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Benihana
04-13-2010, 02:15 PM
Which minor leaguers are facing the biggest make or break year?

I say:

1. Devin Mesoraco - With all this talk of improving peripherals, I look for D-Mes to either break out or break off the radar and be replaced by Soto or Coddington.
2. Josh Ravin - Lots of potential, erratic results. He needs to put it together.
3. JC Sulbaran - Ditto
4. Yonder Alonso - He'll either be a Top 20 prospect in baseball or off the Top 100 list completely by the end of the year. Good chance he'll be in another organization by then. Needs to show he can hit lefties. Also will be interesting to see how he adapts to the OF.
5. Chris Valaika - Needs to bounce back strong to avoid being a career fringe guy.

Special Injury Guys: Kyle Lotzkar, Daryl Thompson, Dallas Buck, Bill Bray
If these guys can't bounce back this year, it is probably time to move on.

nemesis
04-13-2010, 03:22 PM
I'd say Yonder then Mesorasco...

Fair or unfair being first round pick comes with expectations. Neither has come close to them at this point. Yonder was second fiddle to Frazier in the Hawaii Fall league and couldn't hit a LHP to save his life last year. In the AFL he didn't fair much better. Now he is off to a terrible start to the season in a level below where he was supposed to be. Sure he can take a walk... But so could Adam Dunn except he hit 40 HR's a year. I suspect getting to 20 for Yonder might be a bit of a challenge.

redhawk61
04-13-2010, 03:38 PM
Sulbaran....really?....the guy was just signed last year and turned 20 back in November. I'd give him at least till 2012 to be at a make or break point

Benihana
04-13-2010, 03:43 PM
Sulbaran....really?....the guy was just signed last year and turned 20 back in November. I'd give him at least till 2012 to be at a make or break point

Sulbaran is repeating a level, and proved wildly erratic last year. Yes he's young, but without a strong showing this year in Dayton, he cannot be considered a top prospect anymore IMO. I wouldn't be surprised if he's eventually moved to the bullpen.

He may have the highest ceiling of any minor league pitcher not named Chapman. But he may also go all Sean Watson on us and end up as a middling reliever. I think we'll have a better sense of what direction he is headed in after this season.

mace
04-13-2010, 03:51 PM
I guess another way to look at it is guys who will likely be out of the organization if they don't step it up soon and significantly: Sean Watson, Jerry Gil, Federico Baez, Scott Gaffney, Mike Griffin, Kevyn Feiner, Ruben Medina, Carson Kainer, Junior Martinez, Frank Pfister, Chris Richburg, Shane Carlson . . .

redhawk61
04-13-2010, 03:51 PM
So Ravin who has been in the organization since 2006 and is starting his 3rd year in Dayton is just now, in 2010, in his make or break year, while J.C., signed last year, has already reached that point.

OnBaseMachine
04-13-2010, 04:03 PM
Sulbaran....really?....the guy was just signed last year and turned 20 back in November. I'd give him at least till 2012 to be at a make or break point

Agreed. It's way too early to put Sulbaran on this list. He's made a total of 22 starts in the minor leagues.

Benihana
04-13-2010, 04:17 PM
So Ravin who has been in the organization since 2006 and is starting his 3rd year in Dayton is just now, in 2010, in his make or break year, while J.C., signed last year, has already reached that point.

First off, Sulbaran was drafted in 2008 (not last year) and was born in 1989.
Ravin was drafted in 2006 and was born in 1988.

They are both in important years if you ask me, but Ravin is in a more critical stage (hence he is ranked higher on the list.) Sulbaran is also in an important year, because IMO if he doesn't show improved consistency, he may be moved to the pen.

dougdirt
04-13-2010, 04:21 PM
First off, Sulbaran was drafted in 2008 (not last year) and was born in 1989.
Ravin was drafted in 2006 and was born in 1988.

They are both in important years if you ask me, but Ravin is in a more critical stage (hence he is ranked higher on the list.) Sulbaran is also in an important year, because IMO if he doesn't show improved consistency, he may be moved to the pen.

The Reds aren't moving him to the pen for years.

Benihana
04-13-2010, 04:33 PM
The Reds aren't moving him to the pen for years.

Another year of a >5.00 ERA and >1.50 WHIP in Dayton, and we'll see. Sulbaran's mental makeup may be better out of the 'pen.

Mario-Rijo
04-13-2010, 04:40 PM
Which minor leaguers are facing the biggest make or break year?

I say:

1. Devin Mesoraco - With all this talk of improving peripherals, I look for D-Mes to either break out or break off the radar and be replaced by Soto or Coddington.
2. Josh Ravin - Lots of potential, erratic results. He needs to put it together.
3. JC Sulbaran - Ditto
4. Yonder Alonso - He'll either be a Top 20 prospect in baseball or off the Top 100 list completely by the end of the year. Good chance he'll be in another organization by then. Needs to show he can hit lefties. Also will be interesting to see how he adapts to the OF.
5. Chris Valaika - Needs to bounce back strong to avoid being a career fringe guy.

Special Injury Guys: Kyle Lotzkar, Daryl Thompson, Dallas Buck, Bill Bray
If these guys can't bounce back this year, it is probably time to move on.

I don't agree, I do think your on the money with Ravin his act is getting old to watch. The rest though not completely on board with. Alonso has plenty of time IMO, I am giving his injury the time required to heal completely before I start coming to any conclusions about him and IIRC he injured it midway thru last season. This is a pivotal year for Mes but not a make or break one, although he does need to show if he is a future starter this year I think. Sulbaran has plenty of time IMO. Valaika is maybe now past his make or break, I think it's clear now what he is and it isn't a regular starter. I hate to say that but he is looking more and more like a UT guy at best to me.

I do think another favorite of mine Bucholz really needs to step it up to not be another Valaika. I agree with mace about Watson and Gil. I'll also add Dorn who really needs to have a knockdown dragout kind of year, though it may not help him with the Reds at this point. And maybe Neftali Soto needs to shine too although not sure if this is make or break. Oh and Derrick Lutz who is also another of my favorites needs to step it up.

Bumstead
04-13-2010, 05:08 PM
I don't agree, I do think your on the money with Ravin his act is getting old to watch. The rest though not completely on board with. Alonso has plenty of time IMO, I am giving his injury the time required to heal completely before I start coming to any conclusions about him and IIRC he injured it midway thru last season. This is a pivotal year for Mes but not a make or break one, although he does need to show if he is a future starter this year I think. Sulbaran has plenty of time IMO. Valaika is maybe now past his make or break, I think it's clear now what he is and it isn't a regular starter. I hate to say that but he is looking more and more like a UT guy at best to me.

I do think another favorite of mine Bucholz really needs to step it up to not be another Valaika. I agree with mace about Watson and Gil. I'll also add Dorn who really needs to have a knockdown dragout kind of year, though it may not help him with the Reds at this point. And maybe Neftali Soto needs to shine too although not sure if this is make or break. Oh and Derrick Lutz who is also another of my favorites needs to step it up.

+1. Nice Post.

krm1580
04-13-2010, 05:08 PM
I don't see Mesoraco as being a guy on the brink. He is still very young at 21 years old. The fact that he plays a position in need at the big league level and the fact he was a first round pick, he will be given every opportunity to succeed.

Pitchers I also do not think are ever on the really on the brink simply because the demand for arms is so high. If a guy like Ravin or Sulburan can't turn it around they will try to convert them to relievers before they give up on them.

The guys I think are on the brink are the big bats in Louisville such as Heisey, Frazier and Valaika. All of them are in their mid 20s which means the clock is ticking. They are blocked positionally, and outside of injuries I don't see them having a clear path to the majors that does not involve someone failing at the big league level combined with them absolutely raking in the minors. Based on the VERY early returns it appears they are pressing to make an impression.

Benihana
04-13-2010, 05:38 PM
I don't see Mesoraco as being a guy on the brink. He is still very young at 21 years old. The fact that he plays a position in need at the big league level and the fact he was a first round pick, he will be given every opportunity to succeed.

Mesoraco needs to step it up, not because he has already fallen way back on virtually every prospect list, but because Kevin Coddington and now possibly Neftali Soto are creeping on him. If Coddington outperforms him again this year, he will fall behind on the depth chart, and if Soto can learn the position this year then Mesoraco will simply be lost in the organization. Unless he improves on his actual numbers, he will be out of the top prospect mix.


Pitchers I also do not think are ever on the really on the brink simply because the demand for arms is so high. If a guy like Ravin or Sulburan can't turn it around they will try to convert them to relievers before they give up on them.

See my post above about moving one or both of them to the pen if they don't turn it around.


The guys I think are on the brink are the big bats in Louisville such as Heisey, Frazier and Valaika. All of them are in their mid 20s which means the clock is ticking. They are blocked positionally, and outside of injuries I don't see them having a clear path to the majors that does not involve someone failing at the big league level combined with them absolutely raking in the minors. Based on the VERY early returns it appears they are pressing to make an impression.

Agree on Heisey and Valaika, but disagree on Frazier.

I said it many times at the time, but the time to trade Heisey was last summer when his value was at a peak. Even at his best it is tough to see where he offers a highly differentiated skill set from Stubbs or Dickerson.

I've also been on the record as doubting whether Valaika will ever be an impact starter at the major league level, or just another Jeff Keppinger-type.

Frazier is probably the #1 prospect in the system not named Chapman at this point. I'd just like to see him find a position. At this point, he should be the first option if/when Rolen gets injured.

camisadelgolf
04-13-2010, 05:41 PM
RP Sean Watson - If he can't get his spike curve over the plate, he won't have a career.
OF Alex Oliveras - The rumors was that he's very skilled, but his plate approach has been horrible, and we haven't seen much power nor speed.
OF Justin Reed - It's his fifth year in the organization, and he can't even OPS .600 in A+ ball.
SP James Avery - You have to wonder what the organization sees in him. Granted, consistency is usually a good thing, but he has been consistently mediocre at every level.
SP Travis Webb - He lost 2008 to elbow surgery, and at the age of 25, he hasn't seen AA. Does he have potential as a LOOGY?
SP Alex Smit - It's his eight year in professional baseball, and he has yet to do anything exciting.
RP Scott Gaffney & Jeff Jeffords - They have great fastballs, but you need some semblance of control to make it worth anything.
OF Yorman Rodriguez - Just kidding.

Benihana
04-13-2010, 05:51 PM
RP Sean Watson - If he can't get his spike curve over the plate, he won't have a career.
OF Alex Oliveras - The rumors was that he's very skilled, but his plate approach has been horrible, and we haven't seen much power nor speed.
OF Justin Reed - It's his fifth year in the organization, and he can't even OPS .600 in A+ ball.
SP James Avery - You have to wonder what the organization sees in him. Granted, consistency is usually a good thing, but he has been consistently mediocre at every level.
SP Travis Webb - He lost 2008 to elbow surgery, and at the age of 25, he hasn't seen AA. Does he have potential as a LOOGY?
SP Alex Smit - It's his eight year in professional baseball, and he has yet to do anything exciting.
RP Scott Gaffney & Jeff Jeffords - They have great fastballs, but you need some semblance of control to make it worth anything.


Agreed with all of these, and I'd add Ben Jukich to the list as well. I guess I didn't well define what I meant by "On the Brink." All of the above should be certainly out of the organization and possibly out of baseball if they don't show significant improvement this year.

The guys I listed will certainly not be out of baseball, nor will they most likely even be out of the organization (with the possible exception of Alonso and maybe Mesoraco) no matter how badly they perform this year. They will, however, lose their status as top prospects. Alonso may be an exception to this, but he will certainly lose a lot of his luster if he doesn't rake in AA and show that he can hit lefties wherever he plays.

Mario-Rijo
04-14-2010, 01:17 AM
RP Sean Watson - If he can't get his spike curve over the plate, he won't have a career.
OF Alex Oliveras - The rumors was that he's very skilled, but his plate approach has been horrible, and we haven't seen much power nor speed.
OF Justin Reed - It's his fifth year in the organization, and he can't even OPS .600 in A+ ball.
SP James Avery - You have to wonder what the organization sees in him. Granted, consistency is usually a good thing, but he has been consistently mediocre at every level.
SP Travis Webb - He lost 2008 to elbow surgery, and at the age of 25, he hasn't seen AA. Does he have potential as a LOOGY?
SP Alex Smit - It's his eight year in professional baseball, and he has yet to do anything exciting.
RP Scott Gaffney & Jeff Jeffords - They have great fastballs, but you need some semblance of control to make it worth anything.
OF Yorman Rodriguez - Just kidding.

Yeah, good list Cam.

jmcclain19
04-14-2010, 04:22 AM
I agree with krm1580 on Devin Mesoraco - The Reds have invested a ton of cash in that kid. As a HS bat and a catcher, they'll give him a long rope before giving him. I wouldn't call it a make or break season for him by any means.

Sean Watson went from potential reliever prospect to a nobody. I was kinda shocked to see that BA listed him as dead last in there RH Reliever list for the Reds, eons below anyone else with a major league shot. Have to wonder what happened to him. I don't know if this is a make or break season for him - it may have already broken.

GOYA
04-14-2010, 11:36 AM
5. Chris Valaika - Needs to bounce back strong to avoid being a career fringe guy.

Valaika has already bounced back after his injury last year. And he's continuing into this year. He just had a long adjustment period when reaching AAA.