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Cincinnati Reds Pre-Season Top 20 in Review

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Cincinnati Reds PRE-SEASON Top 20 Prospects in Review

1) Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
Hit .232/.308/.436 in 69 games after being promoted to Cincinnati. I like him and he will do better than that in the long run. Just 22 years old after all.

2) Richie Gardner, RHP
Limited to 13 starts for Double-A Chattanooga, going 3-6, 5.73. Ratios off across the board. Bothered by biceps soreness all season and was not at 100%.

3) Joey Votto, 1B
I was expecting a breakout, so his .256/.330/.425 season for Class A Sarasota is disappointing. Strike zone judgment slipped, and he didn't seem to adjust well to the difficult power environment of the Florida State League. Still young enough to rebound.

4) Thomas Pauly, RHP
Out all year with shoulder trouble.

5) Homer Bailey, RHP
Went 8-4, 4.43 in 21 starts for Class A Dayton, 125/62 K/BB in 104 innings, just 89 hits allowed. ERA was over 4.00 due to control problems, but strong K/IP and H/IP ratios are a positive marker. Excellent long-term potential if his command improves, which I think it will.

6) B.J. Szymanski, OF
Tools outfielder limited to 50 games for Dayton by injury. Hit .262/.332/.471 with 10 homers, but struck out 57 times. High ceiling but contact against better pitching is an issue.

7) Todd Coffey, RHP
4.50 ERA in 57 games for the Reds, 26/11 K/BB in 58 innings but allowed 84 hits. Ability to throw strikes is admirable, but he is too hittable right now to hold larger role than garbage relief.

8) William Bergolla, 2B
Hit .292/.325/.390 with 16 steals in 98 games for Louisville. Hit just .132 in 17 games for the Reds, but he is a better hitter than that. Good speed, OK contact hitting skills, could be a good utility infielder but will need to hit more to start.

9) Tyler Pelland, LHP
5-8, 4.05 in 102 innings for Sarasota, with 103/63 K/BB. Good strikeout rate but needs to improve his control. Promising lefty who qualifies as a sleeper.

10) Carlos Guevara, RHP
2.45 ERA, 14 saves, 65/14 K/BB in 51 innings for Sarasota. Strong component ratios point to success in Double-A in 2006, a relief sleeper.

11) Paul Janish, SS
Limited to 55 games at Dayton by injury. Hit .245/.346/.385. Decent walk rate, but production was otherwise disappointing, and he has yet to live up to the potential he showed during college ball at Rice.

12) Daylan Childress, RHP
Claimed on waivers by Twins. Pitched at Double-A and Triple-A and pitched poorly at both levels, combined ERA well in excess of 5.00. Problems controlling his slider the main weakness.

13) Matt Belisle, RHP
4.41 ERA as swingman in Cincinnati, 59/26 K/BB in 86 innings but allowed 101 hits. I think he is capable of better but it may take a year or two for him to make the needed adjustments.

14) Bubba Nelson, RHP
4.61 ERA with 12 saves in 68 innings for Double-A Chattanooga, 70/27 K/BB. Something of a rebound season after awful '04 campaign, still just 23 years old and took well to relief role.

15) Jesse Gutierrez, 1B-C
Season cut short by torn ACL. Hit.310/.360/.530 in 26 games for Chattanooga before the injury. Main problem now is age, he is already 27.

16) Steve Kelly, RHP
5-5, 4.82 in 19 starts for Triple-A Louisville, 67/41 K/BB in 105 innings. Component ratios are unimpressive. He's looked like a sleeper to me in the past, but he was unable to duplicate his success against more experienced hitters.

17) Elizardo Ramirez, RHP
7-7, 3.77 in 21 starts for Louisville, however he allowed 150 hits in 131 innings, a red flag. Hit hard in major league action, going 0-3, 8.46 in 22 innings, allowing 33 hits. Good command but stuff is borderline.

18) Steve Smitherman, OF
Undone by poor strike zone judgment, with 5/34 BB/K ratio in 141 Triple-A at-bats, hitting .248/.272/.333. Too old at age 26 to improve much more. He has good power but struggles against pitchers who know what they are doing.

19) Joe Valentine, RHP
5.70 ERA in Triple-A, 8.16 ERA in the majors. Throws hard but has lost all semblance of command over the last two seasons. The Steve Smitherman of pitchers.

20) Rafael Gonzalez, RHP
Handled the Pioneer League OK, going 3-0, 3.43 in 42 innings with 37/23 K/BB, but poor control crippled him during a trial in the Midwest League (9.35 ERA, 22/24 K/BB in 26 innings for Dayton). Very young at 19, has a good arm but still learning.

Injuries a major factor on this list. Yet another team with a 2006 list that will be very different from this '05 version.