Originally posted by WillM
I agree that Frazier is the most likely to make the team out of this group. His versatility makes him a MUCH better candidate than Miles or Sutton to back-up Rolen at 3B. Especially with Rosales gone, this really opens up a spot for him IMO. And, as stated, he can get spot starts at 2B and the OF as well.The sort of 'pencilled in' team is something like this:
C - Hernandez, Hanigan
IF - Votto, Phillips, Cabrera, Rolen plus two of Janish/Miles/Sutton
OF - Bruce, Stubbs, Dickerson, Nix, Balentien
SP - Arroyo, Harang, Cueto, Bailey, Maloney
RP - Cordero, Masset, Rhodes, Burton, Herrera, Owings, Lincoln
I count seven top prospects with a chance to make the team out of spring training.
1. Todd Frazier. of all the prospects i believe he has the best shot to make the team. right if he can beat out Dickerson/Nix/Balentien for ABs in LF he could also play some 2b & 3B. even if he was the RH part of a LF platoon he could still get 400 ABs by playing some infield as well. get him a first baseman's mitt & he could spell Votto as well
2. Juan Francisco. LF seems to be his ultimate destination. he has very little experience here. he also has issues with his well discussed poor plate discipline. this combination seems to indicate a start at AAA
3. Yonder Alonso. i am a bit puzzled over the Reds lack of interest in moving Votto to LF. you would have thought having him work out there for a couple of weeks in the instructional league would have been a good idea. i just can't see Alonso making the squad with neither himself nor Votto having any experience in left field.
4. Chris Heisey. to make the team he has to beat out Balentien as the RH part of a LF platoon. problems with this scenarion. #1 he has zero big league ABs & #2 Balentien is out of options. makes me think Heisey starts in AAA
5. Ardolis Chapman. its asking a lot for him to beat out maloney for the last SP slot. could happen but i think he has to be lights out this spring not to start in AAA or AA (AA is my guess)
6. Travis Wood. Wood's AAA numbers were about the same as Maloney's. Maloney has nothing left to learn in AAA. he has to sink or swim in the bigs. my guess is that Wood spends 1/2 a season in AAA
7. Mike Leake. too soon. half a year in AA & half a year in AAA with a 2011 debut seems reasonable.
Heisey or Francisco would have to really impress to beat out Balentein, who we'd basically lose from the organization if he doesn't make the 25. I'd love to see it happen though. Not sure if Francisco will ever make the adjustments he needs. His couple of PH's and spot starts against Pitt and Houston scrubs in September didn't tell us anything at all. Heisey is the better bet long-term.
Alonso, as I continue to say, is best served as a trading pawn. He can't play D worth a lick, and so his only spot is at 1B, and Votto is penciled in there for the next 10 years IMO. We - again - have a plethora of OF prospects, Heisey, Francisco, Frazier, Dickerson, Stubbs, Dorn. We have Jay Bruce in RF for the next 10 years (unless he flames out), so these guys are all competing for 2 spots. They are all reaching AAA and their "prime ages" - time to trade some of them, along with Alonso, and get some proven ML talent.
Of the Pitching prospects, I'd say don't be surprised to see Mike Leake get the nod. I could see him knocking down the door, he only has to beat out Maloney.
For sure I'd expect him to get some sort of call-up in 2010.
Any combination of injuries, trades because we're sucking, Volquez not making it back, and Leake tearing up minor league hitters, could land him in the rotation anytime after the ASB if you ask me. Definitely bet on him getting a cup of coffee in September in any worse-use-case scenario for him.
Chapman won't be rushed - I believe he has a critical contract date of May 15, so don't look for him to make the opening day roster no-way no-how.
I really see no reason to bring him up at all in 2010. Let him refine and get comfortable with life and and the minor league before you try to rush him to the bigs.