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.