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.