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Thread: The difference between Alonso and Stubbs/Mesoraco

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    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    The difference between Alonso and Stubbs/Mesoraco

    Got to thinking on this as I was perusing the BA Reds top 10 prospects list. There's a common thread running through numbers 1, 2 and 4 (Yonder Alonso, Todd Frazier and Chris Valaika), namely that no one had to teach them how to play baseball after they got drafted. That doesn't mean they were or are finished products, just that they don't represent major development projects. They aren't toolsy kids in search of skills. They don't need to be torn down to the bare metal and rebuilt.

    Drew Stubbs and Devin Mesoraco are projects and I think that's been the real objection to them. People have wanted the Reds to draft surer things with first round picks (e.g. pitchers with an arsenal ready-made for MLB success). The complaint isn't so much that they'll never be any good, more that the club doesn't need to be so theoretical in the first round. Maybe Frazier (who's been in the top 10 in OPS in every league he's played in since becoming a pro) and Valaika changed some thinking in the front office, which led to the selection of Alonso.

    It will be interesting to see where the Reds go with their first pick in the next draft. If it's another kid who comes in a more ready-to-play package then I'd suggest we may be witnessing a change in organizational philosophy.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

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    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
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    Re: The difference between Alonso and Stubbs/Mesoraco

    Interesting POV, M2

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    Re: The difference between Alonso and Stubbs/Mesoraco

    Even though Stubbs is still learning, I think that he would have been an improvement over Taveras this season in CF. But that's neither here nor there.

    I'm a huge Alonso fan... I just think the guy gets it and he seems cocky/confindent enough that it seems to push him to have a strong will to succeed. Valaika and Frazier just seem to play well no matter the constant questions about their position. They probably won't be stars but I think both will be able to stay on ML rosters into their 30's.

    As for Mesoraco... He's got a long ways to go, and I expected that when they drafted a HS catcher from a cold weather state in the 1st round. Hopefully this is the season that shows the skills that made him a 1st round pick.
    I know a lot of people are talking about his on-base percentage (.308 in 2008), but I like to think more in terms of him his in-scoring position percentage. - Our Beloved Manager

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: The difference between Alonso and Stubbs/Mesoraco

    I have no problem with drafting great talents and developing their skills. My concern is that the Reds aren't the Braves nor the Twins. We simply don't have any recent history of actually developing talent. I really can't think of any example where we took a guy who was talented but raw and turned him in to something quite useful.

    Not that he's a finished product, but I think it's fair to say Bailey represents the latest example.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Re: The difference between Alonso and Stubbs/Mesoraco

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I have no problem with drafting great talents and developing their skills. My concern is that the Reds aren't the Braves nor the Twins. We simply don't have any recent history of actually developing talent. I really can't think of any example where we took a guy who was talented but raw and turned him in to something quite useful.

    Not that he's a finished product, but I think it's fair to say Bailey represents the latest example.
    Adam Dunn? Wasn't he pretty raw when they drafted him? Kearns was see as a more polished player, even during their time in the minor IIRC.
    I know a lot of people are talking about his on-base percentage (.308 in 2008), but I like to think more in terms of him his in-scoring position percentage. - Our Beloved Manager

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    Re: The difference between Alonso and Stubbs/Mesoraco

    Although, 1 guy in the last 10 years isn't getting the job done.
    I know a lot of people are talking about his on-base percentage (.308 in 2008), but I like to think more in terms of him his in-scoring position percentage. - Our Beloved Manager

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    Re: The difference between Alonso and Stubbs/Mesoraco

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I have no problem with drafting great talents and developing their skills. My concern is that the Reds aren't the Braves nor the Twins. We simply don't have any recent history of actually developing talent. I really can't think of any example where we took a guy who was talented but raw and turned him in to something quite useful.

    Not that he's a finished product, but I think it's fair to say Bailey represents the latest example.
    To me it goes beyond that. Yes, that is a problem. Yet the Reds have been picking mostly in the top half of the draft. Why draft raw anything when you can have a cooked meal?

    And I'm not talking about age here. Jay Bruce was ready to play baseball when he got drafted. Adam Dunn produced from the moment he arrived. They didn't require the kind of retooling being performed on Stubbs and Mesoraco.

    I'm wondering if the Reds have decided to acquire players with high picks and hold off on the projects until later.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

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    Boom Goes the Dynamite Screwball's Avatar
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    Re: The difference between Alonso and Stubbs/Mesoraco

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I really can't think of any example where we took a guy who was talented but raw and turned him in to something quite useful.
    Cueto?

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    Re: The difference between Alonso and Stubbs/Mesoraco

    I've been posting for a decade about how the Reds can't develop, and really need to draft guys that will require as little development as possible.

    that said, I think that the development system has shown signs of great improvement. the current system can at least get toolsy players up to AA successfully, which is a big improvement over the previous system where those guys looked good in Billings but not beyond. Whether they can get a guy up to the majors remains a question, but Dickerson's success had to open some eyes. had we drafted Stubbs in 2000, I think that he'd have had zero chance to be solid in the bigs. these days, he's probably got a chance.

    Reds drafted Dan Wilson as 7th pick about 18 years ago, and Stubbs was fairly similar: strong defensively, with questions about whether either would hit enough. Wilson progressed quickly; Stubbs is taking a longer time. That's not a great sign, but he's already gone farther than I suspected he might so I no longer count him out.

    Mesoraco might be more of a Brandon Larson story. both drafted in hopes that their offensive tools would look good at their position, but both showed quickly that they have no position.

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    Re: The difference between Alonso and Stubbs/Mesoraco

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I really can't think of any example where we took a guy who was talented but raw and turned him in to something quite useful.
    Votto, of course.

    EdE.

    it took a while, but Dickerson looks mighty useful.

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    Re: The difference between Alonso and Stubbs/Mesoraco

    It will be interesting to see where the Reds go with their first pick in the next draft. If it's another kid who comes in a more ready-to-play package then I'd suggest we may be witnessing a change in organizational philosophy.
    You have to put a pick in the context of the year in which it takes place. I would say that if they do go with a "safe" pick this year, then yes, there has been a shift, because this year the profile of the top 10 seems to favor a bunch of pitching staring the Reds in the face at #8. It is no coincidence that the "safe" guys you mention -- Frazier, Valaika, Alonso -- Bruce, too, though to a lesser extent, I'd say -- are all hitters. College hitters, in particular, have been shown to bring the most reliable return in the first round. As we look at this year's prospective top 10 -- and it's still a little early -- it's a little light on college bats.

    Pitching is always a little riskier, given the catastrophic nature of common injuries and the propensity of HS and college coaches to overwork their best arms. I think pro clubs are adapting better to this reality and are doing more to protect their draftees well in that first year, but pitching will always be more difficult to develop than hitting, given that the pitchers generally need more retooling. I am assuming we're talking about starting pitching here. Relievers are a different breed -- and I don't think any of us expects the Reds to spend a top ten pick on a relief prospect.

    That said, there are a couple of high-ceiling HS lefthanders -- Tyler Matzek and Matt Purke -- currently sitting in the top 10, and I have heard Buckley refer to lefthanders as "a real commodity." It also happens to be an organizational weakness for the Reds right now. Meanwhile, top college hitters Grant Green and Dustin Ackley are likely to be gone. Maybe the team looks at Kentrail Davis, a LH-hitting OF from Tennessee. Or the SS from Miami -- Kyle Jackson? -- who's supposed to be an excellent glove.

    My guess is that if they do go with someone "safe" like Davis or Jackson, they'll be criticized for leaving some nice LH arms on the board.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Re: The difference between Alonso and Stubbs/Mesoraco

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve View Post
    It is no coincidence that the "safe" guys you mention -- Frazier, Valaika, Alonso -- Bruce, too, though to a lesser extent, I'd say -- are all hitters.
    True, though I'd suggest Tim Lincecum would have been a safe pick too. And the upcoming draft looks deep in college arms, so it may be a pitcher the Reds should target - e.g. Mike Minor, Kendall Volz, Kyle Gibson. Another kid to keep an eye on is HS OF Donovan Tate.

    Also, in 2007 the safest pick the Reds could have made at #15, in baseball terms, was probably Rick Porcello. While he was a high school arm and that's comes with built-in volatility, the club didn't have to teach him anything for him to succeed in A ball. He's worth a lot right now, offering an immediate return on investment, even if the club is nervous about where he progresses from here.
    Last edited by M2; 02-05-2009 at 12:29 PM.
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    Re: The difference between Alonso and Stubbs/Mesoraco

    True, though I'd suggest Tim Lincecum would have been a safe pick too. And the upcoming draft looks deep in college arms, so it may be a pitcher the Reds should target.

    Also, in 2007 the safest pick the Reds could have made at #15, in baseball terms, was probably Rick Porcello. While he was a high school arm and that's comes with built-in volatility, the club didn't have to teach him anything for him to succeed in A ball. He's worth a lot right now, offering an immediate return on investment, even if the club is nervous about where he progresses from here.
    Yeah, Porcello more than Lincecum, I'd say, going back to the time each was drafted. There are a lot of arms out there this year, and the high-ceiling guys left for the Reds are more likely to be high schoolers than college guys. Unless one considers Aaron Crow a TOR guy. I'm guessing the only high schooler who may reach Porcello status by June is Matzek. The Reds may have chosen Kershaw instead of Stubbs had the Dodgers not taken him, and this year may be their chance to get that high-ceiling lefty, whether it be Matzek or Purke. I will say this -- I don't think Chris Buckley has ever been comfortable taking a pitcher in the first round. Should be interesting.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: The difference between Alonso and Stubbs/Mesoraco

    Its an interesting point but you can also make this argument. Especially with pitchers if they don't go to college they have less stress and less time to pick up bad mechanics. You get a HS pitcher in your organization you don't have to worry about a college coach abusing them. You also have more say so with their mechanics. A guy like Crow is an interesting point. He was drafted in the top 10? and has some pretty scary mechanics. Had he been drafted out of HS he would have had 3-4 years to work on improving his mechanics.

    What I see developing in the draft is the first rounders are expected to make a much bigger impact. Scouting and well as public knowledge has gotten to the point where 1st round picks are followed much more closely. Hitters are more refined at the college level but you have more of an idea as to what they will become. Alonso may become a very good player but I don't think anyone will argue that a guy like Neftali Soto has a higher ceiling. Alonso cost much much more but has a quicker track to the bigs. Soto is a much higher risk but also is much cheaper and you have more hands on approach to his development.

    I ask you this question. Would you rather have a college coach make the decisions on how much a player plays or pitches or your minor league coaches?

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    Re: The difference between Alonso and Stubbs/Mesoraco

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    Would you rather have a college coach make the decisions on how much a player plays or pitches or your minor league coaches?
    it's a silly question, IMO. the pitcher isn't yours until after you draft him, so "your" pitcher isn't being abused by anyone. if you don't like how a kid was coached, then don't draft him.

    another thing to think about: Reds development has been so bad that by drafting collegians, they actually reap the benefit of the better development that occurs at quite a few colleges.

    what's nice about drafting college pitchers is that you learn so much about a pitcher when he's 19, 20, and 21: who's going to get hurt? who's going to get distracted by other things (alcohol, women, etc)? it's a great way to avoid problems.
    Last edited by princeton; 02-06-2009 at 10:44 AM.


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