Re: Your Top 10 prospects in the Reds system?
How many of these guys are likely to produce more than average big league seasons?
Booker could become a dominant closer. Because of his age and serious arm problems, he is discounted by some. He is one of the few pitchers we have with brute power.
Wagner could tandem with Booker for a nice 1-2 bullpen punch. His stuff is different enough, with that devastating slider to make them offset each other well.
Claussen is a puzzle. His peripheral numbers are good but he is struggling. The I remember he is a lefty and traditionally they "blossom" later. Someone tell me why but it is one of those old baseball truisms. Anyway, he is anywhere from a #2 to #4 starter in the big leagues. Likely not as good as the biggest hype but definitely a major league capable talent. Just enough of a power arm to begin a differentiation between our starters - I agree that one huge problem for our staff is teams are essentially seeing the same guy night after night - our starters have similar repertoires and velocity.
Moseley. He may actually wind up better than Claussen. This guy can pitch - he appears to have that elusive and essential ingredient for really good pitchers - an idea, combined with enough stuff to carry it out. Reminds me of a young Greg Maddux. That is huge hype, I know, but I'm talking about his ceiling, not his likely production. Still, teamed with lefty harder throwing Claussen they make a nice combination as a starting tandem.
Nelson - His stuff is real. Now it's mostly confidence and mechanics. I think he makes the Reitsma trade look good in the long view but he isn't likely to be ready before Sep 05 and more likely sometime in 06. His trademate KJ Bong gives us a crafty lefty with a terrific sweeping curve. This tandem is also righty-lefty, this time with the righty being the power pitcher. I see Bong in long relief roles and spot starting more than I do as a rotation set piece, but as a number 5 he might be okay - especially if he follows a power pitcher.
Todd Coffey - Hit AA running and is prime for a jump to AAA. I like the fact the Reds aren't promoting willy-nilly anymore. Let this kid dominate there all summer. Then next year a long look in spring, start out in Louisville and if he continues to dominate, he's in our bullpen by June.
Claussen, Moseley, Nelson, Bong, Coffey, Wagner, Booker. That's the makings of a good young pitching staff. Left-Right, power-finesse, starters-relievers. Balance and potential. Give these kids a year, add Ace and maybe Harang (another mix of styles), Reidling if he hasn't been traded and it actually ooks promising.
I don't include any of the draftees or the A ball guys because they are too far away. Many of them will drop from sight at AA levels. I agree with guys on these other list, all of them are solid talents but at their level their are Soooo many ??? its too hard to predict anything including when they will arrive. I don't think that's at all possible before a season of AA ball.
As for hitters, Edwin of course tops my list. I think he'll be here in September. Mark third as solved. I really am high on William Bergolla. He won't make you happy if you expect every player in Red to hit 30 homers a year, but he'll play second with range, has terrific speed and is a prototypical leadoff man. He needs to walk more.
Sardinha may surprise people - he has shown much better hitting and is a very good D catcher. Likely he'll be a backup unless he can hit in the bigs like he has this year for the Bats, which isn't that likely.
That is all the help I see from our system for a couple of years. Medlock, Gardner, Pauly, Shafer, Bailey - these guys may become top pitchers but we need another year from them at minimum to really assess them.
Shortstop is a huge hole. Janish, our new draftee has started out well at Billings, but hey - Gary Redus hit like .460 there one summer. Way too far out to project him as the starter someday and if you do who plays there for the next 2-3 years while Janish develops? Lopez reeks. I'd really rather keep Brandon Larson and let him play short - that is not a sign of how much I like Larson but how much I dislike FeLo. I used to call a headcase a "Tomko" but I think I'm going to start calling them "Felo's". Larson should sell his body to medical science and make his fortune being examined for every injury known to mankind. Between Kearns and Larson I am not sure which to declare a "National Pasttime Disaster Waiting to Happen" Award. Kearns at least is a proven hitter and defensive talent worth waiting for. Larson may wind up the greatest player no one outside Louisville cares about. Get AK healthy, team him with AD, Jr or WMP (one combination - someone is getting traded, just a ? of who) and the outfield is set. EE handles third. Jiminez handles second til Bergolla arrives. Casey should not be traded and will man first. Catching will be handled adequately with whoever- LaRue, Sardinha, et al.
Shortstop then is our black hole. Nobody in the system above rookie ball, and not many top shortstops being bandied about in trade talks. If you have a good shortstop you keep him (unless he makes 250 million a year). Bowden's try at trading for young talent (FeLo) flopped, maybe O'B can do better. I see it as a key to winning the next couple seasons (not the WS key, just staying competitive "winning").
Our second need is a stopper at the top of the rotation. Someone who can pitch head-on with Beckett or Prior or Oswalt in a playoff game and be counted on to give us a chance to win. The answer to this is plainly money. We may develop our own but that means a few years down the road unless Bailey is a true wunderkind. A mistake on a LTC here and you're crippled for a couple years minimum, that's why I was just as glad NOT to get Garcia. He's a "Tomko"- er- "Felo". He might be great or he might be awful and he's likely to be both on consecutive nights. I'd rather take a chance on Zito, or use AK/Dunn/WMP (1 not all three, okay) to pry away a Zach Day type from someone and develop our own a lot quicker. Of course, you better be right again, becuase any of those 3 outfielders is likely to be a great player for years to come. If your ace in return turns out to be pyrite, then you've traded away your one true bargaining chip for didley-squat.
The Bullpen needs immediate help but we have a few guys in the pipeline who can help there. I worry about it less long term (short term it needs a good kick outta Cincy and refitting). In fact by the end of next season I look at it as a strength.
I give O'Brien this summer and the winter to make the right deals. I accept his caution. We're more than a spare tire away from winning this race and I want him bolting the right parts on the engine.