Catcher: Devin Mesoraco

This was a tough choice between Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal. Grandal had the better overall slash line, but I wound up choosing Mesoraco because he did so at the AAA level all season, while Grandal split his time at A+ and AA. Before being called up to the Cincinnati Reds, the catcher hit .289/.371/.484 with 52 walks and 83 strikeouts in 499 plate appearances. He threw out 26% of attempted base stealers for the Bats. Honorable Mention: Yasmani Grandal

First Base: Neftali Soto

Soto did something that no Reds prospect has done in 10 years, top 30 HR’s in a single season. Even more impressive is that he did it in just under 400 at bats between Carolina and Louisville (where he spent the final week of the season). The Puerto Rican native hit a combined .278/.333/.576 with 19 doubles, 31 HR’s and 80 RBI. Honorable Mention: Donald Lutz

Second Base: Henry Rodriguez

If the Reds had Ronald Torreyes play all season, it would have been a closer call here but Rodriguez played a full season and had very comparable rate stats. While splitting his time between Bakersfield and Carolina, Henry Rodriguez hit .320/.372/.469  with 36 doubles and 13 HR’s. He hit .300 at both stops while having 250+ PA’s with each team. Honorable Mention: Ronald Torreyes

Third Base: David Vidal

David Vidal didn’t have the best offensive stats among third baseman in the system, but it also seemed that every time I watched him play this year that he was able to pull off at least one spectacular defensive play. Offensively, he hit .280/.350/.498 for the Dragons with 37 doubles, 20 HR’s and 85 runs and RBI. Honorable Mention: Eric Campbell

Shortstop: Zack Cozart

While Cozart only racked up 350 plate appearances, what he did over them was enough to get the nod at a position where there wasn’t a stand out aside from him. Cozart began slow, but caught fire in May and never looked back before hitting .310/.357/.467 with the Bats to go along with 26 doubles and 7 HR’s before he earned a call up to the Reds. Honorable Mention: Billy Hamilton

Outfield: Denis Phipps

Denis Phipps was arguably the best hitter on the farm this year with a .346/.397/.527 triple slash line to go along with 34 doubles, 7 triples and 12 HR’s. He split his time with Carolina and Louisville. Not only did he hit well, but he also had 13 outfield assists thanks to a great arm.

Outfield: Jeremy Hermida

The 27 year old, like Phipps, was arguably the best hitter in the system this season. Hermida spent his entire season (in the minors) with the Louisville Bats and hit .319/.400/.524 while finishing in the top three in the league in batting average and OPS.  He contributed 28 doubles and 17 HR’s for the Bats.

Outfield: Yonder Alonso

Alonso spent 67% of his season playing in the outfield for Louisville. He only racked up 409 plate appearances before getting called up to Cincinnati, but hit .296/.374/.486 for Louisville with 24 doubles and 12 HR’s to go along with 46 walks.  Honorable Mention: Dave Sappelt

Starting Pitcher: Josh Smith

Josh Smith led the organization in wins with 14 and strikeouts with 166. His 2.97 ERA led all pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched, as did his 5.03 strikeout to walk ratio. Smith also started the Midwest League All Star game as a representative for the Dayton Dragons. With the Dragons he set the all time franchise record for most strikeouts in a season.

Starting Pitcher: Daniel Corcino

Like Josh Smith, Corcino spent his entire season with the Dayton Dragons. He went 11-7 on the season with the second best ERA among pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched with his 3.42 mark. Corcino also topped the previous Dayton Dragons single season strikeout mark with 156 on the season.  His 4.59 strikeout to walk ratio ranked second to Smith among starters as well. Honorable Mention: Daniel Renken

Relief Pitcher: Brad Boxberger

It was a tough choice between Drew Hayes and Brad Boxberger, but the two players were both 23 this season and Hayes spent his entire year in Dayton, while Boxberger was in Carolina and Louisville which wound up giving him the nod. Boxberger had 11 saves between the two levels and a 2.03 ERA in 62 innings pitched. In those 62 innings he had 28 walks and 93 strikeouts to go along with a 0.97 WHIP and a .152 average against. Honorable Mention: Drew Hayes

22 Responses

  1. The Duke

    Do you think that with his plus curveball and decent fastball coupled with him being 24 that Smith might jump straight to AA to start 2012? There would still be plenty of pitching for Bakersfield (Corcino, Renken, Lotzkar, Johnson, Gerson, Robles, Cingrani, Fairel, etc…)

    How much does Bradboxberger have to prove himself in spring training to get added to the 40good man and make the Reds bullpen?

    David Vidal seems like a guy primed to break out. If he can stay healthy I could see him putting up a .320/.380/.550 slash line in Bakersfield before getting promoted to Carolina.

    I hope Soto can keep it up, I’d love to see him chase 40 HR next year. Should the Reds try him again at 3B, move him to LF, or assume that he is just a 1B despite coming in as a shortstop?

    • Stock

      3B would be great. Rolen has one year left. I really don’t see how a player who came up as a SS is unable to play LF. If he is playing LF for Louisville and Alonso is gone that would be a good sign that Votto will stay in Cincinnati long term. If he is playing 1B that is a good sign Votto is not a long term solution at 1B.

      • Alan Horn

        I agree that 3B or LF should be where he plays. I’m starting to worry
        about 3B. Francisco and Frazier aren’t showing what I would like to see with the bat thus far at the major league level. Alonso is the only one whose bat looks good and he is a minus defensively. I like Heisey’s power but hitting below .250 won’t cut it. Same for Francisco, Sappelt and Frazier. Cozart at least looked good in a very small sample size.

      • Stock

        September is not a good time to evaluate your players. Sappelt got off to a slow start and has hit well since. Regardless he doesn’t play everyday and for a young player it is probably extremely difficult to stay/get into a grove.

        Francisco’s career numbers in the majors aren’t that far off Alonso’s. Yet everyone is ready to annoint Alonso as the man with the golden bat and Francisco a dud. If your saying that on account of their stats in the majors you are mistaken. If your saying that on account of their stats in the minors you are mistaken. If you are saying that on account of their respective plate approaches you can. That said Francisco seems to take BB in the show just fine. He strikes out too much but that may be due to the fact that he plays on an irregular basis. Again until Alonso and Francisco get everyday AB it is unfair to judge them in the majors.

        Frazier struggled to get base hits in AAA so maybe it is fair to say he is not an everyday player in the show but not because of what he has done for the Reds but rather what he did for the Bats in two seasons.

        Meso’s AB are few and far between. Can’t judge him by his performance in the majors thus far.

      • Alan Horn

        My biggest fear at this point is that all continue this next season. If half of them do, then we are sunk. We are forced with being dependent on our prospects next season. I was hoping someone would show signs they are ready. With the exception of Alonso, none have. I agree that some haven’t had much of a chance. We are going into next season with the jury being out on a lot of positions. Everyone wants to hand the catching position to Mesoraco. We have no idea he can handle it(hitting wise). We will be forced to hand the 3B position to Francisco/Frazier(I don’t expect Rolan to be able to hold up). We have no idea they can handle it hitting wise. If Alonso plays LF, I think his hitting will be ok. Still he will be a boat anchor around the team defensively. If Heisey/ Stubbs play CF, they need to hit better than .250 and cut down on excessive strike outs. The jury is likewise out on Cozart at SS. He looked good for a brief period, but it was a very small sample size. I hope all blossom next season. I’m just saying there is no strong indication they will. Right now we will enter next season with a lot of question marks.
        If the above mentioned players can take their hitting to the next level we will be ok. If they can’t, we will be in bad shape.

      • MK

        I think this September is a even worse barmoeter than normal because of the way Dusty is using them. They need to play for two weeks in a row rather than maybe twice a week. They can’t get comfortable in this system. Why we need to see Hernandez, Renteria, Cairo again this year I just don’t get it.

        I would even give Arroyo the rest of the year off. The only thing that will get the residuals of mono out of him is rest. So let him rest. Same with Cueto (to h–l with the ERA title. Let me see a rotation of Volquez, Bailey, Wood, Maloney, Willis the rest of the year.

        Can’t win anything at this point and I am not saying don’t try, but if they are trying now it isn’t working.

      • AlJoe

        I think as Reds fans we are looking at the future too much which is what are used to doing. Before we won a division and have players to win. Next year we will have 5 players who could possibly 20 HR. We have 2 pitchers who are good if not great. And a decent bullpen. There is no need to trade Alonso, because he can play LF and is probably the third or fourth best hitter. We are built to win now and win in the future. Votto is part of this teams plan and if it’s only for a couple years so be it. We could move Alonso there if not we have Soto and Grandal. Stop worrying about where players will play in the bigs look at Pujols. Soto will find a position. And the 3B of the future is Francisco.

    • Doug Gray

      I would push Smith to AA. With his age, there isn’t a reason to hold him back. With Boxberger, I think he has a solid shot of being added to the 40 man with a good spring. He certainly has the arm. He has AAA experience. With Soto, he isn’t a third baseman. Now whether or not he could be a left fielder, I can’t say. But he surely isn’t a third baseman.

      • MK

        Do you think the Reds like thier pitchers pitching in Bakersfield since it is so hitter friendly. I would think at least half a season there helps their mental approach when they get to GABP.

      • Doug Gray

        I honestly don’t think they put much into it. You have to play them somewhere.

  2. AlJoe

    Grandal? Trade bait, 1st baseman or what? IMO he and Mesoraco should not split time. That is one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever heard. Did Bench split time? What about Pudge or Brian McCann or even Posey all these catchers are full time. And Mesoraco will be on these guys levels soon.

    • MK

      Bench didn’t split time and pitchers threw complete games. Times have changed, conditioning has changed and money has changed things.

      Can never have too much catching in your system.

      Unfortuantely Devin isn’t getting enough big league experience with playing time right now for the team to learn if they can throw all of their eggs in his basket.

      • Alan Horn

        I agree. That is why it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hold onto Grandal for a while.

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t buy into Grandal as having the bat for first. But I wouldn’t rush to trade him just yet. I do think that Mesoraco has the bat for first base, so there is always that chance you make that move and need Grandal for catcher. But yeah, I wouldn’t be splitting time with Mesoraco. He would be 130 starts a year behind the plate and then DH in interleague.

  3. sagevic

    My gut feeling is that Grandal will eventually be the better Major League catcher, but honestly that could be three or four years before he really establishes himself at the Big League level. The same goes for most of our top young prospects. Bright futures, but several years away.

    Soto could be a dominant Right-handed hitter (which I always say is golden, since if a RH bat can hit rightys, you have to think he’ll hit leftys), but unless anothe dominant LH bat can join Jay Bruce somewhere in the line-up, I don’t think you go with Soto at 1st. One LH bat, even on a team that can hit RH pitching fairly well, is asking for trouble. I still think Votto could stick around past 2013, but it won’t be cheap.

  4. Patrick in NY

    Everyone seems to want to blame Arroyo’s issues on mono. Everyone seems to forget his troubles started with back stiffness against the Phillies. In his first 8 starts he had a 3.78 ERA right in line with the last two years

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110527&content_id=19642406&notebook_id=19642412&c_id=cin&partnerId=rss_cin

    “It wasn’t a problem in my last start either,” Arroyo said. “It’s just been a problem as far as working out in between starts. I got an epidural shot the other day, so I think I’m going to be fine.”

    I think he is having back issues that is affecting him. And that kind of worries me about next year

    • Redstockings60

      I was thinking it was the combination of problems caused by the mono and later by his back, this year. With mono he wasn’t able to prepare himself properly for the season,or for upcoming games and his back problem just compounded it all.

    • MK

      Don’t know if you have ever had mono but I have twice. You feel like you are functioning just as well but there is just that little stamina missing. So you overcompensate.

      In Arroyo’s case that could be overthrowing getting the fast ball to straighten out or up in the strikezone. The overthrowing can also be the causing the back problems.

      I know the first time it took me 9 months to feel 100% and the second it was over a year. The second time I missed 6 weeks of work.

      The good and bad thing about Bronson he is never going to beg off pitching. Maybe if the medical people had had sense they would have forced him down. But with Bailey and Cueto injured they probably felt like they needed him.

      • Doug Gray

        I have read that Arroyo has told the Reds he was not going to the DL over the mono. He has never missed a start and takes it very seriously. If there isn’t an injury, you can’t force a DL stint if they aren’t willing to go along with it.

  5. MBushskbum

    I asked a a question about Cingrani over at BA, here is their response, it is not subscription material so open to the public.

    I watched lefthander Tony Cingrani make Missoula hitters look like high schoolers in the Rookie-level Pioneer League. He threw first-pitch strikes to every batter he faced until the sixth inning, striking out 10 in six innings. He failed as a starting pitcher for Rice before succeeding as the Owls’ closer as a senior this spring, then dominated as a starter after the Reds signed him as a third-round pick. How much do you have to discount his performance as a 22-year-old in Rookie ball, and how much credit do you have to give him for getting it together?

    Michael Bush
    Billings, Mont.

    A third-round pick in June, Cingrani was older than most Rookie-level participants but at the same time, the Reds lacked a short-season affiliate to send him to. Though he was 22, his numbers still resonated in a notorious hitter’s league. He fell 10 innings short of qualifying for various pitching categories, but if he had, he would have topped the Pioneer League in ERA (1.75), strikeouts per nine innings (14.0), K/BB ratio (13.3), opponent average (.190) and WHIP (0.80).

    That said, statistics are only a very small piece of the puzzle when evaluating players at the lower levels of the minor leagues. Physical ability matters more, and Cingrani is a 6-foot-5, 205-pound lefthander who works at 93-94 mph and can hit 97 with his fastball. He has some feel for his changeup, but his slider still has a ways to go.

    How well Cingrani polishes his secondary pitches will determine if he can remain a starter or if he’ll move to the bullpen, where he has the upside of a set-up man. Either way, he has a better arm than most lefthanders, and he ultimately finished second among pitchers on our Pioneer League Top 20 Prospects list. We’ll have those rankings online on Thursday.

    • Doug Gray

      Thanks for that. Should be interesting to see the list when it comes out on Thursday.