Friday news and notes Doug Gray September 30, 2011 54 Comments Well, Baseball America threw me for a loop yesterday when they switched the days that they were going to release the league Top 20’s for the Carolina and California Leagues. So, later this afternoon I will be back to post about any of the Reds players who make the California League Top 20 prospects. If Yasmani Grandal is eligible, I am sure he will be there. If he doesn’t qualify, I could see the Reds being shut out. Edit: Yasmani Grandal was the only player to make the list from the Blaze, coming in at #10. No big surprise at all. He was easily the best prospect on the team. The Hardball Times released their final part of the Top 100 Fantasy Rankings. Both Yonder Alonso and Yorman Rodriguez make the cut. 84: Yonder Alonso/OF/Cincinnati Reds/4-8-87/ETA: Arrived Forecast Notes: Modest power and average but no exceptional quality. Current Level: Majors Scouting Notes: Alonso is a finished product for the most part, and thus, his floor is about what you see. His home run rate in the majors won’t last, as he is more of a high teens home run hitter than one pacing for 30 plus. His hitting is good enough that he may be capable of flirting with .300 annually. He’s playing outfield now because he’s blocked at first base by Joey Votto, but make no mistake about it, he’s a first baseman in the outfield. If he isn’t traded in the offseason to a team in need of a first baseman, he’ll find himself battling Chris Heisey for playing time in Cincinnati and will almost certainly be lifted regularly for a defensive replacement late in games he does start. If he is dealt, his value will take a huge hit as soon as he sheds outfield eligibility. Potentially further hurting his future value would be a change in home ballparks. Few parks enhance home run hitting as much as Great American Ballpark, so any move likely will hurt his already modest power potential. Think Gaby Sanchez type value with a touch more average. In the outfield, that gets him on this list. As a first baseman, he’d just miss. I do think that his HR projections for Alonso may be based a little too much on his minor league numbers that were hampered by his wrist injury. I think Alonso is more of a 25-30 HR guy. I guess we will find out though. 94: Yorman Rodriguez/OF/Cincinnati Reds/8-15-92/ETA: 2015 Forecast Notes: Peak .250/.292/.400. Current Level: Single-A Scouting Notes: Rodriguez’s stats in his first year of full season ball are a bit disappointing, but he is toolsy and raw so it was to be expected. His walk rate went up as he moved up from Rookie Level ball, which is a positive to glean from a free swinger. The tools haven’t disappeared: He’s a plus hitter with plus power and above-average speed. All his tools need to be refined, but considering the Reds spent $2.5 million on him, it’s likely they’ll do everything in their power to get the most out of him. He may still flame out, but he’s likely a cheap gamble with immense upside in dynasty leagues. I probably wouldn’t rank him this high, but I do get the reasoning behind it. There is still a long way to go for Rodriguez at this point. High risk/high reward. Tucker Barnhart picked up a nice award recently, he was named the Minor League Catcher Gold Glove Award Winner. The award is only given to one player per position in the entire minor leagues, so its very impressive to get the nod. Barnhart had a .998 fielding percentage as well as a 47% caught stealing rate against. He was the only Red to bring home some gold this season. This is just an awesome look at how Wednesday’s games played out. Who will you guys be rooting for in the playoffs? I will clearly be going for the Rays, who are my AL team. On the NL side, I will be going with the Brewers. One of my good friends is a huge Brewers fan, so I owe it to him. 54 Responses The Duke September 30, 2011 Barnhart is definitely deserving. The best defensive catcher I have seen come through Dayton, and at only age 20. He will make a nice backup catcher in a few years. I could see an outside chance of Henry Rodriguez making the bottom of the Cal league top 20. DaveCT September 30, 2011 Just checked, 56 games, 206 AB’s for Grandahl and 58 games, 238 AB’s for HRod. Not sure what would qualify, plus BA polls managers and as noted some managers don’t see much of certain guys. So it might be close for both guys. I suspect HRod is one of those guys you appreciate the more you see them. I also think Sulbarran may have a chance to sneak in, given his age and arm, plus improvements in season. Krozley September 30, 2011 Anyone but the Yankees from AL is fine, although I’ll root for Josh Hamilton and the Rangers. Diamondbacks from the NL, although I don’t think they have much chance. I think the Phillies are going to be hard to beat. poorolddad September 30, 2011 I could almost (grudgingly) embrace a scenario where the Yankees win every playoff and World Series game 15-0. Maybe that would be what it takes to finally force MLB to deal with the huge disparity in payroll that gives them such a competitive advantage.Since both are highly unlikely,I’ll be pulling for the Rays. The Duke September 30, 2011 In order i’ll root for: Rays Diamondbacks Tigers Rangers Brewers Phillies Playoff cancellation Yankees MLB disbandment Cardinals Pete RI September 30, 2011 Doug-what is the ceiling as a catcher for Barnhart? Its looks like the power numbers are kind of low but he seems like an OK Hitter. Olus defense like that and he could be vary valuable. Mez, Yasmani, Tucker? What is the outlook? Doug Gray September 30, 2011 I think what Ryan Hanigan has done for the Reds over the last few years is a good comp. Barnhart is more advanced as a hitter at the same age, but I think that his ceiling is Ryan Hanigan like, but with more service time. Not a very good hitter, but a solid hitter without much power who gets the strikezone well who will provide very strong defense. Pete RI September 30, 2011 I meant “Plus” Defense. Sorry about that! Kevin Davis September 30, 2011 Doug, When do the Arizona Fall League games start up? Doug Gray September 30, 2011 October 4th I believe. MK September 30, 2011 I am one of those who feel being a Baseball Player is as important or more than raw tools. Tucker Barnhart is a BASEBALL PLAYER, who has some tools as well. Give me a team of Barnharts and I will beat a team of 5-tool guys 60% of the time. Lets pay Dusty’s final year of his contract to go to Boston(it doesn’t have to be the Red Sox it could be one of the fish markets) and sign TERRY FRANCONA! Doug Gray September 30, 2011 Ha. Yeah, he can go to the fish markets. The Red Sox would NEVER hire a manager like Dusty Baker. fromcubawithluv September 30, 2011 i second the Francona thing. Apparently it is official, he is no longer with the Red Sox. I think he would be great for the Reds. Doug Gray September 30, 2011 It would be, but given what he would command, and the fact that they would still have to pay Dusty, it will never happen unless Dusty retires. coltholt September 30, 2011 Coaching is thoroughly underappreciated by the Reds. It makes so much more sense for a team like the Reds to pay above and beyond for coaching so that their players can go further. They won’t have a team full of all-stars, so you need to have a coach that can get the most out of the guys that you have. I would rather give an extra 5 million a year to have a pitching coach who will bring the best out in guys like the White Sox, Twins, and Red Sox have done and a manager who will bring the most out of the guys that he has like Maddon, Francona, or heck, even possibly Gibson based on early indications from this year. Pete RI September 30, 2011 I am in RI (earshot from Boston) listening to a very “up to the minute/connected” radio station. Go to http://www.weei.com if there is any interest. Looks like the meeting at Fenway just broke up and they say that there will be an official resolution in a day or two but everyone is assuming Francona is moving on. Many are already linking him to Ozzie Guillen’s old job with the White Sox. He would want too much money for the Reds. He makes like 4.2/yr. Some also speculate that GM Theo Epstien could also go and many rumors link him to the Cubs. Say what you will about Theo’s mistakes but they have two world championships with him and the Cubs have money to spend. Theo seems to draft very well and pay way over slot to get good talent in later rounds. Theo in Chicago could make the Cubs better, Brewers are better, Cardinals are always good, Pirates coming in…division could be tougher. Reds better get moving!!!!!!! Krozley September 30, 2011 I would be a little leery of Francona. He did not have success in his 4 seasons with Philly and I’ve heard complaints from Boston fans about his in-game managing decisions. Was his success due to just having so much talent that even someone like Dusty Baker couldn’t screw it up? Is he equipped to manage in a smaller market and get the most out of his team? His Phillies teams had some hitting (including young Rolen) but had horrible pitching (Curt Schilling being the only good starter), and maybe he did do a good job with what he had. I don’t know. I’m just not sold that he is as good as advertised outside of Boston. If he could turn around a Chicago team, then all praises to him. bj September 30, 2011 I agree lets get rid of Dusty and give Rick Sweet a chance. With all the homegrown talent, he would be a great manager. I know alot of people that have played for Sweet, and never heard one bad remark about him. He gets respect and he WINS. Patrick in NY September 30, 2011 I Say fire Dusty and Hire Rolen helps team in two spots :) Alan Horn September 30, 2011 I would be happy if they brought Pete McKanin back. The team played well during his short stint as a manager. Carolina Reds Fan September 30, 2011 I second this. I was impressed by the way he handled the team during his short tenure. I believe the Reds would have done just as well, and probably much better with him managing over the past 4 years. Patrick in NY September 30, 2011 Pete is one guy rumored for the Red Sox position. The guy I wanted instead of Dusty was Kurt Gibson at that time. MK September 30, 2011 or Pete Mackanin Pete RI September 30, 2011 I think Tito Francona would be OK. Better than Baker anyway. I think he handles the high end guys pretty well. Boston payroll is typically noth of 150K the last few years. I am not endorsing him…just giving a local update (from RI). Dave Martinez (bench coach Tamppa Bay) is getting a lot of press as well for his work with young players. He is reporteldy a possiblity for Chicago White Sox. FYI. The Duke September 30, 2011 Grandal comes in at #10 in the BA Cal league list, no other Reds made it, Tyler Skaggs was #1 Kyle September 30, 2011 #10 seems awful low for Grandal. This is a guy who has a good chance of being a slightly above average starting catcher in the big leagues. Those are not easy to find. Doug Gray September 30, 2011 On the surface, it does. But I will be honest, I haven’t seen the scouting reports on all of the other guys ahead of him either. My guess is that all will be Top 100 prospects (at least the Top 10). Stock September 30, 2011 I compared the top 13 to Hardball’s top 100. 10 of the top 13 were ranked 56 or higher. Grandal was 8th per hardball times. His ranking of 41 was ahead of Wheeler (56), Singleton (46), Webster (NR) and Bettis (81). However, he was behind Franklin (36) and Segura (21). Adam L September 30, 2011 Doug, I realize this is probably more a Wednesday quesiton, but I’ll be out of town without certain ability to access your site (I’m not looking forward to this), but on a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being playing Joey Votto every day and 10 being playing Willy Taveras every day, how crazy would it be to stick Dave Sappelt in left and bat him 1st and stick Yonder Alonso at 3rd and bat him 2nd? For argument’s sake, let’s say Yonder practices hard at 3rd in the offseason and proves to have nothing worse than a slightly below average glove. wanderinredsfan September 30, 2011 The Alonso-to-3B experiment is over. He has been told to go into next spring as a Left-Fielder. Doug Gray September 30, 2011 I will answer both parts of the separately…. Dave Sappelt in left and lead off… I would put at a 4. I don’t quite like him leadoff, but would rather have him at #2 in an ideal line up. While I am perfectly fine with starting him out in the Majors in 2012, I am not sure others are because while he performed well after his first week and a half, that gets lost in the shuffle because the sample was so small. With that said…. look below and know that I would give Alonso a better grade for starting in LF. With Alonso, I would say its a 9. As wanderin said, the Reds have said that the 3B experiment was over. MK September 30, 2011 Think the White Sox would be smart to grab Ryne Sandberg as their manager!! Doug Gray September 30, 2011 Tough to say. I tend to not have opinions on managers who I haven’t seen manage enough, or seen say/do something very stupid over a long period of time. If I were in charge of hiring a manager, I would probably need to ask him 15-20 questions before getting a good feel on whether or not I would like to go further into the interview. MK September 30, 2011 Would definitely sell some tickets and cost the Northside team some fans. Anything to fry the Cubs’ fans wanderinredsfan September 30, 2011 I truly think BA has missed the mark on their CAL list. Grandal has just as much potential and much more polish than most of the position players on this list. The love for Gary Brown and Zach Wheeler is way out of proportion. I don’t think Brown will ever hit more than 10 HRs in the bigs; Juan Pierre is his ceiling, IMO. Furthermore, Wheeler’s stuff isn’t much better than Sulbaran’s or Ravin’s; he has potential, but he’s a long way from reaching it. There is just no excuse to rank Wheeler or Brown higher than Grandal. The same could be said of Bettis, Singleton, and Webster. I just can’t comprehend how a legit MLB catcher, with above-average defense, and a plus hit-tool could be ranked lower than these players. Terry M September 30, 2011 Be nice if we could find a arm in the 8th. round like TB did in Moore. I do like some of the young pitchers we did take and hopefully one or two will turn out. Good Pitching beats good hiting in my opinion… 44reds September 30, 2011 Hey Doug, I continue to love the site. If you are still looking for feature ideas I have one: We all like to to talk trades in the off season, it would be cool to see a list of “ideal trade targets” or something similar. The list could take into account position, skill level, contract and trade compatibility. Bill Simmons does something kind of similar where he ranks the top 50 NBA players according to their trade value, but I’m thinking something more specific to the Reds, taking into account their spending limitations. Keep up the good work man. Jimmer October 1, 2011 Will be rooting for whoever the Cardinals play…. Doug Gray October 1, 2011 Not the worst idea you have ever had. Steve October 1, 2011 Do you think the Reds could ever compete with the big teams in trying to sign CJ Wilson who will be a free agent to a long-term deal? Also, do you think the Blue Jays would ever be interested in a deal trading Votto, Bailey and Grandal for Bautista and another Jays prospect? They need a future catcher and Lind could be their DH. Bailey would just be thrown into the deal since I know that need some additional starting pitching. These two kinds of deals would substantially improve the Reds competitivness in 2012. Doug Gray October 1, 2011 No, I don’t. But I would avoid a move like that even if we could. Wilson is a very nice pitcher, but I just don’t like paying that much money to pitchers unless they are flat out dominant for long periods of time. Wilson has started for two seasons in his career, and while they were good ones, it would leave me hesitant to commit 6+ years and 12+ a year on him. I am all for acquiring Bautista, but I am not sure I would give up Votto and Bailey in the same deal. MK October 1, 2011 Don’t think I would give up more than Votto. I would give the edge to Toronto on this one for one. I would still do it because Alonso at first Bautista in left is a better mix than Votto at first and Alonson in left for the Reds. Steve October 2, 2011 Reds have to get another pitcher if they want to even compete in their own division next year – let alone compete to get to the WS. Their staff is full of #4 and #5 guys at best. Cueto is the only legitimate #1 or #2. Perhaps Leake is a #3. Got to pay to get one -either in propects or money. Those of you that think a LF and/ or SS are the highest priorities are fooling yourselves. If it is going to take 6+ years to get an ace, then we’re going to have to trade Votto to get a cheap, young one that can be cost-controlled for a few years. We will also need to be patient with our young guys since someone will have to step up to fill Votto’s void. The Reds just do not have the pitching to compete. Doug Gray October 2, 2011 I think the problem that the Reds have is that they guys with plenty of potential, but all are question marks outside of Cueto, who is very likely to regress in 2012. They don’t want to give up on their guys because they have stuck with Bailey/Volquez this long and don’t want to trade them off and see them turn things around next year. Chapman is a guy that they can’t trade because of his potential and the fan reaction (and while fan reaction shouldn’t matter, it certainly does regardless of how stupid it is). They are stuck with Arroyo, so they had better hope he rebounds big time. It is going to take some balls and some creativity to get the Reds to be a legit contender in the playoffs, or perhaps just everyone stepping forward at once (Bruce going from borderline All Star to MVP contender, Bailey and Volquez stepping up and lowering their ERA’s into the 3’s, Whoever is playing 3rd to step up….). wanderinredsfan October 1, 2011 Blue Jays are flush with future catchers. Arrencebia and D’Arnaud will be the Jays’ catchers for the next decade. Grandal would be third in depth behind those two. redsfannorth October 2, 2011 Many would argue that Perez will overtake them as well, even though he is further away. I am not sure I would argue it, but many Jays minor league fans would. Point still stands though, Jays don’t need a catcher. Alonso/Grandal package for BJ Upton/pitching remains in play I would think with TB. Steve October 2, 2011 Why would the Rays want Alonso with the kind of season and age of Casey Kotchman. David October 2, 2011 If we are taking BJ Upton off the Rays hands to also get a pitcher(Shields), then I would think a package around Stubbs/Grandal plus Soto or something like that would play better. The outfield for them could be Joyce/Stubbs/Jennings with Grandal and Soto joining them soon. While the Reds OF would be Alonso/Upton/Bruce allowing Heisey to be the 4th OF with Sappelt getting more seasoning for a year till Upton hits FA. IMO, Upton’s bat won’t play out of CF, and he won’t be cheap his last years before FA. So I would not like him, and Stubbs both in the OF at the same time. Similar players who neither profile for leadoff or cleanup. Steve October 2, 2011 Arencibia’s stats weren’t very good – .219/.282/. 438 – 133 strikeouts in 129 games. I am not familiar with D’Arnaud. Grandal would appear to be a step up at the plate. Doug Gray October 2, 2011 D’Arnaud is the better prospect between the two from a majority of places. Most actually rank him in the same area as Devin Mesoraco. wanderinredsfan October 2, 2011 And this time a year ago, Arencibia was generally ranked higher than Mesoraco. He has lost his eligibility to be ranked this season, but D’Arnaud and Mesoraco will be fighting for the highest ranking by a catcher this off-season. Grandal is pretty far behind D’Arnaud and Arencibia in terms of prospect status. Maybe he’ll elevate his status with another step up in performance next season, but I don’t think you would find many G.M.s who would take Grandal over the two Jays. Doug Gray October 3, 2011 I would take Grandal over Arencibia. I have absolutely no faith that he will ever hit. wanderinredsfan October 3, 2011 Didn’t he hit 23 HRs this season? And had a killer of a 2010 in AAA? Doug Gray October 3, 2011 He also had a .282 OBP this season. His lack of on base skills have long been the knock against him. He is a very impatient hitter who hits a ton of fly balls and few grounders (which leads to lower BABIP).