It seems apparent that this team is going to go as far as it’s starting pitching is going to carry it. We all have a pretty good handle on what the Major league rotation is going to look like:

Wilson
Milton
Ortiz
Harang
Hudson

The losers for the last two spots, Claussen and Hancock in this prognostication, will occupy the pen rather than AAA since they are out of options and the Red’s won’t risk losing them on waivers in my estimation.

Thought I’d take a quick look at the Red’s SP depth at the top two levels of the minors.

Unfortunately for the fellows in the AAA rotation it appears that the Reds will have their spot starters on hand in the pen. So barring trades, callups for these guys will be hard to come by. Here’s my best guess at the Louisville starting rotation:

Belisle
Roberston
Kelly
Bong
Fernandez

Rose is out with his knee injury, but I would much rather see Hall or Prokopec in that 5th spot if they are healthy. Kelly and Bong are the only two prospect types here, and Bong could see some lefty bullpen time in the bigs if the situation arises.

The prospects and suspects are in mass at Chattanooga this season. This will be the team to keep an eye on this season as far as pitching prospects for the near future. My best guess at their rotation:

Gardner
Pauly
Ramirez
Kozlowski
Smith

Other interesting possibilities here are Howington, Basham, Aramboles, and Bruksch. The first three making appearances at this level will rest entirely upon them recovering from injuries.

Also, keep a eye out at Dayton, where we will be likely to see both Bailey and Gruler coming back from knee and arm problems respectfully.

Later,
Tom

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. Two questions:
    1. Is there even room for both Claussen and Hancock in the pen? There are 7 spots: Graves, Weber, Weathers, Mercker, Valentine, Acevedo, Wagner… I don’t see two of those guys being bumped – I think only Wagner has options (maybe Valentine).

    2. Is Prokopec still around? I thought he was releasedi in January.

  2. I’d go with a bullpen of:

    Graves
    Webber
    Mercker
    Weathers
    Wagner
    Claussen
    Hancock

    I think that Acevedo is going to continue to get hit, and hit hard, and I don’t think Valentine is going to ever find the plate enough to make himself useful. I’d expose either of them to waivers before I would Clussen or Hancock, should they be out of options. Prokopec was realeased, but I’m pretty sure he was signed back on later, as I think they did, or were expected to do with Mattox also. Who I forgot about until now. I’ll see if I can track down the Prokopec link, and see what I can dig up on Mattox also.

  3. Here are the Prokopec and Mattox references that I noted earlier:

    From a Cincy Enq. article by Kelly/Fay on 02/24/05:

    http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050224/SPT04/502240394/1071/SPT

    REMEMBER HIM: Toting a suitcase and hopeful that his shoulder problems are behind him, Luke Prokopec arrived at the City of Sarasota Sports Complex on Wednesday.

    The Reds selected the Australian pitcher, who has an 11-17 career major-league record, in the Rule 5 draft more than two years ago, but he has yet to pitch for the organization.

    Prokopec has undergone two surgeries to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, and is limited to throwing off flat ground.

    “The Reds have been extremely good to me,” he said. “I’d like to be able to repay them for that.”

    From a Cincy Post article on 01/18/05:

    http://www.cincypost.com/2005/01/18/redsbrite01-18-2005.html

    The Reds non-tendered Mattox last month, making him a free agent, but general manager Dan O’Brien said the team is “optimistic” it can sign the pitcher to a minor-league deal in the coming weeks. Mattox is healthy again and has been working out at the Reds’ spring training home.

    Later,
    Tom

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