Originally Posted by dougdirt
Well, given that the Reds have likely the 2nd or 3rd best system in baseball right now, I would say that we are definately heading in the right direction. Bowden left the well nearly dry after that 1998 draft (not entirely his fault as injuries ravaged a whole slew of good prospects).
Things certainly look better now than they have in a while, though five and six years ago people thought the Reds system was looking strong (#2 overall in 2001 according to BA). It turned out to be a small haul (mostly Dunn and Kearns) and you can't really blame injuries for most of the failures. The lion's share of the kids just weren't that good (Gookie Dawkins, Dane Sardinha, Rob Bell, Brandon Larson, etc.). Even a lot of the "injured" kids had performance issues. We'll never know, but I don't think a healthy Ty Howington would have been a much better pitcher than Phil Dumatrait.
Say Joey Votto goes the Ben Broussard route, Bailey or Cueto get injured, the other plateaus, Drew Stubbs never learns how to hit a breaking ball, Devin Mesoraco mimics Gookie Dawkins' career (though obviously as a catcher) and Kyle Lotzkar goes the way of Chris Gruler and Justin Gillman - that would basically leave you with Jay Bruce and a small haul of others. I'm not saying that will happen, but I've seen these chickens get counted while still in their eggs before. I lost count of how many times I was told the Reds were on track to have a kick-butt young team in 2003 (including during the early part of the 2003 season).