John Fay’s Blog has a list of BA’s Top 30 Reds Prospects:

    Anyway, here’s this year’s list (Aroldis Chapman would have been No. 1 if he had signed early enough to be considered):

    1. INF/OF Todd Frazier: We’ll likely see him some time this year. The question: At what position?

    2. 1B Yonder Alonso: If you were Alonso, wouldn’t you bring an outfield glove to spring training?

    3. RHP Mike Leake: Next to Chapman, his will be the most anticipated pitching debut of the spring.

    4. OF Chris Heisey: Up from No. 22 on last year’s list.

    5. 3B Juan Francisco: If he walked just a little more, he’d be in the top 3.

    6. OF Yorman Rodriguez: He’s got NFL speed and his arm rated the best among outfielders in the system. Doesn’t turn 18 till August.

    7. LHP Travis Wood: Did not make last year’s top 30. Went 9-3 with a 1.21 ERA at Double-A and 4-2 with a 3.14 at Triple-A.

    8. LHP Matt Maloney: He was much better, thanks to a cut fastball, in his second stint with the Reds.

    9. RHP Brad Boxberger: He threw up to 96 when in relief. The Reds plan to use him at starter for now.

    10. SS Zack Cozart. He’ll be in camp. Very good glove. But his minor league average is .265.

    11. SS Billy Hamilton: Last year’s second pick. Very athletic but very raw.

    12. SS/2B Chris Valaika: The Reds are hoping that last year when he hit .235 at Triple-A was an aberration.

    13. 3B Neftali Soto: He only hit .248 at Double-A after hitting .303, .388 and .326 in his first three minor league stop. He’s only 20.

    14. RHP Logan Ondrusek: Had a great year last year moving up three levels. One of the harder throwers. Got an invite to big league camp.

    15. SS Mariekson Gregorius: Curacao native. The Reds started him at high-A Sarasota last year as an injury fill-in. Hit .254 before going to Billings, where he hit .314.

    16. RHP Jordan Smith: Went 5-3 with 3.44 ERA at Double-A while dealing with knee problems.

    17. SS Miguel Rojas: Good fielder. But he’s hit .232 in 951 minor league at-bats. Only 20 years old.

    18. OF Juan Duran: If the Reds signed him to play basketball, it would be good news that he keeps growing. But at 6-7 or 6-8, your strike zone gets to be pretty big.

    19. RHP Enerio Del Rosario: Side-armer who gets a lot of groundballs. Will be in big-league camp.

    20. RHP Kyle Lotzkar: Missed all of last season with injuries. Has good stuff — he was a first-round supplemental pick in 2007. But he’s only made 19 starts in his 2 1/2 years in the system.

    21. LHP Donnie Joseph: Went 4-3 with a 3.06 ERA at Billings and Dayton after being picked in the third round last year.

    22. LHP Pedro Viola: Reached the big leagues last year. Throws up to 96 with an easy motion. But he’ll be 27 in June.

    23. LHP Phillippe Valiquette: He’s been around since 2004. He has a good arm. Last year was his best at far as results (1-1, 2.29 ERA at Sarasota; 1-1, 2.76 ERA at Carolina).

    24. RHP Mark Serrano: Last year’s sixth-round pick. Went a combined 3-1 with a 2.11 ERA in stops at Billings and Dayton.

    25. RHP Juan Carlos Sulbaran: Pitched against the Reds for the Dutch National team in spring training. Was so-so at Dayton — 5-5, 5.24 ERA.

    26. OF Josh Fellhauer: Seventh-round pick out of Cal-Fullerton last year. Hit .280/.351/.453 in 57 games at Dayton.

    27. RHP Daniel Tuttle: Power arm. Went 1-2 with a 1.67 ERA for the GCL Reds after being picked in the fifth-round last year.

    28. 2B/SS Cody Puckett: Good power. He had 19 homers and 35 doubles in 125 games for Dayton last year.

    29. OF Byron Wiley: He was a 22nd-round pick in 2008. He’s hit .289/.403/.507 in his 1 1/2 years in the system.

    30. C Devin Mesoraco: He was the first-round pick in 2007. He’s struggled at the plate (.240/.311/.368). Part of that his been wrist and thumb injuries. Was 10th on last year’s list.

I don’t understand these lists…seems like if you’re young, it forgives all sins and if you’re an older guy, you’re not a prospect.

For example…Kyle Lotzgar hasn’t really pitched in two years, yet because of his age (I’d imagine), he’s on the list. Our guy, Matt Klinker has been effective at every level and finished his 2nd full year in the minors at AAA and he’s not on the list? Valiquette is young, but has been around forever..and he’s on the list after one good season?
Mesoraco has, despite injuries, moved up every year, is 21, playing one of the most difficult positions on the field and he’s #30?

And John even points out that these lists are wrong… a lot.

    Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook is out. It lists each teams’ top 30 prospects. It’s always a good read. Prospect lists — and there seems to be more and more of them — are interesting but not always the best indicator of big league success. Gookie Dawkins, Chris Gruler and Ryan Wagner all topped the Reds list at one time. Two years ago, Jay Bruce was No. 1 in all of baseball, Homer Bailey was No. 9, Jonny Cueto was No. 34 and Joey Votto checked in at No. 44. Since then, Votto has been runnerup in the NL Rookie of the Year vote and finished third in the NL in OPS.

I guess these lists (and the one that Steve posted earlier from BP) are more for us as fans to raise discussion than for anything else…

21 Responses

  1. Matt WI

    I don’t understand these lists…seems like if you’re young, it forgives all sins and if you’re an older guy, you’re not a prospect.

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s a tough balance though… you were just posting a few days ago about “prime ages” and all of that. It’s becoming sacrosanct that over a certain age a player will not improve or is already declining. Yet, the numbers are what they are.

  2. Matt WI

    Sorry Bill… not your posts on prime ages… I saw Steve’s name with his latest post and got crossed up.

  3. david

    With Juan Duran still growing, somebody had ought to teach the kid how to pitch.

  4. Doug Gray

    While the lists are often wrong, using the 2007 rankings to tell us they are wrong is just backwards. The rankings aren’t about who will help soonest, its about who will have the best career. If I had to rank those guys as best careers I would still go Bruce, Bailey, Votto and Cueto.

    The only glaring omission was Klinker as you noted. I think they are going to regret the Mesoraco ranking as well in about 4-6 months, but other than that the list isn’t all that bad. While there is going to be some shiny new toy syndrome going on, its because the young guys still are on the lower part of their learning curve while the older guys are accepted to have less to figure out and are more finished.

  5. Mark in CC

    I think these lists are all about the 5-tool skills rather than who are baseball players. This list used to be full of Leatherpant’s 5-tool outfielders he accumulated, most of whom were not baseball players. I guess, like you, I would rather see more emphasis on actual performance.

    I do think you speak with your heart a little with Klinker but I can take your point with Lotzkar and Valiquette.

  6. Bill Lack

    I completely agree that I’m prejudiced in Matt’s favor, but these lists discount the success he’s had also in just 2 full seasons. (I have always been prejudiced for all our Spotlight guys).

    If I were compiling these lists, my criteria would be different…no one would be included until they spent one full year in the minor (or majors in those rare occasions) leagues. IMO, it’s ludicrous to include Leake and Boxberger.

    It’s just as silly, IMO, to include someone simply based on their age and/or how much $$ the team has spent on them, with no concern for their lack of numbers (like Duran).

  7. JasonL

    @Bill Lack: I don’t know. I think a good case can be made that college is equivalent to low minors. I’d agree that high school prospects shouldn’t be ranked until they have some time in the pros, but I think college provides a reasonable barometer of potential major league performance. The results, I believe, show this to be true as fewer high draft college players flame out than do high draft high schoolers.

    • Bill Lack

      JasonL: @Bill Lack: I don’t know. I think a good case can be made that college is equivalent to low minors. I’d agree that high school prospects shouldn’t be ranked until they have some time in the pros, but I think college provides a reasonable barometer of potential major league performance. The results, I believe, show this to be true as fewer high draft college players flame out than do high draft high schoolers.

      I see your point, but don’t agree. I think it’s a different game (especially for hitters, going from aluminum to wood bats). But, these lists are all silly anyway, so anyone that chooses to do one could use whatever criteria they wanted and it would have just as much validity as anyone elses.

  8. Doug Gray

    Bill, the list isn’t about what you have done, its about what you could do one day. The list is of prospects, not of best stats accumulated as of today. You seem to be wanting to see a list that is less prospect list and more ‘current baseball skills’ list.

  9. Bill Lack

    I understand that, but it also pays almost attention to what a player has accomplished.

    Again, I’ll point to Lotzkar and Duran..they may have loads of talent, but have accomplished nothing in professional baseball. Why put them on a “prospects” list before they’ve accomplished SOMETHING in professional baseball? It simply makes no sense to me.

  10. JasonL

    @Bill Lack: I agree, it is somewhat different, but, as I pointed out, there is enough data to suggest that the transition from college to the minors isn’t that big. Given what we know about what high draft picks tend to do, I don’t see how anyone could justify leaving a highly-touted college player of a prospect list because he doesn’t have professional experience.

  11. Doktor

    On MLB network tonight(Tuesday) 8pm, they are reviewing thier top 50 prospect list. Its only an hour long show so they cant get too in-depth but interesting to hear another view of any reds prospects.

    What I take from the lists is names to “look” out for, so when I attend a minors game, I know who to pay attention to, who is supposed to be the “next guy” for the reds. Like a game last year in L’Ville, I knew I wanted to pay attention on Stubbs, Francisco, Heisey, Valaika.

    Go 2010 Reds!

  12. Doug Gray

    Doktor, that list has already come out and has been out for about a month. In the prospect community it is seen as about worthless because of how it is compiled where 1 person really thinking highly of someone gets them on the list even if everyone else hates them.

    And Bill, you put guys who have done nothing so far onto the list because of what you think they can do based on scouting reports and projection.

    • Bill Lack

      Doug Gray: And Bill, you put guys who have done nothing so far onto the list because of what you think they can do based on scouting reports and projection.

      I understand that, I just don’t agree with it. I think you should have to have done something professionally before being included (thus no players before one year of pro ball) and if you have played a year of pro ball, you should have had to put up reasonably proficient numbers…

  13. TC

    “5. 3B Juan Francisco: If he walked just a little more, he’d be in the top 3.” He is getting a bit chunky. 😆

    These lists are fun, if not pointless. They are about as good at predicting how a prospect will perform as our local climaterrorists are at predicting the weather. Matt Klinker will make the show or not based upon his own merit, regardless of that fact he didn’t show up on this list.

    If you like prospect lists, here is the best I’ve seen. The list is incomplete, but he’s been working pretty steady on it.

  14. Steve Price

    The age factor is HUGE…I’m working on something where I may be able to show why it matters, but it’s too early in research for me to give a Reds- based answer. It’s been written about by Bill James ad finitum (is that how you spell it?) that it’s hard to overcome the logic. there’s exceptions to every rule, but it essentially comes down to the players who arrive the earliest will also stay the longest.

    Having said that, I’m surprised Ondrusek is getting the attention he’s getting. His K rate is way low for a minor league closer and he’ll be 25 this season. It is interesting how Ondrusek’s hits/9 innings dropped so much with so few K’s…that could be luck. Viola is only on the list, in my opinion, because he throws hard and is a lefty, so he may get to pitch some.

    • Bill Lack

      Steve Price: Having said that, I’m surprised Ondrusek is getting the attention he’s getting.His K rate is way low for a minor league closer and he’ll be 25 this season.It is interesting how Ondrusek’s hits/9 innings dropped so much with so few K’s…that could be luck.Viola is only on the list, in my opinion, because he throws hard and is a lefty, so he may get to pitch some.

      I would tend to think that, by some accounts, he was 2 weeks from being released last year (I think it was last year), started throwing the cutter and had a great year and climbed three levels…that got attention. Better him than another SS that can’t hit.

  15. Steve Price

    “Gookie Dawkins, Chris Gruler and Ryan Wagner all topped the Reds list at one time. ”

    I think that was more an indictment of the Reds scouts and farm system than a problem with a list.

  16. TC

    I’m starting to think Juan Duran shouldn’t be on this list. He’s a big, young guy who can tee off in batting practice. But his slash line raises an eye .172/.214/.264/478 in 163 ABs as a DH in the Gulf Coast League.

    HR: 0
    SB: 0
    K%: 31.9
    BB%: 4.6
    ISO: .092

    Yikes! Who made this list? What is it about him that says he’s the 18th best prospect in the Red’s system. Oh, I forgot, the 2 huge they spent on him last March makes him eligable. Surely, there is room for Matt on this list of 30 if Juan Duran is 18th. Come on!

  17. TC

    Juan Carlos Sulbaran went 5-5 with an ERA of 5.24. IN LOW A DAYTON!!! He’s on the list. What’s up?

    These are not bias observations. Klinker excites me, and he is certainly a top 30 prospect.