On Tuesday night, I was in the press box with the Bats here in Louisville and I had the chance to talk with Delino DeShields and Jesse Winker.

One of the things I’ve noticed in watching minor league players and talking to people around the organization is that the most interesting players are those who impress the old school and the new school guys. It lets you know that they have several — and varying — positive aspects of their game. I asked DeShields (who wouldn’t shy away from the old-school label) what he’s seen this year that impressed him.

He highlighted three players. The first was Phillip Ervin. Ervin has long had excellent plate discipline, but has dealt with some of the same power-sapping injuries as Jesse Winker. He’ll turn 25 in a few months and is getting long in the tooth for a prospect. However, the power has shown up at the beginning of this year so far and he’s clearly drawing positive reviews from everyone at this point.

Sebastian Elizalde was another player DeShields mentioned. Elizalde was a Mexican League pickup by the Reds several years ago and is a bit of an enigma, but he does seem to be able to hit in the purest sense of the word. His ceiling is probably a 4th outfielder-type.

Tony Renda. Everyone loves Tony Renda. Everyone. He’s jumped out to a .325/.391/.475 line at the start of the AAA season. Of course, he saw some time in Cincy last year and it would be surprising if he didn’t see any MLB time this year. He’s probably the first call up if a bench player is injured.

I also spoke briefly to Jesse Winker about his short stint with the Reds. This was his first game back in Louisville. Here’s some of what he had to say: “It was a great experience for me… I got my first hit out of the way. I got a lot of firsts out of the way… I know by my second at-bat a lot of the butterflies were gone, and now I know when I go back up there, it’s just strictly business.”

Winker does have a reputation for being emotionally steady, which is something that can bother some people, but is probably an asset when faced with your first opportunity to play in the majors.

I’ll try to do these kinds of updates periodically throughout the year. There are certainly people who know more about this stuff than me and we probably ought to listen to them at least sometimes.

16 Responses

  1. larry

    Sorry to go off target, but Luis Robert has been devlared a free agent. I hope that you will be interviewing him in Triple A soon.

    • Shchi Cossack

      YOWZERS!!! The Reds have a private workout scheduled for Robert and he will certainly sign a FA contract prior to June 15. C’mon DW…git ‘er done.

  2. Shchi Cossack

    Renda to the DL list. What’s up with that? Anything serious?

    • Shchi Cossack

      Zack Vincej also to the DL list. The Bats IF is taking a pounding today.

  3. sultanofswaff

    Did you get a chance to ask DeShields why Winker and Ervin never bat in the top 3 of the lineup? LOL

    • Patrick Jeter

      That would be the lol-inducing moment of the season.

      “So, why do you bat a high OBP, high AVG guy 6th-7th sometimes and insist on batting terrlble hitters before him?”


      • Jason Linden

        He would say it’s just because in the majors, they’d eventually figure to be 3-4-5 type hitters, which is probably true.

      • Patrick Jeter

        Maybe there’s a disconnect between my view of his job and his own view (not that he cares what my view is, nor should he)… I feel his job is developing players for the Reds. Seems like DeShields thinks his job is to win AAA baseball games so he does his lineup via Dusty Rules, thinking that is the correct way to win ballgames.

        Unless he actually thinks giving Winker fewer PAs is helping him… I hope that isn’t the case.

      • Jason Linden

        I think he has a different view of what developing means. Baseball players are human and like it or not, they ascribe different ability sets and different amounts of pressure to different spots in the order. 7th is low pressure, which is why Winker hit there when he was coming back from and injury. 3-5 are “run producer” slots. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I more thought goes into it than you give him credit for.

      • Nick Carrington

        Unfair to say that Patrick doesn’t think DeShield is giving it thought. Patrick is saying he is thinking about it incorrectly from a developmental standpoint and that’s a reasonable argument. You can disagree and believe that the fewer ABs are offset by some mental preparation and development of batting Winker where DeShields thinks he will bat in the majors. I don’t buy that, but I think that’s the opposing viewpoints as I see them.

      • Patrick Jeter

        And I’d be fine if it were the 3-hole Winker was batting in… but 5-6-7 is insane. And yes, I know he only did 7th like 2-3 times.

        But, looking at last night’s lineup… 1-2 are CF-2B*. Sounds familiar.

        *Herrera DHing.

      • Tom Diesman

        Then he’d just be wrong again and demonstrating even less of what we need managing the AAA team. Winker and Ervin are both 1-3 slot hitters.

        AAA Manager Quiz

        Reasons to bat Winker and Ervin in the 1-3 slots:

        A. You want to bat them were they should hit in the Majors.
        B. You have their development as a priority so you want to prepare them for the spots they will hit in the majors and they will actually get more repetitions there to boot.
        C. You want to win, because they are two of your best hitters and batting them there would get them the most ABs.
        D. There is not reason to bat them 1-3 since neither plays the middle infield or CF ( Well, Ervin plays CF sometimes when uber prospect Beau Amaral needs a night off).
        E. A, B, and C.

  4. Scott Carter

    Maybe Reds need to send Alcantara down to help Louisville with infield.

    • MrRed

      They’ll have to waive him to do that…no more options. Plus, if they jettisoned Alcantara, they need to bring somebody up from Louisville to provide a backup option. So problem not solved.

      • The Duke

        Waive Alcantara and bring either Tony Renda or Juan Perez on the 40 man and call them up. Apparently hitting and defense aren’t among the tools the “toolsy” Alcantara posseses.