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Thread: Reds Top Prospects - 2012/2013 Offseason Edition

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    Reds Top Prospects - 2012/2013 Offseason Edition

    Time to spice up the Minor League Forum for the last couple weeks of the calendar year. Here is my offseason version of the Reds Top Prospects, complete with estimated starting level in 2013 and major league ETA.

    GRADE A = top 25 prospect and potential All-Star
    GRADE B = top 100 prospect and future major league starter
    GRADE C = should likely reach the major leagues someday, although impact remains to be seen


    GRADE A
    1. Billy Hamilton CF AAA 2013 Will likely be in Cincy at some point in 2013, ready for full time duties in 2014.

    GRADE B
    2. Robert Stephenson RHP A 2016 The crown jewel arm in the system, should be ready for AA by 2014 although there is no rush at all.
    3. Tony Cingrani LHP AAA 2013 Impressed in Cincy in September, could see more time there as a complement to Chapman or in the bullpen.
    4. Daniel Corcino RHP AAA 2014 Likely won't see much time in Cincy until 2014 unless there is an injury or two to the rotation.

    GRADE B-
    5. Jesse Winker OF A 2016 Leading candidate for breakout prospect of the year could profile as a future Jay Bruce minus the defense.

    GRADE C (Admittedly, you could argue these next 10 guys in any order and I wouldn't have a problem)
    6. Nick Travieso RHP R 2017 lot of time but could project as TOR arm.
    7. Ismael Guillon LHP A 2016 highly touted international signee looks like he could be the best of the class of '08.
    8. Henry Rodriguez 3B AAA 2014 profiles to a pinch hitter and utility infielder in the major leagues, which he could reach at some point this year, but likely next year.
    9. Yorman Rodriguez OF A+ 2015 still has a ton of talent but a ton of questions. 2013 could be a make or break year for his prospect status.
    10. Tanner Rahier 3B R 2017 didn't dazzle in his professional debut, but still has the top 40 pedigree from last year's draft.
    11. Kyle Lotzkar RHP AA 2015 appears that his injuries have him destined for the bullpen, where he could be effective but will likely have less of an impact.
    12. Jeff Gelalich OF A 2016 Last year's other sandwich pick had a disappointing professional debut.
    13. David Vidal 3B AA 2015 could be a solid backup 3B if he can continue to hit
    14. Donald Lutz 1B/OF AA 2015 biggest question of value will lie in whether he can play OF. As a 1B he doesn't have much of a future in this organization despite his hitting talents.
    15. Tucker Barnhart C AA 2014 will be a major league backup catcher. Nothing wrong with that.

    ON THE RADAR

    Ryan LaMarre OF AAA 2014 profiles to a poor man's Chris Heisey
    Chad Rogers RHP AA 2016 profiles to a poor man's Mike Leake
    Kyle Waldrop OF A+ 2016 profiles to a poor man's Jay Bruce
    Ryan Wright 3B A+ 2017 will be interesting to see how he handles the switch to 3B, an already loaded position in the org
    Seth Mejias-Brean 3B A/A+ 2017 amazing debut, let's see if he can carry it over to full season ball in either Dayton or Bakersfield

    KEEP AN EYE ON (lottery tickets too far off to tell but they've got a glimmer of hope)

    Amir Garrett LHP
    Pedro Diaz LHP
    Jonathan Reynoso CF

    SP Drew Cisco, SP Jon Moscot, SP Dan Langfield, RP Josh Ravin, and 3B/OF Gabe Rosa are five other guys who could crack this list with strong debuts in ST and the 2013 season.



    So, where are we? Fortunately, the very strong position of the major league club doesn't call for a lot of reinforcements anytime in the near future. In fact, from this list, only Hamilton, Cingrani and possibly Corcino even remotely figure into the plans over the next two years (maybe Henry Rodriguez also). It's not until 2015 at the earliest that the Reds appear to need any sort of minor league reinforcements. One thing that is curiously under-represented in the system is Buckley's favorite targets in the draft: players up the middle. Look for the Reds to bring in middle-of-the-diamond talent in the 2013 draft and signing period. Specifically some middle infielders would be welcome, as with the departure of DiDi, the Reds don't appear to have any that profile to major league starting caliber in the entire minor league system. Cozart and Phillips appear to be locked and loaded for the next four years, but by then it may be time to think about their eventual replacements. Drafting or signing some HS SS would be consistent with that timeframe. Ditto for catcher, where Tucker Barnhart stands as the only projectable major leaguer in the minors, and he projects to a backup. Granted Hanigan and Mesoraco should be able to hold it down for the next few years, but wouldn't hurt to bring in some amateur talent at the position in the next year or two. Other than that, I'm very happy with where the big club sits, and fairly happy as well with the farm system. If we can add some middle-of-the-diamond players (as well as boppers and top-shelf arms which you can never get enough of), the future looks bright for years to come.
    Last edited by Benihana; 12-12-2012 at 09:35 PM.
    Go BLUE!!!

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - 2012/2013 Offseason Edition

    Thanks for the great write up. The farm seems setup very, very well to fill future team needs. Assuming Hamilton pans out as the answer in CF, the only position that doesn't seem to have a medium term answer is LF. It would be great if there was an heir apparent for Ludwick. Longer term, maybe Winker. Short term, Lamarre seems like he could potentially be a late bloomer who could end up a 4th outfielder. He seems like he could be one of those gamers who succeeds when he gets his shot in the majors despite not putting up great numbers in the minors.

    The strength of the franchise is clearly young pitching with the combination of young major leaguers and prospects. Particularly if Chapman succeeds as a starter and Walt can get Bailey extended. That would mean the Reds would be set at the big league level for at least three years even without Cingrani and company. If Cingrani or Corcino end up being blocked at the big league level in the coming year or two, it may make sense to flip one for a power hitting OF or 3B.

    The guy I'm most interested in following this year is Travieso. If he comes out of the gates like Stephenson did last year, it would continue a pretty incredible Reds run of early pick success. With this regime, I'll almost be surprised if he doesn't make an impressive debut.

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - 2012/2013 Offseason Edition

    I wouldn't worry too much about developing players for specific needs. As long as the Reds continue to develop top notch arms, they will have more than enough ammunition to pull off a trade for whatever else they need. Young pitching has always been the most valuable commodity on the trade market, and the Reds have that in spades.

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - 2012/2013 Offseason Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve4192 View Post
    I wouldn't worry too much about developing players for specific needs. As long as the Reds continue to develop top notch arms, they will have more than enough ammunition to pull off a trade for whatever else they need. Young pitching has always been the most valuable commodity on the trade market, and the Reds have that in spades.
    Fair enough, but SS are very hard to come by as well. Just look - Arizona just had to trade one of the biggest pitching prospects in baseball just to get a SS that projects by most as a second-division starter.

    Oscar Mercado is the best one in this draft. Would be great if he somehow falls to #30.
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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - 2012/2013 Offseason Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Benihana View Post
    Fair enough, but SS are very hard to come by as well. Just look - Arizona just had to trade one of the biggest pitching prospects in baseball just to get a SS that projects by most as a second-division starter.

    Oscar Mercado is the best one in this draft. Would be great if he somehow falls to #30.
    The problem is that people draft shortstops for their possible bats. Then once it's shown they aren't top defensive guys, they move them off of short. Leaving us with glove only guys. Problem is, we don't even have THOSE now. Get solid SS defenders and let the bats develop. Those Cal Ripken / Barry Larkin bat plus glove combos don't come around often...and nowadays, they'd get moved off of short most likely anyway.
    2014 predictions:
    99-63 WS champs (Cards take 2nd WC, Mil 3rd, Pit 4th, Chi 5th)
    Bruce/Votto neck and neck MVP race (neither takes it)
    Bailey CYA winner
    Hamilton ROY & GG

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - 2012/2013 Offseason Edition

    Two pitchers down in Billings look promising to me. Drew Cisco and Sal Romano. Keep that pitching coming, Walt.
    Zero chance the Reds miss the playoffs!

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - 2012/2013 Offseason Edition

    Nice. This is a good guide as we navigate through our top 40 or 50.

    I agree with texdave about Romano and especially Cisco. I'd also have Waldrop and in fact most of your radar guys higher, generally equal to the bulk of your Grade C group. But on the whole, there's not much to quibble with. Thanks.

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - 2012/2013 Offseason Edition

    Agree on Romano - was debating whether to include him or Ravin in "5 guys who could move up" at the bottom. Ravin's stats are unimpressive but he can light up the gun coming out of the pen. Romano is still very, very young - for sure someone to "Keep An Eye On"
    Go BLUE!!!

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - 2012/2013 Offseason Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Benihana View Post
    Fair enough, but SS are very hard to come by as well. Just look - Arizona just had to trade one of the biggest pitching prospects in baseball just to get a SS that projects by most as a second-division starter.

    Oscar Mercado is the best one in this draft. Would be great if he somehow falls to #30.
    I'm much more knowledgable about the NFL draft than the MLB draft, but one of the major tenets of successful drafting is not to reach for need. Don't take a B shortstop over an A pitcher. However, I do think that positional planning is a great tiebreaker. If you have 5 or 6 guys rated pretty close, organizational depth charts are a good tie breaker.

    Looking at the Reds big league roster and particularly the long term contracts, here are a couple things I would personally focus on:

    1. There are probably always going to need to be at least three everyday position players on rookie type deals or the equivalent. If Hamilton pans out, he, Cozart, Frazier and Mesoraco should have us covered in that regard in the medium term. However, way down the road when those guys are either up for extension or hit FA, we will probably need to either replace one or two of them with cheaper options or as they become expensive, address the other positions with cheap rookies. Specifically, LF and 2B after Phillips look like spots where cheap young guys would fit in very well to the salary structure. For now if I was Reds GM, if there was a tie amongst multiple BPA in the draft, I'd take either the power corner outfielder or the middle infielder with enough hitting potential to make it at 2B.

    2. Thinking similarly about salaries and the pitching staff, the verdict on Chapman's place on the roster is a big factor going forward. So too is what happens in terms of extensions with Latos and Bailey. As with position players, a team like the Reds probably can't afford big salaries for too many starters and bullpen arms. The bottom of the rotation and much of the bullpen will likely need to be younger guys. A small o medium market team like the Reds is always going to have to collect power arms because they really can't be bought very often in FA. If one or two of the top pitching prospects already in the system like Stephenson, Travieso, etc. can develop into players like Latos by the time Latos gets super expensive, that would be huge.

    3. Tampa has shown that there will always be trade options out there as long as you have been able to develop pitching. If the Reds have heirs apparent in a couple years, a Shields like trade of a guy like Bailey could be very attractive in terms of the spending limits the Reds may be looking at. To do that and keep rolling, you have to have the cheap young arms to make losing a top of the rotation type starter bearable.

    Anyway, sorry for the long, rambling post. Overall, I see the Reds setup very well. Winker, Stephenson and Travieso are key guys long term based on how I see the Reds big league salary allocations that they are locked into with some of these long term deals.

    In terms of the upcoming draft, I'd love to see another power bat for LF and to rebuild the organizational depth in middle IF. Power arms are always in high demand so I wouldn't pass on a Stephenson type just to fill perceived needs elsewhere.

    Lastly, I've been reading this forum for many years and want to thank all the great posters in the minor league forum. I love reading about this stuff.

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - 2012/2013 Offseason Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Benihana View Post
    Fair enough, but SS are very hard to come by as well. Just look - Arizona just had to trade one of the biggest pitching prospects in baseball just to get a SS that projects by most as a second-division starter.
    Arizona didn't HAVE to do anything.

    Their GM inexplicably fell in love with one guy and was willing to move Heaven and Earth to get him. I think most pundits agree that Towers grossly overpaid in order to acquire Gregorius. He could have gone after a different SS prospect and worked out a more equitable deal, but he HAD to have Gregorius and everyone knew it. Kudos to Cleveland's GM for taking advantage of his man-love for Didi.

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - 2012/2013 Offseason Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve4192 View Post
    Arizona didn't HAVE to do anything.

    Their GM inexplicably fell in love with one guy and was willing to move Heaven and Earth to get him. I think most pundits agree that Towers grossly overpaid in order to acquire Gregorius. He could have gone after a different SS prospect and worked out a more equitable deal, but he HAD to have Gregorius and everyone knew it. Kudos to Cleveland's GM for taking advantage of his man-love for Didi.
    Agree that they overpayed for DiDi but disagree that it was a one-off fluke.

    They were willing to trade Justin Upton to get a young SS. Elvis Andrus, Jurickson Profar, and Andrelton Simmons were all guys they were reportedly targeting. Bauer-for-Gregorius was certainly an overpay IMO, but the price was high for a SS across the board.
    Go BLUE!!!

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - 2012/2013 Offseason Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Benihana View Post
    Agree on Romano - was debating whether to include him or Ravin in "5 guys who could move up" at the bottom. Ravin's stats are unimpressive but he can light up the gun coming out of the pen. Romano is still very, very young - for sure someone to "Keep An Eye On"
    We need to remember that Ravin is in his first year in the bullpen. He spent most of the year on the DL, then came into the bullpen months after everyone else got started. He threw 20 shaky innings then the season ended. Then he went to Arizona and started when everyone else did, and was very good.

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - 2012/2013 Offseason Edition

    Ravin had a 6.97 ERA in Arizona, not sure that constitutes very good.

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - 2012/2013 Offseason Edition

    I'd also have Waldrop and in fact most of your radar guys higher, generally equal to the bulk of your Grade C group.
    Agreed. Still, it's all kind of splitting hairs and drawing distinctions that don't really bear up under scrutiny longer than a few months. Fodder for conversation.

    I can't say I see anyone getting vastly undersold. But I do think Travieso and Rahier are riding almost 100% pedigree at the moment, sorta like Rosa has been.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Re: Reds Top Prospects - 2012/2013 Offseason Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by JaxRed View Post
    Ravin had a 6.97 ERA in Arizona, not sure that constitutes very good.
    Peripherals were outstanding. Whip was outstanding. Control was outstanding. Stuff was incredible.

    His ERA was rough because he had one bad game and was a reliever in a really short season. He gave up 4 runs in his first game.

    Here is his line, including the championship game:

    Code:
    IP	H	HR	BB	SO	ERA	WHIP	K/BB
    12.33	10	1	2	13	5.84	0.97	6.5
    That ERA is out of whack. 1 home run, sub 1.00 WHIP.... small sample size at play with an ERA in a very hitter friendly league.


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