Yep, i didn't know I was completely writing the guy off either.Originally Posted by WVRed
Yep, i didn't know I was completely writing the guy off either.Originally Posted by WVRed
Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David
From Baseball Prospectus today:
So, the sabermetric guys at BP rate Nelson the #2 high school talent and Bailey #3. Seems too close to call to me.Tommy Used To Work on the Docks: A Return to High School
There's an old joke (somewhat funny if you're from the South) that goes something like this:
Q: What are a redneck's most common last words?
A: Watch this s**t!
The idea being that these are the sort of folk who, by dint of a dare or desire to impress assembled fellow travelers, are prone to try something unspeakably stupid--swallow a buck knife, see if the bees come out, try that long-unused rope swing, do pull-ups from the bridge railing, brawl with federal agents--and wind up offing themselves. There's a point to my telling you this...
We at BP aren't wont to meander into the wilder shores of analyzing high school talent (park factors and levels of competition vary frantically from team to team and region to region, and the troublingly unadjusted numbers that are available are usually the wrong ones). But sometimes Jonah levels his steely editorial gaze at you, and you know you've drawn the short straw. So I'm going to do my best to rank the top five high school players taken in this year's draft. Without further hedging, I invite you to watch this s**t:
Neil Walker, C, Pine Richland HS-Gibsonia, PA
Pirates, 11th overall
Walker batted .580 for the brief, cold-weather season, with 14 of his 22 hits going for extra bases. He also has excellent plate discipline and good speed for a catcher. Throw in some strong bloodlines (his father played for the Expos and older brother was in the Tigers' system for a while) and good catcher's build, and you've got a fine prep prospect. Walker's also a switch-hitter with especially good power from the right side. On the downside, high school-trained catchers have a less than inspiring track record, and the competition in Pennsylvania is less than premium.
Chris Nelson, SS, Redan HS-Decatur, GA
Rockies, ninth overall
Suburban Atlanta, as the Braves have known for years now, is a bit of prep hotbed in terms of baseball talent (Nelson went to the same high school as Brandon Phillips). So while Nelson isn't playing against Florida, Central Texas or Southern California competition, he's by no means sliding by against an undemanding peer group. He's athletic around the bag with good range, so he'll have every chance to stick at short. Nelson has a line-drive swing, and he's already adept at using the whole field. This past season, he batted .582, slugged 1.119 and swiped 25 bags. Scouts think he'll show solid gap-power numbers in the majors. He's not rated as having exceptional plate discipline, but unfortunately the numbers aren't there to evaluate him further from that vital standpoint.
Homer Bailey, RHP, LaGrange HS-LaGrange, TX
Reds, seventh overall
Bailey hails from LaGrange, which is about halfway between Austin and Houston and smack dab in the middle of the fertile crescent for fire-balling prep right-handers. The competition there is tough, and Bailey destroyed all comers: 66 innings, 157 strikeouts, nine walks, 17 hits, 0.21 ERA. For those counting, that's a comedic K/BB ratio of 17.4. His fastball ranges from 92 to 96, and his sharp curve is also a devastating pitch. Like all other young, raw power pitchers, he'll need to stay healthy and refine his change-up. There's lots to like from a scouting as well as a performance standpoint--as far as high school numbers will take you, that is. The odds against high school pitchers mean his road will likely be a long and treacherous one.
Matt Bush, SS, Mission Bay HS-El Cajon, CA
Padres, first overall
The ballyhooed top overall pick was regarded as the second-best prep shortstop available in most quarters. On the plus side, he's an excellent defender who should only get better as he matures and refines his instincts. Bush has great footwork and can adroitly turn the double play. Bush also sports a mid-90s fastball, so you know he's got the arm for short. His offensive numbers aren't overwhelming at first blush (.400 AVG, .738 SLG), but he was playing against premium SoCal competition. He's a contact hitter who handles fastballs with aplomb, but his ability to handle breaking pitches is somewhat suspect at this point. His plate discipline needs some improvement, but he's in an organization that stresses it. As a high-school talent, Bush will have plenty of developmental time to tailor his approach at the plate.
Billy Killian, C, Chippewa Hills HS-Stanwood, MI
Padres, 72nd overall
If there's such thing as a third-round sleeper, it may be Killian. Widely hailed as the best player in Michigan, Killian had first-round abilities but dropped to the third mostly because scouts didn't care for his thin build (6'1'', 185). He has outstanding plate discipline and batted a ridiculous .766 this season while slugging 1.367 (small sample size alert! Only 30 ABs). He's also a switch-hitter. On the defensive side, he's very athletic for a backstop and boasts a strong arm. Killian needs some polish behind the plate, but the ingredients of a fine defensive catcher are there. Credit the Padres for looking past his size concerns and getting themselves a promising catching talent. He should've been drafted much, much higher.
"People that frequent Internet forums resemble the cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest!" - C. J. Cregg, The West Wing
Figured I'd kick in some general post-draft thoughts now that I've had a few days to digest things. princeton's got his draft prediction in another thread. For the record, I'd have done Nelson in the first and Michael Rogers in the second. After that, all eastern Europeans. It's an undertapped talent pool.
1. Homer Bailey - The Reds went for ceiling and, at least this is my guess, were hell-bent on taking a pitcher with that first pick. Can't argue with Bailey's ceiling, but to lift a single word from guernsey's above post, this is a "treacherous" pick. The Reds have chosen try the old rope bridge, the one with the planks falling out of it. I hope they make it across. Random development thought on Bailey: After seeing Tyler Pelland get croaked in A ball this season, I'd suggest starting Bailey in the GCL and only bumping him up to Billings next season. He can hit Dayton in 2006 and still be the appropriate age for that level. I know the temptation is to rush top picks, but the Reds picked high schooler and they should show some restraint.
2. If you like B.J. Szymanski, then you should adore Wily Mo Pena ... and I'm talking poster-on-the-wall love here. "But honey, it's a five-tool poster." Of course the Reds have been showing little love for Wily Mo despite the fact that he's playing pretty well. So is everyone going to be on board with the Szymanski project?
3. Much as I didn't like the philosophy of the Bailey pick, my least favorite selection the team made was Craig Tatum. College pitchers like Steve Register, Andrew Dobies and Ross Ohlendorf were still on the board. To touch upon something I mentioned above, the only thing I look for when drafting a catcher with a high pick is his bat. If his bat warrants the selection at that spot, then I'd draft him. You can get competent catch-and throw guys in later rounds. Tatum's defense is his calling and, as such, I think they might have chosen player for whom they could have found an equivalent ten rounds later.
4. Whether you like Rafael Gonzalez depends on whether you look at his ceiling or his current wayward self. He could be dynamite or he could be out of baseball in three years. Possible alternate pick: Ohlendorf.
5. Paul Janish sounds like a Dal Maxvill clone. Clearly the Reds were impressed by the arm tool when it came to players in this draft. Possible alternate pick: Dexter Fowler, now there's some tools.
6. Unlike Mathis, Lonny Roa's bat is what got him drafted. As such, nice pick. There's speculation he may not stay behind the plate. Hope he does, the Reds could use some offensive competence back there. I'm picturing a RH Joey Votto. Possible alternate pick: Tennessee southpaw Derek Tharpe, who dominated the SEC.
7. Phillippe Valiquette is probably the poster boy for the underrated HS arm. He's a lefty with a good fastball, that alone gets me interested. Nice selection by the Reds. A real case of taking a kid who wound up being undervalued. Canada's also been producing pitchers of late. Possible alternate selection: None, Valiquette's a speculation pick, but he'll come at a good price and has a high ceiling.
8. Greg Goetz is another lefty with a good heater. Can't find the plate so the Reds will need to learn how to teach control for him to pan out.
9. Trevor Lawhorn's got some pop for a 2B, though it's speculated that it might be aluminum-based pop. He and his twin brother are baseball rats who'll play wherever you stick them and they'll do something right. Generally speaking, it's good to have some of those around. They find their ceilings with greater frequency.
10. Terrell Young is either a young man who's stumbled while waiting to do the one thing he was born to do -- pitch professional baseball -- or he's a disaster who happens to pitch. Obviously I'd like to see the former be the case. Another tools pitcher.
11. Jason Uriquidez marked the spot in the draft where the Reds shifted their pitching philosophy to taking college pitchers. Uriquidez doesn't have a lot of stuff, but he's got extra moxie. Should be a solid minor leaguer for a good number of years if nothing else.
General thoughts - Anyone who wanted the Reds to draft players with advanced hitting skills or mature pitchers, can't be enthused with this bunch. The Reds clearly went for tools, particularly defense, in the hopes they could build an offensive game around them. Likewise, they went for tools pitchers. It means they're putting a lot of eggs in the instruction basket. It's going to require a ton of patience, which Dan O'Brien seems to have, though he's put even greater pressure on himself in terms of coming up with an interim plan for the majors. This draft isn't going to impact the major league club for a long time.
Yet this marks the first real stamp the DanO regime has put on the organization and it looks like the Reds are going to be a tools-centric bunch.
The Cincinnati Reds: We Still Exist
The Cincinnati Reds: Unburdened by Expectations
The Cincinnati Reds: We've Got Free Wi-Fi
Not at Ohio State.Originally Posted by M2
(Sorry, couldn't resist.)
Excellent analysis. A couple of corollaries/extensions...
1. As others may have noted, the Reds "zagged" as many other organizations "zigged" -- Reds going HS arms, college bats. Looks to me like Szymanski and Janish may have dropped some from predraft projections due to this overall trend.
2. I think Reynolds talked of building up the middle -- looks to be a "philosophy" as much as any other pattern one could identify after 1 draft.
3. I read something about visa issues with Canadian players -- something like they'll have to sign 2005 contracts. Will impact Valiquette.
4. I'd love to see us sign 25-30 of these players.
5. The video of Juan Buck is interesting. Big and green.
6. Szymanski is an embryonic Joe Borchard. I look for him to struggle a lot at times, but still a very nice player to have in the system, I think.
"Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini
Things look mighty different now, 6 months out from the draft...still will take a full season to fully comprehend whether or not the 2004 class was any good.
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