It hasn’t quite been a full month since I last did one of these over here at Redleg Nation, but the article that I had planned on writing for today simply didn’t come through in enough time to complete. It will eventually make it onto the pages here, but for now I’m going to fall back on just taking your questions about minor league baseball (though I will also take questions on baseball in general if that’s how you prefer to use your questions).

There are a few simple rules to follow along with today, but they are pretty simple:

  1. Try to avoid questions that will require me to look up answers (such as: Who was the last guy to steal 25 bags and hit 25 home runs in the system).
  2. Try to avoid overly long answer-type questions. I tend to give thorough and detailed answers as it is, so please don’t have my type out a novel.
  3. Each user can ask up to three questions.
  4. Ask your questions before 8PM and I will be sure to answer it. If you ask after 8PM on Tuesday, then I can’t guarantee that I will answer your question.

I probably won’t begin answering questions until around 11am, but feel free to filling up the comments with them before that.

89 Responses

  1. Eric Stauffer

    Where do you think the Reds start Senzel next year?

    • Doug Gray

      I’d say there’s a 95% chance he starts in Daytona and a 5% chance that he starts in Double-A, wherever that happens to be at (the Reds and Pensacola have not yet extended their player development contract beyond this season, so they may wind up with a new Double-A affiliate).

  2. ShowOPS

    1. (At this point) Ballpark range, how many current non-roster prospects do you expect to be added to the Reds’ 40-man roster by November in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft?
    2. Are pitchers, in particular those seen as potential MLB relievers as opposed to starters, more at risk of being selected in the Rule 5 draft than are position players?
    3. Do you think it is likely the Reds will fill the 40-man roster in November, in order to protect as many prospects from the Rule 5 draft as possible, thus making the Reds ineligible for the Rule 5 draft? Or do you think they will leave a spot or two open in order to be eligible to make a selection or two from other teams?
    THANKS for doing this!

    • showops

      2. (under the rationale that relief pitchers may be more likely to be able to contribute sooner at the MLB level, and thus be less of an initial short-term potential drag on the selecting team’s 25-man roster)

    • Doug Gray

      1. I’m not sure that I understand this question exactly. What do you mean by non-prospects? Right now, among my Top 25 prospects at midseason, there are NINE guys that need to be protected from the Rule 5, and beyond that, there are probably five more that I could reasonably argue that should also be protected. Obviously they aren’t going to protect that many guys, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see 8-11 guys protected this winter. You can read more about it all in this piece that I wrote about it all two weeks ago:

      2. Pitchers in general are more likely to be selected and for a few reasons: First and most importantly, it’s easier to hide a pitcher on the roster than a position player. You can use a starter as a long man if you truly believe in the talent, even if they aren’t ready. He’s only going to pitch in blowouts, so that’s an easy one. If you take a lefty, use him as a loogy every so often.

      3. I’d bet they fill their roster. There are just too many guys that need protecting.

      • Matt V

        Unless I’m reading wrong, he didn’t say “non-prospects” but “non-roster prospects,” i.e. prospects who aren’t already on the 40-man roster.

      • Doug Gray

        Good catch. I’m going on about 5 hours of sleep and apparently it’s making it tough for me to read. Hopefully I still provided a good answer for him though.

  3. Josh

    Seems like the Reds could have a catcher of the future debate soon (pending injuries) between Okey and Stephenson. How do you see that shaking out, and is there any chance Stephenson is moved to LF?

    • Doug Gray

      Right now, Chris Okey is well ahead of Stephenson in terms of being able to reach the big leagues. He’s a better player today with better skills. That’s in part due to age and experience, and with Stephenson basically losing out on a lot of development this year, it’s set him behind the 8-ball in this one. It’s certainly possible that he moves to left field, but that is something that won’t even be discussed for another 4+ years. There’s way too much value in keeping a guy with a chance to hit at all behind the plate. Having too many good hitting catchers is never a problem.

  4. Tyler Dee Hartley

    We have guys like Smith, Diaz, and Ohlendorf not doing hot in the Majors. When do you think a guy like Shackleford, Wandy Peralta, or John Lab get a shot in the bullpen?

    • Doug Gray

      Only one of those guys is on the 40-man roster, and it’s John Lamb. And he’s on the disabled list with an elbow issue. I’d think Peralta would get a shot before Shackelford. I’d be surprised if we saw any of the three this season though. September is here in a week and the team can call up some guys that are on the 40-man to fill out the bullpen, especially from Louisville who won’t be making the playoffs.

  5. Michael

    1. Any feel for TJ Friedel and his potential?

    2. Roughly where do you rank the reds system?

    3. Has Nick Senzel exceeded expectations or is he doing what a #2 pick should do at low A?

    • Doug Gray

      1. Possible starting center fielder. Has speed, has enough power to play.

      2. I haven’t added him to my rankings yet, but rough-gut feeling that could change when I actually do release my end of the year rankings: ~20th

      3. Both. I had full faith that he would hit and that he’d eventually hit for power. That he’s hitting for this much power this quickly is a tad bit of exceeded expectations, though more so just because it’s happened this quickly. He’s also a bit faster than expected.

      • mdhabel

        Follow up/potential clarification on #2 – where does the Reds farm system rank in regards to the rest of the league?

      • Doug Gray

        Someone touched on that below and I said roughly 10th. But we’ve also got to remember that guys like Cody Reed, Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera technically don’t count as prospects at this point, so they aren’t factors in the farm system rankings. Adjust your value accordingly if you would like to based on that.

  6. JC

    1.) Any updates on Weiss for the season?
    2.) Does Shed Long make it to Double AA and Triple AAA next year?
    3.) Two fold question: Any early predictions as to the Reds selecting anyone in the Rule 5 draft or do they even pick someone for that matter this winter?

    • Doug Gray

      1. Unfortunately the last update I saw on him was over a month ago and it was basically that he was still trying to come back from the elbow issue and may pitch in August. Of course, here we are on August 23rd and he hasn’t pitched yet…. so, I’m guessing we won’t see him this year.

      2. Double-A, probably. Triple-A, probably not. Even though he’s crushed things in Daytona so far, I’d expect him back there to begin the year and rack up about 500 total PA (between this year and next) before getting a promotion.

      3. I addressed this a bit above. They’ve got too many of their own guys to protect for me to think that they pick anyone. I’d be shocked if they didn’t actually lose at least two guys in the draft given all of those that need protecting.

  7. Dan

    1. Who do you think will be called up when rosters expand? On that same note any surprises on who won’t be called up?
    2. Where will the Reds AA affiliate be located at next year?
    3. Who is going to surprise us and wind up making the 25 man roster out of spring training 2017

    • Doug Gray

      1. Let’s keep in mind that Pensacola is in the Double-A playoffs, guys currently on that roster won’t immediately be called up – but should join the team after the playoffs. Looking over the 40-man roster, I think they probably call up everyone that’s on the roster but not currently there. No surprises.

      2. No clue, but I’d imagine it would be one of these three: Pensacola, Mobile, Jacksonville.

      3. Maybe a guy starting in the minors now makes the bullpen or something like that.

  8. wizeman

    Is Delino Deshields the backside of a Kentucky Derby hopeful?
    What do you feel the chances are he will be shown the door at season’s end?
    Do you think that erhaps the obsession with service time and its holding back deserving players sometimes hinders the progression of AAA guys ready to come up? Stephenson has struggles this year…. and is called out for being “difficult” by both the manager and many who have absolutely no idea if this is true or not.
    How des this work with a guy like Winker… who is ready yet is forced to watch while otherrs get their shot?

    • Doug Gray

      1. No. His comments were a very calculated move. I’d imagine this is a conversation they’ve had privately a few times, at the very least. If they’d never had this conversation before, it would be an issue to me, but there’s just no way that I believe they haven’t had it before. Delino has been the manager for RS since 2013, two years in Pensacola and then the last two years in Louisville. He knows what buttons to try and push here.

      I don’t know his current contract status, and with Dick Williams taking over, it will be interesting to see how things play out over the next year or two in terms of who stays and who goes.

      2. I think that some guys can certainly get “bored”, so-to-speak if they are held back too long while performing well. I don’t think that’s the case with Stephenson.

      3. With Winker, it’s interesting. I think he was probably ready to contribute in some way in April. He would have gotten on base enough to make it work, but he’s also slugging under .400 right now (and Louisville isn’t exactly the most hitter friendly park – it’s 340 down the RF line) and just hit his 1st home run since April over the weekend. You could certainly argue that you want to see a little more from him before giving him the call.

  9. ohiojimw

    What’s your take on the Robert Stephenson situation? if that’s too vague, is there an apparent physical correction he needs to make as we kept hearing about Reed and getting his grip back on top of the ball? Does the team bear some responsibility because it held him back for contractual/ long term financial reasons in April when he appeared to be “ready” and among the best 5 starting options they had?

    • wizeman

      Nice job OhioJimW.
      My point though I kind of went on tangent.

      • ohiojimw

        Yeah, looking at the time stamps, our questions must have crossed in the ether because I looked for Stephenson stuff before I posted.

    • Doug Gray

      I kind of addressed that above, but I will expand onto the other parts of your question.

      No, I don’t think the team has any responsibility for it by holding him back because I don’t think he was ready in April. Maybe he was one of the best 5 starters at the time, but that didn’t say much since four of their starters were on the disabled list and the other was Alfredo Simon. He’s struggled to consistently throw strikes for nearly three seasons at this point. Until he does, it’s no ones fault but his. And I say that with the full understanding that it may not be an effort thing, but more so that it’s certainly possible that he’s just unable to make it happen at this point in time.

      And that’s what intrigues me the most about the DeShields comment. What exactly is the issue. Is it that RS isn’t trying to do what they’ve been telling him, or is it that he’s unable to do what they are telling him. Those are two very different things. Neither is exactly ideal, but one is understandable.

      • lwblogger2

        Your last paragraph hits on how I feel about it. I’m hoping that DeShields was sure that this is a lack of effort thing and not a lack of execution thing prior to calling Stephenson out like that. I can somewhat defend him if it is a lack of effort but I have big issues with DeShields’ handling of this if there is even a chance that it’s lack of execution.

      • ohiojimw

        Thanks. I find the differences between how Stephenson, Reed and Finnegan have been handled to be interesting.

        The real world experience showed us Reed wasn’t ready when just about everybody thought he was and persisted in saying there was nothing left for him to prove or learn at AAA even as he was being bashed silly at the MLB level for going on 2 months.

        Stephenson warts and all managed to navigate his way successfully through 2 MLB games despite his issues. He made some big pitches when he had to and yes, maybe was also lucky but he did it. He allowed 4BB’s in 12 innings at the MLB level which projects to 3/9, a bit lower than Dan Straily’s current rate.

        Brandon Finnegan is the same age as Stephenson and has a BB per 9 of well over 4 but still gets the ball every 5 days at MLB despite averaging less than 6IP per start.

        Is this a case of one man’s ceiling being another man’s floor?

      • citizen54

        Look I hope he does well but pointing to those two MLB starts as being successes is incorrect. He was extremely lucky in those two games as his 5.90 FIP and 6.12 xFIP show. His K% and BB% were both 8 which is pretty bad. Cody Reed actually has a better xFIP at 4.31 and his FIP is only slightly worse, 6.06. Stephenson has actually been worse in the minors this year than last. It is clear he is not ready for the big league and if it is due to him not making whatever adjustmnets he has been told to make then Deshields is correct in calling him out.

      • ohiojimw

        I didn’t say RS was ready in April. I said under the circumstances he was one of the best 5 SP options available to the team at the point he made the two starts.

        In a world where decisions weren’t made based on contract control and projected long term cost, based on what he did in those two starts, RS almost certainly would have remained in MLB until A) somebody was ready to come off the DL and bump him down or B) he totally unravelled like Reed did in his extended look.

        I included the reference to Finnegan, a player of the same age as RS and with much less MiLB experience, because his road has been up and down with a lot of starts and fits, probably much like RS’s might have been at MLB, yet they stick with Finnegan while deciding RS wasn’t worthy of an extended look yet. Thus the comment about ceilings and floors.

      • citizen54

        I’m not sure what ceilings and floors has to do with the Reds giving Finnigan a shot while sending down Stephenson. I’m pretty sure it was due to service time issues. And besides, one man’s floor is not another man’s ceiling in this case.

        I’m not a fan of Finnegan and I actually like RS much better but Finnegan just had a a 7 IP, 8 K 2BB gem of a game against a team that just pummeled our ace. Meanwhile Stephenson just lasted 2 innings against a minor league team giving up 4 walks in the process. Both of them have problems with walks and I would say Finnigan’s ceiling is that of a number #4 or #5. WIth his lack of control, RS’s floor is defintely much lower than a #4 or #5 although his ceiling is maybe #2 or #3.

      • Doug Gray

        Citing FIP/XFIP in two starts is useless. A walk rate of 8% is actually good. A strikeout rate of 8% is very, very bad, though.

      • citizen54

        I’m using xFIP and FIP for those two games because if you just look at his ERA then it would have appeared he was quite successful in his two stints. We shouldn’t be using a two game sample to judge someone to begin with. And to be fair he did have one good game and one bad game. And ya, I misspoke. 8% BB is decent, I was actually more focused on the K% rate.

        But now that I have you attention, is there anything mechincally you can see that he is doing differently today as compared to last year when he was having his good run?

      • ohiojimw

        Citizen….. In April, Stephenson pitched 7 innings in an MLB game allowing 1 run on 3 hits. 2BB, 3K 0HR.

        My point isn’t about who has done what lately as about what might have RS done had he been left up. Based on what he did on the mound in those two games, he did not “deserve” to be sent back on his performance in them given who the team had available to use in his place.

        Would he have learned on the fly and stuck? Would he have crashed and burned? We will never know because that was then and there; and, what’s happened since at AAA doesn’t prove or even indicate the same would have happened with him had he stayed up.

        I’m suggesting maybe it can be penny wise and pound foolish to arbitrarily make decisions based strictly on immediate contractual and financial considerations.

      • citizen54

        I understand you point that in a world where service clocks don’t exist he should have been given a chance to stick in the rotaton. But it is difficult to believe that someone who is now struggling against AAA batters would have somehow figured it out against MLB hitters. It is possible though, which I why I asked if there is something he is doing differently mechanically now than he was before.

  10. Gregg Lestina

    1. In the Jay Bruce trade, what did you think of the Reds choosing Dilson Herrera over B. Nimmo?
    2. 2B Shed Long has gone under the radar this year. Can you talk about him and how he projects into the Reds future?
    3. Why aren’t prospects like Long, Senzel, and Ismael Guillon moving up to better competition? They are are all killing it where they are. Can you talk a little about what it takes to move up and when/why organizations move people?

    • The Duke

      Nimmo’s current power numbers are a PCL mirage. I think he’s slugs sub .400 in the bigs. He’ll hit for a solid average, take walks, and can play all 3 OF spots (although most don’t see him sticking in CF long term), but power is not a main part of his game. Herrera plays a more premium defensive position, hits for more power, and has more upside. Assuming the shoulder isn’t too damaged, I liked getting Herrera a lot more, although I was hoping we’d get Gavin Cecchini.

    • Doug Gray

      1. LOVED it. I don’t think that Nimmo is an everyday player as currently constructed. He’s going to have to show more power than he’s ever really shown to be a true every day kind of guy and the scouting reports don’t suggest that is there.

      2. He’s short – just 5′ 8″, but he’s not small. He’s strong, he’s got a real quick bat, he’s athletic. There’s some power there, and his home run total this year isn’t a mirage. He should be able to stick at second base long term. He just turned 21 yesterday, so I’d expect he’s still 2-3 years away, but he’s got some ability on the field.

      3. Long has 109 plate appearances in Daytona. He needs a lot more before moving up. With Senzel, what’s the rush? Are 40 plate appearances going to make a difference? Guillon is a guy I would have moved up. He’s older, he’s got tons of experience and he’s dominated most of the year. I think at this point he’s in Daytona for two reasons: While he’s a future reliever, that team is in a spot that needs plenty of spot starts for a multitude of reasons and he can fill that role. He’s a true wild card for the 40-man roster this offseason.

      Guys get moved up for a variety of reasons. Some guys get moved up because they fill a need, particularly if it’s a short term need. You won’t see priority players (guys the organization views as legit prospects – though they will never say this publicly) get called up to the next level for a short term need, only to be sent back down when that need is over. With the legit guys, they get moved up when the organization feels they are ready for that next level. At the same time, sometimes they are held back beyond that point depending on the situation. A good example right now could be looking at the Daytona squad. Are some guys there ready for the next level? Aquino, Herget, Gumbs, Guillon? Yes, they are. But they are also fighting for the playoffs down there and that kind of experience is something that the Reds want guys to get. If they were losing despite these guys playing well, maybe they all would have moved up to Pensacola at the start of this month.

      Hopefully that was a decent enough explanation.

  11. Sean Lahman (@seanlahman)

    1) At this point, does it make sense to limit Jesse Winker’s service time so that he doesn’t accrue a full year of service time next year? (i.e., no September callup.)

    2) With Finnegan, Disco and Bailey seemingly locked into the rotation, which if any of the four guys at AAA seem likely to get 20+ starts next year? (Stephenson, Reed, Davis, Garrett)

    3) Have Lamb and Moscot missed their window of opportunity?

    • Doug Gray

      1. I think so, and honestly, if I were making the baseball decisions, I wouldn’t call him up for that and for another reason: Scott Schebler. This isn’t me saying Schebler is going to be better, because I certainly don’t think that, but Schebler needs to get 25 plate appearances a week for the rest of the season. Give him a chance and see what he can do over the course of two months straight. Find out exactly what you have. If the organization thinks, even a little bit, that there’s a chance he could be an actual starting option, now is the only time you’ve got to really find out. Use it because next spring Winker’s going to be on the 40-man and he’s going to have a full Triple-A season under his belt and if he has a good spring, service time of two weeks is really the only reason that he shouldn’t be the opening day left fielder.

      2. Stephenson and Reed, but I certainly wouldn’t count out Garrett. I think Davis is a clear fourth there – but that’s more so about the three guys listed in front of him than it is anything really about him. Now that he’s healthy in the second half, he’s performed better (though he’s had a tougher time of things in Louisville) and he’s looked better from a scouting perspective.

      3. Unfortunately, I think that they have, at least as starting goes. There are just going to be too many guys to work through. Moscot may not take the mound again until 2018.

  12. Muso

    1.- Barry Larkin is the next manager of the Reds???
    2.- What happen with Ismael Guillon and Aristides Aquino??, next Class AA???

    • Doug Gray

      1. No.

      2. Next year, yes. Perhaps this year for the playoffs if Daytona fails to make it. Pensacola is in the playoffs already, so if Daytona doesn’t make it they could provide reinforcements. The Tortugas are currently 3 games back with 15 games to play.

  13. lwblogger2

    1 – Do you have concerns about Winker’s power? It seems like not only is he not hitting the ball out of the park, he’s not hitting gappers either.

    2 – Do you think the Reds will send Senzel and Okey to the Arizona Fall League?

    3 – Has Wallach made improvements behind the plate?

    • Doug Gray

      1. No. He’s shown plenty of power in the past, and he’s had a wrist injury this year. I’ve got plenty of faith that he’s going to find the power again in the near future.

      2. Coin-flip. Senzel has stated publicly that he’s feeling worn down right now. He started playing in February. I could see the organization giving him the time off and just letting him come back in February for spring training. Okey is probably feeling the same thing, particularly as a catcher, though he hasn’t said it publicly. We will see.

      3. He has, but he’s still got plenty of work to do back there.

  14. The Duke

    1) With Trammell almost certainly going to Dayton next year, does Friedl start out in Daytona so both get plenty of playing time in CF?

    2) Given his outstanding peripherals except for batting average, what do you think Phillip Ervin would have to hit average wise to be a positive WAR corner outfielder?

    3) Billy Hamilton: 5 Extension now while we still have leverage or do you want to see him prove it longer?

    • Doug Gray

      1. It’s a good question. I’d probably start them both in Dayton and just let them both play center, one of the corners and occasionally DH. What the Reds do is an entirely different story. It wouldn’t surprise me if they pushed Friedl to Daytona – but I’d expect both in Dayton if I had to put money on it.

      2. .240, assuming he can keep his walk rate solid enough to be a .320 OBP guy. The defense will be good, his base running is strong, he will hit for enough power – just has to be able to get on base enough.

      3. I’d wait. I just don’t see him being the kind of free agent that’s going to break the bank, so if I lose out on a million or two a year by waiting around, I’m willing to take the chances on that one to see if he can do this longer.

      • Seadog

        I love this post. Doug, you do an awesome job. But you woefully underestimate Billy Hamilton. If I am the “Reds” I sign him now. The kid is worth more in “INK” (kind of like Aroldis was) than he is in stats. You have to sign him now….Why wait? Makes no sense. The kid has gotten better and better. He is a high-light reel. Not only is he good “Pub”, but the kid is figuring out how to be a good major-league player. I think Joey Votto has been a God-send for him. I would play him in CF/Duvall in left and Schebler in right. I would give them a year together. Yes a year. Sign Billy….Now

      • Doug Gray

        I guess I just don’t see what it hurts to wait and see. Hamilton doesn’t bring the stats that are really going to get him paid. He’s not going to go out and hit 25 home runs. Teams aren’t paying for, or expected to pay for steals and defense.

        Just not sure I’m going all in on an extension on a guy without a big offensive upside that’s going to get him well paid in the future if this is the new him, when he’s really only shown to be “this” for what, 6 weeks?

  15. Tyler Dee Hartley

    1. Is the continued thought process from the FO to keep signing High OBP/Athletes (Blandino, Sparks, Ervin) vs. Proven hitters (Senzel)? Blandino (cant hit but great athlete) Sparks (Cant hit but great athlete) Ervin (Cant Hit but great athlete) I realize they are young but jeez sub .220 hitters arent going to amount to much in the big leagues.

    2. How do you feel about DeShields comments about Robert S.?

    3. Do you think part of the problem with Stephenson in AAA and his performance is because he has become a bit complacent having been there so long?

    • Doug Gray

      1. I can’t speak to their thought process exactly. Personally, I’d always be looking at both types. Ervin is a guy who looked everything like a proven hitter – it just hasn’t worked out for him since he hurt his wrist. He hit everywhere he had been prior to that – college, the Cape Cod League, Billings and Dayton in his debut – then he hurt his wrist and he hasn’t hit much for average ever since. Take a guy like Aristides Aquino – very good athlete, he hit under .200 in consecutive years in the Dominican Summer League, with absolutely no power, but he figured it out eventually. Now, he’s obviously still in Daytona and that’s a long way from Cincinnati, but you’ve got to bet on athletes at times.

      2. As long as it’s a conversation that they’ve had in the past, I’m fine with them. Mostly. The whole, I’d be embarrassed if I were him, part, may have been a tad much, but the rest of it seemed fair game in my book as long as it’s a conversation they’ve had in the past.

      3. No. His problems in Triple-A this year are about a lack of throwing strikes and it’s been one he’s had three seasons running now.

    • Nick Carrington

      Are we sure Blandino can’t hit? He hit really well in 2015. This year he battled injuries early but has been good for over a month (.806 OPS, 139 wRC+ in last 34 games). He’s certainly not a sure thing, but I think it’s premature to suggest he can’t hit

      • ohiojimw

        And he’s certainly picked it up since they drafted a guy #2 overall and traded for another highly regarded guy that project at his 2 most likely MLB spots. Not sure if that is coincidence or good or bad if not coincidence.

      • Tyler Dee Hartley

        Im all about him proving me wrong. Just havent seen it. One good month isnt that impressive. Have to put together seasons. Same problems for Ervin (waste of a pick so far) but has a ton of tools.

      • Doug Gray

        Calling Ervin a waste of a pick is a stretch. This isn’t the NFL – most first rounders are lucky to become bench players or bullpen pitchers. Ervin was taken at the back end of the 1st round. On average, over the history of the draft, guys taken there provide roughly 0.5 wins per year (in WAR). The average MLB starting player is worth about 2 wins per year (in WAR).

        Do you hope for better than that? Of course you do. But realistically speaking, a guy drafted 27th overall tends to turn into a bench player of little note.

      • Doug Gray

        I’ve never really been completely sold on the bat for Blandino. Always seemed like a fringe-bat, but the fact that he had that and plays up the middle, while producing, kept him as a solid prospect in my rankings.

        His last month of being “good” is smoke-and-mirrors. It’s with an insanely unsustainable BABIP and very little power.

        With that said, I’m willing to give him a do-over because he has been dealing with injuries for most of the year and playing through them. But he’s got to step up.

      • Tyler Dee Hartley

        Good point on Ervin. Its obviously easy for me to say this in hind site because I can see all the guys drafted after him (Judge, which is crazy to think he was rated lower than Ervin). Im just not a Blandino fan even though I think he works hard and I hope he proves me wrong. But I am a Sparks fan and a LaValley fan.

      • Tyler Dee Hartley

        Travieso – Picked after him – Naquin, Giolito, Seager, Stroman, Wacha.

        Howard (MADE ZERO PROGRESS) – Picked After Him – Bradley Zimmer and Grant Holmes

        Obviously every team could do this lol but just for perspective 2012 was rough in Hindsight.

      • Patrick Jeter

        And 28 teams passed on Mike Trout.

        You just never know.

      • Doug Gray

        Some of those guys also got paid more money than the guys we took. You can’t just look at who was drafted behind them. Sal Romano and Amir Garrett were drafted in the 21st and 22nd rounds. They got $1.5M between the two of them. Where they were drafted doesn’t mean much. How much they were paid tells you a lot more.

        Specifically with Travieso – worth noting a few things, everyone knew Giolito was hurt and needed Tommy John (which he wound up getting), and he still got 45% more money than Travieso did. Michael Wacha failed his pre-draft physical. Perspective isn’t always reality.

  16. Shchi Cossack

    After being drafted as a catcher in 2013 and moved to 2B in 2015, Shed Long has raked in A last season and A & A+ this season, breaking into your midseason rankings @ #26 while Blandino dropped from #9 to #20 in your midseason rankings. Does Long supplant Blandino as the top 2B prospect in-waiting behind Peraza & Herrera after this season?

    The ceiling for Angelo Gumbs, Brandon Dixon & Tony Renda looks like major league utility or super utility players. Would this be accurate or do any of the 3 have the potential to start at the major league level?

    Is Yorman Rodriguez ready to come off the 60-day DL, with the Reds simply waiting for the September roster expansion before pulling the trigger or is there an issue with his rehab that is delaying his activation?

    • Doug Gray

      1. It’s possible. When I’m doing my rankings I will be reaching out to people to get other opinions and depending on what I hear (specifically about Blandino) will weigh in here.

      2. I think Gumbs has a little better chance to start than the other two. Dixon and Gumbs have better overall tools than Renda does. Dixon’s plate discipline is a big issue and one that is probably going to hold him back unless he takes a big step forward there. It was an issue for Gumbs in the past, which is why his tools didn’t play, but he’s really improved there this season and well, the results have been outstanding as a result.

      3. I don’t think so. He was pulled back off of his rehab assignment in Dayton dating back to the 15th. That would suggest he aggravated something.

  17. J

    I saw that Senzel got an IBB last night – I wonder if there’s any movement to outlaw the IBB in the minors?

    • Shchi Cossack

      That was an 1-pitch IBB. After going 3-0 by nibbling on the fringes, the manager took the option of laying a fat pitch over the plate to Senzel, out of the pitcher’s hands.

    • Doug Gray

      Why would they outlaw the intentional walk in minor league baseball?

      And as SC noted above, Senzel only took one intentional ball – I guess the manager felt rather than letting him swing freely at a 3-0 fastball they would take their chances moving the tying run to second base with two outs and face James Vasquez. Didn’t work out for him – the next two batters had RBI singles, with the latter being the walk-off winner.

  18. kevin jacobson (@kjacobson)

    1. Overall how do you like the mix of talent in the farm system? Good mix of pitchers vs position players etc..

    2. Where would you rank the Reds system overall?

    • Doug Gray

      1. Entering the year it seemed there were a lot more pitching prospect than hitting prospects, but I think things are evening out a bit now. Adding Senzel, Trammell and Okey has really helped things. Shed Long, Aristides Aquino, Angelo Gumbs stepping forward also helps out some. Blandino and Stephenson have had lost seasons as hitters, which hasn’t helped, but overall I think the hitting stepped forward this year.

      2. Tough question. Cody Reed, Dilson Herrera, Scott Schebler, Jose Peraza – guys that some may view as a part of the farm system, technically aren’t anymore when it comes to ranking the farm system because none of them are eligible for the 2017 Rookie of the Year Award. I’d say they are probably a fringe Top 10 organization right now, but think they are in good shape.

  19. mdhabel

    Do we know anything more about Herrera’s shoulder? How worried are you about that as a long term issue?
    Besides location, does the AA affiliate potentially moving change anything for the Reds long term?

    • Doug Gray

      We don’t really know much other than it’s been a lingering problem. I’m concerned from the sense that, to me as a non-doctor, it doesn’t make sense that he’s had this issue for two years now and somehow it doesn’t require surgery to fix. He’s had rest in the offseason, and he’s clearly had to do some work to try and fix it (strength/conditioning/rehab kind of stuff). But, as I said, I’m not a doctor and both the Mets staff and the Reds staff decided that he doesn’t need surgery to fix the problem. They are indeed, doctors, and I’m assuming have seen MRI’s of the inside of his shoulder to determine that. I will take their word at this point, so just put me in the corner of not too worried, but I’m not completely unworried either.

      No. Obviously a team wants better facilities, and it does make some things easier to keep certain teams closer to one another for when you need to make roster moves, but long term, it doesn’t change anything in terms of how it’s going to shape the future Reds.

  20. NKYRedsFan

    Any thoughts on the Reds’ 4th round pick this year, Scott Moss? Looks like he’s quietly put up some pretty good numbers for Billings so far this year. 1.72 ERA in 31 innings pitched, 22 K’s and only 9 walks.

    Is he a prospect to watch or has he benefited by being a 21 (almost 22) year old at Billings who also had a great pitching coach in college as a Florida Gator?

    • Doug Gray

      Loved the Moss pick at the time and he’s been very successful in the early going. He barely threw while in college (22.2 total innings at Florida) and has TJ under his belt, so he will be someone they monitor next year, but he’s got a legit arm.

  21. JG

    1) I had no idea about Senzel’s steals until you tweeted he had 17 yesterday. Is it a stretch to imagine him as a .300/.400/.500 hitter with 20+ HRs and 30 steal in his prime?

    2) What would it take for Mahle to improve his prospect status? He has had a few struggles in AA but his peripherals remain great, so is this a matter of his stuff catching up to him at the higher level, or just a small sample of getting hit around a bit?

    3) Amir Garrett’s relative lack of baseball experience has often been seen as giving him more room for improvement than other prospects near his age. Now that he has been a full time pitcher for a couple of years, do you see him still having more room for improvement than other prospects, or is he significantly closer to being a finished product? (Sorry, this might be unclear; basically, how much more improvement is left for him, compared to other pitchers at AAA?)

    • Doug Gray

      1. I think he’s got the speed for 25+ steals, but if he’s going to be a .300/.400/.500 hitter (which I think is a possibility), odds are that they won’t have him trying to steal 25+ bags, even if he could potentially do so.

      2. His stuff isn’t quite the same as I saw last year and I do expect him to drop in my rankings after the season. His stuff is solid, but he doesn’t have a truly above-average offering. He’s got to locate very well right now in order to get advanced hitters out and if he misses even a little bit, they are going to make it count against him. Finding a tad more velocity like he did in the second half last year would get him back on the right track.

      3. He’s a great athlete and with guys like that, there’s always room for improvement that you may not see in other guys. He’s got work to do still, almost across the board. He’s come so far in a short period of time, but he’s far from being finished.

  22. Jon

    I feel like the C position is the only position where Reds are in a questionable or unclear position for the “future.”

    1. What are your thoughts on where Mesoraco stands? I.e. Probably won’t catch again or maybe he can or full doom he is too broken and will never regain his 2014 form.

    2. How would you rank Reds C prospects? Okey, Stephenson, Brown, Wallach, Hudson etc etc

    3. Who is the best case scenario for RF? W/ Winker in LF & Hamilton in CF seems RF is the only OF spot up for grabs, I think Reds best is Aristides Aquino. If nothing else he has the best nickname.

    • Doug Gray

      1. There’s no reason to think he won’t catch again, especially for the Reds given when his contract is up. All of the doctors seem to think he can catch again, and until I hear someone with a medical degree that specialized in this area say otherwise, who am I to say differently?

      With that said, with all of the time he’s missed, I do think it would be a bit much to expect him to be the same guy he was offensively in 2014. Even without the missed time I’m not sure we should have expected quite that.

      2. Okey and Stephenson are still close for me. I’d lean Okey simply because he’s more advanced now, and thus safer, but they are close to each other. After them it’s an enormous gap to the next guy, who I’d possibly say is Jake Turnbull, even though he hasn’t played much this year (injury). After that it depends on what you want to look at. Hudson is easily the best defender in the system behind the plate, but he hasn’t hit. Wallach is the worst defender of the group, but he’s got the best bat from that latter group. Brown is very, very far from the Majors. Not sure any of the three are Top 30 guys.

      3. Best case scenario would be Yorman Rodriguez figures it all out. Very close next best case would be that Aristides Aquino has figured it all out. Similar upside profile for those two. Rodriguez has better speed and could profile better defensively with a better OBP. Aquino’s got the edge in power and is still capable of being good everywhere else, too.

  23. ncboiler

    What’s the status of Nick Howard? Is he hurt? Have the Reds given up on him?

    • Doug Gray

      He’s on the disabled list with shoulder issues.

      I don’t think that the Reds have given up on him, but I will say this: History doesn’t look good for guys who have had control problems spring up like this. There may only be a guy or two who have had it, lost it like he has, then found it again.

  24. Muso

    the best stuff, Alejandro Chacin or Jimmy Herget for closer???

    • Doug Gray

      With all due respect to Alejandro Chacin, who I think has enough stuff to be a big leaguer – Jimmy Herget’s got better stuff and it’s not close. I don’t know that Herget’s a big league closer or not, but I could see him fighting his way there with production. Seems more like a good 7th/8th inning guy than a true closer type, but those kinds of guys wind up as closers all of the time, too.

  25. Dan & Cindy

    Hi Doug, husband & wife duo here lifelong Reds fans and recently our son turned us into big fans of yours. This might be cheating or a loophole in yours rules but we both have a few questions if that’s ok?

    1. With Peraza and Herrera waiting in the wings, will 2016 be the end of Cozart and Phillips?

    2. My son keeps mentioning Senzel, that he can put up “Votto-like” numbers or he is “A RH Joey Votto?” He tends to get maybe over excited at times. So tell me what is Senzel’s Ceiling and Floor and when is the soonest we can expect to see him in Cincinnati?

    1. I want to know about this Aquino kid? Ceiling, Floor, Expected arrival in MLB? He seems like the prototypical RF.

    2. With so many arms how does it shake out? How many top of the rotation, Ace levels arms do Reds have? 3 or 4? What will happen with someone Like say Romano w/ Stephenson, Reed, Garrett, Davis, Lorenzen, Iglesias, Cingrani, Weiss, Mahle, Bailey, Disco, Finnegan, Lamb, Chacin and well that’s 14 right there?? What will happen with Reds overflow arms?

    Thank you for you time.

    • Doug Gray

      Cheater, cheater – pumpkin eater.

      1. I think so. Phillips is going to be difficult to move, but I think Cozart gets moved this winter.

      2. He’s not Joey Votto. Votto’s on-base abilities are just on a different level than anyone else in baseball. With that said, Nick Senzel looks like a guy who could be a legitimiate .300/.400/.500 hitter with outstanding baserunning abilities and good defense at third. Realistic floor is a below-average starter at third in the big leagues. Obviously, the true floor of a guy is pretty much not advancing one bit from where they are today for some reason or another. The soonest you could see him is mid-2017, but I’d guess it’s more likely that we see him in early 2018.

      1. Ceiling wise, .280/.340/.500 hitter with 25+ homers. Good defender in right field. Floor – a guy who stalls out in Double-A. He’s been a guy with some plate discipline issues in the past, and while they’ve improved this year, it’s a big jump to Double-A with this particular issue and his history says it’s worth keeping an eye on. If he passes that test, ETA at some point in 2018.

      2. Ace is something to me that’s different than a #1. Ace to me is a guy who is a top 10 pitcher in baseball year in and year out. Realistically, the Reds probably have none of those. Robert Stephenson is the only guy I could see really breaking into that range if everyone were to reach their true ceiling. A #1, at least to me, is someone who is one of the best 30 starters in baseball in most years, and with that one, the Reds have a few guys with that ceiling. Add in Garrett and Reed to that mix. Romano’s got a big time arm, he’s going to get a chance to pitch. I watched him sit 97-99 during a game in 2015. A lot of people see his role coming out of the bullpen eventually, though I think the Reds will let him continue starting for the next year or two. We could see him in September (he’s on the 40-man roster) pitching a few innings out of the bullpen though. I think that, ideally, the Reds would love to see this as their rotation in 2018: Bailey, DeSclafani, Finnegan, Stephenson, Reed. The bullpen would then be made up of Lorenzen, Iglesias and whoever jumps out of the crowd from the excess. Obviously injuries, trades, lack of development could change that (especially with the latter three listed in that 2018 rotation).

      • Michael E

        Finally, someone agrees with me about “Ace”. I still recall a lengthy discussion with a half-dozen morons clammering that Mark Beurhle was “an ace” after he threw that last no-hitter. I said, he might be the teams SP1, but he isn’t remotely close to an Ace. An Ace is a shutdown type pitcher, one a team can feel really good about their chances in a game 7. A pitcher that can throw a complete game shutout several times a season AND still be consistently good in 28+ other starts with only a couple of stinkers.

        A pitcher in today’s game that can’t get their ERA below 3.00 is NOT close to an ace.

        As you noted, there are rarely more than 10-15 ace candidates in baseball each year and some teams have two or three of them while 25 others have none.

        Too many equate “Ace” to SP1. Hey, Jimmy Haynes was an SP1 for us, but Ace is to Jimmy Haynes as Ice is to the Sahara Desert.

  26. Gaffer

    Is Peraza going to be Super 2 eligible?

    • Patrick Jeter

      Not Doug, but I have my arbitration spreadsheet up at the moment…

      If Peraza stays up most of the rest of the season, yes, he’ll reach Super 2 status.

      He had 42 days of service time entering the year… here’s are the thresholds for the last 4 seasons:

      2012: 139 days service
      2013: 123 days service
      2014: 133 days service
      2015: 130 days service

      So, between 81 and 97 days service time puts him in the range for the last few years.

      • Gaffer

        That is so stupid of the Reds. Basically they will pay around 5 million more over his arbitration years for the privilege of sitting on the bench.

      • Patrick Jeter

        Nope, more like 2.5 million, which is average a Super 2 player makes over a non-Super 2, assuming no extension were given.

      • Patrick Jeter

        But yeah, still stupid. Agreed.

      • Doug Gray

        I will take your word for it because I do not have an arbitration spreadsheet.