re Valaika still at SS. I am big CV fan. Few things would please me more than his sticking at SS. I think he is a strong competitor who will learn to hit ML pitching as he has at every other level. My reservations defensively go back to the Baseball America draft assessment that he has below average range for a SS. This year's fielding statistics suggest that he is less sure handed than either Janish or Cozart. Valaika = .953; Janish = .968 at AAA; Cozart= .979. My use of the word "still" was a reference to the fact that the Reds have not yet ruled him out.
Regarding the speed with which players move through the minors, it is a generalization based not on Cozart's draft cohort, but on the minor league experience and performance of young players on the major league rosters of other teams. When I look at their minor league stats, I conclude that most would still in the minors if they were in the Reds' system. lAs a test, I looked at the rosters of the NL East teams for players age 24 and younger. With one exception, Cole Hamels, I concluded that these players would still be in the minors if they had put up the same numbers for the Reds. Here is a list of the players I considered.
Atlanta: Jair Jurrgens, Greg Blanco (compare his stats to Hanigan's)
Washington: Collin Balester; John Lannan; Jesus Flores (A+ to ML); Ryan Zimmerman (same class as Valaika, had great numbers but only 17 ABs at A- and 233 at AA before being promoted to ML)
NY Mets: Nick Evans (no AAA); Ambiorix Burgos; Mike Pelfrey
Philadelphia: Kyle Kendrick
Florida: Chris Volstad;; Andrew Miller; Scott Olsen (good numbers, but only 87 IP above A+); Anibal Sanchez. It is worth noting that the Marlins have had excellent success in turning over their roster.
There is something to be said for the methodical approach the Reds have been following under WK and WJ. The minors are where defensive skills need to be polished as well. IMO EE was rushed too fast.
My gripe about moving prospects through the system slowly stems from my frustration over the log jam at the ML and AAA levels. We have a wealth of both position players and pitchers who have proven themselves and need to be challenged by a move to the next level. I think to some extent the Reds are holding onto players on their major league roster in the hope of trading rather than releasing them. In the case of AAA players who do not figure into the Reds future, I think Louisville is nonetheless owed an opportunity to compete for a title. Still, it is frustrating. We are running out of time in the minor league season.