Re: BA's Top 100 Prospects
I don't mind only Alonso and Frazier in the Top 100 at all, as those are the only Cincinnati "sure bets." (As sure as prospects get, anyway.) Both have plus bats and good to great track records that suggest success as they ramp up the minor league ladder.
That said, the Reds should have at least four other guys just outside the Top 100, and another 20 or so in the Top 200.
Valaika, Dorn, Stubbs and Soto all just miss the BA Top 100 for different reasons. Stubbs plays an elite position elitely and has enough bat to stick as a starter. Probably. Will he gain power in that bat? Perhaps. But he'll K at a rate that's really hard to swallow if he doesn't smack 20 dingers yearly or play Gold Glove defense at a premium position. There are enough questions that his absence makes sense.
Soto, OTOH, has shown a propensity for hitting the ball hard and succeeding at a young age. That Vitters just made it in and Soto is out is okay, as long as they're close, because those numbers seem to point to Soto and it's not like the kid was lacking talent. He broke Juan Gonzalez's HR record in Puerto Rico as a kid. His question is his glove. With Frazier and EdE in front of him (not to mention the conundrum that is Francisco), he may have the glove, but not the spot. From almost all reports, Soto's a but slow, but his instincts are good. And his bat, if it translates as is from the minors, is certainly good enough to play a corner OF spot.
Why is he off the list, then? I dunno. It's a headscratcher for me. The lack of walks perhaps. And the glove, I suppose. And the speed. Oh, wait. Three questions marks. I guess I know why.
Dorn is another animal, but one BA continually marks low. He's simply not really valued by Cincinnati, despite his ridiculous production. His tools are average at best, but he plays above his supposed ceiling (or at least has at the minor league level). I'd certainly rank him in the Top 100 if it were me, but I value production much more than tools. He's, IMO, the most likely to sneak up on BA and provide league average production in a LF for league minimum prices. Still, it's not like he's foolproof. His glove is a question mark, though it's not as bad as some think. His speed isn't top notch, not is his arm. But that bat looks great when you compare him to almost anyone else in the minor league system.
Valaika, I don't get. He plays a premium position and has hit very well (respective of that position) throughout his minor league career. Perhaps part of it is the low draft position, as BA is notorious for weighing draft position ahead of most other nuances. Perhaps it's questions about his glove (though those have cleared up to the point that he now profiles as an average SS at the major league level, with an underwhelming arm). He doesn't walk all that much either, so perhaps the combination of the three makes him #101.
For whatever reason, Cincinnati should have four guys at least in the next 25 or so prospects and all four could rightfully outproduce at least half of the guys on the list. It's not like these things are foolproof, after all.
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