On the other hand the reds have a ton of guys who followed the Ryan Hanigan/Todd Frazier route to the majors. If you don't GET to the major leagues until you are 25 or older, well, you are just off the national prospect radar at that point. You are not going to turn into a hall of fame player. At that point you may get one chance of being a major league regular and if you fail that trial. You are done. Of course that doesn't mean that you won't be a useful major league player, but you are not the type of phenom those lists are trying to identify.
Cozart is a rookie at 26.
Frazier is a rookie at 26.
Hiesey was 25. Stubbs 24. Mes 24.
Joey Votto was 23, but since he came into the system as a high schooler, he spent 6 full years and 3000 at bats in the minors. That's not a "hot prospect" particularly since Joey never went on a dominant hitting streak where he looked like the next coming of Babe Ruth. Heck, Votto's numbers have been better in the majors than in the minors and that's just not something that's easy to predict. If prospect lists got all hot and bothered about every 21 year old hitting 250 in high A ball....well, there are a LOT of guys like that.
Jay Bruce on the other hand was the only real reds current phenom. He has 400 at bats in the majors at 21.
The reds pitching prospect have been arriving a bit sooner than the position players, but the reds pitching prospects have also taken serious lumps at the major league level.
After years of promoting 21-22 year olds to be the savior of the franchise, this new approach of keeping draftees in the minors for as long as you can represents a different approach that has payed off in spades. Instead of filling the roster with guys like Wily Mo Pena who is going to learn to play centerfield and hit the curve ball at the major league level, you get a bunch of guys like Ryan Hannigan and Todd Frazier who are pretty much major league ready the first time they put on the uniform. While the ceiling for Chris Heisey may be lower than what it was for Austen Kearns, the team has benefited because he has to earn that major league playing time instead of being the new hope by the river.
I left two starters off my list. Devin Mesoraco put in 4 years in the minors and went from a waste of a draft pick to I highly rated young guy. Drew Stubbs also put in 4 years and might have been better served putting in another. Still that's a pretty decent track record.
At 21 Billy Hamilton has put in 4 years and has been getting better the more he plays.
"Even a bad day at the ballpark beats the snot out of most other good days. I'll take my scorecard and pencil and beer and hot dog and rage at the dips and cheer at the highs, but I'm not ever going to stop loving this game and this team and nobody will ever take that away from me." Roy Tucker October 2010
I've been most impressed by how many homers Frazier hits even when he doesn't square up on the ball. Several homers this year have been off the end of the bat on pitches that were down below the knees. Last night was another where he had no business making contact with the ball, let alone putting it in the seats in left.
"No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda
Todd Frazier was the #43 prospect by BA in 2010.
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