Usually I write an article each Tuesday covering something that is going on down on the Cincinnati Reds farm system. This week though, I wanted to change things up a little bit. I tend to get questions each week from readers that aren’t exactly related to the given article, which is perfectly fine by me, so I thought I would bring things to you guys. Today, I am just going to open things up to everyone. If you have a question about the minor leagues, a player in the Cincinnati Reds system or even a team in the system, today is the day to ask away.

I do have a few rules though to keep things a bit under control. First, try to avoid questions that are going to take more than one paragraph to answer (I am long winded, so I do tend to write long paragraphs as it is). Second, if you get your question in before 9:00pm EST according to the time log on the comments section, I will answer it. If it isn’t in by then, I may not get to it. Third, let’s limit things to three questions per user.

I will be checking in throughout the day to answer questions, but I won’t be sitting at the computer taking them like a chat room. So I may stop in for an hour and answer some questions, then come back a little later and answer some more. Anything asked by 9:00pm will be answered before the All-Star game is over tonight.

Alright, now it’s your turn. Get to typing those questions and I will start answering them in the morning when I open up the laptop.

Join the conversation! 89 Comments

  1. There was a bunch of hype surrounding Billy Hamilton coming up late season and continued into this season because of the game changing potential he has.

    Who is the next guy in the Reds organization that we will see with game changing potential and when might that person make an appearance in the bigs?

    • I think the next guy that can be game changing/star caliber is two fold. Offensively, Jesse Winker seems like the next guy coming. He is just 20-years-old at this point, Still, I would look for him in the second half of 2015 at the latest (sans an injury causing him to miss some time). On the pitching side, despite some struggles with his control, Robert Stephenson would be the guy I would look for on the mound. I would put him in the 2015-2016 time frame as well. His path is slightly more blocked as a starting pitcher and for 2015 its going to rely more on opportunity than when he is ready.

  2. Looking over the LVille roster there appears to be three AAAA type players who might be able to provide some short term help. They are: Bryan Anderson, C, Age 27, OPS .901;
    Felix Perez, OF, Age 29, OPS .840; and Ruben Gotay, 2B,3B, Age 31, OPS .801. I realize that at their ages they aren’t “prospects” any more. But at least the numbers suggest they might be able to provide some offense over the next few weeks. My question is: What’s the problem with these guys? Defense? Something else?

    • The first problem, and it’s a big one, is that they aren’t on the 40-man roster. That always comes into play and the Reds 40-man roster is pretty full at this point in terms of guys that can’t just be reasonably cut. You could argue for a guy or three being removed to make room for someone, but it isn’t an easy argument either.

      With the individual players, they all have their own set of issues I guess. Bryan Anderson is having his first Triple-A success in his career. The team also has three catchers on the 40-man roster. You don’t often see four catchers on a 40-man roster unless two of them are elite prospect types of guys. Both Gotay and Perez are a bit older of course and neither is tearing it up exactly. They have been good for Triple-A, but they aren’t beating the door down, so adding them is risky. Perez has been more interesting to me than Gotay though. He can play all three outfield spots and his bat is solid enough, not much power, but he makes plenty of contact, can run a little bit. Gotay, while having experience this season at second, looks more like a third baseman to me.

      • Interesting. Thanks, Doug. I’ll be following

        LVille is coming to town (Syracuse, NY) for a four game series in early August. I think I’ll stop by and check them out.

  3. Does Juan Duran have any chance of playing in the the majors. He is taking up a 40 man roster spot.

    • Yeah, there is a chance. He has a lot of work to do in the field still though. He’s not a good fielder. At the plate, there is plenty to work on. He needs to up his walk rate a little bit and cut his strikeout rate a little bit. He is a big, big guy with a huge strikezone as a result. He’s not the type who is going to make a quick, drastic improvement, but if he can make small improvements over the next 2-3 years, he’s got a chance. With all of that said, I think its a lot more risky to say he becomes a big leaguer that gets 250 PA a season than it is saying he won’t make it for any period of time beyond a cup of coffee. But he’s got $2M from his bonus that makes it very unlikely he gets removed from the 40-man roster just yet.

  4. Same question with Ryan LaMarre, he looks like a total bust.

    • LaMarre is an interesting guy. He can do it all but hit for average at this point. He’s had some problems staying healthy the last three seasons though. LaMarre is basically Chris Heisey with a little less pure pop (you won’t see a 2011 type of power output season from LaMarre like we saw with Heisey), but is a better base runner and defender with a little better plate discipline. Basically, he’s an ideal extra outfielder. If he can figure out something at the plate a little bit, he would have a chance to be a starting caliber center fielder, but with Hamilton it won’t be here.

  5. What is your opinion of the overall state of the Reds’ farm system – position players and pitching. It appears we have some possible future major league starting talent currently at AA and below. Not so sure about position players.

    Also, what’s your view of trading prospects to fill needs of a team? Our recent success over the past few years is due to good scouting/drafting/development. You can’t trade a prospect every time there’s an injury.

    Thanks for taking questions,


    • The farm system is currently in the top half of the league, perhaps in the 8-12 range depending on how much you like Iglesias. Starting pitching is the best strength of the farm, though none of it has yet reached Triple-A.

      Position wise, there is a lot of talent there as well, but most of it is still a few years away. Outfield and third base probably show the most depth on the farm.

      As for trading, it always depends on who you move and who you move them for. I hate trading for rental players. HATE IT. You are usually trading six years of control for 2 months. Now, you know you are getting two months of a big leaguer and they may never get anything from the minor leaguer at all. So that of course plays into it. If you are going to move a guy in the 8-20 range for that, you might be onto something, but even then you still need to be careful who you risk in that scenario as they aren’t all the same. Some of those guys have star potential but just haven’t put it together, while others don’t have that potential, but are just quality players right now. I would never trade a top 5 prospect for a rental. Ever. It’s just too risky. After that though, it just depends on the deal and how long the player coming back has on their deal (and of course, the money involved).

      • Thanks for the reply. I strongly agree with you about rental players. I want sustained success for the Reds each and every year. I don’t like the “all in” mantra.

  6. With Mez and Frazier playing in their first all star games tonight what three Reds prospects would you think are the most likely to make an all star game one day? (who you would think has the best odds to be an all star) and one player that may be considered a long shot at this point but you could see as a possibility to make an all star game one day?

    • Stephenson, Winker and Lorenzen. All three are in Double-A and two have elite arms, with Winker being one of the better pure hitters in the entire minor leagues. Their proximity, and thus the lower chance they don’t do anything at the big league level is important to the question. As for a long shot, let’s go with Carlos Contreras as a reliever. He has to figure out some control issues, but his stuff is elite out of the bullpen when he’s on top of his game.

  7. Doug, Phil Ervin had one of the hottest starts that I’ve seen a prospect make in a while. He gets injured and now he seems to have lost his timing and his power. What is the story on him?

    Can we expect him to find it again?

    • That’s kind of the story. He had a wrist injury that cost him the last few weeks of 2013 and then he had surgery that kept him unable to do much of any baseball activities until spring training began. I think that set him back some. He has shown flashes of being the guy he was last year, but he still hasn’t really put things together on a consistent basis like he did in 2013. The more surprising thing has been the plate discipline stepping backwards.

      With that said, I’ve seen all of the parts there this season at different times, so I think he will put it together in the future.

      • Thanks Doug. Ervin is such an exciting player. I hope he gets back on track soon.

  8. Doug, another intriguing prospect is Amir Garrett. Now that he is focusing solely on baseball, he is much improved this year in terms of consistency.

    What kind of ceiling do you think he has? What are the things he needs to work on to jump to Pensacola?

    • As far as I know, he is planning on playing basketball this year, he just got a chance to spend time in spring training this year because he was ineligible to play basketball last year because of his transferring.

      With all of that said, I’m a fan of Garrett. I think he could be a #2/3 caliber starter or a shutdown reliever. He needs to work on a bit of everything still. In terms of baseball experience, he is still incredibly raw. He’s come a long, long way over the past 12 months since I first got a chance to see him in person. But even he will tell you, he’s still learning new stuff every time he goes to the mound. He’s probably at least a full year away from reaching Pensacola, but he’s also the type of guy that you could foresee something just “clicking” for him and him vaulting through the system.

  9. Sean Buckley is about to turn 25. In 20ish games (SSS alert) he is demolishing Bakersfield opponents to the tune of a 1.000+ OPS. How soon can we expect him in AA?

    Does he have the goods to be a utility player at the MLB level or will his age keep him in Louisville?

    • I think Buckley should finish out the year in Bakersfield. He’s had some tough luck when it comes to injuries costing him a lot of developmental time. Right now, he is crushing things in Bakersfield, but he also is having some plate discipline issues early on. It is early, but that has long been the thing going against him so it probably isn’t a sample size issue. He needs to up his walk rate or really cut down on the strikeout rate from where it is right now before I would see him having success over the long haul at the Double-A level.

      He’s got enough to one day be a utility candidate who could play corner infield and corner outfield and provide some pop off of your bench if things go right for him. But he’s a ways from that right now. He needs playing time at this point.

  10. Does Corcino have control yet? What do you think his MLB future is?

    • This is your fourth question, but I’m feeling friendly (and my nephew is sleeping right now, so I have an extra minute).

      No, he doesn’t. He had a good start last time out, but until he does it for two months in a row, it’s a blip on the radar for me. I’m actually a bit surprised he hasn’t been put in the bullpen at this point. I understand wanting him to be a starter, when he’s on top of things, the stuff is quite good, but he’s burning up options and realistically, he’s got to be far down the starting pitching depth chart when accounting for the big leaguers and the minor leaguers. If he figures things out enough to make it to the big leagues, I think he will wind up in the bullpen.

      • Thanks Doug! It was such a special occasion to pick your brain that I got carried away!

  11. How about Tony C? If he is still on the DL if so it would appear that the “shoulder stiffness” may be a more serious issue. Any thoughts?

    • He is still on the DL. I never, ever like hearing about pitching injuries to the arm, but shoulder ones really terrify you because they aren’t like TJ where 85% of the guys come back and can return to normal. With that said, there have been a few guys in the past who have had shoulder issues that didn’t require surgery after taking time off and turned out just fine. Both Homer Bailey and Travis Wood missed good chunks of time with their shoulder issues and recovered well. Hopefully that is what Cingrani can do as well. At this point, it’s only been a few weeks (this time), so I’m not too concerned. But the longer he stays on the DL, the more I get worried.

      • Thanks Doug. In one way I agree “the longer he stays on the DL, the more I get worried”. In another way all I can say is Darn it!

        • Maybe it’s because he is a lefty with a unique delivery but it makes me nervous that he is another Bill Bray . . .

  12. Doug .. When can we expect to see Junior a Arias back on the field? I know he broke his foot or something
    Close to that. He was really off to a hot start but has only played 8 games early. Could we see him again before the end of the season in early September.

    • I actually talked with someone last night about Arias. Basically it was just repeated that his recovery time was 3-4 months, and we are just now getting to 3 months. So realistically, we may not see him this season since the year ends at the end of August.

  13. Will Lorenzen overtake Stephenson as the Reds #1 pitching prospect after this season??

    • I’m no Doung but look at the strikeout differences, and there is no way he jumps over Stephenson. Prospect lists are based mostly on ceiling.

      • Sorry, Doug.

      • They are both great pitchers. The Reds
        K differential is all you are going on? Please.
        Lorenzen 4-4, 2.45 ERA, 88 IP, 3 HR, 28 BB, 63 K, .239 Avg., 3.33 FIP.
        Stephenson 4-6, 3.97 ERA, 93 IP, 10 HR, 48 BB, 93 K, .210 Avg., 4.21 FIP.
        Lorenzen’s GB% is superior and HR rate is superior. Strengths that play well in Great American Small Park. I am not saying Lorenzen is better than Stephenson. It is just that Lorenzen has taken a monster leap forward this year. Which is great news. The Reds are lucky to have these two great arms.

        • Stephenson is better than his numbers are, but he’s been brutalized by the home ballpark. People think that GABP is a homer friendly park. By comparison, it’s pitcher friendly when we are talking about how left field plays down in Pensacola. Stephenson has allowed 9 home runs at home and one on the road.

          With that said, Lorenzen is an elite level groundball pitcher. If he can find more strikeouts, and I think he will in time, watch out.

        • The thing to watch with Lorenzen is also his durability.

    • No, he won’t. Stephenson has an edge in stuff and is a lot more prepared to be a starter. We’ve seen him log 120 innings in a season already. Lorenzen hasn’t yet made it through a full season as a starter. With that said, if Lorenzen isn’t already #2 in the system as far as pitchers go (I have him at #3 right now, most other places have him at #2), he could be.

  14. 1. How long before Jesse Winker takes over in left field?
    2. Do we have any middle infield prospects that look like they could replace Brandon Phillips in the long term?
    3. Which Reds pitching prospect that was derailed by injuries had the highest ceiling, or, to put it another way, which ouchy Reds pitching prospect are you most disappointed never reached the big leagues? Ty Howington, Chris Gruler, Kyle Lotzkar, other?

    • Can you add this to the Winker question – how would you compare him to Joey Votto and Jay Bruce (other lefty OF) in terms of development at his current age and also ceiling. Thanks.

      • No, but I can answer it completely separately.

        I’ve made the comparison between Joey Votto and Jesse Winker before. We often hear Bruce and Winker comps, but I think those are more based on the way the swing looks compared to that of Bruce in the minors rather than more of a “what kind of player will he be” kind of comp. Winker is a guy who has power to all fields, who uses all of the field, has a strong understanding of the strikezone and is a corner player. Sounds a lot like Joey Votto doesn’t it? Now, I don’t think Winker is going to be arguably the best hitter in the game like Votto turned out to be for a short period of time, but Winker is a .300/.400/.500 threat as a corner outfielder and that’s an elite level bat. He’s more advanced than Votto was at the same age. With Bruce, Bruce had an edge in power at the same age and was easily the better athlete. Bruce was an above-average runner back then and could easily handle center. He also transitioned better to Double-A at the same age and finished out in Triple-A from about now until the end of the year. Bruce was better at hitting fastballs, but he wasn’t nearly as good against the offspeed stuff and his overall plate approach wasn’t comparable. Winker makes far more contact and walks twice as often.

    • 1. I think a safe bet would by July 2015, though I do think there’s a chance it could happen before then.

      2. Yes, there are several guys in the lower levels who could be ready around the time that Phillips is ready to make an exit when his contract is up. Alex Blandino, Cory Thompson, Carlton Daal and Hector Vargas could all be options by that point in time. On a closer note, I still think it’s strange that Rey Navarro hasn’t been called up to play second base in the time being until Phillips comes back fromhis current injury.

      3. I am never disappointed that an injured guy didn’t reach the Majors. It feels weird to me to feel some sort of disappointment over that because it wasn’t their fault they wound up injured. Gruler, I honestly have no clue on his ceiling. He didn’t pitch enough before getting injured to actually see the ceiling. Ty Howington might be the guy with the highest ceiling of that group in my opinion though. He reached Double-A at age 20 and was showing swing and miss stuff.

  15. Does Donald Lutz have any future with the Reds? He is up with the big club for the 3rd time in 2 years, however, more than likely he will again see very limited playing time. For the last two years they have kept taking away from his playing time with emergency call-ups and then giving him limited playing time with the big club. He spent almost 2 months with the Reds last year and is approaching 4 weeks total this year. Between the emergency call-ups and some injuries he has not been able to get any real stretch of playing time and at-bats for the last two seasons. This has been detrimental to his development.

    • I fully expect Lutz to go back down rather soon. I think he has a chance to be a utility guy in the future with an outside chance as a starter in left. The power is a real threat (25-30 HR if he hits his ceiling) and he isn’t bad in the field at all. He has a ways to go still, and needs to hone in his swing zone/pitch recognition skills. Right now, he’s overmatched in Triple-A. He was tearing the cover off of the ball in Double-A and had a solid start in Triple-A, then got called up and sat the bench and hasn’t hit since. I too think it’s been detrimental to his development, but I’m not ready to turn the page yet either. Time is running out for him though. I said earlier this season on the radio with the Dayton Dragons that this was a make-or-break year for him, mostly due to the fact that there are just so many other outfielders in the system that are catching him that he needs to do something to keep himself in the conversation. He has 7 weeks left this season in the minors, I really think he needs to make them count or Jesse Winker is going to pass him up in left field for the short term as well as the long term.

      • Thanks, Doug, that is what I was thinking. The Reds have really hurt his development by calling him up and then not giving him an opportunity to play. It’s particularly galling that, due to injuries, the opportunity was there to play him but they chose to play weak hitters out of defensive position rather than play him. He’s never played above AA before this year, they robbed him of his AA season last year, and are now robbing him of a AAA season this year. It’s hard to make the 7 weeks left in the minors count when you are sitting on the end of a major league bench. He was starting to hit a little bit in AAA (.297/.317/.541 2 HR, 12 RBI in his last 10 games), but now he will sit until the rust creeps in again.

  16. What has happened to Ben Lively’s control? Since he was promoted to AA, his walk rate has skyrocketed. At Bakersfield, he has 16BB in 79 innings. At AA, he’s 18BB in 24 innings. I realize that AA batters are better, but it seems like something else is going on.

    • Let’s rewind back to the 2013 season. I saw Ben Lively pitch twice as a Red farmhand in that season. The first time, I honestly didn’t see much of anything. His control wasn’t good, the velocity wasn’t good, the offspeed stuff was marginal. Then I saw him pitch in his final appearance of the year in Dayton and his control was pinpoint, the slider was very strong and the curve and change up were both solid. Velocity was solid enough.

      I think that what we are seeing in Double-A is a combo of two things. First, he is from Pensacola and they (the locals and the media) are making a huge deal out of every game he is in. I have to imagine he is feeling the pressure and trying to be perfect on every single thing. He’s been throwing a little bit harder down there too, which probably is due to him trying to impress so much in front of the true hometown crowd for him. I think that it’s also a matter that there is a step up to Double-A and Lively, while not having bad stuff, doesn’t have big stuff either. You see a lot more “professional” hitters there, and I think that is playing into it as they are able to lay off of his stuff just a little bit more. This is also his first full season pitching every five days, in college they go once a week. It’s a different animal. It’s probably a combo of all of that.

  17. C Bryan Anderson has had a very good year hitting at both AA and AAA. How is he defensively? Could he be added to the 40 man roster? What kind of future does he have?

    • Between 3B Juan Silverio and Rey Navarro, which is more highly rated? Could either of them get called up to allow Frazier to play 1B?

      • I would rank Navarro higher. He has a better clue at the plate and he can play more important positions. He doesn’t have the pure upside of Silverio, and because of that I think some inside the organization may say Silverio is more highly rated.

        I don’t think either comes up though. They made the move to bring up Negron, who had to be added to the 40-man roster. If either of those guys were coming up, it would have been them instead of Negron. It wasn’t, so I would be shocked if either shows up this year unless there is a major injury that puts someone on the 60-day DL to open up a 40-man roster spot.

    • He’s not terrible defensively, but he’s not good either. His arm is fringy and his defense behind the plate isn’t good. I’ve seen worse in the big leagues, so it’s passable. The bat has been good though. He doesn’t have a whole bunch of home run power, but he’s not a slap hitter either. Good plate discipline, a little bit of pop. There’s a chance for him to be a solid back-up caliber guy because the bat has a chance to play and whenever you get a catcher that can hit a little bit, they seem to be able to find jobs as long as they can play passable defense. With that said, it may not be with the Reds who have three catchers on the 40-man roster already.

      • Anderson sort of looks like a Javy Valentine kind of catcher to me. His bat just might play and his defense is just barely good enough (not brutal). I think he’ll end up as a backup catcher somewhere, sometime here soon. Like you, I don’t think it will be with the Reds though.

  18. What are your thoughts on Seth Mejias-Breen? I saw him play in Bakersfield and he looked like he could bring some plus-power to the Reds. Do you think that they would consider moving him to 1B, at least part time, to give him more options?

    • Also, what is your scouting report on Kyle Waldrop and what do you think his ceiling is?

      • I like, but don’t love Waldrop as a prospect. He is a left fielder only in my mind, which dings his overall prospect value. I can’t speak to your opinion on it, but generally speaking it seems prospect fans tend to think he is faster than he is because he was a college football safety prospect. I’ve never really had him as anything more than an average at best runner.

        With that said, I believe in the power. It’s real. The biggest issue with him, at least in my opinion, is that his plate discipline is a concern. This year has been a step in the right direction on that front, but he teased that step forward once before and saw it fall apart the next year. As a left fielder, he has to not only hit for power, but be able to get on base too. I’m still not sold on that part just yet, though I will be in Pensacola for a five game series in a few weeks, so I will get a better feel about it then as well.

    • Mejias-Brean actually played some first base last year, though out of necessity as Dayton lost three first baseman in a matter of two weeks to long term injuries, so he has experience there.

      With that said, he is a strong defender at third base, so I don’t think a long term move over there is in the cards (and that Votto guy). I think his power potential is probably more in the average range, 20ish homers with some good gap power to come along with that. He may be the top third base prospect in the system, though there is some real competition there right now with Sparks and Rahier as well.

  19. Seattle Mariners 2B/SS/LF Nick Franklin – with him spending yet another year in AAA, any chance the Reds could target him?

    • There is a chance they could target him, but I don’t know that they would be able to grab him. He’s struggled mightily in his chances in the bigs, but if someone believes getting out of Safeco will be the difference (and honestly, it wouldn’t shock me if that were true, same for Petco for a lot of their guys) and buy into the Triple-A performance, then someone else should be willing to pay more for him than the Reds should, who have their infield locked up.

  20. Doug, we may have discussed this before, Steve Selsky. Granted he does not hit for power but he hits. I believe the last time we exchanged notes he had just arrived at AAA he had very few ab’s and I said he would pick it up as he became more comfortable. He is now very close to .300 in less than 3 weeks. IMO Walt has something in mind for this kid and has everybody convinced no big deal with this kid just keep moving on. From the numbers he looks like the #2 batter we haven’t been able to find. Billy leading off with a solid contact hitter in the 2 spot, Hmmm

    • George, I still don’t see a role for Selsky. He doesn’t have the power to start at the positions that he can play. Fairly or unfairly, guys are expected to be able to hit for certain things to start at certain positions. Selsky is a corner outfielder or a first baseman. Those positions have to have power hitters. His isolated power is .069 this season. That is Willie Bloomquist and Ben Revere territory when it comes to power. If you have that kind of power you had better be an elite defender up the middle and have speed on the bases. Selsky doesn’t do either of those things.

      So being a starter just doesn’t work in my mind. No team is going to start a corner player who has literally, no power. So then we look at where does he fit on the bench. A typical big league bench has certain roles. Backup catcher, he’s not that. Extra outfielder who can play all three spots, he’s not that. Power bat off of the bench, he’s not that. Utility infielder, he’s not that. I just don’t know where he fits in.

      Now, as for his time in AAA and being close to .300, yeah, he is. But he also has 18 strikeouts in 62 plate appearances, with no power, so it’s a big mirage at this point. He’s never had a strikeout rate that high before, so I do expect it to come down, but right now, for the three weeks he’s been there, he’s been getting by on an incredibly unsustainable .455 BABIP.

      I’d like to hear where you think he would play on the big league team if I haven’t convinced you otherwise. Maybe I am missing something, but I just can’t see how his skillsets find him a spot on a roster currently.

      • I will trust your thoughts on this, the question in my mind is that if he has weak skillsets and people (MLB) think as you have explained then why have the Reds pushed him up through the system? If his hitting skills continue to grow what position would you see him at other than 1b which is where he was put when he arrived at AAA. There has to be a reason for what the Reds are doing. Somebody has to on base for those prototypical MLB players who hit for power
        Thanks for the input.

  21. This Q&A has been one of the best ideas on RLN in a while. I love Doug’s normal reports, but I always have questions. Seeing other people’s questions has been great too. Thanks Doug for spending the time to answer!!!

    • I do these twice a month at my site, always on Wednesdays. Usually the second and last Wednesday of each month, though depending on what’s going on it may get pushed every now and again. It’s good for readers and for me as the initial work doesn’t have to be done to get a thread going, and I can just do quick hits a few times a day and answer a whole bunch of questions for everyone.

  22. Here’s another vote for the Q&A format. This has been a great read today. I’ve enjoyed your previous posts. But this one is special. Thanks again.

  23. With Tony Cingrani’s shoulder a concern, do the Reds give him the Homer Bailey off-season workout plan and bulk him up some to strengthen his shoulder? His frame could use a little extra mass. I’ve been extremely impressed with how Bailey has transformed himself and become stronger. And alas, no shoulder problems.

    • I’m not a doctor, so I don’t know if that would help him at all like it helped Bailey. I won’t count this as a question either, because I can’t answer it in any sort of good faith.

  24. You discussed Phillip Ervin above. After Ervin, is there any position player in Dayton that gets you excited.

    • Some of those guys do things that get me excited, but overall, no one there has the whole package of excitement just yet. Other than Ervin, no other guy there is a Top 10 caliber guy from the position side. But there are some pretty toolsy players on that team that all do a thing or three that are quite good. Catcher Jose Ortiz, Shortstop Carlton Daal, Third baseman Tanner Rahier, outfielder Gabriel Rosa, outfielder Jonathan Reynoso…. all guys have Top 10 caliber tools to talk about. Rahier is the most complete player of those guys right now, and the rest are a little bit more raw, but they are all also very young. It’s an exciting team from a prospect watching standpoint, though some guys are certainly more advanced in their baseball skills than others.

  25. Finally all caught up! I’m taking a break but will check back in a little later to see if anyone else had some questions to get to! Thanks for everything that you guys did ask, it’s been fun.

  26. I don’t know if you have the authority to answer this one. I had mentioned earlier that I live in the adjacent city to the rookies ball team in the Mustang’s league. They always do behind enemy baselines for the big league club on this site. Could we do a minor league edition. I would love to send in some pictures and give a small recap when the Mustangs take on the Orem Owlz. It would make my youthful heart swell with excitement! Tnanks.

    • I appreciate your enthusiasm. I’d be glad to publish reports from minor league games that Reds affiliates play in. Contact me at if you’re planning on sending something.

  27. Thanks Doug, best insights on reds prospects I have read by far.

  28. Doug, (1) how often do you make it out to see the various levels of the Reds minor-league teams play live? I would imagine it being difficult to find the time/money/travel/resources (depending upon where you live as well).
    (2) How much do you base your reports/knowledge of the Reds prospects solely on stats versus seeing them live or getting reports from people you know who consistently see them live?
    (3) What minor league parks do you enjoy visiting the most (Reds affiliated or not) and/or suggest others should check out?

    • 1. I see 30+ games live and in person a year between Dayton, Louisville and Pensacola. Unfortunately I don’t get on airplanes, so traveling out west to see Bakersfield, Billings or Arizona simply isn’t feasible. With that said, I watch or listen to over 200 games a year between the teams. More than half of the Dayton games and Pensacola games are available to watch on the minor league tv package. All of the Louisville games are available. 10 of the Bakersfield games are on and seven Billings games this year are on. I will watch every Bakersfield and Billings game since they are so rarely on. I usually mix and match the other three teams based on who is the starting pitcher. I also listen to a lot of the Billings and Bakersfield games via the internet while watching another game, so that way I can still grab information that way. I live in Cincinnati (about 17 miles from GABP in my car). So I can do Dayton games in 45 minutes-1 hour depending on traffic. I’m a full season media member there. Louisville is an hour and a half to two hour drive, so I don’t make it down there as often as I would like. Then once a year I travel to Pensacola for a full five game series so I can see each starter once.

      2. I don’t judge anyone based strictly on stats. There is far too much information that is important about players in the minor leagues that you can’t find from the stats. I prefer to use my own eyes to provide scouting reports and information, but whenever I can I reach out to professional scouts at games to ask them about certain guys. When it comes to guys in Arizona, information is tougher to come by. I never get to see them play, so I tend to rely very heavily on the scouting reports from scouting contacts for those guys. I am a very big stats guy, and I do believe they have some value in minor leagues, but I still think its more of an 80-20 split when it comes to using scouting versus stats to determine the value of a player. As a guy gets older, those numbers do get a little bit closer, but not as much.

      3. Pensacola has the best view on the planet when it comes to stadiums. It looks out to Pensacola Bay and it’s just gorgeous. I’ve only been to about 8 minor league stadiums, so I guess that statement is pretty wild to make, but it really is just beautiful. Dayton and Louisville both have very nice stadiums as well, top notch all of the way. While I’ve never been there, the stadium in Bakersfield is the exact opposite from everything that I’ve heard. I’ve heard good things about the new stadium out in Billings as well, though I’ve never been. The strangest one I’ve been to was when the Reds were with the Carolina Mudcats. Nothing about the stadium is exactly bad, it’s just strange in the sense that their protection nets go way, way down the line. I’ve never seen it that way anywhere else. The stadium is also in the middle of nowhere. There is a very, very, very small town that it’s technically in called Zebulon, but the town is maybe twice the size of the stadium. It’s really strange.

      • Thank you very much Doug for providing such detailed responses to my and all the other questions!

  29. I’ll give you three questions all at once (random ones):

    Over the past few years, have there been any prospects that you can say you’ve been completely wrong about? I know that prospect rankings and scouting is tricky, so I’m curious about who you thought was going to be big who didn’t pan out, or who you didn’t think would be any good who proved you wrong.

    If there were any one prospect that you could get for the Reds (reasonably or not), who would it be and why?

    What are your thoughts on the Reds International scouting? I know that they’ve signed Iglesias recently, but it appears to me that they haven’t really used the bonus money they’ve been assigned the last few years.

    Thanks for doing this. I’d put my vote at making this a more permanent thing.

    • 1. Before I actually got out and started doing this for a living, I mainly just had a side interested in minor leaguers due to collecting baseball cards. When I was in high school I remember telling someone that Hanley Ramirez wasn’t going to hit for any power because of his minor league stats. Whoops. But, I had no idea what I was talking about then. As far as things go since I really started doing this with the Reds (in about 2005/2006), I think the biggest one I was wrong on was Zach Stewart, who was the key to the Scott Rolen trade. When he left the Reds system, his stuff went with him. He went from a guy throwing a 93-94 MPH sinker to a guy who could barely touch 92 and he’s never been anywhere near the same. I thought he was going to be a very good big leaguer. I also thought Dave Sappelt was going to be much better than he turned out to be. He had one big season in the minors with the Reds. It came after he basically reworked his swing in the offseason. He made things very, very simple and it fixed a big timing issue he had going on. He used to get his foot down too late and so it sapped him of any power he would have otherwise had. He simply wasn’t able to hit the ball hard often enough because of it. His swing was all arms because his weight transfer just wasn’t at the right point on contact. He fixed that and he crushed it for a season in the minors. The Reds traded him to the Cubs and almost immediately they or he messed with his swing and he went back to some of the older stuff he was doing and he was never the same after that. But, since I had to throw myself under the bus, I will try to redeem myself rather quickly and say that when the national media publications were ranking Devin Mesoraco in the 30-40 range, I had him ranked 11th in the system. So take that! Lol

      2. I will list three of them because it’s tough for me to choose: Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa and Addison Russell. Buxton is a center fielder, but he’s been compared to Mike Trout. He has a fully rounded game and is an elite level center fielder. Even if we have Billy Hamilton, there are enough outfield spots to go around. Correa is the prospect that I’ve laid my eyes on and said “this is the best prospect I’ve ever seen”. Now, that isn’t to say he is the best prospect ever or anything, I don’t see everyone in the minor leagues, and my time covering guys is still relatively young when it comes to going out on a regular basis to see guys. But it took one round of batting practice of watching Correa to say “He’s special”. He was all of 18-years-old then, but he just had it. Addison Russell is also a shortstop, the key to the Jeff Samardzija trade, but he is a stud as well. I think he sticks at shortstop for the long haul and his game is just so impressive. Give me one of those three guys and I will be just fine.

      3. I think they are doing a decent enough job. Their big signing in 2013 is off to an outstanding start down in Arizona. Two years ago they didn’t have a “stand out” signing, but Carlton Daal has come from that group and is already doing things in Dayton and has vaulted himself into the Top 20 of the system in my mind. There is also an intriguing shortstop down in Arizona that was an international signing of note that is off to a good start as a teenager. I doubt we see the Reds making big splashes like they did in 2008 with Rodriguez and Duran again, the rules make that tough unless you are a big market and can truly afford to basically pay double of what you want to pay those guys because of the fines/penalties.

  30. Second question of the day. With the bulk of the organizations top prospects in AA or lower, looking ahead do you see the Reds having a top five minor league system in a few years (baring a big trade that guts the farm)?

    • I think it is certainly possible. I mean let’s just look at two years from now, the only position that will be open from an every day stand point is going to be left field. Everywhere else is locked up by guys currently on the Reds. So the depth on the position side could absolutely be there. Obviously guys have to be able to perform to keep the stock high, but there’s going to be some depth if the guys aren’t traded. Pitching, which is currently a strength, may take a step back though as there could be up to three rotation spots opened up with Latos, Cueto and Leake all being free agents after 2015. While I believe the Reds will sign one of Latos/Cueto, there’s always a chance they don’t. Trades can always change things up. If the Reds go out and pull off another Mat Latos type of trade, trading several high end prospects for someone, that will harm those chances as you noted.

      As I noted above, I think with the signing of Iglesias, the Reds have put themselves in that 8-12 range depending on how people feel about him and I think there is a chance they could move up a spot or two from there if a few guys have strong finishes this year.

  31. Final question of the day. Do you have any insight or story about why the Reds drafted three players from San Jacinto College North but failed to sign any of them?

    • That late in the draft you probably aren’t going to get many guys signed. That school had some talent this year and obviously impressed one of the Reds area scouts. Palacios is a legit prospect and would be a good sign if they can make it happen (two days left). Once you get into the 25th-40th rounds, you are doing interesting things. Some times you will grab a guy like Palacios who should have gone much higher based on talent and hope you can find the extra money to get him signed for what he wanted. Other times you are picking guys to try and fill out your minor league rosters. With the JUCO guys they have a few more options than other guys. They can go to school and enter the draft next year, they can sign, or they can go on to a 4-year school and spend 1 or 2 years (depending on how long they were in JUCO) there and then enter the draft again.

  32. So, just to brag a little bit, I wrote over 5100 words yesterday answering all of these questions.

  33. Doug, I like your 80/20 rule on evaluating talent. If you know what you’re doing when evaluating, I think this is probably about right. It would be nice if you could write a piece on this for RLN since this seems to be an exception to rule around here.

    Thanks for all the good work.

    • You know he was referring to evaluating minor league players on the 80/20 rule. Did you just skip over that part? You take a lot of shots at the site considering how much you post here. Seriously, could you please keep your comments about the Reds and Reds players and quit commenting about the site.

      • What was the shot? Was this a value judgement? I meant it as a fact, is it way off base?

        Doug’s own words:

        “but I still think its more of an 80-20 split when it comes to using scouting versus stats to determine the value of a player. As a guy gets older, those numbers do get a little bit closer, but not as much.”

        I never say anything but positive things about the site and your writing. Can I disagree with the thinking?

        • You deliberately left out the first part of his sentence, which is what I was basing my criticism of your point on:

          “Doug: I am a very big stats guy, and I do believe they have some value in minor leagues but I still think its more of an 80-20 split when it comes to using scouting versus stats to determine the value of a player.”

          Of course you can disagree, just don’t deliberately mislead people (like by taking a sentence out of context and printing it). He’s clearly talking about the importance of scouting for minor league players, not major leaguers.

        • I apologize. I read as “a guy gets older” to mean the next level (MLB). Sorry for misleading, it was not my intent. I can certainly appreciate and understand your point. Just got excited that Doug may share my way of evaluating. Not to say it’s best or even right but it is my way. People like empathy.

          As far as the site, I have nothing but the highest of praise. Obviously there are some differences in philosophy but I have nothing but respect for the work you and the editors do here. Your management of this site is above reproach. You can use me as a referral anytime you’d like to.

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A Minors Obsession