Originally Posted by Scrap Irony
Winker and Hamilton should be above average regulars at their respective positions (LF and CF, currently). Just in the upper minors, you have others that may grow into productive offensive players:
Henry Rodriguez-- Lifetime OPS near 800 with a plus hit tool and, before his hand injury sapped it, emerging power. A classic number two hitter that's difficult to strike out.
Neftali Soto-- Enjoyed a brilliant season in 2011, then struggled in AAA in 2012. Still young enough to dominate the league (think .275/ .350/ .525) and receive interest from many teams currently lacking a big bopper at 1B.
Bryson Smith-- Similar to Henry Rodriguez, but with added speed, less of a professional pedigree, and a position switch to CF.
Steve Selsky-- Produced a 900 OPS last season in the California League. If he can go for an 850 OPS in AA this season, he could emerge as a sleeper candidate for an OF spot as early as 2014.
David Vidal-- Before last season's early trip to AA, Vidal had provided solid value at a defense-first position. He may find his power again-- if he does, he's second in line (perhaps first?) to take some ABs from Todd Frazier at the hot corner.
Donald Lutz-- Lutz played well in High A the first half, then struggled a bit both in Bakersfield and Pennsacola in the second half. He has serious pop; if his K rate drops and he finds his hit tool, he might also become an acceptable starting candidate.
None of this includes sleeper candidates like Ryan LaMarre, who has the pedigree but not the production yet. He may very well blossom into a leadoff type much like Hamilton (though not as fast).
Frankly, none of this is likely to matter much before 2015, as the Reds have candidates already in place for both 2013 and 2014. And looking for hitters two years in advance is pretty much always a crapshoot. Still, as I've said many times this offseason, the 2013 minor league season is set up to be truly fascinating.
Meh. We all know Hamilton will be up at some point by 2014. I wasn't really including him.
I was on the Soto and Lutz trains at times, but they seemed to have slipped to mediocrity.
Most studs, stud their way through the minors. Occasionally you get that guy who puts it all together late. I probably have more hope for Winker and Brean at this point than any of the guys in the levels above them (except Hamilton).
I realize the positions are stocked for awhile at the major league level. And it was just an observation, not so much a complaint.