The Cincinnati Reds top prospect entering the 2024 season was infielder Noelvi Marte. Even though he spent a little more than a month with the club at the end of 2023, he remained eligible for 2024’s Rookie of the Year award and as such, retained his “prospect” eligibility. But just after spring training got started, Marte’s spring training came to an end as he tested positive for boldenone and was suspended for 80 games.

The Reds have only played 59 games so far, so it’s still going to be some time before Noelvi Marte is back on the field with Cincinnati. Players on suspension are allowed to go on “rehab assignments” prior to their suspension being up. Position players can spend up to 20 days on a rehab assignment. Right now – postponements could change things – Marte is eligible to return on June 27th.

Some quick math there tells us that Marte could begin his rehab assignment this week. Cincinnati’s 81st game will be against the Cardinals on the 27th. Since rehab assignments are tied to days spent on rehab, not games, that would mean Marte could be on the field in the minor leagues in an official capacity on Friday the 7th. Update: It turns out that David Bell saw this article (ok, he probably didn’t) and told the media in Denver prior to the game against the Rockies that Marte would begin a rehab assignment on June 11th.

Where the Reds would initially assign him could be up in the air. Given that he’s spent his suspension facing pitching at the complex level in Arizona and in the Dominican Republic, he’s not really seen much of anything remotely close to big league pitching since early March. Sending him to, say, Triple-A, right off of the bat could be aggressive. But it’s also something that could really just push things from the start.

June 11th is a full minor league schedule, so the team could send him to Arizona to begin his rehab with the Arizona Complex League Reds. The Reds tend to try and send rehabbing players to home facilities if and when possible. The week of the 11th they’ll have their pick as all four full-season teams will be at home for the 6-game series they’ll play (full-season teams play one 6-game series each week and do not play on Monday).

We’re probably going to have to wait a few days before we find out the official assignment, but we should see Noelvi Marte on the field and getting ready to potentially join the Reds in just over a week. If he can return and hit anything like he did last season with the club, his bat would be a boost for a team that’s struggled at the plate for much of the last five weeks.

Brandon Williamson’s Rehab

On Sunday Brandon Williamson took the mound for the third time with Louisville and the 4th time overall since beginning his rehab assignment on May 14th. Pitchers get up to 30 days on a rehab assignment, so there could be two more starts for Williamson if he utilizes the full time allowed.

His start on Sunday saw him allow just one hit in 4.0 innings with no walks and two strikeouts. He faced the minimum as the lone baserunner he did allow was erased on a double play. The start gave him 13.2 innings of 1-run baseball (0.66 ERA) where he’s given up seven hits, walked three, and he’s struck out 11.

Sunday’s start saw Williamson average 93.88 MPH on his fastball. Since the start of 2023, when we have pitch tracking data for all of his Triple-A and MLB starts, that would be the 3rd highest average fastball velocity out of his 34 starts. The two starts that were higher both came last July when he averaged 93.91 against the Nationals and 94.09 against the Dodgers.

Where Williamson fits in with the big league club right now is up in the air. The rotation, as I type this at least, is healthy and performing. Would Cincinnati put him in the bullpen to help out? That seems less than likely given that they’d have to send someone out and they seem limited on the guys they can option to the minors and unwilling to designate someone to make room for someone else. What is far more likely is that – assuming everyone remains healthy between now and two weeks from now – Williamson will be activated and then optioned to Triple-A to remain a starter and provide depth for the rotation in case of injury, performance, or even a trade as the deadline approaches if the team doesn’t turn things around.

72 Responses

  1. Rednat

    the 3 enigmas on this team in my opinion are Marte, CES,EDLC
    Will they all be Aquino’s? or will they all turn into all stars?

    my concern is that the reds have not had success developing position players for some time. not sure why but it has been a challenge.

    • DaveCT

      The Reds recent history of developing position players includes Stephenson, India, Friedl, EDLC, McLain, Marte, Fairchild, Siani, & Hurtubise. That is six ML starters and three reserves. Jose Siri is in there somewhere, too, but where nobody really knows.

      Prior to this crop, in the last 20 years, there were the successes of Votto, Bruce, Cozart, Frazier, Mesoraco, Alonso, Barnhart, Hamilton, Winker, Suarez, Lopez, Ervin, Heisey, Stubbs, Encarnacion, Janish, Denorfia, Soto, Gregorius, Rojas, Rosales, and others reaching the ML’s. That is over ten ML starters and several reserves.

      Current ML prospects at AAA nearing arrival include Rece Hinds, Blake Dunn, and Michael Trautwein.

      Others, considered disappointments, while reaching the ML’s (itself a sign of positive player development and a success given how many players never reach the show), include Senzel, Trammell, Acquino and Barrero. Each have had significant shortcomings and may just be what they are. Earlier disappointments also include Yorman Rodriguez and Alfredo Rodriguez. 2020 1st rounder, Austin Hendricks, has also done little to demonstrate progress.

      • DW

        I would say that your definition of “success developing position players” is different than what rednat’s is.

        I wouldn’t consider most of those that you listed as success. A guy being a reserve on the weak rosters the Reds have fielded over those 20 years isn’t a success in my eyes. I believe rednat is referring to the lack of star players developed by the Reds.

        But this comes down to one’s definition of success.

      • DaveCT

        DW, fair enough. I would also add how development is considered to possible differences in point of view. For instance, isn’t the development of a lower round player into a valuable contributor, such as Barnhart, a fairly significant success? Whereas, developing Yonder Alonso into a solid major leaguer is more of a given.

        Secondly, much of player development success in the context of star players is dependent on the level of talent. In the case of the Reds recent history, you can argue that our star players are the pitchers, Greene, Lodolo, Abbott, & Ashcraft. In part, (Greene and Lodolo) that indicates how we have used our (draft) resources; and with Greene that includes player development given his being drafted as a high schooler. In another capacity (Abbott) it indicates highly astute scouting, in particular. With Ashcraft, there is both scouting and player development.

        I tend to start with “reaching the ML’s” as a floor level of success. Something like 80% of first rounders reach this. Following, something like 20% then go on to have average careers, say, Alonso, again. Isn’t that success? Or, a 2nd rounder, Zach Cozart?

        My main thing is really the same as yours, there are various definitions of success, and, consequently, it can’t really be said the Reds don’t develop position players or pitchers. Because they do. Further, if you look at the players cranked out that we’ve traded away, it can be said we do produce valuable and desirable players snd pitchers.

      • Rednat

        compare these names to the great reds players of the previous century. it is just weird to me that the reds ability to develop position players has dropped off the face of the earth over the past 20 years.. are they drafting the wrong athletes? are they not developing them properly? are there just not a lot of good position players to go around anymore?

      • DW

        Yeah I agree with much of that Dave, and I almost mentioned on that first post that the success should be measured on an individual basis, based on the situation…such as when a guy was drafted, how much he signed for, or how much was required to trade for him, etc..

        I hope it didn’t come across as calling you out. But I just look at the Reds as a whole over the last 20 years and don’t see a ton of positions player development to be proud of. I appreciate your comments though.

      • DaveCT

        DW, no problem at all. I think your comments were helpful.

    • Old Big Ed

      Any comparison of Elly to Aquino is silly. Aquino was 25 when he flashed in 2019, or 3 years older than Elly is now. Aquino had nowhere near the MiLB success that Elly had; Aquino, for example, hit only .227 in 949 PAs at AA. The similarity between Elly and Aquino is that both are tall Dominicans, which means pretty much the same as Alejo Lopez being about the same size as Mookie Betts.

      Marte is also just 22.

  2. Optimist

    Williamson is pretty far down the list of trade candidates. OTOH, he’s very high on the list of what other teams would be willing to pay for. If he and Lodolo could stay healthy for lengthy stretches, that could be a formidable LHP rotation duo. Each seems to have moved out of the SSS and into proven levels of performance, but Williamson may have some room to move toward his ceiling. It’s just IL time holding them back.

    • Doug Gray

      To be clear – I was suggesting the Reds would potentially trade someone else, opening a spot for Williamson. And by someone, I mean Frankie Montas.

      • old-school

        Giants in a world of hurt for SP. Snell went on the IL again and they are reeling from pitching injuries. Maybe there’s a match somewhere.

      • MFG

        Thats what I thought you meant. Montas and possibly Alex Young in a package deal if the Reds are traders at the deadline.

      • ryan

        But who else would want this year’s Montas?

      • Doug Gray

        A team who needs five actual starting pitchers.

      • LDS

        @Doug, I hope you’re right. A Montas move, especially for a decent OF’er, even if only a good prospect, would be a boon for the Reds. As for packaging Young with Montas? I’d go with Wilson before I’d trade Young. Wilson is significantly older than Young and couldn’t keep the ball in the park if he rolled his pitches to home plate.

      • Optimist

        Very good and understandable – Montas, of course, is at the top of the list of rental trade candidates, followed by Sims, Wilson, etc..

        Or, wouldn’t mind seeing Williamson as a long reliever/spot starter, which might require a move before trade season heats up. Work him into the staff anticipating he’s in the rotation for final 60-75 games.

      • Jason Franklin

        @Doug I was hoping the same thing too. Montas needs to get the heck out of Dodge. Williamson has a brighter future at this point and more years of control then Frankie. Plus he is cheaper. I wonder how much money the Reds would need to cover in a Montas trade?

      • MBS

        I don’t hate moving Montas, but the depth at SP is thin. We’ve been fortunate with the quality and health of our rotation so far. I wouldn’t make a bet that both will continue for 162.

        We are deep in the pen, and that’s where I’d free up the roster space for Williamson. I’d also free up a spot for Young, and we’ll need to clear a spot for Pagan when he returns.

        That said mostly everyone hates my plan, so it tells me I’m probably on the right track.

      • Chad A Donnell

        That definitely makes the most sense. How nice to have 6 guys just about ready to go where this could be a possibility. The clouds are starting to clear for this group.

      • VaRedsFan

        I don’t hate it MBS.
        Dumping a starting pitcher at this time, with the Red’s injury history would be foolish. Heck, they are already having to use bullpen days when they were down just 1 starter.

      • Rob

        I see this chatter about Williamson return, moving Montes, and not giving up on the season. Maybe I am wrong but I would suggest Montes is close to our least valuable trade asset among the other starting pitchers and Williamson. I understand he is on a 1 year deal so 2025 is not part of the equation in judging how to improve the 2024 team. Trading Montes versus trading Abbot or Williamson looks a lot more to me like “giving up” and a “ salary dump” than an effort to improve the 2024 team. If you want to improve the 2024 team, trade one of the younger starting pitchers to get more in return. And I think trading him to a contender may not even get you a mlb OF. You may only get a prospect ….again nothing that helps you now. Any Reds trade of a starter for a prospect is to me a sign of giving up on 2024. The trade talk to me should be around what do we need – a solid RH hitting OF – versus what do we need to trade to get such.

      • Bill Minor

        Could not agree more. We only have him for this year and someone(in the hunt) could use a frontline starter. Williamson returns, rotation stays healthy, Marte returns maybe McLain but we only need to have the players hit that are supposed to hit.

        Get some value and end the year with a bang.

    • duke

      Would like to see Williamson just make spot starts for guys that need a break or just for a better matchup.

  3. old-school

    Good news on both players. I think I would go slow with Marte and get him up to speed and in a good rhythm and get him 100 + at bats minimum before bringing him to the big league club. I dont think 15-18 minor league games are a long enough ramp up period. If he needs to be assigned to AAA and play an extra 10-15 games into July, so be it. Id like an extended look at Marte at 3b and Elly at SS together. I like OBE suggestion of RF but if the Reds were going to do that, we would have heard about it.

    • Chris

      Why in the world would wait? Marte would be better than Santiago today, and that’s without any rehab.

      • MBS

        Chris, I’m with you. If Marte is batting .175 on his rehab it’s one thing, but if he looks good I’d get him up as soon as possible.

        Also as a position for Marte, I’d go CF. He’s a good match with his speed, and it’s easier to read balls in CF than RF.

        I’ve floated the 6 man rotation with Williamson, but I really don’t care if they use him in the pen in a similar way to how they use Martinez. I just want the best players on the Reds, not in the minors.

      • old-school

        Because hitting MLB caliber pitching is as hard as ever and 15 games or so and 50 at bats against minor leaguers, some potentially in the lower minors is a quick turnaround. Spring training is a 5 1/2 week ramp-up with the last few weeks mostly against MLB pitching. Reds play a 7 game road trip against the Cards and Yankees when he would be first eligible potentially. That’s a tough ask against Sonny Gray, Miles Mikolas, Nestor Cortes, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Rodon with a few weeks of hitting reps against minor leaguers. IF he can do it, great.

      • DW

        50 at bats or so is about what each hitter gets in spring training. I think it is safe to say that he is hitting now too. It’s not like he is recovering from an injury and physically unable to hit. He will probably more ready than most guys are at the beginning of the season.

      • Jim Walker

        @OS> Right on and as we are seeing with some of the younger guys with the Reds, progress for a guy coming up isn’t always linear. It is only when they are thoroughly dominating AAA pitching to the point they are either 4A or MLB caliber floor that they should be brought up with the hope they are MLB stuff.

        Look no further than Friedl who looked to be over matched at MLB, was sent back to AAA in 2022, and “found” the missing pieces.

  4. Moon

    Hopefully Marte will be just as good post PED than he was before he got busted taking them.

    • Jason Franklin

      When was the testing done that got him in trouble? If it was this year at spring trainining, then it could have been something he was using to rush his way back into the lineup due to injury or pain. I would assume (big assume, mind you), that he was probably tested last year when he made the team and was apparently clean then. If we go with that, then we should expect to see him play like he did last year. Albeit with some loss due to ML staffs learning what he is weak against pitch-wise.

  5. TJ

    The only thing I would would on is to see if Marte is actually ready. Without one at bat people are saying he should have more weeks of at bats. Let’s see what he looks like at the end of 20 games. Even if he isn’t great, if he’s better than what the Reds currently have, he plays for the Reds major league team.

  6. SultanofSwaff

    Things are slowly looking up.
    –the hardest part of the schedule is complete
    –the pitching staff is at full strength
    –TJ and Lodolo are back

    If the Reds pitching can pitch to their potential, they could chip away and hover around .500 at the break. At that point things could get interesting as Marte/CES/McLain return with close to half the season remaining. A playoff berth is still within reach.

  7. Redsgettingbetter

    I think if Williamson could replace someone in the starting rotation short-term would be Ashcraft (performance) or Montas (the things don’t turn around) hoping everybody will be healthy..

  8. LDS

    Yes, it would be good for Marte to return. OTH, expecting him to turn this team’s fortunes around is a big ask. I’d be more inclined to leave him in Louisville a bit longer, maybe the entire season and bring him up in September or next year. And McLain, I wouldn’t even consider playing this year. Despite the raves that the Reds are only 2.5 games off the wild card, they are in last place. The risk of turning the whole team in to Aquino or Senzel is very, very real. Until the organization changes personnel and methods, there’s not a lot to look forward to, except potential.

    • Rednat

      I tend to agree with you here. It just doesn’t seem to be ” in the cards” for our red legs this year. Lets get everybody rehabed and rested for next year. Maybe 2025 will be better for us.

      • Votto4life

        Only problem is next year we will likely experience more injuries. Last year we thought we were cursed by losing Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo for most of the year. This year it was Friedl and McLain.

        There will be similar injuries next season as well.

    • Optimist

      Agree on McLain – due to both the nature of the injury, and the timing of his trying to return. Just let him finish this season in rehab or complex training.

      As for Marte, 20 games is the minimum to get ready, so let’s see how that goes, but he’s got the advantage of no injury rehab, and very useful defensive skills – but not in the OF. Unless he flops for all 20 games in AA-AAA, bring him up asap to replace Espinal, and use him as the defensive bench piece with some DH/PH time.

      • 2020ball

        Are we asking McLain his opinion here? Id be furious if my team shut me down without even the option to play coming off an injury. Same old RLN, Reds fans thinking selfishly about how they’d run a team of emotionless robots.

        If McLain wants to play then let him play. Its his career, not yours.

      • LarkinPhillips

        2020ball, I caller McClain but didn’t get a response. Until he responds, I (and others) will just post our thoughts on a fan forum.

      • Harry Stoner

        I can recall any number of Reds players who had the opinion that they could play through injuries (eg India last year with his chronic PF) or hid injuries (eg Dietrich) to the detriment of their and the team performance.

        ‘Furious’?

        That’s a good way to describe someone who rants and raves on an MLB fan discussion site.

      • Optimist

        2020ball – my point about timing is that McLain may be rounding into shape just as the final run to a wild card/NLCentral spot is taking shape. It’s a team game, and much as it might be desirable to get McLain back, there’s very little leeway to get him into action at the end of the season in such circumstances.

        With Marte – there’s plenty of time left to see if his 20 day rehab works, and then if his return to the 26-man works. He could be returned to AAA for a few weeks, or longer, if needed.

        If McLain is ready to rehab in, say, mid-August, you’d be expecting him to return to the 26-man about Sept. 1st. If he’s completely ready and destroyed AAA in his 2-3 weeks there, fine – use him. If not, no, there won’t be enough time left in the season to let him play back into shape without jeopardizing the team in the race.

        Of course, if they’re 10 games back of the wild card spot, then, sure, let him play – who cares, and it sends him to the winter break getting ready for ST.

    • DaveCT

      One factor with Marte is whether he *should* be brought up this year, rather than finishing at AAA. The fact is that he made a mistake and it hurt the team. In his favor, it can be argued that he has been held accountable by MLB. My point is, has he been held accountable by the organization and to his teammates?

      • Harry Stoner

        My hunch Marte’s punishment was to make him read these kinds of comments about him on RLN.

        ‘Cruel and unusual”.

    • 2020ball

      Obviously the move is to give up and just roll over and die, great opinion LDS.

      Disgusting, and obviously a great message for a young team and anyone of the free agents you constantly cry about the Reds not signing. Im sure thats what would attract them, a team that gives up as soon as they scratch their knee on the playground.

      • LDS

        @2020, still imputing meanings from your own biases instead of what was written. The Reds are 10GB and in last place. They aren’t winning anything without significant roster changes. As for the young team, if the Reds cared the young team, Bell wouldn’t be the manager.

      • Votto4life

        Now, that was a great opinion LDS. LOL

    • Old Big Ed

      Nah. None of us are doctors or physical therapists, and none of us has seen any of McLain’s medical records. The shoulder is a complicated joint, and there are multiple, multiple variations of injuries to the joint and the severity of each of those variations. To write off in early June a 24-year-old’s ability to rehab is nuts. Maybe he won’t play, but why quit trying now? McLain is 24; not our age.

      We last heard on May 10 was that McLain might be able to start swinging a bat in weeks, which would be June 21ish. It’s his career, not ours, and he’s almost certainly going to give his best effort to play this season.

      • Jim Walker

        Yes but…. I would feel much better about things in the Reds situation if the manager was not part of the process and issuing these statements about where players “might” be in their rehab.

        Whether it is Friedl or McLain or someone else, the manager making these projection statements on the record can create an expectation in the mind of these young guys that their boss thinks they should be on a timeline that their body (or the trainers) might not agree with.

        Look no further than Friedl. He appeared to be back early on his 1st return; and, Sunday’s HR notwithstanding, he has shown signs of being rushed back from the thumb issue.

  9. AllTheHype

    Out of curiosity on Marte getting paid….

    My understanding is Marte does not get paid while suspended. Does that mean he doesn’t get paid while on rehab assignment?

    • west larry

      I don’t see how he gets paid on the rehab assignment unless it goes beyond his 80 day suspension period. He has been suspended 80 games without pay.

      • Old Big Ed

        That makes sense, but I don’t see how they could legally pay a working employee nothing. The CBA probably covers this, but maybe they have to pay him the AAA minimum during the period.

  10. Randy

    I would love to see the Reds in on Rooker from the A’s. Reds have a lot of talent in low minors they could part with and he still has a few years of control left.

  11. Jason Franklin

    I think I read something that the player has to pay for any testing done during the suspension or at the end of the suspension, too. I would assume the player has to take care of living cost, food, room, etc while doing rehab with no pay from the team. The only thing they get included/free is the use of the fascilities, etc.

    • Old Big Ed

      Marte has been able to use the Arizona facilities for some time now. Do we know if those rules (which sound true) apply only to his access to Reds’ facilities before his official 20-day rehab?

      I could see that he is on his own in Goodyear right now, but they aren’t going to deny him a sandwich in the Louisville locker room, or ban him from the team flight to Omaha or wherever.

  12. Michael Wilson

    We had too many infielders once upon a time. Probably will need Montas and Williamson for the grind. Unless we are out of it. Bring on Spiers and Maxwell too, lol. I’m not sure why the Reds seem to favor Wilson over Young unless it’s a roster convenience.

    • Optimist

      It is roster convenience AND the possibility of Wilson showing well for 6-8 weeks and playing himself into a trade.

  13. Votto4life

    I have mixed feelings about Marte’s return. I know he is young and young people sometimes make stupid mistakes. I certainly made mistakes when I was 21 years old. But I would be lying if I said his return doesn’t bother me.

    Marte cheated. I know he was suspended and lost money over the deal. But I am disappointed that a young man who was given a once in a life time opportunity, couldn’t follow the rules, every other layer must follow. An opportunity that most any young man would give anything for.

    I don’t know, I just don’t feel good about it and I don’t think he should just be put right back in the major league starting lineup up.

    Maybe I’ll get it over at it at some point, but for now, Noveli Marte is my least favorite Cincinnati Red.

    • 2020ball

      People that make mistakes should never be given a second chance… k, got it

      • Votto4life

        2020ball that is not what I said, but if it makes you feel morally superior to characterized it as such, then you go right ahead.

  14. Roger Garrett

    Good news but lets not rush Marte.More interested in CES in that he returns fully healthy and ready to go.Brewers with their offense are way above the rest of the division so for the Reds its a wild card.Ownership will cry play offs soon enough to keep fans like us engaged but for me its seeing who will step up and stake claim to a spot next year.Said it before but India,Fraley and Benson are on the clock.CES will see but not until he gets 500 or more at bats this year.Reds have a surplus of starters and more in the minors so thats a strength they also have a surplus of infielders so they will need to trade from that strength and get a right handed hitting outfielder.

    • Rob

      We also have Marte and 3 3B guys – Stewart, Collier, and Cabrera – among our top 10 prospects. And none of these guys are realistic 2025 arrivals. Whose spot on the Reds are these 3 guys taking in 2026? How about one of these guys with a pitching prospect like Richardson for a really solid RH hitting OF. Krall says he is constantly looking to improve the 2024 club. This seems like a no brainer. Was watching Starlin Marte of the Mets the other night. They are like 18 games out and certainly would seem willing to part with that old guy who still has thump, speed, and RF defense. Everyday player. Probably a 1-2 year contract guy too meaning he is like a rental and not a prospect blocker down the road. The Braves are probably already fishing in those waters.

  15. Fred Johnson

    As much as I would have liked to have seen Marte playing this season I wonder how bad the hamstring really was?
    If he would have missed time anyway does it make sense to do whatever you can to heal quicker and still have time to rest?
    He looks like he’s the best hitter of the bunch and the Reds now have a better idea of what they have and maybe what they might need.

  16. Jason Franklin

    I am a bit worried that every batter in tonight’s lineup vs. Abbott is right-handed. That’s the definition of stacking the lineup. Of course, once you bring in a righty pitcher, that goes mostly out the window. I just don’t recall the last time the lineup was just one flavor of batter.

    • LarkinPhillips

      It looks like they normally start Blackmon and McMahon as their only left handed hitters. I understand stacking the lineup, but taking out your leadoff and and 3 hole hitter at the same time is the kind of thing that normally don’t work out great either. Right handers are hitting .226 and left handers are hitting .230 against AA. Rights are slugging .750 verse a .594 slugging from left handers though.

  17. MBS

    I get the “take our time” approach that many are advocating for with the returning hitters. I don’t agree with it, but I get it.

    Last year’s top 5 in OPS, 1 McLain, 2 Benson, 3 Marte, 4 Steer, 5 Friedl with 100 AB’s or more.

    To say we’ve been fighting with one hand tied behind our back is an understatement. I don’t want to rush anyone back if it’s going to hurt them, but I’m also not ready to give up on 2024. We have the pitching to keep us in it, we are only lacking some hitting.

  18. DaveCT

    Rednat, it has to be a number of factors, wouldn’t you think? .

    One, the MLB draft began in 1965, and our BRM teams featured homegrown draftees such as Bench, Gullett,& Nolan. Other homegrown pre-draft signees were May, Helms, Concepcion, Rose, Perez. Trade acquisitions, etc brought in Tolan, Foster, Morgan, Geronimo, Billingham, etc.

    One issue is there were only 24 teams then. Expansion now gives us 30 teams. Throw in the 26th roster spot and that’s over 100 fewer players for the reds to access. I’d guess that some of the dilution of talent is offset by enormous advances in scouting, etc. but still. And certain clubs, i.e. the LA Dodgers have incredible advantages when it comes to collecting international players.

    The next wave of stars drafted and developed had Larkin, Eric Davis, maybe O’Neill, and old reliables Sabo, Oester, Oliver, and really no pitchers other than Browning. Somewhat of a drop off from the BRM.

    The Votto years had draftees Joey, Bruce, Stubbs, Frazier, Mesoraco, Cozart, Bailey and Leake; International players Cueto, Chapman as high profile ‘stars.’ Another drop off from the BRM.

    As for today’s roster of draftees and signings, i’d just say it is way too early to evaluate this group. It’s almost like get back to it in two years before we know how EDLC, McLain, Friedl, Stephenson, India, Marte, will turn out. But one thing clear to me is the priority i rant about, and supports your points, is the high importance of acquiring elite talent.