Donnie Joseph, LHP, Reds (High-A)—While we’re on the subject of future closers, let’s talk about Joseph, who’s right there with Braves lefty Tim Collins as the most dominant lefty reliever in the minors.
Cincinnati’s 3rd-rounder in the 2009 draft has put up numbers that just about anyone would envy across the two A-ball levels. In 48 2/3 innings, he’s allowed just 25 hits, 10 runs (8 earned), and just two homers, while walking 20 and striking out a whopping 85.
Joseph’s nailed down 17 saves on the year and projects to be a rare lefthanded closer in the majors. He throws a fastball in the low 90’s that can get up to 95-96 on occasion, and he throws a wipeout slider as well. Not quite Billy Wagner-level stuff, I suppose, but better than that of Mike Gonzalez or George Sherrill.
Joseph profiles as a Gonzalez type with better control and, hopefully, fewer injuries.Yonder Alonso, 1B, Reds (AAA)—The Reds entered 2010 not quite knowing how they would fit Alonso and Joey Votto into the lineup together.
That problem is now far on the backburner, though, as Alonso has failed to distinguish himself in Triple-A and clearly isn’t ready to play an offensively challenging position in the majors.
Granted, a .277/.324/.417 line isn’t exactly terrible, but it shows a lack of secondary skills (walks and power) that is very troubling from a first baseman. Alonso has just 19 walks and seven homers in 69 games. The walks have dropped off considerably since his promotion from Double-A, where he walked 19 times in just 31 games, and the power wasn’t there even in Double-A, where he slugged just .406.
At 23, Alonso isn’t the sort of guy who’s all that young for his level, so to be a future MLB starter, he has to produce more than this, particularly in the power department. Low-power first basemen don’t survive very long, and while left field might be an option for him, defensively-challenged low-power left fielders aren’t exactly treasured commodities themselves.
Right now, Alonso profiles more as a Doug Mientkiewicz type with a worse glove. I thought he was an overdraft when he was picked seventh overall in 2008 (ahead of Justin Smoak, for one), and Alonso has done little to change my opinion.It looks to me that the site generally does a good-but-not-great job since they didn't acknowledge Yonder Alonso's injury and how well he's been doing lately. Check out the link if you want to read more about Tim Alderson, Jonathan Singleton, and a few more prospects.Juan Duran, OF, Reds (Rookie)—Not to pile on Cincinnati fans this week (hey, at least Joseph is good news), but Duran, a highly-acclaimed international signee in 2008, continues to have huge trouble making contact in the low minors.
The 6’7” Dominican behemoth hit just .177 in the GCL last year. He’s doing slightly better in the higher-level Pioneer league, hitting .211/.289/.321, but Duran has whiffed 39 times in 28 games and continues to show remarkably little power for a player with his size and leverage.
Unlike Alonso, Duran is young for his level, turning 19 in a month, so he has time to figure out his swing, recognize breaking balls, and make other adjustments. But we’re now on year three of his career (he played in the Dominican Summer League in 2008), and he has yet to hit .220 or slug .325 in a season.