From John Fay:

1. Yonder Alonso, 1B

2. Todd Frazier, SS

3. Drew Stubbs, OF

4. Chris Valaika, SS

5. Yorman Rodriguez, OF

6. Kyle Lotzkar, RHP

7. Neftali Perez, 3B

8. Juan Francisco, 3B

8. Juan Duran, OF

10. Devin Mesoraco, C

No big big surprises. I think Francisco would have been higher had the list been put together after the Dominican Winter League.

Rodirguez and Duran are the teen-agers signed out of Latin America for big bucks.

Lotzkar was the supplemental first-round pick in 2007. He throws up to 96. He was limited to 10 starts in 2008 by a small stress fracture in his elbow.

I think #7 is supposed to be Nefi Soto. At least I hope so. And he’s a player I really like. I’m surprised that Alex Buchholz isn’t listed on here.

I think it’s silly to put these two Latin kids on there (Rodriguez and Duran), I’ve heard they are YEARS away from being ready to do anything….but I guess they have to list them, considering what they’re being paid.

Until he does more than hit in the Hawaiian League, I’d have Yonder lower. I like Frazier a lot. If Francisco learns some selection at the plate and get a little defensive range, he could be a very good player.

Lotzkar is very young and wasn’t all that impressive last year, but his youth is a major selling point.

21 Responses

  1. mhopp

    Drew Stubbs should be lower too considering his winter league production, and late season AAA performance wasn’t so hot either. I know he’s not that good but is Sean Cumberland still with the team?

  2. Aaron

    Not sure what it says about an organization when only 1 of your top ten prospects are a pitcher.

  3. Steve Price

    I was reading Baseball Prospectus’s top 11 list the other day, and a couple of comments struck me (to paraphrase)…

    1) The Reds farm system bottoms out very quickly

    2) There aren’t many pitching arms in the system

    To balance this, they did say the system has put lots of talent into the major league club this past year (Votto, Bruce, Cueto, Volquez–if by trade), and that’s huge (include Bray and Dickerson, too).

    However, that is one reason the young signees are included…they have HUGE upsides, but’s it’s still way early for them, and there’s not a lot of bona fide talent ready to move forward. Alonso, too, is rated high due to the lack of talent ready to step in right now…and Alonso has to prove something (can anyone say Brandon Larson to keep our feet grounded?). It’s said Alonso can’t hit lefties…and that’s something that will have to monitor if he can be as good as predicted.

  4. Mark in CC

    Guess that reinforces the Danny Dorn thing.

  5. Bill

    I think the AAA team will be pretty good in the starting rotation. I haven’t given up on Bailey, then there is Maloney, Thompson, Ramirez, Owings (one of whom will probably be the Reds #5); but that’s decent talent at AAA, IMO.

  6. doug

    Steve,
    1. Its funny that BP says that because BA says the exact opposite.

    2. There are plenty of arms in the system that are intriguing, just not a lot that are top notch and of age. But Ramon Ramirez, Carlos Fisher, Daryl Thompson, Matt Maloney, Jordan Smith, Travis Wood, Kyle Lotzkar, Robert Manuel, Pedro Viola, Josh Roenicke, Juan Carlos Sulbaran, Zach Stewart, Jeremy Horst, Scott Carroll, Philippe Valiquette and Sam Lecure are all prospects with something good going for them. Sure, outside of Stewart, Sulbaran and Lotzkar none of them project to be #1/2 or Closer types really, but those guys are all solid prospects in the system.

    As for Yonder not being able to hit lefties…. I am not sure I put much into that. Last year in College he couldn’t hit lefties to the tune that he walked against them more than he struck out and had an OBP over .400 against them. Then there was Hawaii where he showed he was able to hit them to the tune of a .793 OPS, which is a fine split as long as he hits righties well (especially when you consider how terrible some guys on the team are in splitsville). Its worth watching, but I bet he gets better considering he doesn’t seem to have issues seeing the ball out of the hand of lefties given his OBP against them.

  7. Matt B.

    I don’t understand the exclusion of Danny Dorn, especially at the expense of two players who have done absolutely nothing.

  8. Matt Steele

    From an ESPN chat today

    Ben (Centerville, OH): All Dan Dorn has done for the Reds in 2.5 minor league seasons is OPS .915 (.297/.387/.528) with 50 HR and 190 rbi in only 990 at bats, inlcuding 21 HR in only 336 ab’s last year in AA. Why does he not garner much recognition from BA? I know his defense isn’t top notch, but he is more than adequate enough to cover LF, and just hits the ball hard. If he tears up AAA pitching this year as a 24 year old, could he get his shot in the show?

    SportsNation John Manuel: One more from Ben, since all Reds prospects are either over-rated or under-publicized. Ben, we’ve been writing about Dorn since he was a freshman at Fullerton, and he’s been consistent since then — he’s been injury-prone, and he’s hit when healthy. He doesn’t have a lot of secondary skills, such as say defense or speed. The value there is in the bat, and we just don’t see him as a regular, more of a Luke Scott type of guy as a pro. That has value; we just think other Reds prospects have more value. Now stop asking this question — I just found that Jim answered it in February. You’re cut off for the rest of this chat!

  9. David

    Mhopp – there was nothing wrong with Stubbs’ performance in AAA last season. He went .293/.354/.480. The only thing really deficient was his BB:K ratio, but that has always been so-so. He’s lost power, but I think that is a result of his hitting instruction. He’s got plus speed and is turning his plus defense into plus-plus. He projects as a solid regular in CF.

    Aaron – It says more about our top hitting prospects. Also, I believe Bailey, Thompson and Ramirez may not qualify as “prospects” anymore based on BA’s criteria. But some of the other points are well noted. Thompson, Bailey, Ramirez, Cueto are all servicable rotation guys right now.

    Matt B. – I am not as high on Dorn as others. He has great OBP but lacks other skills. He’s average to below average defensively, has no real power to speak of, and has below average speed. He’s Adam Dunn without the power. Because he has great OBP many here love him, but he’s got better players blocking him in LF. I can see him as a 4th outfielder but not much more than that. The other OFs on the list project as everyday players.

  10. doug

    Bailey is no longer a ‘prospect’, but Thompson and Ramirez are both still prospects, just neither guy is a top 10 guy. Thompson would be in some systems, but ours is good and deep.

    David, My question is how on earth does Dorn not have power? He has a minor league slugging percentage of .566 over 495 AA PA at the age of 22/23. Thats power and lots of it. His career minor league SLG is .528.

  11. Steve Price

    To contribute to the problem of analyzing prospects, minor league analyst guru John Sickels says this…

    “The Reds graduated a lot of talent last year, and while things have thinned at the top, there is more depth in this system than is commonly realized….. While they could use some more impact arms, they have several pitchers who look like they will provide bullpen depth down the line. There’s quite a bit of C+ type talent here and guys who could be good role players. ”

    Frankly, it sounds like spare parts…there’s nothing wrong with spare parts, every team needs them, too, and some C talents do develop…

    As for Alonso hitting lefties:
    “1) Yonder Alonso, 1B, Grade B+: Love the walks, strong power, but sharp platoon split keeps him from higher grade at this time”

    Alonso is rated #1…he’s the only B+; B’s include Todd Frazier (fine hitter, not a star, question on defense), Chris Valaika (looks more like 2b than ss), and Neftali Soto (long term potential).

    B- include Stubbs, Roenicke, Stewart, and Lotzkar….

    Rest are C’s…

    As for the pitchers listed earlier….age is probably the issue…prospect lists typically stop at top 25, and our “prospect” pitchers aren’t that young…

    age 27: Josh Roenicke
    Age 26: Ramon Ramirez, Robert Manuel, Pedro Viola
    Age 25: Matt Maloney, Sam Lecure

    There’s a few others mentioned who are 24, and have good arms, but haven’t really mastered A ball yet.

  12. David

    I guess I should rephrase “no real power to speak of.” I look at Dorn as a Dunn type. Not much speed, poor defense, high OBP, but while he has some power it is not nearly as great as Dunn’s. So his power really doesn’t jump off the page to me. He also can’t hit lefties AT ALL and his power doesn’t project against lefties.

  13. doug

    The issue with Dorn though is while he can’t hit lefties, he will get on base against them. A lot of players can’t hit certain types of guys. Brandon Phillips hits righties worse than Dorn hits lefties and that guy hit cleanup for us last year (terrible idea Dusty).

    So we have a guy who projects to hit the living snot out of the baseball against 70% of the leagues pitchers and can still get on base at an acceptable rate against the other 30% of the leagues pitchers. Thats a guy who projects well in my book.

  14. Mr. Redlegs

    The list and strength of the system also reflects the big picture—Terry Reynolds’ eye (and penchant) for evaluating prospective hitters. He’s really quite exceptional in this area.

  15. Mark in CC

    After thinking about it, another guy left off the list that might deserve more respect over a couple of teenagers is Dallas Buck. He could really be the suprise fast moving sleeper in the Reds system this year.

    He was a great prospect before surgery and everything he accomplished last year while rehabbing points to a rebirth.

  16. Brian

    I know this is off topic but MLB.com has an interesting article on Juan Francisco (atleast I found it interesting). It was interesting to see how well he did when EE struggled mightily against the same pitching.

    I will admit I don’t have a good understanding on Francisco but have heard a lot about him recently. Any ideas on when they are saying he may be ready.

    I would imagine that with his winter league performance and because he is invited to spring training if he outplays EE this spring then he could really force Walt Jocketty and the Reds hand and we may see a trade of EE or a move of him to left possibly.

    I am not saying that this would be the best thing cause as I said above I don’t have a real good understanding of Francisco but I wanted to post this to see if anyone had seen him play and there thoughts on him and the potential he may be able to push his way north this spring?

  17. David

    Brian – Francisco gets an automatic invite to spring training because he is on the 40-man roster. He is slated in 2010-2011, so it will be some time yet. I am thinking September callup in 2010 if the Reds aren’t in contention.

    Here’s the quick and dirty on Francisco…. he lacks the plate discipline 4.9 BB% and 28.4 k%. He has an amazingly strong arm which is why he is at 3B, but his range is poor.

    What I love about him is the fact that he is a switch hitter, and hits almost identically from both sides.

    It’s all about polish for him. As soon as he hones some of that raw ability he will be up. That could happen anytime or never.

  18. doug

    David, those numbers are quite misleading. You shouldn’t calculate BB or K numbers based on AB’s, but rather PA.
    Last season he was at 3.5% and 22.7%.

    Francisco also isn’t a switch hitter and hasn’t been since he came to the US.

  19. David

    Doug – so you demonstrate even worse numbers which prove the same point i.e. his plate discipline is lousy.

    “He’s doing what he’s done: Hit and hit for power,” farm director Terry Reynolds said. “The thing with him was always not being selective enough — swinging at bad pitches and not walking enough. He’s shown improvement on that down there.”

    The reason for him batting primarily from the left side is because he is naturally a RH hitter and has concentrated with his LH hitting during instruction in the minors but is expected to be a switch hitter from everything I have read.

  20. doug

    Well, his plate discipline is lousy, but he wasn’t striking out nearly at the rate you posted. Granted he wasn’t walking nearly as much either. Still, I think its important to point out the information was a tad misleading.

    I am interested in where you read that he would be a switch hitter, because he hasn’t taken an AB as a righty in years. I just can’t imagine they let him all of a sudden hit right handed after such a long layoff. He is even listed as a lefty in places that actually care to fix such things.

  21. Bill

    Not sure if this has been posted, but BA has also posted their “Best Tools” list for the Reds organization (as per an email from the Dragon, thus this only lists the former Dragons): Former Dragons on the list include Stubbs (Best Defensive Outfielder), Francisco (Best Power Hitter and Best Infield Arm), Lotzkar (Best Curveball), Zack Cozart (Best Defensive Infielder), Jordan Smith (Best Slider), Ramon Ramirez (Best Change-up), Robert Manuel (Best Control), and Ryan Hannigan (Best Defensive Catcher).