In this week’s installment of “This Week on the Farm”, I’d like to take a quick peek forward to next season to see what the Reds top two farm clubs rosters might look like opening day.  The rosters of these two farm clubs will contain the players that have the best chance of helping out at the Major League level next season.

Just to level set, let’s first see what the Reds roster might look like opening day next season with what they have right now minus free agent departures.

Reds

C  Mesoraco
1B Votto
2B Phillips
3B Frazier
SS Suarez
LF Duvall
CF Hamilton
RF Bruce

C  Barnhart
IF DeJesus
IF Cozart
OF Rodriguez
OF Holt

SP Bailey
SP DeSclafani
SP Iglesias
SP Lorenzen
SP Lamb

RP Chapman
RP Hoover
RP Cingrani
RP Diaz
RP Matheus
RP Villarreal
RP LeCure

There’s lots to discuss here, but that’s not the focus of this discussion.  There will be some players above moved over the winter and some major/minor league free agents added to the mix.  Basically, that’s a list of 25 names who currently would be in the running for Major League jobs next spring who will not be included on the AAA and/or AA rosters below.

AAA Louisville Bats

I’m going to stick to prospects and fringe prospects for the rosters.  I won’t include any Irving Falu’s, Hernan Iribarren’s, Marquez Smith’s, or Ray Chang’s on the rosters.  I’m sure they will in fact either bring some of them back or back fill them with other older minor league free agents, but I’m mostly sticking to the younger players here who might be on these rosters on opening day next year.

Bats

C  Cabrera
1B Waldrop
2B Vincej
3B Mejias-Brean
SS Perez
LF Duran
CF LaMarre
RF Winker

C  Skipworth
IF Negron
IF Wright
OF Selsky
OF Smith

SP Stephenson
SP Moscot
SP Finnegan
SP Reed
SP Holmberg

RP Contreras
RP Weiss
RP Hayes
RP S Johnson
RP Adleman
RP Sampson
RP Smith

Position player wise, the spotlight will be on Winker, Mejias-Brean, and Duran to see how they perform at AAA after their promotions.  Waldrop will be in a make or break type year, as he will need to prove he can make the adjustments and perform at AAA.  Also, will be interesting to see if Selsky comes back healthy and if he can maintain his strong showing this year.

On the hill, we will want to see Stephenson and Moscot come back healthy and strong at AAA.  Finnegan will most likely need to prove he can be successful as a starter soon next year or be sent to the pen full time.  All eyes on Reed and Weiss to see if they can continue to prosper at the AAA level.

AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos

The Blue Wahoos will again have a strong stable of prospects to follow next season.

Blue Wahoos

C  Hudson
1B Buckley
2B Blandino
3B Sparks
SS Daal
LF Elizalde
CF Arias
RF Ervin

C  Wallach
IF Soto
IF Diaz
OF Gelalich
OF Amaral

SP Garrett
SP Travieso
SP Mella
SP Romano
SP Astin

RP McMyne
RP Klimesh
RP Shackleford
RP J Johnson
RP Somsen
RP Peralta
RP Wright

The prospects to watch here will be on Blandino, Ervin, Sparks, and Elizalde to if they continue to perform at AA.  Blandino and Ervin have the best chances for being moved up quickly if they are playing well.

The entire starting rotation here will be loaded with prospects as well.  Garrett and Travieso could be fast movers if they start out strong.

8 Responses

  1. Steve brandt

    I do not see Collin Balester, long relief, #51, on your list. Reasoning ?

    • Tom Diesman

      He did throw well for Louisville this season, 2.05 ERA in 22 IP, but hasn’t fared well at all with Cincy, 6.91 ERA in 14.1 IP. With that, and the fact that he turns 30 next year, he falls outside of the younger prospect realm.

  2. CJ22

    Is Homer going to be ready to open the season or will it be a month or two in before he is ready?

    • Tom Diesman

      I think it’s possible, but yeah, it’s more likely they’ll take it very slow with him and it will be more like May 1 from everything I’ve been seeing.

  3. aceistheplace2

    I know Lorenzen had a long strech of starting in the Majors this season, obviously he is a great athlete, and I am no MLB player or talent evaluator, but I don’t see him in the rotation to start the year. Yes the caveot is the club could sign a veteran guy to eat some innings and offer “stability” to the rotation.

    • RFM

      They need to fill the rotation with somebody, and the team won’t want to break camp with Stephenson or Reed due to service time concerns. They might want Moscot to get some work in AAA after missing half the year (albeit with an injury unrelated to his throwing arm). I’d bet heavily on Finnegan starting the spring in Louisville’s rotation.

      With a strong spring, in which Lorenzen shows improved control (not in the sense that he’s wild, but hitting his spots, hitting the corners of the zone) I could certainly see him making the opening day rotation. I wouldn’t bet heavily on Lorenzen making the rotation (due to depth), but I also wouldn’t bet against it. Even if he’s just the stopgap guy in the rotation until Bailey is activated. Despite Lorenzen’s high ERA, he’s the second youngest guy to pitch for the Reds this year, after Finnegan, so his 2015 season was hardly a make-or-break year.

  4. Shchi Cossack

    Tom, as you observe, there are a lot of off-season questions at the major league level and the answers to those questions will almost certainly trickle down to the upper minor league levels. The topic is, well…topical, and based simply on the existing rosters…

    Yorman Rodriguez (OF), age 23 – .269/.308/.429 @ AAA

    Y-Rod has no business playing any role at the major league level and has never demonstrated the capability to hit as a part-time utility player. Y-Rod is out of options, so if the Reds deem him a serious prospect AND deem the 2016 season as a throw-away season, Y-Rod should start in the major league OF. Personally, I would make every effort to trade Y-Rod to a team that values toolsy minor league prospects and views Y-Rod as a minor league prospect.

    Kyle Waldrop (OF/1B) , age 23 – .238/.267/.338 @ AA/AAA

    Waldrop has had just 1 minor-league season with an .800+ OPS in a 6-year minor-league career, and that was buffered by the A+ California League stats. As a corner OF/1B prospect that simply does not look like a prospect, it’s time to cut bait and clear space on the 40-man roster. DFA

    Juan Duran (OF), age 24 – .256/.290/.435 @ AA

    Duran has had just 1 minor-league season even approaching an .800 OPS in an 8-year minor-league career, and that was in 2011 in class A Midwest League. Personally, I would make every effort to trade Duran to a team that values toolsy minor league prospects and views Duran as a minor league prospect.

    Billy Hamilton (CF), age 25 – .226/.274/.289 @ MLB

    Hamilton was promoted to the 25-man roster before he was major-league ready and has failed miserably, at least offensively. It’s time to salvage Hamilton’s major league prospects and return him to AAA to finish his offensive development at the minor league level where he can work on putting the bat on the ball and hitting ground balls and line drives rather than popping the up for easy outs. I would also restrict his base stealing at the minor league level to conserve his legs and prohibit diving catch attempt or running into the OF wall to reduce any injury risk. If Hamilton can get his offensive game together at AAA, he may yet be an offensive catalyst and force at the major league level.

    Tyler Holt (CF), age 26 – .302/.386/.370 @ AAA

    Holt’s offensive capability is complete devoid of power but he offers the one offensive capability the Reds need desperately. Holt gets on base, a lot. Holt also has base stealing speed and plays solid defense in CF. With nothing to lose in 2016, give Holt the starting CF job in GABP and at least 3 months to show what he can do at the major league level with regular playing time in CF and as a table setter at the top of the lineup.

    Steve Selsky (OF), age 26 – .317/.386/.428 @ AAA

    Selsky is not a top prospect but may be the best OF prospect anywhere near major-league ready & capable (Winker excepted) in the system. Selsky has average defensive capability at best and will never be a candidate to start at the major league level, but may be a serviceable utility OF at the major league level. Bring him to spring training and let him compete for a spot on the 25-man roster as a utility OF.

    Ryan LaMarre (CF), age 26 – .257/.307/.400 @ AAA

    LaMarre is a good defensive CF with speed. His only solid offensive season was buffered by the A+ California League stats. As an aging prospect that simply does not look like a prospect, it’s time to cut bait and clear space on the 40-man roster. DFA

    Adam Duvall (1B/3B/OF), age 27 – .264/.312/.511 @ AAA

    Duvall crushed the ball in the hitter-friendly PCL, but not so much anywhere else. This was the best return WJ could get for a 1-month rental of Byrd at the trade deadline, but as an aging prospect that simply does not look like a prospect, it’s time to cut bait and clear space on the 40-man roster. DFA

    Any DFA’s can be resigned to a minor league contract (if they choose) along with any other minor league FA the Reds sign off the scrap heep. The Reds have an opportunity to pick up a rule 5 draftee of their choosing this off-season, even though such selections rarely provide fruit. The Reds should absolutely not consider offering an major-league contract or minor-league contract with a wink-wink assurance of a major league contract to over-the-hill veterans who can not longer produce and no one else would even consider signing (yes we’re looking at you WJ!).

    • RFM

      Kyle Waldrop, there’s no reason to give up on him yet. It’s not like there’s competition for any spot he holds, either on the 40 man roster or in AAA. He followed up a strong 2014 season with an ugly 2015, especially in his 55 games after being promoted to Louisville. Let him repeat there, at age 24, and see what happens. His 2014 season began by repeating a level (Bakersfield) he struggled at in the previous season, maybe he has another surprise in him.

      Tyler Holt does have some impressive minor league numbers, and I agree he should get a shot to make the Reds. That said, the discrepancy between his strong AAA performance and weak MLB performance resembles Brennan Boesch’s. Just saying…

      Adam Duvall wasn’t part of the Marlon Byrd trade, he was the lesser piece of the Leake-Mella trade, albeit with the same team. I share your skepticism of Duvall, but due to lack of options they might as well give him a chance in spring training. Like Waldrop and Holt, he’s a ways down on the list of 40 man roster guys to DFA.

      I would DFA Adcock, Balester, Holmberg, Smith, Skipworth, Negron, Boesch, and LaMarre (plus clear spots with the free agent departure of Schumaker, Pena, Parra, Marshall, and Badenhop) [total = 13] long before even considering doing the same to Waldrop, Yorman Rodriguez, Holt, or Duvall. LeCure, Diaz, Mattheus, Cabrera, and Bourgeois would be on the bubble around the same time as those 4 guys though. The point is, a Reds team has plenty of spots to clear before considering dumping anyone with any potential future value.