I was going to keep this quiet because some times these things are tried out in instructional league and don’t ever see the light of day in the regular season, but MK spilled the beans earlier today in the comments section, so I will just put it out there. The Reds have reportedly told Seth Mejias-Brean that they want to try him out at catcher in the offseason. It is interesting on a few different fronts for this move. First is that there really aren’t any premium catching prospects in full season ball outside of Tucker Barnhart right now and from an offensive standpoint, Mejias-Brean would immediately become an above-average caliber bat at the catching position. He is also an outstanding defender at third base, which is another interesting thing to consider given the potential move. With that said, there is more depth at third base. While there isn’t a true standout at this point, Travis Mattair, Neftali Soto, David Vidal, Juan Silverio, Tanner Rahier and KJ Franklin is a solid group from top to bottom with depth. His athleticism rates out very well, so that could certainly be an advantage that helps him with the transition. The Reds haven’t been shy of trying out position players at catcher in recent years. A few years ago Neftali Soto gave it a shot and while it didn’t last long, they at least tried it out. Brandon Dailey is in his first season as a catcher after spending time as an infielder in the past and his performance has been for the most part good.

Harry Pavlidis has an interesting article up on change ups over at Baseball Prospectus. The article is part of a 3-article series, but to sum up what makes it so interesting to me, is that he basically identified two different types of change ups. Ones that miss bats and ones that induce groundballs. The ones that tend to induce groundballs are generally more “firm” change ups, while guys with swing-and-miss ones have more separation but also have the ability to throw their fastball hard. Which leads to this part, which is what really intrigues me about the whole thing as it relates to player development:

What if an organization can find the “throw your changeup harder” candidates and effectively and consistently train them to do so? It may not be the path to missing bats in the minors, but for some pitchers (like Bannister), missing bats in the minors did not translate to doing so in the majors.

Earlier this week Harry, who if you don’t know, is a Pitch F/X guru among other things, held a chat at Baseball Prospectus where I asked him this question (one that someone in the Reds organization has actually had with me in the past – so it is something that they considered): There are several teams out there who use Pitch F/X systems in the minor leagues for internal uses. How do they, or if you don’t know, how could they be using that to implement improvements/learning points with their players? His answer was as follows:

Harry Pavlidis: I think there are two ways. For certain players, it may be directly useful as a supplement to video. They’ll self identify. From the org level it’s about informing decisions/planning. You won’t have a coach talk to a kid about his pfx_x (amount of movement on one plane) but he will talk to them about pitching techniques that may have something to do with what you later measure.

I continue to think that this really is something that could be useful in the minor leagues when it comes to development. It has changed a whole lot of how Major Leaguers are going about their jobs (either directly or indirectly as someone else is using it to provide them supplements to scouting reports and video) and I believe could be even more valuable at the minor league level when supplemented with video for coaches and players to help identify things, differences and as Harry noted, coaching points that while they may not directly take to the player, gives the coach more information to use and then find ways to take it to a player to help improve upon.

With the season drawing close to the end for the minor leagues, I have began the process of figuring out what to do with all of the time in the offseason. Here are the current ideas that I have for offseason articles:

  • Season in Review – For teams and players
  • State of the Farm – Reviewing and grading each position on the farm
  • Then and Now – Taking a look at players changes throughout the years
  • Prospect List – Top 25 Reds prospects
  • Game/Series Review – Looking at a pitcher (game review) or a position player (series review)
  • Past draft review – Taking a look back at how the previous few drafts have played out
  • Interviews
  • Various Scouting Notebook types of articles

Added in of course with updates on fall/winter leagues and other news/notes types of things. With that said, is there anything that you guys want to see? The offseason is pretty long and eventually I am going to run out of ideas on my own. So any help is appreciated.

12 Responses

  1. Vic

    Any scouting reports from Dominican Summer League and Arizona League would be great.

  2. Daryl

    I drafted Mejias-Brean in my dynasty league hoping he would be my third baseman in a few years. There goes that plan.

    I was looking at who is eligible for the Rule V. Some interesting names for us. I don’t think this year will be as tough as next when there are quite a few names out there. This is not exhaustive so I am sorry about that. I may have missed a guy or 2. According to my records these guys are available.

    Hamilton – will for sure be added, this coming week I think
    Fellhauer – I like him but he may be squeezed out
    Silva – I would add him for sure
    Barnhart – will be added
    Crabbe – Long reliever, spot starter. I could see another team picking him.
    Walczak – AFL performance will determine his future
    Duran – I think it is still too early for another team to take a chance but the Marlins could give it a shot.
    Manno – Tough call on this kid.
    Mattair – AFL will again determine his future.

    Right now the Reds show a full 40 man roster.

    I count 5 FA slots, Arroyo, Parra, Izturis, Choo & Paul. I think they will extend Choo a qualifying offer for the pick. I think he turns it down although I would love an OF of Choo, Hamilton & Bruce. I could see Parra and Paul coming back. Arroyo is a wild card. If Corcino had a better year I think they let him walk. But unless there is a FA to target, which I wouldn’t, I think they may look to extend Bronson, 2 years max and go with Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Arroyo and Cingrani. If Arroyo walks then Leake takes his place but then there is a big drop off to someone like Reynolds or Villareal. I think we get 2 spots here with Paul, Parra and Arroyo coming back.

    Possible waivers: Freeman, Guillon, Lotzkar, Masset, Ondrusek, Partch, Ravin, Villareal, Miller. No way they all get released but I think Masset’s career may be done. And some of these pitchers are interchangeable. Guillon is having an awful year, although I still like his arm. And I just don’t see Freeman, Partch, Ravin and Villareal being anything more than replacement level players.

    So long story short, Hamilton takes one of the 2 spots. That leaves one spot for FA and Rule V protection. I think you have to add Silva & Barnhart. I wish they had some AAA experience between them. Silva could possibly replace Paul on the bench. I would like to add Manno and possibly Crabbe over maybe Villareal and Freeman.

    Sorry this is so long but just wanted to throw some thoughts out there.

    • MK

      Don’t give up on Seth at third. Just because they try it doesn’t mean it will work out.

      • stock

        I am pretty sure Daryl would love SMB to destroy his plan and become catcher eligible. Good list Daryl. Thanks.

  3. MK

    Freeman released. Christinani optioned. Zack Duke available tonight. H-Rod, Miller, Partch, Robinson, in addition to Hamilton.

  4. zblakey

    Off season articles series: Projecting the teams for AAA, AA, and high A.

  5. Bill

    It would be interesting to see a rating of drafts going back 15-25 yrs or so. Evaluation based on no. of players that made to the majors, success at mlb level, etc. It would also be nice to eval the GMs thru those years, with some info on the scouting dept.

  6. MDRon

    I’d like to see Reds’ prospects compared to other prospects at the same position and similar stages of development. Maybe Stephenson vs. Bundy, or Yorman vs. Taveras.