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Thread: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects

  1. #61
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    Re: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects

    Lotzkar is a good prospect. I said he struggled to get his ERA under 5.00 and maybe that was a bit of an exageration or my memory was a little off. He made 10 starts. After his fourth start, his ERA was 6.19. After his seventh start of the 10, his ERA was 4.66. Then he finished up with 8.2 scoreless innings combined over his last three starts to lower it 3.58. Of Lotzkar's 10 starts, he had three starts where he pitched five innings and those were his longest starts. In the other seven starts, he went a combined 22.2 innings and allowed 19 runs. I will be the first to agree that none of that means too much. But my point is, when you looked at Lotzkar last season, you saw a guy who, for the most part, was going to struggle out there. Soto, by contrast, was a star who carried his team to the playoffs and was the heart of the offense. The two players were both out of the same draft as high school picks. Both are tools guys.

    Lotzkar has good stuff. But he certainly doesn't throw as hard as Stewart, or even close. He certainly doesn't have Stewart's slider (though Baseball America rated Lotzkar's curve as the best in the organization. What they did not take into consideration is that he does not yet have command of that curve and that is why he throws 20-25 pitches per inning).

    Lotzkar is a promising young pitcher, certainly light years ahead of Ravin at this point. I am not knocking him. But to me, I just didn't see anything that special. I have seen dozens like him. I talked to a lot of the managers around the league and I don't ever remember anyone saying, "boy, that Lotzkar, he looks like he'll be something special."

    I hope I am selling him short and the biggest Lotzkar supporters are the ones who are seeing it correctly.
    Last edited by redsof72; 01-29-2009 at 09:35 AM.

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    Re: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects

    Very interesting stuff, redsof72, as always.

    Would you promote Soto to high A at the beginning of 09, or let him have more time in Dayton?
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    Re: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by redsof72 View Post
    Lotzkar is a good prospect. I said he struggled to get his ERA under 5.00 and maybe that was a bit of an exageration or my memory was a little off. He made 10 starts. After his fourth start, his ERA was 6.19. After his seventh start of the 10, his ERA was 4.66. Then he finished up with 8.2 scoreless innings combined over his last three starts to lower it 3.58. Of Lotzkar's 10 starts, he had three starts where he pitched five innings and those were his longest starts. In the other seven starts, he went a combined 22.2 innings and allowed 19 runs. I will be the first to agree that none of that means too much. But my point is, when you looked at Lotzkar last season, you saw a guy who, for the most part, was going to struggle out there. Soto, by contrast, was a star who carried his team to the playoffs and was the heart of the offense. The two players were both out of the same draft as high school picks. Both are tools guys.

    Lotzkar has good stuff. But he certainly doesn't throw as hard as Stewart, or even close. He certainly doesn't have Stewart's slider (though Baseball America rated Lotzkar's curve as the best in the organization. What they did not take into consideration is that he does not yet have command of that curve and that is why he throws 20-25 pitches per inning).

    Lotzkar is a promising young pitcher, certainly light years ahead of Ravin at this point. I am not knocking him. But to me, I just didn't see anything that special. I have seen dozens like him. I talked to a lot of the managers around the league and I don't ever remember anyone saying, "boy, that Lotzkar, he looks like he'll be something special."

    I hope I am selling him short and the biggest Lotzkar supporters are the ones who are seeing it correctly.
    I think a lot of Lotzkar's potential remains in the fact that he will be 19 for all of next season, flashes a plus curveball fairly often and already throws upwards of 94 MPH at times. There is a lot of projection in that coming from a 6'4 18 year old who already has 40 innings in Low A.

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    Re: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects

    I thought Soto would start back in Dayton before the Waring deal but now I would expect him to start in Sarasota. He should be fine there. More than anything, he needs experience and needs to learn the finer points of the game (understanding how the scoreboard dictates your baserunning and defensive decision-making based on risk vs. reward). Most young players just play the game. They make the same decisions on the bases regardless of the score and the number of outs. This is one area where Frazier was very advanced. But Soto is raw and just needs to play.

    In terms of where players start, the only one I am going to have a big disagreement with in the low minors is Mesoraco because I think they will start him in Sarasota and I think he would be best served to start back in Dayton.

    I will be curious as to what they do with Ravin and Arneson. Both got a lot of money. Arneson probably could be a release. He is not throwing nearly as hard as advertised (87 or so) and his walk total has averaged nearly one per inning over two years. He's 23 and can't hold his own in low-A ball. If he had gotten $10,000 instead of whatever it was ($267,000 or something like that?), he would be long gone. Ravin probably gets another year but he walks even more guys than Arneson but throws harder (90-91). What do you do with Ravin? His mechanics were too inconsistent to have any chance to be successful in '08 and his makeup/maturity has always been a question mark. Sorry if I am getting off topic here.

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    Re: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by redsof72 View Post
    I thought Soto would start back in Dayton before the Waring deal but now I would expect him to start in Sarasota. He should be fine there. More than anything, he needs experience and needs to learn the finer points of the game (understanding how the scoreboard dictates your baserunning and defensive decision-making based on risk vs. reward). Most young players just play the game. They make the same decisions on the bases regardless of the score and the number of outs. This is one area where Frazier was very advanced. But Soto is raw and just needs to play.

    In terms of where players start, the only one I am going to have a big disagreement with in the low minors is Mesoraco because I think they will start him in Sarasota and I think he would be best served to start back in Dayton.

    I will be curious as to what they do with Ravin and Arneson. Both got a lot of money. Arneson probably could be a release. He is not throwing nearly as hard as advertised (87 or so) and his walk total has averaged nearly one per inning over two years. He's 23 and can't hold his own in low-A ball. If he had gotten $10,000 instead of whatever it was ($267,000 or something like that?), he would be long gone. Ravin probably gets another year but he walks even more guys than Arneson but throws harder (90-91). What do you do with Ravin? His mechanics were too inconsistent to have any chance to be successful in '08 and his makeup/maturity has always been a question mark. Sorry if I am getting off topic here.
    Arneson got a $245,000 bonus, and Ravin got a $200,000 bonus.

    I'm curious, redsof72. What are your thoughts on J. Derrick Conatser? He signed for $100,000 and doesn't miss many bats. What kind of ceiling do you think he has?

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    Re: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects

    I thought Soto would start back in Dayton before the Waring deal but now I would expect him to start in Sarasota. He should be fine there. More than anything, he needs experience and needs to learn the finer points of the game (understanding how the scoreboard dictates your baserunning and defensive decision-making based on risk vs. reward). Most young players just play the game. They make the same decisions on the bases regardless of the score and the number of outs. This is one area where Frazier was very advanced. But Soto is raw and just needs to play.
    Interesting that baseball instincts evidence themselves so clearly in certain players, like Frazier. Glad to hear that you think Soto would be fine in high A. If he's truly got a special bat, I hope they push him -- maybe they need to push him to find out?
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    Re: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects

    Well, if you read my posts, you know that the one thing I have taken from watching over 2,500 minor league baseball games over the years is that baseball instincts and generally having "winning" intangibles are the most important tools. Of course, you have to have the skills, but I will take a guy who is a "winner" everytime and I am convinced that I will beat you with those types of players if the talent level is at all close. If you want the best example of that kind of player, look at Pete Rose. Some on this board would disagree, but that is what I have taken from watching minor league baseball.

    Frazier probably had the best instincts and intangibles of any player that I have seen in a long time. I remember having a conversation with Donnie Scott about Frazier. He said the same thing...that if he could pick one player in the organization to build a team around, it would be Frazier, and he said in his own brand of salty language that he did not give a hoot about Frazier's OPS, that Frazier would just find a way to win. Do you think it was an accident that Frazier won all those games starting in Little League?

    Lollipopcurve, Soto could be pushed and I think his stats would withstand the challenge, but he needs the experience of playing and for that reason, I would just put him at Sarasota and leave him there. When you move a guy too fast, he gets to the big leagues and you start seeing mental mistakes that cost you games and the fans scream bloody murder because you just gave a game away, but what really happened was the player never learned to play in the minor leagues even though his stats might have made you think he could advance.

    Camisadelgolf: Conatser, I don't know. He really wore down as the season went on. Was his arm sore? Was he just physically worn down from his first year of pro ball? Only he knows. He was great when he first got to Dayton but by August 1st he was not the same guy. His stuff was nothing great. Fastball maybe a little below average. Decent curve when he could command it. It will be interesting to see what he does in his second year. The $100,000 bonus would be something that would make you wonder. Here's something to look at in the low minors (it changes once you get to Double-A): The guys that the organization rates as having the best stuff are going to be put into the starting rotation to get innings. Then you have the guys who project as closers like a Zach Stewart and he will be in that role. The guys that are put in long and middle relief are usually guys that are looked at as being a little short in terms of stuff (we are talking Single-A). Conatser was basically a middle man. That tells you something about what the player development people thought as opposed to the scouting department. That's not to say those guys can't make it. Jeremy Horst was a middle man who was given a chance to be a starter and was dominant. But look to the big leagues and see how many guys you have on a pitching staff that were middle relievers in Single-A ball. Not many.

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    Re: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects

    One more thing on the topic of baseball instincts and intangibles. You notice an absence of discussion of those elements in many of the Baseball America scouting reports and other similar publications. Why do you think that is? I think it is because when scouts show up to watch a team, they generally stay five days (just long enough to see each starting pitcher). Yet this is the one tool that is impossible to evaluate in five days. You have to watch the player day in, day out, or get to know the player. Scouts can't do that. So it is not something that they spend a lot of time talking about when they talk to Baseball America. In all sports, that's a problem. That's how the Ryan Leafs of the world end up getting drafted higher than the Tom Bradys.

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    Re: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects

    Redsof72..

    You said you were surprised to see soto rated so low, but then go on to say his weaknessess are he lacks speed, and may have no true defensive position(due to a variety of reasons). I would argue that this is precisely why he is ranked lower. If he is blocked at 3b, and if, as you say, he is too slow to play the OF, where on earth are we going to play this kid? Its a HUGE question mark in my mind, and as much as I like the bat, I can see why some publications ding him in the rankings a bit.

    And that's why I think this community overrates him a bit too. The bat is gold, but if there's no place for him on the diamond, well... You've pigeon holed his value.
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    Re: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects

    Do you think it was an accident that Frazier won all those games starting in Little League?
    I do not. Probably not accidental that he won both the HR derby and the poker tournament at Redsfest either.

    Well, if you read my posts, you know that the one thing I have taken from watching over 2,500 minor league baseball games over the years is that baseball instincts and generally having "winning" intangibles are the most important tools. Of course, you have to have the skills, but I will take a guy who is a "winner" everytime and I am convinced that I will beat you with those types of players if the talent level is at all close. If you want the best example of that kind of player, look at Pete Rose. Some on this board would disagree, but that is what I have taken from watching minor league baseball.
    Amen. This stuff doesn't hold up in debates about whether one player is better than another, but I have no doubt there's a lot of truth to it at the team level.

    One more thing on the topic of baseball instincts and intangibles. You notice an absence of discussion of those elements in many of the Baseball America scouting reports and other similar publications. Why do you think that is? I think it is because when scouts show up to watch a team, they generally stay five days (just long enough to see each starting pitcher). Yet this is the one tool that is impossible to evaluate in five days. You have to watch the player day in, day out, or get to know the player. Scouts can't do that. So it is not something that they spend a lot of time talking about when they talk to Baseball America. In all sports, that's a problem. That's how the Ryan Leafs of the world end up getting drafted higher than the Tom Bradys.
    Great post.
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    Re: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects

    RE: cincyinco post 69: I just don't agree with that logic. So you are saying he should be ranked lower because he couldn't play a position that he currently doesn't play? Or that he should be ranked lower because there are a lot of good players in the organization that play the same position he plays? I don't think he can play the outfield. That much is true. He was a shortstop. Now he is playing third base and is fine there. If he becomes the player that his supporters hope he can become, then he will be an outstanding major league third baseman for somebody. If Francisco turns out to be an absolute blue chip superstar third baseman of hall of fame quality for the Reds for the next 15 years, that doesn't have anything to do with where Soto should be rated as a prospect, at least the way I am looking at it. If all of those guys ahead of Soto turn out to be everyday big leaguers and he gets there and has no place to play, that would be an awfully nice problem for the Reds, but it doesn't have anything to do with Soto's status as a prospect. I guess we are looking at that part of it differently. I respect your opinion.

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    Re: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by redsof72 View Post
    Well, if you read my posts, you know that the one thing I have taken from watching over 2,500 minor league baseball games over the years is that baseball instincts and generally having "winning" intangibles are the most important tools. Of course, you have to have the skills, but I will take a guy who is a "winner" everytime and I am convinced that I will beat you with those types of players if the talent level is at all close. If you want the best example of that kind of player, look at Pete Rose. Some on this board would disagree, but that is what I have taken from watching minor league baseball.

    Frazier probably had the best instincts and intangibles of any player that I have seen in a long time. I remember having a conversation with Donnie Scott about Frazier. He said the same thing...that if he could pick one player in the organization to build a team around, it would be Frazier, and he said in his own brand of salty language that he did not give a hoot about Frazier's OPS, that Frazier would just find a way to win. Do you think it was an accident that Frazier won all those games starting in Little League?

    Lollipopcurve, Soto could be pushed and I think his stats would withstand the challenge, but he needs the experience of playing and for that reason, I would just put him at Sarasota and leave him there. When you move a guy too fast, he gets to the big leagues and you start seeing mental mistakes that cost you games and the fans scream bloody murder because you just gave a game away, but what really happened was the player never learned to play in the minor leagues even though his stats might have made you think he could advance.

    Camisadelgolf: Conatser, I don't know. He really wore down as the season went on. Was his arm sore? Was he just physically worn down from his first year of pro ball? Only he knows. He was great when he first got to Dayton but by August 1st he was not the same guy. His stuff was nothing great. Fastball maybe a little below average. Decent curve when he could command it. It will be interesting to see what he does in his second year. The $100,000 bonus would be something that would make you wonder. Here's something to look at in the low minors (it changes once you get to Double-A): The guys that the organization rates as having the best stuff are going to be put into the starting rotation to get innings. Then you have the guys who project as closers like a Zach Stewart and he will be in that role. The guys that are put in long and middle relief are usually guys that are looked at as being a little short in terms of stuff (we are talking Single-A). Conatser was basically a middle man. That tells you something about what the player development people thought as opposed to the scouting department. That's not to say those guys can't make it. Jeremy Horst was a middle man who was given a chance to be a starter and was dominant. But look to the big leagues and see how many guys you have on a pitching staff that were middle relievers in Single-A ball. Not many.
    I'm very excited about Frazier after reading this.

    Great post!

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    Re: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by redsof72 View Post
    RE: cincyinco post 69: I just don't agree with that logic. So you are saying he should be ranked lower because he couldn't play a position that he currently doesn't play? Or that he should be ranked lower because there are a lot of good players in the organization that play the same position he plays? I don't think he can play the outfield. That much is true. He was a shortstop. Now he is playing third base and is fine there. If he becomes the player that his supporters hope he can become, then he will be an outstanding major league third baseman for somebody. If Francisco turns out to be an absolute blue chip superstar third baseman of hall of fame quality for the Reds for the next 15 years, that doesn't have anything to do with where Soto should be rated as a prospect, at least the way I am looking at it. If all of those guys ahead of Soto turn out to be everyday big leaguers and he gets there and has no place to play, that would be an awfully nice problem for the Reds, but it doesn't have anything to do with Soto's status as a prospect. I guess we are looking at that part of it differently. I respect your opinion.
    Great post.
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    Re: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by redsof72 View Post
    RE: cincyinco post 69: I just don't agree with that logic. So you are saying he should be ranked lower because he couldn't play a position that he currently doesn't play? Or that he should be ranked lower because there are a lot of good players in the organization that play the same position he plays? I don't think he can play the outfield. That much is true. He was a shortstop. Now he is playing third base and is fine there. If he becomes the player that his supporters hope he can become, then he will be an outstanding major league third baseman for somebody. If Francisco turns out to be an absolute blue chip superstar third baseman of hall of fame quality for the Reds for the next 15 years, that doesn't have anything to do with where Soto should be rated as a prospect, at least the way I am looking at it. If all of those guys ahead of Soto turn out to be everyday big leaguers and he gets there and has no place to play, that would be an awfully nice problem for the Reds, but it doesn't have anything to do with Soto's status as a prospect. I guess we are looking at that part of it differently. I respect your opinion.
    Thanks for the response!

    How can I put this as short and sweet as possible?

    In my opinion, soto is a good prospect. But he has some question marks on the defensive side of the game. What's his true position? As you stayed he's already been moved off SS, due to him physically maturing. Can he stay at 3b? If so, his value doesn't take as much of a ding, but should he not be able to stay at third? Well... Then that's a big problem, at least for me, as he has no true position. You have to play both sides of the diamond in the NL, and if soto can't do that, then his status as a prospect is certainly not as good.

    Should that be held against him? As you said that's where we differ in opinion, but for me, its a real possibility you have to take into account. He's not as valuable a prospect as a LF or 1b than he is if he can provide that bat from the SS or 3b position.
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    Re: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects

    As a further aside, I realise that soto has not been moved off 3b and my never be, but part of the prospect game is projection... So I guess it comes down to do you see soto good enough to be a sure handed 3b? If so, this discussion is probably moot, but I think he's a young kid, whose already outgrown the SS position, and from other accounts - including yours - that I have read, may not be done growing and may not stick at third. If that's truely the case, then you can't possibly ignore that when ultimately trying to project what his value is going to be at the ML level(and ultimately arbitrary prospect rankings like this, kieth law, sickels, etc.)
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