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Thread: John Sickels Top 75 Prospects at Midseason

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    Re: John Sickels Top 75 Prospects at Midseason

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    What makes you think that?
    It just seems like a pretty tall order to go from a .213 average in AA so far to being a legitimate starting OF next year. Certainly not impossible, but I'm not sure it's realistic to expect/target it. Heck, a 2015 September call-up followed by a starting job that he holds onto in 2016 (at age 22 I might add) might even be a bit borderline aggressively optomistic. In terms of development, I tend to like to see a guy come close to dominating his current level for a period of time before promoting. Not a knock on him at all, just trying to avoid unrealistic expectations. (see next post for more)
    Last edited by Redeyecat; 07-16-2014 at 07:50 AM.

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    Re: John Sickels Top 75 Prospects at Midseason

    Quote Originally Posted by nmculbreth View Post
    Why? He's already in AA and he's had a really mature approach at the plate from the moment he entered the system.
    Per above, he's only 20 years old with only 89 plate appearances above Class A. I'm in no way down on him as a prospect, but in those 89 PAs he's hitting .213 with a .360 SLG (granted he is showing a fine eye with a .326 OBP) and we are in the back half of 2014. To expect him to be a quality starting LF in MLB next year seems pretty optomistic if not unrealistic to me.

    For comparison, he's been compared lately to Jay Bruce. At age 20 in 2007, Bruce also started in A ball before being promoted to AA ball where he hit .333/.405/.652 in 74 PAs. At almost this time of year, around July 12, he was promoted to AAA where he hit .305/.358/.567 in 204 PAs. That made him the #1 prospect in all of baseball going into 2008 by baseballamerica.com and baseballprospectus.com. But he still went back to AAA in 2008 for another 200 PAs where he crushed even better: .364/.393/.630 before getting called to the Show in late May. From there he was decent (great for his age), but certainly nothing spectacular as a ML hitter, especially a corner OF: .254/.314/.453 in 452 PAs for a 97 OPS+. Developmental benefit aside, is a 97 OPS+ enough to be considered a legitimate productive full-time LF for a contending team? For reference Ludwick's OPS+ this year is 104 and he has no shortage of critics.

    Could Winker catch up and follow a similar path to Bruce and be ready (to the extent that a 97 OPS+ is ready for fulltime LF) at some point in 2015? Maybe, but I see that as an absolute best case scenario. Right now he's way behind Bruce's age 20 AA numbers in a similar # of PA's and thus I'm guessing not likely to called up to AAA mid July ala Bruce. Even if he adjusts and improves at AA as he very likely will, it's pretty hard to project him as the #1 prospect in baseball by this coming off season again ala Bruce. Of course, need/opportunity are factors as well, but I'm leery of penciling him as a legitimate 2015 LF starter - much less doing it in ink. And as far as Winker being the 2015 Opening Day starter (for those who are thinking along those lines) my doubts are even greater.

    There's absolutely no shame in not claiming a starting MLB corner OF job until age 22 as Winker would be on Opening Day and for most of the 2016 season. Heck even if it took to 2017, it would still be quite impressive. It can get easy for us fans to get carried away with unrealistic expectations, but I think we (and perhaps the player too) are usually better served by setting more reasonable ones and occassionally being pleasantly surprised when they are exceeded.

    Way OT and it's not a perfect fit, but any "Rectify" fans out there? "Banish expectations! Reinstate wonder!"
    Last edited by Redeyecat; 07-16-2014 at 08:28 AM.

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    Re: John Sickels Top 75 Prospects at Midseason

    I can't refute any of that - good post!

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    Sprinkles are for winners dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: John Sickels Top 75 Prospects at Midseason

    Quote Originally Posted by Redeyecat View Post
    It just seems like a pretty tall order to go from a .213 average in AA so far to being a legitimate starting OF next year. Certainly not impossible, but I'm not sure it's realistic to expect/target it. Heck, a 2015 September call-up followed by a starting job that he holds onto in 2016 (at age 22 I might add) might even be a bit borderline aggressively optomistic. In terms of development, I tend to like to see a guy come close to dominating his current level for a period of time before promoting. Not a knock on him at all, just trying to avoid unrealistic expectations. (see next post for more)
    Small sample size. Low BABIP.

    His peripherals are quite good in Pensacola at this point. Very high walk rate, solid strikeout rate, showing some power despite being a lefty in a home ballpark that kills lefty power. One year is an insanely long time when it comes to 20-21 year olds.

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    Re: John Sickels Top 75 Prospects at Midseason

    I'm not worried at all about Winker but expecting him to become a factor in 2015 for the big club is really crazy. Maybe a September callup but even that is aggressive.
    "If this was a court of law, the cross examination would go after the credibility of the witness." Homer Bailey on Latos snarking on the team after his trade

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    Re: John Sickels Top 75 Prospects at Midseason

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Small sample size. Low BABIP.

    His peripherals are quite good in Pensacola at this point. Very high walk rate, solid strikeout rate, showing some power despite being a lefty in a home ballpark that kills lefty power. One year is an insanely long time when it comes to 20-21 year olds.
    Small sample size no doubt and I'll take your word on the peripherals since I haven't seen them although the "some power" position sounds a bit generous regardless of home ballpark (isn't one of his better skills the ability to hit to all fields?) given he only has 5 doubles and 2 homers in that .360 SLG. I also agree that one year can be an insanely long time when it comes to 20-21 year olds, but doesn't that work both ways (see Corcino, Daniel - age 21 in AA in 2012)? I guess I don't see the logic of expecting/projecting what seems to me to be a very optomistic absolute best case scenario especially given the current performance in AA, small sample size and all. Anyway, I'll stand behind my guess (fwiw and I admit that ain't much) that he won't be a legitimate (injuries/need might force a situation I suppose ala Lutz) quality starting ML LF in 2015 knowing I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

    What's your most likely projection for Winker in terms of taking over LF for the Reds? Also I'm curious if you can think of any comps of corner OFs at least somewhat struggling in a small sample in AA into the 2nd half of the season who went on to become a legitimate quality starting ML corner OF the very next year?
    Last edited by Redeyecat; 07-16-2014 at 05:22 PM.

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    Sprinkles are for winners dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: John Sickels Top 75 Prospects at Midseason

    Quote Originally Posted by Redeyecat View Post
    Small sample size no doubt and I'll take your word on the peripherals since I haven't seen them although the "some power" position sounds a bit generous regardless of home ballpark (isn't one of his better skills the ability to hit to all fields?) given he only has 5 doubles and 2 homers in that .360 SLG. I also agree that one year can be an insanely long time when it comes to 20-21 year olds, but doesn't that work both ways (see Corcino, Daniel - age 21 in AA in 2012)? I guess I don't see the logic of expecting/projecting what seems to me to be a very optomistic absolute best case scenario especially given the current performance in AA, small sample size and all. Anyway, I'll stand behind my guess (fwiw and I admit that ain't much) that he won't be a legitimate (injuries/need might force a situation I suppose ala Lutz) quality starting ML LF in 2015 knowing I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

    What's your most likely projection for Winker in terms of taking over LF for the Reds? Also I'm curious if you can think of any comps of corner OFs at least somewhat struggling in a small sample in AA into the 2nd half of the season who went on to become a legitimate quality starting ML corner OF the very next year?
    He's put 56 baseballs into play at the Double-A level this season. Getting into much beyond that is pointless. It's the equivalent of a pitcher having two starts and saying there's no way he could start in the big leagues the next season at any point. It's a very strange stance to take.

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    Re: John Sickels Top 75 Prospects at Midseason

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    He's put 56 baseballs into play at the Double-A level this season. Getting into much beyond that is pointless. It's the equivalent of a pitcher having two starts and saying there's no way he could start in the big leagues the next season at any point. It's a very strange stance to take.
    Let's not put words in my mouth. I never said anything about "no way" - I'm probably as deeply in the "anything can happen" camp as most anybody here I'm guessing. But that's different from projecting when something specific will happen. And I'm not saying he couldn't get multiple starts next year by need/injury (see Lutz, Donald in 2012) or perhaps even many starts by miscalculation (see Taveras, Willy in 2009 or Patterson, Corey in 2008). It's just that it seems wildly optimistic to me to project him as likely to be a legitimate everyday MLB corner OF next year based upon age, experience and current performance. And I'm not the one trying to dig any deeper into the 56 baseballs he's put into play in AA this season - I am the one taking the results at face value and saying I don't see how that projects into expecting Winker to be the Reds legit starting LF in 2015. If you want to completely throw out those 89 most recent AA PAs due to a combination of small sample size and home ballpark, we can do that. I still think it's quite optimistic to expect a guy to go from playing 227 very good but not insanely productive games in A ball over 2 and much of a 3rd season to a legit starting MLB LF in the 4th season.

    I've made my stance and reasoning known clearly and I believe very respectfully. I'm simply asking for your most likely projection of when Winker will be a legitimate starting MLB caliber corner OF (i.e. the Reds everyday LF performing well enough to keep the job) to see how it specifically differs from my "very strange stance". I'm also asking if you happen to have any comps to base your "most likely projection" upon?
    Last edited by Redeyecat; 07-16-2014 at 09:10 PM.

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    Sprinkles are for winners dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: John Sickels Top 75 Prospects at Midseason

    Ok, fine, taking fewer than 100 PA at face value and using them to say anything about projecting forward is a mistake. A big one.

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    Re: John Sickels Top 75 Prospects at Midseason

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Ok, fine, taking fewer than 100 PA at face value and using them to say anything about projecting forward is a mistake. A big one.
    Although I do think it can provide insight into timing of development/promotion (look at Jay Bruce in AA for example - which goes to the entire point of this discussion) that's not what I asked twice about. For the third time for the record (and aside from all the other points I made that you , when do you think Winker will be a productive starting major league corner OF? And can you think of anyone who provides a similar precedent to your best expectation?
    Last edited by Redeyecat; 07-16-2014 at 11:35 PM.

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    Re: John Sickels Top 75 Prospects at Midseason

    Quote Originally Posted by Redeyecat View Post
    Although I do think it can provide insight into timing of development/promotion (look at Jay Bruce in AA for example - which goes to the entire point of this discussion) that's not what I asked twice about. For the third time for the record, when do you think Winker will be a productive starting major league corner OF? And can you think of anyone who provides a similar precedent to your best expectation?
    Just pointing out, but it wasn't so much that Bruce played his way into a promotion from AA, despite his good numbers. Bruce's original trip to AAA was billed as a two week stop gap, until some players in Louisville got healthy. But as we know now, Bruce destroyed AAA pitching, and never looked back.

    As to Winker, his samples in AA are still really small, and while there have been, and will be, adjustments to be made, I don't think it has been enough to alter his personal timetable quite yet. The next six weeks will allow the team to get a much better feel for things going forward. Winker's skillset, while often compared to Bruce, does have some variances that stand out. Such as Bruce had quite a lot more in-game power at this stage, and was on another level defensively, while Winker's approach at the plate is quite a bit stronger for him.

    If Winker can find success at AA, there is a case to be made that he may not require time at AAA. Some feel stronger that lessons learned at the AAA level are vary valuable, while some organizations promote straight from AA, when a player shows he is ready. Depending on how the rest of the season plays out, Winker could be ready for LF anytime between next May/June, and the same months in 2016. His approach and polish show in his results to this point, he just has to continue it throughout his time in the minors.

    For the record, Doug has said at his site that Winker could be the Reds LF sometime next season, but there are way too many variables to guess at an exact date at this time.

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    Re: John Sickels Top 75 Prospects at Midseason

    Quote Originally Posted by PepperJack View Post
    Just pointing out, but it wasn't so much that Bruce played his way into a promotion from AA, despite his good numbers. Bruce's original trip to AAA was billed as a two week stop gap, until some players in Louisville got healthy. But as we know now, Bruce destroyed AAA pitching, and never looked back.

    As to Winker, his samples in AA are still really small, and while there have been, and will be, adjustments to be made, I don't think it has been enough to alter his personal timetable quite yet. The next six weeks will allow the team to get a much better feel for things going forward. Winker's skillset, while often compared to Bruce, does have some variances that stand out. Such as Bruce had quite a lot more in-game power at this stage, and was on another level defensively, while Winker's approach at the plate is quite a bit stronger for him.

    If Winker can find success at AA, there is a case to be made that he may not require time at AAA. Some feel stronger that lessons learned at the AAA level are vary valuable, while some organizations promote straight from AA, when a player shows he is ready. Depending on how the rest of the season plays out, Winker could be ready for LF anytime between next May/June, and the same months in 2016. His approach and polish show in his results to this point, he just has to continue it throughout his time in the minors.

    For the record, Doug has said at his site that Winker could be the Reds LF sometime next season, but there are way too many variables to guess at an exact date at this time.
    I agree completely. I can't imagine a scenario where Winker is the opening day LF in 2015 but I don't see late May or June being totally out of the question if the LF situation isn't addressed in the run up to the trade deadline or during the offseason. Obviously that depends in large part on Winker mastering AA and AAA, but if he shows the same kind of polish in the upper minors as he did in the low minors I think he can be a quick mover.

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    Sprinkles are for winners dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: John Sickels Top 75 Prospects at Midseason

    Quote Originally Posted by Redeyecat View Post
    Although I do think it can provide insight into timing of development/promotion (look at Jay Bruce in AA for example - which goes to the entire point of this discussion) that's not what I asked twice about. For the third time for the record (and aside from all the other points I made that you , when do you think Winker will be a productive starting major league corner OF? And can you think of anyone who provides a similar precedent to your best expectation?
    I don't just have slices of 80 plate appearances for guys in Double-A sitting around, so no, I don't have any similar precedent to look at to compare to Winker. And even if I did, it still wouldn't even be worth talking about.

    And I think there's a chance, albeit a small one, that he could be ready in April 2015. More realistic? July 2015.

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    Re: John Sickels Top 75 Prospects at Midseason

    Even if he theoretically was ready in April, the Super 2 date will likely be looming.

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    Re: John Sickels Top 75 Prospects at Midseason

    Quote Originally Posted by gilpdawg View Post
    Even if he theoretically was ready in April, the Super 2 date will likely be looming.
    Yes, but the Reds did not let the Super 2 date effect their handling of Billy Hamilton. Jesse Winker has time to turn around his statistics in AA before the end of the year. Even if he doesn't, the Reds showed with Billy that they are not going to let poor statistics in the high minors from promoting a guy that they believe will succeed in the majors.


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