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OnBaseMachine
01-21-2009, 05:14 PM
New Fever posted this last week but it got lost when Redszone went down. Baseball America will release the scouting reports along with best tools and a Reds chat on Friday. I'll post the chat and a summary of the scouting reports when they are made available Friday afternoon.

1. Yonder Alonso, 1B
2. Todd Frazier, SS
3. Drew Stubbs, OF
4. Chris Valaika, SS
5. Yorman Rodriguez, OF
6. Kyle Lotzkar, RHP
7. Neftali Soto, 3B
8. Juan Francisco, 3B
8. Juan Duran, OF
10. Devin Mesoraco, C

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/

straitpinkie
01-22-2009, 12:07 PM
Number 1 Yonder will be in attendance tonight!

Your 2009 Cincinnati Reds are hitting the road and making some stops on their annual Reds Caravan to meet their fans and get them excited for the upcoming seasons. Today, from 4:30-7:00pm, one of those stops will occur right here in the ‘Ville at Louisville Slugger Field, home of its Triple-A affiliate the Louisville Bats. The event is free....

For more details go to:

http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/reds/cincinnati-reds-caravan-makes-stop-at-louisville-slugger-field-tonight/

dougdirt
01-22-2009, 12:15 PM
I talked with JJ last week and here were a few things he had to say

Me: With Joey Votto currently at first base and a slew of prospects that fit that 3B/1B/LF mold in the Reds system, how do you see it working out or how could it work out?

JJ Cooper: I don't think the Reds themselves are sure on how it all will work out, but if I had to make my guess. Long-term I think that Votto ends up moving to LF because he can handle the position adequately. Alonso is the first baseman while Frazier is the third baseman (this is assuming that by 2010-2011 Edwin Encarnacion has been dealt away or left in free agency).

Of course that still leaves Soto and Francisco on the outside looking in, and I can't tell you with any confidence that they won't be in the big leagues bopping by two or three years from now, but as of right now, I'd say it's more likely that Votto, Frazier and Alonso are holding down those spots. Of course, the Reds could also swing some trades that will make this prediction completely moot.

Me: Outside of the top prospects (Drew Stubbs, Daryl Thompson, Josh Roenicke), who could be a guy that could come in during the 2009 season and really help out the Reds?

JJ Cooper: Valaika's a top prospect too, but since he wasn't listed among your examples I'll throw him out there, but I think he could end up helping out late in the season. As far as a sleeper, Ramon Ramirez could be a useful fifth starter/bullpen arm, although there's also a decent chance he'll be part of what should be a very deep Triple-A rotation.

Me: The Reds lack a big time top 25 type prospect this year after graduating a few of them last year, but they still seem to have a lot of depth in the system. Depth wise how do they stack up against the rest of baseball?

JJ Cooper: I'd say Alonso could sneak into the top 25, but yeah, the system is deeper this year with less impact talent. As far as depth, there aren't many teams who have as many potential big leaguers in Double-A and Triple-A. Now a lot of those potential big leaguers will be backups, role players or fill-ins, but the Reds have a lot of depth.

OnBaseMachine
01-22-2009, 12:24 PM
Good stuff Doug. Great job as always.

camisadelgolf
01-22-2009, 08:34 PM
Before the crash, I remember a lot of people criticizing the list for having Soto at number seven. I think people don't realize how easily he could turn out to be the next Tony Blanco. Don't get me wrong, though--I think Soto's a great prospect--I'm just empathizing with the naysayers.

WVRed
01-22-2009, 10:44 PM
One pitcher in the top 10.

That really sums it up for me.

OnBaseMachine
01-22-2009, 11:09 PM
One pitcher in the top 10.

That really sums it up for me.

To be fair, Daryl Thompson is most likely a top ten prospect in a lot of organizations. He's never going to be ace but I think he could develop into a solid middle of rotation starter. Homer Bailey would have been in the top ten if he were still eligible. With that being said, I think bats are clearly the strong point of the Reds farm system at this point. That's also true for every organization in the NL Central.

dougdirt
01-22-2009, 11:43 PM
One pitcher in the top 10.

That really sums it up for me.

That said, Ramon Ramirez isn't likely in the top 20 of the BA rankings and he showed himself pretty well in the majors (and minors for that matter).

lollipopcurve
01-23-2009, 08:42 AM
That said, Ramon Ramirez isn't likely in the top 20 of the BA rankings and he showed himself pretty well in the majors (and minors for that matter).

Absolutely. Seems to me guys like Ramirez, Hanigan and Dickerson -- all of whom still project as rookies, I think -- are all but ignored by the listmakers, despite the fact that they all showed very well in their first exposure to the majors. Huge blind spot on the part of the prospect "experts," due, I'd say, to their inability to see players they haven't seen coming.

I'm not saying these players should be hailed as potential all-stars. But they do appear to have the ability to be helpful on a major league roster right now -- and that should be readily acknowledged in any "professional" evaluation of the team's farm system. While I understand the emphasis on star quality, it is a failure of the evaluators to overlook the players who are ready to contribute -- these players are often the late-stage "depth" the evaluators claim to be able to identify within a minor league system.

redsof72
01-23-2009, 11:31 AM
I think the real danger is putting too much credibility into the lists. They are fun to read, but Baseball America has no scouts. They simply compile opinions and try to reach a consensus. Projecting what a minor league player will do several years into the future is a very difficult thing. Geez, the Reds are not even able to predict what their own players will do THAT season. I had a key member of the Reds organization tell me late last March that Brandon Menchaca would be an all-star. He hit .176. How long did it take them to figure out that Jeremy Horst could get hitters out? There was debate within the organization as to whether he could even be a starter, and then he becomes a starter and dominates the league. So while I enjoy reading their opinions, the mistake is to assume that because they say Homer Bailey or Gookie Dawkins is a future star, then he will be. Or someone else won't be. Remember that in 2008, Daryl Thompson didn't even crack their top 30, and he was starting games in the big leagues before the all-star break.

lollipopcurve
01-23-2009, 11:49 AM
I think the real danger is putting too much credibility into the lists.

I agree. BA tends to get into ruts with their lists -- guys drafted highly get entrenched. Players BA ranked highly as amateurs get preferential listing upon entering pro ball. In large part, their rankings are predictable. However, occasionally a guy without a lot of hype will show up, and that's interesting to me.

dougdirt
01-23-2009, 11:57 AM
More than just the list, I am a fan of the 'best tools' list. Lots of names across the list this year. It hasn't always been that way.

Ghosts of 1990
01-23-2009, 12:13 PM
http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2009/267416.html

Enjoy

OnBaseMachine
01-23-2009, 12:40 PM
The scouting reports are out. I'll try to post a summary later. The reports on Yorman and Duran are awesome.

Here are the best tools:

Best Hitter for Average - Yonder Alonso
Best Power Hitter - Juan Francisco
Best Strike-Zone Discipline - Yonder Alonso
Fastest Baserunner - Theodis Bowe
Best Athlete - Yorman Rodriguez
Best Fastball - Josh Roenicke
Best Curveball - Kyle Lotzkar
Best Slider - Jordan Smith
Best Changeup - Ramon Ramirez
Best Control - Robert Manuel
Best Defensive Catcher - Ryan Hanigan
Best Defensive Infielder - Zach Cozart
Best Infield Arm - Juan Francisco
Best Defensive Outfielder - Drew Stubbs
Best Outfield Arm - Yorman Rodriguez

smoke6
01-23-2009, 12:50 PM
I stopped reading when I saw they had Stubbs above Valika...:confused:

Bip Roberts
01-23-2009, 01:04 PM
Stubbs is a GG type defender and this is in the wrong forum

redsfandan
01-23-2009, 04:48 PM
I have doubts that Arroyo will still be here in 2012 like they project.

dougdirt
01-23-2009, 05:01 PM
I have doubts that Arroyo will still be here in 2012 like they project.

By their rules they don't assume trades, so basically they are just saying they don't believe the Reds have enough prospects that would be able to run Arroyo out of the rotation if he were here in 2012 still.

Mario-Rijo
01-23-2009, 05:42 PM
God love 'em for putting together some decent scouting reports even if it is only our top ten. I wonder has anyone else read them yet and what do you think? Too me they are pretty much on point.

New Fever
01-23-2009, 05:59 PM
From the chat:

Q: Deywane from Memphis asks:
The Reds seem to have more prospects than most systems, how many actual prospects would you say the Reds have?

A: J.J. Cooper: I would agree with you. When the discussion about our organization talent rankings was going on before we sent out the Prospect Handbook, I was in the minority in my view of where the Reds should rank. Because of their small number of potential all-stars in the Top 30, several guys in the office saw them as more of solid but middle of the pack organization. I thought they should rank higher because they have a large number of likely big leaguers in the top 30. What the Reds have is a large number of productive, if lower-ceiling, players who have had success in Double-A or higher. They don't have the all-star potential of some other teams' lists, but they do have a much higher likelihood of producing numerous big leaguers. Of the players who made the Reds Top 30, I'd expect that 10 to 15 of them will eventually play in the big leagues, which is a significantly higher number than most organizations. But it's also possible that only two or three of those 10 to 15 will be long-term big league regulars. It all depends on how you value depth versus impact talent.

Bip Roberts
01-23-2009, 06:01 PM
From the chat:

Q: Deywane from Memphis asks:
The Reds seem to have more prospects than most systems, how many actual prospects would you say the Reds have?

A: J.J. Cooper: I would agree with you. When the discussion about our organization talent rankings was going on before we sent out the Prospect Handbook, I was in the minority in my view of where the Reds should rank. Because of their small number of potential all-stars in the Top 30, several guys in the office saw them as more of solid but middle of the pack organization. I thought they should rank higher because they have a large number of likely big leaguers in the top 30. What the Reds have is a large number of productive, if lower-ceiling, players who have had success in Double-A or higher. They don't have the all-star potential of some other teams' lists, but they do have a much higher likelihood of producing numerous big leaguers. Of the players who made the Reds Top 30, I'd expect that 10 to 15 of them will eventually play in the big leagues, which is a significantly higher number than most organizations. But it's also possible that only two or three of those 10 to 15 will be long-term big league regulars. It all depends on how you value depth versus impact talent.
pretty good question

nate
01-23-2009, 06:04 PM
From the chat:

Q: Deywane from Memphis asks:
The Reds seem to have more prospects than most systems, how many actual prospects would you say the Reds have?

A: J.J. Cooper: I would agree with you. When the discussion about our organization talent rankings was going on before we sent out the Prospect Handbook, I was in the minority in my view of where the Reds should rank. Because of their small number of potential all-stars in the Top 30, several guys in the office saw them as more of solid but middle of the pack organization. I thought they should rank higher because they have a large number of likely big leaguers in the top 30. What the Reds have is a large number of productive, if lower-ceiling, players who have had success in Double-A or higher. They don't have the all-star potential of some other teams' lists, but they do have a much higher likelihood of producing numerous big leaguers. Of the players who made the Reds Top 30, I'd expect that 10 to 15 of them will eventually play in the big leagues, which is a significantly higher number than most organizations. But it's also possible that only two or three of those 10 to 15 will be long-term big league regulars. It all depends on how you value depth versus impact talent.

That's an excellent summary. Thanks for posting it.

RED VAN HOT
01-23-2009, 06:31 PM
God love 'em for putting together some decent scouting reports even if it is only our top ten. I wonder has anyone else read them yet and what do you think? Too me they are pretty much on point.

I agree. There were no surprises nor was there much that differed from what has been discussed in RZ. The details of the weaknesses confirmed a thorough analysis.

I am usually an optimist, but I am having trouble staying enthusiastic about Mesoraco. The BA scouting report did not help. Is gaining bad weight a euphemism for getting fat? I don't even want to conjecture what bad body language includes.

OnBaseMachine
01-23-2009, 08:38 PM
Cooper is very high on the Reds farm system. He says the opinion around the BA office is the Reds farm system is average at worst, but Cooper believes it's better than that. He's very impressed with the depth in the Reds farm system.

His reasoning for having Soto at number seven is because he probably won't stick at third base. He does agree that Soto has a big bat and says he can see the argument for having Soto #3.

I'll post a summary and other details later when I have time.

Orenda
01-23-2009, 11:23 PM
I was a little surprised by BA ranking Yorman Rodriguez over Juan Duran simply because I was under the impression that Duran was valued a little higher around here based on the BA writeups.

OnBaseMachine
01-24-2009, 12:10 AM
I was a little surprised by BA ranking Yorman Rodriguez over Juan Duran simply because I was under the impression that Duran was valued a little higher around here based on the BA writeups.

Duran is the better hitting prospect but Yorman also possesses great hitting tools along with elite defensive skills at a premium position. Baseball America describes Duran as having plus speed but they think he'll have to move from CF to RF after he fills out and loses some of his speed. The ranking comes down to Yorman playing a premium position compared to Duran being a corner outfielder.

Bip Roberts
01-24-2009, 12:18 AM
Invite them to spring training.

OnBaseMachine
01-24-2009, 12:55 AM
Summary of each scouting report:

Yonder Alonso - plus power and swing and plate discipline to hit for high average. Best power is to the alleys. Is a workaholic. Below average athlete. Soft hands and adequate arm should allow him to develop into an average defender. Could reach majors by September of 2009.

Todd Frazier - above average raw power. Soft hands and strong arm and solid defender. Average speed. Good athlete for his size. Unconventional swing. Could reach majors by late 2009.

Drew Stubbs - excellent bat speed, above average raw power, plus arm and plus-plus speed. Made strides at plate by widening stance and cutting down on swing. Scouts believe cutting down on his swing was a smart move and they think his power will develop as he makes more contact. Probably will never hit for high average. Not a great bunter yet.

Chris Valaika - good instincts and work ethic. Good swing, uses all parts of the field, above average bat speed, surviving at SS, has the bat to play second base. Lacks quick feet but quick release and strong arm make up for lack of range. Could reach majors in 2009.

Yorman Rodriguez - projects for above average power, plus-plus speed, already an above average defender in CF, best outfield arm in the system. Struggles against breaking balls right now. Held his own against older pitchers in instructional league. Will start in extended spring training before heading to GCL league.

Kyle Lotzkar - most promising young pitcher in organization. Projects to have three above average pitches. Free and easy delivery. Trusts his secondary stuff. Health is biggest concern. Projects as No. 2 starter.

Neftali Soto - broke Juan Gonzalez's youth homer records in Puerto Rico. Great bat speed and strength. Projects for 60-65 power (plus category) on 20-80 scale. Great hand-eye coordination. Strong arm. Below average speed. May eventually move to left field but Reds will keep him at 3B for now.

Juan Francisco - great power, quick bat long arms provide great leverage. Arm grades out as a 70 on the 20-80 scale. Expected to outgrow 3B, though he has a solid first step and decent speed. Plate discipline is poor. Needs to watch his weight.

Juan Duran - best raw power in the system. His swing possessed natural loft and great carry. Massive frame, could add 40-50 pounds. Plus speed for now but will lose some as he fills out. Expected to move from CF to RF. Strong arm. Gawky runner for now as he's adjusting to growing six inches in the span of a year.

Devin Mesoraco - outstanding tools for a catcher. Good strength and strong arm. Was best player in instructional league after his thumbs healed. Scouts were disappointed in his debut. Bat speed slowed as season went on with thumb injuries playing a role in that. May benefit from repeating Low-A.

and a link to BA:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2009/267417.html

OnBaseMachine
01-24-2009, 01:08 AM
Another interesting tidbit from the chat. When asked who had the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the Reds farm system, Cooper said Lotzkar with Jordan Smith coming in second. I was a bit surprised by that. I guess I can see it though. smith throws his fastball up to 95 with good sink and his slider grades out as the best in the organization. If he can develop his changeup into an average or better pitch then watch out...

Superdude
01-24-2009, 01:42 AM
Yorman Rodriguez - projects for above average power

I thought he was supposed to have massive power potential?

OnBaseMachine
01-24-2009, 01:52 AM
I thought he was supposed to have massive power potential?

Baseball Prospectus says he has plus-plus raw power... and Ben Badler of BA graded Rodriguez's power potential as a 70 on the 20-80 scale awhile back in the International scouting reports.

Superdude
01-24-2009, 02:31 AM
There's a pretty large gap between above average and plus-plus. I'm hoping for at least plus. It'd be hard to get excited about a 16 year old who might hit 20 homers someday.

Bip Roberts
01-24-2009, 02:36 AM
Ive always understood that Rodriguez has the potential to be a carlos beltran type. Thats pretty lofty potential.

Mario-Rijo
01-24-2009, 03:01 AM
Summary of each scouting report:

Yonder Alonso - plus power and swing and plate discipline to hit for high average. Best power is to the alleys. Is a workaholic. Below average athlete. Soft hands and adequate arm should allow him to develop into an average defender. Has not proven he can hit a quality breaking ball, but the Reds believe he will. Could reach majors by September of 2009.

Todd Frazier - above average raw power. Soft hands and strong arm and solid defender. Average speed. Good athlete for his size. Unconventional swing. Could reach majors by late 2009.

Drew Stubbs - excellent bat speed, above average raw power, plus arm and plus-plus speed. Made strides at plate by widening stance and cutting down on swing. Scouts believe cutting down on his swing was a smart move and they think his power will develop as he makes more contact. Probably will never hit for high average. Not a great bunter yet.

Chris Valaika - good instincts and work ethic. Good swing, uses all parts of the field, above average bat speed, surviving at SS, has the bat to play second base. Lacks quick feet but quick release and strong arm make up for lack of range. Could reach majors in 2009.

Yorman Rodriguez - projects for above average power, plus-plus speed, already an above average defender in CF, best outfield arm in the system. Struggles against breaking balls right now. Held his own against older pitchers in instructional league. Will start in extended spring training before heading to GCL league.

Kyle Lotzkar - most promising young pitcher in organization. Projects to have three above average pitches. Free and easy delivery. Trusts his secondary stuff. Health is biggest concern. Projects as No. 2 starter.

Neftali Soto - broke Juan Gonzalez's youth homer records in Puerto Rico. Great bat speed and strength. Projects for 60-65 power (plus category) on 20-80 scale. Great hand-eye coordination. Strong arm. Below average speed. May eventually move to left field but Reds will keep him at 3B for now.

Juan Francisco - great power, quick bat long arms provide great leverage. Arm grades out as a 70 on the 20-80 scale. Expected to outgrow 3B, though he has a solid first step and decent speed. Plate discipline is poor. Needs to watch his weight.

Juan Duran - best raw power in the system. His swing possessed natural loft and great carry. Massive frame, could add 40-50 pounds. Plus speed for now but will lose some as he fills out. Expected to move from CF to RF. Strong arm. Gawky runner for now as he's adjusting to growing six inches in the span of a year.

Devin Mesoraco - outstanding tools for a catcher. Good strength and strong arm. Was best player in instructional league after his thumbs healed. Scouts were disappointed in his debut. Bat speed slowed as season went on with thumb injuries playing a role in that. May benefit from repeating Low-A.

and a link to BA:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2009/267417.html

I couldn't help it but to add that, it's what I have been yapping about for some time and then BA comes out with it finally.

icehole3
01-24-2009, 04:19 PM
Alonso has hit .300 at every stop, so he must doing something right

camisadelgolf
01-24-2009, 06:37 PM
Alonso has hit .300 at every stop, so he must doing something right

I haven't checked, but Norris Hopper has probably done that, too. Just sayin'. :D

RED VAN HOT
01-24-2009, 08:55 PM
I haven't checked, but Norris Hopper has probably done that, too. Just sayin'. :D

Actually, no, but Sean Casey did. Alonso has more power and speed, but I am still a little worried that he will be closer to Casey than Pujols.

OnBaseMachine
01-24-2009, 10:23 PM
Every hitting prospect has to prove he can hit a quality curveball. You don't see a lot of quality curveballs in high school and college, at least not on a consistent basis. It's not just Alonso, it's every hitting prospect.

lollipopcurve
01-25-2009, 09:23 AM
Every hitting prospect has to prove he can hit a quality curveball. You don't see a lot of quality curveballs in high school and college, at least not on a consistent basis. It's not just Alonso, it's every hitting prospect.

A lot of times the problem is chasing the curveball. The curve is a difficult pitch to get called for a strike -- more so in the majors than in college ball, too. Alonso is not the type of hitter who will have protracted problems chasing -- his discipline is too advanced.

Mario-Rijo
01-25-2009, 02:56 PM
Every hitting prospect has to prove he can hit a quality curveball. You don't see a lot of quality curveballs in high school and college, at least not on a consistent basis. It's not just Alonso, it's every hitting prospect.

I agree OBM but BA doesn't list the issue for anyone else but him, sounds like they think he has more of an issue with it the the norm. Or maybe they don't but they put it in there for a reason and since it's a question about him I had I am choosing not to dismiss it completely.

We might start asking the question at some point "why isn't Alonso being promoted?" and this one issue could be part or all of the reason why. It may not either but it's something to keep in the back of our minds.

dougdirt
01-25-2009, 05:30 PM
I agree OBM but BA doesn't list the issue for anyone else but him, sounds like they think he has more of an issue with it the the norm. Or maybe they don't but they put it in there for a reason and since it's a question about him I had I am choosing not to dismiss it completely.

We might start asking the question at some point "why isn't Alonso being promoted?" and this one issue could be part or all of the reason why. It may not either but it's something to keep in the back of our minds.

Or its just a case of there wasn't anything negative to list, so they went with the one thing that he needs to prove given you don't see much in terms of a consistent curveball until you are in the upper minors.

Mario-Rijo
01-25-2009, 06:15 PM
Or its just a case of there wasn't anything negative to list, so they went with the one thing that he needs to prove given you don't see much in terms of a consistent curveball until you are in the upper minors.

So are you suggesting he is flawless?

dougdirt
01-25-2009, 10:06 PM
So are you suggesting he is flawless?

Not at all, but I am suggesting it was mentioned because at the plate he seems to do everything else extremely well.

Mario-Rijo
01-25-2009, 11:23 PM
Not at all, but I am suggesting it was mentioned because at the plate he seems to do everything else extremely well.


Weaknesses: Offensively, Alonso has yet to prove that he can recognize and hit a quality breaking ball, though Cincinnati thinks he'll be able to do just that.

I can see how that could read that way which is why I never ruled it out in my post. That said I can also see how it might read that they (the people BA gets their info from and thus BA as well) think he could have a problem there. Doesn't really matter I suppose because I believe he'll probably eventually hit them whether he has trouble now or not (just a gut hunch).

But I just think people really need to be a little more realistic with their expectations and part of that is being critical of any possible weaknesses a player might have. I think he's gonna be a very good hitter but if someone didn't know any better and read this site for it's info they would think we are getting the next Bonds/Pujols or Ted Williams. And then when he shows up you got people who are disappointed that he ain't as advertised. Granted everyone should take everything they hear everywhere with a grain of salt and that is their responsibility. But I happen to think we here at RZ also have a responsibility to be as objective as possible. But that's just me which I am gonna keep on doing and I hope others start or continue to as well.

OnBaseMachine
01-27-2009, 01:20 AM
Aaron (YYZ): You can have one of these super-young Latin American prospects, Juan Duran (CIN, OF) or Kelvin De Leon (NYY, OF), which do you take?

Kevin Goldstein: Duran.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?chatId=561

redsfandan
01-27-2009, 05:24 PM
Maybe it's just me but I thought it was kinda interesting how their top 10 breaks down. The first four are the older prospects that should be up within a year or a year & and a half.

Yonder Alonso - 21

Todd Frazier - 22 (turns 23 on 2/12)

Drew Stubbs - 24

Chris Valaika - 23


While the remaining six are the (younger) players that have eta's that are farther off.

Yorman Rodriguez - 16

Kyle Lotzkar - 19

Neftali Soto - 19 (turns 20 on 2/28)

Juan Francisco - 21

Juan Duran - 17

Devin Mesoraco - 20

Seems like at least a few of them (Yorman, Duran, Mesoraco) could be on this list for awhile.

GoReds33
01-27-2009, 10:56 PM
Before the crash, I remember a lot of people criticizing the list for having Soto at number seven. I think people don't realize how easily he could turn out to be the next Tony Blanco. Don't get me wrong, though--I think Soto's a great prospect--I'm just empathizing with the naysayers.Sorry I didn't see this earlier, however I think that is a great statement. Soto has a great upside, but his downside can be just as steep.

redsfandan
01-28-2009, 12:53 AM
By the way, since the eta on Yorman, Duran, and Mesoraco is so far away how long do we control their rights? (I'm pretty sure it's different for Yorman and Duran)

dougdirt
01-28-2009, 01:38 AM
By the way, since the eta on Yorman, Duran, and Mesoraco is so far away how long do we control their rights? (I'm pretty sure it's different for Yorman and Duran)

Pretty sure its the same as it is for high school guys. Yorman and Duran will have to be put on the 40 man roster to be protected in Juan Francisco and Phil Valiquette were both signed in 2004. One from the draft and one as an Intl FA and both were needing protected this offseason.

Mario-Rijo
01-28-2009, 02:03 AM
Pretty sure its the same as it is for high school guys. Yorman and Duran will have to be put on the 40 man roster to be protected in Juan Francisco and Phil Valiquette were both signed in 2004. One from the draft and one as an Intl FA and both were needing protected this offseason.

2012?

redsfandan
01-28-2009, 10:21 AM
Ok I thought it was different for players signed before they turned 18.

camisadelgolf
01-28-2009, 10:32 AM
Ok I thought it was different for players signed before they turned 18.

You're on the right track. If a player signs before his 19th birthday, he is essentially awarded an 'extra' year before he must be protected on the 40-man roster before being exposed to the rule five draft.

redsfandan
01-28-2009, 12:03 PM
Ok that must have been what it was. Thanks guys.

redsof72
01-28-2009, 07:31 PM
For some reason, Baseball America has not rated Soto quite as highly as I would expect, either in their Midwest League top 20 or the Reds top 10. Not sure why. When you watch him play and take his age into consideration, it is hard not to be tremendously impressed. He has one weakness in my opinion and that is the fact that he has below average speed. That being said, they are talking about him moving to left field, which I can't see for that very reason. He would have very limited range out there. You would not build a quality team with a left fielder with such poor range. Of course, the talk of him moving to the outfield is based on the lack of opportunity that may exist at third base, but I am not sure that Soto won't be the best of all the third base candidates.

If you watched Soto and Lotzkar with the Dayton team last season on a daily basis, I don't think anyone would have ever said that Lotzkar was the better prospect of the two. It does take pitchers longer, but Soto is so much farther along in terms of development at nearly the same age. I like Lotzkar, but you are talking about a guy who struggled to get his ERA under 5.00 while Soto was a guy who was hitting in the .320 range with extra base power. If you told the average Dragons season ticket holder from 2008, (a good fan but someone from the general population without a scouting background) that Lotzkar was a better prospect than Soto, they would tell you that you needed to be drug-tested. There is something to be said for the eyeball test.

I don't see the Blanco comparison. Soto has the bat speed to turn around a 95 mph fastball. He is not going to lose that. He is going to add strength and develop more home run power. He is a good kid who will work to get better. I remember a story from last season from Donnie Scott, talking about how impressed he was one day with Soto when he took a bad hop off the face during BP and was bleeding badly, went back to the trainer's room to get cleaned up, and was right back out there taking more grounders. That is something you don't see in a scouting report, but I will put my money on those kind of guys.

camisadelgolf
01-28-2009, 07:46 PM
Great post, redsof72. I threw the Blanco comparison out there because Tony Blanco has a similar skill set and destroyed rookie ball as an 18-year-old. Like I said, I don't think he'll go the Blanco route, but it certainly wouldn't shock me. We often see guys who swing at a lot of pitches end up having a lot of trouble with breaking balls as they face more advanced pitching.

dougdirt
01-28-2009, 08:35 PM
Of course Blanco destroyed the GCL, while having a worse contact rate than Soto did while beating up on pitchers in Low A. There is a world of difference between the two levels.

OnBaseMachine
01-28-2009, 09:28 PM
Excellent post, Redsof72. I've said it before, I love reading the great insight you provide. Keep up the good work man.

New Fever
01-28-2009, 09:35 PM
If you watched Soto and Lotzkar with the Dayton team last season on a daily basis, I don't think anyone would have ever said that Lotzkar was the better prospect of the two. It does take pitchers longer, but Soto is so much farther along in terms of development at nearly the same age. I like Lotzkar, but you are talking about a guy who struggled to get his ERA under 5.00 while Soto was a guy who was hitting in the .320 range with extra base power.

I agree with you that Soto is a better prospect than Lotzkar right now, but Lotzkar's ERA was 3.58. If Lotzkar wasn't injured he would have been at the top of the Reds prospect list.

dougdirt
01-28-2009, 09:46 PM
Its interesting.... Lotzkar has the ceiling of a #1 starter. Soto has the ceiling of a guy who can hit .300 year in and year out while hitting 30 HR's. Soto has proven more to this point, but I can certainly see where Lotzkar could be viewed as a better prospect if you view it as upside 80% and performance at 20%.

OnBaseMachine
01-28-2009, 09:55 PM
I think both Lotzkar and Soto are excellent prospects. It's hard for me to compare the two since one is a hitter and the other is a pitcher. Both have the potential to be studs at their respective positions, but I rank Soto ahead of Lotzkar because I believe Soto will reach the majors sooner. JMO. I'm just glad to have both of them in the system.

redsof72
01-29-2009, 09:30 AM
Lotzkar is a good prospect. I said he struggled to get his ERA under 5.00 and maybe that was a bit of an exageration or my memory was a little off. He made 10 starts. After his fourth start, his ERA was 6.19. After his seventh start of the 10, his ERA was 4.66. Then he finished up with 8.2 scoreless innings combined over his last three starts to lower it 3.58. Of Lotzkar's 10 starts, he had three starts where he pitched five innings and those were his longest starts. In the other seven starts, he went a combined 22.2 innings and allowed 19 runs. I will be the first to agree that none of that means too much. But my point is, when you looked at Lotzkar last season, you saw a guy who, for the most part, was going to struggle out there. Soto, by contrast, was a star who carried his team to the playoffs and was the heart of the offense. The two players were both out of the same draft as high school picks. Both are tools guys.

Lotzkar has good stuff. But he certainly doesn't throw as hard as Stewart, or even close. He certainly doesn't have Stewart's slider (though Baseball America rated Lotzkar's curve as the best in the organization. What they did not take into consideration is that he does not yet have command of that curve and that is why he throws 20-25 pitches per inning).

Lotzkar is a promising young pitcher, certainly light years ahead of Ravin at this point. I am not knocking him. But to me, I just didn't see anything that special. I have seen dozens like him. I talked to a lot of the managers around the league and I don't ever remember anyone saying, "boy, that Lotzkar, he looks like he'll be something special."

I hope I am selling him short and the biggest Lotzkar supporters are the ones who are seeing it correctly.

lollipopcurve
01-29-2009, 10:50 AM
Very interesting stuff, redsof72, as always.

Would you promote Soto to high A at the beginning of 09, or let him have more time in Dayton?

dougdirt
01-29-2009, 11:33 AM
Lotzkar is a good prospect. I said he struggled to get his ERA under 5.00 and maybe that was a bit of an exageration or my memory was a little off. He made 10 starts. After his fourth start, his ERA was 6.19. After his seventh start of the 10, his ERA was 4.66. Then he finished up with 8.2 scoreless innings combined over his last three starts to lower it 3.58. Of Lotzkar's 10 starts, he had three starts where he pitched five innings and those were his longest starts. In the other seven starts, he went a combined 22.2 innings and allowed 19 runs. I will be the first to agree that none of that means too much. But my point is, when you looked at Lotzkar last season, you saw a guy who, for the most part, was going to struggle out there. Soto, by contrast, was a star who carried his team to the playoffs and was the heart of the offense. The two players were both out of the same draft as high school picks. Both are tools guys.

Lotzkar has good stuff. But he certainly doesn't throw as hard as Stewart, or even close. He certainly doesn't have Stewart's slider (though Baseball America rated Lotzkar's curve as the best in the organization. What they did not take into consideration is that he does not yet have command of that curve and that is why he throws 20-25 pitches per inning).

Lotzkar is a promising young pitcher, certainly light years ahead of Ravin at this point. I am not knocking him. But to me, I just didn't see anything that special. I have seen dozens like him. I talked to a lot of the managers around the league and I don't ever remember anyone saying, "boy, that Lotzkar, he looks like he'll be something special."

I hope I am selling him short and the biggest Lotzkar supporters are the ones who are seeing it correctly.

I think a lot of Lotzkar's potential remains in the fact that he will be 19 for all of next season, flashes a plus curveball fairly often and already throws upwards of 94 MPH at times. There is a lot of projection in that coming from a 6'4 18 year old who already has 40 innings in Low A.

redsof72
01-29-2009, 01:37 PM
I thought Soto would start back in Dayton before the Waring deal but now I would expect him to start in Sarasota. He should be fine there. More than anything, he needs experience and needs to learn the finer points of the game (understanding how the scoreboard dictates your baserunning and defensive decision-making based on risk vs. reward). Most young players just play the game. They make the same decisions on the bases regardless of the score and the number of outs. This is one area where Frazier was very advanced. But Soto is raw and just needs to play.

In terms of where players start, the only one I am going to have a big disagreement with in the low minors is Mesoraco because I think they will start him in Sarasota and I think he would be best served to start back in Dayton.

I will be curious as to what they do with Ravin and Arneson. Both got a lot of money. Arneson probably could be a release. He is not throwing nearly as hard as advertised (87 or so) and his walk total has averaged nearly one per inning over two years. He's 23 and can't hold his own in low-A ball. If he had gotten $10,000 instead of whatever it was ($267,000 or something like that?), he would be long gone. Ravin probably gets another year but he walks even more guys than Arneson but throws harder (90-91). What do you do with Ravin? His mechanics were too inconsistent to have any chance to be successful in '08 and his makeup/maturity has always been a question mark. Sorry if I am getting off topic here.

camisadelgolf
01-29-2009, 02:23 PM
I thought Soto would start back in Dayton before the Waring deal but now I would expect him to start in Sarasota. He should be fine there. More than anything, he needs experience and needs to learn the finer points of the game (understanding how the scoreboard dictates your baserunning and defensive decision-making based on risk vs. reward). Most young players just play the game. They make the same decisions on the bases regardless of the score and the number of outs. This is one area where Frazier was very advanced. But Soto is raw and just needs to play.

In terms of where players start, the only one I am going to have a big disagreement with in the low minors is Mesoraco because I think they will start him in Sarasota and I think he would be best served to start back in Dayton.

I will be curious as to what they do with Ravin and Arneson. Both got a lot of money. Arneson probably could be a release. He is not throwing nearly as hard as advertised (87 or so) and his walk total has averaged nearly one per inning over two years. He's 23 and can't hold his own in low-A ball. If he had gotten $10,000 instead of whatever it was ($267,000 or something like that?), he would be long gone. Ravin probably gets another year but he walks even more guys than Arneson but throws harder (90-91). What do you do with Ravin? His mechanics were too inconsistent to have any chance to be successful in '08 and his makeup/maturity has always been a question mark. Sorry if I am getting off topic here.

Arneson got a $245,000 bonus, and Ravin got a $200,000 bonus.

I'm curious, redsof72. What are your thoughts on J. Derrick Conatser? He signed for $100,000 and doesn't miss many bats. What kind of ceiling do you think he has?

lollipopcurve
01-29-2009, 02:28 PM
I thought Soto would start back in Dayton before the Waring deal but now I would expect him to start in Sarasota. He should be fine there. More than anything, he needs experience and needs to learn the finer points of the game (understanding how the scoreboard dictates your baserunning and defensive decision-making based on risk vs. reward). Most young players just play the game. They make the same decisions on the bases regardless of the score and the number of outs. This is one area where Frazier was very advanced. But Soto is raw and just needs to play.

Interesting that baseball instincts evidence themselves so clearly in certain players, like Frazier. Glad to hear that you think Soto would be fine in high A. If he's truly got a special bat, I hope they push him -- maybe they need to push him to find out?

redsof72
01-29-2009, 02:58 PM
Well, if you read my posts, you know that the one thing I have taken from watching over 2,500 minor league baseball games over the years is that baseball instincts and generally having "winning" intangibles are the most important tools. Of course, you have to have the skills, but I will take a guy who is a "winner" everytime and I am convinced that I will beat you with those types of players if the talent level is at all close. If you want the best example of that kind of player, look at Pete Rose. Some on this board would disagree, but that is what I have taken from watching minor league baseball.

Frazier probably had the best instincts and intangibles of any player that I have seen in a long time. I remember having a conversation with Donnie Scott about Frazier. He said the same thing...that if he could pick one player in the organization to build a team around, it would be Frazier, and he said in his own brand of salty language that he did not give a hoot about Frazier's OPS, that Frazier would just find a way to win. Do you think it was an accident that Frazier won all those games starting in Little League?

Lollipopcurve, Soto could be pushed and I think his stats would withstand the challenge, but he needs the experience of playing and for that reason, I would just put him at Sarasota and leave him there. When you move a guy too fast, he gets to the big leagues and you start seeing mental mistakes that cost you games and the fans scream bloody murder because you just gave a game away, but what really happened was the player never learned to play in the minor leagues even though his stats might have made you think he could advance.

Camisadelgolf: Conatser, I don't know. He really wore down as the season went on. Was his arm sore? Was he just physically worn down from his first year of pro ball? Only he knows. He was great when he first got to Dayton but by August 1st he was not the same guy. His stuff was nothing great. Fastball maybe a little below average. Decent curve when he could command it. It will be interesting to see what he does in his second year. The $100,000 bonus would be something that would make you wonder. Here's something to look at in the low minors (it changes once you get to Double-A): The guys that the organization rates as having the best stuff are going to be put into the starting rotation to get innings. Then you have the guys who project as closers like a Zach Stewart and he will be in that role. The guys that are put in long and middle relief are usually guys that are looked at as being a little short in terms of stuff (we are talking Single-A). Conatser was basically a middle man. That tells you something about what the player development people thought as opposed to the scouting department. That's not to say those guys can't make it. Jeremy Horst was a middle man who was given a chance to be a starter and was dominant. But look to the big leagues and see how many guys you have on a pitching staff that were middle relievers in Single-A ball. Not many.

redsof72
01-29-2009, 03:04 PM
One more thing on the topic of baseball instincts and intangibles. You notice an absence of discussion of those elements in many of the Baseball America scouting reports and other similar publications. Why do you think that is? I think it is because when scouts show up to watch a team, they generally stay five days (just long enough to see each starting pitcher). Yet this is the one tool that is impossible to evaluate in five days. You have to watch the player day in, day out, or get to know the player. Scouts can't do that. So it is not something that they spend a lot of time talking about when they talk to Baseball America. In all sports, that's a problem. That's how the Ryan Leafs of the world end up getting drafted higher than the Tom Bradys.

cincyinco
01-29-2009, 03:09 PM
Redsof72..

You said you were surprised to see soto rated so low, but then go on to say his weaknessess are he lacks speed, and may have no true defensive position(due to a variety of reasons). I would argue that this is precisely why he is ranked lower. If he is blocked at 3b, and if, as you say, he is too slow to play the OF, where on earth are we going to play this kid? Its a HUGE question mark in my mind, and as much as I like the bat, I can see why some publications ding him in the rankings a bit.

And that's why I think this community overrates him a bit too. The bat is gold, but if there's no place for him on the diamond, well... You've pigeon holed his value.

lollipopcurve
01-29-2009, 03:18 PM
Do you think it was an accident that Frazier won all those games starting in Little League?

I do not. Probably not accidental that he won both the HR derby and the poker tournament at Redsfest either.


Well, if you read my posts, you know that the one thing I have taken from watching over 2,500 minor league baseball games over the years is that baseball instincts and generally having "winning" intangibles are the most important tools. Of course, you have to have the skills, but I will take a guy who is a "winner" everytime and I am convinced that I will beat you with those types of players if the talent level is at all close. If you want the best example of that kind of player, look at Pete Rose. Some on this board would disagree, but that is what I have taken from watching minor league baseball.

Amen. This stuff doesn't hold up in debates about whether one player is better than another, but I have no doubt there's a lot of truth to it at the team level.


One more thing on the topic of baseball instincts and intangibles. You notice an absence of discussion of those elements in many of the Baseball America scouting reports and other similar publications. Why do you think that is? I think it is because when scouts show up to watch a team, they generally stay five days (just long enough to see each starting pitcher). Yet this is the one tool that is impossible to evaluate in five days. You have to watch the player day in, day out, or get to know the player. Scouts can't do that. So it is not something that they spend a lot of time talking about when they talk to Baseball America. In all sports, that's a problem. That's how the Ryan Leafs of the world end up getting drafted higher than the Tom Bradys.


Great post.

redsof72
01-29-2009, 03:29 PM
RE: cincyinco post 69: I just don't agree with that logic. So you are saying he should be ranked lower because he couldn't play a position that he currently doesn't play? Or that he should be ranked lower because there are a lot of good players in the organization that play the same position he plays? I don't think he can play the outfield. That much is true. He was a shortstop. Now he is playing third base and is fine there. If he becomes the player that his supporters hope he can become, then he will be an outstanding major league third baseman for somebody. If Francisco turns out to be an absolute blue chip superstar third baseman of hall of fame quality for the Reds for the next 15 years, that doesn't have anything to do with where Soto should be rated as a prospect, at least the way I am looking at it. If all of those guys ahead of Soto turn out to be everyday big leaguers and he gets there and has no place to play, that would be an awfully nice problem for the Reds, but it doesn't have anything to do with Soto's status as a prospect. I guess we are looking at that part of it differently. I respect your opinion.

BuckeyeRedleg
01-29-2009, 04:09 PM
Well, if you read my posts, you know that the one thing I have taken from watching over 2,500 minor league baseball games over the years is that baseball instincts and generally having "winning" intangibles are the most important tools. Of course, you have to have the skills, but I will take a guy who is a "winner" everytime and I am convinced that I will beat you with those types of players if the talent level is at all close. If you want the best example of that kind of player, look at Pete Rose. Some on this board would disagree, but that is what I have taken from watching minor league baseball.

Frazier probably had the best instincts and intangibles of any player that I have seen in a long time. I remember having a conversation with Donnie Scott about Frazier. He said the same thing...that if he could pick one player in the organization to build a team around, it would be Frazier, and he said in his own brand of salty language that he did not give a hoot about Frazier's OPS, that Frazier would just find a way to win. Do you think it was an accident that Frazier won all those games starting in Little League?

Lollipopcurve, Soto could be pushed and I think his stats would withstand the challenge, but he needs the experience of playing and for that reason, I would just put him at Sarasota and leave him there. When you move a guy too fast, he gets to the big leagues and you start seeing mental mistakes that cost you games and the fans scream bloody murder because you just gave a game away, but what really happened was the player never learned to play in the minor leagues even though his stats might have made you think he could advance.

Camisadelgolf: Conatser, I don't know. He really wore down as the season went on. Was his arm sore? Was he just physically worn down from his first year of pro ball? Only he knows. He was great when he first got to Dayton but by August 1st he was not the same guy. His stuff was nothing great. Fastball maybe a little below average. Decent curve when he could command it. It will be interesting to see what he does in his second year. The $100,000 bonus would be something that would make you wonder. Here's something to look at in the low minors (it changes once you get to Double-A): The guys that the organization rates as having the best stuff are going to be put into the starting rotation to get innings. Then you have the guys who project as closers like a Zach Stewart and he will be in that role. The guys that are put in long and middle relief are usually guys that are looked at as being a little short in terms of stuff (we are talking Single-A). Conatser was basically a middle man. That tells you something about what the player development people thought as opposed to the scouting department. That's not to say those guys can't make it. Jeremy Horst was a middle man who was given a chance to be a starter and was dominant. But look to the big leagues and see how many guys you have on a pitching staff that were middle relievers in Single-A ball. Not many.

I'm very excited about Frazier after reading this.

Great post!

OnBaseMachine
01-29-2009, 05:49 PM
RE: cincyinco post 69: I just don't agree with that logic. So you are saying he should be ranked lower because he couldn't play a position that he currently doesn't play? Or that he should be ranked lower because there are a lot of good players in the organization that play the same position he plays? I don't think he can play the outfield. That much is true. He was a shortstop. Now he is playing third base and is fine there. If he becomes the player that his supporters hope he can become, then he will be an outstanding major league third baseman for somebody. If Francisco turns out to be an absolute blue chip superstar third baseman of hall of fame quality for the Reds for the next 15 years, that doesn't have anything to do with where Soto should be rated as a prospect, at least the way I am looking at it. If all of those guys ahead of Soto turn out to be everyday big leaguers and he gets there and has no place to play, that would be an awfully nice problem for the Reds, but it doesn't have anything to do with Soto's status as a prospect. I guess we are looking at that part of it differently. I respect your opinion.

Great post.

cincyinco
01-30-2009, 03:53 AM
RE: cincyinco post 69: I just don't agree with that logic. So you are saying he should be ranked lower because he couldn't play a position that he currently doesn't play? Or that he should be ranked lower because there are a lot of good players in the organization that play the same position he plays? I don't think he can play the outfield. That much is true. He was a shortstop. Now he is playing third base and is fine there. If he becomes the player that his supporters hope he can become, then he will be an outstanding major league third baseman for somebody. If Francisco turns out to be an absolute blue chip superstar third baseman of hall of fame quality for the Reds for the next 15 years, that doesn't have anything to do with where Soto should be rated as a prospect, at least the way I am looking at it. If all of those guys ahead of Soto turn out to be everyday big leaguers and he gets there and has no place to play, that would be an awfully nice problem for the Reds, but it doesn't have anything to do with Soto's status as a prospect. I guess we are looking at that part of it differently. I respect your opinion.

Thanks for the response!

How can I put this as short and sweet as possible?

In my opinion, soto is a good prospect. But he has some question marks on the defensive side of the game. What's his true position? As you stayed he's already been moved off SS, due to him physically maturing. Can he stay at 3b? If so, his value doesn't take as much of a ding, but should he not be able to stay at third? Well... Then that's a big problem, at least for me, as he has no true position. You have to play both sides of the diamond in the NL, and if soto can't do that, then his status as a prospect is certainly not as good.

Should that be held against him? As you said that's where we differ in opinion, but for me, its a real possibility you have to take into account. He's not as valuable a prospect as a LF or 1b than he is if he can provide that bat from the SS or 3b position.

cincyinco
01-30-2009, 04:02 AM
As a further aside, I realise that soto has not been moved off 3b and my never be, but part of the prospect game is projection... So I guess it comes down to do you see soto good enough to be a sure handed 3b? If so, this discussion is probably moot, but I think he's a young kid, whose already outgrown the SS position, and from other accounts - including yours - that I have read, may not be done growing and may not stick at third. If that's truely the case, then you can't possibly ignore that when ultimately trying to project what his value is going to be at the ML level(and ultimately arbitrary prospect rankings like this, kieth law, sickels, etc.)

Superdude
01-30-2009, 04:10 AM
Soto looks like a really athletic from the few videos I've seen of him. It seems odd that he's as pathetically slow as everyone says he is.

redsof72
01-30-2009, 11:27 AM
I do think he will add more weight. He is listed at 6'2 180 and looks like he could add 20 pounds to his frame. He is rather slender as a 19 year old. I do not think he has the speed to play the outfield. That much we agree on. But I don't recall ever saying anything to indicate that I think there are any question marks as to whether he can play third longterm. I did say last season that he was not as good defensively as Waring, but Waring was the best defensive third baseman in the league and Soto was playing the position for the first time. I have seen nothing to indicate to me that Soto can't be a solid defensive third baseman.

Lastly, I will say this. When I say that I don't think Soto could play left field, I am saying he would be a defensive liability there on a team contending for a championship. Could he play out there? Probably. There are slow outfielders and always have been. Javier Valentin probably could have played out there last season for the Reds if you stuck him out there. But you would not put together a contending team with the idea of having guys at positions where they are defensive liabilities.

redsof72
01-30-2009, 11:39 AM
Superdude, I would not describe him as pathetically slow. I would say he has below average speed now and when he adds bulk, he will get slower. Note that last season with Dayton, in 52 games, he batted .326 and had one stolen base. If we are giving an impression of somebody with the speed of a 34 year old Jason Larue, then we are giving the wrong impression.

Screwball
01-30-2009, 03:06 PM
But you would not put together a contending team with the idea of having guys at positions where they are defensive liabilities.

I really respect your posts and opinions, redsof72, but I gotta disagree here. Last year The Fielding Bible (http://fieldingbible.com/) had Pat Burrell as 2nd worst in all of baseball for LFers at -20 on their +/- scale. Yet we all know who just won the World Series. The year before that, TFB had Manny Ramirez as the worst LFer at -38 on their scale. Yet the Red Sox won it all that year.

While I'm certainly not saying Soto will become the next Manny Ramirez or even Pat Burrell, the point is that you can have a guy playing out of position or be a defensive liability and still be a championship caliber ball club. It just depends on how strong the player in question's bat is. If Soto's bat looks mighty enough and the only spot open is LF, then so be it. It won't necessarily prevent the Reds from being a contending team (assuming he isn't, gulp, Javier Valentin "running" around out there).

Mario-Rijo
01-30-2009, 06:26 PM
Sounds to me like Soto could be Carlos Lee in LF which is bad but if he has a Lee-Esque bat is certainly doable.

C - Mesoraco
1B - Votto/Alonso/Soto/Francisco (?)
2B - Bucholz/Valaika/Henry
SS - Valaika/Cozart
3B - Frazier/Francisco/Soto
LF - Soto/Votto/Francisco/Duran
CF - Stubbs/Dickerson/Heisey/Henry/Yorman
RF - Bruce/Duran

One thing is sure we have corner guys to trade for potential up the middle guys. C/SS/CF/2B are all far more questionable than 1B/3B/LF/RF.

redsof72
01-30-2009, 06:43 PM
Yes, there are lots of examples of teams that had to try to "hide" a weak glove somewhere to get his bat in the lineup. There have always been Willie Horton/Hal McRae type players. You make good points on Burrell and Ramirez. But I think for the most part, you are playing with fire. You are talking about a lot of should-be fly outs that are going to be singles and doubles and triples. If you put Soto in left, he needs to be all over the offensive leader boards to make up for that. A weak fielder who is just a pretty good hitter has a Todd Walker type career--he finds teams that will take him for a year but usually not on a contender.

I don't think it will matter with Soto. He'll be a good infielder, something Burrell or Ramirez is not. If Burrell could play a solid third base, he would be playing there for somebody, not playing a bad left field. It's funny we got this far into the conversation and never mentioned Adam Dunn, whom I thought killed the Reds at times in left but offset that with a ton of homers. Again, if Dunn could have played a good third base, he would not have been picking balls up off the warning track in left.

I was just watching the 1990 World Series highlights the other day and forgot that LaRussa benched Canseco, who was an absolute superstar at that time, in game four after watching him stumble around in right field for three games as Billy Hatcher and others legged out extra base hits. And wouldn't you know, in game four, there was Jack Buck saying after a nice running catch in right, "Canseco would never have gotten to that ball". Didn't help them in the end though.

Interesting topic. Time will tell.

OnBaseMachine
01-30-2009, 06:58 PM
Soto reminds me somewhat of Miguel Cabrera. A high average hitter with plenty of power, and like Cabrera, he'll never be mistaken for a speed demon. If Soto can start drawing a few more walks (and I think he will), then this kid will explode as a hitter, IMO.

redsof72
01-30-2009, 07:20 PM
Interesting list, Mario-Rijo. The shortstop position is very interesting. I have not seen much of Valaika. I have seen a lot of Cozart and he's a great defensive shortstop but his development as a hitter will decide his future. I am not sure if Cozart projects as an everyday major leaguer. He might be more of a Janish type. I wish I had seen more of Valaika at short. One manager in the Reds organization told me last year that he saw Valaika as a major league utility infielder. But of course, Valaika certainly will get the opportunity to prove otherwise and maybe he will.

Isn't it nice to actually have prospects to debate, rather than the years and years of the Bowden time when the Chattanooga and Indianapolis/Louisville rosters were filled with six year free agents? Did redszone.com debate Mark Schramek and Dane Sardinha a few years back? Oh, that had to be grueling.

Orenda
01-30-2009, 07:27 PM
Did redszone.com debate Mark Schramek and Dane Sardinha a few years back? Oh, that had to be grueling.

I'm not sure on that one, I'd guess they were probably talking about how pitchers often come back stronger after Tommy John surgery.

redsof72
01-30-2009, 07:27 PM
OBM, I don't know if you ever will see Soto draw many walks. He just doesn't go deep into counts before he puts the ball in play. One thing he figured out last year was that in A-ball, the first pitch of the at-bat is usually a fastball that the opposing pitcher wants to throw for a strike and that is often the best pitch to hit in the whole at-bat, so there would be games where he might put the first pitch in play three times. He will have to get over that because pitchers will eventually stop throwing meat balls on that first pitch.

redsof72
01-30-2009, 07:28 PM
summerplight, you made me laugh. Yes, there were a lot of Howingtons, Grulers, and Bashams.

OnBaseMachine
01-31-2009, 12:17 PM
OBM, I don't know if you ever will see Soto draw many walks. He just doesn't go deep into counts before he puts the ball in play. One thing he figured out last year was that in A-ball, the first pitch of the at-bat is usually a fastball that the opposing pitcher wants to throw for a strike and that is often the best pitch to hit in the whole at-bat, so there would be games where he might put the first pitch in play three times. He will have to get over that because pitchers will eventually stop throwing meat balls on that first pitch.

I agree that he probably won't ever be a huge walker. But it's the last part of your post that gives me some hope. Like you said, pitchers will eventually stop throwing first pitch fastballs which will lead to less contact on the first pitch and will allow him to work deeper counts. With his contact skills, 55-60 walks a year would be very acceptable. That, along with pitchers beginning to fear him and pitching around him should lead to more walks, IMO. I agree with you though, he'll never be a guy that walks 100 times ... and that's OK. With his skills, he doesn't have to be that type of player.

Mario-Rijo
01-31-2009, 03:36 PM
I agree that he probably won't ever be a huge walker. But it's the last part of your post that gives me some hope. Like you said, pitchers will eventually stop throwing first pitch fastballs which will lead to less contact on the first pitch and will allow him to work deeper counts. With his contact skills, 55-60 walks a year would be very acceptable. That, along with pitchers beginning to fear him and pitching around him should lead to more walks, IMO. I agree with you though, he'll never be a guy that walks 100 times ... and that's OK. With his skills, he doesn't have to be that type of player.

I agree with this but will caution that walking 55-60 times isn't easy for most in itself. However I think the thing about Soto we should remember is just because he hasn't had to show this skill yet doesn't mean he doesn't have it.

redsof72
02-01-2009, 06:09 PM
Make no mistake about it, Soto is a free swinger. I am sure at some point he will make an effort to lay off some "pitcher's pitches" that he is currently chasing. We'll see how that works.

I am not as big a fan of the walks theme as some when you talk about a middle of the order guy. Your lead-off hitter and your number two hitter...yes, on base percentage is everything. For your money guys, you want them driving in runs. That's why I don't like OPS, because it measures on base percentage and slugging percentage as totally equal, regardless of the role the player plays in the offense.

I used to be someone who liked to see a lot of walks but for your run producers, I would make the statement that it is as big a sin to take a fat pitch that you should have hit off the fence as it is to chase a bad ball. Pitchers THROW bad pitches that should be winding up as doubles and triples and homers. A good hitter should be converting those pitches into extra base hits, not waiting for a walk (unless, again, he is in a role as a table setter).

Hate that "take a strike" deal unless you are batting in the 9th with the tying run still waiting to come to the plate. The pitch he just took might have been the best pitch he had to hit all day, and he let it go by. Now he has to do something with a tougher pitch.

bucksfan2
02-02-2009, 04:31 PM
Make no mistake about it, Soto is a free swinger. I am sure at some point he will make an effort to lay off some "pitcher's pitches" that he is currently chasing. We'll see how that works.

I am not as big a fan of the walks theme as some when you talk about a middle of the order guy. Your lead-off hitter and your number two hitter...yes, on base percentage is everything. For your money guys, you want them driving in runs. That's why I don't like OPS, because it measures on base percentage and slugging percentage as totally equal, regardless of the role the player plays in the offense.

I used to be someone who liked to see a lot of walks but for your run producers, I would make the statement that it is as big a sin to take a fat pitch that you should have hit off the fence as it is to chase a bad ball. Pitchers THROW bad pitches that should be winding up as doubles and triples and homers. A good hitter should be converting those pitches into extra base hits, not waiting for a walk (unless, again, he is in a role as a table setter).

Hate that "take a strike" deal unless you are batting in the 9th with the tying run still waiting to come to the plate. The pitch he just took might have been the best pitch he had to hit all day, and he let it go by. Now he has to do something with a tougher pitch.

I think you nailed it on the head with my philosophy of baseball. Very well said! :thumbup:

This guy has hit and has hit well everywhere he has been. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to better pitchers as he progresses. I would hope they start in him A+ but I foresee him starting in Dayton. I have heard people who have seen him describe how when he hits a ball it sounds different than other players. He is probably the one current prospect that I am excited to see him advance through the minors.

M2
02-02-2009, 05:30 PM
Did redszone.com debate Mark Schramek and Dane Sardinha a few years back? Oh, that had to be grueling.

Those discussions were beyond painful.

People used to list the future rotation like it was a given, with Howington, Aramboles, Moseley, Gruler and Basham/Hall being the ticket to future success. Supposedly immortals like Ben Shaffar, Luke Hudson, Seth Etherton, Josh Thigpen, Phil Dumatrait were key pickups as well. Your mind would reel at the ridiculous expectations placed on D.J. Mattox. Brandon Claussen's major league success was considered incontestable dogma of the Reds faith.

The site's been big on catchers who can't hit. Craig Tatum now gets the love once given to Sardinha and Miguel Perez.

Oddly Reds prospects who have made it -- Scott Williamson, Jason LaRue, Aaron Boone, Edwin Encarnacion, etc. -- tend to be targets of criticism. It's almost like if you do make it to the majors and contribute in some positive fashion that there's something wrong with you.

M2
02-02-2009, 05:58 PM
Frazier probably had the best instincts and intangibles of any player that I have seen in a long time.

I like that he oozes "ballplayer" from his pores too, but I'd argue that what he has are tangibles more than intangibles. He's a quality hitter and his actual defense plays above his tools.

Frazier's going to post an OPS you can give a hoot about and it looks he's the best bet in the system to be a quality defensive 3B. Maybe Frazier's baseball IQ allows him to add up to more than the sum of his tools, but he does add up (with Dustin Pedroia being the current best example of a player with extremely tangible intangibles).

My take on Frazier is the remaining question on him is whether he realizes his full potential (a foundational player for a major league team) or whether he has a Jeff Treadway plateau (useful journeyman).

OnBaseMachine
02-02-2009, 06:04 PM
I admit that I was pretty high on Ricardo Aramboles and I thought Brandon Claussen was going to be a solid major leaguer, but I never did think much of the others. I didn't follow the minors when Boone, Williamson, and LaRue were prospects but I was always very high on Encarnacion.

M2
02-02-2009, 06:09 PM
I think both Lotzkar and Soto are excellent prospects.

I'd label them interesting prospects. To me "excellent" prospects are kids who are excellent bets to star in the majors. I'm not sure either Soto or Lotzkar have a significant major league future (particularly Lotzkar). Maybe they will, maybe they won't. I wouldn't put any money on it either way. It may be two years before anyone has a firm handle on what to expect from those two. They're awfully young and neither one has played a full season of pro baseball.