind. People continue to harp on his 'plate discipline' as if he doesn't understand a ball or a strike. He does. He can hit take that outide pitch and drive it the other way for a hit and he does that rather than taking it. Its why he is a career .306 hitter in the minor leagues. Yeah, he won't walk a whole lot (although he was on pace for 40 walks this year over a major league season's worth of PA), but he is going to hit for an average with some pop.

Those are averages of a bunch of glove men. If he's going to play SS, he better do a whole lot better than that or become a lot more rangey with better hands and a stronger arm.

That's the entire argument. These MI averages that everyone is saying Valaika can beat are based on a bunch of defense first players putting those numbers up. Since he is an offense first guy, he should crush those numbers and I just don't see him doing it. If he was Brandon Phillips on defense, I wouldn't have any problem with how his offense projects, but if he's going to play defense like Jeff Kent, he needs to hit like Jeff Kent or he's inadequate.

dougdirt
11-09-2008, 03:36 PM
Those are averages of a bunch of glove men. If he's going to play SS, he better do a whole lot better than that or become a lot more rangey with better hands and a stronger arm.
How many times did you see him play this year? Or last year?

As for the 'glove men' you speak of, that list was made up of Hanley Ramirez, Orlando Cabrera, Michael Young, Jose Reyes, Derek Jeter, Miguel Tejada, Stephen Drew, Ryan Theriot.... you know, all of those fantastic glove guys who are all below average defenders.

mth123
11-09-2008, 03:47 PM
As for the 'glove men' you speak of, that list was made up of Hanley Ramirez, Orlando Cabrera, Michael Young, Jose Reyes, Derek Jeter, Miguel Tejada, Stephen Drew, Ryan Theriot.... you know, all of those fantastic glove guys who are all below average defenders.

And most have bats far superior to what Valaika projects to be. For how his bat projects, he'd better be better than those guys defensively. I hope you are right and he is. The Reds could use a MI that can play MI. Right now they only have Brandon Phillips.

I was disgusted enough watching Jeff Keppinger, Ken Griffey JR and David Ross last year (enough that I barely even noticed Dunn and EdE who are also really bad), that I don't want any players being projected to key defensive spots unless they are plus defenders. I haven't heard anything about Valaika's defense except questions as to whether its good enough. My take is that if a guy is going to play up the middle, there should be no question.

Scrap Irony
11-09-2008, 03:49 PM
So he has to hit like a Hall of Fame 2b while at SS to be considered a good prospect. Got it.

Just so there's no pressure or undue expectations or anything.

Seriously, Valaika's D rates are above average at this point in his minor league career. He's much better statistically than noted gloveman Jose Castro last season while at SS on the same team. Other Cincinnati minor league SS with better reputations (Janish and Cozart) put up similar numbers, though Valaika's grades out as better.

The fact that one scout questioned his athleticism and everyone's taking that report for gospel strikes me as ludicrous. Looking at it from the top down, Walt Jocketty has determined defense to be one of his top prioritites as GM. This same GM has a reputation for valuing defense in his prior stops as a GM for a defensively solid major league franchise.

This GM, given the choice, mind you, determined that Valaika sticking at SS was really important to him over the AFL season. Now, if Valaika is a poor SS, as almost all Redzoners claim, why wouldn't Jocketty attempt to raise his trade value by having him learn 2b, thereby becoming a solid middle infield bat for an interested other team?

The best statistics available on D in the minor leagues pegs Valaika as a solid SS. The Cincinnati GM pegs him as a solid SS.

I would think he'd be considered a solid SS by Redszone as well. But, then again, what do I know?

SMcGavin
11-09-2008, 04:28 PM
The best statistics available on D in the minor leagues pegs Valaika as a solid SS.

Just to clarify, I am not making an evaluation on Valaika's defense. I'm making an evaluation on his offense, and that evaluation has lead me to believe that Valaika needs to be a capable defensive middle infielder to be a everyday MLB player. I don't think his bat is good enough to carry a poor glove, and I don't think it's good enough to play at 3B. If he can be a good defender at SS or 2B, I think he's a solid prospect. If he can't, then I don't. I'm not a scout, so my source on his defense is scouting reports - most of what I've read says he will eventually have to move off of SS.

Also, what source are you using for minor league defensive statistics?


So he has to hit like a Hall of Fame 2b while at SS to be considered a good prospect. Got it.

I'm pretty certain you are aware that nobody is saying anything resembling this, so I'm not sure what is the point of posting it.

Scrap Irony
11-09-2008, 04:40 PM
My source is baseball-reference.com

Who is your source, if you don't mind me asking, as to his scouting report? What have you read, from credible major league scouts, that leads you to believe he can't play SS? Specifically from scouts, I mean, and not from posters on message boards.

Then, remember that Valaika's lost 15 pounds to improve his supposedly poor range and check to see if those reports are from college or the draft. If so, those reports are over two years old at best.

If you have kids, would you trust a report card that is over two years old?

Most of Redszone would, apparently.



If he was Brandon Phillips on defense, I wouldn't have any problem with how his offense projects, but if he's going to play defense like Jeff Kent, he needs to hit like Jeff Kent or he's inadequate.

Read the posts. Not more than 5 posts above this one, mth described what he would consider an acceptable middle infield offensive player.

mth123
11-09-2008, 04:47 PM
So he has to hit like a Hall of Fame 2b while at SS to be considered a good prospect. Got it.

Just so there's no pressure or undue expectations or anything.

Seriously, Valaika's D rates are above average at this point in his minor league career. He's much better statistically than noted gloveman Jose Castro last season while at SS on the same team. Other Cincinnati minor league SS with better reputations (Janish and Cozart) put up similar numbers, though Valaika's grades out as better.

The fact that one scout questioned his athleticism and everyone's taking that report for gospel strikes me as ludicrous. Looking at it from the top down, Walt Jocketty has determined defense to be one of his top prioritites as GM. This same GM has a reputation for valuing defense in his prior stops as a GM for a defensively solid major league franchise.

This GM, given the choice, mind you, determined that Valaika sticking at SS was really important to him over the AFL season. Now, if Valaika is a poor SS, as almost all Redzoners claim, why wouldn't Jocketty attempt to raise his trade value by having him learn 2b, thereby becoming a solid middle infield bat for an interested other team?

The best statistics available on D in the minor leagues pegs Valaika as a solid SS. The Cincinnati GM pegs him as a solid SS.

I would think he'd be considered a solid SS by Redszone as well. But, then again, what do I know?

Let me say this a different way. When I hear people talk about Valaika, I hear two qualifiers being used repeatedly. Concerning his offense, the term "For a SS" or "For a 2B" is always invoked to describe why his bat is so good. If the guy was a strong defender, that would be enough to get me excited. But, when the conversation turns to his defense, I consistently hear, "if he can stick at SS" or "if he can play 2B."

So, we're left with a guy who has a bat that isn't strong enough to qualify him as a top prospect on its own. Its coupled with the qualifier about him playing a certain position. Next we turn right around and question whether he'll be able to play that position. That isn't a prospect. That, IMO, is a suspect. His bat isn't good enough on its own, and his glove may not be good enough to play a position where his bat would justify playing time. He could still be a decent player, but don't expect me to consider the guy a top 5 prospect in the organization. If, he proves capable on defense or if his bat takes it to the next level, then he is. Right now, IMO, he isn't. The Reds have strong defenders who may have the bat for their positions like Stubbs, Dickerson, Cozart, Francisco and Heisey. They also have some guys who have the offense no matter the position like Alonso, Frazier, Soto and Dorn. Add some pitchers who project to be fairly useful w/o such a confluence of things going right from this point and Valaika falls into the teens as far as prospects go IMO. Too much of a tweener for me. Hopefully I'm wrong. I'd love to see the Reds improve their depth in the MI. They really need it.

mth123
11-09-2008, 05:10 PM
My source is baseball-reference.com

Who is your source, if you don't mind me asking, as to his scouting report? What have you read, from credible major league scouts, that leads you to believe he can't play SS? Specifically from scouts, I mean, and not from posters on message boards.

Then, remember that Valaika's lost 15 pounds to improve his supposedly poor range and check to see if those reports are from college or the draft. If so, those reports are over two years old at best.

If you have kids, would you trust a report card that is over two years old?

Most of Redszone would, apparently.



Read the posts. Not more than 5 posts above this one, mth described what he would consider an acceptable middle infield offensive player.

Yes I did. And if Jeff Kent didn't hit like Jeff Kent, I wouldn't let him play in the MI on my team. Defense up the middle is too important and I'd rather have a good glove with a .725 OPS than a mediocre glove for a marginal upgrade. I'd need a big time upgrade to choose the offensive player over the defensive player. Its the same reason a guy like Todd Walker (a guy that I think is a pretty good comp for Valaika offensively though Walker had better OBP skills than we've seen from Valaika) could never hold down a regular job year in and year out and always seemed to be a guy his teams were trying to replace.

I guess you could read into it that I'm saying the guy would need to be a Hall of Famer if you want, but I certainly never said a guy had to be a Hall of Famer to be a good prospect in the MI. You put those words in my mouth.

Mario-Rijo
11-09-2008, 05:51 PM
And most have bats far superior to what Valaika projects to be. For how his bat projects, he'd better be better than those guys defensively. I hope you are right and he is. The Reds could use a MI that can play MI. Right now they only have Brandon Phillips.

I was disgusted enough watching Jeff Keppinger, Ken Griffey JR and David Ross last year (enough that I barely even noticed Dunn and EdE who are also really bad), that I don't want any players being projected to key defensive spots unless they are plus defenders. I haven't heard anything about Valaika's defense except questions as to whether its good enough. My take is that if a guy is going to play up the middle, there should be no question.

Actually Michael Young as I have pointed several times is considered an offensive SS and Valaika's #'s project to be better than Youngs with potentially better defense even at SS. I say potentially because Young's glove is a tick better but Valaika's range and arm are comparable. And Michael Young's power improved between 23-24 whereas Valaika (22) has not yet reached that next level where his power increases. It may take longer than that perhaps but as it sits right now his power #'s are better than Young's post increase.

SMcGavin
11-09-2008, 05:55 PM
My source is baseball-reference.com

Who is your source, if you don't mind me asking, as to his scouting report? What have you read, from credible major league scouts, that leads you to believe he can't play SS? Specifically from scouts, I mean, and not from posters on message boards.


So you are just looking at range factor and fielding percentage? I put next to no stock in those numbers, whether they are good or bad.

Any scouting reports I've read on Valaika are things that were linked on this board over the past couple of seasons. The general theme of the things I've read about Valaika are that he is not going to play SS in the majors. Could those reports be wrong, or could Valaika have improved defensively? Sure, but I have no idea if that's the case or not. If you have recent scouting reports that say his defense is good enough to play SS at the MLB level, I'd love to look at them.

dougdirt
11-09-2008, 06:12 PM
So you are just looking at range factor and fielding percentage? I put next to no stock in those numbers, whether they are good or bad.

Any scouting reports I've read on Valaika are things that were linked on this board over the past couple of seasons. The general theme of the things I've read about Valaika are that he is not going to play SS in the majors. Could those reports be wrong, or could Valaika have improved defensively? Sure, but I have no idea if that's the case or not. If you have recent scouting reports that say his defense is good enough to play SS at the MLB level, I'd love to look at them.

Then you should have read more threads because its already been noted several times this season that scouts have noted that Valaika's range has improved at SS thanks in part to him coming into the season lighter.

mth123
11-09-2008, 06:13 PM
Actually Michael Young as I have pointed several times is considered an offensive SS and Valaika's #'s project to be better than Youngs with potentially better defense even at SS. I say potentially because Young's glove is a tick better but Valaika's range and arm are comparable. And Michael Young's power improved between 23-24 whereas Valaika (22) has not yet reached that next level where his power increases. It may take longer than that perhaps but as it sits right now his power #'s are better than Young's post increase.

We differ on Valaika's projections. Michael Young had 4 seasons in a row in 2004 to 2007 of .836, .898, .815, and .784. I'd project Valaika to be comparable to the 2007 and 2008 versions with OPS numbers of .784 and .741.

I think a typical Valaika year will be .275/.335/.425/.760. When BABIP goes his way he could break .800 I suppose. He'd still need to be a pretty good defender before I'd consider those numbers good enough to be in my line-up in the MI every day. They probably look good for a fantasy team, but defense up the middle is what gets a pitching staff through a 162 game season successfully. I'd rather have a .725 OPS who helps my pitching staff get off the field. If his defense proves him to be a guy that can do that, then he's a pretty good player.

Mario-Rijo
11-09-2008, 07:03 PM
We differ on Valaika's projections. Michael Young had 4 seasons in a row in 2004 to 2007 of .836, .898, .815, and .784. I'd project Valaika to be comparable to the 2007 and 2008 versions with OPS numbers of .784 and .741.

I think a typical Valaika year will be .275/.335/.425/.760. When BABIP goes his way he could break .800 I suppose. He'd still need to be a pretty good defender before I'd consider those numbers good enough to be in my line-up in the MI every day. They probably look good for a fantasy team, but defense up the middle is what gets a pitching staff through a 162 game season successfully. I'd rather have a .725 OPS who helps my pitching staff get off the field. If his defense proves him to be a guy that can do that, then he's a pretty good player.

You are comparing Youngs Major League #'s to Valaika's minor league #'s? Well then I guess I understand how you could come to that conclusion by using that comparison. Compare both minor league #'s and you'll see what I mean.

I agree about having superior defenders up the middle, I prefer them as well. That said we will just have to wait and see how well he plays defense at the major league level, my guess is that you will find his defense suitable enough with what he brings to the table offensively. He may not be ideal defensively but that is far from him being a negative on defense.

All of that stated his value as a prospect is greater than what you are giving him credit for w/ regards to who you have in front of him. I realize you don't have to take anyones word for it, but just remember that I said that.

SMcGavin
11-09-2008, 08:38 PM
Then you should have read more threads because its already been noted several times this season that scouts have noted that Valaika's range has improved at SS thanks in part to him coming into the season lighter.

His range has improved from what it was, or he is going to be an average or better defensive MLB shortstop? Those things are far from the same.

Anyway, this topic is extremely cumbersome since I've not even trying to make a judgement on Valaika's defense. Thus I find myself repeatedly being asked to defend a position I don't necessarily support. This will be my last post on the subject of Valaika's D. I'll leave with the statement that I made in my first post in this thread, one that I thought made my position pretty clear.


If Valaika can play a good 2B, he's a solid prospect... If he has to move out of the middle infield, he's more than likely not an everyday player.

Scrap Irony
11-09-2008, 09:21 PM
Shooter,
His range has improved to the point that people are beginning to question long-held ideas about Valaika playing a position has has played well for three years now because he has lost some weight and learned, through hard work, how to position himself better as a professional. His range now plays as at least adequate and perhaps a step beyond adequate, but his arm is now questionable because, hey, you can't have everything you want in life. And Range Factor is the only defensive metric we have to compare players in the minor leagues. (At least it's the only one I know of. Perhaps someone else has another, better stat.) However, as a stat to compare players from the same team on the same fields playing behind the same pitching staff (relative, on all counts, of course), it is relevant for a comparison. Jose Castro was considered a great defensive prospect just last off-season. All Valaika did was make one more play per game than did the former Met farmhand.

What does that tell us?

It is my belief that Valaika has better range (and a better all-around game) than scouts had previously given him credit. It happens a lot, believe it or not. Kids get a reputation and, instead of looking at it logically and trying to determine if that reputation is indeed valid, scouts (fans, and sometimes, GMs) take the easy way out and espouse "the company line".


Two things, mth, I think we disagree on fundamentally:

1) Valaika's projections
Whereas I see a 300+ hitting middle infielder with 15-25 homer potential, you see Todd Walker. If Valaika can play SS like Michael Young, I'll take Todd Walker all day long and twice on Sunday offensively. That's just below All Star level production in a middle infielder, similar to Carlos Guillien, Young himself, and John Valentin, from the past 20 years or so. As you know (and infer from your posts aboe), you don't need great bats at every position and this team has some good bat. I maintain it doesn't have enough god bats, especially with Phillips at 2B (and in a poor spot in the batting order for his skills), the black hole that LF is looking to be, and the questions surrounding both CF and C. I figure a bat like Todd Walker's is exactly what this team could use up the middle. That's a really, really valuable piece to a winning team, IMO.

2) Importance of defense up the middle
I love a guy-- like Barry Larkin-- who could field and hit equally well. But there's a reason Barry's a Hall of Famer. Guys like him don't come around very often. And it's not like teams can't carry a decent glove (as Valaika projects to be) and a plus bat at SS and succeed. We've seen 15 years of Yankee dominance that proves that point. (Not that I'm saying Valaika is in any way, shape, or form Jeter-like offensively.) So, too, did Boston's recent move to dynasty-like prominence (Lugo and, before that, Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, and out own AGon), the A's with Tejada (and Bubba Crosby), the LA Angels (with the aforementioned Cabrera) and a whole host of other recent teams. A good but not great glove man has been proven to be valuable. Great glove men, meanwhile, who lack sticks, are a means to nowhere-ville in today's game.

The last great glove man to man SS for a team to win the World Series? Raphael Belliard, I think, with Atlanta. (Do you consider Juan Uribe a great glove? If so, the White Sox team from three years ago might fit the bill.) Most SS for WS champs are, like Valaika, solid defensively and at least close to a plus offensively.

And, on another completely unrelated note, I apologize if I seemed to put words in your mouth about Jeff Kent, though I hope we'd both agree on how valuable a bat like Kent's would be at second (or short) on this particular Red team.