The April-May version of the Reds program I bought yesterday profiles four Reds prospects. Since I have nothing else to do at the moment, I decided to type them out so that everybody could read it.
The club's top pick in the 2004 First-year Player Draft, Homer Bailey has done nothing to dispel the notion that he is the next in line of great Texas pitchers. Last season at Dayton, Bailey went 8-4 with 125 punchouts - tops in the system - in 103 2/3 innings pitched for the Dragons. Although his innings were limited because of the tandem-starter system the Reds employed at the time, Bailey was impressive enough to be named the No. 2 prospect in the Midwest League by Baseball America at season's end.
Armed with the organization's top fastball and curveball according to BA, Bailey had the treat of attending Major League Spring Training as a non-roster invitee this season. The 6-foot-4-inch right-hander wowed obsevers with his stuff and poise, earning praise from Reds Manager Jerry Narron, pitching coach Vern Ruhle and guest instructor Mario Soto among others.
While Bailey certainly has room for improvement - he walked 62 batters in '05, more than 5/9 IP - the Reds have little doubt he can reach his potential based on his abundance of both talent and confidence.
Despite the club's determination to restock its farm system with pitching, the Reds couldn't pass up Jay Bruce and his multitude of skills in the '05 draft. Compared by scouts to Jim Edmonds because of his build and powerful stroke, the center fielder has given the club a second consecutive blue-chipper from the Lone Star State.
As many high schoolers do, Bruce began his pro career with the rookie league GCL Reds in Sarasota. In 37 games there, Bruce hit .270 with five homers and piled up 25 RBIs to show off the early indications of his power. Once the GCL season ended, the Reds decided to challenge Bruce with a promotion to Billings in the Pioneer League. Playing against mostly college draftees three and four years older, Bruce slugged four home runs with 13 RBIs in only 17 games.
How impressive was Bruce in his first half-season in the organization? Baseball America named him the No. 2 prospect in the GCL and the No. 1 prospect in the Pioneer League in their yearend rankings. Entering his first full season, Bruce has the whole organization looking forward to what numbers he will produce.
Following two seasons of bouncing around, Tyler Pelland finally benefited from a full season at one stop in '05. The club's eighth-rated prospect, Pelland appeared in 30 games(15 starts) at High Class-A and pitched well for Sarasota. The southpaw led the club with 103 strikeouts and allowed only five home runs in 102 1/3 innings pitched. Not bad for being the youngest pitcher on the squad.
Still, Pelland's main issue is the same as Bailey's - control. His 63 walks led the Florida State League, though much of that can be credited to a desire to get more punchouts. Expected to begin the season in Double-A Chattanooga, Pelland will undoubtedly be working on his command with longtime Lookouts pitching coach Bill Molony.
With solid velocity and a hammer curveball, Pelland has the kind of stuff that teams crave in lefties. And since the youngster won't turn 22 until after the 2006 season ends, there's no question Pelland is ahead of schedule on his trip to the bigs.
Twelfth-round draftees typically don't burst on the scene in their first pro season, but that's exactly what Adam Rosales did as soon as the ink was dry on his contract. The Western Michigan grad destroyed Pioneer League pitching, hitting .321 with a .396 on-base percentage, .529 slugging percentage, five homers and 25 RBIs in 34 games. Not bad for a debut.
Not surprisingly, the Reds decided to give Rosales a promotion after his eye-popping start, bumping him up to Low Class-A Dayton. Midwest League pitchers actually fared worse against Rosales, who pounded out nine home runs and 21 RBIs while batting .328 and slugging .590 in only 32 games. All told, Rosales' final '05 line was a .325 average, .388 OBP, .558 slugging, 14 homers and 46 RBIs.
As a four-year college player, Rosales' accomplishments carry a little less shine than if he were a year or two younger. However, if the shortstop/second baseman can even come close to matching those numbers in '06, his fast track to Great American Ballpark will be full steam ahead.