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Thread: Baseball America rates Reds top 10 prospects

  1. #76
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    Re: Baseball America rates Reds top 10 prospects

    Shouldn't Edwin Encarnacion, be considered with the prospect group? If he is, it makes the group look a little better, with a top 20 prospect in baseball leading the way. He missed BA cut off by less than 50 abs which is about 13 to 15 games. Wily Mo Pena and Ryan Wagner are still around the ages as most of these guys so I don't think the Reds young players aren't that bad.

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  3. #77
    Lover of Trivialities Doc. Scott's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball America rates Reds top 10 prospects

    I think the Reds should push Szymanski to AA. He'll be a little old for High-A and the FSL may mess with his numbers. Even if he doesn't fulfill that athletic potential, if played right he can be a trade chit for the next two years or so. Conversely, Bailey heading to AA may very well be regrettable (not because of the league, but because of Homer's age and development level).

    The club is constantly doing the opposite: they're challenging their pitchers and coddling their hitters. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
    Last edited by Doc. Scott; 11-30-2005 at 03:40 PM.

  4. #78
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball America rates Reds top 10 prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by jmcclain19
    Keeps stalling out because BA's "Expert" is busy taking phone calls and doing other things.

    Nice
    You can tell it's a priority chat for them.

    "J.J. Cooper is busy flossing his dog's teeth, but he'll back to take your Reds questions as soon as he finishes with that and watching his DVD collection of 'The Real Gilligan's Island'."
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    Re: Baseball America rates Reds top 10 prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve
    Valid point re: Howington (who had 1 good year at high A, I believe) and Gillman (who was good in the GCL his first year, though nowhere near as good as Wood was). Gruler and Aramboles never showed much. When/If Wood and Bailey have another year in which they maintain their prospect status, I think they'll pass those guys.
    That's basically my point. I think it's cart before the horse until these guys have a big season somewhere. Ideally you'd like to see kids that haven't put together that full season rank lower on the list. Obviously the Reds have far from an ideal situation, but this strikes me a lot like putting Gruler at the top did three years ago. Sure, the kids have got potential, but right now this is a reach.
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    Re: Baseball America rates Reds top 10 prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    You can tell it's a priority chat for them.

    "J.J. Cooper is busy flossing his dog's teeth, but he'll back to take your Reds questions as soon as he finishes with that and watching his DVD collection of 'The Real Gilligan's Island'."

    Exactly - we're now 2 hours in and the guy has answered less than 30 questions. Pretty pathetic

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    Re: Baseball America rates Reds top 10 prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    That's basically my point. I think it's cart before the horse until these guys have a big season somewhere. Ideally you'd like to see kids that haven't put together that full season rank lower on the list. Obviously the Reds have far from an ideal situation, but this strikes me a lot like putting Gruler at the top did three years ago. Sure, the kids have got potential, but right now this is a reach.
    Well at least they do have potential (unlike many of the others on this list).

    Seeing that BJ is #4 on their list tells me everything I need to know about this organization. Not that I think BA are great at this, but when a too-old-for-the-level position player that did not dominate is the 4th best prospect on anyone's list....well that is scary.

    Go away DanO....please!

  8. #82
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    Re: Baseball America rates Reds top 10 prospects

    Anyway, here is the rundown so far

    He did answer a few of mine - and perhaps some from a few other redszoners

    Moderator: J.J. Cooper will begin taking your Reds questions at 2 p.m. ET

    Moderator: Hi guys, here we go, maybe a minute or two early. Fire away with your Reds queries.

    Q: Trevor from Davis, Ca asks:
    what kind of player do you see Joey Votto being? Is there a current major league player you would compare him to?

    A: J.J. Cooper: I'll have to stick with a comp that I think John Manuel came up with first last year: Brian Daubach. Like Daubach, Votto has shown (at times) a pretty good batting eye with decent lefty pop, although Votto has a chance to have a little more power than Daubach had. There are reasons for more concern about Votto than a year ago, but the Reds have reason to hope that his FSL struggles were more of an aberration than a sign that more experienced pitchers have found holes.



    Q: Rho from Korea asks:
    How how of a ceiling does Bailey have? Real #1 starter? Does he compare to Beckett?

    A: J.J. Cooper: The comparisons to Beckett are understandable considering they are both fireballing Texans. And their stuff at this age is pretty similar (As a 19-year-old, Beckett was 93-94 mph, touching 97 with a plus 12-6 curveball and a developing changeup). Bailey has the ceiling of being a No. 1 starter, because he has two plus pitches and the potential for a third average pitch, but to become a No. 1, he also has to develop plus command and plus makeup. As far as his command goes, it's not plus yet, but few hard-throwing 19-year-olds have plus command, it develops. As far as has makeup, the Reds love his competitive nature, but he's also made it clear that baseball isn't his entire life. That's a plus as far as being a well-rounded adult, but he'll have to show that he's willing to pay the price in terms of effort and hard work that it takes to be a major league ace. He has a chance to be the No. 1 that the Reds have been waiting years for, but it's a ways away.



    Q: Joe from Long Beach, CA asks:
    What happened to Chris Dickerson? I know he's not supposed to be the next big thing, but after his success at Dayton in 2004, I expected him to move forward, not regress.

    A: J.J. Cooper: If we were having this chat in late June, we would have been talking about the big steps forward he made. Dickerson's season fell apart in late July. He seemed to wear down and he got too focused on hitting home runs, which actually led to his power disappearing. Dickerson's tools compare favorably with almost anyone in the organization, but he's got a slew of CFs right behind him (Szymanski and Bruce) that means he better turn those tools into production soon.



    Q: Jeff Brown from Chicago asks:
    I noticed that Bobby Basham pitched very well at the end of last season in Double AA for the Lookouts. Has he returned to form of a few years ago as a potential pitching prospect?

    A: J.J. Cooper: He hasn't returned to the form he had before the injuries, but the Reds were encouraged, as he showed increasing arm strength while staying healthy. He was pitching at 87-88 mph for much of the season, well off of the low 90s he sat at before the labrum tear, and his slider isn't the plus-plus pitch it was before. But by the end of the season, Basham was touching 92-93 mph again, and his slider showed improvement. It's unlikely he'll ever be the pitcher he would have been pre-injury, but the Reds have some hope that he'll still be a useable major leaguer, as they expect him to show more improvement next season as he continues to build back his arm strength.



    Q: Jeff Brown from Chicago asks:
    Was Phil Dumatrait on your radar to make the top ten? I find it intriguing that he was left off having made the list the last few seasons. I am sure that despite his low ERA control is his limiting factor. Can we also attribute his omission to a higher quality pool of talent in the Reds farm system?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Dumatrait was one of a couple of guys who just missed the top 10. You hit the nail on the head, Dumatrait's command just wasn't there this year. He did a good job of pitching out of jams and limiting the damage that all of his walks did. Also, his ERA is a little misleading, as he also gave up 13 unearned runs. A lot of times, command is the last thing to come back after Tommy John, so next season will be a big test for Dumatrait. If he can improve his command, his stuff and pitchability means he could be a useful backend of the rotation starter, but command is the key.



    Q: Jeff Brown from Chicago asks:
    Do you know injured pitching prospects Thomas Pauly and Richie Gardner are supposed to be healthy for the 2006 season? If healthy, which do you think has a higher ceiling?

    A: J.J. Cooper: If both of them are healthy, I'd say Gardner has a slightly higher ceiling, just because of his feel for pitching. But neither of them is healthy right now. The Reds are pretty tight-lipped about exactly when the two are expected to return to the mound, so we have to do a little tea-leaf reading. Neither have been put on the 40-man roster, and Pauly was not sent to instructs after team doctor Tim Kremcheck had said he would be ready to go by instructs at the time of the surgery. I'd expect both to pitch at some point in 2006, but I wouldn't be surprised if neither of them was ready on Opening Day. And as in most shoulder surgery cases, I'd be surprised if they were back to their pre-injury form in 2006.



    Q: Greg from Alex City, Al asks:
    How big an upside does LeCure have and how close to the Top Ten was he? Do you consider the Reds 2005 draft an improvement over the last few drafts? Thanks, GC

    A: J.J. Cooper: Sorry, phone call that I had to take led to a break there. Lecure wasn't in the top 15 consideration, but he'll make the top 30. Comparing this Reds draft to the recent drafts is somewhat of an easy curve, as the 2000, 2001 and 2002 drafts were largely black holes that left the system trying to restock. But yeah, I think that the 2004 draft and the 2005 draft have definitely been improvements. Bailey and Bruce are two top-level additions to a system in need of high ceiling talent, and Szymanski and Wood are also high-ceiling guys. In the past two drafts, the Reds have also taken chances on guys like Philippe Valiquette and Rafael Gonzalez that could end up paying off as being low-cost, high ceiling guys as well.



    Q: Jon from Peoria asks:
    Dayton struggled again this year record-wise and there weren't too many guys that had good statistical years. Is there anybody at that level besides Bailey and Szymanski to keep an eye on? What are your thoughts on Bobby Mosby?

    A: J.J. Cooper: I think first baseman Tonys Gutierrez is a nice sleeper. He's a good defensive first baseman who has shown the ability to hit for average, draw a walk and has developing power. Adam Rosales, the shortstop during the second half was also a nice find for the Reds. He has an unconventional swing, but it seems to work, and his other tools are better than expected.



    Q: Tom T from Houston asks:
    What do you think Zach Ward's ceiling is? I hear he's supposed to have great stuff, but after the team shut him down post-draft he hasn't pitched a professional inning. Do they view him as a potential #1#2 guy, or is it just too early to tell?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Ward doesn't project as a No. 12, but he could end up being a solid middle of the rotation guy. His delivery caused concern for some scouts, but the Reds pitching instructors looked at it and said they believed it would be OK, and he has been durable throughout his college career. He has the chance to have two plus pitches, which gives him a chance to move quickly in a Reds system that needs pitching.



    Q: Mike Marinaro from Tampa, FL asks:
    J.J.: Thanks for addressing Reds' prospect Q's today. I've been following Homer Bailey since his remarkable senior year in High School. I know all about his pitching ability. My question regards his attitude (not to be assumed as negative) about playing baseball. I read the comments posted in BA last season about baseball being more of a job than a passion for Homer. I took them as light-hearted and somewhat comical. I find it difficult to believe that Homer would not have played baseball his entire life had he not enjoyed it. He wouldn't be as good as he is if he wasn't competitive. In that post Homer said he and his friends never talk about baseball. I find it hard to believe none of the players on his state championship team were his friends. I also find it hard to believe that if they were, they never discussed baseball. I took the whole thing as more of a joke. I heard him speak to Jonathan Mayo last season. He spoke very maturely and professionally about his craft and the difficulties in finding a rhythm in the tandem system. Is anybody in the Reds' organization truly concerned that Bailey does not take baseball seriously?

    A: J.J. Cooper: No one in the Reds organization has raised any questions of his makeup with me in my discussions with them, and in my (very, very limited) meeting with Bailey, he was very professional. But I would say that its not an attribute that you want to promote, and while you say that you can't believe that a player would play baseball all these years if it wasn't a love of theirs, ask Jeff Kent. He's carved out a very long, and very lucrative career as a baseball player despite the fact that he admits that he only does it because its his job, and he has no interest in the game when he's not being paid to play. I'm not trying to say that Bailey has shown any signs of being unwilling to work, but I do think he meant what he said when he said that baseball was his job.



    Q: Jim from Vermont asks:
    What is Tyler Pelland's upside? Can he be a front of the rotation starter or is he a 4th or 5th at best? Also, any thought about making him a closer? He seems to resemble Billy Wagner quite a bit with his velocity, size and the fact he is a lefty.

    A: J.J. Cooper: Have to disagree with you on a Billy Wagner comp. Pelland is significantly bigger than Wagner, and when it comes to velocity, there is no comparison. That's not a knock on Pelland, but Wagner's velocity is one of those rare, "arm touched by God" kind of things. He was sitting at 96-97 mph as a starter, and touching 100 mph when he was coming up through the minors. If you're looking for a best-case comp for Pelland, at least one scout has mentioned Mike Hampton. Pelland doesn't project right now as a front-end of the rotation starter because he doesn't have a consistent second plus pitch, he projects more as a No. 3 or No. 4, which would suit the Reds just fine if he can continue to progress.



    Q: Jack Logan from Oakland, CA asks:
    The Reds were once very high on Ty Howington before he boarded the team's injury train. However, I noticed he pitched at the Rookie level at the tail of last year. In your opinion does he have a chance to resurface this year?

    A: J.J. Cooper: He has a chance to resurface, as he was slowly worked his way back into pitching at the very end of the year, but he's a long ways away from getting back to where he was, and we're talking about a guy who has essentially missed two entire seasons since last taking the mound. At this point, anything he can give the Reds is a bonus.



    Q: Jim from Coral Gables asks:
    What are your opinions on two of the more impressive prospects on the Sarasota roster, Calvin Medlock and Chris Dickerson. I know neither of them are huge prospects but both were impressive when I saw them.

    A: J.J. Cooper: I've already talked about Dickerson, so to answer your question about Medlock. He did a lot of things to help his prospect status this season. In his second taste of high A, he showed a better curveball and better arm speed. As sleepers go, he's one of the more interesting guys the Reds have, although he's not a top prospect.



    Q: Blake Guyer from Madison, WI asks:
    Who are some of the guys from the 2005 draft that we should watch out for as far as having some breakout campaigns in 2006?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Bruce and Wood are the obvious two. After them, Ward is another guy who could emerge in 2006.



    Q: Blake Guyer from Madison, WI asks:
    Is a Travis Wood Scott Kazmir a fair comparison; both undersized hard throwing high school lefties. Or does the fact that Kazmir has the good breaking ball and Wood lacks one knock off the comparison?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Not really a fair comparison. Kazmir is a high 90s power pitcher whose fastballslider combo can be unhittable. Wood is more of a low-mid 90s fastballchangeup guy with a changeup that is rarely seen in a first-year high school guy. Wood's good, but Kazmir was considered the best high school arm coming out of his class, Wood looks to be one of the best arms to come out of his class.



    Q: Don from Rosemont, IL asks:
    Does Denorfia have enough ability to be a starting OF or does he project more as a utility guy?

    A: J.J. Cooper: In the right situation, Denorfia is the kind of guy who could be a useful starting OF. He doesn't do anything to blow you away, but he just does everything well. He has the misfortune of being ready to play at a position that the Reds are overstocked at, but if given a chance, I think he's a guy who could put up a .290.370.450 year with good defense and speed, which is very useful.



    Q: Blake Guyer from Madison, WI asks:
    Where would Bruce or Bailey rank in a good system's top ten, like the dodgers'?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Hmmm, interesting question. The Dodgers are a system where the No. 15 guy looks like a pretty sure thing, so that's a tough system to break into. Bailey would make the top 3-4 in almost any system I'd say. He compares favorably with Mark Rogers, who is No. 2 in the Brewers system, which is still a pretty talented system. A guy like Bruce may drop to No. 4-5 in some other systems, simply because he's yet to play full-season ball. You'd love to be able to rank him a little lower to let him prove himself in a full-season league before he sits at No. 2, but his tools compare favorably with most outfield prospects.



    Q: Steve from Owltown asks:
    Where does Rice alum Paul Janish fit in the mix? There was discussion about his fielding being ready for the big time? He was hurt last year but seemed to be getting traction?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Janish is a great fielder, although he has to rehab his arm after Tommy John surgery. The T.J. will not help his rise through the system, but its his bat that will determine his ceiling. He's got the glove to be a major leaguer, he just needs to prove he's strong enough at the plate to move up.



    Q: Steve from Yellow Jacket Alley, Texas asks:
    Is Steven Kelly ranked in the top 30? What role do you see for him?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Little know Baseball America fact, editor-in-chief John Manuel has Steve Kelly's cap from a visit he made to the Rusty C when he was our college maven. If Kelly hadn't been shutdown with elbow problems, he would have made a run at the top 30. As it is, he's a potential No. 5 starter with fringy stuff but a feel for pitching. Guys like that need to have the breaks line up for them to make it to the majors and stick, but it does happen.



    Q: Scott Grauel from cleveland asks:
    i would like to hear your thoughts on dane sardinha and dustin mosely. do they project as major league regulars or not? it looks as though you feel miguel perez has much more upside then dane? and if you do feel they will contribute, when?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Catchers often take longer to develop offensively than other positions because of the demands of working behind the plate. But that said, the time for Sardinha to show he can develop offensively is starting to run out. He'll be 27 just a couple of days after Opening Day, and he's put up a .300+ OBP only once in five minor league seasons. Perez is as good as Sardinha behind the plate, with a better arm, and with more of a chance to improve offensively to a point where he could be a No. 1 catcher. Mosley's no longer in the system, as the Angels picked him up in the Ramon Ortiz trade before the 2005 season.



    Q: Nate from Denver asks:
    Hi JJ, thanks for doing the chat. Has the minor league system as a whole improved under Dan O'Brien? What changes do you think have improved the farm, and what changes do you think still need to be made(aside from cutting down on injuries)?

    A: J.J. Cooper: I do think the system has shown signs of improvement over the last two years, although it still has a ways to go. I happen to have a 2003 prospect handbook here, and if you compare the top 10 from that year (Gruler, Basham, Pena, Encarnacion, Moseley, Howington, Aramboles, Larson, Hall, Schramek) this one matches up pretty well. The decision to go to a tandem-starter system in the lower minors is a case of trying to do something to fix the injury problem. It hasn't always worked, but it is a sign of being proactive to try to fix a glaring problem. A couple of years ago, the Reds were continually hamstrung by budget problems when the draft rolled around. They still aren't going to go way over slot for guys, but the willingness to sign Bailey and Bruce in the past couple of years is a clear sign that the team is putting more emphasis on bringing in high-ceiling talents.



    Q: Nate from Denver asks:
    Travis Wood seems to be a lot better than most, including Baseball America, thought he would be coming out of the draft. If he can develope that 3rd pitch, what do you see as his ceiling? Does he have front line stuff?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Reports going into the draft that we had said he has was a fastball pitcher with a decent changeup. The change is a lot better than that, which gives him a higher ceiling. Lefties with fastballs and changeups can go a long ways, he's a long way off, but he has the chance to be a solid No. 2 if he develops over the next 3-4 years.



    Q: Nate from Denver asks:
    The Reds seem to have a pretty good top 3, but after that, does the list drop off talent wise? It sounds like BJ has a good ceiling, but to only have a little over 250 professional at bats, and be ranked number 4? Does that reflect weakness in the Reds system?

    A: J.J. Cooper: I think your assesment is pretty fair as far as where a drop-off occurs. The Reds number of low-risk, high ceiling guys falls off pretty quick. After No. 3 the list is a combination of high-risk, high-reward guys (Szymanski and Gonzalez for example) and some lower risk, lower-reward guys (Chick and Denorfia for example). Denorfia almost assuredly will be a major leaguer, although he's unlikely to be an all-star. Gonzalez could be a No. 2 on a big league staff, but he also could never make it out of Double-A.



    Q: Josh from Phoenix asks:
    What about Carlos Guevara & David Shafer - who were both left off the list. It seems to be that both could be quick moving relivers who could rocket thru the system next year if given the right chance. I know Guevara tends to be a one trick pony with his screwball, but he's put up impressive numbers for two straight years. Shafer seemed lights up before his promotion to AA.

    A: J.J. Cooper: It's a copout by me, but I want to see Guevera do it at Double-A. His KIP has been very nice for two years now, but there are a number of one-pitch, trick pitch guys who have dominated lower levels and then hit a wall in Double-A. One that comes to mind is Todd Pennington, an Indians reliever who dominated in low-A and high A but has seemed to hit a wall up to now in Double-A. Shafer will make the top 30, but his move to the bullpen full time means he has a lower ceiling than a year ago, when he still projected as a starter.



    Q: Josh from Phoenix asks:
    Calvin Medlock has put up numbers for the last two seasons that suggest he could be one of the Reds best pitching prospects yet he is not included. Any particular reason why?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Medlock will make the top 30, but the list of successful righty avg fastballplus-changeup guys in the majors isn't very long, which worked against him in the rankings. He'll need to continue refining his curveball if he's going to make it to the majors. He does have an advanced feel for pitching.



    Q: Josh from Phoenix asks:
    Rafael Gonzales in the Top 10? Is the inclusion of an overweight pitcher who has a career 1.50WHIP in 100+ pro innings a commentary on how bad the Reds system is or is there more that meets the eye with him?

    A: J.J. Cooper: There is some more than meets the eye, which in the case of a guy Rafael's size, is saying something. Gonzalez makes the top 10 on projection. His stuff could end up being only a notch below Bailey's if he gets in better shape and improves his command. Admittedly he's a high-risk ranking, but stuff like his is relatively rare.



    Q: Seamus from the woods of New England asks:
    What happened to William Bergolla? He was on the list last year, goes to AAA and hits .292 at age 22 with solid defense and speed, and drops lower on the prospect ladder? Has the system improved, or did he show a critical weakness?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Bergolla just barely missed the top 10. No critical weakness, just a sign that he's a defensespeed second baseman has a somewhat limited ceiling. His bat could develop, as he's still young for a guy on the cusp of the majors, but right now he doesn't hit for power or get on-base much, which limits him to a bottom of the order guy.



    Q: Scott Lindsey from Phoenix, Arizona asks:
    How close did Kevin Howard come to the list? Does he just project as a utility guy, a regular, or the new breed of uber utitility player (i.e. Chone Figgins)? Does he have the power to eventually hit 20 homers, or more of 10-15?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Howard does project as a bat-first utility guy, which is an unusual role. He doesn't really stand out anywhere defensively, but his line-drive swing could make him a useful .290 hitter with 10-15 homers at the major league level one day, if a team will live with below-average defense.

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    Re: Baseball America rates Reds top 10 prospects

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    Q: Josh from Phoenix asks:
    I have to wonder about the inclusion of Miguel Perez. Since rookie ball in 2002 - he's been a pretty mediocre to bad hitter for three straight seasons now. He hasn't shown any plate discipline at any level and his strikeout rate is getting worse. He could be one of the greatest defensive catchers but if he can't swing the bat I don't know how he'll move up at all in the high minors. What is it that keeps makes this kid one of the Reds best prospects?

    A: J.J. Cooper: He's a 70 defensively at a position where defense plays, and there is still some projection left in his bat. Admittedly, Perez has little chance to be a star, but he projects as a backup catcher at worst, with a chance still to develop into a starting catcher.



    Q: Mike from Boston asks:
    Tools vs. performance question. Miguel Perez has got catch-and-throw tools and he's on the list even though he's got a thoroughly putrid bat. Adam Rosales does nothing but knock the cover off the ball (and supposedly, according the BA draft report card, he has a good arm too), but he doesn't make it. Tyler Pelland makes the list despite yet another lackluster year. Meanwhile Calvin Medlock (same age, but no pedigree) outperforms him yet again, showing quality at a level where Pelland struggled for the second year in row, but he's not in the top 10. Is the tools emphasis on this list coming from the Reds, you or both? There doesn't seem to be much excitement here for players who've actually accomplished something.

    A: J.J. Cooper: If we wanted to rank this list simply on stats, really you can do that as well as us. The stats are in black and white. What we're trying to do is blend stats with tools and projection to try to gaze into a crystal ball into several years in the future. Rosales easily made the top 30, and I wouldn't be stunned at all if he was in the top 10 next year, but you have to put some context to the numbers. Perez played at high A, Triple-A and the majors as a 2122-year-old this year. Rosales, who is a half-year older than Perez, was dominating rookie-ball and a short stint in low Class A. Rosales didn't make the top 10 yet because he needs to prove that he can stick at SS, or that his bat will be enough to carry him if he moves to 3B, and it will be much easier to get a read on him after he has a full season in the minors. As far as Pelland vs. Medlock, its based on projection. Medlock's stuff does not rate as highly as Pellands. Admittedly, performance does matter, but when you are talking about guys still in A ball, projection still matters as much, if not more.



    Q: Mike from Boston asks:
    No Phil Dumatrait, Justin Germano or Elizardo Ramirez here (not that they should be). Were the Reds not selling them or were you not buying?

    A: J.J. Cooper: All 3 will likely make the top 30, and in Dumatrait's case he didn't miss the top 10 by much, but in Germano and Ramirez' case, they project right now as more back-end of the rotationbullpen guys.



    Q: Doug from Woodbury, LI asks:
    Pelland seems to be a guy who could immediately go into the closer role with two potentially dominant pitches. Why wouldn't they try to groom him as a closer? (i.e. Haehnel, Bray...)

    A: J.J. Cooper: Because you can always make a guy a closer later on, while if you move a guy to the pen, it usually closes the door on a starter role. That's why relievers almost always rank lower on these lists than starters--failed starters with good stuff can become top-notch relievers. Good relievers with good stuff rarely can become top starters, and it's harder to find starters.



    Q: Mike from Boston asks:
    If you had to form a baseball team on a desert island and you had to choose between Chris Dickerson and Javon Moran for your CF, which one would you pick?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Is the baseball team playing right now? Then I'd take Moran, he's produced at Double-A. Dickerson has a higher ceiling, but if you're asking me which will have a better 2006, I'd take Moran.



    Q: Mike from Boston asks:
    Fair to call 2006 a make or break year for Szymanski's prospect status?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Make or break may be a little strong, but he NEEDS 450 at-bats. He was already behind as far as his development because of his two-sport status at Princeton. Now he's missed almost another year because of injuries.



    Q: Richard from Indianpolis asks:
    Several minor league players made some significant jumps late in the year in 05. Adam Rosales jumped from Billings to Dayton and played well once he got there. John Purdom jumped from Dayton to Chattanooga and Drew Anderson jumped from Dayton to Louisville; both played sparingly after their promotions. What is your take on these guys?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Already touched on Rosales. Anderson's promotion to Triple-A seemed a little strange to me, and was more a sign of need to fill a spot at Triple-A than a merit-based promotion. Purdom ended up winning the Reds top batting award at instructs. He's got a better bat, and worse glove, than most Reds catching prospects. He's not going to touch the top 30 this year, but he has gotten at least a little notice in the Reds system.



    Q: Mike from Boston asks:
    Tonys Gutierrez rolls out of bed and hits. Supposedly he's got a good glove too. I know his power isn't there yet, but he's still fairly young. Does he make this list with another strong season?

    A: J.J. Cooper: The Reds would like to see Gutierrez develop his power, but yeah, he's a guy who could move well up the list next year with a solid year at high Class A. He can hit, fields his position well and could develop some power.

  10. #84
    Smells Like Teen Spirit jmcclain19's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball America rates Reds top 10 prospects

    Still more

    Q: Maggie from lucasville , Ohio asks:
    The Reds traded randa to the padres for Chick and Germano. What do you think of this trade and can you tell me about the players in question?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Not a bad trade when you pick up a guy as a relatively low-priced FA and turn him into prospects. Chick was considered one of the top arms in the Padres system just a year ago. He had a subpar year this season, but there's enough in that arm to take a risk on. Germano is a little fringy, but with a feel for pitching, with a couple of breaks and a good year, he could be in the majors next season, so the Reds get two arms that could help before two long for a guy they needed to get rid of to make way for Encarnacion anyway.



    Q: Bob from Portsmouth , Ohio asks:
    Any dimonds in the rough that nobody knows of yet that will break out in the future ?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Michael Jones is rawer than raw, and is 5 years away at least, but his bat and athleticism could turn him into something interesting years from now.



    Q: Tom from Kokomo, IN asks:
    Assuming the Reds sign noone else to man second base and Ryan Freel begins the season as the starter at 2B. Who is best equipped to take his place when he self destructs, William Bergolla or Kevin Howard?

    A: J.J. Cooper: If he can stay healthy, Freel isn't a terrible option at 2B. If he goes down, Bergolla is much more ready to step in right now, as Howard's defense at 2B is a question mark.

  11. #85
    Smells Like Teen Spirit jmcclain19's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball America rates Reds top 10 prospects

    Final wrap up

    Q: Brad from Lansing, MI asks:
    What's your opinon about the Tandem Starter system? It seems to me that the system is too cautiuos and the pitchers do not get the innings they need to develop.

    A: J.J. Cooper: If any team had a reason to try a tandem starter system, it's the Reds. After watching starter after starter go down, they needed to change something. The Rangers have seem some of their guys progress fine after working through a tandem starter system, and by eliminating the tandem starter system as they move up, they do get a chance to get lengthened out in the higher levels of the system. I don't think the Reds could state right now whether the tandem starter system has helped or not, but they had plenty of reason to err on the side of caution with their young arms.



    Q: Steve from New Jersey asks:
    Does the apparent success of the high draft picks from the last two drafts signal a turnaround in the Reds drafting - or is it a mirage or too early to tell. It is hard to see the Reds rebounding without some homegrown cheap talent on the roster. While this has happened some with the offense, there appears to be no help in sight.

    A: J.J. Cooper: The Reds have to develop pitching to compete in the Central unless the new ownership clears the way for a major bump to the budget. The last two years have shown signs of hope for that, as Bailey and Wood, and some of the other guys, could develop into the pitching that the Reds haven't developed in years. But you did hit on a major point. Almost all of the Reds pitching prospects are in low A, high A or short-season ball, so there is a lot of projection, and some time before these guys are ready. Weaknesses that don't show up in rookie-ball often appear when a guy hits High A or Double-A. A year from now, we'll know a lot more about Bruce and Wood. If they are still sitting at No. 2 and No. 3 on the Reds list, it's a good sign.



    Q: Joe from Long Beach, CA asks:
    Was LeCure's grades that bad at Texas that'd he'd sign with Cincy in the 4th round? This could be a steal for the Reds...

    A: J.J. Cooper: His inability to pitch during the 2005 season did play some factor in his draft ranking. His stuff is good, not great, but yeah, if he had been pitching every Friday for the Longhorns, he may have been a 2nd or 3rd round pick.



    Q: Jim from Bronx asks:
    The Reds have not protecte Kevin Howard on the 40 man roster? Any idea why they made this decision?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Howard is the guy who is the biggest risk among the Reds unprotected players in my opinion, especially as scouts just watched him torch the AFL. The Reds are at 40 on their 40-man roster, and Howard projects more as a utilityman than an everyday second baseman, so it was a risk they apparently were willing to take.



    Q: Dwight Howard from Under The Rim asks:
    Is Chris Gruler done?

    A: J.J. Cooper: Gruler's not done, but he's also not what he once was hoped to be. After missing nearly three seasons with injuries, he's a longshot who has a long hill to climb to get back on track. He's not likely to crack the top 30 at this point.



    Q: Bob from Marietta, Ga. asks:
    What do you hear about Bo Lanier the 10th round pick from Georgia ? Reports I've read say he touches 94-95.

    A: J.J. Cooper: great fastball, has nothing else right now, so he's got work to do to refine his arsenal of pitches.



    Q: Brandon from Cincinnati asks:
    Which of the unprotected Reds do you think has the best chance of being taken in the Rule V draft? What about some of the unprotected, injured pitchers like Gruler, Gardner or Pauly? Are there teams out there with deep pockets willing to take the risk and keep them on the DL for a full year?

    A: J.J. Cooper: I don't think anyone is going to take a pitcher coming off of shoulder surgery, too many unknowns to take that risk, especially as the success rate on shoulder surgeries is significantly lower than tommy john surgery.



    Moderator: Thanks guys, I better get back to working on biz beat. Sorry I couldn't answer every question.

  12. #86
    Member Superdude's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball America rates Reds top 10 prospects

    I think Bailey's control is going to majorly improve next year, along with his numbers.

    Early in the year, Bailey had an ERA of like 2.00, even better K numbers than he had at the end of the year, and better control because he was throwing almost all fastballs. He's got good command with the heater.

    I watched him when his ERA and BB's were starting to inflate, and he was using his curveball and changeup a lot more. But Alonzo Powell said that Bailey improved his curveball location a bunch at the end of the year and had like a 3.50 in the last month.

  13. #87
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    Re: Baseball America rates Reds top 10 prospects

    J.J. Cooper is so full of it

    You guys listen to a word of this BS, and you will be looking left when the next starter comes from the right.....and it will be YOU who looks like he doesn't know what he is talking about, at least when it comes to evaluating a major league ballplayer....

    Afterall, the Reds aren't selling jeans......and they are not selling prime time TV series' on the WB either.

    I hope this guy doesn't have any influence on the organization.....

    Mod edit note: Masked profanity is a no-no.
    Last edited by ochre; 11-30-2005 at 05:52 PM.

  14. #88
    Hardscrabble wheels's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball America rates Reds top 10 prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by Milezinni
    J.J. Cooper is so full of @#$@!!!!

    You guys listen to a word of this BS, and you will be looking left when the next starter comes from the right.....and it will be YOU who looks like he doesn't know what he is talking about, at least when it comes to evaluating a major league ballplayer....

    Afterall, the Reds aren't selling jeans......and they are not selling prime time TV series' on the WB either.

    I hope this guy doesn't have any influence on the organization.....
    What?

    How about a little elaboration?
    Pray for Rain.

  15. #89
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    Re: Baseball America rates Reds top 10 prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by wheels
    What?

    How about a little elaboration?
    The guy has none. He just has his "feel" for the game..

    I agree with him that there is more to baseball than stats.. tools, projections, skills, etc do play out. But he dismisses anything statistical as meaningless...

    sigh.

    Overall I feel the list is probably the strongest its been since oh.. 99/2000. Things are improving IMHO, slowly but surely. Yeah, these guys are all in the low minors, but you have to start somewhere.

    Most subscribers here want impact college level talent that will be ready NOW. I dont think thats the right way to approach rebuilding a franchise that is in such a putrid state of well being. You take the highest level talent in the draft you can, regardless of position and if they play highschool/college.

    I think Dan'O has done a decent job. Could it be better? Sure, but I agree that the last few years Bowden was here, his drafts were "black holes" as it was put. Nothing to show for it save Ryan Wagner. And how good has he looked?

    I think everyone needs to take a deep breathe, calm down, and realize that while these guys are young, they have a ton of talent. You can point out Gruler/Howington/Basham etc all you want, but the fact of the matter is that these guys ARE NOT them!!! You can't group them in with those pitchers, they have to be judged on their own merits.

    I also think you guys critize for the way BA evaluates their talent too much. They have said time and time again that they try their best to blend stats with tools and projectability. Which is why you see Gonzalez so high on this list. Ba openly states their evaluation philosphy and they still get ragged on. Take it for what its worth, but there's no need to get upset about the way they evaluate prospects.

    Dumatrait has a lot of questions, as do Gardner and Pauly. Both had shoulder problems, I wouldn't put them on a top 10 list either. Shoulder injuries spell death for pitchers. Rosales is a college player who didn't play above A ball. I'm excited about him, but I also dont necessarily disagree with keeping him off the list. He should be MORE THAN ABLE to do what he did against the low levels. Now if he does it again in AA, then I think you see him on next years top 10 for sure. A lot of the guys everyone is clamoring for on the top 10 list(Guevera, Medlock, etc) really don't have that high of a ceiling and dont project as much at the ML level. They're putting up these numbers against low level competition as it is, need to prove themselves more.

    I dont know, I just think after reading this thread a lot of ppl here are far too criticle about things, and are going with their opinions based purely on stats. Which is important, but defenitely not the ONLY factor you should use when looking at a player. Potential is worth something guys, as much as you may hate the word and dislike hearing it.
    "I hate to advocate chemicals, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone... But they've always worked for me."

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  16. #90
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    Re: Baseball America rates Reds top 10 prospects

    Top Ten Prospects: Cincinnati Reds
    Complete Index of Top 10s

    By J.J. Cooper
    November 30, 2005

    Live Chat! J.J. Cooper takes your Reds questions at 2:30 p.m. ET Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2006.

    When Carl Lindner led the charge that bought Marge Schott out of her majority ownership of the Reds, he seemed like a white knight charging in to save the team.

    In 1999, Lindner’s first year as the team’s CEO, Cincinnati went 96-57 and lost a National League wild-card playoff game to the Mets. Before his second year, the Reds landed Ken Griffey Jr. in a trade with the Mariners. With a push for a new stadium getting underway, the club’s future seemed bright.

    But Griffey got hurt, manager Jack McKeon was let go in a messy squabble after the 96-win season and the Reds quickly found themselves near the NL Central’s basement, dreaming of a .500 season. Cincinnati has endured its worst stretch in 50 years, putting up losing records for five straight seasons.

    If there’s any hope for the franchise now, it’s the thought that a new ownership group, led by local businessman Robert Castellini (a minority investor in the Cardinals), will provide the financial backing and the direction to get the Reds back on track. By the time the sale was announced in November, Linder was a lightning rod for fan dissension.

    There’s plenty of work to be done. The Reds got a short-term attendance jump and some increased revenues out of the move to the Great American Ball Park in 2003. But their payroll remains in the bottom half of the NL, and a $19 million spending spree before the 2005 season proved foolish. Cincinnati lavished nearly $35 million in contracts on Eric Milton, Ramon Ortiz and Paul Wilson, who went a combined 18-31, 6.15. Milton’s 6.47 ERA nearly set a record for worst ever by an NL starter.

    The blame for the misguided pitching binge can be pointed squarely at the Reds’ inability to develop starting pitching in recent years. The farm system has delivered plenty of outfielders (Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns and Wily Mo Pena) and enough other position players to form the building blocks of a contender. But being a Cincinnati pitching prospect has been hazardous. Ricardo Aramboles, Bobby Basham, Phil Dumatrait, Richie Gardner, Chris Gruler, Josh Hall, Ty Howington, Luke Hudson and Thomas Pauly all have had their careers delayed or derailed by arm problems.

    In an attempt to stanch the bleeding, general manager Dan O’Brien instituted a tandem-starter system with strict 75-pitch limits for the lower levels of the system. That didn’t stop Gardner or Pauly from going down in 2005, but the Reds believe they’re cutting down on the number of injuries.

    The added caution, plus Cincinnati’s emphasis on adding quality arms to the system in recent drafts, could be a key to turning the team around. But while Homer Bailey, Travis Wood and Rafael Gonzalez give the team hope for the future, they’re at least a few years away. The Reds will have to plug holes from outside the system, as few prospects in the higher levels are ready to contribute.

    1. HOMER BAILEY, rhp Age: 19 Ht: 6-3 Wt: 190 B-T: R-R
    Drafted: La Grange (Texas) High, 2004 (1st round) Signed by: Mike Powers

    Background: Bailey has been pitching in pressure games since before he started shaving. He outdueled Ryan Wagner in the Texas 3-A state championship game as a freshman, and capped his high school career with a second state title as a senior. He ranked No. 1 on this list a year ago after signing for a $2.3 million bonus as the seventh overall pick in 2004, when he was also named BA’s High School Player of the Year. The Reds are exercising extreme caution with him, hoping he can avoid the injury bug that has claimed so many of their best pitching prospects in recent years. He pitched just 12 innings after signing in 2004, and was limited by a tandem-starter system with a strict 75-pitch limit in 2005. He worked six innings in a start only once all season and went as many as five innings in just five other outings, yet still managed to claim the title of top pitching prospect in the low Class A Midwest League. He was sidelined for a couple of weeks in April as he worked back from minor knee surgery, a problem that had nagged him since high school. While his first full season was unremarkable statistically, he showed glimpses of his promise in the final month with a pair of scoreless five-inning outings, including an 11-strikeout two-hitter.

    Strengths: Bailey has front-of-the-rotation stuff. He’s armed with two plus pitches—a 92-94 mph fastball that touches 96-97 with good life, and a hard 12-to-6 curveball with potential to be a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He pounds the bottom of the strike zone and usually hits his spots. His control will be another plus. Though he did issue more than his share of walks in 2005, the Reds attribute that to their insistence that he work on his secondary pitches. A former basketball player, Bailey is a natural athlete with an effortless arm action and clean delivery that bode well for future projection. He should get stronger, as there’s room to pack more weight on his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame.

    Weaknesses: Bailey’s changeup always will lag behind his two knockout pitches. It’s presently a below-average pitch with just a little sink. He did make it a point to throw the changeup more in 2005, and he did a better job of delivering it with the same arm speed he uses with his fastball. Bailey doesn’t always stay on top of his curveball. He also needs to improve his consistency and show that he can pitch effectively on nights where he doesn’t have his best stuff. Like many dominant high school starters, he didn’t have to work on such nuances as holding runners and quickening his move to the plate. He has made steady improvement in both areas, and he has addressed his rhythm and tempo on the mound. Bailey has admitted that baseball is more of a job than a passion. To achieve his potential as an ace, he’ll have to stay focused as he moves up the ladder.

    The Future: While the Reds have yet to turn Bailey loose, they may challenge him with a jump to Double-A Chattanooga in 2006. Though he’s not on the 40-man roster, he has been invited to big league camp to get a taste of what awaits him. He could be poised for a breakthrough season.
    2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
    Dayton (Lo A) 8 4 4.43 28 21 0 0 104 89 5 62 125 .232

    2. JAY BRUCE, of Age: 18 B-T: L-L Ht: 6-2 Wt.: 206
    Drafted: HS—Beaumont, Texas, 2005 (1st round) Signed by: Brian Wilson

    Background: Bruce went from unknown to prospect during the summer of 2004, and his surge continued last spring as he emerged as the cream of a quality crop of Texas high school outfielders. He went No. 12 to the Reds and signed for $1.8 million. He ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Rookie-level Pioneer League in his debut.

    Strengths:
    Bruce draws comparisons to Larry Walker and Jeremy Hermida for his sweet stroke, above-average arm and athleticism. He profiles as a power-hitting right fielder, but the Reds intend to keep him in center until he grows out of the position. He can turn on a fastball, but he also has shown the ability to use the entire field with good bat speed. He has plus speed and good overall instincts.


    Weaknesses:
    Like many young players, Bruce needs to work on the finer aspects of the game, such as reading pitchers and honing his basestealing technique. He occasionally gets antsy at the plate instead of sitting back and waiting on pitches to drive.


    The Future:
    Bruce will make his full-season debut at low Class A Dayton. A five-tool talent, his bat will dictate how rapidly he advances.

    2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
    GCL Reds (R) .270 .331 .500 122 29 33 9 2 5 25 11 31 4 6
    Billings (R) .257 .358 .457 70 16 18 2 0 4 13 11 22 2 2

    3. TRAVIS WOOD, lhp Age: 19 B-T: R-L Ht: 6-0 Wt.: 165
    Drafted: HS—Alexander, Ark., 2005 (2nd round) Signed by: Mike Keenan

    Background: Wood is the highest-drafted Arkansas high school pitcher since the Reds took Dustin Moseley in 1999’s supplemental first round. Wood intrigued teams by reaching 95 mph with his fastball as the draft approached, and he dominated two Rookie leagues after signing for $600,000.

    Strengths:
    Wood’s changeup drops off the table and already rates as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He fools hitters by repeating the same arm speed and motion as when he throws his fastball. He regularly hit 93-94 mph and threw to both sides of the plate with good life during the summer. He also features a cutter.


    Weaknesses:
    Wood’s curveball isn’t as developed as his other pitches. The Reds have made refining his curve a point of emphasis, and they promoted him to Rookie-level Billings to work with curveball specialist Butch Henry. Wood has some effort in his delivery.


    The Future:
    Wood aced his introduction to pro ball and seems more than ready for low Class A. He has considerable upside, though coming up with a reliable breaking ball will be crucial.

    2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
    GCL Reds (R) 0 0 0.75 8 7 0 0 24 13 0 7 45 .157
    Billings (R) 2 0 1.82 6 4 0 0 25 15 0 13 22 .174

    4. B.J. SZYMANSKI, of Age: 23 B-T: b-R Ht: 6-5 Wt.: 215
    Drafted: Princeton, 2004 (2nd round) Signed by: Mike Misuraca

    Background: A two-sport star at Princeton, Szymanski was the football team’s leading receiver and led the baseball team to the Ivy League title as a junior in 2003-04. Already lacking experience thanks to his dual-sport commitment, he has been hampered by injuries as a pro. A quadriceps injury shortened his 2004 debut, and he missed time in 2005 because of arthroscopic knee surgery and a broken hand.

    Strengths:
    When healthy, Szymanski showcases three impact tools, including explosive raw power from both sides of the plate. He has 30-homer potential in the majors. A chiseled athlete, he can fly around the bases and cover the gaps in center field. His arm is average.


    Weaknesses:
    Szymanski’s swing gets long, and strikeouts and a lower batting average will be a tradeoff for his power. He’s still raw and must improve in the fine points of the game, such as getting jumps and running the bases. Injuries have limited him to just 272 pro at-bats.


    The Future:
    Coming into 2005, Szymanski looked poised for a breakout season. Ticketed for high Class A Sarasota, he’s again a prime candidate if he can stay in the lineup.

    2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
    Dayton (Lo A) .262 .332 .471 191 32 50 8 1 10 26 21 57 7 1

    5. CHRIS DENORFIA, of Age: 25 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-1 Wt.: 185
    Drafted: Wheaton (Mass.), 2002 (19th round) Signed by: John Brickley

    Background: With his September callup, Denorfia ensured his title as the top male athlete in Wheaton (Mass.) College history. He earned Division III all-America honors in 2002, when he batted .467.

    Strengths:
    He doesn’t have overwhelming tools, but Denorfia has surprised scouts with his improved hitting and power the last two seasons. He displays a good feel for the strike zone and works counts in his favor. He’s a solid runner with enough range to play center field. He’s average defensively in center field and he has enough arm strength to play right.


    Weaknesses:
    Denorfia doesn’t have many glaring weaknesses. He doesn’t have exceptional bat speed and his swing doesn’t naturally produce loft power. He’s already getting everything out of his ability, so there isn’t much projection left to him.


    The Future:
    Denorfia is ready to contribute in Cincinnati after a strong Arizona Fall League performance. He may not be more than a fourth outfielder, especially with the Reds’ position depth.

    2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
    Chattanooga (AA) .330 .391 .564 188 40 62 17 3 7 26 17 38 4 3
    Louisville (AAA) .310 .391 .505 323 50 100 12 6 13 61 41 54 8 3
    Cincinnati .263 .364 .421 38 8 10 3 0 1 2 6 9 1 0

    6. RAFAEL GONZALEZ, rhp Age: 20 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-1 Wt.: 232
    Drafted: HS—New York, 2004 (4th round) Signed by: Jason Baker

    Background: Gonzalez signed with the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic in 2003, but that deal was voided because he was a U.S. citizen who had played at Manhattan’s George Washington High before moving to the Dominican as a junior. After signing for $315,000 as a fourth-round pick in 2004, he disappointed the Reds by showing up out of shape for spring training, leaving him unprepared to handle low Class A.

    Strengths:
    His stuff is just a tick behind Homer Bailey’s for the best in the system. Gonzalez throws 92-94 mph and peaks at 97, and he also shows a plus curveball and an average changeup at times.


    Weaknesses:
    Gonzalez has a soft, thick lower half and struggles to keep his weight under control. His stamina and stuff suffered in 2005 until he dedicated more time to cardiovascular work. His secondary pitches and control are very inconsistent.


    The Future:
    The Reds hope Gonzalez learned his lesson and will be better equipped to succeed in low Class A in 2006. He flashes top-of-the-rotation stuff but must dedicate himself to realize his potential.

    2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
    Billings (R) 3 0 3.43 11 6 0 1 42 36 7 23 37 .234
    Dayton (Lo A) 3 5 9.35 10 5 0 0 26 24 5 24 22 .250

    7. MIGUEL PEREZ, c Age: 22 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-3 Wt.: 190
    Signed: Venezuela, 2000 Signed by: Jorge Oquendo

    Background: Though he has hit just .240 above Rookie ball, Perez made his big league debut before he turned 22 in September. His defensive ability has helped him land jobs in the Venezuela Winter League the past two offseasons.

    Strengths:
    Perez is the organization’s best defensive catcher, with well above-average throwing and receiving skills. He erased 44 percent of basestealers in 2005 and likes to pick off runners with snap throws to first base. He handles pitchers well and runs well for a catcher.


    Weaknesses:
    Perez’ bat hasn’t caught up with his catch-and-throw skills and may relegate him to a backup role. He has limited power (nine homers in five pro seasons) and plate discipline, though the Reds think he could hit 10-15 homers annually. When he keeps his hands back, he does a better job of driving the ball.


    The Future:
    After his short September audition, Perez will go to Double-A in 2006. With the productive tandem of Jason LaRue and Javier Valentin, the Reds don’t need to rush Perez.

    2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
    Sarasota (Hi A) .268 .305 .347 291 36 78 11 0 4 33 16 63 7 1
    Louisville (AAA) .208 .275 .292 72 5 15 3 0 1 5 5 19 0 0
    Cincinnati .000 .000 .000 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0

    8. TYLER PELLAND , lhp Age: 22 B-T: R-L Ht: 6-0 Wt.: 200
    Drafted: HS—Bristol, Vt., 2002 (9th round) Signed by: Ray Fagnant (Red Sox)

    Background: Cincinnati acquired lefties Phil Dumatrait and Pelland from the Red Sox for Scott Williamson at the July 2003 trade deadline. While Dumatrait has been waylaid by Tommy John surgery, Pelland quickly emerged as the top lefty in the Reds system. After posting an 8.66 ERA in low Class A in 2004, he made a successful transition to full-season ball, jumping to high Class A, in 2005.

    Strengths:
    Pelland throws his four-seam fastball at 92-93 mph and can dial it up to 95 at times, and he also has a lively two-seamer. He commands his fastball well, and shows the ability to spin a plus curveball. He’s a good athlete who has dominated in spurts.


    Weaknesses:
    Pelland’s curve is inconsistent. When it’s not on, hitters can sit on his fastball because his circle changeup is below average and hasn’t developed as expected. At 22, he’s still far from a refined product, as his control numbers suggest, although as a Northeastern pitcher, he doesn’t have many innings on his arm.


    The Future:
    Pelland has a fresh arm, but needs to take a significant step forward as he approaches Double-A. If he can’t improve his secondary pitches, a future in the bullpen awaits him.

    2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
    Sarasota (Hi A) 5 8 4.05 30 15 0 0 102 103 5 63 103 .270

    9. JOEY VOTTO, 1b Age: 22 B-T: L-L Ht: 6-3 Wt.: 200
    Drafted: HS—Toronto, 2002 (2nd round) Signed by: John Castleberry

    Background: The Reds tried to cut costs in the 2002 draft with disastrous results, as Denorfia and Votto are the lone bright spots from that crop. After establishing himself as the system’s best power prospect, he had a disappointing 2005 and continued to struggle in the Arizona Fall League.

    Strengths:
    Votto can launch balls out of sight in batting practice. He drew 90 walks in 2004, showing a disciplined, mature approach. For a big man and former catcher, Votto runs the bases well, and he has grown into a solid defensive first baseman with an above-average arm for the position.


    Weaknesses:
    Votto lacks plus bat speed and his swing lengthened in 2005. Perhaps too passive in the past, he seemed to start guessing, finding himself behind fastballs and ahead of offspeed offerings. He especially struggled against lefties, hitting .193 with a .315 slugging percentage.


    The Future:
    Votto’s prospect stock has taken a hit, though he’s still the top first-base prospect in the system. He needs to rediscover his short stroke and trust his natural hitting instincts in Double-A in 2006.

    2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
    Sarasota (Hi A) .256 .330 .425 464 64 119 23 2 17 83 52 122 4 5

    10. TRAVIS CHICK, rhp Age: 21 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-3 Wt.: 220
    Drafted: HS—Whitehouse, Texas, 2002 (14th round) Signed by: Dennis Cardona (Marlins)

    Background: Four years into his pro career, Chick has played for three organizations. A little-known Marlins prospect when he was traded for Ismael Valdez in 2004, he quickly blossomed for the Padres and was one of the surprises of spring training in 2005. After he stalled in Double-A, San Diego sent him and Justin Germano to Cincinnati for Joe Randa last July.

    Strengths:
    Though Chick’s velocity was down in 2005, he still had a 91-92 mph fastball that touched 94. His hard slider has good bite and is an average pitch with above-average potential. Chick has a solid pitcher’s frame.


    Weaknesses:
    After dominating low Class A in 2004, Chick couldn’t handle jumping to Double-A. He was a victim of big innings all season, unable to get out of jams. His slider was inconsistent, while his changeup remained below-average. He’s more of a thrower than a pitcher.


    The Future:
    Chick has to hone his slider and maintain his mechanics to get back on track. He’ll probably repeat Double-A in 2006. Unless his changeup develops, he projects as a power middle reliever.

    2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
    Mobile (AA) 2 9 5.27 19 19 1 0 97 107 12 40 92 .279
    Chattanooga (AA) 2 2 4.86 8 8 0 0 46 47 5 27 21 .270

    Photo Credits:
    Bailey, Szymanski: Dan Arnold
    Perez: Mike Janes
    Denorfia: Bill Mitchell
    Chick, Pelland, Votto: Steve Moore
    Wood: Cliff Welch
    Bruce: Rodger Wood


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