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BRM
12-18-2008, 04:22 PM
Shortstop of the future?

Notice the question mark on the headline. That might be surprising considering that two of the Reds prospects closest to the majors -- Chris Valaika and Todd Frazier -- were drafted as and have played shortstop most of their time in the minors.

But I talked to a scout from another team about Valaika and Frazier for something I'm writing for Sunday. He sees both as making in the big leagues. But he doesn't see either playing short.

"I've got Valaika as a second baseman," he said. "His arm is a little short. His range is limited. But I think he'll make it because of his bat. I don't know if he's an everyday guy, but I think he can be an extra guy at the very least."

As for Frazier: "I see him as a corner infielder, either first or third, because his limited range. He could play left, too. He's going to hit and hit for power."

My guess is Reds people feel the same. Valaika played some second in the Arizona Fall League. Frazier played a lot of left in the Hawaii League. The scout was a bit higher on Frazier than Valaika.

This is why I wouldn't be shocked if the Reds are trying to get a young shortstop. Given Alex Gonzalez's health and Paul Janish's bat, my guess is Jeff Keppinger gets the bulk of the time there this year. Signing Jerry Hairston Jr. could change that. Keppinger is a nice player, but I don't see him as a long-term solution at short.

Yunel Escobar would have been nice to get, although the price would have been high. But that's not going to happen now that Rafael Furcal has decided he really didn't agree to sign with the Braves. Interesting twist there, eh? Furcal's agent probalby isn't going to get invited to Frank Wren's Christmas party.

Kingspoint
12-18-2008, 04:25 PM
Nice read.

Kingspoint
12-18-2008, 04:29 PM
Only part I don't like is that the article implies that "some" think Keppinger is even a short-term answer. At best, he's a fill-in. His range is more limited than the 2 younger players that the article is about. I would trade a Daryl Thompson or a Homer Bailey for a 22-23-24 year old shortstop of equal value.

Topcat
12-18-2008, 05:15 PM
Only part I don't like is that the article implies that "some" think Keppinger is even a short-term answer. At best, he's a fill-in. His range is more limited than the 2 younger players that the article is about. I would trade a Daryl Thompson or a Homer Bailey for a 22-23-24 year old shortstop of equal value.

Same and Thompson is the guy you shop first.:thumbup:

redhawk61
12-18-2008, 05:30 PM
With Furcal re-upping with the Dodgers, I re-bring up the name of Ivan DeJesus. He is a plus defender at SS, has excellent plate discipline, and makes good contact. The one knock on him is power, but it seems to be improving a little each year with the last 3 years having a SLG% of .327, then .381, then .423

this year he, in 463 AB's, hit: .324/.419/.423

Also he is in the PWL right now and in 109 AB's is hitting .321/.359/.541

I brought him up a few months ago, and like him even more now, with the improvement in SLG%

He could be that SS of the furture we are looking for, and a leadoff hitter.

Just think of the potential of 2012(after BP's contract is up, and assuming we have cheaper options) a double play combo of DeJesus and Valaika:thumbup:

morande
12-18-2008, 05:31 PM
Nice article, I agree with fay in that neither of them will be playing short. A little upset with the uncalled for janish jab, that's general knowledge about his bat, doesn;t need to be printed:D

Kingspoint
12-18-2008, 07:18 PM
Nice suggestion, redhawk.

Kingspoint
12-18-2008, 07:19 PM
I like how Walt's addressing things this off-season. Catcher's done. Left Field could be EE if they find a 3rd Baseman instead. Taking a serious look at SS and not counting on Gonzalez at all while understanding that range at shortstop is imperative to giving a pitching staff confidence.

Mario-Rijo
12-18-2008, 07:20 PM
With Furcal re-upping with the Dodgers, I re-bring up the name of Ivan DeJesus. He is a plus defender at SS, has excellent plate discipline, and makes good contact. The one knock on him is power, but it seems to be improving a little each year with the last 3 years having a SLG% of .327, then .381, then .423

this year he, in 463 AB's, hit: .324/.419/.423

Also he is in the PWL right now and in 109 AB's is hitting .321/.359/.541

I brought him up a few months ago, and like him even more now, with the improvement in SLG%

He could be that SS of the furture we are looking for, and a leadoff hitter.

Just think of the potential of 2012(after BP's contract is up, and assuming we have cheaper options) a double play combo of DeJesus and Valaika:thumbup:

Nice choice Redhawk a very good option perhaps even the most ideal SS we could target. One question though how much do you know about his defense is he truly plus or are you just making an assumption? His range and glove I have often wondered about, whether or not they were actually good enough for SS. But again I agree on his bat and having just played his year 21 season at AA I like him quite a bit. He may play in AAA next season and if so won't get to see the majors for some time as Blake Dewitt seems to be the plan for them at 2B. If his defense is good he becomes my top target for sure.

redhawk61
12-18-2008, 08:19 PM
Nice choice Redhawk a very good option perhaps even the most ideal SS we could target. One question though how much do you know about his defense is he truly plus or are you just making an assumption? His range and glove I have often wondered about, whether or not they were actually good enough for SS. But again I agree on his bat and having just played his year 21 season at AA I like him quite a bit. He may play in AAA next season and if so won't get to see the majors for some time as Blake Dewitt seems to be the plan for them at 2B. If his defense is good he becomes my top target for sure.
http://www.scoutingbook.com/players/p2535
"The Dodgers Minor League Player of the Year for 2008, DeJesus doesn't have much left to prove in the minors. Apparently inspired by Baseball America's description of him as a 'below average' hitter, DeJesus took the Southern League to task in 2008, when he swatted an eye-opening .324/.419/.423 at AA Jacksonville. The young infielder led the entire Southern League with a .419 OBP in his first AA season, testimony to his disciplined plate approach. When he makes contact, he's a hitter in the Howie Kendrick style: gap to gap line drives with excellent bat control. In the field, he has soft hands and excellent (inherited?) baseball instincts. "

http://www.truebluela.com/2008/6/29/561413/blue-sparks-06-23-06-29
"Ivan DeJesus (SS, LAD) follows in a line of strong defensive shortstops in the Dodgers’ system. The 20 year-old is fundamentally sound and possesses range in all directions and average arm strength. He has a good bit of athleticism, but is only an average runner. His offense has improved immensely in just a year’s time, as he is making better contact and drawing more walks. He lacks the secondary skills of power and speed, so his offense will be predicated on his BA/OBP. If he can maintain a respectable OBP, his bat handling abilities could suit him well in the number two hole."

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/hitting-prospects-to-watch-in-2008/
"Son of former major leaguer Ivan De Jesus, the junior De Jesus displays plus defense at shortstop; Baseball America has said that he has the organization's best infield arm. Around two years younger than his peers, De Jesus has shown excellent plate discipline and judgment of the strike zone as evidenced by his high BB% and low K%. He also has shown the ability to hit for a moderately high average.

The negative for De Jesus is that he has displayed minimal power thus far (though he did show increased power last year). Although he has a small build, his swing has the potential for more power than his current numbers indicate; however, he needs more loft and a bigger load to reach that potential. Of course, the big positive is that De Jesus doesn't have to have much of a bat to make a major impact because his glove is so good."

Mario-Rijo
12-18-2008, 08:27 PM
http://www.scoutingbook.com/players/p2535
"The Dodgers Minor League Player of the Year for 2008, DeJesus doesn't have much left to prove in the minors. Apparently inspired by Baseball America's description of him as a 'below average' hitter, DeJesus took the Southern League to task in 2008, when he swatted an eye-opening .324/.419/.423 at AA Jacksonville. The young infielder led the entire Southern League with a .419 OBP in his first AA season, testimony to his disciplined plate approach. When he makes contact, he's a hitter in the Howie Kendrick style: gap to gap line drives with excellent bat control. In the field, he has soft hands and excellent (inherited?) baseball instincts. "

http://www.truebluela.com/2008/6/29/561413/blue-sparks-06-23-06-29
"Ivan DeJesus (SS, LAD) follows in a line of strong defensive shortstops in the Dodgers’ system. The 20 year-old is fundamentally sound and possesses range in all directions and average arm strength. He has a good bit of athleticism, but is only an average runner. His offense has improved immensely in just a year’s time, as he is making better contact and drawing more walks. He lacks the secondary skills of power and speed, so his offense will be predicated on his BA/OBP. If he can maintain a respectable OBP, his bat handling abilities could suit him well in the number two hole."

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/hitting-prospects-to-watch-in-2008/
"Son of former major leaguer Ivan De Jesus, the junior De Jesus displays plus defense at shortstop; Baseball America has said that he has the organization's best infield arm. Around two years younger than his peers, De Jesus has shown excellent plate discipline and judgment of the strike zone as evidenced by his high BB% and low K%. He also has shown the ability to hit for a moderately high average.

The negative for De Jesus is that he has displayed minimal power thus far (though he did show increased power last year). Although he has a small build, his swing has the potential for more power than his current numbers indicate; however, he needs more loft and a bigger load to reach that potential. Of course, the big positive is that De Jesus doesn't have to have much of a bat to make a major impact because his glove is so good."

Outstanding, very good post and info. It seems they are little torn on his arm or the Dodgers simply have no good arms in the IF down there. That said his arm seems to be at least adequate so I'm all for going after this kid.

Again good stuff RH. :thumbup:

dougdirt
12-18-2008, 08:28 PM
http://www.scoutingbook.com/players/p2535
"The Dodgers Minor League Player of the Year for 2008, DeJesus doesn't have much left to prove in the minors. Apparently inspired by Baseball America's description of him as a 'below average' hitter, DeJesus took the Southern League to task in 2008, when he swatted an eye-opening .324/.419/.423 at AA Jacksonville. The young infielder led the entire Southern League with a .419 OBP in his first AA season, testimony to his disciplined plate approach. When he makes contact, he's a hitter in the Howie Kendrick style: gap to gap line drives with excellent bat control. In the field, he has soft hands and excellent (inherited?) baseball instincts. "


Lets not quote things from that site.... that sites rankings are terrible, thus their information is questionable, and in many cases very old. They rated Chris Nelson as the #70 prospect in baseball after a .669 OPS in AA, in a hitters league while John Sickels rated the same guy the # 16 prospect in the Rockies system earlier this week.

The word on DeJesus is that its above average, but not plus. He is a smart player though, which leads to his tools playing up a notch at times.

Mario-Rijo
12-18-2008, 08:47 PM
Lets not quote things from that site.... that sites rankings are terrible, thus their information is questionable, and in many cases very old. They rated Chris Nelson as the #70 prospect in baseball after a .669 OPS in AA, in a hitters league while John Sickels rated the same guy the # 16 prospect in the Rockies system earlier this week.

The word on DeJesus is that its above average, but not plus. He is a smart player though, which leads to his tools playing up a notch at times.

His defense in general or a specific aspect of it? What breakdown would you give on his Arm, Range, Instincts, Hands etc?

dougdirt
12-18-2008, 08:57 PM
His defense in general or a specific aspect of it? What breakdown would you give on his Arm, Range, Instincts, Hands etc?

I haven't seen him play, so I can't rate those things off hand. I talk with a scout who is employed by the Dodgers though and the word on him is that the defense is above average, but its not plus (Adam Everitt or Omar Vizquel in the primes).

redhawk61
12-18-2008, 09:19 PM
So Doug, the ultimate question, would you welcome him to the reds?

Lockdwn11
12-18-2008, 09:32 PM
So Doug, the ultimate question, would you welcome him to the reds?

He sounds like a nice player,would the Dodgers be willing to trade him? What would it take to get it done?

M2
12-18-2008, 10:32 PM
Certainly between Furcal, Hu and DeJesus, the Dodgers would seem to have a SS to deal.

gedred69
12-18-2008, 10:48 PM
I like how Walt's addressing things this off-season. Catcher's done. Left Field could be EE if they find a 3rd Baseman instead. Taking a serious look at SS and not counting on Gonzalez at all while understanding that range at shortstop is imperative to giving a pitching staff confidence.

Trade some pitching prospects for Atkins and his 100 RBI bat to play in another hitter's park. EE to left, or vise versa. Low cost except for maybe the young pitchers the Rocks would want.

redsof72
12-19-2008, 10:11 AM
You read that scouting report on Frazier, and when you actually see him play, you see the same thing, and you wonder why they are wasting time by continuing to play him at shortstop. Frazier is an outstanding prospect but he is not a shortstop. At this point, many are saying he is about a year (or a little more than a year) from reaching the big leagues and if that is the case, he will playing a position in the majors that he has very little experience playing. So I hope they put him where they think he is going to play and let him learn to play that position. If he is in the starting lineup at shortstop on April 9th (with whatever team), I will be shaking my head.