I’m going to take a look at the Reds top level minor league depth at seasons end.Ã‚Â Last two weeks I covered the pitchers. This week I’ll look at the catchers and infielders.Ã‚Â This will be more of a who is closest to helping in the majors type of ranking rather than who has the most top side prospect ranking.Ã‚Â I’ll only be covering players who played at least as high as AA this season.
Tucker Barnhart – Tucker is a 23 year old switch hitter who has excellent defensive skills.Ã‚Â His defense got him some major league backup time this year while Devin Mesoraco was injured.Ã‚Â He batted only .185/.241/.241/.482 in 60 PA for the Reds.Ã‚Â He struggled a bit with the bat at AAA as well putting up a .246/.319/.316/.636 line in 292 PA.Ã‚Â These numbers are a bit below his minor league career line of .259/.341/.354/.695.Ã‚Â He will most likely prove to be a good backup major league catcher.Ã‚Â He will provide great defensive, fair on base skills, and no power.Ã‚Â He looks like a switch hitting Ryan Hanigan light.
Rossmel Perez – Perez was acquired last offseason as a minor league free agent.Ã‚Â He was with the Diamondbacks organization previously.Ã‚Â The 24 year old LH swinger put up a great .333/.391/.460/.851 line in 280 PA at AA before a late season promotion to AAA where he slashed .214/.267/.250/.517 in 30 PA.Ã‚Â This was by far the best season of his career as his minor league career line of .272/.353/.333/.686 illustrates.Ã‚Â His minor league line looks similar to Barnhart’s, but he’s not as good defensively.Ã‚Â He should begin next season in AAA and it will be worth noting if his newfound ability for SLG continues.
Neftali Soto – Soto is a 25 year old RH 1B/3B who has a .071/.091/.095/.186 line in 44 PA with the Reds over the last two seasons.Ã‚Â This year he put up .302/.350/.406/.756 line in 303 PA at AAA in his 3rd season there.Ã‚Â This years numbers are a departure from last years .271/.313/.414/.727 and his HR dropped from 15 last season to 2 this year.Ã‚Â It appears he changed his approach this season, so it will be interesting to see if this continues next year.Ã‚Â It was both puzzling and troubling to me that Soto, who has displayed good power in the past, was left to rot in AAA while we watched a backup catcher play up to his career numbers this year (.253/.291/.353/.645) filling in at 1B for Joey Votto.Ã‚Â Soto should provide someone with a decent RH bench bat who can play both 1B/3B, I just really don’t expect to see that happen with the Reds now.
Thomas Neal – Neal had a poor season for him last year at AAA in 409 PA he slashed .255/.329/.343/.673.Ã‚Â These numbers are not in line however with the 26 year old RH LF/1B minor league career line of .296/.372/.444/.816.Ã‚Â If he is brought back he could be in the mix for a bench OF/1B if he has a good spring and shows he’s found his stroke from previous seasons.
Marquez Smith – Ok, he’s 29 and played A+ most of the season, but the RH 1B/3B did put up a .323/.438/.623/1.061 line at Bakersfield, including 29 HR.Ã‚Â He also was at AA for a short time this year where he did poorly in 34 PA.Ã‚Â But Smith does boast a .294/.365/.507/.872 AAA line in 687 PA while with the Cubs organization over 2010-2011.Ã‚Â It will be interesting to see both if they bring him back next season and where they assign him if they do.
Harold Riggins – This 24 year old RH 1B was acquired from Colorado at mid season.Ã‚Â At that time he had a .263/.351/.447/.798 line in the AA Texas League.Ã‚Â So of course we assigned him to A+ where he struggled the rest of the season with a .232/.314/.384/.698 line in the same league where he posted a .247/.353/.472/.825 line the season before.Ã‚Â His overall minor league numbers are .267/.369/.477/.846 and he slugged 19 HR in 2012 and 22 in 2013.Ã‚Â He does strike out a lot, with 192 and 137 the last two seasons, but he also draws more than his share of BB to enable him to maintain a good OBP.Ã‚Â I’m hoping he finds his stroke next spring and is assigned to AA as the starting 1B there.
Kris Negron – The 28 year old utility man won the hearts of Reds fans this season by putting up a .271/.331/.479/.810 line over 158 PA after being called up in mid July.Ã‚Â The bad news is that these numbers don’t line up with his .227/.289/.344/.632 line over 1424 AAA PAs, or his .246/.323/.360/.683 minor league career line.Ã‚Â I have no expectations that he’ll maintain his very good hitting at the major league level, but would love for him to surprise me.Ã‚Â That said, he’s positioned himself to be right there competing for a bench spot on next years roster.Ã‚Â The only way I see this working well for the Reds is if they let Ramon Santiago walk this winter and retain Negron as the backup SS.Ã‚Â If they keep someone else as the backup SS and Negron as well, we’ll be in line for another weak bench next season.
Jake Elmore – Elmore is 27 year old SS/2B who has a .221/.288/.291/.579 line in 221 PA over the last three major league season.Ã‚Â He was claimed from Oakland in early August this year where he was hitting .282/.374/.365/.739 at AAA in 211 PA and proceeded to put up a .279/.379/.302/.681 line at AAA Louisville in 104 PA.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â His minor league career line is .290/.385/.388/.774 over 2729 PA in which he has 346 BB and 344 SO.Ã‚Â I was very disappointed that we didn’t get to see a lot more of Elmore in September.Ã‚Â If he can field the SS position adequately, he’s my pick for the Reds reserve middle infielder off the bench next season.Ã‚Â He doesn’t have any power, but he some very solid on base skills that this team sorely lacks.
Rey Navarro – Navarro is a 24 year old switch hitting SS/2B who had a good year at the plate hitting .271/.336/.459/.794 in 291 AA PA and .296/.351/.409/.759 in 251 AAA PA.Ã‚Â Not sure why the Reds couldn’t find a roster spot for him to reward him with a September call up, but I’m hoping he continues to hit like this next spring.Ã‚Â I’d expect him to start the year next season at AAA.
Juan Silverio – The 23 year old RH 3B hit .270/.307/.448/.755 in 279 AA PA before putting up a .247/.264/.353/.617 line in 87 AAA PA this season.Ã‚Â His .269/.306/.440/.746 minor league career line suggests he needs to sharpen his on base skills to have any future in the majors.
Ryan Wright – Wright is a 24 year old RH 2B who hit a nice .311/.345/.498/.843 in 255 A+ PA before being promoted to AA where he put up a .205/.248/.288/.536 line in 237 PA.Ã‚Â His minor league career line of .274/.319/.425/.744 suggest that he needs to work a bit more on his OBP skills also to be successful going forward.
Seth Mejias-Brean – He is a 23 year old RH 3B who hit .300/.396/.476/.872 at A+ in 313 PA before being promoted to AA where he hit .235/.333/.323/.656 in 264 PA.Ã‚Â He has a very impressive minor league career line of .291/.376/.448/.823 and it is a good sign that he still displayed his good batting eye at AA this season despite struggling there.Ã‚Â He is participating in the Arizona Fall League and probably due to start next year back at AA but will be advanced quickly if he begins showing success there.