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View Full Version : Fay thinks young SS could still be in the offing



RedEye
12-18-2008, 04:23 PM
Here (http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=blog07&plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3ae57bcc87-152a-4f72-96fb-cc08b1f396efPost%3a8b42ab11-fc73-4bcd-81f6-84eb385050c6&sid=sitelife.cincinnati.com) is his recent post.

Edit: Mods, feel free to add this to the other SS thread if it isn't news.


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.


Nothing really new here on the SS front except for Fay's conjecture. However, I do like getting scouting takes on Frazier and Valaika. I still wonder whether Walt isn't trying to pry Hardy away from the Brew Crew.

Jpup
12-18-2008, 04:26 PM
Fay,

Tell Walt that Elvis Andrus would be a good target.

Thanks,

Jpup

PS...Thanks for reading RedsZone.

dougdirt
12-18-2008, 05:08 PM
As I noted in the comments and Fay then agreed with, it depends on who you ask with Valaika on his ability to stick at SS. Some guys think he can stick there, others don't. No one thinks Frazier can stick there.

kpresidente
12-19-2008, 09:26 AM
If I'm the GM, when I look over the organization, I see SS tied in with the LF/1B situation. SS looks like the big long-term hole we have to fill, and I have 3 "solutions" to fill 1B/LF in Votto, Alonso, and a Dorn/Frazier platoon. That being the case, I'll try to squeeze by with what I've got right now and use '09 to evaluate which of those 3 solutions I want to offer up for a long-term answer at SS.

My perfect world scenario, assuming none of those 3 has a disasterous season, is that the Dorn/Frazier platoon starts 2010 in LF, since I think that as a platoon they could be just as productive as either of the two big-names, but won't have the trade value. Then I shop one of either Alonso or Votto for a ML-ready, A+ SS prospect or equivalent young player.

In the mean-time, IF Valaika proves he can be a solution at SS, then I just move one of those two for another front-line starter, since you can't have enough of those. Otherwise, if he's a 2B, I view him as a replacement for Phillips once his contract becomes a burden.

RedEye
12-19-2008, 09:32 AM
If I'm the GM, when I look over the organization, I see SS tied in with the LF/1B situation. SS looks like the big long-term hole we have to fill, and I have 3 "solutions" to fill 1B/LF in Votto, Alonso, and a Dorn/Frazier platoon. That being the case, I'll try to squeeze by with what I've got right now and use '09 to evaluate which of those 3 solutions I want to offer up for a long-term answer at SS.

My perfect world scenario, assuming none of those 3 has a disasterous season, is that the Dorn/Frazier platoon starts 2010 in LF, since I think that as a platoon they could be just as productive as either of the two big-names, but won't have the trade value. Then I shop one of either Alonso or Votto for a ML-ready, A+ SS prospect or equivalent young player.

In the mean-time, IF Valaika proves he can be a solution at SS, then I just move one of those two for another front-line starter, since you can't have enough of those. Otherwise, if he's a 2B, I view him as a replacement for Phillips once his contract becomes a burden.

I pretty much agree with everything you wrote. I actually wouldn't be surprised if the Phillips/Valaika scenarios you describe are exactly what is going to happen.

hebroncougar
12-19-2008, 09:44 AM
If SS is still such a hole (and I think it is), why isn't Phillips being moved there? Is there some consensus as to why that can't be done? He seems to have the range and arm, I'm not sure why it's not being done.

pahster
12-19-2008, 09:47 AM
Why platoon Frazier?

kpresidente
12-19-2008, 10:00 AM
Why platoon Frazier?

It's not so much that I think he has to be in a platoon, although he does have a noticeable split (career 1.055/.824, but last season was particularly wide - 1.128/.761) as it is just trying to fill out the order and maximizing skills. Alone, I don't think either he or Dorn will be a viable middle-of-the-order bat, but as a platoon they could be. The fact that he's at least capable against RH is icing on the cake, because it gives you some injury insurance at several positions.

RedEye
12-19-2008, 10:07 AM
If SS is still such a hole (and I think it is), why isn't Phillips being moved there? Is there some consensus as to why that can't be done? He seems to have the range and arm, I'm not sure why it's not being done.

This seems to be the most common unanswered question on RedsZone these days. Somehow, something that seems so obvious to all of us just isn't an option in reality.

RedEye
12-19-2008, 10:09 AM
Why platoon Frazier?

I'm also thinking that perhaps both Dorn and Frazier could start as a platoon and then develop into more complete players as their careers go on. Wouldn't be a bad way to start out though.

IslandRed
12-19-2008, 10:23 AM
I'm also thinking that perhaps both Dorn and Frazier could start as a platoon and then develop into more complete players as their careers go on. Wouldn't be a bad way to start out though.

I take the opposite approach. Guys don't improve at what they don't do. Starving young players of at-bats against their weaker side is a good way to guarantee they'll never be useful as anything but platoon players. I don't have a problem with platooning, mind you, but it's best reserved for players who have pretty much become what they're going to be.

RedEye
12-19-2008, 10:25 AM
I take the opposite approach. Guys don't improve at what they don't do. Starving young players of at-bats against their weaker side is a good way to guarantee they'll never be useful as anything but platoon players. I don't have a problem with platooning, mind you, but it's best reserved for players who have pretty much become what they're going to be.

I guess I was thinking about how Paul O'Neill started his career, platooning with Tracy Jones. I guess it worked pretty well for one of them and not so well for the other though. So you have a good point.

Chip R
12-19-2008, 10:28 AM
I take the opposite approach. Guys don't improve at what they don't do. Starving young players of at-bats against their weaker side is a good way to guarantee they'll never be useful as anything but platoon players. I don't have a problem with platooning, mind you, but it's best reserved for players who have pretty much become what they're going to be.


Excellent point. I've felt this way for some time now.

Roy Tucker
12-19-2008, 10:38 AM
I think Fay has started reading RedsZone.

HokieRed
12-19-2008, 10:42 AM
While I agree with the idea that platooning a player can "starve" him into being one-dimensional, the issue of a Frazier-Dorn platoon may be, in part, the need to get Dorn into the lineup, given his strength against righties. I still think the first thing we need to assess about Frazier, though, is whether his ultimate position for the club is/can be third base.

Chip R
12-19-2008, 10:44 AM
I think Fay has started reading RedsZone.


It can only improve his writing.

IslandRed
12-19-2008, 02:31 PM
While I agree with the idea that platooning a player can "starve" him into being one-dimensional, the issue of a Frazier-Dorn platoon may be, in part, the need to get Dorn into the lineup, given his strength against righties. I still think the first thing we need to assess about Frazier, though, is whether his ultimate position for the club is/can be third base.

I have less of a problem with platooning Dorn because he hits lefty. If Dorn comes up as part of a platoon, he'll get 70-75% of the at-bats and will maintain most of his productive value. The right-handed half of a platoon is the guy who usually withers on the vine; he's not just missing the at-bats against his weaker side, he's missing most of the at-bats period. I'd rather see the Reds bring in a veteran for that role, someone who's okay with being a bench player and occasional lefty-masher, and let Frazier continue developing into an everyday player.