Minor league prospect prognosticator John Sickels updates his list of Reds’ top prospects from his December, 2008 list. The list is from December, as are the ratings. The notes are current for this year.

A HUGE word of warning for this team: no A prospects are listed. He does say that we have a good group of prospects, but we are lacking arms at the top of the system. In my opinion, for a team with a dearth of talent, having B-level prospects spells years of mediocrity; somebody needs to be able to play. B players typically don’t carry your team. Yonder Alonso was the only B+ candidate listed and Sickels says there are still questions about his ability to hit lefties. Solid B’s went to Todd Frazier (without a position), Chris Valaika (poor plate discipline), and 3B Neftali Soto (strike zone issues).

It seems we have several toolsy Latin hitters in the pipeline with no strike zone or plate discipline. Also, Danny Dorn is hitting .197 against lefties.

Bill James has a new season score methodology for pitchers. Now, the 1939 best pitcher (by James’s methodology) would be NL MVP and Reds SP Bucky Walters, who went 27-11 with a 2.29 ERA. Runner-up is Red SP Paul Derringer who went 25-7 with a 2.93 ERA. Derringer’s K/W rate was better than Walters’s (128-35 vs. 137-109), but I like James’s quote: “It’s a debatable point and I can see it either way, but you know, you always prefer to have the MVP in first place if you can.”

Also wanted to throw out links to a couple of Bobby Abreu postings, here and here, since we are in need of veteran leadership, offense, and a leftfielder that’s within our budget.

Deals are out there.

On a sad note, former Reds owner William J. Williams, 93, passed away Sunday night. He was one of the principal owners during the Big Red Machine heyday of the 1970’s. His family is still actively involved in Reds management. Williams also was one of the founding owners of the football Cincinnati Bengals, and retained that ownership until his passing.