Sure we still have a week to go before the actual All-Star Game, but the big league team has been too depressing the last couple days to put this off any longer…
As always, GRADE A indicates a player has a chance to be an all-star at the major league level, GRADE B indicates a player should be a starter at the major league level, and GRADE C indicates that a player has a decent shot to contribute in some form at the major league level. For those of you who like to follow Top 100 Prospect Lists, you can think of it this way: Grade A = 1-25 prospect in all of baseball; Grade B = should make Top 100 list; Grade C = Not on the Top 100 radar yet, but could be one day. Also as always, I do not like to rank guys who have yet to play at a full season level (A ball or above.) Mike Leake will be an exception to that rule, as most people believe he should be in Cincinnati by 2011. Finally, I do not rank anyone 25 or over. Without further ado...
1. Yonder Alonso 1B AA Setback by a broken hammate bone. Should finish the year in Carolina once he returns, and look to start in Louisville in 2010.
(tie). Zack Stewart RHP AA Will pitch out of the pen in Louisville for the remainder of the year. Should be a fixture in Cincinnati one way or the other (rotation or pen) by this time next year.
3. Todd Frazier 3B/LF AA Should be playing 3B in Louisville. All he does is rake.
4. Chris Heisey CF AAA Arrived in Louisville and has continued to hit. Playing alongside Stubbs, it will be interesting to watch them face the same pitching.
5. Drew Stubbs CF AAA Looks to be breaking out of his prolonged slump. Should get a September call-up.
6. Mike Leake* RHP Didn’t fall as much as others keep rising, despite poor showing in CWS. May not pitch again this season due to tendonitis/signing concerns.
7. Neftali Soto 3B A+ Don't forget about him- he could be the best hitter in the system after Alonso. Very young for his level. Could easily move up to Grade B with a strong 2nd half.
8. Zack Cozart SS AA Has looked great so far this year, could be another fast riser. His glove is ML-ready and he's hitting well in Carolina, look for a promotion to AAA sometime before the end of the summer. With Valaika out of the way, he appears to be the lone internal candidate to man SS in Cincy for the next few years. Also could be Grade B by end of the year.
9. Travis Wood LHP AA Been the best pitcher in the system this year after Stewart, you could make the argument for him being higher. Should be promoted any day now, not sure why it hasn’t happened yet (other than his age.)
10. Juan Carlos Sulbaran RHP A+ Doing well for a 19 year old in Dayton, has great stuff, but as expected has been very inconsistent (see Sunday’s outing for an example.)
11. Juan Francisco 3B AA Ranked here because still hasn't shown the plate discipline everyone's been hoping for. However power is there and defense is respectable at 3B.
12. Chris Valaika 2B/SS/3B AAA His value has dropped after Sweet’s comments seem to indicate he won’t be a regular SS in the major leagues.
13. Matt Fairel LHP A Has had some absolutely dominant outings. Probably belongs in Sarasota.
14. Kevin Coddington C A Newcomer to the list has looked better offensively and defensively than Mesoraco, despite being at a lower level. Could potentially be another Hanigan-type find.
15. Devin Mesoraco C A+ Ranked here based on pedigree alone. His numbers are poor in Sarasota although his peripherals and defense are improving. However, if he doesn’t start showing considerable improvement, he will probably fall off this list in the near future. Should repeat Sarasota next year.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Miguel Rojas SS A
Alex Buchholz 2B/SS A+
Brad Boxberger* RHP
Josh Ravin RHP A
Jeremy Horst LHP A+
Alex Smit LHP AA
KEEP AN EYE ON (too early to tell)
Billy Hamilton SS R
Yorman Rodriguez CF R
Juan Duran OF R
Shea Snowden LHP R
Junior Arias SS DSL
Humberto Valor SS VSL
DON’T FORGET ABOUT (too old for prospect status)
Matt Maloney LHP
Sam LeCure RHP
Ramon Ramirez RHP
Pedro Viola LHP
James Avery RHP
Danny Dorn 1B/LF
INJURED (done for the season)
Daryl Thompson RHP AAA
Bill Bray LHP AAA
Dallas Buck RHP AA
Kyle Lotzkar RHP A
Evan Hildenbrandt R
Ismael Guillon LHP R
PROMOTIONS ON THE HORIZON (in order of neccessity)
Frazier to AAA (and move back to 3B)
Wood to AAA
Fairel to A+
Cozart to AAA