Louisville, after a rough patch at the season's beginning attributable largely to dismal fielding, has rebounded for another very strong season (one that ought to make Rick Sweet a leading contender to manage the Reds, in my view).
The GCL Reds, owing to a critical mass of intriguing young talent, have performed reasonably well.
After that, Cincinnati farm teams have been nothing short of dreadful this year.
* Carolina, gutted by the losses at various times of Travis Wood, Chris Heisey, Juan Francisco, Todd Frazier, Yonder Alonso, Zach Stewart, Matt Klinker, Jordan Smith, Alexander Smit, Dallas Buck and Chris Denove, has fallen to the worst overall record in the Southern League.
* Sarasota, which wasn't very good to start with, has the worst overall record in the Florida State League.
* Dayton, which has played better in the second half, is still 18 games under .500 overall.
* Billings has the worst overall record in the Pioneer League.
* The DSL Reds finished their season 12 games under .500.
The question is: How telling is all this?
Most of us agree that minor-league records are not of major significance. However, this represents such a pattern of ineptitude that it certainly leaves you wondering.
The performance is tempered somewhat by the fact that the parent team has already incorporated so many of the system's prospects over the past two-plus years, namely: Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Paul Janish, Ryan Hanigan, Adam Rosales, Chris Dickerson, Craig Tatum, Drew Sutton, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Danny Herrera, Carlos Fisher and now Drew Stubbs. That's obviously a huge drain on the minor-league talent pool. Additionally, the organizational pitching ranks have been depleted by injuries to the likes of Buck, Smith, Daryl Thompson, Kyle Lotzkar, Even Hildenbrandt, Scott Carroll, etc.
So . . . all things considered, do you feel as though the farm system has truly had a terrible year? Has it taken a step or two backward? Has it shown itself to be weaker than many of us had chosen to believe?
In other words, is it as bad as it looks?