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Thread: Reds Top Prospects - April 2014 Edition

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    Reds Top Prospects - April 2014 Edition

    With the season kicking off and all prospects being assigned to their starting teams, it's time for the first 2014 version of Reds Top Prospects.

    GRADE A

    1. Robert Stephenson RHP AA - Only question left seems to be whether he'll make his Cincinnati debut in September 2014 or April 2015. Should be in Louisville by the ASB.

    GRADE B

    2. Phil Ervin OF A - Would like to see him move quickly and get to Bakersfield by Memorial Day. Inconspicuous start so far in Dayton.
    3. Jesse Winker OF A+ - This could be his breakout year. Hopefully playing alongside Ervin will allow them to push each other.
    4. Yorman Rodriguez OF AA - Also could have a breakout year, after having a breakout second half last year. Should be in Louisville by the ASB and Cincy sometime in 2015- possibly even starting in LF.
    5. Ben Lively RHP A+ - The Cingrani comparisons are good with regards to how quick he can move through the system. Suprised he didn't start in Pensacola and would hope to see him there shortly. May even finish 2014 in Louisville if he continues to thrive.

    GRADE C

    6. Michael Lorenzen RHP AA - Will be interesting to see how he fares as a starter in Pensacola.
    7. David Holmberg LHP AAA - Good BOR depth for the big club, not sure if he'll ever get a fair chance to become a mainstay in the Cincy rotation with Stephenson and Lively's hoofbeats behind him.
    8. Nick Travieso RHP A - Would like to see him pitch this year to justify his draft position and believe he might be able to do it. Needs to strikeout more hitters, especially if he's going to play all year in Dayton.
    9. Tucker Barnhart C AAA/MLB - Debated whether to keep him on as he is temporarily with the big club until Mez gets back. Will eventually replace Pena and be a tandem with Mez for years to come, beginning next year.
    10. Seth Mejias-Brean 3B A+ - He should mash in Bakersfield if he is real. If he's not, he'll stay there all year. With Vidal switching to the dish, the path is clear for SMB to elevate.
    11. Jon Moscot RHP AA - Would like to see more of him. Ranked here mostly off of the word of others.
    12. Carlos Contreras RHP AA - Starter or reliever? Either way he should have an impact in Cincinnati within the next couple years.
    13. Junior Arias CF A+ - Another breakout candidate has started the year very hot. Could move to Pensacola once Yorman gets promoted.
    14. Jose Ortiz C R - Disappointed he didn't start in Dayton, but he is still very young. Only catcher below AAA of note at this point, so his path is clear.
    15. Kyle Waldrop OF A+ - A guy I've always liked has started the year scorching. Could also see a promotion to Pensacola once Lutz moves to Louisville.

    ON THE RADAR (Honorable Mention)

    Ismael Guillon LHP A - Looking dominant in his third year in Dayton. Time for a move up?
    Amir Garrett LHP A - First full year of baseball will be interesting to see if he can get results.
    Tanner Rahier 3B A - I expect him to hit this year, much better than he did the previous two.
    Carlton Daal SS A - The only full season hope in the middle infield, could he be the next DiDi?
    Chad Rogers/Daniel Corcino RHP - I don't expect either to be an impact arm at the big league level, but both could add value to the Cincy bullpen beginning next year

    KEEP AN EYE ON (Too Early to Tell)

    Jeremy Kivel RHP R
    Mark Armstrong RHP R
    Cory Thompson SS R
    Kevin Franklin 3B R
    Jacob Constante LHP R

    As everyone knows, this system clearly lacks and needs middle infielders. Trea Turner would be a very welcome addition in the draft, as he brings almost Hamilton-like speed but can stick at SS and potentially move quickly as a college guy. I'll be keeping an eye on another of my favorites, Cory Thompson, once the Billings season begins.

    I'd be surprised if anyone gets promoted in the next 3-4 weeks, but the guys to keep an eye on are Corcino, Rodriguez and Lutz going to Louisville; Lively, Arias and Waldrop going to Pensacola; Guillon, Ervin and Gelalich going to Bakersfield; and Ortiz going to Dayton.
    Last edited by Benihana; 04-07-2014 at 12:11 PM.
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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - April 2014 Edition

    Help me out here--
    Why is everyone so excited about Yorman Rodriguez? What has he done in professional baseball that warrants a Grade B projection? Furthermore, what has he done for anyone to project him to move up a level by July and perhaps to Cincinnati in 2015 as a starting leftfielder????


    I get he is a freakish athlete and he is 21 years old... but, again, what is he doing that is so eye catching that would lead you to believe he could even CONTEND for a starting position at the major league level by next spring????????

    Let's compare YRod's AA experience so far to some current Reds players and their performances at AA

    YRod (age 20/21) .261/.326/.373 in 70 games at AA 4 home runs, 5/5 stolen bases, 79 strikeouts in 70 games
    Heisey (age 24/25) .340/.409/.554 in 91 games at AA 15 home runs, 18/19 stolen bases, 49 strikeouts in 91 games....
    Frazier (age 23) .290/.350/.481 in 119 games 14 home runs, 7/15 stolen bases, 67 strikeouts in 119 games
    Cozart (age 23) .262/.360/.398 in 131 games 10 home runs, 10/12 stolen bases, 87 strikeouts in 131 games

    Obviously, his age is an advantage compared to the others, but--until he starts proving he can handle AA and then AAA, I would not even worry about him as a starting left fielder for the big club.

    ALSO-- with Robert Stephenson--

    The ONLY way he makes an appearance in 2014 or early 2015 is if there is at least three major league starters that go down.
    He needs to build innings and workload before even considering him for a rotation spot.
    Last season, he pitched in 114 innings. I imagine this year they would like to extend that to 130-140, and in 2015 to 150 to 160.

    I think if he gets called up at all--it will be after the all-star break in 2015.
    Once he gets the innings taken care of, he will be ready for 2016, and he will be needed because The Reds will probably be lacking in one or two of Leake, Cueto, Latos.

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    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - April 2014 Edition

    Nice list.
    I guess I'd be a bit more generous and move Stephenson to A+, Ervin and Winkler to A (since they project as starting players with offense).
    I'd probably move Lorenzen, Holmberg, and Barnhart to B players. The Reds are high on them, and they are pretty strong bets to make the ML club. Even if Barnhart just becomes a backup catcher, that's a pretty good success story.
    Being picky,but I see those guys quite a bit better than the other C players.
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

    Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - April 2014 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Votto View Post
    Help me out here--
    Why is everyone so excited about Yorman Rodriguez? What has he done in professional baseball that warrants a Grade B projection? Furthermore, what has he done for anyone to project him to move up a level by July and perhaps to Cincinnati in 2015 as a starting leftfielder????


    I get he is a freakish athlete and he is 21 years old... but, again, what is he doing that is so eye catching that would lead you to believe he could even CONTEND for a starting position at the major league level by next spring????????
    Really? You need eight question marks????????

    Let's compare YRod's AA experience so far to some current Reds players and their performances at AA

    YRod (age 20/21) .261/.326/.373 in 70 games at AA 4 home runs, 5/5 stolen bases, 79 strikeouts in 70 games
    Heisey (age 24/25) .340/.409/.554 in 91 games at AA 15 home runs, 18/19 stolen bases, 49 strikeouts in 91 games....
    Frazier (age 23) .290/.350/.481 in 119 games 14 home runs, 7/15 stolen bases, 67 strikeouts in 119 games
    Cozart (age 23) .262/.360/.398 in 131 games 10 home runs, 10/12 stolen bases, 87 strikeouts in 131 games

    Obviously, his age is an advantage compared to the others, but--until he starts proving he can handle AA and then AAA, I would not even worry about him as a starting left fielder for the big club.
    You answered your own question. You are comparing a 20 year old to a 24 year old and two 23 year olds who played at big time college programs. Don't you think that's a bit apples and oranges? If not, here's another one - one of the Reds current starters had this line at age 21 in High A (a level below AA):

    .256/.330/.425 in 124 games 17 home runs, 4/9 stolen bases, 122 strikeouts at age 21 in A+
    .261/.326/.373 in 70 games at AA 4 home runs, 5/5 stolen bases, 79 strikeouts at age 20 in AA (Yorman's line)

    Can you guess who that first player was?

    ALSO-- with Robert Stephenson--

    The ONLY way he makes an appearance in 2014 or early 2015 is if there is at least three major league starters that go down.
    He needs to build innings and workload before even considering him for a rotation spot.
    Last season, he pitched in 114 innings. I imagine this year they would like to extend that to 130-140, and in 2015 to 150 to 160.

    I think if he gets called up at all--it will be after the all-star break in 2015.
    Once he gets the innings taken care of, he will be ready for 2016, and he will be needed because The Reds will probably be lacking in one or two of Leake, Cueto, Latos.
    The ONLY way? I'll bet he could make an appearance in 2014 or early 2015 without THREE major league starters going down. That said, I agree he may not be a full time rotation staple until 2016 due to an innings limit.
    Last edited by Benihana; 04-07-2014 at 07:37 PM.
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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - April 2014 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by REDREAD View Post
    Nice list.
    I guess I'd be a bit more generous and move Stephenson to A+, Ervin and Winkler to A (since they project as starting players with offense).
    I'd probably move Lorenzen, Holmberg, and Barnhart to B players. The Reds are high on them, and they are pretty strong bets to make the ML club. Even if Barnhart just becomes a backup catcher, that's a pretty good success story.
    Being picky,but I see those guys quite a bit better than the other C players.
    I hear ya. Everyone has different definitions but I generally go by:

    Grade A - top 25 prospect in the game and All-Star potential
    Grade B - top 100 prospect in the game and should be a major league starter (and possibly occasional All-Star)
    Grade C - should likely at least make the majors at some point
    Last edited by Benihana; 04-07-2014 at 07:51 PM.
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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - April 2014 Edition

    A. Yes-- I did need eight question marks.

    B. Joey Votto's 2005 Sarasota season at age 21 was still TWO years removed from a September call-up to the Big Club--because why?
    He still needed more seasoning--so, yes he mashed AA pitching in his first AA appearance at the age of 22 in 2006.
    Now,
    With Votto's AA splits of .319/.408/.547 did they move him up to AAA in by the All-Star break in 2006?
    No.

    Why? Because Jesse Gutierrez stood in his path?
    No. Because he needed more seasoning.

    Votto went and played AAA in 2007 where he hit .294/.381/.478. Did they bring Votto up in mid-season?
    No. They waited until September call-ups.

    After Votto cruised in September 2007, he won the first base job from Hatteberg in 2008.
    Did Votto immediately go into the middle of the lineup?
    No. He stayed at the 7 spot until August.

    So, yes forgive me if I find it a bit ridiculous to project Yorman as his performance thus far at AA (and his entire professional career) to suddenly pull it all together, get a quick boost to AAA in mid-season, and be ready to wrestle away a starting LF position from probably Heisey in 2015. I don't see it. He will still need to prove himself at AA-whcich he has gotten off to a slow start, and then he will need to prove himself at AAA. To me, unless something totally freakish or absurd happens, and he learns how to make effective contact all of the time, increases his power, and gets on base--then he is stuck in the minors for at the very minimum of two years. There is nothing wrong with that. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. The kid will still be 23 years old, but--to say he could be vying for a starting position at the major league level by 2015-- is a HUGE leap.

    As far as Stephenson--
    The key will be for him to get to that innings mark. Whether he does it in AA or AAA. They need to build him up. If he is anywhere near 130 innings by September--they shut him down and say thank you very much, let's see what you have in AAA for 2015. If a couple of starters go down--they will bring in Simon, they will call-up Francis, they will bring up Holmberg, they will look to LeCure. Because, let's face it--if the Reds lose three starting pitchers for ANY length of time where they need to consider starting the clock on Stephenson--the season will be down the drain anyways, so why call him up?

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - April 2014 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Votto View Post
    A. Yes-- I did need eight question marks.

    B. Joey Votto's 2005 Sarasota season at age 21 was still TWO years removed from a September call-up to the Big Club--because why?
    He still needed more seasoning--so, yes he mashed AA pitching in his first AA appearance at the age of 22 in 2006.
    Now,
    With Votto's AA splits of .319/.408/.547 did they move him up to AAA in by the All-Star break in 2006?
    No.

    Why? Because Jesse Gutierrez stood in his path?
    No. Because he needed more seasoning.

    Votto went and played AAA in 2007 where he hit .294/.381/.478. Did they bring Votto up in mid-season?
    No. They waited until September call-ups.

    After Votto cruised in September 2007, he won the first base job from Hatteberg in 2008.
    Did Votto immediately go into the middle of the lineup?
    No. He stayed at the 7 spot until August.

    So, yes forgive me if I find it a bit ridiculous to project Yorman as his performance thus far at AA (and his entire professional career) to suddenly pull it all together, get a quick boost to AAA in mid-season, and be ready to wrestle away a starting LF position from probably Heisey in 2015. I don't see it. He will still need to prove himself at AA-whcich he has gotten off to a slow start, and then he will need to prove himself at AAA. To me, unless something totally freakish or absurd happens, and he learns how to make effective contact all of the time, increases his power, and gets on base--then he is stuck in the minors for at the very minimum of two years. There is nothing wrong with that. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. The kid will still be 23 years old, but--to say he could be vying for a starting position at the major league level by 2015-- is a HUGE leap.

    As far as Stephenson--
    The key will be for him to get to that innings mark. Whether he does it in AA or AAA. They need to build him up. If he is anywhere near 130 innings by September--they shut him down and say thank you very much, let's see what you have in AAA for 2015. If a couple of starters go down--they will bring in Simon, they will call-up Francis, they will bring up Holmberg, they will look to LeCure. Because, let's face it--if the Reds lose three starting pitchers for ANY length of time where they need to consider starting the clock on Stephenson--the season will be down the drain anyways, so why call him up?
    Ok, but as a gentlemen's bet I'll bet you that both Yorman Rodriguez and Robert Stephenson see Cincy at some point in 2015. Not suggesting they'll stick right away or even at all, but I bet they will both make their major league debuts sometime in the next 18 months. And that's all I ever suggested in the OP (which clearly stated assuming Yorman has a breakout campaign in 2014).
    Last edited by Benihana; 04-07-2014 at 09:21 PM.
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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - April 2014 Edition

    I don't have a dog in the fight either way, but I'm willing to bet Stephenson is up the minute the Reds think his arm and maturity is ready. Not overly worried about his inning limit. They will shut him down the way they did Leake, or move him to the bullpen over a season's second half if need be.

    The Reds have shown they have a good idea how to handle young pitchers(perhaps Chapman excluded, IDK) They have brought Leake and Cingrani to the Majors, when they were ready to be the Reds best option, I figure Stephenson will be the same.

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - April 2014 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by PepperJack View Post
    I don't have a dog in the fight either way, but I'm willing to bet Stephenson is up the minute the Reds think his arm and maturity is ready. Not overly worried about his inning limit. They will shut him down the way they did Leake, or move him to the bullpen over a season's second half if need be.

    The Reds have shown they have a good idea how to handle young pitchers(perhaps Chapman excluded, IDK) They have brought Leake and Cingrani to the Majors, when they were ready to be the Reds best option, I figure Stephenson will be the same.
    I don't think the Reds will call him up the minute he is ready because he may be ready and the Reds will have Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Cingrani and Leake in their rotation. Stephenson could be incredible. I am obviously a huge believer. But the Reds aren't just going to kick one of those guys out of the rotation when they think Stephenson is ready if those guys are all healthy.

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - April 2014 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I don't think the Reds will call him up the minute he is ready because he may be ready and the Reds will have Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Cingrani and Leake in their rotation. Stephenson could be incredible. I am obviously a huge believer. But the Reds aren't just going to kick one of those guys out of the rotation when they think Stephenson is ready if those guys are all healthy.
    I didn't mean to imply that, if that was what it read like. What I meant was, that I don't think they will have him in the Minors for two more years, if he is ready much sooner that that.

    For instance, if he is ready over the second half of 2014/early 2015, and there is an injury to somebody in the rotation that is more than a spot start, they might bring him up then. Or, if he is ready heading into 2015, and they can't agree to an extension with one of Latos/Cueto/Leake, then they may trade that pitcher for another upgrade, and slot Stephenson into that spot.

    Mostly, these things have a way of working themselves out. In a positive way, if the Reds are lucky.

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - April 2014 Edition

    I know Juan Duran is not on this list nut I am hoping for a breakout season this year from him. If it will ever happen I would think it would be about now.

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - April 2014 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by klw View Post
    I know Juan Duran is not on this list nut I am hoping for a breakout season this year from him. If it will ever happen I would think it would be about now.
    Agreed- would love to see a breakout seasons from Juan Gone. Problem is, even if it happens, he is destined for 1B in my opinion. In LF I fear he would be Adam Dunn redux. Still though, would be a nice chip to have to ship to an AL team at the deadline if he can break through.
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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - April 2014 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Benihana View Post
    4. Yorman Rodriguez OF AA - Also could have a breakout year, after having a breakout second half last year. Should be in Louisville by the ASB and Cincy sometime in 2015- possibly even starting in LF.
    "After having a breakout second half last year"
    How do you define breakout? I mean, if you compare it to his month of May in 2014... then,ok. It was certainly a break-out for him.

    I just found the minor-league spilts at Baseball-Reference--and I am not sure where he had a "breakout second half" Breakout compared to, whom or what?

    He had a hot month of June, where in 15 games in Single-A Bakersfield, he had 8 of the 12 doubles for the month, 3 of his four triples, and both of his homeruns.

    When he was moved up to AA he still hit .313 for the remainder of the month, but his slugging went from .642 in two weeks in Bakersfield to .431 in Pensacola. And then from there, he just went back to normal numbers. So, for one two week stretch I Bakersfield, the cat was playing above average, but... then averages worked their way out--and he was back to normal.

    Anyways, here is his season spits from last year. Again, I don't see "Breakout" material there. Just one hot streak, really. And nothing indicating that he will be anything more than a cup of coffee in 2015, and not someone who will contend for a starting position, unless the Reds fall victim to a plane crash.

    It is my gentleman's bet that the ONLY reason Yorman gets a call-up in 2014 or 2015, is because he is on the 40-man roster, and the Reds will need a warm body to fill out the MLB roster if someone gets hurt. He will not get there because he blew up AA or AAA, but because the Reds have invested too much time and money to risk losing him by bouncing him from the 40-man and/or the Reds run out of options on Lutz/Soto and superstar sensation (yes, sarcasm) Ryan LaMarre is hurt in AAA and can't come up to shag flyballs, pinch run, or be thrown a mercy at-bat when the Reds are up or down 5 runs in a late inning ballgame.

    MONTH LEAGUE AVG OBP SLG OPS 2B HR SB BB K
    APRIL, 2014 A .263 .344 .488 .832 6 4 2 7 23
    MAY, 2014 A .189 .259 .349 .608 6 3 3 10 33
    JUNE, 2014 A/AA .328 .371 .552 .993 12 2 1 8 31
    JULY, 2014 AA .255 .340 .372 .712 3 2 2 12 27
    AUGUST, 2014 AA .259 .317 .361 .678 8 1 2 10 37
    Last edited by Don Votto; 04-10-2014 at 12:55 PM.


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