A Minors Obsession

New additions and the international draft

The Cincinnati Reds made some roster moves yesterday, picking up Juan Grateol and Gabby Guerrero off of waivers and designating Ramon Cabrera and Keyvius Sampson for assignment to make room for them on the 40-man roster. Chad Dotson, supreme emperor of this blog covered this pretty well in his post yesterday here at Redleg Nation, but I thought I’d add a few thoughts as well, and also link to a video below that covers some more of my thoughts on it.

As Chad and I discussed briefly on twitter yesterday, the pick up of Guerrero is a confusing one. This team let Yorman Rodriguez walk to free agency after the season, then said they want to find a right handed hitting outfielder to compete for a spot in spring training. Guys, you just let one walk away. The team has now picked up Gabby Guerrero, who in 10 months of Double-A and Triple-A baseball over his professional career, has topped a .300 on-base percentage once. One month out of ten where he posted a .300 on-base percentage. He’s probably a guy who should be playing in Advanced-A, trying to figure out the strikezone. That’s not a guy that makes much sense to put on the 40-man roster. Yeah, he’s got big time power potential, and he’s got one of those laser-rocket arms like from those Peyton Manning commercials from eight years ago, but he’s got no ability to use that power because he swings at junk and pitchers know it. He’s an easy out at this point in his career. He’s a guy that makes sense to pick up on a minor league deal and hope for the best. He’s not a guy that makes sense to put on your 40-man roster.

It would appear that Major League Baseball will not be instituting an International Draft for the foreseeable future, as originally reported by Ken Rosenthal. This is both good and bad for the Cincinnati Reds. If baseball went to a draft situation, it would leave them at the will of how things unfold in a given year – both in terms of how their big league team performs, which would decide where they would pick, and it would be relying on the talent available in a given year. As we see with the far more popular Rule 4 draft (June amateur draft), some years are definitely stronger than others when it comes to the players available, especially at the very top of the draft. It would also help out a team like the Reds even the playing field somewhat, as they would be able to have more of a fair shot at some of the top prospects that they otherwise may not be able to get in on because of financial reasons, having the right contacts two years ago when a player was originally pegged to be a star and is now being shut out from half the teams in baseball or something else.

Where this hurts the Reds is that they are currently not allowed to sign any player in the next two international free agent signing periods for over $300,000 because they spent well over their allotment with Cuban signings Alfredo Rodriguez and Vladimir Gutierrez. The Reds haven’t always been big players in the international market, with several years having their top signing being someone under the $500,000 mark in the last six years. They have stepped things up in recent years though, signing two players each of the last two seasons for $650,000+ (something they hadn’t done in a single year since 2008). With the length of time it takes 16-and-17-year-olds to reach the big leagues, or even the upper levels of the minor leagues, we may not see this affect the Reds for nearly a decade, but it could have some ramifications in the long run.

There’s still a chance that things could change. Heading into the year, it seemed that everyone in baseball was working with the assumption that this was going to be the last year with the current rules and that all penalties (non-cash penalties) would be wiped clean. We won’t know if any of the rules change until the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is completed, but it would appear that the owners were pushing hard for an International Draft and with that now off of the table, perhaps they stick with the current rules and try to come up with a solution before the next CBA is due.

The Rule 5 draft is in ten days and I’ve started my coverage over at RedsMinorLeagues.com if you’re interested in that sort of thing. Yesterday I took a look at what kind of players the Reds could be interested in selecting, if they choose to utilize the #2 pick in the draft. Later in the week I will get into specific players that may be worth targeting for the organization.

16 thoughts on “New additions and the international draft

  1. Maybe the Reds know more about Yorman’s injuries and see him as to much of a risk to ever come back? Maybe he has Jrs hamstrings?

  2. Guerrero seems to be Juan Duran redux. Huge power, canon arm, can’t put the ball in play enough to matter.

    • He makes a lot more contact than Duran ever did. And he’s a much better fielder (he’s coordinated enough to run and catch the ball at the same time). It’s not so much that Guerrero struggles to make contact, it’s that he struggles to make good contact way too often.

      He’s the epitome of “can crush fastball” guy. But once he got to a place where guys can throw more than a fastball, consistently, he’s been an easy, easy out.

  3. What is the point of saying what this team should do anymore, they just make dumb decisions time and again. I bet they don’t even take a player in RuleV, instead keeping jumbo and other useless players.

    • Jumbo Diaz just posted a 3.14 ERA in the Major Leagues last season. If that’s useless, let’s get a lot more guys that are useless. It’ll help.

      • Good point on Diaz. You prompted me to check his career stats, and he actually has a career major league ERA of 3.65. That certainly fits in this pen. The picture in my mind of Diaz is one of the many guys who just kept giving up homers to the first batter they faced when they came in.

        • Diaz had some real struggles early on (in each of the last two years), but after being demoted and then coming back, he pitched well in both seasons.

        • In terms of Jumbo Diaz versus Sampson, I feel like Sampson has the higher ceiling and is 6 years younger. Given where the Reds are as a team right now, those would have been the deciding factors for me to Sampson’s favor from the outside looking in. However given the way the Reds have handled Sampson, it seems to me there might be backstage issues we don’t know about which mitigate against him. Since we don’t know what these issues might be or if they even exist, it is hard to say with certainty they should have kept Sampson over Diaz

      • And a 5.24 FIP. Both his ERA and FIP are on small samples because he’s a reliever. But ERA is particularly unreliable for relievers. Diaz had below league average K% and BB%. He’ll be 33 by Opening Day. I wouldn’t just dump him, but it wouldn’t take much an arm in the Rule 5 draft for me to toss him, either. Cingrani (who I don’t feel that strongly about, either) is 27 and a lefty.

        • FIP isn’t the be-all-end-all, but after he returned from Louisville, over 33.0 innings, his FIP was 3.59. That’s in line with the first 100 innings of his career. It was those 10 early season innings this year that were just absolutely brutal.

          His BB% and K% after the return were 8.8% (good) and 22.6% (good). Also both in line with the first 100 innings of his career.

          He had a HORRID first 10 innings in 2016. The other 128.0 innings of his career are pretty strong. Yet, it seems that a lot of people want to get rid of him for almost nothing, because they get really hung up on just how bad those 10 innings were to start the year. It’s weird. It’s real weird.

      • I feel like Tom. An HR machine early on, but I think his ERA is flawed. What was the percentage of inherited runners that scored? I’d guess that was well below average, but I am too lazy to look it up right now (I don’t care enough about Jumbo to do so).

        I agree with Steve, I would dump Jumbo in a heart beat (and Ohlendorf or any other mediocre past-prime player) to take a shot at a high risk/high reward Rule V 2nd overall pick (or first if Phillies pass). Now of course the talent pool may not be very appealing in Rule V, if so, then pass.

        • Overall on the season, his inherited runners scored stinks. But, upon his return from his demotion he allowed 2 out of 11 inherited runners to score. 5 out of 8 in the first five weeks of the season.

          So, again, those 10 terrible innings at the start of the year are really clouding the judgment for an otherwise good big league league career in over 130 innings.

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