The Rookie league Billings Mustangs were swept two games to none (3-0 and 3-2) by the Orem Owls in the best of three Pioneer League North Championship Series.  Billings was the only one of three Reds minor league teams that made the playoffs to advance to the championship round.  Both the AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos and the Rookie league AZL Reds were defeated in the first round of their league playoffs.

Arizona Fall League

The Reds will be sending seven prospects, listed below, to play for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League.  None of these seven players cracked the MLB Reds Top 30 prospect list.  The Javelinas begin play on October 11th and regular season play wraps up on November 17th.

RH SP/RP Barrett Astin put up a 2.29 ERA in 102.1 IP allowing 74 H and 25 BB with 95 SO at AA.

RH RP Evan Mitchell put up a 3.38 ERA in 16 IP allowing 13 H and 6 BB with 18 SO at A+ and then put up a 2.95 ERA in 42.2 IP allowing 38 H and 15 BB with 23 SO at AA.

LH RP Nick Routt put up a 0.89 ERA in 50.1 IP allowing 29 H and 12 BB with 46 SO at AA and then put up a 5.00 ERA in 18 IP allowing 22 H and 13 BB with 12 SO at AAA.

2B/OF Brandon Dixon hit .260/.315/.43/.746 in 432 PA at AA.

SS Zach Vincej hit .271/.320/.374/.694 in 414 PA at AA.

C/1B Chad Wallach hit .235/.367/.402/.769 in 221 PA at AA.

OF Brian O’Grady hit .235/.363/.394/.758 in 424 PA at A+.

Off Season Musings

This coming off season could become a pivotal time in the Reds rebuild.  The end of this season is when Walt Jocketty is supposed to step aside and hand off the GM duties in full to Dick Williams.  It’s not clear if that will happen immediately at seasons end or just sometime over the winter.  I’m hoping Dick Williams is handed the reigns as soon as the Reds season ends so that he can begin shaping the roster right away, rather than being handed the team sometime in December after all the important decisions for next season have already been made.  It will be interesting to see if Williams carries on much like Jocketty, who has tutored under, or if he will come out and demonstrate a new approach right off the bat.

One of the first big off season decisions will be whether to retain Bryan Price for the upcoming season.
It’s really hard to say what kind of relationship that Williams and Price may have, but it is clear that there needs to be a better relationship between the manager and GM as there has been in the recent past.  I think a better relationship between the manager and GM will result in a more consistent approach to which key rebuild prospects are placed on the big league roster and the kind of playing time they receive.  The manager and GM also need to be more in concert in the makeup of the bench and ensuring that the manager is not consistently left shorthanded which has been the norm in recent years.  However Williams proceeds, he needs to ensure that he and the manager for next season are on the same page and are able to improve on the items above.

There needs to be some bold moves and decisions made soon to continue work on the rebuild binder that will dictate the shape of next year’s big league roster.  While I’m not currently sure if the Iglesias and Lorenzen moves to the bullpen are permanent or temporary, the team needs to continue to move forward and be more decisive in establishing roles for the many pitching prospects on the cusp of the big leagues.  Not all of the top pitching prospects at AAA and AA are going to be able to remain as starters and the Reds need to begin making decisions sooner, rather than later, on what some of these prospects final role will be.

Position player wise, there are big moves and decisions coming very soon as well.  It appears the Reds may have missed a great opportunity to sell high on Zack Cozart at mid-season this year, although that may have been driven by a very small market for SS at the time.  It seems fairly certain they will try to move him this off season to make room for Jose Peraza.  The other really big question is whether they will be able to make a move with Brandon Phillips to make room for Dilson Herrera.

This is going to be a key offseason in the rebuild for the Reds and I’ll be watching with great interest to see how things play out.

21 Responses

  1. WVRedlegs

    Great season Tom. I’ve enjoyed your weekly roundups. I hope Williams takes the helm right after the season concludes also. This is a big off-season for the rebuild. Once the Cozart and BP situations are completed, that stage of the re-build of shedding veteran salary for younger talent will be over. The next phase of making the tough decisions of where to play that talent gets in full swing. Another critical phase. Too many questions entering this phase though and that some of those Q’s should have already been settled.
    The amount of injuries this year to the pitching staff has put the rebuild behind schedule. That was a critical area that needed to show more improvement. Finnegan stepped up this year to go with DeSclafani, but that was about it. Straily stepped up too. After getting healthy Lorenzen and Iglesias both impressed, but their roles are far from determined.
    On the starting 8 side, the only things settled are Votto at 1B, BHam in CF, Barnhart as one of the C’s, and Suarez and Peraza will play somewhere.
    I am hopeful that Williams will want to put his stamp on this team and he packages up some prospects/players, a very sweet package, for a great bat to pair with Votto to help lead this team. A leader, not just a player.

    • David

      Really? After 30 HR and 90 RBI’s, you don’t think Duvall has earned a spot in LF?

      • WVRedlegs

        No, not at all. If it wasn’t for his good May and June, Duvall probably would have lost his starting LF job to Schebler. Duvall has had a weak second half and is having a very, very weak September. Duvall’s second half line of .224/.301/.414 with 8 HR, 31 RBI, and a wRC+ of 86 is rather pedestrian. If he is on the roster come spring training, then at minimum he should be in on a platoon for LF. If his spring training goes like his second half, he could lose out on even that.
        Duvall and Robert Stephenson should be in some sort of trade package together this winter for upgrading LF or RF or a rotation spot.

  2. ohiojimw

    I’m on board with the call for more decisiveness. This season, it often seemed like the plan was that there was no plan other than to not try and win as many games as they might if they tried to maximize wins. If that is the path a team chooses then they need to make full use of the “wasted” season to learn about their perceived near ready prospects. The Reds failed pretty miserably in that regard.

  3. ohiojimw

    Looks to me like this season’s AFL group is more about finding who gets (or keeps) a 40 man roster spot than who might be the next big thing for the Reds in MLB.

  4. Tom Mitsoff

    Here’s a little something farm-related that I stumbled upon: See if you can name the Reds organization position player who played at Louisville this year who has a career minor league on-base percentage of .379 (without doing research). You might be surprised. 🙂

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Nope! That’s what I thought at first. Winker’s career minor league OBP is .399. There is another player who is not too far behind — but not being mentioned very often as a future cornerstone for the rebuild. I found it very interesting.

      • brmreturns

        Mejias-Brean …. or Renda maybe

      • ohiojimw

        Upon further investigation, I think nobody who was on the Bats roster at the end of their season. However one guy on the roster at seasons’s end did have a .381 career MiLB OBP per the official team site

      • WVRedlegs

        I would guess that it is Selsky. He has usually had a pretty good OBP. But I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        It is Selsky. Better career minor league OBP than Peraza, Herrera, Iribarren, Renda or Waldrop. Anyone know why he is not considered a higher tier prospect? Lack of power for a corner outfielder, perhaps?

      • Tom Mitsoff

        One reason I ask is because I have read time and time again that the Cubs targeted players who got on base consistently when looking for everyday players — over batting average and power statistics. Are we overlooking someone here? No guarantee that his minor league stats would translate in the majors. Any thoughts?

      • Shchi Cossack

        Selsky was in line for a promotion last season, but suffered an injury that sidetracked his opportunity. He is not a talented defensive OF and as you pointed out, he lacks power typically desired (especially for the Reds) from a corner OF. He has typically and routinely been overlooked in favor of more toolsy prospects, all of whom have flopped miserably.

        Selsky has routinely put up an .800+ OPS every season, mostly due to his OBP. On a team starving for good on base skills at the top of the lineup, Selsky looks like a good #2 hole hitter in front of Votto (if Votto is not going to slot into the #2 hole).

      • ohiojimw

        When was the latest siting of the toolsy YRod? I’m guessing the Reds try to slip Selsky thru waivers and off the 40 man over the winter.

        For three years at AAA, Selsky’s OBP is .369 and slugging .425. This year his slugging climbed to .459 but his OBP dropped off to .363. Still that’s a better OPS (.822) than his 3 year AAA cumulative (.794)

        There was interesting conversation Wednesday on either the radio or TV broadcast (forget which) about how it might be time for the Reds to take a long look at how they set up their bench and that a power bat (or two) might be more important than carrying a true backup CF and/ or shortstop because any more you can get those types up from AAA overnight in injury situations. Of course as long as a guy can walk, throw, and hold a bat, the Reds will wait a week before DLing him; and, they could never work with just 11 pitchers even for several days 🙂

      • Tom Mitsoff

        I suspect Selsky would be viewed in a more positive light by his employers if he were in the Cubs organization than in his current organization.

  5. Shchi Cossack

    The Braves’ 6-game winning streak combined with the Reds’ 3-game skid is making the race for the draft very interesting.

    1. 55-98 Minnesota Twins (a lock for the #1 selection)
    2. 62-91 Atlanta Braves
    3. 63-89 Cincinnati Reds
    3. 64-89 San Diego Padres
    3. 64-88 Arizona Diamondbacks
    6. 65-87 Tampa Bay Rays
    7. 67-86 Los Angeles Angels
    8. 66-86 Oakland Athletics
    9. 69-84 Milwaukee Brewers
    9. 69-84 Philadelphia Phillies

    The Reds own the tie-breaker against every team except Philadelphia and the Reds have 5 more losses than the Phanatics with 10 games to play.

    The Braves play:
    3 games v. the Marlins (76-77)
    3 games v. the Phillies (69-84)
    3 games v. the Tigers (82-70) – fighting for the wildcard playoff

    The Reds play:
    3 games v. the Brewers (69-84)
    4 games v. the Cardinals (80-72) – fighting for the wildcard playoff
    3 games v. the Cubs (97-55) – clinched home field advatage through the playoffs

    The Padres play:
    3 games v. the Giants (81-72) – fighting for the wildcard playoff
    3 games v. the Dodgers (87-66) – fighting for the NLWD title
    3 games v. the Diamondbacks (64-88)

    The Diamondbacks play:
    3 games v. the Orioles (82-71) – fighting for the wildcard playoff
    4 games v. the Nationals (89-63) – fighting for the NLED title
    3 games v. the Padres (64-89)

    Every other team must make up more than 2 losses over the final 9-10 games to move past the Reds draft position. After the conclusion of this weekend’s series, the Reds have by far the most daunting schedule for the final 2 series of the season. The Reds have been playing worse (3-7 in the last 10 games with a 3 game losing streak) than the Braves, Padres or Diamonbacks.

    • WVRedlegs

      Thanks for mapping that out to the end. With the Braves surge, that makes the Reds possible finish anywhere from #2 now to #8.
      Tanking goes against my grain, but will Price roll out Stephenson, JSmitty, and Adelman for 6 of those last 10 starts? Does Bailey get a start or 2? Does Finnegan really get 1 more start? Will DeSclafani make 2 more starts?
      Very interesting indeed. The starting pitching lineup here on out will probably gives us a clue as to if they are really tanking it for the draft position or not.

    • WVRedlegs

      FWIW, the difference between draft picks #2, #3 and #8 in the last few drafts.
      2010: #2 Jameson Taillon RHP, #3 Manny Machado SS, #8 Delino DeShields 2B/CF.
      2011: #2 Danny Hultzen LHP, #3 Trevor Bauer RHP, #8 Francisco Lindor SS.
      2012: #2 Byron Buxton OF, #3 Mike Zunino C, #8 Mark Appel RHP.
      2013: #2 Kris Bryant 3B, #3 Jonathon Gray RHP, #8 Hunter Dozier SS.
      2014: #2 Tyler Kolek RHP, #3 Carlos Rodon LHP, #8 Kyle Freeland LHP.
      2015: #2 Alex Bregman SS, #3 Brendan Rogers SS, #8 Carson Fulmer RHP.
      2016: #2 Nick Senzel 3B, #3 Ian Anderson RHP, #8 Cal Quantrill RHP.

      2011 is looking as an outlier where #8 was better than #2 or #3, but there does seem to be quite a difference.

      • Old-school

        Fascinating to watch this transition and debate/discuss Bob Steve’s development and Suarez and where Iglesias/lorenzen land next year. But the 30000 foot view is the Reds need more Joey Votto’s- franchise changing stars to compete against Addison Russell and Starling Marte. Senzel looks like a good pick at #2….We need another great #2/#3 pick in 2017 and then a break out star…. Aquino/Garrett or both???? to push this rebuild. Suarez.herrera.peraza are contributors….but they won’t catch the cards or pirates and certainly not the ’27 Yankees…… I mean the Cubs.

      • Bill

        The Cubs are going to be good. I think the Pirates have missed their window. The Cards are the ones that are diffult to gauge, everytime you think they are trending downward they find a way to develop/acquire young talent.