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Benihana
06-07-2011, 06:25 PM
This month, I decided to do the "Top Prospect" list in a slightly different manner.

Given that there are a plethora of older prospects that are on the cusp of the majors (and likely will have graduated out of prospect status by the end of the season), I thought it would be worthwhile to take a deeper delve into the Top Prospects under the age of 25 in order to get more visability into the future of the Reds' minor leagues. Rather than debate the merits of Frazier vs. Francisco vs. Cozart, which has clearly been bandied about on this board for several years and several dozen threads, I thought it would be more worthwhile to temporarily look past those guys and see what we can expect in Cincinnati in the latter half of this decade. The following takes a closer look at what is IMO the 20 most interesting players in the system that fit those qualifications:

GRADE A

1. Devin Mesoraco C AAA 22 - should be with the Reds at some point in the 2nd half of the season. Top 20 prospect in the game.
2. Yonder Alonso 1B/LF AAA 24 - if he can be passable defensively, should start getting LF reps or traded by August

GRADE B

3. Yasmani Grandal C A+ 23 - often overlooked because of Mez, he is a valuable asset as a trade chip or future catcher
4. Billy Hamilton SS A 20 - Hamilton, Duran, and Y-Rod have tantalizing upside yet are so raw they are being exposed in Dayton.
(tie) Yorman Rodriguez OF A 18 - see above. Nothing to worry about given that they are teenagers in full season ball, but will hope for improvement in 2nd half.
(tie) Juan Duran OF A 19 - has bounced back nicely and is back to being mentioned in the same breath again as Y-Rod (and Hamilton).

GRADE C

7. Daniel Corcino RHP A 20 - has ascended to the top pitching prospect in the system. Cueto comps abound, could continue to rise up the list.
8. Brad Boxberger RHP AA 23 - nice success as a bullpen arm. Could see him promoted to Louisville later in the season with an extended tryout in ST next year.
9. Cody Puckett 2B/LF AA 24 - still unsure of his position, although he can certainly rake. Has more value as a 2B but defensively looks to be a LF.
10. Ryan LaMarre OF A+ 22 - would like to see him hit more than he has, but speed, defense, and intangibles are there.

INJURED

Dave Sappelt OF AAA 24 - should get more LF reps if Alonso is called up and he gets healthy
Kyle Lotzkar RHP A 21 - if he could stay healthy, he'd be as good as any arm in the system. But he hasn't been able to yet.

ON THE RADAR (next on the list)

Josh Smith RHP A 23 - needs to be challenged in Bakersfield, as he is old for Dayton. Still hard to argue with his success there.
Tucker Barnhart C A 20 - has looked great in Dayton despite the All-Star snub. Unfortunately could be blocked by Mez and Grandal.

KEEP AN EYE ON (too early to tell)

Ismael Guillon LHP 19 - looking forward to see him perform well in Billings. Could form a nice trio of the future with Corcino and Stephenson.
Robert Stephenson RHP 18 - has as much upside as any arm in the system. Has drawn comparisons to Homer Bailey and Matt Garza.
Ronald Torreyes 2B 18 - hoping he'll start strong in Billings and be in Dayton by late Summer
Junior Arias 3B 19 - with no clear help at 3B in this year's draft, still appears to hold title of 3B of the future
Kyle Waldrop OF 19 - excited to see how one of last year's draft sleepers performs in Billings
Gabriel Rosa OF 17 - very raw with the upside of a 30-30 guy

PROMOTIONS (should be on the horizon)

Mesoraco to MLB
Alonso to MLB
Boxberger to AAA
Grandal to AA
Corcino to A+
J.Smith to A+

EDIT: Forgot that Francisco turns 24 this month, but given his major league experience and how much debate he has already incurred, it is OK to leave him out of this conversation.

Benihana
06-08-2011, 04:19 PM
So I guess we're all in agreement then?

dougdirt
06-08-2011, 04:21 PM
Not in agreement. No way Puckett belongs that high.

Is Sappelt left off because he is injured or because you don't see him in the Top 10?

mace
06-08-2011, 04:30 PM
Would lower: Alonso, Duran, Puckett.
Would raise: Barnhart, Torreyes, possibly Smith and Guillon.

Benihana
06-08-2011, 04:40 PM
Would lower: Alonso, Duran, Puckett.
Would raise: Barnhart, Torreyes, possibly Smith and Guillon.

Have to be in full season ball to make the list (hence no Guillon or Torreyes).


Not in agreement. No way Puckett belongs that high.

Is Sappelt left off because he is injured or because you don't see him in the Top 10?

Because he's injured. Otherwise he would likely come in at #4 right behind Grandal.

Can you name a few people in full season ball you would put ahead of Puckett? Josh Smith, Tucker Barnhart, and LaMarre are the only three I see a real case for. The guy can rake and it seems could be a DeRosa-like player, at least at the level he is currently at.

bellhead
06-08-2011, 10:38 PM
I think Boxberger is a B prospect now as he is now dominating AA ball as a closer, to me this moves him into that area.

The 3 headed monster at Dayton I think are all C's as we don't know whether they can hack it. I think the jury is still out on them.

Corcino needs to be bumped. If he dominates the next level, then we may have a gem.

The DARK
06-08-2011, 11:24 PM
Neftali Soto? Does he not qualify, or do you just have him behind Barnhart and Smith?

Also, I'm not sure we should be writing off Donnie Joseph just yet. If his struggles are based on working on a new pitch or a nagging injury, then getting blown up is understandable and fixable. He seems like too hard of a worker with incredible stuff to have dropped so far so quickly.

Even if Chapman qualifies, I still believe that Mesoraco has clearly passed him on this list. Being a "born leader" catcher with quality defense and leading the entire IL in OPS should make him a better prospect than an erratic starter/reliever project with massive mechanical issues. I know that Chapman isn't just that, but I wouldn't rank someone with such a rocky road to being an ace ahead of a guy who's clearly ready to be a team leader at the next level.

I agree with your high ranking of Alonso, btw. Just because he's not a great defender at LF doesn't mean we should ding him for that; he's having a great season in a pitching-friendly league.

Benihana
06-09-2011, 12:20 AM
I think Boxberger is a B prospect now as he is now dominating AA ball as a closer, to me this moves him into that area.

The 3 headed monster at Dayton I think are all C's as we don't know whether they can hack it. I think the jury is still out on them.

Corcino needs to be bumped. If he dominates the next level, then we may have a gem.

Boxberger isn't going to get all that much higher on my list, simply because it is difficult for me to consider minor league relievers Top 5 prospects. It has been discussed on here before, but IMO relievers' margin for error is too thin, and their average weighted impact just doesn't compare. If he dominates in Louisville like he has so far in Carolina this year, he might become a B grade #5 or 6 guy, but only then and will likely not surpass that.

Fair point on the three-headed monster being "C" grade at this point, although their upside and young age is still buoying them in the lower "B" grade. If they show no improvement or adjustment in the 2nd half, they may drop some (but not a ton considering they are still teenagers in full season ball.)

As I noted, Corcino is on helium watch and could be a quick riser up the list.


Neftali Soto? Does he not qualify, or do you just have him behind Barnhart and Smith?

Also, I'm not sure we should be writing off Donnie Joseph just yet. If his struggles are based on working on a new pitch or a nagging injury, then getting blown up is understandable and fixable. He seems like too hard of a worker with incredible stuff to have dropped so far so quickly.

Even if Chapman qualifies, I still believe that Mesoraco has clearly passed him on this list. Being a "born leader" catcher with quality defense and leading the entire IL in OPS should make him a better prospect than an erratic starter/reliever project with massive mechanical issues. I know that Chapman isn't just that, but I wouldn't rank someone with such a rocky road to being an ace ahead of a guy who's clearly ready to be a team leader at the next level.

I agree with your high ranking of Alonso, btw. Just because he's not a great defender at LF doesn't mean we should ding him for that; he's having a great season in a pitching-friendly league.

Yes, Soto is behind Barnhart and Smith, mainly because of his position limitations and the fact that he hasn't OPS'd over .800 for a full season since he was a teenager in A ball in 2008. If he's going to play 1B, he has to produce better than he has.

I can't argue with those that would place Mez ahead of Chapman at this point, and I won't argue because Chapman doesn't qualify for the list.

bellhead
06-09-2011, 08:56 AM
I think Boxberger as a B is relevant if he is being groomed as a setup/closer guy. If he gets bumped at the all star break, goes to AAA and continues to show game he is looking at a 2012 or 13 callup.

Are B prospects MLB players and A prospects potential all stars?

As a side note if Boxberger makes it up next year then that draft I think was a really good one as Leake is a already up and showing good results..

Benihana
06-09-2011, 10:57 AM
I think Boxberger as a B is relevant if he is being groomed as a setup/closer guy. If he gets bumped at the all star break, goes to AAA and continues to show game he is looking at a 2012 or 13 callup.

Are B prospects MLB players and A prospects potential all stars?

As a side note if Boxberger makes it up next year then that draft I think was a really good one as Leake is a already up and showing good results..

I agree with all of your points (and yes, Grade A are potential All-Stars and Grade B are solid major league regulars/contributors). However I believe that if Boxberger shows success in AAA in the 2nd half of this year, his timetable could be rapidly accelerated from the one you mention, with him even garnering a look in ST next year. Relievers, particularly highly drafted college relievers, always move quicker than almost anyone else.

If Boxberger gets promoted to Louisville and continues to dominate, he will be a "B Grade" prospect.

Benihana
06-09-2011, 11:00 AM
Also, I'm not sure we should be writing off Donnie Joseph just yet. If his struggles are based on working on a new pitch or a nagging injury, then getting blown up is understandable and fixable. He seems like too hard of a worker with incredible stuff to have dropped so far so quickly.


Meant to address Joseph in a previous post. I wouldn't say he's been written off, rather he falls in the 12-15 range or next bucket after the players that I mentioned. As I've said with Boxberger, relievers have such a thin margin of error that it is easy for them to fall off the reservation, and that is one of the reasons I rarely rank them in the Top 10 and almost never in the Top 5. I don't believe Joseph ever made it higher than Boxberger is now on my list, even at his peak.

I do think both Joseph and Box can be major league contributors if everything goes right, although I'm not sure if either will ever be a dominant closer. That is the kind of impact you need to have as a reliever if you're going to be a Top 5 prospect IMO.

lollipopcurve
06-09-2011, 11:17 AM
Cozart?

Benihana
06-09-2011, 01:01 PM
Cozart?

Took out anyone 25 and over - see original post.

bellhead
06-10-2011, 10:00 AM
Thanks Benihana for clarifying everything on Box.

Can't wait for Billings to start so we can see Torreyes & Guillon will do this year. They both seem to have a high upside.

Benihana
06-10-2011, 11:04 AM
Thanks Benihana for clarifying everything on Box.

Can't wait for Billings to start so we can see Torreyes & Guillon will do this year. They both seem to have a high upside.

Yep, Arias and Waldrop too.

lollipopcurve
06-10-2011, 11:10 AM
HRod is an underrated guy.

Benihana
06-10-2011, 01:16 PM
HRod is an underrated guy.

He's another that fits into the 12-15 range, although apparently he has other issues which are impeding his progress.

Benihana
06-13-2011, 04:38 PM
I like to think of Stephenson and Corcino as the new Bailey and Cueto of the Reds farm system, respectively. Stephenson/Bailey as the projectable righty drafted in the first round, and Corcino/Cueto as the shorter, stockier, less hearlded Dominican who has dominated the lower minors. Those two arms are actually pretty good comps for the Reds' top two pitching prospects (including their stuff), and like Bailey and Cueto, their development time and respective ceilings should compete all the way up the ladder.

Guillon could be the new Travis Wood, the lefty who lags those two in development but could blossom into the third in the trio of pitching prospects.

Garrett could be the new Chapman (with less upside of course), although I'd like to see the original Chapman pan out first.

The DARK
06-13-2011, 05:20 PM
Agreed with the Stephenson/Corcino comps. They may be a bit cruder and have a longer path than Bailey/Cueto, but I'd love to have them put up that kind of production once those two are gone. Hopefully Stephenson will live up to Bailey's immense potential... it's been far too long since the Cincinnati has had an ace (in the past 20 years, only Rijo comes close, in my eyes).

Hearing about Gullion's stuff, he seems to have a higher upside than Travis Wood. Perhaps not TOR, but enough to be the best arm in the current rotation, Cueto aside. He's still young and raw, and has a long way to go before we really find out what we have with him.

While we're at it, Rosa reminds me a good bit of Juan Duran. Tall and raw with prodigious power potential and good speed, though trending more towards a speedier player than Duran's mostly power bat (of course, he plays SS and CF, but the tools seem similar).

In other words, our system is stacked at the lower levels with extremely raw talent (didn't even mention Rodriguez and Hamilton), but they've all got a long way to go. Even if only 2 of those 7 guys reach their full potential, it's a win for the Reds system.

PeteRoseBelongs
06-16-2011, 05:10 PM
hi guys, whats the story with Donnie Joseph? I have seen him really high on some lists and not ranked at all on others?

The DARK
06-17-2011, 12:21 AM
hi guys, whats the story with Donnie Joseph? I have seen him really high on some lists and not ranked at all on others?

Most of the lists you've seen him high on are from last year, most likely. He was absolutely destroyed to start out the year, and despite a number of consecutive scoreless innings recently, his ERA remains above 8.

There's still a very good chance that he'll be the stud reliever we all expect him to be (Boxberger had similar struggles in AA last year), and he still has the best slider in the system, but he doesn't have the fast track to the majors that many of us thought he did last year.