A Minors Obsession

Minor League All Questions Answered

It’s been nearly two months since we last had one of these here at Redleg Nation. With spring training in full force I thought it would be a good idea to bring it back. If you’re new to the site, it’s pretty simple: Ask your question(s) in the comments section and I’ll give you an answer. While my specialty is in the minor leagues, I’m more than willing to share my thoughts on the big league stuff as well.

You will need to follow a few simple rules to participate:

The rules for the All Questions Answered part of today.

  1. Try to avoid questions that will require me to look up answers (such as: Who was the last guy to steal 25 bags and hit 25 home runs in the system).
  2. Try to avoid overly long answer-type questions. I tend to give thorough and detailed answers as it is, so please don’t have me type out a novel.
  3. Each user can ask up to three questions.
  4. Ask your questions before 9PM and I will be sure to answer it. If you ask after 9PM on Tuesday, then I can’t guarantee that I will answer your question.

I probably won’t begin answering questions until around 11am, but feel free to filling up the comments with them before that.

54 thoughts on “Minor League All Questions Answered

  1. It seems like this years draft is fairly heavy on college pitchers as opposed to batters. From what I’ve read and seen on Jeren Kendall I feel like he is not as much of a pure hitter or sure thing as Senzel was. It seems like he has contact issues. Given that missing on a number 2 pick would be devastating who would you pick as of right now with the Reds number 2 pick.

    • It’s really tough to say. But it wouldn’t be Kendall, I do know that much. I don’t trust him to hit enough at this point. The contact/approach just isn’t there. If I had to pick today, it would be Royce Lewis or Alex Faedo. The problem is, Lewis hasn’t even started playing yet – he starts this weekend. So we don’t really know what he’s going to have done yet. Faedo is also coming off of surgery to both of his knees. So far the results are outstanding, but given the background, he’s got to show he’s capable of throwing 100 innings, too.

  2. I really appreciate your dong this. My question is speculative. Let us say that Disco can go the first week of the season…. in your best educated guess… without any more injuries…
    what do you think the starting rotations are for
    1. Reds
    2 Louisville
    3. Pensacola when season starts?

    Thanks

    • Finnegan, DeSclafani, Feldman, Reed, Stephenson
      Garrett, Romano, Stephens, Adleman, Davis (Travieso on the DL)
      Castillo, Mahle, Antone, Mella, question mark.Could be a bunch of different options, but no one really jumps out. Maybe Crawford. Maybe a free agent guy.

  3. 1. At what level do you see the following players starting the year out at:
    Aristides Aquino
    Nick Senzel
    Alex Blandino
    Sal Romano
    Shed Long
    Tyler Stephenson

    2. Aquino was a guy that everybody talked about in the past as having that raw talent that if he put it all together, watch out. Last year he seemed to start figuring it out and hopefully he can keep building on that. Along those same lines, can you give me a pitcher and a batter (besides Aquino) to watch this year in the minor league organization who you think has all the right tools, but we are just waiting for them to hone them and rise thru the minors quickly?

    3. Which prospect outside of MLB.com’s top 30 Reds prospects are you most excited about and/or you think will have the best big league career?

    • 1. AA, AA,AA, AAA, A+, A.

      2. The first name that jumped out to me for pitchers was Tony Santillan. I am not expecting him to just breeze through things, there’s work to be done for sure. But he’s the kind of guy that has the stuff that if it clicks, he really could. Hitters? Don’t think there’s a guy right now that fits the Aquino mold in that I think they could take a big step forward like that. Tyler Stephenson, maybe, but as a catcher he’s probably going to take a while.

      3. Odds that anyone has much of a big league career outside of the Top 30 are slim. I’m sure more than a handful get a cup of coffee, but other than relievers, it’s probably not likely anyone outside has a long career. If I had to pick one, I’d take Michael Beltre – I believe he’s the highest ranked guy that they have unranked (I don’t have both lists up right now – but I believe that’s correct).

  4. 1. With Jumbo being DFA yesterday, who do you think will be in the bullpen opening day?
    2. Who will end the year in the Louisville rotation?
    3. Where will Aquino end the year assuming he does well?

    • 1. Lorenzen, Iglesias, Storen, Wood, Cingrani seem like locks. After that, I honestly have no clue at this point.

      2. No idea. Who knows what happens with injuries at the big league level, AAA, AA? Trades could change everything, too. Impossible question to answer honestly.

      3. AAA if he does well.

  5. Appreciate this always Doug!

    1) Do you believe the Reds will have enough talent coming up to compete with the rest of the NL Central in the next few years, as is their plan for 18, 19, 20?

    2) I know you were high on Zack Weiss a few years ago. Do u still feel the same? Can he regain his prospect standing and become an important bullpen piece for the Reds?

    3) Aristides Aquino seems to be taking the leap, though as we know with the jump to AA being the toughest, do u believe his plate discipline and approach holds up and he continues to push towards the Major leagues?

    Thanks!

    • 1. To compete with the Cubs? No, not unless they have several injuries in a given year. To compete for one of the Wild Card spots? Yes, I do think they’ve got that kind of talent. Unfortunately, I just think the Cubs have 100-win talent for the foreseeable future and, well, they are the only one in that area in MLB.

      2. At this point I’m in wait-and-see mode. He missed an entire year and had minor arm surgery in the offseason to get things cleaned up. I’ll have to see what he’s throwing like this year.

      3. That’s the big question. I really liked what I saw in person last year with him when it came to recognizing pitches, compared to what he looked like in past seasons. But, I think he needs to take another step forward in that regard if he’s going to be a quality big league hitter. It’s probably one of the more important things to watch for in Pensacola this season.

  6. Can you tell us how Senzel is doing, or what is he doing? What do non 40 man players do, and how much interaction does a player like him get with Price, or does he take grounders with Suarez? Any insight to our top prospect.

    thanks

    • I can’t tell you how he’s doing – I’m not in Arizona for another two weeks. But, position players are just now arriving in minor league camp (some got there early for various reasons – strength camp, some guys who are coming off of injury were required to be there early, starters were due two weeks ago, relievers due a week ago).

      The minor league guys don’t get too much interaction with the big league guys. They tend to work on the backfields with the minor league staff. Minor League games will start on March 17th in Arizona.

  7. Mr. Doug,
    If you had the opportunity to start your own minor league team and you could take one player at each position from the Reds minor league system, R-AAA levels, who would be your 8 position players?
    Who would be your 5 pitchers for your rotation?
    For arguments sake, Peraza, Herrera, Stephenson, and Reed would be ineligible and regarded as major leaguers.

    • If we are talking about me having to have an “expansion” style draft, where I’m building my team for the future, and not just for today, here’s what I’d do:

      SP: Garrett, Romano, Gutierrez, Castillo, Travieso
      BP: Herget, Hernandez, Weiss, Mitchell, Guillon, Davis, Mahle (I think he could start, but if I can’t start him, I’m bullpenning him)
      C: Tyler Stephenson
      1B: Gavin LaValley
      2B: Shed Long
      SS: Alfredo Rodriguez
      3B: Nick Senzel
      COF: Aristides Aquino
      CF: Taylor Trammell
      COF: Jesse Winker

  8. 1. I know the strategy for the Reds in the draft is best player available, but say they drafted based on need. Then who would you say they should draft?

    2. Why do you think many national rankings for our minor league system have been so varied and poor in comparison to yours? Are they sleeping on our talent, or are we looking through Pete Rose colored lenses? Or are they making their rankings with different criteria than you do perhaps? FYI I really want your rankings to be true, but I am just trying to sober my expectations if need be.

    3. It may be too early in Spring Training to know, but what prospect has seemed to take the most steps forward in the off season?

    • 1. It might be the same guy this year: Royce Lewis. The Reds don’t have anyone in the system I’m confident in as a future starting shortstop.

      2. I wish I had the answer to it. It’s so strange. Luis Castillo is the perfect example. Keith Law has the guy as a Top 100 prospect in baseball. Baseball America says he’s the #12 prospect in our system. Then ranks our system outside of the Top 10. How does that work? I’m not saying Keith Law is the best prospect ranker out there, but he’s not bad, either. His opinion isn’t THAT far off of what BA says about Castillo when we look at the scouting reports both provide. It’s confusing to say he’s a Top 100 guy here, but there are 11 other guys BETTER, but yeah, that’s not a Top 10 farm system. Makes no sense at all.

      What I think is partially going on is that old reports die hard. Sal Romano is still talked about like he’s a reliever all over the place. That is despite him never relieving, having three quality pitches and absolutely dominating Double-A as a starter in the second half last season after making some adjustments. He’s a Top 100 prospect in my mind. That’s not rose colored glasses – it’s me knowing more about him than it seems the consensus does. Maybe they are getting their reports from people who only saw him once or twice in 2016 and they saw him in May instead of July. The whole thing is just weird to me.

      3. It’s way too early because minor league position players aren’t due in minor league camp for two more days. But, if I had to pick someone that’s in Reds camp – Rookie Davis. Velo is back up and he’s added a slider.

  9. I love it when you guys do this… thank you for the hard work!

    I only have one question:

    1. Which position (or group of positions) is currently the weakest in the minors?

    (By weakest, I mean least likely to be ready to contribute in the window of 2018-2020).

    • It’s a tough question to answer. First base has one guy in the entire system right now that looks like they may be capable. But, the Reds also don’t need that guy. Shortstop has options, but none of them look like solid bets to be starters at this point. But, they may not need any of them. Everywhere else, I think there’s at least one option that could be there by 2019.

  10. If Herrera is unable to play regularly in the field and some team (hopefully) finally comes calling for Cozart , what does the Reds middle IF look like?

    If your answer to #1 above involves some mix of Iribarren and Renda, does that mean the Reds have a major issue at middle IF in terms of the rebuild?

    Do you see Suarez as a longer term option at 2B or even back at SS?

    Thanks

    • 1. There’s always a chance that they’d go with Vincej at short and Peraza at second (or maybe the other way around). But I’d guess they’d just play Iribarren at second until Herrera were healthy.

      2. Not exactly. Shed Long could be ready in the next 18 months for second. Senzel could push Suarez to second base, possibly. Maybe Vincej takes a step forward, maybe Calten Daal does. Alex Blandino may be healthy and find his bat again. Blake Trahan should be starting in Double-A. He could be an option in 18 months as well. There are options – none of exactly safe as far as shortstops go, but they’ve all got a little bit of something that gives you hope that they could be ok-ish if they improve. And with multiple options, the chances are better.

      3. I think Suarez at second could be a real option given what we’ve got in Senzel. I think shortstop has passed him by at this point.

  11. 1. Is it realistic to think that Mesoraco could play a position other than catcher? Obviously his bat would be a massive asset in our lineup, and catching related injuries seem to be the biggest obstacle for him.

    2. If Dilson Herrera stays healthy (a huge if, obviously), what is his ceiling as a hitter? Could he be an all star level hitter?

    3. After Nick Senzel, who in the Reds farm system is the best hitting prospect? Do we have anyone that profiles as an above average major league hitter?

    • 1. Yes…. but the problem is, there’s probably a better hitter and defender at both spots he’s likely to move to: 3B and 1B.

      2. All-Star level for 2B? Sure. I could see him being a .280 guy with 20 home runs. That’s an All-Star in some years.

      3. Jesse Winker.

      There are plenty of guys with the potential to be above-average Major League hitters. Not a lot of safe bets in there, though.

  12. Sorry for the late start – I had to call customer service at my ISP to deal with a recurring issue dealing with my email being inactive…. All is good now.

  13. Thanks for these Q & A sessions. I have only one question. The reds are using a shortstop named S Vincej as a late inning replacement. What club was he affiliated with last year, and what level do you think he will be sent to following S T? AA? AAA? Thanks.

  14. Based on recovered velocity and other improvements he seems to have made over the offseason, where would you rank Rookie Davis, today among Reds prospects?

    • He’d probably sneak his way back into the Top 25, but barely. The velocity uptick is great to see. But, he’s still got to show an out pitch to move up even further.

  15. Any change Yorman Rodriguez signs back with the Reds? Any insight into why he has not signed on with someone?

    • No idea why he hasn’t signed yet. I’ve got two theories: One, he’s hurt. Two, he’s trying to hold out for a big league deal somewhere. But, I honestly have no clue as to what’s going on.

  16. Doug, humility time. You’ve been doing this for what, ten years? Who are the “swings and misses” and who has played out the MLB level about as you expected?

    • This is year #11!

      I’m so old. I’ve clearly gotten better at projecting players than I used to be. Heck, I was 21 when I started this stuff. Going back to my first ever prospect list, and looking only at the Top 10’s, here are the guys who never made the Majors:

      Milton Loo (retired after one half-season, the year he was drafted – one of the more interesting stories I’ve encountered. He was Hawaiian, from a small town and he missed home. Hung up the spikes after hitting .372 /.413/.581 in limited Gulf Coast League action. He hit .339 and .391 at Yavapia JC in two years there – kid had tools). Pre 2007 season ranked 8th

      Javon Moran: Was a very fast, high contact, low walk guy. He was coming off of a .328 /363/.403 season, mostly at AA, in a weak year for the farm system while being able to play center field. Pre 2007 season ranked 9th

      Kyle Lotzkar: Big time arm, big time curve. Injuries got him. In hindsight, his terrible mechanics were a warning sign that I saw and acknowledged, but they were so bad that today I’d never rank him that high. Topped out at #7 before the 2009 season.

      Since then, every prospect in my Top 10’s have made the Majors (with he exception of recent choices, where guys are all 23 or younger at this point).

      Now, Neftali Soto topped out at #2 on one list after destroying Billings and Dayton one year. Plate discipline should have been a big red sign, but at the time I was not as in tune with that as a marker for questioning a player. Yorman Rodriguez topped out at #4. I still think he’s got a big league future, even with the weirdness of him not being signed yet. I thought Yonder Alonso would be a better hitter than he’s turned out to be. I wonder how he’d have turned out in an alternate reality where he didn’t go to Petco and decide he wasn’t going to hit for power there and change his entire swing.

      I had Daniel Corcino ranked 3rd two different times. Once he reached the upper minors his velocity dipped and his walk rate jumped up. Never a good combo.

      I don’t think there’s anyone that’s turned into a future every day kind of player that I simply ranked poorly. But I’ve certainly been wrong on a few guys that turned into cup of coffee, but nothing more types.

      • I hd not heard the Loo story before. He’s still a young man. I wonder how often he wakes up in the middle of the night and wishes that he had toughed it out to follow his dream of playing in the Bigs? Kind of a sad story. I wonder if the reds did reach out to him to come back and try again.

  17. What roles do you see for Bonilla and Ogando and do you see a way that Romano makes the big league club out of ST?

    • Bonilla could probably pitch in the bullpen for the Reds out of spring training. Outside chance at the #5 spot. Don’t see where Ogando fits on the big league club right now. AAA to start the year.

      I think there’s an outside chance that Romano makes the club. Unlikely because he has no AAA time, and like it or not, service time comes into play. The stuff is absolutely there, though. I think in a “we are taking the best 12 arms”, he’d make it. But that’s hardly ever how it works.

  18. Winker has been at the top of the prospect lists for awhile. His numbers through the minors are just outstanding, until last year. I totally get the wrist injury and sapping power, yet it seems a lot of people have written him off. I say he is the best Reds home grown hitter since Joey Votto and will make the naysayers look bad soon. What say you?

      • Yes, that was excluding Senzel- should have said that. I will be watching Winker, Senzel, and Aquino this year.

  19. Doug – Do you think there is a chance that the Reds are better than the cubs in the next 3 years?

    If not how do the Reds get there?

    How does Luis Robert compare to other players that have come from Cuba? Should the Reds do everything they can do to acquire him?

    • 1. No, I don’t.

      2. Aside from spending $200M on payroll, it’s incredibly unlikely. The Cubs are just on a different level right now than everyone else. They’ve got an incredible group of young talent that’s locked up. They may need to buy some pitching, but that offense is insane. The defense isn’t so bad either. Short of the Cubs having some bad injury luck, I can’t see anyone competing with them in the regular season. Once the playoffs start, weird things happen and the best teams don’t always win 5 or 7-game series.

      3. I wrote a lot about him two weeks ago – give it a read. http://redsminorleagues.com/2017/02/25/going-cuban-luis-robert/

Comments are closed.