Interesting look at some of the prospects in the Reds organization from MiLB:
First interesting prediction:
SS Chris Valaika likely will start at Sarasota, though Dayton is not out of the question, especially if Milton Loo is not ready for a full-season assignment. The 2006 third-rounder out of Santa Barbara quickly got on people’s radar charts in his pro debut when he posted a league-record 32-game hitting streak at Billings. He won Pioneer League MVP honors after batting .324 with eight homers and 60 RBIs to go with a .520 slugging percentage. A gap hitter with doubles power, he eventually could move to second base to pair with Janish up the middle but stays at shortstop for now.
Assuming Janish is at Chattanooga, I’d think that Rosales would be the SS at Sarasota, at least until they see how Valaika starts the season. He could be moved up like they did with Janish last year. I think he’ll start the year in Dayton.
OF B.J. Szymanski was the club’s second-round pick in 2004 out of Princeton but has struggled with the bat in his last two seasons at Dayton. In 2006, he hit just .239 and led the Minors with 191 strikeouts. This year, the switch-hitter will move up to Sarasota for a change in scenery and a chance to show that the tools that made him a high-round prospect. He’s due for that breakout season.
Szymanski was really bad last year at Dayton. I’ve heard rumors he was going to be asked to drop switch hitting, but don’t know that for certain. After the last two years, you have to wonder how long the Reds will stay with him. Krivsky’s already shown that he’ll trade an O’Brien pick at the drop of a hat and you’d assume he’d release one just as easy. I’d have to believe that BJ’s on a short rope, he needs to produce.
SS Milton Loo, a 2005 ninth-rounder who signed as a draft-and-follow last spring, appeared in just 14 games in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .372 before his season was ended by an elbow injury. He could start the year at Dayton but may begin in extended Spring Training. He’s a great athlete who may project at third or the outfield eventually.
Extended ST is code, I think, for starting the year in Billings.
RHP Daryl Thompson was the top prospect acquired from the Nationals in last summer’s multi-player trade. A torn labrum pretty much 86’ed his entire 2006 campaign, but when healthy he had a low-mid 90s fastball and the makings of an impressive changeup and curve. He posted a 3.35 ERA in 11 games with the Nats in 2005 and was one of their most intriguing prospects.
No word on where they think he may fit in or where he is right now (minor league camp/major league camp).