Who are your candidates to have breakout seasons down on the farm this year? We need a few to step it up and improve the depth of the farm. Aside from the obvious names like Travis Wood, Homer Bailey, and Jay Bruce, who are some others you think will have that breakout season and establish themselves as top prospects?
Past Breakout Players
2004-Richie Gardner, Thomas Pauly, Todd Coffey
You can pick as many as you want, but I'm gonna go with two pitchers and two hitters.
Zach Ward - Has the classic power pitchers frame at 6-4, 230-pounds. I love his combination of size and power stuff. He has a fastball that he can dial up to 96 mph and he mixes in a power curve/slider that has been clocked as high as 87. I believe his changeup is a work in progress, however, if he can develope into just an average pitch then he could be something special, IMO. His 2006 destinition has yet to be determined but it wouldn't surprise me to see him start in the Florida State League.
Sam Lecure - Another draft pick from the 2005 class. Lecure works in the low 90's and has three solid pitches that he can throw for strikes. Control is his strong point. While his stuff is not dominant, he is considered polished and could move through the system quickly. I see a little bit of Richie Gardner in Sam.
Other candidates: Wirfen Obispo, Tyler Pelland, Travis Chick.
Chris Dickerson - For the second straight season I will choose Chris Dickerson as a breakout candidate. The talent is there for Chris to develop into a very solid all-around player. From reports I've read, his defense is already major league ready. On the offensive side, Dickerson possesses good speed, a solid eye at the plate(150 career walks in 996 atbats, or 1bb/6.64 atbats), and his body frame(6-4 212) suggests the potential to add power is still there. Is this the guy he puts it together and develops into a poor man's Curtis Granderson or will he leave me hanging again?
Joey Votto - I had a hard time deciding on this one but I decided to go with Votto. Votto had a breakout season in 2004 but greatly regressed in 2005, probably due to the Florida State League being a pitcher's park. The great Miguel Cabrera also struggled in his stint in the FSL to the tune of .274/.333/.421 with only nine homeruns, albeit Cabrera was only 19 compared to Votto being 21. Back to the point, I picked Votto because I think he will bounce back in the Southern League this year and again establish himself as possibly the future 1B of the Reds.
Other candidates: B.J. Szymanski, Jordan Belcher.