A Minors Obsession

Reds fall and winter league baseball is here

The minor league season has been over for a month or more for nearly all of the minor league teams. That doesn’t mean that the minor leaguers are through playing though. Last week the Venezuelan Winter League started up, but so far it’s only been a big leaguer that’s made an appearance from the organization (Hernan Iribarren). Over the next few weeks I would expect a few more guys to show up in the league, but probably only three or four more guys.

Later today though, two more fall/winter leagues get underway. The only domestic fall league kicks off at 2:35pm when the Arizona Fall League begins. The Cincinnati prospects that will be playing in the league are listed below, along with their statistics from the 2016 season.

Player Level ERA IP BB K
Barrett Astin AA 2.26 103.1 25 96
Evan Mitchell A+/AA 2.87 62.2 21 50
Nick Routt AA/AAA 1.98 68.1 25 58
Seth Varner A+/AAA 4.43 138.0 31 103
Player Level PA AVG OBP SLG
Brandon Dixon AA 461 .260 .315 .434
Brian O’Grady A+ 424 .235 .363 .394
Zach Vincej AA 438 .281 .329 .378
Chad Wallach AA 243 .240 .363 .410

All of the players will be joining the Peoria Javelinas squad. If you want to follow along the games, you can always check RedsMinorLeagues.com daily for updates, but to follow in real-time, you can check out MLBFallBall.com. It’s not a “sexy” group of prospects by any stretch of the imagination. Not one of these guys is going to crack the Reds Top 20-25 prospect list. A lot of these guys, though, are Rule 5 eligible this offseason if they aren’t added to the 40-man roster. Among the pitchers, only Seth Varner isn’t eligible for the Rule 5 draft this year. Among the position players only Brian O’Grady isn’t Rule 5 eligible this year.

The team is likely looking for one last chance to evaluate these guys before having to decide what to do with them in five weeks when it comes time to finalize your 40-man roster before the winter meetings and the Rule 5 draft.

The Arizona Fall League is not the only league that will get underway today. The Mexican Winter League also kicks things off this afternoon. The rosters haven’t been released yet for most of the teams, so it’s tough to say who will be there. Last year there was only one player, Sebastian Elizalde, who showed up in the league. As a Mexican born player who has played there several years in a row, I’d expect him to be there again.

14 thoughts on “Reds fall and winter league baseball is here

  1. Brandon Dixon and Zach Vincej are caught up in that INF glut right now. Vincej had a pretty good year, but Dixon’s was up and down. Both are near AAA, where the INF positions are starting to back up.
    However, upon Cozart’s departure at SS, Vincej becomes a little more valuable to the Reds and his play might warrant a 40-man spot. Dixon needs a power-surge week like he had a couple of times this past season.
    Routt and Astin, being pitchers, probably have a 40-man roster spot already reserved, but they still have to go out and earn it.
    Once the World Series concludes, things will start to get cooking on the Hot Stove.

  2. Hey Doug, first time commenter, long time reader. What’s your thoughts on Chad Wallach? Love that BB rate. Any decent behind the plate?

    • I’ve only seen him play behind the plate once and that was a couple years ago. It was, um… pretty bad. I asked Doug earlier in the year if he had improved and Doug said that he had but he still had a long way to go defensively.

      I’m not Doug but noticed you hadn’t been answered. Of course, he could have answered you privately too 🙂

  3. The Javelinas list Wallach as an infielder, not a catcher, given their apparent glut behind the plate. If so, that can’t be good news. The reds need to see Wallach behind the plate; he’s certainly not a good enough hitter to be seen anywhere else.

  4. Nice start for the Reds’ prospects playing against more hyoed prospects from other oranizations. Of course, the Reds are facing some significant 40-man roster additions and cuts and are looking for one last evaluation opportunity before making those decisions.

    Nick Routt => 2.0 IP w/ 3-SO
    Astin Barrett => 2.0 IP w/ 1-H & 1-SO
    Zach Vincej => 5-PA w/ 2-H, 1-HR & 2-SO

    • I heard Barrett Astin may be pitching in the AFL too this fall Cossack and I liked his numbers in 2016. But it looks like he may get bumped down the prospects list by this Astin Barrett guy. Thoughts?

      • Trying to type before 6:00 a.m. is not a recommended function for dyslexicly challenged old fingers!

  5. I like Routt to make the 40-man roster as a LHP. Prior to the 2016 season, Routt was groomed as a starter exclusively with less-than-spectacular results, but Routt worked exclusively out of the bullpen during the 2016 season with outstanding results at AA Pensacola but mediocre results at AAA Louisville during his age 25 season.

    Routt seemed to struggle with the AAA strike zone in his first taste of AAA competition. With such limited LHP options for the bullpen in the Reds organization, I would hate to see Routt snatched in the rule 5 draft for lack of a roster spot available. I think Routt deserves at least another good look at AAA competition before making such a determination.

  6. These players all look like career AAA fodder, nothing more. Arizona is such an odd league. It often gets a reputation for being where top prospects play but that is not true anymore or ever was really. It’s more guys who had an incomplete season due to injury or borderline guys you want to see more of. Sure every now and then a prospect plays there but it’s such a small sample size against random opposing players there is little to make out of it.

    • The Reds didn’t send anyone on their MLB Pipeline Top 30 list. They are the only team who didn’t.

      But, the league is pretty loaded this year.

      The bigger difference today versus, say, 10-15 years ago, is that you just don’t see the pitchers out there that you used to. Teams just aren’t sending quality starters out there anymore, unless, as you noted, they missed part of the season. Heck, you even saw that five years ago with high college draft picks who signed late (like Mike Leake), but with the new signing deadline being in July instead of August, that’s not happening anymore either.

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