The next time that I write a column here at Redleg Nation pitchers and catchers will have reported to Goodyear for spring training. Can you feel the excitement?

Before getting into the rules for the All Questions Answered, which can be found below, I thought I’d leave a few links and notes about the farm system that have popped up over the last two weeks.

The Reds have officially added a new minor league team in Greeneville, Tennessee. They are also eliminating a team, dropping one of their two Dominican Summer League teams. It’s going to be interesting to see how the organization handles both of these moves in 2018, though we won’t have a great feel for it until June when the season begins for the teams involved. I’d expect plenty of international players to come stateside once again to play in Goodyear for the Arizona League Reds. But what will be more interesting, at least to me, is how the Reds will choose which players to send to Greeneville and which to send to Billings. Greeneville is in a more pitcher friendly league, while Billings is in a very hitter friendly league (though their home park is pitcher friendly compared to the league as a whole – or at least has been in the past). The two teams are at the same level of competition, but they are in different leagues.

Onto the All Questions Answered portion of the post. There are some rules, and while I do specialize in the minor leagues, I will take any baseball related question.

  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Each user can ask TWO questions.
  • Ask your questions before 8PM and I will be sure to answer it. If you ask after 8PM on Wednesday, then I can’t guarantee that I will answer your question.

Get to it and I’ll begin answering questions around noon-ish and keep going throughout the afternoon as long as they keep coming in.

Join the conversation! 55 Comments

  1. 1. So, Phil Gosselin is, apparently, the backup SS for 2018. . . . What are the odds that the “real plan” is to eventually shift Suarez to SS once Senzel is ready and use Peraza either at 2B (full-time or in a platoon situation with Scooter) or in a utility role? . . .

    2. If you had to guess (assuming good health), how many PAs will each of the four outfielders get in 2018? . . .

    • The odds that the real plan involves Suarez or Senzel to shortstop are next to none. The Reds would have to be literally stupid if they believed that either of those guys were capable of playing shortstop and not actually playing them at shortstop given that the other options are Peraza and Gosselin. Say what you will about the people in the Reds front office (and I don’t think they are dumb), but they aren’t that dumb.

      2. I think Winker’s going to force his way into a full-time role by the second half. So, put him down for 500 PA. Everyone else, 400-ish.

  2. 1. In 2020, who mans the outfield in Cincinnati, and how do you assess the quality or strengths and weaknesses of that outfield?

    2. In 2020, I’m guessing it’s Suarez at 3rd, Senzel at 2nd, and Votto at 1st. Who’s playing shortstop for those Reds and what will be the strengths and weaknesses at that position? Of course if you foresee a different infield lineup I’d love to hear your most likely scenario.

    • 1. Winker will be the left fielder at that point. Beyond that, we’re just guessing. But let’s go with Taylor Trammell in center, where his range will be good, but his arm isn’t (it will be a weakness, but it’ll play enough). In right field until something changes, I think we’ll see Schebler there. There’s a chance we could see Jose Siri in center, which would push Trammell to left and then Winker to right. But, playing things on the safe side, let’s stick with the first version. And if that’s the case, the weakness there is that none of the outfielders have a good arm. The strength should be that they’ll all bring offensive value.

      2. Until I see a better alternative at shortstop I’m going to say it’s Peraza. And that’s not me being high on Peraza exactly as much as it is not seeing another shortstop option right now for the next few seasons internally.

  3. 1. At what level do you expect Hunter Greene, Taylor Trammell, and Shed Long to start at the beginning of the season?
    2. How would you rate T.J. Friedl as a prospect?

    • 1. Greene will be in Dayton. The question is more about when he shows up in Dayton. Will they keep him back until it warms up at some point in May to help both limit his overall innings pitched and keep him out of pitching in 30-40° weather in the Midwest League early in the season? I think there’s a good chance that they do. Trammell will start in Daytona. Long will start in Pensacola.

      2. Friedl is a guy that I had outside of my Top 25. There’s some stuff to like with his game. He’s got good speed, he bunts very well, he’s got some bat speed, and he can handle center field. But, he also looks more like a good 4th outfielder than a starting caliber guy. I wrote up a full report on his season, with video and a scouting report on him earlier this month. Check it out: http://redsminorleagues.com/2018/01/08/cincinnati-reds-top-prospects-tj-friedl/

  4. 1. Where does Nick Travieso start the season? Back in Pensacola because of his surgery and the large number of SP prospects already at Louisville?
    2. It seems like Louisville is poised to have a good pitching staff, given the fact that not everyone can make the 25 man roster. What will their offense like? Will it be able to back the pitching staff?

    • 1. Tough to say. First things first, he’ll have to get through the spring healthy. After that, with the missed season, they could send him to Daytona to get his feet wet, so to speak, before sending him back to Pensacola. They did that with Zack Weiss in 2017 after missing all of 2016.

      2. Well, it depends on how long they will have Nick Senzel. And Alex Blandino. With Triple-A, particularly, you never can count on guys sticking around. I think the offense has a chance to be good, but all it takes it a call up or two and the team could look very, very different.

  5. 1. In your honest opinion, what do you think is the overall outlook for scott moss? Stays in the rotation or future high leverage reliever?

    2. Same with Gutierrez?

    • 1. Moss is interesting. The Reds think he’s going to pick up more velocity as he gets further away from surgery and puts more innings on his arm. Last year I didn’t think he had enough velocity to remain a starter long term, but if you tossed him in the bullpen and he picked up 2 ticks, you put that with his breaking ball and have a good looking reliever. If he picks up that velo as a starter, maybe there’s a better chance he can stick in the rotation. But, he’s also had health issues in the past. The safe bet is that he’s a reliever. Probably not high leverage, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he were eventually a solid 8th inning guy – though he profiles more as a 7th inning type for now.

      2. Gutierrez has all of the stuff to be a starter. What he needs to be able to do is show he can carry it through a full season workload, which he hasn’t done yet.

  6. That was good news the Reds and Tusculum College finally came to agreement on the stadium issues in Greeneville.
    1. Any truth to the rumor that Hunter Greene is slated to open in Greeneville and pitch the first game there? Supposedly it will be Hunter Greene Day in Greeneville and the town is going to make a big to do about the opening game.
    2. Speaking of Greene, would you have included him in a package for the Marlins Christian Yelich?
    3. Would you like to see Chad Dotson on the seat of a dunking machine with Hunter Greene throwing the balls at the bullseye?

    • wouldn’t everyone pay cash money for #3?

      • I’d donate some more money to RLN or to the charity of Chad’s/Green’s choice to see that.

    • 1. This is the first time I’ve heard this “rumor”, so I’m going to say that no, it’s probably not likely. I’d be very surprised if the Reds held Greene back from pitching until late June.

      2. No, I wouldn’t have. But, I will say that I understand the argument for doing so (assuming the rest of the package made sense, of course).

      3. I’d like to see Chad Dotson on the seat of a dunking machine with anyone throwing.

  7. 1) Could you give a little update on Tejay Antone? Any hopes of him recovering?
    2) This is a long-shot: What do you see, if anything, in Satchel Mcelroy’s future? I interacted with him during a game this summer. He’s a great guy. I hope he can make, but I doubt he will make it above A- ball.

    • 1. He had Tommy John surgery, not an amputation. So, yeah, there are hopes of him recovering. When he was healthy he had good enough stuff. But, with his age, and now time missed, I think he’s even more likely now than ever to be a bullpen guy. That said, don’t be surprised if he starts for a while longer in the minors.

      2. I think you’re spot on with McElroy. He’s got wheels, for sure, but I’m just not sure how much he will hit. You always hope guys like that develop into better hitters. Most don’t, but some guys do figure it out. Hopefully he can be one of those that do. But, he’s got a lot of competition for playing time, even with a new rookie ball team opening up some extra spots. The outfield crop is very deep in the low minors right now.

  8. 1. Who do you think the Reds 5 starting pitchers will be as of opening day?
    2. Where will Jose Lopez start the 2018 season, AA or AAA?

    Thanks!

    • 1. Bailey, DeSclafani, Finnegan and Castillo are virtual locks if they are healthy. Bryan Price has said so. That means you’ve got 1 open spot, at least in terms of we don’t know who it is – though Price says he knows who he wants it to be, but “it’s not entirely my decision”. I’d put even money on Romano and Stephenson, but I wouldn’t count out Mahle or Garrett, though I think they are more long shots to begin the year with the spot.

      2. I’d guess Triple-A, but wouldn’t be surprised if he went back to Double-A despite a strong half-season there.

  9. Whats your educated guess on Reds atbats for Nick Senzel this year? Total big league innings for Sal Romano? I fear they’ll get Winker’d?

    • Let’s go with 275 for Senzel and he’ll play almost every day once called up. With all due respect to Winker, he’s not the caliber of prospect Senzel is and the front office will (though I thought they should have done so with Winker, too) step in and tell Price he needs to play 6 times a week if for some reason Price has other ideas.

      For Romano, that’s a tough one. I think if he wins the rotation spot to start the year, he’ll stay in the rotation. But if he doesn’t, then his innings total is going to be more about when he gets called up. He won’t get “Winker’d” because he’s a pitcher who will start every 5 days if he’s on the roster.

  10. What is the 1B situation like for the Reds at AAA? I don’t mean this as a joke—I’m genuinely curious what the organization’s approach is for a position that is (barring injury) not going to be available for years. Is that player working on another position?

    • Right now I’d guess it goes to free agent pick up DJ Peterson. Gavin LaValley could take over the spot in Louisville if he has a good first half in Pensacola and gets promoted. But, I think that whoever the next Reds first baseman is isn’t in the organization right now.

      • It’s a long shot but I wouldn’t rule out that the next Reds’ 1B is Jessie Winker.

  11. If the Reds roster can create high level offense 1-6 with Tucker Barnhart at the 7 hole for 2019, could Alfredo Rodriguez play SS? By all accounts, he can play major league SS right now defensively.

    Zack Cozart was a dreadful hitter for years.

    • 1. I wouldn’t do it until Rodriguez shows he can actually hit in the minors. I don’t care how good your defense is, a sub .600 OPS isn’t enough.

      And while, yes, Cozart was dreadful for years, he was incredibly better than Rodriguez was at the same age at the plate.

  12. 1. Friedl was originally thought of as a late first or second round “steal” – is he what we thought he was entering the organization, or a miss-to-date of some flavor, either developmentally or in initial evaluation?
    2. Is there one minor leaguer in the Reds organization that you would feel is a comp for what the team might receive straight up for Scooter Gennett before Opening Day?

    (Bonus #3. What will we think when Chad blows out his keyboard two years from now?)

    • 1. I never really bought into the idea that Friedl was a 1st/2nd round talent kind of steal. I believe a lot of that was hype. Some teams knew he was draft eligible and still didn’t draft him despite him hitting 400 in college. That’s not to say he isn’t, or wasn’t a prospect, but even after he “broke out” with Team USA after the draft, he still looked more like a 3rd/4th round guy.

      2. I have no clue. Gennett is a tough guy to really peg for me. He broke out in a small ballpark that favors left handed hitters in a year where the baseball was juiced. And he’s got big platoon splits. His value is tied up in his bat, and if I’m the Reds, I’m not counting on him repeating what he did last year because of the reasons I mentioned. Likewise, if I’m another team I wouldn’t be trading for him thinking that’s the guy he’ll be. I’d be interested in acquiring him as a guy who could possibly be a solid everyday-ish guy that you watch against tough lefties, but I wouldn’t trade for him thinking I’m getting 20+ home runs from my second baseman, either.

      3. Chad’s been through a few keyboards already. He’s probably due to blow out this one within 18 months.

  13. 1. The Reds floated a 6man rotation when pursuing Otani. They have a mix of young pitchers who haven’t thrown 200 innings before and vets coming off major injuries. They have 4 guys with legitimate claims to the 5th rotation spot (Stephenson, Mahle, Romano, Garrett… am I forgetting anyone?), who probably won’t benefit from any more AAA time. Any chance Reds start year with 6 man rotation?

    • No.

      While they did float it with Ohtani, they’ve said publicly since then that they won’t be doing so now. Personally, I’d be interested in seeing it, though.

  14. Where does Jose Siri start the season high A or AA?

  15. Does Winker have the eye-hand coordination to play 1b?

  16. What do you see for Aristides Aquino this year? What about his eventual ceiling? Who was his season last year a cautionary to keep in mind about?

    • I *hope* Aquino can figure out breaking balls that split second faster than he has been, which would allow him to lay off of them. But, I don’t know if he will or not. His ceiling doesn’t change. Eventual ceiling is ultimate ceiling. But, if you meant his eventual role, maybe a 4th outfielder who can provide backup corner options and power off the bench. Ceiling wise, you’re talking about a 30 HR, good right fielder – but I’m not expecting him to reach that either.

      Aquino, and a bunch of other guys, are a reason to look at a guy like Jose Siri and be cautious, offensively. What Siri brings on the bases and in the field is just on a very different level, but speaking strictly about stuff done at the plate….

  17. Hi Doug!

    1. Where does Philip Ervin fit in the outfield depth chart and is his best chance with another organization at this point?

    2. What is your favorite Minor League mascot/logo?

    • I think Ervin fits in well as a 4th outfielder. He can handle center and the corners. He’s able to provide speed off of the bench as a pinch runner. There’s a little bit of pop in his bat, and he can draw a walk. I think he’ll get a shot with the Reds in a “Chris Heisey” kind of role soon enough.

      Favorite logo is EASILY the Fresno Grizzlies alternate name and logo: The Fresno Tacos – http://tacosbaseball.com/

  18. So you’ve stated that “Bailey, DeSclafani, Finnegan and Castillo are virtual locks” for the rotation. Are Iglesias, Lorenzen, Peralta, Hughes and Hernandez virtual locks for the bullpen? That leaves 1 SP spot a 1 bullpen spot. Are there any of the group of Garett, Ramono, Mahle, Stevenson and Davis thart must be on the big league roster due to service time or because they are out of options? how might that impact the final SP and bullpen spot?

    • To be fair, Bryan Price stated that, and I’m just saying what he said. Though, I would also have that same plan heading into the spring. But, I think that in the bullpen, Iglesias, Lorenzen, Hughes and Peralta are locks. I don’t think Hernandez is, nor should he be at this point.

      Everyone has options of the young guys you mentioned. Rookie Davis will not be ready to begin the year after having hip surgery.

      • The Reds signed him to a 2-year deal and he’s not a lock to make the pen out of ST? I find that hard to believe.

        • I think he means Ariel Hernandez. Not David, the new guy.

          • I did. Total, complete and utter brainfart.

            It’s been a long day with little sleep. Someone get me some caffeine.

    • The Reds typically use a 12-man pitching staff (or at least have in the past few years), so that’d leave 2 spots in the 7-man bullpen if the other 5 you mention are locks.

  19. Do we have any early reports on the condition of Dilson Herrera?

    And how much rehab time can he spend at AAA, before they have to fish or cut bait with him on the 25-man?

    • No reports yet, though I believe he’s expected to be ready to go to begin spring.

      Assuming he’s healthy, they can’t “rehab” him. But, if he’s not, they get 20 days on a rehab assignment.

  20. Will the Red’s relievers surpass these 2017 results:

    The 4.35 BB/9 in that time? Last in all of baseball.

    The 1.45 HR/9? Last there, too.

    The 16.1% HR/FB rate? Last by a wide, wide margin.

    The 4.99 FIP? Last by a full half-run.

  21. Any reports on Nick Howard?

    • I haven’t talked with anyone about him since last year. Apparently he looked good in instructional league last October – was one of the MVP’s for the Reds.

  22. 1) What player has the biggest potential for a make-or-break season? Either he continues doing something well in a higher level and soars in the rankings or a really severe flaw is exposed in an upper level and he drops in the rankings.

    2) What do you think will happen to the young starting pitchers that do not make the rotation out of ST? Is there enough room for them in AAA to keep starting?

    • 1. Well, if we are keeping it to someone who continues doing things or has a flaw exposed, it’s Jose Siri. Likewise, if it’s a “make or break” year question, I’ll go with Aristides Aquino. That power is real, but he’s going to have to hit more than he did last year and if he doesn’t age will be really working against him at that point.

      2. I think most of them will start in Triple-A as starters. Maybe one guy moves to the bullpen, but I think that most of the guys will head back to the minors to start.

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