I went ahead and created a page on facebook for the website. If you want to follow along through facebook, click here and follow along. While we are at it, you can also follow along on twitter or you can subscribe to the videos on youtube.

Updated at 12:50pm

Tonight on MLB Network at 9pm Jonathan Mayo will unveil the MLB.com Top 50 prospects in Baseball. We know Billy Hamilton will be there. Will Robert Stephenson show up? Any other Reds?

John Sickels at MinorLeagueBall.com posted his farm system rankings yesterday afternoon. He ranked the Reds 15th overall and had this to say about them:

Strengths: pitching at the top with Robert Stephenson, Dan Corcino, Tony Cingrani and additional arms to back them up. Weaknesses: offense, once you get past Billy Hamilton and Jesse Winker though there are some bats at the lower levels that could develop. As with Arizona, this is a solid system in a transition phase and ranking here is no insult.

Last season the Reds were ranked 21st, so they moved up despite losing these guys to eligibility issues: Didi Gregorius, Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart and Devin Mesoraco. Earlier this month I posted rankings using the individual player rankings done by Sickels and that list had the Reds at 17, pretty close to where they were here. The Cardinals are atop the rankings posted today and they probably should be. They are loaded, but they need to be with the aging team that they have.

Spencer Schneier over at Beyond The Box Score pondered whether the F/X systems (Pitch, Hit and Field) could lead to new market inefficiencies. He went into a few things and if you read the comments you can see that apparently I was the only person around who also thought it was interesting enough to add to the conversation. Still, it leads me to ask this question as it relates to the minor leagues/development/drafting/scouting side of things: What is something that you think a team could do, legally, that would help give them an advantage on that front over other teams?

While we discussed it on Sunday, I know that traffic is down on the weekends during the offseason, so I want to bring it back up for discussion in case you missed it. I have been working behind the scenes on re-designing the website. While the layout will remain similar with a few changes, what I am focusing the most on is adding new “pages” to the site.

Here are the pages that are currently on the site:

  • Watch Games Online – A list of available games to watch online (during the season)
  • Video – A link to the RML Youtube page
  • Interviews – A list of the interviews done on the site – New ones in the works
  • Store
  • Contact

Here are the pages that are in the works:

  • Rule 5 Draft Eligibility list – Will list all of the players in the system and when they will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
  • Affiliates – Listing the mailing/stadium address, phone number, managers/coaches, roster, schedule, official website links and player development contract status.
  • Prospect Lists – Easy access to past prospect lists
  • Draft – Past drafts as well as the current draft tracker similar to the one from last season.
  • About the staff – This will only be there if I take on another author, which may or may not happen. It is being considered though.
  • Transactions
  • Chats – An archive for past Chat and All Questions Answered topics.

So, if you have any suggestions outside of those or in addition to those, let me know in the comments section and we can talk about it all.

45 Responses

  1. The Duke

    A couple more ideas:

    Organizational depth chart. More of an in season feature but just a single page displaying up to date rosters for all the affiliates. I do it on omy own right now in an excel document.

    Another thing I do in excel is make a single full season schedule from every level full season Reds club. I print it out into one schedule that I put up at work. Reds through Dragons. Perhaps have a printable pdf version and maybe a slightly beefier online only version.

    Maybe set up (through yahoo or ESPN or some other free host) a fantasy baseball league for people who frequent the site. Not milb, but there is no milb fantasy game that I am aware of. I haven’t played fantasy baseball in years but mostly because of a lack of interactive people. I think some dynasty leagues now do let you take minor leaguers. Maybe something simple like a pdf version of your prospect book for the winner.

    Another in season feature, but maybe a comprehensive injury list. Not sure if that would require as much effort as a transactions page, but even something simple just saying what guys are out and with what injury would be nice.

    That’s all I have for now, keep up the great work.

    • Doug Gray

      Do you keep your depth chart up to date throughout the season when there are injuries/promotions/demotions?

      I kind of do like the fantasy baseball league idea. Perhaps with weekly updates on the site. I will look into some different ideas so that plenty of people can participate.

      I will check into making a schedule for all teams. With 6 teams, how easy is that to read when printed out?

      • Scott from upstate NY

        I just want to caution that some employers restrict what sites can be viewed by certain keywords, and one of those words is “fantasy”, so many general sports sites that feature fantasy sports are blocked.

      • The Duke

        I keep the depth chart up to date throughout the season, including spots on the DL. I’m a day or two behind sometimes when a guy comes back and then doesn’t play, but i’m pretty on top of things. I like the reference, and it also makes it easy to think about how promotions might affect the respective clubs and how the trickle down effect may work.

        I have 5 teams on a plain 8.5 x 11 page in landscape view and it’s easy to read. Home games are shaded and I have their opponent with the time of the game right next to it in each slot. It works well for me. I highlight the weekday day game boxes because I print this schedule out for work and those are the games I can listen too while there. Smartphones rock in that regard.

      • Doug Gray

        Would you have any interest in perhaps handling a depth chart page on the website throughout the season?

        Also, do you have an older version of your calendar that you could email me? I like the idea, I just can’t visualize it.

      • The Duke

        I’d be interested in that. I’d also likely be more motivated to keep on top of it considering other people besides myself would actually reference it.

        I’ll email you my excel doc tomorrow with the schedule as it’s on a different computer than the one i’m on now. It prints Reds-Bats-Wahoos-Blaze-Dragons on an 8.5 x 11 page with 0.5″ margins all around. I used to include the Mustangs and AZL Reds but I don’t have access to an 11 x 17 printer any more and I thought it was too small to try to fit 7 schedules on one page.

  2. MK

    Yasmani Grandal one of the players listed in the Miami PED clinic investigation.

  3. mace

    I think the Rule 5 list is an excellent idea.

    What about a page of bios for everyone in the system? There might be an issue with pirating the Reds’ media guide, but that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. List every player with a few notes about his background and record. If you didn’t want to regurgitate the stat lines, you could link them all to baseballreference or whatever.

    • Doug Gray

      Do you mean one pages with a little information on everyone, or a single page for every player?

      • mace

        I just meant a separate tab (what I was assuming you called a page), under which you offer little thumbnails on each player. They would all combine into one large file. On that file (page), the reader would just scroll down the players alphabetically. For instance, from the Reds’ 2011 media guide:

        MUGARIAN, Wes — RHP. AGE: 19. HEIGHT: 6-0. WEIGHT: 185. B: R. T: R. BORN: 9/18/91, Pensacola, FL. SIGNED BY: John Poloni. RESIDES: Pensacola, FL. OBTAINED: Selected in the fifth round round of the 2010 First Year Player Draft. PERSONAL: Graduated from Pensacola Catholic HS. . . . Then the year-by-year stats.

        On players with more experience, it would summarize each of his seasons. It would list his awards and accomplishments. For former college players, it would note their collegiate highlights. That’s all media guide stuff. Of course, you could also add your own touches. Like links to the film clips you’ve made or the scouting reports you’ve provided. Or news stories. Maybe their prospect rankings.

      • Doug Gray

        I am going to be completely honest. While that would be cool, it presents so many problems. First, would be just how large (or long if you were scrolling down) that would be. Just holding the down arrow, it would probably take you a few minutes to get to the bottom. Aside from that, the amount of data entry for about 250-275 players (including international guys) would just be too much to take on.

        There could be something in the future for guys who make the Top 25, as I have ideas to work with that, though if that were to happen, it would be at some point next year.

      • The Duke

        What you could do is have an organizational depth chart like I listed above and make individual detailed pages for top 25-40 guys where you could just click on the name to open it up. Something like that i’d be willing to volunteer with some data entry.

      • mace

        That’s a really good idea, Duke. That way, 1) you wouldn’t need one bulky, comprehensive, largely pirated page, and 2) you could write the bios on a progressive basis, with no need to have them all finished in one fell swoop. You’d simply underline (or whatever) the players who link to a thumbnail. Over time, more and more players are linked as the mini-bios are completed.

        Doug: As regards your earlier query about subscriptions . . . this service would perhaps be my best reason to subscribe.

    • mortboy

      I like these ideas mace. I like reading the bio’s on players and checking if I am correct about where they were drafted or how they were obtained.

      Another thing that would be kinda cool is going back and rating the drafts. I think that Doug has done that before, but a quick reference would be kind of nice.

    • The Duke

      I’m guessing only BHam is on then list from the Reds, but Stephenson should be.

      • Doug Gray

        With the way that Mayo does his rankings, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Stephenson in there.

    • Doug Gray

      Added it to the post today. Completely forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Stock

    I was reading Sickels’ 2013 Baseball Farm System Rankings and came away with this thought. Even though the Marlins system ranks higher than the Reds system, the Reds system has more value because Buckley and his team are associated with the Reds. (I would love to read what others think about this thought). The 2012 Draft is an indication of how quickly a team can reload if they make quality decisions on draft day. That said I do not expect drafts of the quality of 2012 every year. Interesting thing is 2012 was supposed to be a weak draft class.

    After reading your post on Sunday I went back and looked at the 2012 draft. This is a draft that impressed me very much. I am hopeful Langfield can follow in the steps of Cingrani. I am also hopeful that both Mejias-Brean and Winker can be everyday ML players with one of them being an all-star. I may be alone here but I think all three of Langfield, Mejias-Brean and Winker will be in the majors in 2016-2018 timeframe. Throw in Travieso, Gelalich, Rahier, and others and you have a great draft. I have always felt that if a draft creates 2 regulars and 1 role player it was a successful draft. By that measure I think the 2012 draft could be a huge success.

    I may have missed several players but here is a list of players signed by the Reds and the year signed.

    Draft Class ML Regulars ML Role Players Top 25 Red Propects
    2002 2 (Votto, Hanigan)///1 (Denorfia)///No Prospects
    2003 No Regulars///1 (Wagner, Dickerson)///No Prospects
    2004 2 (Cueto, Bailey)///1 (Janish)///No Prospects
    2005 2 (Bruce, Axford)///4 (Ondrusek, LeCure, Wood, Rosales)///No Prospects
    2006 1 (Stubbs)///1 (Heisey, Roenicke)///No Prospects
    2007 2 (Cozart, Frazier)///1 (Meso, Horst)///5 (DG, RL, HR, NT, DL)
    2008 1 (Alonso)///1 (Stewart, Sappelt)///3 (DC, YR, IG)
    2009 1 (Leake)///1 (Boxberger)///2 (BH, TB)
    2010 2 (Chapman, Grandal)///No Role Players///3 (CR, RL, DV)
    2011 No Regulars///No Role Players///6 (RS, TC, RW, AG, BS, GR)
    2012 No Regulars///No Role Players///6 (NT, JW, TR, JG, DL, SM)

    It is difficult to determine which class has been the most successful. Votto alone makes the 2002 class impressive. Cueto and Bailey make the 2004 class successful. For pure quantity the 2005 class was a success. The 2007 class has the potential to have 4 regulars (starting 8, 1-4 SP or Closer by my definition). What impresses me is that every class since 2004 is considered a success by my standards (two regulars and one role player) or because of prospects has the potential to be a successful class except 2006. What has me excited is that the 2012 class may be the best of the lot.

    • Terry M

      2012 could be a special draft and then add in players that have moved up from VRL and DRL. This is like night and day from the Marge era….

  5. Alan Horn

    In doing a little research I noticed that Choo struck out (150/598) 25.08%
    of the time last season. Phillips struck out (79/580) only 13.6% of the time last season. Stubbs struck out (166/493) 33.67% of the time last season. Hamilton struck out (43/175) 24.57% of the time last season at AA. Hamilton had a BB rate of (36/175) 20.57%. Choo had a BB rate of (73/598) 12.21%. Stubbs had a BB rate of (42/493) 8.52%. Phillips had a BB rate of (28/580) 4.83%. Those figures aren’t exactly correct(BB should be added to AB before the calculations which would lower the percentages). Out of all that, Hamilton would appear to be the best lead off candidate even though he strikes out 25% of the time. His walk rate is by far the best of the group. Then throw in his ability to turn access to 1B into a double or triple and it is a pretty strong argument. Phillips had a great SO rate but a terrible walk rate.
    Choo will be the lead off hitter for the Reds next season(he is somewhere in the middle), but you can’t help but wish Hamilton’s arrival is both imminent and successful.

    • Doug Gray

      Alan, use PA’s for K and BB rates, not AB. Let’s just assume that we have two guys with 600 PA’s. Let’s also assume both guys strike out 100 times. Then assume one guy walks 20 times and one guy walks 80 times. Using AB’s, you are going to get guys with drastically different strikeout rates, but they really didn’t strike out at different rates.

      Until Hamilton begins to walk in the Majors, I am not going to be sold that he can walk 10% of the time in the Majors. I just don’t see pitchers in the Majors being fearful to throw him a strike. They won’t want to walk him, so they will throw strikes. He won’t be hitting the ball over the fence, so they will throw him strikes. There just isn’t a reason to nibble the strikezone against him.

  6. Herbie

    As far as providing advantages for the organization, I’ve tried to find info about teams using LASIK etc. but haven’t found much. If I was Walt I’d be giving every person super-corrective surgery as soon as they joined the system. Everyone should have at minimum 20/20 vision; it’s well documented that many great hitters like Ted Williams had freakishly good vision, like 10/20.

    • Rick in Va.

      So why is performance enhancing surgery not an issue like performance enhancing drugs? If there were some type of surgery that could help build muscles or increase speed, would you favor that too? It seems to me that discretionary surgery (ie. on a person without a health issue, like defective vision that requires glasses) might be something baseball should add to the banned category along with the drugs.

      • Doug Gray

        I think there is a difference between surgery, which is legal, and drugs that aren’t. With that said, you can buy stuff at GNC, legally, that will get you popped on a test. So that is where I see a gray area. HGH/Steroids are illegal, unless prescribed by a doctor for a specific reason (and no, being better at sports isn’t one before anyone asks).

      • Rick in Va.

        Does baseball only ban drugs that are illegal? I was under the impression that some, like the one Edinson was caught with, are banned by baseball but not illegal otherwise. It seems to me that if only illegal drugs were banned, you wouldn’t need a special rule for that, only a rule against becoming a law breaker. I always thought the rationale on drugs that it was cheating to do better than your natural abilities, kind of like putting superballs inside your bat or spitting on a pitched ball, neither of which violate the law but are banned by baseball for its own competitive reasons.

      • Doug Gray

        No. Some are banned because they can be used as masking agents, which is what Volquez got busted for.

      • Herbie

        The difference is that there’s no major health risks with eye procedures, compared to many PEDs that can wreck the body.

    • Doug Gray

      I can’t speak for the Reds, but I know that the Royals once had a big prospect all of a sudden not know how to hit. Then he got his eyes checked out and he got Lasik and become a top prospect in all of the game (Eric Hosmer). So, it is certainly something that can make a real difference. With that said, you can’t force it on guys.

      • Herbie

        Yeah, you can’t force it on anyone but you can make it openly available. I think Brian McCann also serves as good anecdotal evidence of how important vision is. All that said I think it could be an area where teams could glean a huge advantage.

        Also, typing on iPads sucks.

      • Doug Gray

        Typing on any apple device sucks. (I despise apple with every fiber of my being)

      • Terry M

        The stock has gone from over $700 a share to around $435 recently. Not sure what this means long term or if the bloom is off the rose. Time will tell….

      • Doug Gray

        They are losing their market share in phones and tablets to google left and right. Android is the future in those areas. It is more customizable, more powerful (for the same price as any iOS device) and unlike apple, google doesn’t pretend to be the police and tell you what you can and can’t do on your device. People are starting to figure that out. With computers…. they make good ones, but for the same price you can get a PC that is faster, better and with way more storage space. Not even close. They have great marketing. Their products are solid, but priced like they are the best. They aren’t even close.

      • Alan Horn

        I thought most journalists loved apples. I’m a old mainframe guy, so I have never really liked pcs either. With all the advantages of the WWW, it is truly a super highway. The best of life(information at your fingertips) and the worst of life(security and porn etc.) The web is like a real highway.
        One of the best things and one of the worst(alcohol, drugs, speeding, driving too slow and reckless driving etc.) Believe me, I know about security. I deal with it everyday.
        You always are and always will be playing catch up ball. You can’t write a fix until you have a breach. It is and always will be a ongoing problem.

      • Doug Gray

        I am sure a lot of journalists love apple. They write. You can do that on an apple. I could never do half of the things I do on an apple. The software just isn’t available.

      • Alan Horn

        Same problem with Linux. Most of the apps are written for Windows, which forces you to Windows. It is easier to virtualize Linux. The best place to do that is on the mainframe for larger users. You can have over 2000 virtual machines on the same real box. Can’t come close to that with Windows.

      • The Duke

        Viva la Android!!! Apple needs to get over themselves and go open source like Android or they are going to continue to hemorrhage market share. They aren’t technologically advanced over their competition any more.

      • Doug Gray

        I am not sure they were ever more technologically advanced, they just pretended to be. As I said before, people rant and rave about how good their Mac is compared to their old PC. Well sure, but I bet they didn’t spend $1500-2000 on their old PC like they did on their Mac. Comparing a Mac to a best buy $700 laptop isn’t a fair comparison. That is like comparing a Porsche to a Camry.

        As someone who does a lot of video and photo work, there is a lot of push back in that market against Apple. With all of these dual/quad-core processors available in just about every machine you buy now, you would expect to be able to use them right? Well, Apple won’t allow you to do that when you are editing video. HD Video is large and takes up a lot of resources and being unable to use the full power, or even close to it, of your processor is taking a lot of people who used to swear by Apple and Final Cut Pro over to Windows and Adobe Premiere/After Effects for their needs. I am sure that isn’t why they are losing tons of money in their stock, but it certainly isn’t helpful that “artists” are leaving them when for years and years, colleges have been pushing Apple’s on students as “the solution” for graphic needs (something I always laughed at since they tell you to use Apple, then everyone winds up using Adobe products that are available for Windows).

    • Kevin

      Votto made it all the way thru AA before it was discovered he had astigmatism and it was corrected. I remember thinking at the time of reading that, “My God, what will this guy hit like now that he can actually see?”. An MVP award later, I guess we now know the answer.

    • Doug Gray

      Yeah, I will have a full post on it tomorrow morning. Corcino not being in there surprised me, but at the same time, it didn’t. I will explain more tomorrow on why though.

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