Baseball America has released their Top Twenty Prospects from the GCL. The Reds placed two players on the list. OF Jay Bruce was second on the list, and LHP Travis Wood was fifth. Neither was in the GCL all season, as both were promoted to Billings during the season. Here is what Allan Simpson (Hey, don’t the Reds have one of them?) of BBA had to say about the Red’s top two draft choices in the ’05 draft:
2. JAY BRUCE, of, Reds
Age: 18 Ht: 6-2 Wt: 200 B-T: L-L Drafted/Signed: Reds ’05 (1)
Bruce went 12th overall in the June draft, one spot after McCutchen, and GCL managers had trouble deciding which player had a greater upside because both made a strong impression with their offensive potential.
“Bruce swings the bat more like Kirk Gibson,” Red Sox manager Ralph Treuel said. “McCutchen’s swing reminds you a little more of Gary Sheffield. Both run well, but Bruce has the size and throws a little better.”
Primarily a pull hitter at the start of the season, Bruce soon learned to drive balls to all fields. He also has a good two-strike approach, though he tended to get overanxious in hitter’s counts.
A hard-nosed player, Bruce takes pride in his defense and is determined to remain a center fielder, though his power potential profiles better on a corner. He gets excellent reads off the bat and takes good routes to balls, but he seems to showcase his above-average arm strength only when he needs to. Though he runs well, he remains raw on the bases.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
122 29 33 9 2 5 25 11 31 4 6 .270 .331 .500
5. TRAVIS WOOD, lhp, Reds
Age: 18 Ht: 6-1 Wt: 170 B-T: R-L Drafted/Signed: Reds ’05 (2)
Wood didn’t win a game in the GCL because he worked short stints and moved to the Rookie-level Pioneer League after eight starts. He allowed two earned runs in the GCL, both scoring after he was lifted for reaching his pitch count, and struck out nearly two batters an inning.
A bulldog on the mound, Wood attacked hitters with two quality pitches: a 93-94 mph fastball and an outstanding changeup. He showed such good arm speed, deception and action on his changeup that hitters routinely would start their swing, stop and then try unsuccessfully to restart it.
Wood has a skinny frame but could throw in the high 90s when he fills out because his arm action is so quick. He’s poised and has confidence in his stuff.
“If he stays healthy, it’s all there to pitch in the big leagues,” Treuel said. “He just needs work on his breaking ball.”
Wood went to the Pioneer League to work on his curve with Billings pitching coach Butch Henry, who had one of the best in the game during his seven-year big league career.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
8 7 0 0 0 0.75 24.0 13 3 2 0 7 45 .157
Both also fared well after their promotions to Billings:
Bruce From To G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG AVG
GCL Reds 06/24 08/22 37 122 29 33 9 2 5 25 61 11 31 4 6 .331 .500 .270
Billings Mustangs 08/22 09/08 17 70 16 18 2 0 4 13 32 11 22 2 2 .358 .457 .257
Wood From To W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
GCL Reds 06/24 08/04 0 0 0.75 8 7 0 0 0 24.0 13 3 2 0 7 45
Billings Mustangs 08/04 09/08 2 0 1.82 6 4 0 0 0 24.2 15 6 5 0 13 22
Hopefully both will be at class A Dayton next season.