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Thread: John Sickels' Top 20 Reds Prospects

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    John Sickels' Top 20 Reds Prospects

    Cincinnati Reds Top 20 Prospects for 2010
    by John Sickels on Jan 14, 2010 10:34 PM EST

    Top 20 Cincinnati Reds Prospects for 2010

    All grades are EXTREMELY PRELIMINARY and subject to change. Don't get too worried about exact rankings at this point, especially once you get beyond the Top 10. Grade C+/C guys are pretty interchangeable depending on what you want to emphasize. Complete reports on these and over 1,000 other players will be in the 2010 Baseball Prospect Book, now available for pre-order, shipping on February 2nd!

    1) Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Grade A-: Could be a truly amazing pitcher if it all comes together, but there's obvious risk here given the need for cultural adjustment, as well as potential command issues.

    2) Todd Frazier, INF-OF, Grade B+: Doesn't quite have Alonso's offensive upside, but much more versatile defensively and a very solid hitter in his own right. I like him a lot.

    3) Yonder Alonso, 1B, Grade B+: Borderline B. Kills right-handers, but inability to hit lefties is an issue and how do they get him into a lineup with Votto? Stock will drop if he doesn't start to solve lefties next year.

    4) Mike Leake, RHP, Grade B: Borderline B+. Might bump him up the notch, haven't decided yet. Outstanding pitchability and athleticism, and I think his stuff is a bit underrated by some people. Shouldn't take long to fit into the rotation. While perhaps "only" a number three starter, what's wrong with that?

    5) Chris Heisey, OF, Grade B: Just a very solid player, looks like a .280, 15-homer, 15-steal guy.

    6) Juan Francisco, 3B, Grade B-: Borderline C+ due to strike zone issues. Could be a genuine monster if he gets the zone under control, but major league pitchers will eventually exploit his current approach. Is he really a 3B?

    7) Brad Boxberger, RHP, Grade B-: Could move quickly if used in the bullpen, but needs better command to rank higher.

    8) Travis Wood, LHP, Grade C+: Outstanding comeback season last year, but looks more like a four/five starter based on his stuff. Ranks ahead of Maloney since he's younger.

    9) Matt Maloney, LHP, Grade C+: I have always liked this guy as a possible four/five starter. Great K/BB ratios with good strikeout rates despite average stuff. Main worry is home run tendency.

    10) Zack Cozart, SS, Grade C+: Took a big step forward with his plate discipline last year, good glove, has some pop, but probably just a .240 hitter.

    11) Donnie Joseph, LHP, Grade C+: Relief arm from the University of Houston should move quickly, lots of strikeouts, won't have to be stuck in LOOGY role.

    12) Billy Hamilton, SS, Grade C+: Great athleticism, but will need time to develop the bat. Defensive value puts him a little ahead of the tools outfielders listed below.

    13) Josh Fellhauer, OF, Grade C+: David DeJesus type.

    14) Chris Valaika, SS, Grade C+: Gets an injury mulligan but has to get the bat going again quickly or he'll drop fast in '10.

    15) Neftali Soto, 3B, Grade C: Great tools, terrible approach, still young.

    16) Yorman Rodriguez, OF, Grade C: Yes, yes, I know all about his tools. If you go just by tools he's a top ten guy. If you go by skills he's not in the top 20 or 30. Since I look at both tools and skills he ends up here in a compromise position. He could turn into something good, but the risk of failure is too great for me to rank him higher at this point. See Neftali Soto.

    17) Juan Silva, OF, Grade C: Pretty solid tools, and he was effective in rookie ball. Sleeper for the top ten next year.

    18) Juan Duran, OF, Grade C: See Yorman Rodriguez.

    19) Juan Carlos Sulbaran, RHP, Grade C: Dayton numbers aren't great, but I like his arm and I think he could break through next year.

    20) Enerio Del Rosario, RHP, Grade C: Ground ball machine for the bullpen.

    OTHERS (Grade C): Tucker Barnhart, C; Matt Fairel, LHP: Mark Fleury, C; Mariekson Gregorius, SS: Sean Henry, OF; Harold Johnson, RHP; Matt Klinker, RHP; Sam Lecure, RHP; Devin Mesoraco, C; Logan Ondrusek, RHP; Brian Pearl, RHP; Henry Rodriguez, SS; Miguel Rojas, SS; Mark Serrano, RHP; Daniel Tuttle, RHP; Phillippe Valiquette, LHP; Pedro Viola, LHP.

    I'm having to get increasingly ruthless with cutting Grade C guys. Don't feel ripped off; all the teams I did earlier are going to lose guys, too. I'll put the guys who get cut into some sort of "outtakes" post. Also don't get too hung up on the exact ranking of guys outside the top 10.

    The Reds have an interesting top group, with Cuban defector Chapman the headliner of course. I like both Frazier and Alonso for different reasons, although Yonder needs to make some adjustments or his stock will start dropping. Leake is a lot of fun to watch, and Heisey is a great value as a 17th round pick who could end up being a decent regular.

    After that things get very muddled. You have a large batch of toolsy Latin players with big power potential (Francisco, Soto, Y. Rodriguez, Duran) but no clue about the strike zone. Francisco is the closest to being ready and I'm impressed that he could hit so well without any command of the zone, but frankly I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of them bust no matter how good their tools are. Their youth saves them for now; they have time to figure it out. Watch Juan Silva out of Puerto Rico, who does seem to have a feel for the game.

    On the other hand, polished college products like Zack Cozart and Josh Fellhauer could be good role players but don't have the same kind of upside as the younger guys. Frazier seems to have the best balance between tools and skills of all the top prospects.

    The pitching side is also muddled. You have pitchability lefties in Wood and Maloney, the wild card Boxberger, possible bullpen contributors Joseph and Del Rosario, and the live-armed but raw Sulbaran. There are several Grade Cs who could contribute, with Matt Klinker, Matt Fairel, Sam Lecure, Logan Ondrusek, and Pedro Viola all possibly able to help in '10.

    Overall there are things for Reds fans to look forward to. Much of the major league core is young, and Chapman brings some excitement. On the other hand, I never did figure out what the point of trading prospects for Scott Rolen was, which kind of fits with the muddled theme amidst the bright spots.

    http://www.minorleagueball.com/2010/...ects#storyjump

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    Re: John Sickels' Top 20 Reds Prospects

    Seems like Sickels bases his prospects on results moreso than projectability, which is an approach I'm a fan of. I like his list infinitely more than I like the one RZ has come up with. I would however rate the top 10 like this...

    Alonso
    Chapman
    Frazier
    Leake
    Heisey
    Wood
    Maloney
    Francisco
    Boxberger
    Cozart

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    Re: John Sickels' Top 20 Reds Prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by fearofpopvol1 View Post
    Seems like Sickels bases his prospects on results moreso than projectability, which is an approach I'm a fan of. I like his list infinitely more than I like the one RZ has come up with. I would however rate the top 10 like this...

    Alonso
    Chapman
    Frazier
    Leake
    Heisey
    Wood
    Maloney
    Francisco
    Boxberger
    Cozart
    Me too, I was content with seeing the toolsy players lumped in the middle.

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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: John Sickels' Top 20 Reds Prospects

    3) Yonder Alonso, 1B, Grade B+: Borderline B. Kills right-handers, but inability to hit lefties is an issue and how do they get him into a lineup with Votto? Stock will drop if he doesn't start to solve lefties next year.
    Not a good description for many's top Reds prospect. Unfortunately for the Reds this lowers his trade value as well.

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    Re: John Sickels' Top 20 Reds Prospects

    These guys kill me. "Muddled?"

    Sickels seems to be saying that the collection of prospects -- both hitters and pitchers -- are "muddled" because they are a mix of solid role-playing/pitchability types and unpolished high ceiling types. Isn't that the kind of diversity universally known to prospects? I mean seriously, he can't be suggesting that a team should have one kind and only one kind of prospect.....

    As for the tired complaint about the Rolen trade... it should be expected that a team with a decidedly young core among its position players will seek to support that core with veteran leadership. Assuming that a team with a young core is somehow mismatching its roster by mixing in a solid vet is like thinking that because protein is good for you that's all you need to eat. Come on, since when is trading 2 prospects from one's top 20 a "muddled" approach? If there's anything muddled here, it's Sickels' "analysis."
    Last edited by lollipopcurve; 01-15-2010 at 09:41 AM.
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    Re: John Sickels' Top 20 Reds Prospects

    Get used to it....... Everyone outside of the Reds fan base knows this was a crazy/stupid trade.

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    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: John Sickels' Top 20 Reds Prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    I never did figure out what the point of trading prospects for Scott Rolen was
    neither has anyone else.
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

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    Re: John Sickels' Top 20 Reds Prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by flyer85 View Post
    neither has anyone else.
    I have.

    Walt has made the reason pretty clear on several occasions.
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

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    Re: John Sickels' Top 20 Reds Prospects

    for endlessly circular conversation/debate on the Rolen trade, please see "Losing Stewart Really Hurts..." somewhere on this board.

    Who is Sickels anyway? Does he get to see all these players, make notes, etc?

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    Re: John Sickels' Top 20 Reds Prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by mdccclxix View Post
    for endlessly circular conversation/debate on the Rolen trade, please see "Losing Stewart Really Hurts..." somewhere on this board.

    Who is Sickels anyway? Does he get to see all these players, make notes, etc?
    John has been doing his prospect handbook for a long time now. He doesn't get to see all 1200 guys he ranks (no one does, its impossible to see that many guys in one season). He does see some of the guys. He goes on several road trips each year including a trip to the AFL each season.

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    Re: John Sickels' Top 20 Reds Prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by mdccclxix View Post
    for endlessly circular conversation/debate on the Rolen trade, please see "Losing Stewart Really Hurts..." somewhere on this board.

    Who is Sickels anyway? Does he get to see all these players, make notes, etc?
    He used to work for Stats Inc. but then went out on his own. I know he talks to lots of scouts on players he does not see. He's certainly Anti-Dusty in that he prefers players who understand the strike zone and rates them accordingly. His books are always very thorough and much more enjoyable to read than the Baseball America books; not saying he does a better job but he is pretty good in comparison to others in the same profession if you go to his top 50 lists from the past.

    As far as the Rolen trade goes, the only conclusion that's been reached is that some us don't like it and some of you do like it. So, it's not really worth starting in on that again is it?

    Bum

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    Re: John Sickels' Top 20 Reds Prospects

    Sickels released his sleeper list for 2010 and has two Reds prospects listed:

    Enerio del Rosario, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
    Juan Silva, OF, Cincinnati Reds

    http://www.minorleagueball.com/2010/...-list-for-2010

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    Re: John Sickels' Top 20 Reds Prospects

    Sickels released his sleeper list for 2010 and has two Reds prospects listed:

    Enerio del Rosario, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
    Juan Silva, OF, Cincinnati Reds
    Agree with EDR. He's underrated.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Re: John Sickels' Top 20 Reds Prospects

    Sickels will eat the words about Alonso, "his inability to hit left-handers".

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    Re: John Sickels' Top 20 Reds Prospects

    I'd put Juan Duran in the potential sleeper category too. He's still very, very young and loaded with talent. I think he's going to take a step forward this season.


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