The Minor League Baseball season is nearly two weeks in, so what better time to bring out an All Questions Answered topic here at Redleg Nation? 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 Wednesday, 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.

About The Author

Doug Gray is the owner of and and as you guessed it, passionate about the Cincinnati Reds and baseball in general. He's been writing about baseball since 2006. You can also find some of his work at The Athletic where he writes about the Reds farm system. You can keep tabs with him on twitter @dougdirt24. He can also be reached via email here.

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69 Responses

  1. CI3J

    If it were up to you and you could call up any player from anywhere in the Reds organization instantly, what would be your 25-man Cincinnati Reds roster? (Batting order/starting pitchers/bullpen/bench)?

    • Doug Gray

      If I were to put together a true “best 25 players” roster there wouldn’t be too many changes. Winker, Ervin would come up. Romano would be back up. Until Herrera can play every day in the field, he’d have to stay down. Astin would be a close call. As would Evan Mitchell. Jimmy Herget is someone I’d like to see get a little more upper minor league time, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he were able to perform in the big league bullpen right now, either.

      • Michael E

        Ah, but who are you demoting or releasing? LOL. This isn’t September Doug.

      • CI3J

        Exactly. If Winker and Ervin come up, who would go out? I assume Alcantara would be one, but who else? Kivlehan? But that would mean the Reds would have 5 outfielders who all need to start. It wouldn’t help Winker and Ervin’s development to be sat on the bench.

    • Doug Gray

      Tough question because I don’t know how good you think he appears to be. But, he’s pretty good. Not a future closer, probably, if we look at just his pure stuff. But he does profile as a good 8th inning guy from a pure stuff standpoint. I think we see him at some point next year. In a different scenario, maybe this year, but the 40-man is full and the team needs the spots right now, too. He could push for a spot late in the year, but I just think the 40-man numbers keep him out this season.

  2. Michael

    What has Phillip Ervin done differently to improve so far this year?

    • Shchi Cossack

      If I may piggyback on Michael’s question…

      Are we dealing with a SSS and a couple of huge games in Columbus during the early season to warp his offensive numbers, or might we see some growth and maturity in Ervin’s game this season at AAA?

      • Andrew

        I was at one of the games in Columbus and it was the first time I’ve seen Ervin. He looked really good. He hit 2 HRs and they were both lasers. The first one might not have gone out in some other parks, but would not have been caught. The second would have gone out anywhere and it was on a line. The LFer didn’t move. He was patient all night and hit the ball really hard in all his trips to the plate. Obviously one game, but he was the most impressive player on the team that night by a long shot (no Winker or Elizalde in the lineup).

      • Doug Gray

        Tough to say, honestly. It’s worth noting, of course, that last year, when he got out of the park in Pensacola (which played pitcher friendly last year after they moved the fence back 17 feet in left field) he hit quite well.

        Right now, it’s just too early to say one way or the other, but I do think he’s a better hitter than he’s shown the past few years. How much better is kind of up in the air, though. He’s a fly ball guy, who is also a pull guy, which generally means lower BABIP than your typical guy.

      • Old-school

        How good can he be defensively in cf?

      • Doug Gray

        He’s got the speed to be ok-ish out there. Probably a tad below-average, but he’s not really a guy you want to put out there every day unless his routes/reads improve. More of a Chris Heisey type, defensively, than a true center fielder.

  3. cincyhoosiers8

    What’s the word with Dilson Herrera. I know he’s still at AAA but I feel like I don’t hear as much about him especially considering Buster Olney predicted he’d be an All-Star by 2018. My main question would be is he still progressing as some thought he would?

    • Shchi Cossack

      And also piggyback on CincyHoosier’s question…

      Are we seeing a really tough week at the plate during the early season for Herrera resulting in his miniscule .523 OPS or does Herrera have a physical problem that is impacting his offense now? Of course he may also be dealing with an emotional reaction to the frustration of not making the 25-man roster and now being blocked at the major league level, at least for the time being.

    • Doug Gray

      The guy can hit the baseball. Right now he’s not playing back-to-back days in the field, so that’s sort of a problem. The bat seems to be what everyone buys. The defense is something that not as many people buy in on. Basically, it was “his bat will be good enough to make it work at second”.

  4. wkuchad

    1. Of the current players on the 25 man roster (or major league disabled list), who would we gain an extra year of control if they were sent back to the minors for a couple/few weeks?

    2. Who in the minors are you surprised isn’t currently in the majors, and who in the majors are you surprised isn’t currently in the minors?

    3. Which minor leaguers stock has risen the most since the season started?

    • Doug Gray

      1. Amir Garrett and Rookie Davis are the only ones that a few weeks would buy you the extra year on.

      2. Sal Romano is the only obvious one to me. His debut was tough, but he should be in the rotation right now. Winker could play, but I’m not sure Schebler doesn’t deserve a chance to show what he’s got right now. I think Ervin would be an upgrade for the 4th outfielder, but I get wanting him to play every day, too. Alcantara is a guy I’m just not sure what he brings right now. I know why he’s not in the minors – he has no options, but he’s can’t hit and he can’t field. So, what’s that bringing to the Reds right now?

      3. Tanner Rainey. His transition from starter to reliever he been incredible. It started last August, but he’s struck out 16 of the 22 batters he’s faced. Only a dropped fly ball has prevented him from having 7 perfect innings to start the year. That was the only ball that left the infield against him.

    • Doug Gray

      I will double check when I get back home to my work computer and have the media guide.

    • Doug Gray

      Yes. I can’t do math. The Reds entered the 2017 season with at least THREE players that were born in 2000. They may have signed some more after the media guide went to the press (At some point in February).

  5. JO (@ghettotrout1)

    I saw that one website predicted the Reds take Brenden McKay with their number two pick. My question is first how likely do you think the Twins are to pass on Hunter Greene and if they did would the Reds take him and secondly if the Twins do take Greene who has impressed most this season to where you think the Reds would take at 2.

    • Doug Gray

      The Twins aren’t likely to pass on Greene. And at this point, no one truly stands out to me at #2. There’s a few guys in contention, but I will say this much: McKay doesn’t *feel* like a #2 overall pick kind of guy. He feels a lot more like a #10 overall kind of guy.

  6. Mike

    1) Is there any concern for pitchers like Davis & Romano who had no control issues in minors but have in (limited) Major League action?

    2) what do pitchers like Sal work on when they go back to minors to “work on things?”

    3) whatever happened to Yorman Rodriguez?

    • Doug Gray

      1. With Romano, no. That was more than likely just nerves and adrenaline. He walked 10 batters in his previous 89.1 minor league innings. The guy throws strikes. Davis – I don’t think he’s got control issues long term,, but I’m also less convinced he’s got the secondary offering for swings-and-misses – which could lead to more walks than his control would suggest because guys can just fight off stuff instead of swing through it.

      2. In his specific case, I’d guess his change up. It always varies for different guys. But, I really don’t like the move to send him back after 1 start.

      3. Not really sure. He’s still a free agent – lots of things that it could be: he’s still injured and can’t play, he’s seeking something monetarily that no one is willing to give him (because he was on the big league roster all of last year, there are rules in place that dictate how much money he has to be paid even if he signed a minor league deal), he simply could just not want to play any longer. I can’t imagine it’s at the point where a team simply isn’t willing to sign him. There are some warts on his resume, ones that certainly would take some teams off the table, but he’s got enough talent that someone should be willing to let him play in Triple-A if he were healthy and wanted to play.

  7. Shchi Cossack

    Any insight regarding Luis Robert and the possibility of the Reds inking the young Cuban OF if he is granted FA status before the calender flips to the next signing period in June?

    • Doug Gray

      They are absolutely interested in signing him. Private workout next week in the DR. But, it’s going to come down to money and whether they can outbid the other teams.

    • Doug Gray

      Because Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler are the starting corner outfielders right now and the Reds want Winker playing every day, so they aren’t sitting him on the bench.

      Duvall’s clearly playing well, and Schebler absolutely deserves more than two weeks to show something before having the job taken from him.

  8. Jordan Barhorst

    We constantly hear about the tools and abilities of players in the minor leagues, but rarely find out about a guy’s character and personality before they hit AAA, and sometimes not even until their first interview as a Red. Who’s your top 10 Reds prospect personalities list? Who makes for the best interview? Do we have any Bronson Arroyos down there? Any Brandon Phillips? Jay Bruces?

    • Doug Gray

      I’m not going to rank the guys on personalities. I only get so much insight into that side of things. Not really sure who gives the best interview, either. I definitely know the guys that aren’t good ones, but I’m not going to say who they are.

      I’ll tell you who impressed me a lot this year though: Taylor Trammell. He comes off as a smart guy and he’s very well articulated with his thoughts and words. Very mature for his age when it comes to that kind of stuff.

      Most improved interview: Amir Garrett. I haven’t talked to him this year, but from the first time to the last time that I interviewed him, he had come so far in how he answered questions, gave better insights and things like that.

      Some of the more outgoing personality guys: Shed Long, Ariel Hernandez.

  9. Jim Walker

    What or who are you most excited about involving the Reds minor league system?

    What or who are you most disappointed about involving the Reds minor league system?

    Is Sebastian Elizalde a late bloomer to be excited about as a possible MLB player?

    • Doug Gray

      1. The better nutrition systems that have been put in place, the technology being used at all of the levels now (Trackman is in all the parks) and the sports sciences role that they started last year.

      2. The pay – though that’s not directly tied to the Reds, it’s all of minor league baseball. But, it’s a freaking joke how little they get paid.

      3. He may be a future utility guy.

      • lwblogger2

        Regarding #2, there are people in independent ball making better money than some of the guys at A+ and AA in the minors. It’s crazy.

        For the record, I barely made pizza and beer money playing for Lancaster way back when they had a team. But actual MiLB players didn’t make much more than that either.

  10. VaRedsFan

    Are you surprised that Senzel started the year at A+ instead of AA?
    Do you believe he will climb to AA or higher this year?
    Do you believe he is Kris Bryant special enough to be brought up 2 weeks into 2018?

    • Doug Gray

      1.I was and I wasn’t. Most of the offseason i had heard he would start in Double-A, but then as spring training was about to begin, I had heard that it was more likely to be Daytona. So, it really just depends on what you’re asking about my level of surprise.

      2. AA for sure. AAA, that will probably be determined by how he plays. I don’t think there’s any reason to rush him to AAA though.

      3. No. I’m a big believer that Senzel is going to be quite good, but I don’t think he’s Kris Bryant level, top 5 player in the game good.

      • MrRed

        But he doesn’t necessarily have to be THAT good to warrant service time considerations. This ties into my question though: What do you think Senzel has to do this year to make to the big leagues in 2018?

      • Doug Gray

        This year isn’t going to change much. It’s more about 2018, what he does then, and what others are doing with the Reds. Suarez, Cozart, Peraza and Herrera all come into play as to the timeline for Senzel that has nothing at all to do with anything he’s doing.

  11. Kap

    1. Likelihood that Castillo and Mahle reaches Cincy this year?
    2. Beside Herget, who has the highest ceiling out of all of the reliever prospects?
    3. Where will Robert start in the minors if the reds signed him and at which outfield position?

    Thanks Doug. Appreciate all that you do

    • Doug Gray

      1. Castillo is on the 40-man, so I think we’ll see him at some point, even if it’s September. Mahle isn’t on the 40-man, so the odds aren’t as likely for him. The 40-man is pretty full of talent right now, and with two spots being needed later for Bailey, DeSclafani and Travieso at some point, they will already have other moves to make to clear space. That plays against a guy not on the 40-man.

      2. Herget doesn’t have the highest ceiling on his own team from the relievers. That would go to Ariel Hernandez, who has two 75+ pitches on the 20-80 scale. You don’t see guys with one 70+ pitch too often, much less two. Tanner Rainey’s got to be up there as well as far as ceilings go.

      3. Don’t know. It could be a situation where like Alfredo Rodriguez, it’s in his contract to go to the DSL (I’m not really sure why that was like that, perhaps for tax reasons? I’m just guessing at this point). I think skill wise, Dayton would be the highest you’d see him. He’s capable of playing center right now, but that doesn’t mean that’s where he’ll play daily in the minors. Just depends on who else is on the team with him.

  12. Hotto4Votto

    If Crawford shows health throughout the year what’s his upside and does he have the stuff to stick as a starter?

    Has the talent level at AAA caught up to Chacin’s stuff? He’s never been overpowering but he’s always been effective, not so much to start the year.

    When do you think we’ll see performance based promotions for Rainey, Herget, LaValley, Friedl, and Beltre if they keep up similar performances?

    • Doug Gray

      1. Even before he was injured, I thought he was a reliever. Now that he’s got lesser stuff he is even more of a future reliever candidate.

      2. He’s not throwing quite as hard right now as he has in the past. Not way down, but a MPH or two for him is big. It’s still early, but it’s possible this is the level that catches up. Let’s check back in six weeks though and see how he’s doing.

      3. For a guy like Rainey/Herget, it could be a month. Relievers can be moved a little bit quicker. The outfielders and LaValley, probably closer to mid-season. Though, LaValley has time with Daytona already, so maybe a bit sooner.

  13. NKYRedsFan

    Thinking about Reds pitchers in the minor leagues from last year, and one name that I recalled was Franderlin Romero.

    If i recall correctly, he had been having some success in Dayton but was traded to the Orioles for international signing allotments. Aren’t the Reds locked out of international signings above $300k for the next two years? If true, what did the Reds ultimately end up receiving for trading Romero if it didn’t help them avoid exceeding their cap?

    Just curious if you knew anything else that went on behind the scenes with regards to this trade (or maybe i missed it). Thanks for any insight you may have!

    • Doug Gray

      The Reds can sign anyone for any price through June 15th. After that they are then locked out for big signings over the next two years. The signing periods for a given year (say 2016) starts on July 2nd and runs through June 15th. Between those dates there’s a signing freeze on players that re-opens on July 2nd.

  14. broiler98

    Besides Nick Senzel, which of the Daytona Tortugas have the best shot of playing for the Reds?

    • Doug Gray

      There’s a lot of guys on that squad that could be future big leaguers in one form or another. But, as the old saying goes: Money talks. Vladimir Gutierrez and Alfredo Rodriguez both got a boatload of money to sign, and they’ll be pushed for that reason even if their performance doesn’t necessarily dictate it. That’s not to say I don’t think they can’t play in the Majors, I do. Rodriguez glove could be useful right now. His bat will determine if it’ll be worth keeping him around long term or not, but the glove will get him there, probably. Gutierrez has a huge arm, so if nothing else, he’s probably a reliever unless he gets hurt and loses all of his stuff. But, there’s still Shed Long, Gavin LaValley, Chris Okey, and a handful of potential bullpen arms (some that are currently starting) with a decent enough shot to be big leaguers.

    • Doug Gray

      I’ll look into it. I saw him in the spring, but he wasn’t pitching. He’s currently on the DL, but I don’t know what the specific reason is for it.

  15. Scott E. Disney

    How is Jackson Stephens doing (in AAA I think?) and how close is he to the majors realistically? My gut would say next closest behind Romano, but I don’t know much about Stephens.

    • Doug Gray

      The transition to Triple-A hasn’t gone well through three starts. He wasn’t a Top 25 prospect for me coming into the year. I think he’s a big leaguer, but more likely as a reliever in the long run. Not sure he’s got an above-average pitch as a starter. As a reliever the stuff may play up some, and he generally has thrown strikes in his career.

  16. John

    Are you at all concerned about Okey’s slow start?

    What are you seeing in Santillan? Does he have more control this year than last?

    Could you talk about the possible upsides of these relievers: Ariel Hernandez, Jimmy Hergert, Tanner Rainey? Do they all have closer potential?

    Thanks Doug

    • Doug Gray

      1. I’d by lying if the strikeout rate didn’t make me wonder a bit, but overall, no, not really. Not yet at least. You’d always like to see the start be better, but I believe that the power and defense are there. And as a catcher, that’s usually a good start. Obviously he’s going to have to strikeout less than he has so far this season, but I think all of the pieces are there in the long run.

      2. Yes, there’s more control this year. Mechanics are better, too. Still needs to be more consistent with them, but there are improvements, for sure.

      3. Hernandez and Rainey are more conventional “closer” types when looking at the pure, raw stuff. 95+, consistently, hammer type breaking balls. Herget is more of an 8th inning profile guy, though I think right now, he’s certainly more advanced of the three. Hernandez has the best pure stuff I’ve ever seen. Control/consistency issues have been what’s held him back, but he’s come such a long way in that department in the last 18 months. Rainey as a starter had similar problems, but he’s been incredible as a reliever since making that transition last August.

  17. Patrick Jeter

    Do you feel this is a super important year for Tyler Stephenson? I feel like it might be. Once a prospect’s “sheen” wear off, it seems they are less likely to be moved up when ready and sort of fizzle as future major leaguers.

    • Doug Gray

      Not at all. He’s a high school catcher, so the timetable for him was probably 5 years in a reasonable circumstance anyways.

  18. goreds

    If Dilson Herrera were still eligible for prospect lists where would he rank? Would he be a top 100 prospect and/or Reds top 10?

    • Doug Gray

      Yes and yes. I’m not exactly sure where I’d put him in my own personal Top 10, I ‘d have to really sit down and work it all out and I’m not going to do that because I’m lazy – but he’d definitely be in the Top 10.

  19. goreds

    Do you see T.J. Friedl having a future impact for the reds?

    • Doug Gray

      I guess I’d have to ask what you define as impact, because we may have differing opinions on that one. I think he’s got a chance to be a future big leaguer, but I’m not sure he’s an impact guy/every day guy either. He’s certainly got big league qualities: The speed and defense is there. His bat is quick, so he’s not going to generally have fastballs blown by him.

  20. D_Haus

    Outside of Cuban signings, who could be the next impact player for the Reds to come from Latin American scouting efforts?

    • Doug Gray

      Aristides Aquino is the only non-Cuban born LA guy in the Reds top 20 on my list that the Reds actually signed. Luis Castillo, Keury Mella and Ariel Hernandez are all Top 25 guys for me, but the first two were acquired via trade and Hernandez was picked up in the minor league version of the Rule 5.

      • Doug Gray

        To expand on this, it was a rough go of things for the Reds internationally. They kind of went all in in 2008 with Yorman Rodriguez and Juan Duran, who signed for $2.5M and $2M. They didn’t spend 7-figures on another kid from Latin American until the 2015 signing period. They only went over $500,000 twice between those two. One guy literally never threw a pitch – he went through multiple arm injuries and the other hasn’t gotten out of Low-A and is currently on the DL with an arm injury. They’ve had some successes, though. Funny enough, both are with the Yankees. Didi Gregorius is an above-average big league shortstop and Ronald Torreyes, who is currently replacing him in the lineup, both came from the LA efforts in that span.

  21. The Duke

    1) Do you think the Reds will be able to find a way to option Garrett for a few weeks this year, or with his success so far are the chances of getting control of the 2023 season gone?

    2) Hunter Greene has only pitched 28 innings this spring and hasn’t pitched since April 7th. It’s been announced he isn’t pitching at all in the Boras Classic this week either. Red flag or are his handlers protecting him since he seems to have separated as the top draft prospect?

    3) Give the logjam of talent in the 2-8 range in the draft (at least in my estimation), do you think who is willing to take a bigger below slot deal will factor into the pick?

    • Doug Gray

      1. No. They messed up. I said from the beginning, you can’t bring them up at the start of the year because if they perform you can’t send them back. Amir ain’t going back.

      2. He recently threw in the bullpen for scouts – it’s just him and his “advisors” keeping him healthy.

      3. I do think that will come into play, especially with another early pick for the Reds. With that said, maybe what we see as a close grouping in that range isn’t there for Chris Buckley and his staff.

  22. GreggL

    1. Tell us a bit about Wennington Romero. Why isn’t he listed as a top prospect?

    2. What is Evan Mitchell’s potential as a reliever?

    3. What’s the weakest position in our farm system?

    As always, thanks for answering all these questions. You are great!

    • Doug Gray

      1. Well, until this year he had never pitched in full-season ball. And for me, unless you’re super toolsy, you’ve got to get out of rookie ball to make a Top 25 as deep as the one that the Reds currently have. Romero isn’t a big guy, though as a lefty you worry slightly less about that. He’s not a big fastball guy, either, working 88-91 MPH. Good curveball, solid change up. Knows how to pitch, but the upside isn’t big. He’s very advanced for his age, though.

      2. Good 7th inning type. Big time groundball pitcher, throws strikes, can reach upper 90’s on occasion.

      3. 1st base. It’s Gavin LaValley and that’s about it.

  23. jveith1991

    What do you see as the more likely scenario when the Reds are ready to contend again: trading for/signing an established major league hitter or trading for/signing an ace-type starting pitcher?

    • Doug Gray

      Tough one because if the Reds are going to contend, the young starters have probably stepped forward, so they may not need that kind of starter. At the same time, if they are contending, you’d think that the position guys are also performing well. So, where do they find a true good hitter to play? This is a non-answer, honestly, but I just don’t know which one makes more sense.