Minors / Reds - General

Is the future as bright as we were led to believe?

Most of this was recently posted on Lance McAlister’s blog (I’ve added some numbers and some of Lance’s numbers might be a bit off b/c of the delay in posting this):

Louisville Bats/International League rankings
BA .249 (13th of 14)
Runs 377 (14th)
OBP .313 (13th)
SLG .370 (13th)
OPS .683 (14th)
BB 264 (12th)

Double-A Pensacola/Southern League rankings
BA .222 (10th of 10)
Runs 301 (10th)
OBP .303 (10th)
SLG. .326 (10th)
OPS .631 (10th)
BB 315 (3rd)

High-A Bakersfield, California League rankings
BA .258 (6th of 10)
Runs (10th)
OBP .324 (8th)
SLG .415 (5th)
OPS .738 (6th)
BB 273 (9th)

Low-A Dayton, Midwest League rankings
BA .257 (7th of 16)
Runs 416 (7th)
OBP .322 (12th)
SLG .363 (11th)
OPS .686 (12th)
BB (15th)

Read more: http://www.espn1530.com/pages/lancesBlog.html?page=2#ixzz2Z2g9KRoY

As can be seen, we don’t have one team that is very effective in scoring runs. The best is the Dragons, which are barely in the top half of their league in scoring runs. The rest are so bad you don’t even want to think about it.

Looking at individual players doesn’t improve the view much either.

Louisville Leaders:

OBP:
Nevin Ashley (29 year old part time catcher) .358
Denis Phipps (28 year old OF) .352
Josh Fellhauer (25 year old OF) .342

And just in case you were wondering: Billy Hamilton (22 year old future hope) .300

SLG:
Mike Hessman (35 year old slugging roster filler) .521 (6th in IL)
Nevin Ashley (see above) .465
Nefi Soto (24 year old trade chip) .418

Other than Hessman, none of these leaders are anywhere near the top group of leaders in the IL.

Pensacola Leaders:

OBP:
Ray Chang (FA pickup, 30 year old, demoted from Louisville) .374
Luis Durango (FA pickup, 27 year old) .373
Bryson Smith (24 year old 34th rd pick/2011) .363

SLG:
Donald Lutz (24 year old, OF) .423
Ray Chang (see above) .415
Marquez Smith (28 year of FA pickup, promoted from Bakersfield) .414

Not a pretty picture, is it?

Bakersfield Leaders:

OBP:
Juan Silva (22 year old OF) .395 (7th in league)
Steve Selsky (24 year old OF, sent to AA, brought back) .383
Yovan Gonzalez (2009/30th, 23 year old catcher) .357

SLG:
Steve Selsky (see above) .519
Juan Silva (see above) .486
Juan Silverio (22 year old 3B) .476 (but has only walked 7 times in 87 games)

Silva might be something to get a little excited about, same with Selsky, but he needs to move up and stay up, if he’s going to be an impact player.

Dayton Leaders:

OBP:
Jesse Winker (19 year old, 2012/1st) .368
Jeff Gelalich (22 year old, 2012/1st) .362 (slugging of .331)
Zach Vincej (22 year old, 2012/34th) .355
Seth Mejias-Brean (22 year old, 2012/8th) .353

SLG:

Junior Arias (21 year old, OF) .469
Jesse Winker (see above) .452
Seth Mejias-Brean (see above) .383

I’m very excited about what I’ve read and heard about Jeese Winker. I’m surprised he hasn’t been moved to Bakersfield, but the Reds seem to be very cautious, especially with really young guys. I also wonder, if with the struggles Billy Hamilton is having at AAA, it might convince them to be even more cautious with Winker and not rush him.

The biggest offensive hole for the Reds in 2014 is obviously in the OF with Choo leaving and Hamilton not looking to be ready for 2014, you wonder where the help will come from?

Other than Hamilton, the minor league system doesn’t seem to offer much help offensively, at least not in the next couple of years.

The trade for Mat Latos drained the minors of a lot of top echelon talent (Alonso, Grandal, Boxberger). They also gave up Donnie Joseph (who is up for the Royals now) for Broxton.

But we’ve been told how good the Reds minor league drafts have been for the past several years…does that seem to be truly the case? Do you see any help on the horizon? Who? And is there someone that’s simply having a bad year, but will be a better player than his 2013 numbers indicate? What are you thoughts? Is the future as bright as we were led to believe?

106 thoughts on “Is the future as bright as we were led to believe?

  1. The thing is much of that ml talent is at the big club. Devin, Heisey, Frazier, Cozart, just to name a few. If they weren’t up here, then they would be down there.

    • @steveschoen: The cynical way of looking at it would be is that Frazier, Cozart, Heisey, and Meso are the leftovers the other teams did not want in the big trades(s) the Reds felt they needed to make.

      Heisey is in his 28 YO season, his 4th, and is still a utility player.

      Frazier and Cozart are in their 27 YO season, also beyond prospect age, and both still offensive ??? despite being regulars.

      Meso at 25 YO is still prospect age for a catcher at least.

      By way of comparison, Votto was league MVP and an All Star in his 26 year season. Phillips was a GG and top 25 league MVP finisher prior to his age 27 season. Jay Bruce is currently in his 26 YO season and has already been an All Star, Silver Slugger, and top 10 finisher in the league MVP selection process.

      It is no accident I think that the right side of the diamond often shines brightly for the Reds while the left side often seems like a black hole.

      • @OhioJim: At the same time, you can spin it that those are the players the Reds wanted to keep and, thus, let the others go.

        Remember, everyone wanted Cozart up here because not only was Janish struggling with the bat but Cozart was in the zone with it, including starting up here, until Votto with another poor throw that caused Cozart to injure his arm.

        It can be spun that the only reason Heisey is a bench player still is because of Baker from hardly ever playing him and from Ludwick from beating him out by only having an MVP caliber bat for the month he got his turn to win the LF position last season.

        Many talked of how Jay Bruce didn’t deserve the All-Star games simply off a single good month and all other poor months.

        Devin is having to share time with a veteran.

        BP is losing more and more everyday. Frazier was the ROY last season.

        Pretty skeptical on several fronts there, Jim.

        • @steveschoen: As Parcells used to say, you are your record. Nobody can take the awards and achievements away from Votto, Bruce, and Phillips. And it is highly doubtful that Heisey, Frazier or Cozart will ever achieve any of those awards/ distinctions.

          Cozart in particular went from being surrounded by the same questions as Janish about his offense to being promoted essentially based on a single strong half season at AAA (off a mediocre full one) in conjunction with the total collapse of Janish’s offense at the MLB level. If there was a guy playing SS at AAA doing now what Cozart was doing at AAA in 2011 at this time, there is a very good chance that guy’s phone would have already rung for a call up.

        • @OhioJim: And, the thing is, Jim, no one was saying Bruce, Votto, and BP would be sure fire All-Stars themselves. BP especially. He was known as a punk kid with a good glove and no bat who rarely ran out balls he hit. Said even less about Ozzie Smith, all glove no bat, but he worked at it and become a decent batter as well. He made the improvements, adjustments, changes necessary to make him a better player. Will Cozart, Frazier, and Heisey? First for Heisey is a manager and system who will even play him regularly. For all three, I would think the jury is still out on that. Shoot, even these three are having better numbers in their first seasons than another player I know of, and that player went on to HOF status, Mike Schmidt. Look up his numbers the first 2 seasons. He sucked.

      • @OhioJim: I mostly agree with what you are saying but I really, really don’t get why people have been saying that Frazier has been “offensive”. I really think the expectations are too high for him after last season. Right now, he’s not too far off my projections for him. His .730 OPS is 36 points below where I had him and his defense has been better than I expected. That OPS is 7th among 12 qualified NL 3B and one of the 6 ahead of him (Matt Carpenter) has been playing a lot at 2B. His .239 average is only better than Headley and Valbuena however, so if you are judging strictly on average then perhaps you have a case.

        He’s 4th in HR and 5th in RBI, so the counting stats are decent.

        He’s also 4th in WAR for whatever you feel that is worth.

    • @steveschoen: There is no way that the guys you mention would be in the minor leagues if not up here, possibly with the exception of Mesoraco. If they were not here, they’d be gone. You don’t play at that age in AAA as any kind of prospect.

  2. Those numbers make me wonder if every hitting coach in the organization pushes the Dusty Baker mantra of “swing early, swing often.” We see how well that works for some of the big-league players.

    • @vegastypo: While I disagree with this statement for statistical reasons which I’ve stated in other posts, I recognize sometimes Reds hitters are unable to change their plan at the plate based upon situation. No, the big picture problem is pitch recognition and making contact.

  3. The way I view it is this:

    The Reds have a window to win now because, as steveschoen pointed out above, basically all their young talent is already with the big club. Many players on the Reds are theoretically either in their primes, about to enter their primes, or on the tail end of their primes.

    The Reds have a window right now of about 3-5 years to win where their talent should be producing at about their peaks. During that time, it doesn’t really matter what is in the minors because no one on the big club will need a long-term replacement during that span. 3-5 years should be enough time for the Reds to develop some suitable replacements when the time comes.

    Plus, when the window to win closes slightly, that will mean 2 things have happened:

    (a) Some players just got too old (Phillips comes to mind)
    (b) Some players just got too expensive

    Once this happens, the Reds should be expected to trade away some of their pieces. They can use these trades to get some young talent that is or will soon be major league ready.

    Bottom line is this: The Reds need to do everything they can to maximize the output of their major league club NOW, minors be damned, while they still have this window. This is why I would trade Hamilton and Chapman plus some other pieces to get Stanton.

    Plus, even once the window closes, any team that can run out a middle of the order that includes Votto/Stanton/Bruce shouldn’t be THAT bad. That should make it relatively easy for the Reds to become competitive again before Votto and Bruce’s times are up.

    Is the future bright with what the Reds have right now? Not really. But the PRESENT is where the focus should be, not the future. This club has, for the last 10 years, always been about “the future this, the future that”. Well guess what, folks? Tomorrow has come today, and it’s time to capitalize.

    • @CI3J: The minors absolutely matter, as a win now team still will need to make trades to fill holes (e.g., injury). The Reds are completely hamstrung in that regard.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Agreed. No doubt there are GM’s right now hoping they can convince the Reds to sell short on Hamilton and Stephenson who appear to be the only two real top drawer sure thing prospect the Reds have (at least above rookie leagues); and what those two have done to date in 2013 hasn’t exactly strengthened their value.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

          If he were part of a package to get stanton, would you sign off on it?

          Plus, how can we be sure he’s really the next Rickey Henderson and not the next Vince Coleman?

          The final concern I have is bynthe time Hamilton is ready, the window to win may already be closing.

          IF Hamilton could help bring in a true impact talent like Stanton, then I say do it. Otherwise, yeah, hold onto him.

        • @CI3J: I’m not married to prospects, I was trying to say that his value has dropped tremendously this year. I’d prefer to hope he has a streak, or is really good next year, if they were to trade him. That would increase his value back to where it was.

          I don’t think he can bring in Stanton without Stephenson. That would completely empty the system. Just saying.

        • @CI3J: And yes, if Hamilton were part of a package to get Stanton, and Stephenson wasn’t involved, I’d certainly consider it. I am sure the Reds would be forced to part with a lot more than Hamilton, and probably players from the big squad such as Cingrani.

        • @CI3J: Hamilton is not the next Ricky Henderson, I can say that pretty much for certain. That said, even if he’s the next Vince Coleman, he has quite a bit of value. I’d be pretty happy if he turned out that good.

    • @CI3J: I think that they COULD be THAT bad if they had no pitching, and the marketable young talent the Reds have is, with the exception of Hamilton, pitching. Cueto may have an injury-plagued career ahead of him, Bailey and Latos will be expensive to resign and Arroyo will likely be gone. Other teams would want Stephenson, Cingrani or Chapman, and the Reds simply shouldn’t trade pitching (in deference to HAT’s compelling reasoning, I’d consider trading Chapman). We remember from the Dunn years what a pitching-deficient team of big boppers looks like. Not pretty.

    • @CI3J: While I agree the premise of your statement, I think the minors do matter.

      Having a strong farm system is essential for sustained success. As much as I enjoy this team right now, I don’t want another lost decade.

  4. I agree that the minor league stats are not impressive, but I am not worried…yet. On the big club we have multi year deals in place everywhere but left field and center field. That means just a couple minor league players need to step up or be acquired through trade or free agency. Early minor league stats also don’t mean too much to me. How often do players struggle until having that light bulb moment that propels them to the bigs? At least a few of those players are surely in the farm system.

  5. Depth in the minor league is very important because of the ability to prevent the team from hitting a huge slump due to one or two key injuries. Think about the Cardinals: if it weren’t for their depth in the minors, they would have practically had to write off the entire season.

    If it was/is important to the Reds organization to have good minor league talent, ownership never should have hired Jocketty. His M.O. is to use the minor league players strictly to be used as chips to bring in veteran bats. I would bet that the only reason he is holding onto Hamilton is so that he can pull off a big trade before the end of July. I doubt it will be Stanton because he comes with 2+ years of team control and that I would be shocked if Florida lets him go for Hamilton and Chapman.

    I agree that the Reds have a window to win within the next 3-4 years, but I don’t have much confidence in Jocketty’s desire to develop much talent from within.

  6. One thing, also, I would like to see, is the pitching numbers of those same clubs. At least the last time I had to make a general call, last season, in a lot of spaces in the minor clubs, we had a lot of hitting but not much pitching. The last I looked, the pitching down there is a lot better that it was last season and, obviously, the hitting isn’t as good as it was last season.

    Something I could see/hope for is, sign Choo long term, play Ludwick one more season then don’t resign him. Let Billy H go at it at AAA one more season next year. That should be even better for him. Come 2015 (if not mid 2014), Hamilton comes in for the OF with Choo and Bruce, letting Ludwick go.

  7. The farm system is a three alarm fire, IMO. It’s just bad. There are no prospects outside of Stephenson and maybe some of the draftees this year, but too early to tell. But currently there are simply zero high quality prospects outside of Stephenson. Winker? Too low minors to say. Travieso? He’s terrible. Hamilton? Needs to raise OBP by 60 points. Corcino? Please. Top pitching prospects blow away the low minors, and Travieso can’t K people and Corcino walks too many.

    But worst of all, there are zero hitters. Sheesh, draft hitters. Lots of hitters.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I thought the Travieso drafting was horrible at the time, based solely on what he was ranked by everyone else. Literally every scout or draft analysis had the Reds overreaching on him by a lot (as in, 15-20 first round picks). That’s a lot of talent to skip to take him, unless you’re absolutely sure he’s going to be an ace. And honestly, he doesn’t look anything close to that to me. Poor pick.

  8. Another thing: I disagree that the trades have really killed the Reds minor league depth. It certainly degraded it, but they traded two top prospects: Alonso and Grandal. Didi was not a top prospect, nor was Joseph, nor was Boxberger (a reliever).

    The Reds simply are not producing enough prospects. That’s the bottom line.

  9. One of the first round picks of the past few years was Mike Leake who outside a couple of games hasn’t been anywhere in the minors, so that is one big draft pick that isn’t down there too.

  10. I disagree that the Reds minor league system has been unproductive. Look at how many home-grown players are starting for the Reds now, especially compared to other organizations. The Latos trade was only possible because the draft picks of Grandal and Alonso had panned out, along with Boxberger. We got Sean Marshall and Shin-Soo Choo from trades for our own developed players.

    Frazier, Cozart and Mesoraco are sophomores developed by the Reds system. You can’t expect minor league systems to produce Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto at every position.

    I agree with trading Hamilton, not so much because of the window, but because I personally don’t think that one-tool players, where that tool is speed, translate into much value in the major leagues. Sure, wait until he’s fully recovered from his injury. But keep in mind all these players in the minors, including Billy Hamilton, are entirely unproven at the major league level.

    Trading Chapman wouldn’t be my first choice, moving him to the rotation would be. I’d sell high on Leake, package and trade him now for a big hitting piece. But if Chapman’s destiny is just Dusty Baker’s dustbin in the bullpen, he’d definitely be worth more to the Reds if he was traded, because plenty of other teams would value him more because he’d be a starter for them.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I take it you are responding to me. I never said that the Reds’ system *has been unproductive*, I said that they are not producing enough prospects…I mean currently. Obviously, the system that produced most of the current team, either directly or indirectly, was good. They’ve done a great job with first round picks. But outside of that, they’ve produced almost literally zero prospects. I did forget about Wood, so there’s that.

      I’m not expecting some guy who’s about ready to help the big club. They don’t have any prospects who are really tradeable outside of Stephenson even at the lower levels, i.e., guys who look good in the low minors but are completely unproven and for whom I’d like other teams to take risk on if the Reds need a piece.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: And, that’s what I said. Either they have been traded away or they are with the big club now. But, I find it interesting to see that nothing was said about the pitching stats in the minors. I would like to see what those are in comparison. Only as a general look, they seemed much better this year than last year.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I was responding primarily to the original post and then a few of the comments (including yours) afterward. If I’d written an overview post on the Reds minor league system, I’d have focused on how many MLB players (both on the Reds and those traded) it had produced in the past few years. It’s unreasonable, in my opinion, to expect any system to be that productive and not be depleted, which I agree with you and the original post that it is.

  11. I really like CI3J’s point about the window and timing. The Reds just went through a cycle of promotion (or trade) of a lot of players. The team is relatively young – at least in the sense of not needing to replace too many players in the short run due to age. (Injury is another matter.) The farm system has a few years to reload before it will need to provide many others. If Cozart or Frazier don’t pan out, we can make a trade or sign a free agent.

    Our drafting also produced Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Tony Cingrani and Aroldis Chapman.

    • I really like CI3J’s point about the window and timing. The Reds just went through a cycle of promotion (or trade) of a lot of players. The team is relatively young – at least in the sense of not needing to replace too many players in the short run due to age. (Injury is another matter.) The farm system has a few years to reload before it will need to provide many others. If Cozart or Frazier don’t pan out, we can make a trade or sign a free agent.

      Our drafting also produced Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Tony Cingrani and Aroldis Chapman.

      Thought Chapman was a free agent signing????

      • @zblakey: He was a free agent signing, but for practical purposes the same thing. That’s the way major league teams acquire international players, at least until they change that rule. Chapman has to be added to the list of young players the Reds acquired from the start of their professional careers and developed – as opposed to acquiring someone else’s player, like Mat Latos in a trade.

  12. Chapman was a free agent. 30 mil over 6ish years, not including arbitration costs.

    Just thinking about this, but if the Reds were to trade Bailey, we could get Francisco Lindor back from the Indians, plus a few more B level prospects. That SHOULD solve the Reds SS problems (although prospects are no guarantee, of course), while also restocking other areas as well. The Indians are desperate for starters (really, any pitching at all) so the Reds should sell high on Bailey.

    If they could get the same return for Chapman, though, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Even if you were only getting Lindor back, with a few low, low level prospects thrown in to make it look good, it’d still be a good trade.

  13. All of this, also, is one reason why I was sorry to hear Krivsky and O’brien (sp on both?) be let go. Uncle Walt was a BC guy. But, I still give credit to Krivsky and O’brien for building most of this team and organization.

  14. I don’t think the system is as bad as we think it is.

    1.) The Reds have A LOT of really good pitching prospects.
    2.) Since pitchers make up 12 spots of your 25 man roster plus you lock up a few players into their FA years, you really only have to replace 9 to 11 spots every 6 years. I think there is enough talent to do this.
    3.) Due to holes created by trades or weakness at upper levels in specific positions there are many players in the system who are at levels higher than which they are ready. This is especially true in the infield in the system. (e.g Didi traded, Billy changed to CF so now everyone is bumped up a level to fill a spot on a roster at SS.)

    • @rhayex: Now they need to be patient? I hope the team listens about discipline.

      But, the article of course is flawed, not mentioning that Baker’s .280 with RISP is two points higher than his career .278 overall.

      Then, it says “…and littered the basepaths at Turner Field over the series’ first three games, stranding 21 runners while hitting .259 (7-for-27) in such situations”. Is that supposed to be bad? The team does not hit for a really high average period.

      In any case, it’s still Baker. Singling out Cabrera…sure, everyone should just simply be like Miguel Cabrera. Problem solved!

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Shifting blame from Baker. Great management strategy… “I’ve been saying this for like four or five years.” Apparently, Dusty teaches all his players perfectly and it is their fault for not performing to his lofty standards.

        BTW, I bet Votto laughs every night before he goes to bed thinking about Dusty’s .280 liftime BARISP, seeing as how Votto is the career leader amongst active players (last I heard).

        • @prjeter: I bet Votto goes to sleep crying every night thinking of how ill-served his teammates are by Baker’s hitting philosophy. Votto rises above it. His teammates are being dragged down by it.

          When I saw Baker’s statement “I’ve been saying this for four or five years” my reaction was: well, if the players aren’t responding to your coaching, maybe it’s time for a change. The reality is, he gives such conflicting advice – be aggressive, be patient, swing early in the count etc. – that the players probably have no idea what to do from one slump to another.

          The Reds need a new hitting approach. If they have to change managers to accomplish that, I wouldn’t be opposed.

  15. Hamilton has been over matched at AAA. I hope a little injury time let’s him clear his head. He is not a one tool player but that is all he has flashed in Louisville.

    His ability to work counts is really diminished in the International League and I am sure he is going to need to work on his eye and pitch scouting a little more – I hope he gets there!

  16. We have to be patient with Hamilton. He is 22 and struggling with AAA, but Joey Votto was only at AA at age 22, where he had a .408 OBP. Hamilton at age 21 had a .410 OBP at age 21 at High A and AA, with about a third of that at AA. Different players, but Hamilton is NOT behind schedule. His history until last year was to struggle at a new level, then adapt and flourish. Plus, he is still learning to switc-hit, and he will get physically stronger as well.

    This year he is much better at home than on the road. His OBP is .342, versus .250 on the road; he has whiffed 29 times in 179 ABs at home but 44 of 159 on the road. This would suggest that he his comfort level goes up, and there is no reason to think it won’t.

    People seem to think that Giancarlo Stanton plays for a lousy team and that therefore he can be had in a trade. He isn’t available, as the Marlins have said, nor does it make any economic or baseball sense for the Marlins to trade him. If the Reds can’t use Hamilton to get a Stanton, then there is no reason to trade him, period, because there just anybody out there whose contract is worth more than Hamilton’s rights are worth.

  17. Other than Phil Ervin, I am not sure what this year’s draft resulted in. Too early to tell. But looking to next year, the Reds could have 3 first round picks. Their normal pick. And if they give a qualifying offer to Choo and Arroyo, and they decline it, they will get the first round draft pick from the teams that sign them. Now, if the Reds would just sign a couple of college big boppers with 2 of those 3 picks, well then, maybe an instant upgrade.

  18. This article is kind of weird. It’s basically complaining that you don’t have any money after saving up and buying your first home.

    I’m actually curious if there is another good team around the MLB that has produced with the level of consistency the Reds have had in the draft. You look at what the Reds have produced in their minor league system since 2004, and it’s actually pretty amazing:

    Joey Votto
    Edwin Encarcion
    Homer Bailey
    Drew Stubbs
    Devin Mesoraco
    Yonder Alonso
    Bradley Boxberger
    Yasmani Grandal
    Mike Leake
    Todd Frazier
    Tony Cingrani
    Donnie Joseph
    Chris Heisey
    Billy Hamilton
    Travis Wood
    Robert Stephenson
    Nick Travieso

    I get that you can look around and see the Cards’ farm system and be jealous. But the Cards basically implemented what the Reds are trying to do, which is mix and match aging vets’ contracts with incoming prospects. The Reds’ prospects are just on the field. Mike Leake is Shelby Miller, for example. Devin Mesoraco is Oscar Tavares. Tony Cingrani is Michael Wacha…

    The Cards supplemented their prospects by signing free agents like Carlos Beltran & Lance Berkman, Reds gave big money to Votto BP, and traded prospects for Latos. I just don’t get what people are trying to say. Yes, the Reds’ minor league system is thin at the top. But it’s that way for a reason.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: You draft Mike Leake in 2009, trade your advanced hitting prospect in 2010, then follow up with two high school pitchers, and another on a high school hitter in Winker and this is what happens,

        The point being, the depth of the minor system is meaningless in a way, the Reds made the decision to spend the depth on starting pitching (Latos & in a way Leake). No surprise that they stink at hitting throughout the system, they haven’t really spent their best resources on hitters. Since Yonder & Grandal, the Reds have spent high drafts on Hamilton & Winker, along with what looks like a miss in Jeff Gelich which they can’t be feeling good about.

        That said, it’s unfortunate that they haven’t got lucky and found a hitter later in the draft. It seems like the draft has become extremely top heavy as/of late, which I suppose is to be expected with the amount of hard data teams have on players now.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Forgot to answer your question :D

        The Reds’ 2 best prospects are in Dayton, Stephenson & Winker. And Ervin & Travieso will be nipping at their heels. I wouldn’t say that the Dayton & below are thin. They’re just a ways off.

        (I have no idea who is in Bakersfield)

        • @CP: I don’t understand this, honestly. Stephenson I get. But every MLB team took a guy in the 1st round this year, so the Reds are no better than they are. So I can’t count Ervin.

          And Travieso, can someone explain why he’s considered a good prospect? I honestly am not that in touch, but his numbers suck. Is there something that should make me optimistic?

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: No. There is absolutely nothing, other than that he was a mid to high first round draft pick, that I can tell. Nothing about him gives me hope he’ll succeed, especially not after the interview he gave after being drafted.

        • @rhayex: I havent followed this stuff that closely. What interview did he do after being drafted/what was wrong with it/why did it turn you off him so much?

        • @Eric the Red: I don’t have a link to it, but I remember hearing it and thinking bad thoughts. I don’t want to bash him, but he just didn’t sound intelligent in his first interview; it wasn’t that he was unprepared, it was that he…

          Well, I could be wrong, but I thought other people had noticed it too. It made it seem as though he wouldn’t know how to make adjustments…or something.

          Yeah, I’m a lot more hesitant to give specifics now that I don’t have video backing me up, lol.

          Brutal honestly: He sounded like a few kids (one in particular) that I know, and the one I’m thinking of was talented but washed out of baseball by our junior year. He just didn’t have the work ethic, intelligence, or drive to make it. I’m not saying Travieso is the same as him, but what I’m seeing by his statline doesn’t impress me or change my mind in the slightest.

        • @rhayex: lol @ the interview mumbo jumbo. An 18 excited year male give a crappy interview? No, say it ain’t so…

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: He’s a 19 year old in A ball, who has played what, 6 games? I submit to you that perhaps, the numbers are completely irrelevant. Every scouting report I’ve seen really likes him. You can’t teach a 97 mph fastball.

          Similar to Leake, Ervin is farther along the curve than most OF prospects. I doubt he’s a huge upside guy, but he’ll most likely be moved up quickly.

    • @CP: I pretty much agree. 85% of an organization’s minor leaguers are there to provide support for the 15% or so who are actual prospects. (And if one of the 85%ers proves himself, fine.). So it doesn’t matter what most of these guys are hitting.

      Yeah, it would be better if they had Hamilton ready right now, or a Jose Reyes ready for next year, but if the organization can average producing 1 major league ready player a year, that wii do. They aren’t replacing Votto, Phillips or Bruce for several years, so they could possibly only need 5 positions to fill if all the other players flop.

  19. Yes, the Birds have been running the Reds model with a decade head start. The Birds have been in a position to let aging veterans walk for big, overburdening contracts and backfill with cheap, young, talented prospects then supplament with the occasional FA of their choice. They have done a good job with this model.

    The Reds are not quite to the point of being able to backfill, but they don’t need to backfill…yet. In 3 years, they will be faced with the same tough decisions as the Birds and the Reds will need the players to backfill rather than being burdened with excessive contracts for aging veteran FA. They will need to pick and choose their battles in resigning their own FA and their starting pitching is that pending battlefield. Unfortunately, starting pitching is also the riskiest contracts to negotiate. What needs to happen for the Reds’ model to succeed in the interim is major league players need to stay healthy and a few players need to step up and produce at the major league level, while the minor league system matures.

    What bothers me most with the Reds current approach is their apparent lack of interest or lack of capability to participate in the international signings. Maybe they just don’t see the requisite talent available for the proper risk/reward in the international pool right now, but I’m seeing a lot of international talent as premier minor league prospects right now and little to none in the Reds minor league system.

    • What bothers me most with the Reds current approach is their apparent lack of interest or lack of capability to participate in the international signings.

      @Shchi Cossack: It’s not a lack of interest. The Reds have the second lowest allotment of $1.7M to sign international players according to the new CBA.

      • @TC: The problem is that they don’t seem to use that money. They CAN trade for more, up to 50%, I believe. That would buy the services of the number one international prospect for this year, or at least one in the top five.

  20. It is true that the Minor League system as a whole has been a disappointment. A lot of players that were expected to be big time prospects have taken major steps back this year (Corcino, Guillon, Vidal, LaMarre) and there is very little to be excited about at the top two levels offensively. But with that being said, it is true that trades and graduations have taken a toll on the system over the past two years. Frazier, Cozart, and Mesoraco have all graduated up and Didi, Grandal, Alonso, and Torreyes have all been traded. Outside of Torreyes all are/have been contributing at the MLB level.

    It’s also true that the Reds have the core of their team locked in for the next 4+ years in Mesoraco, Votto, Phillips, Cozart, Frazier, and Bruce. So while the top of the organization has little to write home about, there was not going to be a lot of room to move up anyway.

    So let’s look at what we do have to be excited about. First, Billy Hamilton. Even though he’s struggled this year in his first year in AAA, he’s still an elite prospect with game changing speed. Will he be ready to contribute next year to the Reds. I doubt it. But in 2015, I see no reason to believe he won’t be ready.

    2nd, Hanigan’s heir apparent Tucker Barnhart is ready to compete defensively at the MLB now. After struggling to adjust to AA last year, this year he’s sporting a 271/344/719 slash line. Those are pretty strong numbers for a guy known more for his defense. As Mesoraco matures and gets more playing time, I believe the duo of Mes and Barnhart will be a dynamic combination for Reds fans.

    3rd: Yorman Rodriguez. His ups and downs have been many, and after having a rough start last year, coupled with a demotion back to Dayton, he began to turn his season around a bit. This year he performed well for a 20 year old in the Cal league and has continued to put up decent numbers in AA. His 253/317/686 slash line is not newsworthy, but considering his age and the tools he possesses it is definitely worth being optimistically excited. It is said that the jump to AA from High A is the biggest/toughest jump to make. We’ve recently seen Vidal, Barnhart, Selsky, Mattair, etc struggle with that jump after putting up impressive High A numbers. I believe we can take it as a positive sign of growth that YRod has made the jump seamlessly so far, especially as a 20 year old.

    4th: Lutz and Bryson Smith. Both are 24 years old and neither project to be major contributors. But Lutz demonstrated this year in a short stint (rushed as it was) that the power potential is real. He’s played the game for such a short time, but it looks like he has a legitimate shot to be a lefty power bat off the bench/platoon OF’er of the future. Smith is the next Heisey. I know that’s not outstanding praise, but he’s a late round draftee who’s just produced at every level. His 275/363/769 slash line is pretty good, and traditionally he’s hit closer to .300 through the minors, including last year. Again, doesn’t project to be a major contributor, but provides a lot of promise as a 4th OF’er who can hit for average and has a high OBP. Both are in their 2nd year a AA and should be ready to contribute off the bench if/when any of the three of Heisey/Paul/Robinson are no longer with the club. Usually bench players aren’t much to get excited about, but this year and last year we were reliant on getting FA minor leaguers to plug in spots on our bench. It will be nice to have some in the minors waiting to contribute.

    In the same vein, Henry Rodriquez projects to be a utility infielder for the Reds in the near future. It will be nice for the Reds to save some money on the Hannahans of the world by producing their own depth.

    5. Some young guys in the pipeline. Winker’s already been mentioned, and until an injury induced slump recently was putting up Bruce-like numbers in Dayton. Also, after a horrid April Seth Meijas-Brean has been playing great, after putting up great numbers in Billings last year. Brean has a 258/352/731 slash line that is being dragged down by a poor start to the season. Brean offers some hope for 3B post-Frazier if Vidal never figures out how to turn it around. Also at 3B, Tanner Rahier is putting up decent numbers as a 19 year old. Playing up a level and still being solid (although with a poor OBP) is something to keep tracking. Gelalich sports a great OBP (360) and could provide OF help for the future (although likely as a 4th OF’er type). Junior Arias put together a solid 1st half in Dayton, now as a CF and has a great assortment of tools to be excited about. Still only 21, in High A now, it will be interesting to see how he progresses.

    Then there are the guys in the rookie leagues: 1st Rounder Phil Ervin has hit will out the gates in Billings, Jonathan Reynoso is a tools guy that is starting to string some hits together after a slow start, Avain Rachal (19yr old 2B), Jose Ortiz (19yr old C), and Ty Washington (19yr old 2B/SS) are all producing in Billings after producing last year as well. And that’s not mentioning KJ Franklin or Corey Thompson drafted this year in the first 5 rounds.

    So while their may be few stars on the horizon, there are guys to be excited about. And the fact is, the Reds are in the business of plugging holes and acquiring productive cheap/cost-controlled bench players to round out the roster. The OF, especially the corner OF is still lacking in a big time prospect outside of Winker. But maybe YRod will put it together soon enough to contribute once Ludwick’s gone, and if not, maybe Lutz/Smith can do enough as a platoon to hold the spot down. It’s not like we’ve gotten much out of LF anyways since Dunn left.

  21. Fun hypothetical trade idea that will never happen, but fun to think about: Aroldis Chapman for Oscar Taveras. Who says no?
    Cards upgrade bullpen with best LH RP in game for stretch run/postseason now, without losing anything from MLB roster, then convert Chapman to starter next year. Reds fix 2slot/LF hole for remainder of season, and likely upgrade CF defense by moving Choo to left. Reds bullpen has been solid top to bottom and could replace Chapman with committee. Both teams get relatively inexpensive elite talent for years to come.

    • @redfanapf: Interesting hypothetical. The Reds would have Taveras for six controllable years, three of which would be at league minimum salary. Whereas Chapman only has three more controllable years after 2013, the final two of which are arbitration eligible and therefore more expensive.

      Generally, you would consider Chapman’s skill set – dominating left handed starting pitcher – to be much rarer than Taveras’ (25-home run OF, average walk-rate), but the three extra years of team control might make it worth considering.

      The fact that Taveras has yet to prove he can play in the major leagues is a gigantic risk and makes the trade idea a non-starter for me.

  22. If the Reds had let Phillips walk, they would’ve had a first round pick in this year’s relatively weak draft. I’m not arguing anything, just making a statement (and I know that nobody else has brought this up). It’s just the kind of risk-reward things that Jocketty has to deal with every day.

  23. I said this a few weeks ago the Reds should look at trading Cueto and Chapman after the season. In theory that could bringg some prospects back depending on Cueto’s health.

    • @Larry1980: That’s exactly what I think, too. Bring Cueto back, have him show a good half-season of healthy baseball, and then sell him in the offseason. Although, ideally you’d want to trade him at the trade deadline as a legit ace, when you can maximize your return. Scarcity of pitchers+having an ace available to trade? Teams in contention would bid high on him. If he is healthy, that is.

    • @Larry1980: I disagree. That’s the sort of thing that you do if you are a rebuiding team or a team like the Rays with serious budget constraints.

  24. Prospects are difficult to project. Someone pointed out votto line above at A and AA. Even at the AAA, I don’t recall predictions, even the optimistic ones, saying he would be what he bacame. Going forward there will be some surprises and dissapointments. Hopefully, the reds farm system ID’s and saves more of the former rather than the latter.

  25. Here is the Reds big trade before the deadline.

    Reds acquired RHP Parker Frazier from the Rockies for RHP Armando Galarraga.
    Frazier, a lanky 24-year-old right-hander, has posted a 4.93 ERA, 1.72 WHIP and 35/20 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings this season between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Colorado Springs. The former eighth-round draft pick probably isn’t going to have a very bright future.

    • @Hunt4RedsOctober: Maybe it was the Rockies big trade and the Reds were willing to part with Galarraga. Or, the Reds could have had some sort of agreement with him, like they do with a lot of these minor league free agents, that they’d find someplace else for him to play mid-season if he wasn’t on the major league squad.

      Yes, Galarraga had a nice low ERA at AAA, but his rate stats (bb/9 and k/9) indicate that it wouldn’t translate well to MLB level and even a poorer 2nd half in AAA.

      Frazier may or may not turn into a capable reliever, but there are guys like Galarraga out there to be had for “free”. The MLBtraderumors article I saw on this deal mentioned that there are a handful of guys who had been DFA’d recently…notably Jair Jurrjens.

      One other thing….if frazier is really 6’5″ and only 175lbs as listed in his bio (baseball-reference and milb.com), maybe the trick is to just feed the kid this offseason and see how he pitches next spring.

      • @Greg Dafler: The “big deadline trade” part was in jest, obviously. I’m not even sure why they made it. I assumed that the Rockies probably initiated the trade.

  26. Maybe somebody already said this, but I can’t read all those replies at the moment. The (excellent) post is about minor league hitting stats. Any top prospect list I’ve seen for the Reds is loaded with pitchers. Talented young pitchers can be converted into talented hitters (by trades, I mean).

      • @Greg Dafler: Yes, and that has concerned me as well, but see Pinson’s post: he’s correct; pitching does convert to hitting. Remember also that the Reds for many futile years hit well(relatively–for power, anyway) and pitched execrably. I expect that the organization does what it says it does: Takes the best talent available, regardless of position. A lot happens between the time a player is drafted and when (if) he makes the big club.

  27. @Greg Dafler: The Reds seem to be putting most of their resources in to developing pitching. I wonder if they just don’t have the same resources for developing hitting.

    • @TC: For what it’s worth: Bruce, Votto, Cozart, Frazier, Mesoraco, Alonso, Grandal, Stubbs, Heisey…not all All-Stars but that’s quite a few MLB graduates in the past few years. Agree that it seems like the pipeline is shy for hitters right now.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Understood. But as Greg said, 9 out of the top 12 draftees were pitchers this year. That’s pretty extreme. Other than Votto and until this year Bruce, I can’t think of a single professional hitter they’ve developed. The Reds have developed a lot of good pitchers recently however. They scout pitching well, draft pitching well, they develop pitching well. Hitting…. nnnnnot so much.

        As for your list…. first let me say you are the smartest man on this site… my rebuttal:

        Bruce: Joined the Reds 5 years ago, still though Decent AVG, Almost decent OBP, very good power.
        Votto: Joined the Reds 7 years ago. I would argue he is great in spite of. Does not hit the Reds way.
        Cozart: Low OBP, Low AVG, decent power.
        Frazier: Love SuperTodd so I refuse to say anything negative about him whatsoever.
        Mesoraco: Low OBP, Low AVG, good power.
        Alonso: Near finished product when he came to the Reds from The U.
        Grandal: Same as Alonso, plus he only had 200 more plate appearance in the Reds system than the Padres.
        Stubbs: Low AVG, Low OBP, good power.
        Heisey: Low AVG, Serviceable OBP, good power.

  28. There is no way I trade Stephenson for anyone include Mike Trout (ok, that might give me pause, but not for long). He will be a #1 for the Reds and you just don’t trade those. Chapman could be a #1 also, but we won’t discuss that here. I do agree with Steve that Leakes value has never been higher and this would be my choice to trade

    I think Hamilton is much more major league ready than we think. If he only hit left handed, he might be with the big club today.

    He has a 328 obp from the left side versus RH pitching. He has walked 26 times and struck out 43 from this side and is hitting 249

    Where he is struggling is hitting right handed. Do they end the switch hitting and just have him bat from the left side? not sure if it is his swing or his eyesight but he has 2 walks and 30 strikeouts hitting from the right side.

    He may be better served just hitting from the left side if he can’t pick up the ball equally well from both sides of the plate. And yes, there would be an adjustment for him to face left handed pitchers from the left side, but it does appear that he sees the strike zone better there

    • @reaganspad: I would trade any player in the Reds organization, including Joey Votto, straight up for Mike Trout. If Stephenson were currently a #1 major league pitcher, you might have a point. But he’s in A ball right now. Yes, bright future. But bright, unproven future. Trout=proven five-tool superstar and 21 years old.

  29. I understand that Steve, I was funnin ya.

    As we saw in the Latos deal though, stars are not cheap and it takes multiple trinkets to land a star.

    Shoot a few years ago there was clamoring to trade Homer, Joey and 3 others for Rios. I commented at the time that I would not trade Joey one on one for Rios. or a few years later Bautista

    I look at an individual player and how I think they fit into the future. Stephenson is a keeper.

    I do agree with you about Leake’s value now

  30. This is why I think the trade for Giancarlo Stanton is so important. There is nothing really coming down the pike soon from corner OF’s. This fills a need for years to come, not just this year and next.
    If I’m WJ, I’m moving heaven and earth to make the Stanton trade a viable reality.

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