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Thread: Article on the Reds young arms and bats

  1. #1
    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
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    Article on the Reds young arms and bats

    Young arms
    All eyes are on this Reds trio

    It looks like after years of trying, the Reds have the type of young starting pitching to sustain the franchise.

    Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez have been the sensations of camp. Homer Bailey, last year's big story of the spring, showed a live arm, but will start the season at Triple-A Louisville.

    There are a lot of reasons the Reds have seven straight losing seasons, but the biggest is the inability to develop starting pitching.

    "Starting pitching is probably the hardest thing to develop," player development director Terry Reynolds said. "Not so much how we develop them - because we do it very similarly to how we do it with the position guys - it's just attrition. For every 10 you get, I'm guessing half those guys have a setback. Not necessarily a surgery but an arm issue of some kind, something unforeseen."

    The Reds drafted starting pitchers in the first round in 1999 (Ty Howington), 2001 (Jeremy Sowers) and 2002 (Chris Gruler).

    Howington never made it above Double-A. Elbow and shoulder problems ended his career before he reached his 25th birthday. Gruler, the third pick overall, had shoulder trouble and never made it out of Single-A. Sowers, now with Cleveland, never signed with the Reds.

    And until 2003 or so, the Reds had no presence in Latin America, fertile ground for finding pitching. That has changed.

    Three months before the Reds took Bailey in the first round of the 2004 draft and signed him for $1.5 million, they signed Cueto for $3,500 after a tryout camp in the Dominican Republic.

    Cueto's ahead of Bailey now. Volquez came to the Reds via Texas in the Josh Hamilton trade. At 24, he's the same age Aaron Harang was when the Reds acquired him from Oakland.

    "I saw him in Oakland," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He wasn't the same Aaron Harang. He threw harder with less command. Sometimes a light goes on. You never know why."

    Cueto, Volquez and Bailey all throw harder than Harang did when the Reds got him.

    If the light goes on for them this year, it would be a very bright time for the Reds.


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  3. #2
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    Re: Article on the Reds young arms

    Scouting the top prospects
    With analysis by Reds broadcaster and former pitcher Jeff Brantley


    Age: 22

    Hometown: San Pedro de Marcoris, Dominican Republic

    Pitches: Fastball, slider, changeup

    Did you know? Signed by Johnny Almaraz for $3,500 in 2004.

    Did you know II? Pitched the only no-hitter in Dayton Dragons history.

    Stats: 32-21, 3.21 ERA, 366 hits, 108 walks, 426 strikeouts in the minors.

    Jeff Brantley's take: "Great command of his fastball - not just for the fact he has a high-velocity fastball, but he works both sides of the plate with movement. All of those are plus activities for a fastball. He can throw a breaking ball for strikes when he's behind in the count and can also expand the zone with the breaking ball when he's ahead in the count. His changeup is a pitch that Mario Soto has not only shown him how to throw but when to throw it. I think that's a big advantage Johnny Cueto has now over the hitters that he didn't have last year. I think that's why he's being considered for that No. 3 spot."


    Age: 24

    Hometown: Barona, Dominican Republic

    Pitches: Fastball, changeup, slider, curve

    Did you know? His first professional at-bat came this spring. He grounded out.

    Stats: Was 6-1 with a 1.41 ERA in eight Triple-A starts last year. Allowed 25 hits and struck out 66 in 51 innings. Went 3-11 with a 7.20 ERA in 80 big-league innings over three seasons.

    Jeff Brantley's take: "He had opportunities with the Texas Rangers to pitch in the big leagues. The big key for Volquez is he didn't realize how good his changeup was. Now, I think with the addition of some of the other pitchers on this ballclub, he's starting to learn that a 98-mph fastball all the time isn't always good. Sometimes 90 percent is better. He's realizing he can get away with a 92-mph fastball down and away - 98, 96 inside and use his changeup in a way that sometimes it's a strikeout pitch, sometimes it's a setup for the next high fastball. The thing I've noticed deeper into camp is that he's throwing his breaking ball for strikes earlier in the count and using those two plus pitches when it's time to put a hitter away."


    Age: 21

    Hometown: La Grange, Texas

    Did you know? As a freshman, he beat former Red Ryan Wagner in the Texas high school state title game.

    Did you know II? His given name is David. Called Homer after his great grandfather.

    Stats: 24-15 with a 3.46 ERA for the Reds in the minors.

    Jeff Brantley's take: "He has the intestinal fortitude and stubbornness to pitch in this league. I think he has all the ingredients from a mental standpoint to pitch up here. But right now what is holding him back is his inability to accept the fact that he has to have a second pitch to pitch up here. Right now, he wants to go back to what got him here, and that is throwing the fastball by hitters. When you're in the minor leagues and high school, you can throw the ball by guys, you can overpower them. Right now, Homer Bailey cannot do that. He's starting to see that. What happens for him when he tries to overpower guys, his front shoulder opens up, his hands pronate and the ball sinks into the ground and ends becoming a nothing pitch. Then hitters sit on his fastball and hit it into the gap. If he does not come up with a second pitch that is a short breaking ball that he can throw with confidence when he's behind in the count, it's going to be a long road for Homer Bailey."


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    Re: Article on the Reds young arms and bats

    Young bats
    Jay Bruce likely will arrive soon to provide a youthful triple threat

    The Reds' ability to improve on last season's 16th-ranked batting average may lie in their young hitters.

    Players like Joey Votto could boost a corps that hit .267 in 2007, .257 in 2006 and .261 in 2005. The New York Yankees, by comparison, hit a majors-best .290 last season.

    "As far as the young guys go, they're vital. They're this team's future," first baseman Scott Hatteberg said. "This is a team that can't go out and just buy a bunch of talent - we've got to develop it. The future is those guys."

    Last season Norris Hopper (.329) and Jeff Keppinger (.332) bolstered the Reds' bats, as did Edwin Encarnacion. He hit .289 in 2007 with 16 home runs and 76 RBI.

    Gone is Josh Hamilton, who hit .292 with 19 home runs and 47 RBI and is now a Texas Ranger.

    But new talent will restock the hitting arsenal, like Votto, who showed a glimpse of what he could do last September. In 84 at-bats, he batted .321 with four home runs and 17 RBI.

    The young players' ability to perform well at the plate this season obviously could be a boon for the team. The upside of future players - like Jay Bruce, who dominated the minors last season - adds another layer to the foundation.

    Bruce combined to hit .319 with 46 doubles, eight triples, 26 home runs and 89 RBI at Single-A Sarasota, Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville.


  5. #4
    Sprinkles are for winners dougdirt's Avatar
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    Jan 2006

    Re: Article on the Reds young arms and bats

    These are some real short articles the Enquirer is cranking out.... not a lot to them honestly.

  6. #5
    Member icehole3's Avatar
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    May 2000

    Re: Article on the Reds young arms and bats

    on the Reds pitching depth, I like where we are on prospects not named Bailey or Cueto, what I'd really hope and pray for is that the Reds take this year's draft and solely focus on starting pitchers who throw in the high 90's. Ideally I want them to grab 5 pitchers with their first 5 picks in the draft after that Im good with whatever they draft, I want the Reds minor league pitching to be talked about in the same sentence with Tampa's and Boston and the A's. Thats my wish list.

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