Prospectus prospect guru Kevin Goldstein has released his annual Top 11 list for the Reds ($). 

Kevin has given each player a star rating – and the Reds have three guys in the elite Five-Star class (Bruce, Bailey, Votto, duh).  Johnny Cueto is a Four-Star guy, while 2007 draftees Todd Frazier, Kyle Lotzkar, and Devin Mesoraco get Three Stars, along with Drew Stubbs, Matt Maloney, and Juan Francisco.  Shortstop Neftali Soto closes out the list at a Two-Star ranking.

Big Picture:  “The Reds system may be top-heavy, but man, what a top it is, and what comes after gives the club a decent shot at remaining a solid organization after this big front three lose their eligibility next year.”

A trend that appears is that the Krivsky-era Reds have drafted infielders who can mash the ball, but who might lack the defensive skills or athleticism needed to stay at their positions long-term.  Frazier, Francisco, and Soto all fit this bill – as does Jerry Gil at the big league level.  

Goldstein also ranks all under-25 players in the system.  The Reds being fairly old at the big league level, only Edinson Volquez (beteen Votto and Cueto) and Bill Bray (between Stubbs and Maloney) join the list.   

A few comments of note:


Fun Fact: In the first three innings of Triple-A games, Bruce went 5-for-55 (.091) without a home run. Afterwards, he hit .394 with 11 home runs in 132 at-bats.
Perfect World Projection: A perennial All-Star and MVP candidate. A true superstar in the mold of a healthy Larry Walker.


Timetable: The Reds see Bailey’s 2007 struggles as more of a bump in the road than any sort of long-term concern. His minor league career is likely over, and he’ll begin 2008 in the big-league rotation.


Perfect World Projection: A good to very good first baseman who has a long career and a handful of All-Star appearances.


The Bad: The biggest issue for Cueto is that he’s downright small for a starter, and while he held up fine for 160-plus innings last year, many wonder if he could handle a 200-inning workload.

Timetable: …The Reds won’t rule out beginning his career as a reliever to get his arm on the big-league squad.


Timetable: Not the kind of prospect who moves quickly, Stubbs will take one step forward in 2008 to the High-A Florida State League.


Perfect World Projection: A solid back-end starter, nothing more.


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11 Responses

  1. doug

    I still maintain that the only reason the Reds system is ever called ‘top heavy’ isn’t due to a lack of talent after the top, but just that the top is the cream of the crop and only Tampa Bay can compete with it in terms of 1-4.

  2. DevilsAdvocate

    No doubt, doug. I think that ‘top-heavy’ comment is a reflex reaction to the sight of guys this good at the top.

    Even without the big 3 of Bruce, Bailey, and Votto, the excellent depth the Reds currently have would certainly keep it above average in comparison to all the other farm systems. We’ll no doubt see that manifested next year once those three have solidly graduated to Cincinnati.

  3. preach

    Yeah, I didn’t get the ‘top-heavy’ comment either. It makes it sound like it’s a bad thing to have some top prospects ready for big league action. “Bottom-heavy” would just be pure speculation with nobody close to joining the show anytime soon. ‘Top heavy’ can fill your dugout, or bring you some all-stars in trade right now.

  4. Chris

    I think the comment is fair – it’s top-heavy due to three exceptional talents (on top), but (IMO) Goldstein makes it pretty clear that the rest of the system could hold its own after the big three “graduate.”

  5. Brandon

    I’m really excited to see how the Bruce, Bailey, and Votto perform this season with (hopefully) much more playing time.

  6. Trev

    What kind of a guru is this? Cueto pitched 200 (alright 198) this year counting his Mexican League outings! A solid back end of the rotation starter is an oxymoron. If you’re solid you don’t belong at the back end and if you’re at the back end anyway its because you’re on a team of ones, twos and threes.

  7. Andy

    I see what you are saying with the oxymoron comment, but I think what he means if Maloney is your #5 guy, you have a solid rotation. Not so much if he is your #3 guy.

  8. Dan

    For the 2nd straight year, he compares Drew Stubbs to Mike Cameron. I find that hard to believe w/ his mediocre numbers in *LOW* A-ball, at age 23.

    Anyway, I hope he’s right. I love Cameron and would love to see Stubbs turn into anything like that! We really need a GREAT defender in CF. I think that would be HUGE in helping keep runs off the board!

    Anyone here seen Stubbs hit much?

  9. doug

    The Stubbs to Cameron comparison is a good one. Stubbs numbers are not a lot worth really looking at due to the fact that he played all season with turf toe. He even hit really well the second half of the year (.303/.394/.517 in 250 plate appearances). I think next year he will break out and put up real solid numbers.

    Count me on board as Cueto being underrated by KG.

  10. Chris

    I think this is the first year for the “star” system, but it’s probably asking too much to have 4 guys w/ the top ranking, in any system.

  11. Willy

    this may be off topic
    but the reds signed jeremy affelhdt or however you spell it
    lefty from colorado 3.51 ERA in 49 apearances

    pending a physical