Discussing the MLB.com Cincinnati Reds Top 20 Prospect List Doug Gray February 7, 2013 27 Comments Jonathan Mayo released his Top 20 Reds Prospects list yesterday afternoon. It is, interesting? There are three players in the top 10 who didn’t make my own Top 20 and two of whom didn’t even make my own top 25. Tony Cingrani is the second ranked prospect. I could listen to why one could rank him that highly. I don’t agree with it, but I could see where someone could say it and make a decent argument for it. But here is where it gets confusing. Cingrani is rated as a 50/50 guy. Meaning that he is a 50 player now and a 50 player in the future. The three pitchers ranked directly behind him are all rated as 50/60 players, meaning 50 now and 60 in the future. While I would certainly argue that a guy like Travieso is no way a 50 now, that is what his scouting report on MLB.com says. So, how is it that Cingrani is ranked ahead of those guys given the grades they are all given? Jesse Winker finds himself on the outside of the Top 10. In his scouting report it wonders about just how much power he will eventually have, but notes that what he has now is to the pull side. The stats actually show that he has a lot more opposite field power right now, or at least uses it in games a lot more. All in all, the list just leaves me scratching my head. Go read the scouting reports, because the information in there seems solid enough for the most part. Mayo also named Jonathan Reynoso as the Reds 21st best prospect over on his blog. Spencer Fordin has an article up on Reds.com that gives an overview of the Top 20 list and gives some predictions for 2013. He picks Tony Cingrani as the front runner for Pitcher of the Year and Billy Hamilton as the front runner for Hitter of the Year. Solid picks all around, though I would be inclined to go with two other guys (Stephenson/Winker). Here are some videos of the guys in the Top 10 (that I have video of from 2012) Billy Hamilton Tony Cingrani Robert Stephenson Daniel Corcino Kyle Lotzkar Ryan Wright 27 Responses The Duke February 7, 2013 I don’t know if there is any thing to do other than to laugh at that list. Sean Buckley top 10? A 1B with questionable defense and a .720 OPS in Low A at age 22? Doug Gray February 7, 2013 That is one that I just can’t understand no matter how hard I try to. Buckley was not on the list last year. Then goes out and struggles mightily all season long and moves up the list? I get that he got a rough start to the season because of appendicitis, but the logic there just doesn’t add up. Like I said in the article though, just look at the scouting reports and don’t worry so much about the number next to the guys name. Jer-B February 7, 2013 That list is a joke, my top 20 for giggles. 1. Hamilton 2. Stephenson 3. Winkler 4. Corninco 5. Cingrani 6. Travieso 7. Lotzkar 8. Langfield 9. Guillon 10. H. Rod 11. Y. Rod 12. Gelalich 13. Rahier 14. Mejas-Brean 15. Rogers 16. Lutz 17. LaMarre 18. Vidal 19. Romano 20. Barnhart DaveCT February 7, 2013 The narrative companion article reminds me of the Sporting News way back when, lots of hear-say etc., and some stats thrown in — OK, until Baseball America came along … then poof out the door. Terry M February 7, 2013 U are right…There was a time when the Sporting News was about the only source of minor league info..You had to compare weekly issues to see if one of the players you were interested in did in a weeks time. Only problem he had to be in the league’s leaders. No individual team stats just the league leaders. Thank God for BA and sites like this WallyP February 7, 2013 I will say it again and again top 20 top 30 top 50 is all garbage , its like a reality TV show, You know how I feel show me what you gaot on the field. I can pick apart any list that Doug makes that Baseball america makes or anyone else. Its pure garbage Alan Horn February 7, 2013 I agree 100% Wally. Dick February 8, 2013 cmon, these lists are fun…guilty pleasures. They don’t mean much between the lines, but I appreciate Dougs hard work and observations. Stock February 7, 2013 Wally I have to disagree with you on this one for several reasons. That said if you don’t put time and effort into the creation of your list it is worthless. This list is probably an indication of the effort is lacking. Doug pointed out that Cingrani is rated #2 with a 5/5 rating and three players ranked behind him are rated 5/6. The ranking is a contridiction of their analysis. Likewise Guillen is #19 with a 4/6 rating and only 4 other players have a 6 ultimate rating. No system for ranking players is perfect, even with ML players. A well thought out list has value. I play fantasy baseball and use top 300 lists all the time. I may not agree with all their rankings and every ranking is unique but if a website gives me analysis in addition to their ranking that gives me insight I may not have had before and therefore it is not worthless. Even this ranking (though poor) is not worthless. Sal Romano was a very small dot on my radar screen (and maybe justifiably so). Because of this writeup his dot got a little larger. Not so much for Buckley. I can’t help but feel his name had a lot to do with his ranking. As per Jer-B ranking above, any well thought out ranking of Reds prospects should have Hamilton, Corcino, Cingrani, Stephenson, Winker and Travieso in the top 6 spots and without a doubt in the top 8. Winker not in the top 10 indicates to me it is not a well thought out list. I am pretty sure the 6 above are Doug’s top 6 of those still in the organization (he may have Didi in there somewhere). Same with Duke’s top 6 and I am sure many others. Winker has below average power (thus far) but his ISO Power last year matched that of Buckley. I can’t help but think people are ignoring age when they are critical of Winker. The consideration of his age is what places Winker with the other 5 mentioned here. I do agree that if he were 21 I wouldn’t place him in the same tier as the other 5 above. He has time to develop his power. Most important it is a lot more common to develop power than it is to develop plate discipline (my opinion). To try to back my point I decided to compare Winker to someone I consider has good plate discipline but never perceived to have outstanding power in the minors. Because of sample size I only looked at seasons where this other player played more than 60 games. Winker High Rookie age 18: .162 ISO Power (40/50 BB/K) Other Guy (1) High Rookie age 19: .171 ISO Power (56/80 BB/K) A- age 20: .184 (79/110) A+ age 21: .169 (52/122) AA age 22: .228 (78/109) AAA age 23: .184 (70/110) Other Guy (2) A- age 18: .114 (37/76) A+ age 19: .147 (38/85) AA age 20: .244 (31/49) Winker’s Billings season compares favorably to the other guys High Rookie season especially when you consider he is one year younger with one year less experience than this other guy (1). He is a level lower than Other Guy (2) but his performance was much better. What impressed me was the development of the power at age 20 for Other Guy 2. And by the way both Other Guy’s turned out to be a pretty good hitters. If others have a different opinion on my plate discipline vs. power argument I would love to hear their reasoning (insight). For that matter if they agree their insight would also be appreciated. IndyRedsFan February 7, 2013 Stock….are you going to tell us who the other guys are?…or do you want us to guess? Doug Gray February 7, 2013 Other guy 1 has to be Joey Votto. I didn’t look yet, but I remember him being a 70/110 guy. Not sure about other guy #2. fromcubawithluv February 7, 2013 other guy 2 has to be an international player because of age and level. I am going to guess Miguel Cabrera. fromcubawithluv February 7, 2013 I just looked it up and guy 2 is, in fact, miguel cabrera. I almost feel smart ;) fromcubawithluv February 7, 2013 and player 1 is joey votto Stock February 7, 2013 Miggy and Votto are indeed correct. Quite possibly the best two hitters in baseball. Without a doubt 2 of the best 5. Anyone who can produce stats comparable to them should be a top 10 prospect in their system. WallyP February 7, 2013 Stock what good is ranking a system . The ultimate goal is to make it to the show . Yes being ranked depends on how much money you were paid to sign a contract. These names change like the weather. I personally am not a fan. You can talk to me all day about potential and talent , but that does not translate into success. for example they list Amir, and yes he is physically talented but has not done squat as far as showing me he is even a prospect. I really do not want to mention names , it is disrespectful to the players. how does a guy break into the top 20 , if he is not a bonus baby , he will not even be mentioned . I have seen guys have 3 bad years in the minors in a row and were paid $2 mill +++ and are still ranked in the top 20 . ???????? i just dont like these lists. For blogs and chats they keep us busy but not very important to me. If you are playing at AA or AAA , you all have a shot, screw the rankings Doug Gray February 7, 2013 Well, prospecting, by definition, is about trying to figure out the future value. So a guy like Amir Garrett is listed, because his future value COULD be very high. Prospecting is an art. It isn’t a science. A lot goes into it. How good are they now? How old are they? How good could they be if everything goes right for them? How likely are they to fulfill that potential? How hard of a worker are they? And a lot of other things. How one ranks players also matters. Do you want to look at guys for how they are right now? If so, your list is going to be made up entirely of players in AA or AAA. If you want to rank your players based solely on their ceiling, you are ignoring sure fire Major Leaguers who may only be marginal additions, but every team needs a few guys just like that (the utility infielder/4th outfielder/bullpener). At the end of the day, if you perform on the field, you are eventually going to be given your chance (in most cases…. I know of one example where a guy got cut who had done nothing but hit, albeit in limited playing time, since being drafted in the later rounds of the draft). But the good prospect lists get it right a lot more often than they get it wrong. Obviously they miss from time to time, but guys don’t generally turn into stars that weren’t well thought of in the minors. Kevin February 7, 2013 It seems like the comments have devolved into an argument about the futility of evaluating minor league talent. It’s an interesting conversation to have on a website that’s purpose is evaluating minor league talent . I think Doug’s track record speaks for itself. I don’t come here for lists, I come here because Doug’s analysis has very good predictive value given the vagaries and vicissitudes of what happens when human beings try to hit a round ball with a round bat. Some people are bad at making lists. Mr. Mayo looks to be one of them. Moving on… WallyP February 7, 2013 Kevin no argument here just passionate about the lack of credibility in the making of these list. as far as Doug’s work, second to none , I have said that about 100 times on this site and other sites MK February 7, 2013 Toughest tool to judge, and maybe the most important tool is the head. It creates attitude, work ethic, maturity and adaptability. It is the tool that I see the least value given to on these lists. When considering a 5-tool player one of the original 5 should be able to be replaced by the head or visa versa one should be subtracted if the head isn’t there Drew Stubbs might be the perfect example of that. Doug Gray February 7, 2013 What was wrong with Drew Stubbs head? He simply didn’t have the ability to put the bat to the ball. I don’t think it was anything at all with his head. sultan of swaff February 7, 2013 I’ll gently disagree. If Stubbs had a fault that’s not based on poor pitch recognition, it’s that the guy wouldn’t make adjustments, and that’s at the very core of what it means to be a big leaguer. At no time in the last two seasons did we see a different stance or in-game approach. I know we discussed in depth that he shouldn’t sacrifice power to cut down on strikeouts, but when even the power disappears (like it did), it’s time to try something new. For such an intelligent guy, you would figure he’d have a come-to-Jesus moment and realize that if he didn’t try something different, his career would be over. The trade was simply the first step in that direction. I don’t see the value in a high strikeout guy coming off the bench. If he can’t start, his value is mostly as a defensive replacement, which is a luxury most teams can’t afford. Doug Gray February 7, 2013 Last year he swung less than ever before. He swung at pitches outside of the zone less than ever before. He was more aggressive early in the counts than ever before (which is one reason his walks dried up). I think he did try to change his approach and that is exactly where he did so poorly last season. Drew Stubbs needs to be patient and needs to swing for the fences. If he can’t do that, he is a 5th outfielder. WallyP February 7, 2013 Doug I am partially with you, I am sorry to beat this to death and I certainly never would intend to disrespect any player. They are playing a game at such a high level, I only wish i had that talent in my past. My feelings are a bit conflicted. Scouts are hit and miss and nationals scouting directors are in that bunch. they pay these guys crazy amounts of money to sign contracts and I would venture to say they are wrong much more then being correct. Now you have guys that have been paid anywhere from 100K-2 mill and the organization has no choice but to play these guys until the cows come home. I could get into specifics but that would be a long winded comment . I just have a problem with numbering a guy as far as a prospect. Just call him a prospect and go on from there. Locally in NY we have a guy that was a cant miss with the yankees , paid a bunch of $$$$ and now he is on the cusp of not being a factor in AA . Who defines upside who defines this so called art form of scouting. thats why a good scout is worth more then any prospect in the system. Get me guys that know how to project and I will compete every year in the majors (hello atlanta hello oakland) Doug Gray February 7, 2013 Atlanta has a terrible farm system. The old regime was pretty good. The current one is very poor thus far. Still, studies have shown that the guys who get paid the most to sign their first contract tend to be the better players. Yeah, they do have plenty of misses among those guys, but for every guy that got $1,000,000 that missed, there are twenty who got $100,000 that missed. Stock February 7, 2013 King Felix’s new contract makes Votto’s contract look like a steal. The price of extending Latos and Bailey just went way up. Doug Gray February 7, 2013 I don’t know that it did. Felix is on an entirely different level than every pitcher in baseball outside of Verlander or Sabathia. Over the last 5 seasons combined, his ERA is 2.92 with 1154 innings.