Results tagged ‘ cincinnati reds ’

Bonus Reds prospects: Nos. 21-25

They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. I hope it’s true because I’m about to rip Jim Callis off.

Over the past couple of weeks, Jim has been unveiling his extra prospects, Nos. 21-25, for the 10 teams that were his responsibility on the Team Top 20 lists on Prospect Watch. If you’ve missed them, head to Callis’ Corner right now. They’re well worth the read.

After seeing his work, I figured it was high time that I got on board and did the same thing with my lists. So, with a tip of the cap to Jim, we’ll kick things off with the Cincinnati Reds and work my way through my other teams alphabetically (Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Rays).

21. Taylor Sparks, 3B: Sparks was ranked No. 56 on our Draft Top 200 and ended up being taken in the second round, No. 58 overall. Which means, of course, that we nailed his ranking. Sparks is a big, strong right-handed hitter with some ability to hit for average and power. He also has the defensive chops to stick at the hot corner. He’s making his pro debut in the rookie-level Pioneer League.


22. Wyatt Strahan, RHP: This USC right-hander was ranked No. 105 on that top 200 list and went No. 94 overall, in the third round. He served as his school’s Friday night starter in 2014 and he was a pretty good one. He  uses a solid sinking fastball that can touch the mid-90s along with an outstanding curve. He shows good feel for his changeup as well. As long as that keeps coming and he refines his command, his size and stuff point to a future in the middle of a rotation.

23. Seth Mejias-Brean, 3B: Taken in the 8th round of the 2012 Draft out of the University of Arizona, Mejias-Brean earned a promotion to Double-A this year after putting up very good numbers in the California League. Yes, that’s a hitting-friendly place, but he’s shown an ability to hit for average with an advanced approach at the plate since being drafted. He’s been more of a contact guy than a power guy, which leads to the question about whether he can profile as a big league regular at an infield corner.

24. Kyle Waldrop, OF: The 2010 12th rounder out of high school also has reached Double-A Pensacola this season. He’s putting up career numbers, but again, some of that is Cal League driven. Still, Waldrop is showing the ability to hit for average and some power while displaying some improved plate discipline skills. He’s played a lot of right field, but some think left is his ultimate destination. The good news is his bat might get him to the big leagues at that spot.

25. Aristides Aquino, OF: It’s been a slow climb for Aquino, the Dominican corner outfielder the Reds signed in January 2011, as he’s yet to reach full-season ball. He’s also only 20, and it pays to be patient with young international signees. He showed signs of progress last year in the rookie-level Arizona League and that’s carried over this season in the Pioneer League. He has a ton of power potential, which should continue to show up more consistently in games as he moves along (though he’s made strides there this year). He has a strong arm and fits the profile of the prototypical right fielder very well. Continue to be patient Reds fans; the payoff could be huge.


Top 100 pitchers throw well second time around

We’re starting to see pitching prospects head out for their second starts of the season and, so far, they’ve thrown very well in outing No. 2. Case in point (Read about all Top 100 on Prospect Watch and/or are the following… even the so-so outings weren’t too shabby:

No. 8 Zack Wheeler, Mets (AAA): 5 1/3 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
No. 18 Danny Hultzen, Mariners (AAA): 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
No. 51 Robert Stephenson, Reds (A): 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
No. 64 Wily Peralta, Brewers (MLB): 6 2/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
No. 66 Tony Cingrani, Reds (AAA): 6 1/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

Cingrani gets bolded as the “Pitcher of the second start,” and also because that’s his second straight really good outing. his overall line now:

12 1/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 21 K, .079 BAA

Pretty good, right?

Pitching today (some underway already)

No. 9 Gerrit Cole, Pirates (AAA)
No. 24 Archie Bradley, D-backs (A+)
No. 46 Chris Archer, Rays (AAA)
No. 49 Kyle Gibson, Twins (AAA)
No. 60 Jesse Biddle, Phillies (AA)
No. 71 Allen Webster, Red Sox (AAA)
No. 72 Justin Nicolino, Marlins (A+)
No. 78 Zach Lee, Dodgers (AA)
No. 89 Jarred Cosart, Astros (AAA)

Beyond the Top 100

After any Top 100 prospects list comes out, there’s going to be outrage, disbelief, dismay (there’s also some triumph, jubilation, celebration, but that doesn’t fit into the subject of today’s post). The list gets pored over and complaints about snubs come pouring in. You thought people were upset that Ben Affleck didn’t get a Best Director nod for “Argo”? You should talk to Astros fans about Delino DeShields Jr. Sheesh.

So, I thought it a good idea to throw out a Nos. 101-110 list. Yes, this could open a pandora’s box if guys aren’t on that list who you think should’ve been on the Top 100 to begin with. But I can deal with that. I’m happy to keep the conversation going. And keep in mind, the team Top 20s start rolling out on Monday, so there’ll be more fuel for the fire soon enough. Keep in mind, this next 10 isn’t a guaranteed list of who’ll be the first to move in when guys graduate as 2013 gets started, but clearly some names will come from this list onto the top 100 during the season. No time for expanding on this list, so here it is:

101. Dan Straily, RHP, A’s

102. Delino DeShields Jr., 2B, Astros

103. Luis Heredia, RHP, Pirates

104. Daniel Corcino, RHP, Reds

105. Brett Jackson, OF, Cubs

106. Marcell Ozuna, OF, Marlins

107. Michael Choice, OF, A’s

108. Tyler Thornburg, RHP, Brewers

109. Corey Seager, 3B/SS, Dodgers

110. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, Cubs

Who’s Next: The first basemen

Hey all —

Have to be quick today as we’ve got the big Top 100 reveal tomorrow (MLB Network and at 9 p.m. ET!!). Besides, coming up with 5 more first basemen isn’t exactly. But here’s a list of names. I’ll be back later today with the much easier to come up with outfielders.

Nate Freiman, Astros

Ricky Oropesa, Giants

Christian Walker, Orioles

Neftali Soto, Reds

Jesus Aguilar, Indians


If you have suggstions for other first basemen to consider, by all means, let me know.


AFL Reports: A’s and Reds

The Oakland A’s AFL report focuses on Grant Green. The video report looks at Green, James Simmons and Max Stassi.

I haven’t posted the Reds’ AFL video report on here. This might surprise you, but it talks about Billy Hamilton, along with Didi Gregorius and Donald Lutz.


And here are your Stars of the Day for Friday and Saturday:


Friday: Astros prospect George Springer had a perfect day, going 3-for-3 with  a pair of homers and two walks. He went 20-30 during the regular season and after a homer on Monday, he has four homers and five steals this fall.

Saturday: I don’t often give a Star to a pitcher who gives up a run, but I’ll make an exception here. Robbie Erlin of the Padres gave up a run on five hits over four innings, but he didn’t walk anyone and he struck out eight. He’s now second in the AFL in strikeouts with 25.

The Amazing Billy Hamilton

Plenty will be written about Reds prospect Billy Hamilton, now and in the future. He is, after all, heading to the All-Star Futures Game, where he’ll be able to show off his speed on a national stage. The crazy thing is, there’s a good chance he’ll have over 100 stolen bases before he gets to Kansas City.

Heading into tonight (June 28), Hamilton had 94 stolen bases. That’s right, 94. He’d been caught 19 times. That’s a success rate of 83.2 percent. He’s gone 21-for-24 in last 10 games and has 37 steals in June.

Not that perspective is needed, considering when he topped 100 steals in 2011 at the end of the year, it was such a huge deal because it hadn’t been done in a while. Now he’s going to get there by the All-Star break? Insane.

To provide some perspective anyway, the Miami Marlins currently lead the Majors in stolen bases for a team… with 67 steals. In 2011, 10 MLB teams had as many or fewer steals for the entire year as Hamilton currently has in 2012.

Currently, the top 4 basestealers in MLB combined have 89 steals. In the Minors, Deline DeShields Jr. has 54 steals in 61 attempts, which normally would attract a good amount of attention. However, the Astros’ prospect, while in 2nd place in the Minors, is 40 behind Hamilton.

Rickey Henderson stole 130 bases in 1982, the modern-day record. In 1887, Hugh Nicol stole 138 as part of the, you guessed it, Cincinnati Red Stockings. If Hamilton wants to set his sights on some Minor League marks, Vince Coleman stole 145 bases in the South Atlantic League in 1983 and Donell Nixon had 144 in the California League (Hamilton’s current circuit), also in 1983 (boy that must’ve been a fun race to watch).


Billy Hamilton: Man of Steal

I wrote about another cool Minor League statistical feat a few days ago, Matt Moore’s second straight 200-strikeout season. That one hadn’t been accomplished since 1982-83, when Sid Fernandez did it.

The last time someone stole 100 bases in a Minor League season wasn’t that far back — it was in 2001, when Chris Morris did it (he swiped a Midwest League record 111 bags). It’s still impressive, though, that Billy Hamilton (No. 3 on the Reds Top 10 prospects list) hit the century mark on Saturday. He’s now got 103 stolen bases on the year and has been caught just 20 times. He also leads the Midwest League in runs scored. And keep in mind this comes in the 140-game Minor League season, not over 162.

Having Delino DeShields as a manager this year clearly helped. DeShields stole 463 bases over the course of his big-league career. His career high in the Minors, though, was just 59. This brings up an interesting point. Take a look at the list of the previous 100-steal guys in the Minor Leagues:

Chris Morris (2001), 111
Esix Snead (2000), 109
Marcus Lawton (1985), 111
Donell Nixon (1984), 102
Vince Coleman (1984) 101
Vince Coleman (1983), 145
Donell Nixon (1983), 144
Lenny Dykstra (1983), 105
Otis Nixon (1982), 107
Jeff Stone (1981), 123
Alan Wiggins (1980), 120
Albert Hall (1980), 100

Aside from how much fun the early ’80s must’ve been in terms of base-stealing, this list is a bit of a mixed bag, isn’t it? The two most recent guys to get 100 steals, Morris and Snead, have 13 combined Major League at-bats. All of them are by Snead. Morris was out of baseball at age 25, never having gotten above Double-A ball. Snead stole over 500 bases in his Minor League career and some might put that in the Crash Davis “dubious honor” category. Marcus Lawton (Matt’s brother), had 14 big league at-bats and stole 379 bases in the Minors.

Donell Nixon, who did it twice, is Otis’ brother. Donell managed 396 ABs in the big leagues over parts of four seasons. Big bro, who topped 100 in the Minors the one time, played 17 seasons and swiped 620 career Major League bags. He, Coleman and Dykstra had the most successful careers on this list. The others I haven’t mentioned — Stone, Wiggins, Hall — had big-league time, but only Wiggins was an every-day player in that trio.

What does all of this mean? Nothing just yet. Hamilton is just turning 21 this week and this was his first taste of full-season ball. It was encouraging to see him start to hit better as the season wore on after starting off the year struggling. Minor League history is littered with speed guys who never make it because they don’t hit enough. I don’t think Hamilton is one of those guys, but here’s hoping he’s more Otis and Donell when all is said and done.

OMG: Cincinnati Reds

Here’s a look at the Top 10 prospects for the Cincinnati Reds. And, as has become my custom, here’s OMG (One More Guy) from their farm system:

Donnie Joseph, LHP:  A third-rounder from the 2009 Draft out of the University of Houston,Joseph.jpg Joseph jumped on an extremely fast track during his first full season. The southpaw pitched at three levels, starting with Class A Dayton and ending in Double-A Carolina. Along the way, he led the organization with 24 saves, had a 2.08 ERA and .182 average against. He struck out 103 in 65 innings for a 14.27 K/9 ratio.

He’s at 13.4 K/9 in his brief career. He’s also walked 3.6 per nine, but he improved as the season went on and his command issues — which were a problem when he started in college — won’t be as much of a concern in shorter stints.

He’ll also not have to worry about developing his changeup and can rely on his very good fastball and breaking ball from the left side. But he’s more than just a lefty specialist. He may never be a closer, but he’s got the kind of stuff that can get lefties and righties out and he could evolve into a very good setup man. Even if he begins the season back in Double-A, he could help out in Cincy before the year is over.

Day 11: Sarasota

Day 10 was an “off day,” so no ballgame for me. Today, I was back at Ed Smith Stadium to watch the Red Sox and Reds play. Both teams had more or less their ‘A’ lineups in for much of the game, but there were some interesting names. Anthony Rizzo got into the contest for the Red Sox late, but struck out in his lone at-bat. So we’ll go with a Red for today’s Prospect Inspection:

It’s hard not to like Chris Valaika. The shortstop is outgoing, personable, loves to play for Team USA (he’s done it like 428 times… ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration). He made some headlines during his debut in 2006 when he reeled off a 32-game hit streak while playing for Billings. He was our Short-Season Offensive Player of the Year for his efforts. He’s got a .306 career batting average and reached Double-A for the first time last year. The UC-Santa Barbara product hit .317 last year with 18 homers and 81 RBIs across two stops.

He was in big-league camp, but had been sent down before I got here to take over. He certainly made an impression, hitting .353 in 17 at-bats before moving over to the Minor League side. He hit a tie-breaking grand slam in his final game against the world champion Phillies… not too shabby.

One of the benefits of how things are set up here is it’s really easy for Minor Leaguers to get called over for big-league games when there’s a need. The Minor League side is literally within spitting distance (not that I’ve tried) of the big-league side. So, with Alex Gonzalez out with a minor hamstring issue and Jerry Hairston Jr. just getting back into the swing of things, there was a need for a backup shortstop to come in behind today’s starter (and prospect in his own right), Paul Janish.

I saw Valaika signing autograhps before the game here and realized I might get lucky and get to see him play a few innings. He made a nice play in the field at short and then added a single in his lone at-bat. That raised his official Spring Training average up to .389. No one is going to outwork him, that’s for sure. So while maybe this was the last AB he gets with the big-leaguers this spring, something tells me Cincy fans should prepare for seeing the 23-year-old again in the not-too-distant future.

Richar and Masset going to Cincy?

That’s the rumor, anyway. The Reds would get 2B Danny Richar and RHP Nick Masset for Ken Griffey Jr.

Richar was supposed to compete for the big-league job at second, but visa issues made him late for Spring Training and then a broken rib kept him out until the end of May. He’s hitting .262 with nine homers 11 steals in 62 games for for Triple-A Charlotte. The 25-year-old could head to Triple-A Louisville if the trade becomes official. Richar hadn’t spent that much time in the White Sox organization, coming over a year ago in June (he spent some time in the bigs last summer after the trade) from the Diamondbacks in return for minor league outfielder Aaron Cunnigham, who’s since been traded to Oakland. He’s got a career .290 average in the Minors with a .441 SLG and 73 stolen bases.

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