The minor league season is nearly complete and half of the teams have already qualified for the playoffs with one team still in contention with a week remaining.

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos qualified for the playoffs by winning the first half North Division crown with a 41-29 record. They’ve continued to play well in the second half of the season, currently sitting at 34-29. They’ve got the second best overall record in the Southern League with a .564 winning percentage. The team just got some reinforcement when the Reds sent Rookie Davis back to Double-A to help anchor their rotation. They will get things started in the playoffs on Wednesday September 7th.

Daytona is still alive in the playoff race with a week left, but they are 4.5 games back of first place Dunedin with just seven games remaining for each team. The Tortugas finished the first half of the season at 36-33. They have improved in the second half, currently sitting at 38-26 but they’ve likely got to win out if they’re going to have any shot at participating in the Florida State League playoffs.

The Billings Mustangs won the first half North Division to qualify for the playoffs. They went 23-15 in the first half and they’ve continued to win in the second half, though not quite at the same rate. They are in second place at 15-13 with 10 games remaining before the start of the playoffs on Friday September 9th.

The Arizona League Reds actually wrapped up the regular season last night, losing 5-2 to the Angels. They finished with a league best second half record of 19-8 and tied for the second best record overall in the league. The playoffs at this level are a one game series with the winner moving on. They playoffs begin on Wednesday August 31st.

Overall the Cincinnati Reds farm system has a record of 329-328, but if you remove the Dayton Dragons record (they are an 45-89), the organizations other five teams are 284-239. That’s a winning percentage of .543. It’s certainly been a rough year for the big league club when it comes to wins and losses, though the second half has been better. The farm system, generally speaking, has been nice to follow along with during the year as the teams have remained quite competitive.

Quick notes from the past week

Jonathon Crawford is coming back from shoulder surgery, and while the results haven’t been strong yet, his velocity has increased since he returned just a few weeks ago. The results don’t matter much at this point, but it’s nice to see his velocity spike recently after throwing in the upper 80’s when he first came back.

Cody Reed left his start last night in Triple-A with back spasms.

The Reds have been contiuing to scout Cuban right handed pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez. He’s the top pitching prospect still available on the international free agent market.

20 Responses

  1. mdhabel

    in terms of international signings, how often do teams go over and pay the 100% tax?

    • Fish

      It seems like a routine occurance, I can recall 4-5 teams a year. Look at what the Padres have done this year.

    • Doug Gray

      Every year you will see 4-5 teams do it. The Dodgers spent nearly $90M last year. The Padres are over $50M this year. Two years ago the Yankees wound up signing 10 of the top 30 guys on the market and spent nearly $60M in total.

      What’s more rare is when a team goes over and doesn’t sign multiple 7-figure guys. In fact, the Reds this year are the only team I can remember doing so. Things aren’t over yet, but so far, they seem to be going against the grain with just one signing of note while also blowing past their allotment.

  2. Dan

    kind of ironic that the year the agreement is up with Pensacola that they go on to the playoffs. Does this help the Reds stay in Pensacola?

    • Doug Gray

      I’m sure that them going to the playoffs two years in a row helps them a little bit in negotiating, but at this point, I’m real worried the Reds aren’t returning there.

      My only hope is that when Quint and Rishy Studer (the owners of the team) were in Cincinnati two weeks ago they agreed to a new deal, but are holding off on announcing it until the playoffs. Still, you don’t often see teams announcing this late in the game who aren’t going to test the “free agent” waters for teams.

  3. WVRedlegs

    Good luck to Pensacola and Billings. Time is going to run out on Daytona unfortunately. Nice move to place Rookie Davis back in Pensacola.
    Can you trace back the root cause(s) for why Dayton’s team this year was so awful? Was it a bad 2014 draft? A bad 2015 draft? Injuries? Or just one of those things? I know Daytona is the recipient this year of last year’s good Dayton team, but how did Dayton fall off so quickly? With a good team this year at Daytona and one at Billings, this gap can be overcome hopefully just as quickly.

    • Doug Gray

      Just one of those things with Dayton. For the most part it was the same team that made the playoffs in 2015 in Billings. But, the pitching performed much worse, and so did the hitting. Some of the guys they sent to Dayton to begin the year simply weren’t ready and they saw things just get out of control.

      A good example would be Jose Siri. He spent most of 2015 in the AZL. He walked 3 times with 64 strikeouts down there. Under no circumstances should a player like that be expected to then jump over Billings and to Dayton and have any kind of success. Yet, he was sent to Dayton and was starting. And of course, he hit .145 in April with 2 walks and 34 strikeouts before being sent to extended spring training.

      He’s now in Billings where he’s hitting, but it’s a BABIP fueled line – though he’s shown power. Still, he’s got 8 walks and 63 strikeouts to go with a .430 BABIP. He will probably be counted on again next year, and he’s probably going to struggle to hit again, because you can’t just go up there and swing at everything and expect to produce.

    • mdhabel

      We must have promised him he could be our closer so thats why he signed with us

  4. Dan

    Tim Tebow workout is today in Los Angeles. Prepare to be dissapointed. I predict the Reds sign him.

    • Doug Gray

      If a team signs him it means that a team believes he can actually play baseball. Teams aren’t handing out contracts to sell seats in minor league stadiums because 95% of the teams in the minor leagues aren’t owned by the big league clubs – they see zero benefit from extra ticket sales.

  5. WVRedlegs

    TJ Friedl watch through 21 games, .344/.422/.567/.988 OPS, .222 ISO. Nice.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Under normal circumstances, Friedl would have joined Senzel, Okey & Sweet in Dayton. Friedl will certainly move to Dayton to begin 2017 with Senzel certainly moving to Daytona Beach. Okey and Sweet have done well at Dayton, but they may of may not make the move up to start the 2017 season. I’m guessin the Okey move up and Sweet stays in Dayton to begin the 2017 season since Stephenson will certainly stay at Dayton and the Reds may need Okey on the fast track if at all possible.

  6. WVRedlegs

    The Reds signed the Cuban pitcher, Vladimir Gutierrez, to a $4.75M deal.
    Pay the man and pay MLB.

    • ohiojimw

      From MLBTR (My Italics and bold)……

      An excerpt:
      ……’s Jesse Sanchez rated Gutierrez fourth behind Kevin Maitan, Adrian Morejon and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. on his ranking of the 2016-17 international free agents, noting that while he projects as a starting pitcher, some scouts also believe he could have a quicker timeline to the Majors and make an impact as a high-leverage late-inning reliever as well……”.

      Reds can’t seem to ever get 100% past the fish or fowl issue.

      • Doug Gray

        To be perfectly fair, EVERY PITCHER could have a quicker timeline to the Majors as a reliever. When I see comments like this, I simply shake my head. Might as well just tell me that water is wet and call it a day, guys.

        Sometimes baseball lingo just makes me want to smash my head on a wall.

      • ohiojimw

        I suppose I can see why scouts would point this out about Iglesias who was mid20’s and known to have been working as a reliever in Cuba when signed by the Reds; maybe even Chapman who was 22. However, as you said, why say it about a 20 year old kid, a guy who is pretty much midstream draft age, unless there was some reason to believe he wasn’t going to cut it as starter. Not saying I disagree with you. Just why do they bother as you said, perhaps cultural bias?