From the Enquirer:
New player development director Terry Reynolds knows the trend is going to have to end for the Reds to turn the franchise around.
A team simply can’t lose No. 1 picks like Chris Gruler and Ty Howington to injury.
Gruler, the club’s No. 1 pick and third pick overall in the 2002 draft, was released two weeks ago. The Reds paid him a $2.5 million bonus – still a club record. Howington, the club’s No. 1 pick and 14th pick overall in the 1999 draft, was released less than a year before.
Injuries were the culprit in each case.
“I guess the bottom line with Chris is because of the persistent injuries his stuff never came back,” Reynolds said.
To get nothing out of one first-round pick would be troubling enough, but Gruler’s case is not an isolated one.
Howington’s case is similar. The only difference is he had two healthy years and made it to Double-A. Other top prospects – Richie Gardner, Thomas Pauley, Bobby Basham and Josh Hall – have struggled to come back from surgeries.
But by the time the Reds got Gruler, they were being careful with their top picks.
“It’s something you can’t plan for,” Reynolds said. “You take all the precautions you can. … But sometimes you can do everything as far as prevention, and it’s purely a matter of bad luck.”
The Reds did have a good year in terms of injuries this season. The club had only six surgeries among minor leaguers and none was considered major.
“We sure hope that trend continues,” Reynolds said. “It’s been a point of emphasis.”
I don’t think anyone can say the Reds haven’t been extra careful the last two years with their minor league pitchers. Many, if not all of them, hated the piggy back pitching system, but it was designed to get the starters work, while protecting their arms. And last year’s 75 pitch limit seemed to help also.