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View Full Version : Let's Hear It For the Reds Minor League System



Sea Ray
08-22-2012, 09:46 AM
As the Reds get a big win over Philly led by rookies Cozart and Frazier, I thought now would be a good time to applaud theReds system for its huge contribution to this very good 2012 season.

Let's look at the Reds starting 8. At least 5 of them are home grown talents and that's if we consider Ludwick the LF. If you plug Frazier in there, we've got only Rolen and Phillips as guys who didn't come from our system. However we traded our system prospects for both Rolen and Phillips so they are also in a sense products of our system. The pitching staff is also well represented by past Reds prospects

But part of this confuses me. How can we be this good given the lack of hype given these guys when they were in the minors? Seems to me that guys like Hanigan, Cozart, Stubbs and Frazier were projected as platoon/utility major leaguers. Were they ever top 50 or top 100 prospects? How high did Votto ever rise on a national prospect list? What I'm getting at is that our guys are over performing their projections. I think our prospects are being underestimated to a certain extent.

Now I'll grant you that a case can be made that Bruce and Mesorasco have underperformed their hype to this point but who would have projected the huge contributions we're now getting from the likes of Hanigan, Cozart and Frazier? Who projected Frazier as a Rookie of the Year candidate in March? Even Votto...I never recall him being hyped as a potential MVP guy when he was playing at AA and AAA.

Thoughts?

Benihana
08-22-2012, 10:12 AM
As the Reds get a big win over Philly led by rookies Cozart and Frazier, I thought now would be a good time to applaud theReds system for its huge contribution to this very good 2012 season.

Let's look at the Reds starting 8. At least 5 of them are home grown talents and that's if we consider Ludwick the LF. If you plug Frazier in there, we've got only Rolen and Phillips as guys who didn't come from our system. However we traded our system prospects for both Rolen and Phillips so they are also in a sense products of our system. The pitching staff is also well represented by past Reds prospects

But part of this confuses me. How can we be this good given the lack of hype given these guys when they were in the minors? Seems to me that guys like Hanigan, Cozart, Stubbs and Frazier were projected as platoon/utility major leaguers. Were they ever top 50 or top 100 prospects? How high did Votto ever rise on a national prospect list? What I'm getting at is that our guys are over performing their projections. I think our prospects are being underestimated to a certain extent.

Now I'll grant you that a case can be made that Bruce and Mesorasco have underperformed their hype to this point but who would have projected the huge contributions we're now getting from the likes of Hanigan, Cozart and Frazier? Who projected Frazier as a Rookie of the Year candidate in March? Even Votto...I never recall him being hyped as a potential MVP guy when he was playing at AA and AAA.

Thoughts?

Largely agree.

John Manuel from BA addressed Frazier in his weekly chat:


Kelly (downtown cincy): Did you think Todd Frazier would be as good as he is?

John Manuel: We thought he'd be good, that's why he was the Reds' No. 1 prospect a couple of years ago. He stalled a bit in Triple-A and was moved around the diamond a ton by the Reds, but he should settle in as their everyday 3B once Scott Rolen is done, and he should be a first-division regular there. He's always had power; there were scouts who doubted he'd get to it because he bars his arm when he swings, but he has made it work for a long time. I saw him hit one of the longer homers I've ever seen in a game at Durham in the IL playoffs a couple of years back and always enjoyed talking with him. He seemed very aware of his strengths and weaknesses and willing to put in the work to improve. Easy guy to root for.

Cozart and Stubbs always appeared on Top 10 organizational lists, but I agree that Cozart was largely underrated, as was Hanigan. Stubbs is probably performing to expectations as an average to below average starter. As you noted, Bruce and Mesoraco have underperformed, but in both cases (especially Mez) it's still very early and there is plenty of time to meet or exceed expectations over the next few years.

Cueto and Bailey switched roles/expectations, as Bailey was expected to be an ace while Cueto projected to a 3/4 starter if not a bullpen arm.

dougdirt
08-22-2012, 10:47 AM
Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Aroldis Chapman and Devin Mesoraco were all Top 25 prospects at one point in time depending on which list you were looking at. Drew Stubbs was a Top 100 guy at one point, Todd Frazier was a Top 50 guy at one point. Mike Leake was a Top 100 guy. That is a whole lot of talent.

Vottomatic
08-22-2012, 10:50 AM
I've hit on this many times in the past. I even sent an email to the yahoo and ESPN sportswriters hoping they'd write a piece about all the developed talent on the Reds roster.

1B - Votto
SS - Cozart
3B - Frazier
C - Hanigan
C - Mesoraco
OF - Heisey
OF - Stubbs
OF - Bruce
SP - Bailey
SP - Leake
SP - Cueto
CL - Chapman
RP - Ondrusek
RP - Lecure

14 players of a 25 man roster. And maybe I missed someone.

Not to mention a few guys who had a cup of tea like Valaika, Alonso, Travis Wood, Sappelt........or Grandal and Boxberger who were traded and playing on the Padres.

The system is already rejuvenating itself. It will be more obvious in the next 2 seasons when, if they're not traded, Cingrani, Corcino, Chad Rogers, Lotzkar, Villarreal, H-Rod, Gregorius, Lutz, Vidal, Hamilton, Perez, and even the lower levels with Brean, Winker, Stephenson, Travieso start to move up. I'm sure I missed a few budding prospects too.

Reds farm system and drafting should be really proud of themselves, as well as the fans.

Sea Ray
08-22-2012, 10:54 AM
Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Aroldis Chapman and Devin Mesoraco were all Top 25 prospects at one point in time depending on which list you were looking at. Drew Stubbs was a Top 100 guy at one point, Todd Frazier was a Top 50 guy at one point. Mike Leake was a Top 100 guy. That is a whole lot of talent.

Are you sure about that Doug, because that's not what I've found while surfing around:


Joey Votto’s story is not as dramatic or as well known. Votto was selected in the second round of the 2002 draft by the Cincinnati Reds and though his advanced approach at the plate was immediately apparent, he was rarely ever mentioned among the game’s top prospects. Despite posting an on-base percentage over .400 across two levels in both 2003 and 2004, Votto did not crack the Baseball America Top 100 until 2007 and never ranked above 43rd on that list. http://www.rantsports.com/bringingheat/2012/05/14/joey-votto-and-josh-hamilton-a-study-in-contrast/

dougdirt
08-22-2012, 11:27 AM
Are you sure about that Doug, because that's not what I've found while surfing around:

http://www.rantsports.com/bringingheat/2012/05/14/joey-votto-and-josh-hamilton-a-study-in-contrast/

Baseball America isn't the only placed that has prospect lists.

Sea Ray
08-22-2012, 11:43 AM
Baseball America isn't the only placed that has prospect lists.

I'm sure but should we consider Sal's Blog done from Mom's basement when considering top Prospect lists? I agree with the author of the link I just posted. Votto was very undervalued as a prospect and it'll take more than showing me an obscure blog that had him listed as the next Albert Pujols to convince me otherwise

Sea Ray
08-22-2012, 11:47 AM
Reds farm system and drafting should be really proud of themselves, as well as the fans.

This was the heavy lifting that's led to the Reds success. It's not Walt's trades, Cast's money or Dusty's managing. It's the farm system

krm1580
08-22-2012, 11:52 AM
To your original point, I think the organization deserves a lot of credit for being able to crank out productive players from our farm system to both plug in at the major league level and to trade to fill in gaps.

As far as the ratings go, honestly who cares. People get way too caught up in that stuff as if it matters. Joey Votto, Albert Pujols, Matt Kemp, none of them were highly rated. At the same time you have guys like Travis Snider, Brandon Wood or Delmon Young as top 5 guys.

Aside from Hannigan, all the guys you mentioned were top 100 guys but they were never considered to be elite guys because at no point were they destroying pitching in the leagues they played in and they were all older prospects meaning it was unlikely they would produce beyond what they did in the minors.

Frazier is deservedly getting the hype for ROY, but I think people are overlooking how big Cozart has been. Defensively he is almost as good as Janish and when you add the 700 OPS bat and compare it to the last 5 years of Renteria, Cabrera, Keppinger and noodle bat Janish it has been a huge upgrade at short.

UK Reds Fan
08-22-2012, 11:55 AM
Agreed...the farm system (which is a credit to Dan Obrien and Krivsky) have saved the day for Reds. Looking down the road..

- Hopefully Rodriguez/Gregorius can take over for Cairo/Rolen/Valdez next year
- Hopefully Hoover can take a spot next year
- Hopefully Lamarre can take a spot from Heisey/Stubbs when they start to get expensive
- Soon..Hamilton can take a spot and give us the leadoff threat we've not had since Freel
- Guys like Corcini, Cingrani can take a spot when Leake/Bailey/Arroyo leave or become expensive.

Feels like with the contracts to Votto and Phillips and you know Cueto/Latos are due for big hauls...we'll need cheap alternative vs. upping guys like Stubbs, Bailey, Leake, etc..

dougdirt
08-22-2012, 12:12 PM
I'm sure but should we consider Sal's Blog done from Mom's basement when considering top Prospect lists? I agree with the author of the link I just posted. Votto was very undervalued as a prospect and it'll take more than showing me an obscure blog that had him listed as the next Albert Pujols to convince me otherwise

At the time I would have considered 5 places reliable lists. Sal's blog wasn't one of them. No one has ever been listed as the next Albert Pujols. It would be crazy to suggest anyone actually becomes that until they actually do it.

But John Sickels had him ranked as an A- prospect, which generally places a guy inside his Top 20 (though Sickels doesn't rank pitchers and hitters together). I don't feel like searching any further, but that is one list and well, shows that he was a Top 25 guy depending on where you looked.

Vottomatic
08-22-2012, 12:23 PM
This was the heavy lifting that's led to the Reds success. It's not Walt's trades, Cast's money or Dusty's managing. It's the farm system

I get frustrated with Castellini at times but I think he deserves credit for the farm system. Sure, all the coaches and special assistants in place to do the developing deserve the on hands appreciation. But Castellini recognized from the get-go the need to revamp it and fired a bunch of long time people and brought in new.

REDREAD
08-22-2012, 01:15 PM
I get frustrated with Castellini at times but I think he deserves credit for the farm system. Sure, all the coaches and special assistants in place to do the developing deserve the on hands appreciation. But Castellini recognized from the get-go the need to revamp it and fired a bunch of long time people and brought in new.

Not only that, Cast put his money where his mouth was.. Spent big bucks in Latin America. There's no way Carl or Marge would've signed Chapman.

Previous regimes focused on signablity on the draft.. It was nice to see the shift to drafting talented players.
IMO, the slotted draft system is one of the best things to happen to baseball. Another step to prevent cheapo owners from sabotaging their own team.

Kc61
08-22-2012, 01:27 PM
Despite the Latos trade and the unhappiness about Torreyes and some other prospects, I'd argue that the Reds have shown strong discipline about letting prospects go. In the few instances when a top tier prospect has been traded, the deals made sense and had an impact. Scott Rolen, Mat Latos are the two best examples of the kind of guys obtained in these trades.

You could even argue that Reds have been TOO focused on keeping the top prospects. Reds could have easily justified trading guys like Stubbs, Heisey, Bailey, Leake, by now. They are very disciplined in keeping, developing, and using prospects where possible.

Reds also deserve credit for continuing to fill the minors with prospects. They have had several spots when the minors were a bit depleted. When the Bruce/Votto/Bailey/Cueto group was promoted, then more recently with Alonso, Grandal, Francisco, Boxberger, etc. being traded. Prospect depth has only suffered momentarily with a strong new crop obtained in each instance.

Only criticism is that certain types of prospects have been slower to emerge. Particularly high contact, left handed or switch hitters who set the table. I think the Reds tried to address that in this last draft.

Sea Ray
08-22-2012, 01:47 PM
At the time I would have considered 5 places reliable lists. Sal's blog wasn't one of them. No one has ever been listed as the next Albert Pujols. It would be crazy to suggest anyone actually becomes that until they actually do it.

But John Sickels had him ranked as an A- prospect, which generally places a guy inside his Top 20 (though Sickels doesn't rank pitchers and hitters together). I don't feel like searching any further, but that is one list and well, shows that he was a Top 25 guy depending on where you looked.

The point is that Votto has over performed his projections. Do you disagree?

dougdirt
08-22-2012, 02:27 PM
The point is that Votto has over performed his projections. Do you disagree?

No, but Votto has outperformed projections for every prospect ever, so it wouldn't have mattered if he was #1 or #20 or #50.

dfs
08-22-2012, 02:37 PM
Thoughts?

National prospect lists are highly influenced by age. Younger guys or guys in low level leagues tend to dominate those lists because they have the chance to turn into monsters.

On the other hand the reds have a ton of guys who followed the Ryan Hanigan/Todd Frazier route to the majors. If you don't GET to the major leagues until you are 25 or older, well, you are just off the national prospect radar at that point. You are not going to turn into a hall of fame player. At that point you may get one chance of being a major league regular and if you fail that trial. You are done. Of course that doesn't mean that you won't be a useful major league player, but you are not the type of phenom those lists are trying to identify.

Cozart is a rookie at 26.
Frazier is a rookie at 26.
Hiesey was 25. Stubbs 24. Mes 24.

Joey Votto was 23, but since he came into the system as a high schooler, he spent 6 full years and 3000 at bats in the minors. That's not a "hot prospect" particularly since Joey never went on a dominant hitting streak where he looked like the next coming of Babe Ruth. Heck, Votto's numbers have been better in the majors than in the minors and that's just not something that's easy to predict. If prospect lists got all hot and bothered about every 21 year old hitting 250 in high A ball....well, there are a LOT of guys like that.

Jay Bruce on the other hand was the only real reds current phenom. He has 400 at bats in the majors at 21.

The reds pitching prospect have been arriving a bit sooner than the position players, but the reds pitching prospects have also taken serious lumps at the major league level.

After years of promoting 21-22 year olds to be the savior of the franchise, this new approach of keeping draftees in the minors for as long as you can represents a different approach that has payed off in spades. Instead of filling the roster with guys like Wily Mo Pena who is going to learn to play centerfield and hit the curve ball at the major league level, you get a bunch of guys like Ryan Hannigan and Todd Frazier who are pretty much major league ready the first time they put on the uniform. While the ceiling for Chris Heisey may be lower than what it was for Austen Kearns, the team has benefited because he has to earn that major league playing time instead of being the new hope by the river.

I left two starters off my list. Devin Mesoraco put in 4 years in the minors and went from a waste of a draft pick to I highly rated young guy. Drew Stubbs also put in 4 years and might have been better served putting in another. Still that's a pretty decent track record.

At 21 Billy Hamilton has put in 4 years and has been getting better the more he plays.

Sea Ray
08-22-2012, 02:48 PM
No, but Votto has outperformed projections for every prospect ever, so it wouldn't have mattered if he was #1 or #20 or #50.

OK, we're on the same page then.

Brutus
08-22-2012, 03:29 PM
I've been most impressed by how many homers Frazier hits even when he doesn't square up on the ball. Several homers this year have been off the end of the bat on pitches that were down below the knees. Last night was another where he had no business making contact with the ball, let alone putting it in the seats in left.

Benihana
08-22-2012, 04:16 PM
No, but Votto has outperformed projections for every prospect ever, so it wouldn't have mattered if he was #1 or #20 or #50.

While of course he's still a rookie, Frazier has outperformed projections for every prospect who was not top 5 in all of baseball, and he was never considered even a top 50 prospect. I just hope he can keep it up.

dougdirt
08-22-2012, 04:41 PM
Todd Frazier was the #43 prospect by BA in 2010.