"When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"
seems the most reasonable conclusion is that these guys are taking a WAG at this stuff. I don't waste any energy worrying about who is ranked where.
What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand
Soto is still a fine prospect, and I'm glad he's a red, but he doesn't have the pedigree or all around game to be a top 100 prospect IMHO. He has question marks. If he can't play 3rd, where? His bat isn't nearly as valuable on the corner outfield spots, or first base.
All that said, not impressed with BA's list this year, and if I'm not mistaken, I believe they did it quite differently.. It wasn't the normal round table discussion? But an average - so to speak - of top 100's by all the staff, which could severely effect the results of the list, especially if a certain bias comes into play.
"I hate to advocate chemicals, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone... But they've always worked for me."
-Hunter S. Thompson
I don't mind only Alonso and Frazier in the Top 100 at all, as those are the only Cincinnati "sure bets." (As sure as prospects get, anyway.) Both have plus bats and good to great track records that suggest success as they ramp up the minor league ladder.
That said, the Reds should have at least four other guys just outside the Top 100, and another 20 or so in the Top 200.
Valaika, Dorn, Stubbs and Soto all just miss the BA Top 100 for different reasons. Stubbs plays an elite position elitely and has enough bat to stick as a starter. Probably. Will he gain power in that bat? Perhaps. But he'll K at a rate that's really hard to swallow if he doesn't smack 20 dingers yearly or play Gold Glove defense at a premium position. There are enough questions that his absence makes sense.
Soto, OTOH, has shown a propensity for hitting the ball hard and succeeding at a young age. That Vitters just made it in and Soto is out is okay, as long as they're close, because those numbers seem to point to Soto and it's not like the kid was lacking talent. He broke Juan Gonzalez's HR record in Puerto Rico as a kid. His question is his glove. With Frazier and EdE in front of him (not to mention the conundrum that is Francisco), he may have the glove, but not the spot. From almost all reports, Soto's a but slow, but his instincts are good. And his bat, if it translates as is from the minors, is certainly good enough to play a corner OF spot.
Why is he off the list, then? I dunno. It's a headscratcher for me. The lack of walks perhaps. And the glove, I suppose. And the speed. Oh, wait. Three questions marks. I guess I know why.
Dorn is another animal, but one BA continually marks low. He's simply not really valued by Cincinnati, despite his ridiculous production. His tools are average at best, but he plays above his supposed ceiling (or at least has at the minor league level). I'd certainly rank him in the Top 100 if it were me, but I value production much more than tools. He's, IMO, the most likely to sneak up on BA and provide league average production in a LF for league minimum prices. Still, it's not like he's foolproof. His glove is a question mark, though it's not as bad as some think. His speed isn't top notch, not is his arm. But that bat looks great when you compare him to almost anyone else in the minor league system.
Valaika, I don't get. He plays a premium position and has hit very well (respective of that position) throughout his minor league career. Perhaps part of it is the low draft position, as BA is notorious for weighing draft position ahead of most other nuances. Perhaps it's questions about his glove (though those have cleared up to the point that he now profiles as an average SS at the major league level, with an underwhelming arm). He doesn't walk all that much either, so perhaps the combination of the three makes him #101.
For whatever reason, Cincinnati should have four guys at least in the next 25 or so prospects and all four could rightfully outproduce at least half of the guys on the list. It's not like these things are foolproof, after all.
"You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
-- Christy Matthewson
"Show me a good loser and I'll show you an idiot."
-- Leo Durocher
BA has also ranked players by position. Here's how the Reds fared:
C - No one in the top 25, though Mesoraco got mentioned as an X Factor.
1B - Alonso #5 of 15
2B - No one in top 10 (rated as the weakest overall position in the minors)
SS - Valaika #8 of 15
3B - Frazier #7, Francisco #19 and Soto #20 of 20
CF - Stubbs #15 of 15
Corner OF - No one in top 20
RH starter - No one in top 35
LH starter - No one in top 20
Reliever - No one in top 10
Raisel Ghul, the Demon's Head
Make that a thing.
That BA list is pretty bad, IMO.
RH Starters - I'd take Kyle Lotzkar and Daryl Thompson over a few of those guys, most notably Zach McAllister, Andrew Brackman, Kyle Drabek, and Brandon Erbe.
Third Base - I'd take Frazier and Soto over anyone on that list except for Pedro Alvarez, Mike Moustakas, and Matt Dominguez.
RH Relivers - Give me Zach Stewart and Josh Roenicke over Adam Miller and a couple others.
Center Fielders - I'd take Stubbs over Hernandez, Jennings (tons of talent but can't stay healthy), Parra, and Borbon. And maybe Beltre.
Right now I'm wishing I hadn't renewed my Baseball America subscription.
I'd categorize most of the guys you listed (everyone except Frazier) as players who are in the need-to-prove-something category.
Lotzkar's thrown 66.2 IP as a pro. He's young. He's a bit wild. He had some health issues last year. He's a good talent, but not an overwhelming one. I get why he's not on the RHP list.
Thompson's not blessed with much in the way of stuff. He's envisioned as a possible #4 starter. Guys like that sometime pan out better than expected, but, again, I get why he's not considered a particularly compelling prospect.
Soto's got defensive and plate patience issues. I'd rank him higher on that 3B list, but there is a question as to whether he will be a 3B in the future and I suspect that causes the BA folks to rank him a bit cautiously.
Roenicke probably took a ding because he didn't work enough as a closer in AAA. Stewart had some control issues in the FSL, but I could see him jumping onto that list with a good 2009.
Stubbs' lack of power is a concern. I suspect what scouts are waiting to see is how well he maintains his BA this season. If he's not going to have a lot of punch at the plate, he's going to need a decent BA. On top of that, Baseball America tends to be guided by perceived ceiling. What happened to Stubbs in 2008 was that his ceiling came down while he advanced the case for him being a steady player. I argue the 2nd one is more important in Stubbs' case since his ceiling was always misidentified and the primary concern with him is whether he can be a steady player, but if he progresses along his current track, it's going to require scouts to recalibrate their perception of the guy.
What would have been cool in the BA list is a tools ranking matrix so that you could see the relative strengths of the prospects on those lists.
The takeaway, for me at least, is this needs to be a statement year for a lot of the Reds' top prospects. Having something to prove can be a good thing. It's a motivator. For us and the organization, it's a signal not to be smug. For instance, Devin Mesoraco is not considered a top 25 catching prospect and, ath this juncture, it makes sense for the Reds not to count on him like he's some sort of sure thing.
The one guy who might be most interesting is Valaika. Where would he rank on the 2B list?
Last edited by M2; 02-26-2009 at 12:44 PM.
Raisel Ghul, the Demon's Head
Make that a thing.
The same can be said about Stubbs. Its interesting to see 15 ranked higher when Stubbs still has tools but he is also very close to the bigs. Again how many players are ranked higher due to tools rather than actual performance?
For some reason, I do the same, Francisco continues to lack respect amongst prospect rankings. The guy has some contact issues but he seems to continue to improve. If he finds any plate discipline he may rocket to the majors. Soto is another guy who is low on the list because of his BA driven OBP. The guy has flat out raked everywhere he has went.
To me the path of Alonso may be the most interesting. With Votto sticking at first this off season I am beginning to doubt that Alonso ever plays substantial time with the Reds. IMO he may be used for trade bait before he makes his way through the Reds organization. He may be uses similar to how Milwaukee flipped LaPorta for CC last season.
Overall Stubbs actually player a little worse in 2008. He got a little closer, but not any better.
The CF list was filled with players who generally posted equal to or better than numbers at similar levels when compared to Stubbs and all of them were younger.
The ostrich-sized egg Stubbs laid in the AFL surely factored into the ranking too. Here's his full 2008 with the AFL included:
.265/.355/.404, 555 AB, 95 runs, 39 D, 7 T, 8 HR, 75 RBI, 39-49 SB, 78 BB, 152 K
I think the question looming over him is how long can he keep treading water before he either sinks or swims?
Raisel Ghul, the Demon's Head
Make that a thing.
.265/.355/.404 Stubbs high OBP IMO is very promising for him. He came into the Reds org with a very good strike zone judgment which will help his overall offensive game. Even if substantial power doesn't develop if he can maintain a high OBP while playing GG defense then he will become a very valuable asset. I don't like how he was downgraded because he looks less and less like Mike Cammeron. Too often scouts, and even fans look for comparisons and instead of looking at what the actual player does. If Stubbs can improve slightly on his career .367 OBP, have a 75% SB success rate, and play top notch defense I would gladly pencil him in the lineup for years to come.
Board Moderators may, at their discretion and judgment, delete and/or edit any messages that violate any of the following guidelines: 1. Explicit references to alleged illegal or unlawful acts. 2. Graphic sexual descriptions. 3. Racial or ethnic slurs. 4. Use of edgy language (including masked profanity). 5. Direct personal attacks, flames, fights, trolling, baiting, name-calling, general nuisance, excessive player criticism or anything along those lines. 6. Posting spam. 7. Each person may have only one user account. It is fine to be critical here - that's what this board is for. But let's not beat a subject or a player to death, please.