John Sickels every year ranks teams top 20 prospects. The Reds top 20 in 2008 were:
1. Jay Bruce, OF, Grade A (I'm not worried about the strikeouts given his age and performance)
2. Johnny Cueto, RHP, Grade A-
3. Joey Votto, 1B, Grade A-
4. Homer Bailey, RHP, Grade B+
5. Todd Frazier, SS-3B, Grade B+
6. Matthew Maloney, LHP, Grade B (I have always liked him, has component marks of a power pitcher not a finesse guy even though he doesn't throw hard)
7. Devin Mesoraco, C, Grade B
8. Drew Stubbs, OF, Grade B-
9. Neftali Soto, SS-3B, Grade B-
10. Kyle Lotzkar, RHP, Grade B- (a long way off but a good intuitive feeling)
11. Daniel Dorn, OF, Grade B- (major sleeper)
12. Jared Burton, RHP, Grade C+
13. Tyler Pelland, LHP, Grade C+
14. Pedro Viola, LHP, Grade C+ (sleeper!)
15. Travis Wood, LHP, Grade C+ (health??)
16. Josh Roenicke, RHP, Grade C+
17. Scott Carroll, RHP, Grade C+
18. Chris Valaika, INF, Grade C+
19. Adam Rosales, 1B, Grade C+
20. Sean Watson, RHP, Grade C+
21. Brandon Waring, 3B, Grade C+ (the strikeouts scare me)
Sickels post this review on this list:
1) Jay Bruce, OF, Grade A
.364/.393/.630 line in Triple-A led to major league promotion. Plate discipline has held him back to .267/.320/.407 in the majors, but hard to complain overall.
2) Johnny Cueto, RHP, Grade A-
I got a lot of email flack about ranking Cueto ahead of Bailey. He's been somewhat erratic at 7-10, 5.02 with a 116/47 K/BB in 129 innings, but he's better than Bailey.
3) Joey Votto, 1B, Grade A-
.275/.344/.447 with 13 homers. He's capable of even more.
4) Homer Bailey, RHP, Grade B+
4.42 with 82/38 K/BB in 94 innings in Triple-A, 6.52 with 11/13 K/BB in 29 innings in the majors. Both his velocity and command have been erratic and it is hard to know what to expect.
5) Todd Frazier, SS-3B, Grade B+
Dominated the Midwest League at .321/.402/.598. Promoted to Florida State League and has done well at .290/.372/.459. Double-A next year will tell us a lot.
6) Matthew Maloney, LHP, Grade B
4.19 ERA with 107/32 K/BB in 112 innings, 105 hits allowed. Doing OK overall, good control, gives up some homers, fourth starter type.
7) Devin Mesoraco, C, Grade B
.280/.329/.436 for Dayton in the Midwest League. Plate discipline has been shaky, but overall this is good for the pitching-dominated Midwest League.
8) Drew Stubbs, OF, Grade B-
.261/.366/.406 with 27 steals for Sarasota in the FSL. Promoted to Double-A, is at .296/.397/.352 so far. Impressive speed and defense, draws some walks, strikes out alot, power disappointing.
9) Neftali Soto, SS-3B, Grade B-
.388/.423/.746 in the Pioneer League,.323/.346/.510 in the Midwest League. Impressvie bat, plate discipline an issue but hasn't hurt him yet.
10) Kyle Lotzkar, RHP, Grade B-
3.86 ERA with 48/24 K/BB in 35 innings for Dayton. Love the K/IP, will have to sharpen control.
11) Daniel Dorn, OF, Grade B-
.260/.354/.533 for Double-A Chattanooga. Sleeper pick showing good power.
12) Jared Burton, RHP, Grade C+
2.23 ERA with 50/17 K/BB in 48 innings with the Reds. Have to be happy with that.
13) Tyler Pelland, LHP, Grade C+
4.06 ERA with 51/28 K/BB in 44 innings for Triple-A Louisville. Not great obviously, though K/IP is promising.
14) Pedro Viola, LHP, Grade C+
5.54 ERA with 59/27 K/BB in 52 innings for Chattanooga, 60 hits allowed. Good K/IP, other marks unimpressive.
15) Travis Wood, LHP, Grade C+
Did well at Sarasota (2.70, 41/21 K/BB in 47 innings) but has struggled in Double-A, 6.58 ERA with 45/31 K/BB and 59 hits in 52 innings makes an uneasy transition.
16) Josh Roenicke, RHP, Grade C+
Combined 2.70 ERA with 53/17 K/BB in 47 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 12 saves. Looks like he can help in pen soon.
17) Scott Carroll, RHP, Grade C+
3.30 ERA with 55/17 K/BB in 71 innings for Sarasota, 76 hits. Good command, Double-A transition may not be overly easy.
18) Chris Valaika, INF, Grade C+
.297/.349/.440 in 75 games for Chattanooga. Looks pretty solid, would like to see more walks.
19) Adam Rosales, 1B, Grade C+
.265/.320/.421 in Triple-A. He could be capable of better and is defensively versatile.
20) Sean Watson, RHP, Grade C+
6.55 ERA with 29/20 K/BB in 22 innings in Double-A. Good stuff, command is obviously a big problem right now.
21) Brandon Waring, 3B, Grade C+
,284/.362/.498 for Dayton, but with a 33/117 BB/K in 327 at-bats. Big power potential but contact will be a problem.
Daryl Thompson didn't make this list, although I did give him a decent review in the book and he showed up on my Shadow Twins list. This is a farm system that has made huge improvements in recent years, has graduated promising players to the majors, and still has some depth. The 2008 draft looks pretty good on paper. Overall Reds fans should look forward to the future.
My thing is who do we think could be in the top 20 next year? Also who could be used to obtain a bat or starter?