Baseball America 31st Team (2 Reds)
Adam Rosales, ss, Reds
Born: May 20, 1983. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 195. Drafted: Western Michigan, 2005 (12th round). Signed by: Rick Sellers.
Rosales was a surprise star in his pro debut, hitting .325 and reaching low Class A after signing as a 12th-rounder. But he
suffered through a miserable 2006 as he was derailed by injuries. He started off the year with elbow problems, which eventually led to his demotion when the Reds needed to clear a spot for Paul Janish in high Class A. A hamate bone injury led to further trouble and eventually led to Cincinnati shutting Rosales down with two weeks left in the season. Though he hit a soft .250 for the year, the Reds were impressed with his ability to play through pain and he should be fully recovered in time for spring training. Rosales employs an unorthodox short swing, hacking down on the ball yet somehow putting loft on it when he's healthy. He's a throwback who runs out walks and homers and impresses managers with his heady approach to the game. Rosales has surprising speed for his size, along with a plus arm and adequate range at shortstop. Some scouts believe he'll fit better at second base as he matures and continues to fill out. Rosales will get a second chance in high Class A this year.
Phillip Valiquette, lhp, Reds
Born: Feb. 14, 1987. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 175. Drafted: HS--Montreal, 2004 (7th round). Signed by: Jason Baker.
Valiquette hasnt made much progress during the past two seasons, but his arm is too good to give up on and the Reds are somewhat culpable for his struggles. They sent him to low Class A to begin his pro career in 2005, even though he was only 18, didn't speak English as his native language and was very raw. Predictably he was quickly beaten up by more advanced hitters, forcing the Reds to send him to Rookie-level Billings. He returned to low Class A and struggled again in 2006. He left Dayton in late June to return to Canada to attend a funeral and didn't return, forcing Cincinnati to place him on the suspended list. The Reds still aren't sure if Valiquette will return for spring training. They hope he will, because he still has one of the best arms in the system. He has a low-90s fastball that can touch 95 mph with good natural movement, and he throws it with a free and easy delivery. His changeup and curveball are below-average offerings, and his control, command and maturity also have to improve.
Adam Rosales sounds like a young Ryan Freel. It also sounds like Phillip Valiquette has a good fastball and nothing else special. Also sounds like he doesn't have the mental strength to make it to the big leagues.