Cincinnati Reds Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review
This list was originally published December 6, 2008. This is a REVIEW of the PRE-SEASON list for 2009, not a revision of that list. This is a REVIEW of the old list. I'm not doing new grades or lists until I start working on the 2010 book.
1) Yonder Alonso, 1B, Grade B+: Hitting .303/.383/.497 for Class A Sarasota, now back in action after missing time with injury. Hit .246/.309/.377 in 16 Double-A games before getting hurt. Still questions about his ability to hit lefties.
2) Todd Frazier, INF, Grade B: Hit .290/.350/.481 for Double-A Carolina, promoted to Triple-A a couple of days ago. Fine season. Still not sure where he fits with the glove, has played left this year.
3) Chris Valaika, SS, Grade B: Hitting .227/.265/.342 for Triple-A Louisville, well below his previous standards. Problems with plate discipline have hampered him.
4) Neftali Soto, 3B, Grade B: Hitting .246/.280/.359 for Class A Sarasota, hitting 11 homers but production overall has been weak due to strike zone issues.
5) Drew Stubbs, OF, Grade B-: Hit .268/.353/.360 with 46 steals for Triple-A Louisville, recently promoted to the majors. Speed and defense look terrific, but hasn't tapped into his power and may never do so.
6) Josh Roenicke, RHP, Grade B-: 2.57 ERA with 32/6 K/BB in 28 innings in Triple-A, 12 saves. 4.09 ERA with 21/10 K/BB in 22 innings in the majors. I like him a lot and I think he's going to have a very good bullpen career.
7) Zach Stewart, RHP, Grade B-: Traded to Toronto. 1.69 ER A with 82/28 K/BB in 96 innings for four different teams this year, maintaining good pitching at the higher levels. Looks like a bullpen force.
8) Kyle Lotzkar of the Hill People, RHP, Grade B-: Out with an elbow injury all year.
9) Daryl Thompson, RHP, Grade C+: 6.59 ERA with 8/7 K/BB in 29 innings in Triple-A, has been injured most of the season.
10) Juan Francisco, 3B, Grade C+: Hitting .281/.317/./501 in Double-A, .405/.410/.757 in nine Triple-A games. He has strike zone problems but lots of power.
11) Ramon Ramirez, RHP, Grade C+: 4.10 ERA with 78/50 K/BB in 125 innings, 122 hits in Triple-A. I don't like the deterioration in his ratios compared to 2008; his strikeout rate is way down.
12) Chris Dickerson, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .277/.373/.375 for the Reds with 11 steals. A competent fourth outfielder.
13) Matt Maloney, LHP, Grade C+: 6.08 ERA with 125/24 K/BB in 143 innings, 143 hits allowed in Triple-A. I continue to believe that Maloney could be a decent fourth/fifth starter if someone gave him enough time to adjust.
14) Chris Heisey, OF, Grade C+: Hit .347/.426/.572 in Double-A, .271/.310/.442 in Triple-A, has stolen 18 bases in 20 attempts. Intriguing combination of production across the board.
15) Sean Henry, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .264/.329/.402 with 10 homers, 20 steals in Double-A. Toolsy, if undersized at 5-10.
16) Dan Dorn, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .278/.339/.461 with 13 homers in Triple-A. Strong platoon split, .299/.362/.478 against RHP, just .197/.239/.394 against LHP.
17) Dallas Buck, RHP, Grade C+: 4.82 ERA with 25/18 K/BB in 37 innings in Double-A, on the DL since late June.
18) Robert Manuel, RHP, Grade C+: Traded to Seattle. 2.97 ERA with 46/14 K/BB in 58 innings in Triple-A this year, 45 hits allowed. Scouts don't like his stuff but he always pitches well.
19) Carlos Fisher, RHP, Grade C: 3.16 ERA with 40/25 K/BB in 43 major league innings. A perfectly competent reliever.
20) Yorman Rodriguez, OF, Grade C: .262/.309/.427 in 27 games for Billings in the Pioneer League. Raw, has strike zone issues.
21) Juan Duran, OF, Grade C: .173/.218/.296 with horrible strike zone judgment in rookie ball. This is why I tend to be skeptical about Latin signees with glowing scouting reports and big bonuses until they actually play.
I think the Reds have a pretty decent farm system. There have been some disappointments, and I'm not sure yet how they are going to fit Alonso and Frazier into the lineup in the medium and long runs, but they have material to work with. They could use additional arms, and the 2009 draft took some good steps in that direction with Mike Leake, Brad Boxberger, and Donnie Joseph all capable of advancing quickly. They seem to like the toolsy Latin hitters with power potential but poor strike zone judgment.