Projecting the Bakersfield Blaze roster Doug Gray March 6, 2013 22 Comments Infield Catcher – Yovan Gonzalez Yovan Gonzalez didn’t have a good season in 2012. He started off with a good April, but struggled the rest of the year. The Reds have a real depth problem at the catcher position, so Gonzalez could benefit from that with a promotion despite hitting just .230/.272/.315 for Dayton last season. First Base – Dominic D’Anna Unlike Gonzalez, D’Anna may be held back due to some positional depth at first base ahead of him. D’Anna had a solid season with Bakersfield in 2012 as he hit .277/.386/.430 with 52 walks and 77 strikeouts. Second Base – Ryan Wright Ryan Wright finished up his season with the Blaze after performing well in Dayton. He had questionable plate discipline in August with the Blaze, but showed off good power and hit for a solid average. Improving his plate discipline will be a key to success in Bakersfield. Third Base – Unknown There may be several guys keying for this spot including Joe Terry and Niko Vasquez (once he returned from his 50-game suspension). Perhaps a free agent could also fill in here. Shortstop – Juan Perez Juan Perez had a solid season in 2012 with Dayton, hitting .253/.336/.398 with 51 walks and 88 strikeouts, but he was particularly strong in the second half of the season after struggling in April and May. He may eventually move to second base, but expect him to be the every day shortstop in Bakersfield for 2013. Yorman Rodriguez Outfield Left Field – Kyle Waldrop Waldrop made big improvements in his plate discipline in 2012, adding more walks and cutting into his strikeout rate. He has not hit for the power he is expected to moving forward yet and Bakersfield could be the place where he starts showing it off. Center Field – Theo Bowe Bowe could return to center despite hitting .314/.391/.383 for the Blaze in 2012. With Bryson Smith, Ryan LaMarre and Billy Hamilton all ahead of him he could find himself leading off in Bakersfield again due to the depth despite a good season under his belt. Right Field – Yorman Rodriguez Rodriguez started the 2012 season with the Blaze but struggled mightily and was sent to extended spring training before returning to Dayton where he was solid. If Rodriguez expects to see better results in 2013 with Bakersfield he will need to drastically improve his plate discipline that he showed in 2012. Fourth Outfield – Juan Silva Silva had some of the strongest plate discipline in the system last year as he walked 69 times with 109 strikeouts while hitting .271/.380/.413 for Dayton. With the ability to play all three outfield spots and a DH spot on the roster, Silva will likely see as much playing time as the other three guys as there will likely be some rotation that keeps all four guys playing. Starting Pitchers Jacob Johnson – Johnson returned in 2012 after having shoulder surgery and while he had questionable numbers overall, he had good peripherals and was coming off surgery. His home run rate was high in Dayton and with the way the ball flies in the California League Johnson will need to improve on that to show improvements in his ERA. Jon Moscot – I listed him with Dayton last week, but word out of spring training indicates that he will likely be in Bakersfield with Dan Langfield winding up in Dayton. Moscot posted a 2.88 ERA with Billings last year and is polished enough to handle the jump. He could be the top pitcher on the staff. Daniel Renken – The right hander spent 2012 with the Blaze, but he struggled as he posted a 5.93 ERA. While his future still will likely be from the bullpen, he is likely to be used as a starter again who can fill plenty of innings while developing his pitches. Tanner Robles – Robles finished his 2012 season out with 7 strong starts for the Blaze as he posted a 2.50 ERA in 36 innings with 13 walks and 35 strikeouts. He will likely return and could be the lefty in the middle of the rotation to split up the right handers. Stalin Gerson – Gerson made 4 starts for Bakersfield to end the year in 2012 and struggled as he gave up 6 home runs with a 6.30 ERA after posting a 3.76 ERA in 24 starts for Dayton. He showed strong control all year with 117 strikeouts and just 28 walks. Keeping the ball in the yard will be key for Gerson in Bakersfield. Relievers – They are just too difficult to project. Guys can jump over levels with ease at times, so I am going to just skip over them. 22 Responses The Duke March 6, 2013 I think Arias gets pushed up despite not being very good least year for 3B. Where is Juan Duran? I think James Allen may start here. What about Radhames Quezada? Doug Gray March 6, 2013 Duran should be here too, I just have him mostly as a DH. Perhaps even trying some first base at some point. I am just not sure where he fits into the outfield. Krozley March 6, 2013 Do you have Sean Buckley jumping Bakersfield up to Pensacola? Seems like he would be at 1b here with Mills in Pensacola. Berset and Vicioso could be other catchers here. I agree with Duke about Duran and Quezada being here too. Doug Gray March 6, 2013 I think Quezda winds up in the bullpen somewhere. Buckley could very well wind up at first base here. He could wind up in the outfield somewhere too, perhaps even back in Dayton. I am just going to say that I am glad I don’t actually have to make the decision to put the teams together. The Duke March 6, 2013 I’d be shocked if Buckley got OF pt in Dayton. Winker and Gelalch are for sure higher priority, and Pigott may be a better hitter. If in Dayton at all, it would back at 1B. Bakersfield isn’t really any different with Waldrop and YRod for the corners and maybe Duran and Silva. MK March 6, 2013 Got to believe Bowe goes to Pensacola as he has little else to prove in Bakersfield. This would open a spot for Duran/Silva LF/DH. Would see Y-Rod or Waldrop in CF. As far as 1B, I have to believe Buckley will be in Bakersfield with D’Anna in Pensacola. I can see Dom and Mattair sharing the 1B/DH responsibilities for the Blue Wahoos. Think Mills will be with the Bats, especially since there has been so much talk about Soto moving to 3B and/or LF. I could also see Renken move-up. He has been in Bakersfield for a season and a half already. I also agree with Duke that James Allen will continue as a starter and Quezada has nothing to prove by another year in Dayton. Believe there are going to be some OF guys released that might be surprising, Possibly Phipps, Perez, PJ Phillips, Means. Think there are replacements for these guys with better projections. The Duke March 6, 2013 Silva played some CF last year iirc. Krozley March 6, 2013 They have Matt Mangini and Mike Hessman (career minor leaguers) to potentially spot Soto at 1b in Louisville which could keep Mills at AA. MK March 7, 2013 I just can’t see Mills going to AA again for a 4th year. He spent two years there with Cleveland and a year with the Reds. He is going to be 27 this summer. It is time for him to move up or go home. Doug Gray March 6, 2013 I wanted to push Bowe up, I just didn’t see room there. Doug Gray March 6, 2013 That could happen with Buckley/Mattair/D’Anna. Hadn’t really thought about it that way. RobL March 6, 2013 I’m with the peeps above. Duran can’t be promoted, he was awful last year. Renken gets a spot in Pensacola. So does Bowe and probably D’Anna. Quezada gets a spot in the rotation. While Allen had success last year starting, he might start out back in the pen, and start if someone gets hurt. Buckley gets firstbase, and the thin air of the Cal League to try and boost his stock. Kevin March 6, 2013 Well not a lot of intrigue on this squad. But I guess if you’re gonna have an intrigue-less minor league team, might as well be the one with the 10:45pm EDT start times. Why exactly do the Reds have a team in Bakersfield California again? Sandheel March 6, 2013 I think they’re in Bakersfield because they got booted from Lynchburg and no High A was available to them back East. Louisville, Pensacola and Dayton all draw big crowds. Wouldn’t it be great to find a similar town to replace Bakersfield? The Duke March 6, 2013 I really do think that kind of support is a big positive for the mindset of our prospects. Playing in front of 400 people after playing in front of 8000+ a night has to be a bit of a sea change in atmosphere. Kevin March 6, 2013 So I just fell down the Google hole and read more about this. The story is the music stopped and the Reds were without a chair except for one that was 1900 miles away from Cincinnati: “Pittsburgh bought the Florida State League’s Sarasota Reds franchise and relocated it to Bradenton to play as the Marauders, a move that became possible after Cincinnati announced that it would be moving its Spring Training home from Sarasota to Arizona. This maneuver led to the Hillcats and Reds being affiliated for the 2009 campaign. Lynchburg has since moved on to Atlanta leaving the Reds looking for a new home, likely in the California League where Bakersfield is in need of an MLB partner.” http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100923&content_id=15011556&vkey=news_milb&fext=.jsp As far as I can tell, this is the farthest distance of any A+ affiliate to its parent. But not the farthest affiliate distance overall, which I think may be Toronto to their AAA affiliate in Las Vegas at 2200 miles (that makes for a horrible call-up travel situation). And the record for all time would be the Washington Senators which had an affiliate in Hawaii in the 1960s. There’s also no easy answer for affiliate swapping at A+ to alleviate the Reds being in Bakersfield. Basically all the East and Midwest teams have eastern affiliates (FSL and Carolina League), all the West teams have western affiliates (California League). So it’s not like they can find a similarly dislocated West team to swap with. However, Kinston no longer has a team (moved to Zebulon, NC) and the Carolina League president is interested in expanding their league to get Kinston a team again. That might be an appropriate home for the Reds A+ team… eventually. But it means finding two teams to relocate (to make it even), so the Reds would need a dancing partner. The Reds recently re-upped their PDC with Bakersfield and are signed with them thru 2014, so the earliest they could move is 2015. Looks like we’re stuck with 10:45 starts for the near future. DaveCT March 6, 2013 I take both Quezada and Allen over Renken, thinking he has topped out as a starter, should be in the pen where his deception will play better. MK March 8, 2013 The only place you could compare Renken and Quezada wold be Dayton. That being the case it would be Renken all day. wanderinredsfan March 6, 2013 Want to see a prospect list that greatly under-values all Reds prospects? http://www.mlbprospectguide.com/2013/01/top-300-prospects.html I don’t think there is any reasonable explanation for excluding Stephenson from the top-100, nor ranking Hamilton so low. Dude must just have a disdain for all things Reds. Stock March 6, 2013 Quite a different list. 8 Reds made his top 300. 81. Billy Hamilton 135. Tanner Rahier 148. Stephenson 160. Corcino 164. Winker 188. Cingrani 195. Travieso 249. Cisco I have no idea how Rahier suddenly became our #2 prospect. Him and Cisco do not belong on this list. The other 6 do however. Stephenson, Hamilton, Cingrani and Corcino should be higher. I have no problem with where Winker and Travieso sit. Krozley March 7, 2013 Kolten Wong at #13. Tyrell Jenkins at #45. Looks like a Cardinals fan. MK March 24, 2013 Not gonna be Gerson.