Thursday news and notes Doug Gray January 5, 2012 20 Comments The Reds made a few signings over the last few weeks. Andrew Brackman is officially a Red now. The Reds also signed PJ Phillips, he is Brandon’s younger brother. He is a former 2nd round draft pick of the Angels (2005), so he at least had tools at one point. He has severe plate discipline issues though that have held him back from using those tools on the offensive side of things. He had 551 career strikeouts to just 103 walks. On the bright side, he did have 31 strikeouts and 10 walks in 97 plate appearances last season. Perhaps something began to click. He will be 25 next season and is probably due to start in A+ or AA. The Reds also signed catcher Brian Peacock, who has spent the last 5 seasons in A+ Potomac. He looks to be a backup minor league catcher who was added for some depth. He is a career .238/.306/.376 hitter in the minors. He did throw an inning last year as a pitcher, so perhaps he could be one of those converted to pitchers guys. Seems unlikely, but you never know. Michael Griffin signed with the Reds. He has been with the team since they drafted him but was a free agent. Jonathan Mayo updated the MLB.com Reds Top 10 prospects list for guys after the trades. Of course he did list Juan Francisco, who is no longer a prospect. Todd Frazier in the top 5 but Robert Stephenson not in the top 10 is awful confusing. The guys on the Dayton Dragons roster on April 27th will get to experience something they may not get to for a few more years or even ever again. The Dragons will play a road game in Miller Park against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. It was brought up yesterday that after the trades I should add to the Top 25 prospects. I am not going to do write ups for each guy right now, as I am about as deep into working on the 2012 Prospect Guide as I can be, but here are the next #21-25 prospects who have replaced Yasmani Grandal, Yonder Alonso, Dave Sappelt, Brad Boxberger and Ronald Torreyes: 21. Donnie Joseph – LHP 22. Junior Arias – 3B 23. Juan Duran – OF 24. Pedro Villarreal – RHP 25. Nick Christiani – RHP 20 Responses sultan of swaff January 5, 2012 Pick one—Seth Smith or Kosuke Fukodome? Doug Gray January 5, 2012 What is the basis for picking them? What does it take to get each guy? All things being equal, I would take Smith. But things are hardly ever equal. Foxred January 5, 2012 Smith or Parra. Assuming it takes the same to get each? Doug Gray January 5, 2012 Parra, but barely. I think Smith is better now. But Parra is younger and on the right side of his prime, where as Smith should actually start declining this season. The Duke January 5, 2012 Heisey/Frazier I bet we could get similar production without using up resources, whether it be prospects or cash. If we were going to get a LF, then it should be go big or go home. Foxred January 5, 2012 I agree. It just doesn’t seem Walt is thinking that way though. Given what is left, I would go after Cespedes or wait until Spring training cuts and add then for depth. Even if it is Heisey/Gomes platoon. This team is so close, I can’t believe Walt leaves this big a hole in LF (By hole I mean planning on Heisey or Frazier hitting LHPs AND not having any depth in case of injuries). sagevic January 5, 2012 You can’t use Heisey as the left-side of a platoon (or at least you shouldn’t pencil him in there) simply based on his atypical righty/ lefty splits. It seems like he’d put up the numbers of a left-handed power bat against right handed pitching, but over the long haul he probably can’t. Heisey has a very quick turn on a fastball, and can really drive it when he hits a ball. But, he struggles mightily against almost everything else. This is why he slumps when he starts several consecutive games becasue quality starters have secondary pitches to get a guy like that out. Relievers are fastball/ breaking ball oriented for the most part. Coming into games late and facing middle relievers and set-up men (most of whom throw hard) is the best situation for him. He also didn’t face a lot of leftys in that scenario since even though he struggled against them, most opposing managers didn’t want to use their situationa left-hander against a right-handed bat. And most left-handers (particularlry starters) don’t live and die on the fastball as much as rightys do. It leaves Heisey a bench guy/ pinch hitter. That’s actually a guy you want on your team. You just don’t want him starting. Daryl January 5, 2012 For some reason I like the idea of Fukudome. I just want to buy the jersey for one thing but he wouldn’t cost any prospects and could be had on the cheap. He really hasn’t been associated with any teams since the season ended and I am sure they are getting desperate. he may even sign a minor league deal at this point. I like Smith but I don’t want to give up what the Rockies are asking for. DaveCT January 5, 2012 Hey Doug, Missed yesterdays all questions, but I am thinking about the lack of OF depth at the ML level and upper minors. How about 2012 candidates for position changes, particularly some athletic types to the OF? A quick look and I’d see Brodie Greene, Devin Lohman, Cody Puckett, even Ryan Wright as guys who might advance quickly if moved to LF. Question is whether they’d offer more than Heisey — that’s your department. I agree with you that Soto is not a candidate, and also that Frazier may see some solid time out there. Any hope for the mid season pick-up, Rhinehart at AA? Doug Gray January 5, 2012 I actually just wrote up Devin Lohman in the prospect guide the other day and my take is that he isn’t nearly as good as his second half, but not nearly as bad as his first half. I don’t think he has the bat for left field though. Puckett has the power for it, but the rest of his offensive game is questionable. Greene, perhaps he could be Heisey like, but not in the next two years. Wright is probably several years away too. Rhinehart is an older guy for sure, but it could be interesting to see how he hits at AAA. Foxred January 5, 2012 This is an interesting list that shows we do still have some depth in prospects despite the departures of our top prospects. If we can add some elite talent in June with the draft and some of our injured pitchers can come back strong, I will come off the ledge. DaveCT January 5, 2012 Also, who knows, LeMarre may come fast as well. Plus at lower levels we have YRod, Rosa, who may move off 3B, Duran, Means, who has tools if not good performance, Waldrop, Silva, who I like, Oliveras to some degree, Hunt, Dailey, and a couple of sleepers, Bryson Smith and Steve Selsky. MK January 5, 2012 Some great stadium construction pictures on the Blue Wahoos Facebook page. bj January 5, 2012 I was around Duran alot during the year in Dayton. He was a totally different MAN, on the last day of the season that he was on the first day. Somewhere around the end of July I think he finally started to get it. Frank Pfister had a great deal to do with the development of not only Duran but a few others on the Dayton Team. I think that the $$$$$ had a lot to do with it, (2 million that young will do that). Something clicked and he realizes that there is money to be made and that work ethic is the key. I can’t say a bad thing about Duran off the field, he has always treated me and my family great. On the field (defense) sometimes I want to put a boot in his ass. All in all I think this will be a good year for him. He is over the nagging leg injury and has spent a good deal of the offseason in AZ. The Duke January 5, 2012 Agreed, from what I saw the last couple months, nobody outworked Duran. I also think he is still adjusting some to being a huge guy, which may help his coordination in the OF. MK January 5, 2012 His girl friend and son came to town for a month or better in July/August. Might have helped with maturity as well. Terry M January 5, 2012 Good info. For some reason I root real hard for this guy.. MK January 5, 2012 Maybe I missed this before, but I see that Michael Griffin re-signed as a right handed pitcher. Doug Gray January 5, 2012 There had been some rumors that he was going to make that conversion, but until earlier today I hadn’t seen anything official on it. Patrick January 5, 2012 Jamie Ramsey tweeted that he was going to be trying to convert as a relief pitcher.