Will they make it big?
Reds have been stockpiling young players, but...
BY JOHN FAY | JFAY@ENQUIRER.COM
Mention the Reds' farm system to general manager Wayne Krivsky, and you're likely to get this response:
It's better. It's deeper. But you could always use more.
Depth is the key to a good farm system. You simply stock as many good players as you can and then sort them out later.
Players often are drafted or signed in their teens. Teams try to project what they'll be four, five, six years down the line.
"Every organization has different philosophies," said Reds player development director Terry Reynolds. "You try to pick out who you think has the highest ceiling based on the tools. When you try to draft for need, you get in trouble."
Projecting what a player will be is tricky.
"Albert Pujols was a 13th-round pick," Reynolds said. "When (the Cardinals) scouted him, he was a big-bodied guy with one tool -- power. All of a sudden, you get him and you're like, 'Oh, my God.' Talk about lucking into a guy."
In the Reds' case, look at third base: The current big-league third baseman, Edwin Encarnacion, is 25, probably entering the peak years of his career. But that hasn't stopped the Reds from stockpiling at the position.
Four players rated among the Reds' top 30 prospects by Baseball America either play third or could end up there: No. 8 Todd Frazier, No. 9 Juan Francisco, No. 22 Adam Rosales and No. 23 Brandon Waring. Francisco and Waring currently are playing third. Frazier and Rosales are shortstops who could end up at third.
Frazier and Francisco are good examples of different routes players take to being prospects.
Frazier was a supplemental first-round draft pick last year, a result of losing free agent Rich Aurilia to the Giants. He had been an All-American at Rutgers and was a polished player when the Reds signed him. Francisco, 20, signed as a 17-year-old. He spent almost two years at the Reds' academy in the Dominican Republic before moving up to the Gulf Coast League.
"The hardest part of that is to evaluate when that young guy is ready to make that next step," Reynolds said. "You don't want to kill their confidence by pushing them too soon.
But you also want to challenge them."