The last time that we actually had one of these topics here at Redleg Nation it was spring training and there were still three weeks before the minor league season would begin. We are now nearly two months into the minor league season and the draft is next week. It seems like a great time to bring one back.

I’m willing to take any question you have and I’ll do my best to give a complete answer to it. While my specialty is certainly geared towards the minor leagues and minor league players, I’ll answer things related to the Major League team, too. And, given the time of year, the draft. But I will warn you now – with the draft, if you’re looking for something on a player ranked outside of the top 20-25, I won’t know much that I can’t look up in the same exact places you can.

I’ll be around to start answering questions starting roughly at noon, though you can submit them before then. Anything asked before 8pm will be answered – but I’m not sure I will get to anything beyond then. Just leave your questions in the comments section below and I’ll reply directly to your comment. There are a few rules, though.

  • 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.

67 Responses

  1. Zack Downing

    Who are the 3 main prospects us reds fans should look at when discussing our 5th pick? I’ve been hearing alot about the pitcher from Florida but I noticed he had a terrible start to his Jr season , seems that he has it straightened out tho.

    • Doug Gray

      Brady Singer is the guy I’d say is the guy that seems most likely for them to take. The odds that he’s both there, and the guy they like are the highest. Also look for Nick Madrigal, a second baseman from Oregon State. Beyond those two, Jonathan India has been a guy they’ve been linked to recently, too. He’s a third baseman from Florida. With prep guys, they’ve been linked to both Matthew Liberatore and Carter Stewart – a lefty and a righty pitcher, respectively. I’d bet it’s going to be a college guy, but you don’t know quite how things will play out just yet.

  2. redsfan4040

    1) Any updates on Rookie Davis?

    2) I can’t think of a worthwhile second question, so… if you didn’t write about the Reds farm for a living, what kind of career do you think you would have pursued?

    • Doug Gray

      Honestly, I haven’t heard anything at all about Rookie Davis. And to be fair, I haven’t asked anyone about him since the spring, either. Wish I had a better answer than that for you.

      As for a job, I honestly don’t know. I’ve been running one website or another for literally 20 years now. It’s tough to really imagine where I’d wind up without this thing. Before I was able to write full time and had to work other jobs I worked in a warehouse doing some inventory and writing up a spreadsheet for various departments for their inventory. That job sucked. I worked on roofs for about 8 months and I never want to do that again, and there’s no way that was ever going to be a career, but it kept me floating along. I worked in an office doing some paperworky type stuff, helping them implement some stuff as they switched over to a new database, though my work wasn’t on the software side. Honestly, that’s probably the office that I’d have wound up at. Probably doing something a little bit different, but they had a few openings there that I could have taken if I wanted to be there full time.

  3. turbobuckeye

    What, in your opinion, is the biggest reason the Reds have struggled so much to develop pitching?

    • Doug Gray

      I wish I knew the answer. I think that there’s a whole lot of things at play. Historically, it’s been poor drafting, but I think that is long behind the organization right now. Historically it’s also been poor development. For a long time, but not any longer, thankfully, the Reds were known to basically just hire whoever would work for the cheapest as a coach. That usually means that you aren’t going to get the best coaches. Before Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto reached the Majors, pitching prospect and pitching prospect in the organization simply couldn’t stay healthy. And that was in days when Tommy John surgery was still one that could end, or essentially end a career.

  4. Nprice

    Any more reports on Nick Howard? I know he looked better in Instructional League Last fall.

    What is the salary breakdown for a minor leaguer once they get put on the 40 man roster? MLB pay in the minors, or just a little more minor league pay? I know they are represented by the MLBPA though….

    • Doug Gray

      Nick Howard has been pitching well of late, sort of. Since May 11th he’s walked 3 batters with 5 strikeouts in 10 innings. Given his history with the walk problems, that’s good to see. His velocity in the spring was 90-93, but a few reports on him during the season has been more in th e90-91 range. He’s coming back from shoulder surgery, so it’s possible there’s still some more velocity to gain there, but it’s also possible that’s where he’s going to be at these days. Overall, control is still a really big concern. He’s got 17 walks and 12 strikeouts this season. You hope for the best. He’s gone through a whole lot. But it does seem unlikely that he’s going to be a future big leaguer at this point.

      When guys get added to the 40-man roster they get a big time pay bump. The first year you are on the 40-man roster, while in the minors, you get a pro-rated $41,400 a season (when in the Majors you get the pro-rated league minimum). The second year that goes up more than double. In 2018 that would be $88,000 a season. In 2019 that gets bumped again to $89,500. There’s a cost of living increase each year beyond that through the current CBA.

  5. cfd3000

    If (when?) the Reds stop running Romano out to start every 5th game, who would you like to see get a shot at that slot? Garret, Lorenzen, or someone at Louisville (or Pensacola)?

    If the Reds 4 way outfield experiment yields no good hitters, or perhaps just Winker and his OBP tool, who are the future outfielders for Cincinnati, and how far away are they from the big leagues?

    • Doug Gray

      I’d look at Garrett or Robert Stephenson at this point. But, I don’t think the Reds are going to look at Garrett as a starter.

      The outfield has a lot of quality prospects down on the farm. At the top of that list is Taylor Trammell, who is in Daytona right now. He’s probably still 2 years out. It could be sooner, but he’s just 20-years-old. Jose Siri is the next guy on the list. High risk, high reward. Also in Daytona. Already on the 40-man, could see him sooner. There are some guys behind them with some raw talent, but they are even further away.

  6. Beckett and Robb

    If the reds were to say trade Iggy to the Indians, what do they have to offer for you to pick up the phone?

    • Doug Gray

      Iglesias has enormous value. It would take a big package to acquire him. Personally, I want someone ready to help the Reds today, along with a top prospect, and a few other solid prospects, too. I don’t have exact names – I don’t know their farm system enough to make that call.

  7. Bill

    In your opinion who is the pitcher and position player that will have the most successful MLB careers, barring injury.

    • Doug Gray

      From the farm: Nick Senzel and Hunter Greene.

  8. Nick

    1. What would you do with Finnegan with respect to the bullpen and starting?
    2. With Garrett’s pen’ success, do you try to start him again next season or keep him where he is comfortable now?

    • Doug Gray

      1. For now, I keep him starting. But, if he can’t find the velocity he used to have that he’s not showing this year, it’s tough to see him starting long term.

      2. Tough question to answer because it depends on how the rotation looks next year. If there’s no need, then you keep him where he’s at. He’s out of options after this season. That’s why I wouldn’t have tossed him into the bullpen, unless there’s a reason why the organization doesn’t believe he can start (whether it’s because of his hip, or because of something else).

      • RedsFaninPitt

        Not Doug, but you have to start with either Mejia (catcher) or McKenzie (pitcher). Both are considered top 25 prospects. McKenzie has dominated so far, but has been out all season so far with elbow soreness. Then I think you could include both Chang (SS) who is probably in the top 150, and Greg Allen (CF). Mejia has been struggling at the start of AAA , but is the #1 catching prospect in baseball due to his elite hit and arm tools. He is also playing OF this spring.

  9. seanuc

    What is your projection of Jose Lopez (ceiling and floor)?

    • Doug Gray

      The floor of a player that’s never reached the Majors is always what they are today – a minor leaguer. I think the ceiling with Lopez is that of a quality #4 type of guy. Someone who can throw a lot of strikes, won’t walk many, won’t have a ton of strikeouts, but a solid K/BB ratio and can give you 185 innings.

  10. RedWard

    Doug, thanks for doing this.

    How about this – in your opinion, at No. 5, who is the best fit for the Reds from the following categories:

    College Pitcher –

    College Hitter –

    High School Pitcher –

    High School Hitter –

    What makes them the best fit? Which one would you take?

    And one more – who might be a good second-round target?


    • Doug Gray

      Casey Mize – because he’s the best college pitcher. But he won’t be there for the Reds, and if he is, then there’s a reason he is and it’s the reason the Reds would pass, too (only way he makes it there is if there something in his medicals that scare teams, and if so, it’ll scare the Reds). So I’ll go Singer if we’re being realistic. Best combo of stuff and polish.

      High school pitcher: I’ll take Carter Stewart. Best breaking ball in the draft. Can get up to 98 with the fastball.

      College hitter: If we’re talking purely the bat, Alec Bohm. I just think he’s a better all around hitter than anyone else.

      High school hitter: It’s a weak class at the top for high schoolers, and it seems only Jarred Kelenic is even in the remote part of the conversation. So, I’ll go with him by default.

      Second round – I have no clue.

  11. George

    Thanks for the opportunity!!!
    Due to the lack of winning baseball with our major league?? team, I have spent a few days looking at Louisville, Daytona, and Pensacola.
    While being just a fan, the overall impression I got is that there is no significant help on the horizon. If the Reds are going to be competitive in 2019/2020 it won’t be with our current 25-man roster or with our farm system.
    Please tell me I am wrong.

    • Doug Gray

      You could be wrong. Particularly looking at 2020, you could have Nick Senzel, Jose Siri, Taylor Trammell in the starting lineup. Joey Votto should still be a very good hitter then, though maybe not elite anymore. Suarez should be very good still.

      With the pitching, you just don’t know. You could have the 2014 Mets rotation and feel great, and then fast forward two years and be wondering what the heck happened. Guys get hurt and you just can’t predict it.

      If they want to compete in 2019, they need to go outside the organization to pick up a few pieces.

  12. Alex

    Doug, in all this supposed rebuild. The reds have one high end position player talent under 25 between AAA and ML roster and he has vertigo.

    What happened? What hope is there? The reds look like a team that dispises young players and want old vets who want to revive their career. This isn’t a young team, it’s an old team, just with no talent. Remember when blandino and Dixon were obvious choice and they went Pennington and gosselin.

    Main question, does this organization understand how to win in the modern era?

    • big5ed

      Alex, believe it or not, but the Reds were the second-youngest team on Opening Day. The only regular/rotation guys over 30 are Votto, whom you can’t complain about, and Bailey, whom we all complaint about endlessly. And Bailey won’t be in the rotation much longer, and may never see another start.

      This team has an under-performing outfield, and young starter pitchers who are still inconsistent. Other than that, the Reds aren’t that bad now.

      You are missing a host of talent below AAA, including specifically the 20-year-old Taylor Trammell (A+ now, with a possible move to AA in mid-year), Jose Siri (ditto), Shed Long (22 years old and playing well at AA), TJ Freidl (.421 OBP at Daytona), 2015 1st-rounder Tyler Stephenson, Stuart Fairchild, Andy Sugilio and others. I think the farm system is in its best shape in a long time.

      I agree that Louisville is thin on talent, but the jury is still out on Dilson Herrera, and most teams do not have deep talent at AAA anymore.

      • Alex

        Im sorry my man but the reds just dont have high end talent in comparison to other teams. A little thin? Are you kidding? That’s a huge understatement. The reds have zero top end talent that is within two years outside of senzel. I like Trammel, Stephenson gets hurt alot. But don’t give me give Jeter downs, and Stuart fairchild in Dayton as top end talent that will help the reds anytime soon. Because they won’t and they aren’t. I like your optimism tho. Look at what the Phillies AAA team was doing a season ago. That’s top end talent developed well. The reds farm system is incredibly average when you consider the trade opportunities and where they have drafted. Very average.

      • Alex

        Long is little. Siri is a Dominican drew Stubbs. The reds have two top end position talents, Trammell and senzel. Otherwise your kidding yourself.

    • Doug Gray

      Well, I think it starts at the absolute top: Bob Castellini. That’s what happened. He didn’t want to rebuild. And I get that from his standpoint. No one wants to watch losing happen, and that’s absolutely going to happen in a rebuild. So the Reds, even publicly stated, targeted “close” guys instead of high upside guys in trades. That’s not necessarily the worst plan ever because even high upside guys miss. You can look around baseball the last few years at other trades that were touted at the time and ask yourself now “what happened?”

      Among the every day players, though, Joey Votto is the only guy over 28-years-old (Duvall is 29, so if you want to count him as an every day guy, feel free). This team is pretty young. The same can be said for the rotation.

      Here’s the hope: Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Nick Senzel, Tucker Barnhart – that’s half of your lineup, and all should be quality hitters. The rotation has the raw talent. That doesn’t always translate to on the field ability. You hope that Luis Castillo returns to the guy he was last year (I have faith in this one). You hope that Tyler Mahle can cut down on the home runs, because if he does, the rest of the stuff he does is there to be a quality starting pitcher. Then you hope the other guys can figure something out and the team can find someone outside the organization to help fill out the rotation.

      I think there’s a problem with the organization in terms of what is being executed. You mention Gosselin and Pennington. And you can throw in the older vet relievers, too. The second that Bryan Price was let go, so were every single one of those guys from the big league roster. Is it possible that it was a coincidence? Sure. But it’s highly unlikely. I’m not dealing often with the front office or the big league staff, but from where I sit on the outside looking in, it seems like there are different people trying to do different things. And that’s a real problem. The owner didn’t want to rebuild and wouldn’t let the baseball people do smart baseball things because of it. The manager seemed to publicly go against what the front office people were saying they wanted to be happening on the field. He was managing for his next job, while they were trying to get things done for the future, and the two things didn’t align in the slightest.

      Since Bryan Price has been gone, things have seemed to be a little bit more on the same page between the front office’s stated plan, and the stuff happening on the field. See Bailey, Homer, and his move to the bullpen. See Finnegan, Brandon, and his demotion to Triple-A. There are still some things that happen that make me scratch my head a little bit when it comes to modern baseball thinking and what happens on the field (bunting in terrible situations, for example – hitting terrible OBP guys in the top of the lineup). But I think we are seeing a different, more modern approach over the last month than we’ve seen the previous few years when it comes to stuff in the dugout and on the field.

      This isn’t an original Doug Gray thought, I’ve seen it stated elsewhere, but sometimes it seems like the Reds are always trying to do something that another team has done and that they aren’t ever the team trying the new thing before others. They wanted to be like the Royals. They want to be like the Cubs and Astros. Maybe that’s just public speak to sell things to the fans because those teams did something right and they won after a whole lot of ugliness on the field. But it’s been a long time since the Reds were a team trying something different from other organizations. And when you are working at a severe disadvantage from just about every team in the league (revenue issues due to market size), you probably shouldn’t be following the plan that already exists for everyone else to follow because if they are also doing it, they have more resources to do it better, so you need to not only be better at implementing it because you probably can’t outspend them in trying to get players for it, but you need to also be luckier in keeping your guys healthy.

      So, time will certainly tell if the Reds can make it happen. I think the organization is better off than it seems like a lot of people feel like they are these days. But I also understand that right this second, they aren’t in great shape. I think that one of the bigger weaknesses is that the organization relies on what they hope players can be rather than what they are. Hamilton and Peraza are big examples of that. They seem to hope they can be something that it’s just highly unlikely that they can be. And they don’t find any alternate options despite that. So you ride into year two of having literally two of the worst every day hitters in baseball in the same lineup with zero options for replacing them.

  13. MichaelA

    If you are in the Reds front office, do you take a chance and bring up any of the Reds legit prospects (Long, Trammell, Siri etc) early and simply let them play? If so who and why/not?

    • Doug Gray

      No, because none of those guys are ready. I’d call up Nick Senzel. That’s it. He’s the guy that’s ready. Maybe you promote some of the other guys up a level, though. I think that’s coming soon enough, though.

  14. WVRedlegs

    Who is responsible for placing Statcast in the Reds minor league parks? Is that on the Reds, the stadium owners, or the team owners to finance the installation of this system?

    If Anna Kendrick asked you out for a dinner of Tofu and bean sprouts, or Brittany Snow asked you out to a dinner of LaRosa’s pizza, Coca-Cola and Reese’s cups, who you going out to dinner with first?

    • Doug Gray

      The Reds are responsible for the installation and operation of the Trackman system (not the statcast system, which is made up of two different systems – the Trackman which tracks the pitches and provides launch angles/exit velocity, and then a second system which tracks the player movement on the field – and that’s not in all of the minor league parks). The Reds have the Trackman system at all of their minor league parks, even in the Dominican Summer League. They do not have the fielder tracking at every park in the farm.

      Anna Kendrick.

      • WVRedlegs

        Thanks for the clarification on Trackman and Statcast. I thought you would go with Larosa’s, Coke, and Reeses.

    • lwblogger2

      That 2nd question is way awesome!!

      Tofu can be prepared such that it’s pretty good. I’ve had it taste good in Indian food in particular. Bean sprouts are edible with enough balsamic vinegar and olive oil… LaRosa’s pizza I thought would have reeled Doug in (surprised it didn’t). I’d trade it out for Jet’s or Fratelli’s though.

  15. Michael Schneider

    How are the recent Cuban signings by the Reds faring? Any idea if they’re potential major leaguers or have they washed out already? I can’t recall the names, but it seems like it was a big splash when they signed a young shortstop and a pitcher from Cuba.

    • Doug Gray

      They signed two shortstops and a pitcher. One shortstop, Alfredo Rodriguez, was the first big one, and he’s been very disappointing at the plate. He’s made Jose Peraza look like a great hitter by comparison. Defensively, he’s very good – but he hasn’t shown an ounce of ability to hit the baseball out of the infield.

      The other shortstop, Jose Garcia, just turned 20. He looked great in the spring, but struggled a lot for the first 5 weeks in Dayton. He’s started hitting over the past two weeks for Dayton and he’s looked fine in the field.

      Vladimir Gutierrez has been a bit of an enigma on the mound. He’s got quality stuff. He doesn’t walk guys. He misses bats. But he gives up a lot of hits, and he’s run into home run problems at times, too. I’m not too concerned in the long term, he’s a big leaguer. I think the question is more like “what kind of big leaguer, and in what role” at this point.

  16. Vander

    1. The Reds are constantly linked to Brady Singer at #5. When you look at his arm slot, does it concern you at all? Not only is he almost sidearm, but he seems to whip his forearm around rather violently. Can he start like that?

    2. Can you talk a bit about Jeter Downs? I know his bat is impressive, but his defense seems… Well, bad. Would you say a move out of the middle infield is necessary for him? Where do you think his defensive home might be in the future?

    • Doug Gray

      1. It’s not that low. He’s a low 3/4 guy, for sure, but I don’t think it’s a concern in terms of the arm slot. I do think the whipping action you speak of is more of a concern. At the same time, it seems no matter what a guys mechanics are like these days, they are all getting hurt. I am not overly concerned that he can’t start because of the mechanics. I’ve seen far worse mechanics on guys who wound up lasting for quite a while.

      2. I’d be surprised if Downs could stick at shortstop. Second base seems like a better fit, but third base isn’t exactly out of the question for me, either. Obviously you want to try and keep him up the middle, and maybe he can improve and show more at shortstop. But he’s going to have to, because right now the range and hands just aren’t showing shortstop attributes.

  17. jonrox

    1) Do you know why Philp Ervin didn’t play between 4/27 and 5/20?

    2) Is Kyle Crockett a good lefty relief option if Peralta can’t find the strike zone, or is he just having AAAA success?

    • Doug Gray

      Ervin jammed a finger pretty badly and went to the disabled list.

      I hope Chad doesn’t ban me for this because Crockett went to a certain college, but I’m just not sold that he’s a big leaguer. Of course, I would have said the same thing about Dylan Floro, and he’s done nothing but dominate this season since being called up. That said, it’s time for someone to step in for Peralta, who needs to go down and find some semblance of control.

  18. Shchi Cossack

    The Reds promote Gabby Guererro and Josh VanMeter from AA to AAA after 26 game and 30 game, respectively, outlier performances from the rest of their minor league career. The Reds promote Luis Gonzalez from A+ to AA after 11 game outlier performance from the rest of his minor league career. The Reds promote Chris Okey from A+ to AA after 8 games with continued poor performance at A+. The Reds promote Narcisco Crook from A to A+ after 25 game outlier performance from the rest of his minor league career.

    Then the Reds have players with consistently solid performances that they just sit on without any promotion opportunities.

    Shed Long .813 OPS at AA in 46 games & consistent .800+ OPS in A & A+ since 2015.
    Taylor Trammell .900 OPS at A+ in 44 games & career .827 OPS in ROK thru A+.
    TJ Friedl .870 OPS at A+ in 46 games & career .828 OPS ROK thru A+.
    Stuart Fairchild .831 OPS @ A in 49 games & .805 OPS in ROK.

    Then the Reds ignore superior performances with inconsistent minor league backgrounds

    Tyler Stephenson .811 OPS at A+ in 42 games after .787 OPS @ A in 2017 and prior health issues.
    Michael Beltry .857 OPS in A after .647 OPS @ A in 2017 and .880 OPS @ ROK in 2016.
    Hendrik Clementina 1.050 OPS @ A in 33 games after .828 OPS @ ROK in 2017.

    Doesn’t that process seem backwards? Shouldn’t players with more or consistently demonstrated upside be promoted before players with less consistently demonstrated upside and just a few games with an obvious outlier performance?

    • big5ed

      The distinction appears to be that they are keeping the true prospects at the level that they think they ought to be at developmentally, while moving up organizational players like VanMeter and Crook to fill organization vacancies. (And as Doug likes to point out, they move catchers more slowly, because they have expanded defensive things to learn at each level.) Crook got moved from Dayton to Daytona as a corresponding move that saw Andy Sugilio (a true prospect) activated at Dayton. Fairchild was the better player, but they wanted him playing everyday in Dayton, as opposed to doing what Crook is doing now – being the fourth outfielder at Daytona, behind Siri, Trammell and Freidl.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Reds move up 4 or 5 of the non-catcher prospects you list at their leagues’ all star break. If they have to release or demote an organizational player to accommodate the prospect, then that is what they will do. If Siri, Trammell and Freidl move up to Pensacola, for example, then something has to give with the guys there, because those three will play every day.

    • Doug Gray

      No, it doesn’t seem backwards at all. Look at the guys they promoted: They are guys that, respectfully, they aren’t as concerned about failing, as the guys they didn’t promote. Gonzalez and Okey in particular were promoted out of necessity. Gonzalez took over for Alfredo Rodriguez who hit the disabled list. Okey moved up when Mesoraco moved to New York and the catchers all needed moving up.

      You are looking at promotions as a reward. And sometimes they are. But sometimes guys aren’t promoted because they are valued more than the guy who was promoted. Okey went up because he’s more advanced defensively and he’s going to be splitting time. Stephenson has missed a bunch of time and isn’t as advanced defensively, and probably needs a lot more time in Daytona to work on that kind of stuff. And he can now play more “full time”.

      Crook was promoted, but he was kind of in Dayton as a bit of a “rehab” to begin with, after missing most of the last two seasons.

      Clementina, like Stephenson ahead of him, has a lot of stuff to do defensively. You don’t promote catchers on their bat.

  19. DHud

    1) Is Jon Moscot still alive?
    2) Any indication of the Nick Krall promotion is just a shell game? Same faces, same input, different job titles?

    • Doug Gray

      1. Yes, he is. Unfortunately it seems like there was a setback in his rehab back from Tommy John surgery. I don’t know anything more than that, though.

      2. No indication, but I talked about my theory on the Redleg Nation podcast about why he got the promotion. I think it’s mostly just a title promotion. And if it wasn’t, then there was something weird going on in the front office because the assistant GM wasn’t being heard and that’s crazy. I’m guessing that some other organization came knocking on the door and wanted to talk to Nick Krall, so to keep him in the organization, the Reds promoted him – but likely his job stays basically the same.


    1. Please provide your thoughts on the Louisville Bats catcher position – i.e., development of Chadwick Tromp, why doesn’t Stuart Turner seem to be playing much?

    2. Do you see Cruz as the likely backup to Tucker in 2019, or perhaps Tromp/someone else currently in the Reds minor league system?

    Thank you.

    • Doug Gray

      Stuart Turner is hurt, so he’s not playing at all. Tromp is a contact oriented hitter, not much power. Short, thick catchers type of body.

      Not sure I’d go into 2019 with anyone in the system as the backup to Barnhart. I’d be looking outside for someone to hold over until someone steps up and shows more. Whether that’s waiting for Tyler Stephenson, or just someone else that’s currently above him to show more.

  21. Blake Shell

    How has Tyler Stephenson’s defense looked this year? I know there were some questions about him sticking behind the plate in the past.

    Do you still believe in Vlad Gutierrez? Really struggled at AA.

    I know he’s hurt right now but do you think Alfredo Rodriguez will ever hit enough to be a ML starter?

    • Doug Gray

      I haven’t seen Tyler catch much this year – only in spring training, and then a little bit on video earlier this month. With that said, he looks better each time I see him. He’s still learning things, and I do think the lost time to injuries has held him back a little bit when it comes to where he is at now versus where he would be if he hadn’t basically missed an entire year to injury. But he keeps looking more comfortable back there in all aspects. You’ll still hear some about how he’s too big to stick back there, but I just don’t buy it. If you can hit, you can be his size and stick at catcher – assuming you can actually catch. The size thing is more about “can they frame such and such pitches” because of their size, and generally, I think that’s overblown.

      I’ve got faith that Gutierrez can be a big leaguer. He’s got some work to do, particularly with consistency, but the stuff is there. I wrote a little about him above, so I don’t want to rehash that too much.

      And no, I don’t think Rodriguez will ever hit enough to be a starter. I’m not sure he’ll hit enough to be a bench player.

  22. Lilith

    What’s your opinion on Winker now being relegated to the bench in favor of Duvall and Schebler?

    Can you name one hitter and one pitcher who you’re most excited to see once the rookie leagues get started (obviously, this doesn’t include kids drafted in 2018)?

    • Doug Gray

      1. It’s very dumb, short term thinking, and even in short term thinking doesn’t make a ton of sense. In fact, I can’t make any sense of it at all. There’s zero reason that Duvall should be playing every day over Jesse Winker. Platoon them? Sure, I can make some sense there. Playing either one every day over the other? That’s a very tough sell.

      2. Jacob Heatherly, Mariel Bautista.

  23. Kap

    1. If the Reds decide to draft Joey Bart on Monday, What does it mean for Tyler Stephenson? Continue his route without interruption, possible trade bait, or the possibility of trying him out at other positions (corner outfield for example)?

    2. Out of the top center field options in the minor leagues (trammell, Siri, Friedl, Fairchild, Beltre), who do you think has the best chance of making the biggest impact and why? How would you rank those five?

    Thanks Doug as always

    • Doug Gray

      1. It means that he’s got more competition. But I don’t think it would mean anything other than the Reds took the best player available when it was their turn to pick.

      2. My prospect rankings always reflect who I think has the best chance of being a quality player in the big leagues. So always start there. But Trammell is at the top. He’s just the best all around player among the group. It’s the plate discipline that sets him apart from Siri. From a tools standpoint, those two are far ahead of the rest of the group.

  24. Nate

    1) There seems to be a potential log jam at 2nd, who would you like to see stay and who should go?

    2) Do you think the trade for Harvey was good, bad or indifferent?

    3) How do I convince the wife driving an hour to Pensacola for a game during our family vacation is a great idea?

    Thanks Doug!

    • Doug Gray

      1. Nick Senzel would be going absolutely nowhere. I’d explore the idea of Scooter Gennett to the outfield if he’s open to an extension through say age 32? I wouldn’t go any further than that with him, and even then it just all depends on the money. But I’d also be open to trading him. I would not give him away just because he’s only around through 2019, though. There are other options that aren’t just “take whatever you can get” with him, at least for now. I’ll hold onto the other guys in the farm/Blandino for now, but wouldn’t be opposed to moving them if someone came calling.

      2. I think it was a gamble worth taking. Mesoraco wasn’t going to play much in Cincinnati. So he was never going to build any value to trade. Matt Harvey has a chance to actually do that because he’s not blocked by someone.

      3. The staff is great. The ballpark is beautiful. It’s a truly outstanding experience. And they’ve got some fantastic food choices.

  25. Joe

    What’s your thoughts on nick Hansen ?he looks good on paper do u think he has a number 1 type ceiling?

    • Doug Gray

      No clue at this point. He had Tommy John surgery and I haven’t seen him pitch since he’s come back. Ask me again after the season is over and we’ve had a chance to see what he can do on the mound.

  26. Jim t

    Doug what are the odds that Tyler Stephenson makes the reds ML roster at a position other then Catcher? I’m thinking his ETA is 3 years and he ends up at first.

    • Doug Gray

      Less than 50%. I have seen nothing, and heard nothing, that suggests he’s moving to another position from anyone in the organization.

  27. Indy Red Man

    Have you seen much of OF Clint Frazier with the Yankees? Its probably more then enough to try to keep track of the 100+ guys in the Reds farm system, but he looks like a special hitter to me. Their pen hasn’t been what it was last year. I’d give Iggy and maybe Scooter too if I had too for Frazier to be part of a package deal. Frazier is only 23.

    • Doug Gray

      I’ve seen Frazier play a few different times over the years. And he’s playing against Louisville right now and just absolutely killing the baseball this season. I’m not sold that he’s an elite hitter, but I do think he’s an above-average one. Love to acquire him, but there would have to be a lot more coming back in your proposed deal along with him if you’re sending Scooter and Iglesias.

  28. TheRok

    So I keep hearing how this draft is incredibly weak at the top, especially if Mize has injury concerns. If you were GM, would you ever contemplate doing an outside the box drafting strategy. For example:

    Taking some mid to late first-rounder you really like, signing him for well below slot, then try to influence some 20th rounders with 2nd or 3rd round talent who committed to college, but may be swayed when they get an extra half million offered to them.

    Or, Taking a high school player who you don’t expect to sign in the 1st round, and then getting the 6th pick in next years draft.

    I know it would be unorthodox, but it seems like teams that think outside the box have an advantage in our more modern game. Or are those kind of things still too crazy?

    • Doug Gray

      No, I wouldn’t. The Reds don’t have the right set up this year to do that. To many teams between the #5 pick and their 2nd round pick could slide in and steal away your guy, then you are left with someone you didn’t think was the best option at #5 to start with, and without someone in that next spot, too. Now, if your draft board has two guys that are there for the taking at #5, and one is willing to sign for $1.5M less, then yes, take that guy instead, and see what you can do in rounds 2 and 3 with the extra money – or even guys after round 10 that may take some money to buy out of college.

      Never, ever draft someone in the first 10 rounds without the idea of signing them. Even in a weak draft the #5 talent should be high enough quality.

  29. Doug Gray

    Thanks for stopping by and participating today, guys and gals. As always, it was fun.

    • bmblue

      Doug- Can Shed Long play a position other than 2b in the majors?