1. Homer Bailey - RHP - DOB: 05/03/86 - ETA: 2008
8-4, 4.43 ERA, 89 H, 125/62 K/BB in 103 2/3 IP for low Single-A Dayton
Bailey, the seventh overall pick in the 2004 draft, had his pro debut held up slightly last year following offseason knee surgery. He also experienced some arm stiffness in May, and he was pretty inconsistent when he took the mound. Still, he’s easily the Reds’ top prospect. Bailey regularly works in the mid-90s with his fastball and his curve is a terrific second pitch. His changeup isn’t yet good enough to fool hitters and he has a long way to go in the command department, but he has No. 2-starter upside.
2. Jay Bruce - OF - DOB: 04/03/87 - ETA: 2010
.270/.331/.500, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 31/11 K/BB, 4 SB in 122 AB for Rookie GCL Reds
.257/.358/.457, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 22/11 K/BB, 2 SB in 70 AB for Rookie Billings
Bruce passed on Tulane to sign with the Reds after being selected 12th overall last year and showed enough in his pro debut to signal that he should be ready for a full-season league this year. Bruce has ample power and speed, though he may lose range as he matures, necessitating a switch from center field to right. The Reds believe he’ll also hit for average, but it might not begin happening until 2007. He’ll probably require at least four full seasons in the minors.
3. Travis Wood - LHP - DOB: 02/06/87 - ETA: 2009
0-0, 0.75 ERA, 13 H, 45/7 K/BB in 24 IP for Rookie GCL Reds
2-0, 1.82 ERA, 15 H, 22/13 K/BB in 24 2/3 IP for Rookie Billings
Wood performed as well as any high schooler after the Reds grabbed him in the second round in the 2005 draft, amassing a 1.29 ERA in 11 starts and three relief appearances. He possesses a low-90s fastball, an excellent changeup and a below average curveball that he’ll need to tighten up. He’ll allow more hits as the batters get better, but he projects as a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
4. Chris Denorfia - OF - DOB: 07/15/80 - ETA: Now
.330/.391/.564, 7 HR, 26 RBI, 38/17 K/BB, 4 SB in 188 AB for Double-A Chattanooga
.310/.391/.505, 13 HR, 61 RBI, 54/41 K/BB, 8 SB in 323 AB for Triple-A Louisville
.263/.364/.421, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 9/6 K/BB, 1 SB in 38 AB for Cincinnati
.333/.421/.570, 3 HR, 24 RBI, 15/13 K/BB, 3 SB in 93 AB for Mesa (AFL)
The Reds could have themselves another Brady Clark in Denorfia. This time, though, they might take advantage of it. Denorfia, a 19th-round pick out of Wheaton College in 2002, was a career .273/.362/.392 hitter until experiencing a power spike last year. He can handle center field, though he’s better in a corner, and his on-base skills make him an option at the top of the order. The Reds will have him compete for a bench job this year. He may spend some time as a regular during the latter part of the decade, but unless the power is for real, he’ll probably be a reserve for the majority of his career.
5. B.J. Szymanski - OF - DOB: 10/01/82 - ETA: 2008
.262/.332/.471, 10 HR, 26 RBI, 57/21 K/BB, 7 SB in 191 AB for low Single-A Dayton
Szymanski, a second-round pick in 2004, was a wide receiver as well as a center fielder at Princeton, so there’s no questioning his athleticism. Unfortunately, he’s 23 now and he has only 272 professional at-bats under his belt after missing time last year due to knee surgery and a broken left hand. Szymanski is a switch-hitter with 20-homer power and very good speed. He has more potential for growth than most players his age, but he’s going to need to stay relatively healthy the next couple of years in order to become a regular center fielder.
6. William Bergolla - 2B - DOB: 02/04/83 - ETA: April 2007
.293/.325/.390, 2 HR, 38 RBI, 39/19 K/BB, 16 SB in 400 AB for Triple-A Louisville
.132/.132/.132, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 10/0 K/BB, 0 SB in 38 AB for Cincinnati
The Reds have been very aggressive with Bergolla, who could have stood to repeat a level in 2004 or 2005. Still, he's gotten to the point at which he's more than just holding his own. In 2003, his OPS at high-A Potomac was 651. Bumped up to Double-A in 2004, he improved to 711. Last season, he had a 715 OPS as a 22-year-old in Triple-A. With Anderson Machado and Ray Olmedo still recovering from injuries, the Reds called him up in May and he went 5-for-35 in three weeks on the roster. He returned to the majors briefly in June, but he wasn't rewarded with another callup in September. It'd be for the best if he doesn't see the majors again until this September. Bergolla is a capable shortstop and an excellent defender at second base. He'll never hit for power, but he has a chance to become a decent regular in a couple of years, and because he could steal 20-25 bases per year, NL-only leaguers should know the name.
7. Travis Chick - RHP - DOB: 06/10/84 - ETA: July 2006
2-9, 5.27 ERA, 107 H, 92/40 K/BB in 97 1/3 IP for Double-A Mobile
2-2, 4.86 ERA, 47 H, 21/27 K/BB in 46 1/3 IP for Double-A Chattanooga
Chick, the Padres’ No. 3 prospect a year ago, disappointed before and after being included in the Joe Randa trade, though it was his second half that was more discouraging. It’s obvious that some of his troubles were the result of skipping high-A ball. The 2002 14th-round pick has a low-90s fastball and a plus slider. It’s possible that the lack of a quality third pitch will force him to the bullpen at some point, but he is working on his curve. More important than anything is that he regain his command this year. His career could go in any number of directions.
8. Joey Votto - 1B - DOB: 09/10/83 - ETA: 2008
.256/.330/.425, 17 HR, 83 RBI, 122/52 K/BB, 4 SB in 464 AB for Single-A Sarasota
It’s too bad he’s now a full-time first baseman, because Votto hit like a catcher last year. The 2002 second-round pick finished 2004 at .302/.419/.486 for low Single-A Dayton and .298/.385/.560 in 84 at-bats for Single-A Potomac, but he didn’t take well to the Florida State League after the Reds changed high-A franchises. Votto doesn’t possess much more than 25-homer potential and he’s a below average defender at first base, so it no longer appears all that likely that he’ll end up as a regular. This year will be telling.
9. Adam Rosales - SS - DOB: 05/20/83 - ETA: 2009
.321/.396/.529, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 37/13 K/BB, 2 SB in 140 AB for Rookie Billings
.328/.378/.590, 9 HR, 21 RBI, 24/10 K/BB, 3 SB in 134 AB for Single-A Dayton
A third 2005 draft pick. Rosales, a shortstop at Western Michigan, lasted into the 12th round before the Reds grabbed him. It’s expected that he’ll end up at second or third, but he might have the bat to survive the switch. A lot of it depends on how his power holds up at higher levels. At 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, there’s a chance he could turn out to be a 15- or 20-homer guy. He’s one to watch.
10. Tyler Pelland - LHP - DOB: 10/09/83 - ETA: 2008
5-8, 4.05 ERA, 103 H, 103/63 K/BB in 102 1/3 IP for Single-A Sarasota
The Reds picked up Pelland and fellow left-hander Phil Dumatrait from the Red Sox for Scott Williamson in 2003. Pelland was in Rookie ball at the time of the deal and he still lacks polish now, but his above average stuff earns him a spot on one of the game’s weakest top-10 lists. Pelland throws in the low-90s and has a curveball with a lot of potential. His changeup is a weak third pitch at the moment. If the command comes, he could turn into a third starter. He’s a long shot to make it, however.
Next five: LHP Phil Dumatrait, RHP Calvin Medlock, RHP Carlos Guevara, OF Chris Dickerson, RHP Justin Germano
2005 top 10 - Edwin Encarnacion, Homer Bailey, Richie Gardner, Joey Votto, Thomas Pauly, B.J. Szymanski, Todd Coffey, William Bergolla, Phil Dumatrait, Chris Dickerson
2004 top 10: Brandon Claussen, Ryan Wagner, Dustin Moseley, Edwin Encarnacion, Ty Howington, Phil Dumatrait, Matt Belisle, Stephen Smitherman, Joey Votto, Joe Valentine
2003 top 10: Dustin Moseley, Bobby Basham, Ty Howington, Wily Mo Pena, Brandon Larson, Chris Gruler, Edwin Encarnacion, Luke Hudson, Josh Hall, William Bergolla