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Thread: Position Review: Shortstop

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    Position Review: Shortstop

    Since the class of 09 is now filtering into the system, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to take stock of the organization by position. Inasmuch as shortstop is the position that seems to attract the most concern and is also the one that has received the most help the last couple weeks, I thought I'd start with it.

    I'll also do one for catcher. After that, if anyone wants to take a position and present it in a similar form, have at it.

    AAA Louisville: Chris Valaika, 23 . . . strong hitter, fair fielder
    AA Carolina: Zack Cozart, 23 . . . excellent fielder, surprising hitter
    High-A Sarasota: Shane Carlson, 22 . . . unknown quantity
    Low A: Miguel Rojas, 20 . . . excellent fielder, light but improving hitter
    Rookie Billings: Mariekson Gregorius, 19 . . . promising hitter, unknown as fielder
    Rookie GCL: Billy Hamilton, 18 . . . exciting offensive potential, raw fielder
    Rookie DSL: Junior Arias, 17 . . . high ceiling as hitter, fielder
    Pre-Rookie: Humberto Valor, 16 . . . smooth fielder, ostensibly skilled hitter

    Estimated offensive rank at maturity
    1. Valaika
    2. Hamilton
    3. Cozart
    4. Arias
    5. Valor
    6. Gregorius
    7. Carlson
    8. Rojas

    Estimated defensive rank at maturity
    1. Rojas
    2. Valor
    3. Cozart
    4. Arias
    5. Valaika
    6. Gregorius
    7. Hamilton
    8. Carlson

    Comments: Did you know that Zack Cozart is two days older than Chris Valaika? Both will be 24 in August . . . Hey, this is mostly guesswork. For all I know, Shane Carlson could be the next Honus Wagner . . . And how do you compare a 16-year-old with a 23-year-old? . . . But the moral of the story is, there’s quite a bit of potential at this position, in spite of the fact that it’s been described as an organizational trouble spot.

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    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Re: Position Review: Shortstop

    I wouldn't leave out Yen Wen Kuo I have seen film on him as a SS and he looked like an extremely solid & instinctive fielder. He's a longshot but I think he is also hitting well enough for consideration on your list and a guy we should keep an eye on.
    "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

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    Re: Position Review: Shortstop

    The impression I have is that Cozart is the closest thing to being "the answer" at short so I was curious how many think he could be a realistic option in spring training.
    "Now that's a real shame when folks be throwin' away a perfectly good white boy like that."

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    Re: Position Review: Shortstop

    Quote Originally Posted by redsfandan View Post
    The impression I have is that Cozart is the closest thing to being "the answer" at short so I was curious how many think he could be a realistic option in spring training.
    I think he should get at least 100 AAA at bats before he will be considered a real option. With that said, he might get his chance to get those at bats if he keeps it up. He has a bad May, but has really killed the ball outside of that stretch (.903 OPS when you don't include May). Send him to Louisville in August (or even sooner if he continues to rake) and get him that experience. Head into ST with him and Valaika fighting it out for SS.

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    Re: Position Review: Shortstop

    I am not convinced yet that the Reds see Cozart as a major league starter. There are still plenty of people saying he projects as a utility player at the big league level. He has had a very good year though, especially in light of the fact that he skipped a level.

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Position Review: Shortstop

    Quote Originally Posted by redsof72 View Post
    I am not convinced yet that the Reds see Cozart as a major league starter. There are still plenty of people saying he projects as a utility player at the big league level. He has had a very good year though, especially in light of the fact that he skipped a level.
    Seems to be on a fast track for a utility guy.

    You are some one who seems to have first hand knowledge. Do you think Valiaka can stick at SS and be at least average defensively? My rule of thumb in the MI is if there are questions whether a guy has the defensive skills, then I really don't want him on a daily basis. SS is important enough that it should be a "no question" type IMO. Vailaika also has a history of batting average driven on base skills.His stint in the Hawaiin league a couple years ago flashed a big red warning sign and despite his contact skill, nothing has really addressed that weakness.

    That is why Cozart has to be the man or its some one from outside IMO. Cozart seems to have requirement number 1 mastered (ability to field at the Major League level at least at league average). Requirement number two is the ability to contribute on offense (say .725 or better OPS). Cozart has some pop and his on base skills have been much better in 2009 than they were last year. You never really know about a guy's bat until he plays in the big leagues, but he seems to be the leading candidate IMO. If Cozart can hit seventh or eighth while being more than an automatic out, he's a perfectly fine SS while he's young and cheap. As he gets more expensive, I'd probably want more, but by then hopefully some one else (Rojas, Hamilton, Arias, Valor, etc.) may be on the horizon.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

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    Re: Position Review: Shortstop

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario-Rijo View Post
    I wouldn't leave out Yen Wen Kuo I have seen film on him as a SS and he looked like an extremely solid & instinctive fielder. He's a longshot but I think he is also hitting well enough for consideration on your list and a guy we should keep an eye on.
    Interesting. Some people seem to like him quite a bit as a hitter.

    Also interesting is Sweet's comment today that Valaika probably doesn't profile as a major-league SS, but Rosales might. In Louisville's doubleheader today, Rosales has started both games at short and Valaika both games at second.

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    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Re: Position Review: Shortstop

    Quote Originally Posted by mace View Post
    Interesting. Some people seem to like him quite a bit as a hitter.

    Also interesting is Sweet's comment today that Valaika probably doesn't profile as a major-league SS, but Rosales might. In Louisville's doubleheader today, Rosales has started both games at short and Valaika both games at second.
    No to Valaika but yes to Rosales, that is some statement by Sweet.
    "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

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    Re: Position Review: Shortstop

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario-Rijo View Post
    No to Valaika but yes to Rosales, that is some statement by Sweet.
    At the start of today's game thread, there was this, posted by Goya:

    Sweet stated in an interview with Jim Kelch that Valaika is not projected as a big league SS so they are giving him experience at 2nd and will be playing him at 3rd soon. He said that they see Rosales as a possible big league SS. I can't say I agree with that.

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    Re: Position Review: Shortstop

    I would say that Sweet has been told to get Valaika some work at other positions to try to make him into a utility player. The Rosales comment...well, I would think that is kind of a coach-speak way of saying "Rosales is the best guy we have available to play short on the current Louisville roster."

    Cozart...there is mixed opinion. The only guy with a vote that really counts is Dusty and I am sure he has not seen much of Zack at all. Cozart can play a big league shortstop defensively. Will he hit? Hard to say. Rosales was hitting .438 in Louisville when they called him up and he hit .198 with the Reds.

    One thing about Dusty that he keeps proving over and over: He will generally take a journeyman over an untested rookie 10 times out of 10. Hard to believe that a little over a year ago, Joey Votto was having a tough time winning the everyday job from Scott Hatteberg. He does not think about developing future starters. He thinks about putting together eight players that will give his team the best chance to win THAT DAY. You think he's going to want to play Zack Cozart over Jerry Hairston, Jr.?

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    Re: Position Review: Shortstop

    Quote Originally Posted by redsof72 View Post
    I would say that Sweet has been told to get Valaika some work at other positions to try to make him into a utility player. The Rosales comment...well, I would think that is kind of a coach-speak way of saying "Rosales is the best guy we have available to play short on the current Louisville roster."

    Cozart...there is mixed opinion. The only guy with a vote that really counts is Dusty and I am sure he has not seen much of Zack at all. Cozart can play a big league shortstop defensively. Will he hit? Hard to say. Rosales was hitting .438 in Louisville when they called him up and he hit .198 with the Reds.

    One thing about Dusty that he keeps proving over and over: He will generally take a journeyman over an untested rookie 10 times out of 10. Hard to believe that a little over a year ago, Joey Votto was having a tough time winning the everyday job from Scott Hatteberg. He does not think about developing future starters. He thinks about putting together eight players that will give his team the best chance to win THAT DAY. You think he's going to want to play Zack Cozart over Jerry Hairston, Jr.?
    Well if Walt is foolish enough to add Hairston to the roster yeah Dusty will play him. That's why I hope they sign Macier Izturis to about a 2-3 year deal in FA who can hold down the spot adequately for awhile until Cozart (or someone else) has beat down the proverbial door. But they probably won't because they will probably decide it's smarter to re-sign Hairston cheaper. F.O.'s can be some serious numbskulls.
    "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

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    Re: Position Review: Shortstop

    Quote Originally Posted by redsof72 View Post
    I would say that Sweet has been told to get Valaika some work at other positions to try to make him into a utility player. The Rosales comment...well, I would think that is kind of a coach-speak way of saying "Rosales is the best guy we have available to play short on the current Louisville roster."

    Cozart...there is mixed opinion. The only guy with a vote that really counts is Dusty and I am sure he has not seen much of Zack at all. Cozart can play a big league shortstop defensively. Will he hit? Hard to say. Rosales was hitting .438 in Louisville when they called him up and he hit .198 with the Reds.

    One thing about Dusty that he keeps proving over and over: He will generally take a journeyman over an untested rookie 10 times out of 10. Hard to believe that a little over a year ago, Joey Votto was having a tough time winning the everyday job from Scott Hatteberg. He does not think about developing future starters. He thinks about putting together eight players that will give his team the best chance to win THAT DAY. You think he's going to want to play Zack Cozart over Jerry Hairston, Jr.?
    I think that's too pat. That's the common impression on RZ, but I don't think it's an accurate picture. I saw Hatteberg on the club to be there as Votto was eased in. Votto pushed Hatteberg out of the picture. I've seen Baker incredibly patient with Jay Bruce and he's the first manager who, I think, has been patient with Edwin Encarnacion. Hairston has gotten playing time, particularly at short, because of the injury to Gonzalez. I just don't think Baker is a single minded in the manner many think he is here on Redszone. He's not perfect, but he's good for an organization such as where the Reds are right now, IMO.
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    Re: Position Review: Shortstop

    Quote Originally Posted by redsof72 View Post
    The only guy with a vote that really counts is Dusty and I am sure he has not seen much of Zack at all.
    I'm guessing Dusty puts in as much "extra" time as a postal worker.

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    Re: Position Review: Shortstop

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingspoint View Post
    I'm guessing Dusty puts in as much "extra" time as a postal worker.
    Do you know any major league manager who doesn't put in many more hours than most of us work? I suspect any manager's day starts earlier than we expect (noonish?) and goes until about an hour or more after the end of the game.
    “In the same way that a baseball season never really begins, it never really ends either.” - Lonnie Wheeler, "Bleachers, A Summer in Wrigley Field"

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    Re: Position Review: Shortstop

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    Do you know any major league manager who doesn't put in many more hours than most of us work? I suspect any manager's day starts earlier than we expect (noonish?) and goes until about an hour or more after the end of the game.
    So that's what- 10-11 hours a day? So what? That's what most Americans work. It's a cushy job, there is no doubt about it.
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