The fourth Wednesday of the month means I will be around all day to answer questions. The rules that always apply will still be in effect today.

  • Avoid questions that will take more than a paragraph to answer.
  • Avoid questions that will require me to look up the answer (like who led the Billings Mustangs in home runs during the day in 2003).
  • Each user gets three questions.
  • Ask before midnight and your question will be answered. If it is after midnight, you may not be so lucky.

Simple enough, right? Well, get to asking your questions.

About The Author

Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2004 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, contact him via email here or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

61 Responses

  1. jim t

    Doug,

    1. With are strong finsih to the year could Y-Rod be considered a candidate for LF at GABP next season.

    2. One player who’s performance has caught you completely off guard. good or bad.

    3. Will Bruce ever stop getting himself out on down and in breaking balls thus enabling him to become the player we all hoped he would.

    • Doug Gray

      1. Not to begin the season, no. By the end of the season, I think he and Winker could have a real battle going.

      2. Daniel Wright has put up some good numbers this year and I didn’t expect him to put up numbers that good.

      3. At this point, I would say no. He’s going to be a .260-.270 hitter.

  2. Dale

    1. If you are a Louisville position player, do you feel that no one with the big league club cares about your performance?
    2. Rank 1 & 2 prospects playing at Arizona and Billings at 2nd, SS and 3rd.
    3. Other than increased BB, are there any concerns about Lively since his promotion to AA?

    • Doug Gray

      1. Yes.

      2. I’m not sure to be honest. I would like to be able to talk with more people and see the guys (in Billings at least) some more. With that said, the group of Thompson, Blandino, Sparks, Vargas, LaValley a pretty good little group to have.

      3. Not really, but the control has been poor since the promotion. He’s not the same guy as he was in Bakersfield. Something has changed, I’m just not sure I know what it is yet, though I’ve got a theory or two.

  3. Randy in Chatt

    With a couple of top 30 International Free Agent SS still out there, isn’t it about time to start signing some IFA’s, especially up-the-middle types? Any word on the Reds signing any of the 16+ year olds, they ae the only team of the 30 MLB teams that hasn’t signed any. Does that surprise you?

    • Doug Gray

      Well, they have signed guys, but BA is just listing “premium” signings and the Reds haven’t made any of those yet, but I don’t have an issue with that. They signed Rasiel Iglesias. That probably ate up a good chunk of their money for this year they had set aside for that.

  4. sultan of swaff

    1. The second place teams in the other NL divisions are ~10 games over .500. There’s a high probability in a week the Reds will be at .500, about 6 games out. We’d likely have to win the division to get in the playoffs. Are you a seller? Who?

    2. Corcino is still walking a ton of guys. Do you convert him to reliever and let his stuff play up?

    3. Is anyone worthy of a September callup?

    • Doug Gray

      1. I’d love to be a seller, but the Reds don’t really have the parts to sell. They have free agents at the end of 2015, but they are all key cogs that won’t be moved. I’d move Phillips if I could, but I can’t see him being moved either. This team simply isn’t built to sell in 2014. Next year, if it looks the same way, then there could be some real parts to move if you can’t sign them long term, but this year just doesn’t have the parts.

      2. Just six walks in the last 19 innings…. at this point of the year I probably just let him finish it out as a starter. Next year he gets through April to show he has control. If not, he’s moving to the bullpen.

      3. That depends on what you define as worthy. Neftali Soto should be the starting first baseman right now until Votto comes back. He deserves a call up. Yorman Rodriguez could probably help your bench as a runner and defender. Barnhart provides a third catcher. Not on the 40-man, but Rey Navarro could probably help the team.

  5. DaveCT

    I’m trying to think of this year’s biggest surprises but it seems like most guys performances could have been predicted (and probably were by you). So has anyone flat out surprised you, plus or negative?

    Is Acquino striking out too much for consideration of moving to the top ten?

    Next guy or three in the system with that Jay Bruce ‘easy’ power?

    • Doug Gray

      1. Jim asked a similar question, and I picked a guy who has had better stats than expected. I will go with another guy who had better tools/performance than expected: Sebastian Elizalde. The tools are a little different than the reports I had coming into the season, some better some worse, but overall he’s been better than expected.

      2. It’s not that he’s striking out too much, it’s that the rate in which he walks compared to his strikeouts is too high. Right now, his strikeout rate is just 21.7%, which is perfectly within reason. The walk rate though is low, so his K/BB is at 4.0, which is well on the wrong side of the 3.0 or better I want to see (3.0 is roughly the break even mark for being able to contribute offensively at the big league level at a solid or better rate).

      3. Not many guys have the power like Bruce does even in the big leagues. He has 65-70 power. While some guys have raw power that grades out that high, there isn’t a guy I feel comfortable saying is a 30+ HR guy in the system right now.

  6. Norwood Nate

    What does Felix Perez have to do to get a shot?

    Who are some top names that will be considered for protection on the 40-man that will be rule-5 eligible this year?

    Rey Navarro seems like he could be the cheaper alternative to bringing in veteran backup middle infielders. Does he have a good shot at producing average offensive numbers in the majors? Or better than average?

    Thanks.

    • Doug Gray

      1. I honestly have no clue. I’ve been surprised he hasn’t gotten one at least twice already.

      2. Amir Garrett, Carlos Gonzalez, El’Hajj Muhammad, Kyle Waldrop, Ryan Wright are the bigger first time eligible guys. Rey Navarro will be eligible. I may be forgetting someone else who is eligible beyond their first time as a potential addition.

      3. I think there’s a chance he can be a solid every day player if given the chance at second base. I’m not sure he’s an every day shortstop though.

  7. Billy

    1) Who do the Reds send to the AFL? Might Winker be a possibility?

    2) Will the Reds be able to get out of Bakersfield before next season? Where might they end up?

    3) What prospects would you be looking to acquire if you were GM and determined you were sellers at the deadline? Who would you be willing to move if you determined you were a buyer?

    • Doug Gray

      1. I honestly have no clue about who all will be selected, though in typical Reds fashion there will probably be a top five caliber guy, so maybe Winker or as an outside-the-box idea, maybe Phillip Ervin to let him build on his second half that has been better so far, and then several guys who are Rule 5 eligible if unprotected. The Reds seem to use the AFL to get that final look on guys to see if they want to protect them, so take a look at the list of guys I made in the answer above for Nate. I’d bet a few of those guys wind up there too.

      2. The player development contract with Bakersfield is up at the end of this season. There are a whole lot of teams that will be available, so there’s a chance the Reds could get out. Don’t look for them to land a Florida State League team, as those are generally tied to the spring training facilities for teams down there, but there are several other California League openings and several Carolina League openings. I am hoping to wind up in the Carolina League for a few reasons. First, it means I can travel there. Second, no 10 or 11pm start times for games out here in Cincinnati. Third, the league plays a lot more neutral.

      3. I’m willing to move anyone in the right move, even Stephenson or Winker. Of course, I’d better be getting back a true star player with at least 3 years on their deal to move someone like those guys, but those deals show up every now and again. If I were selling on this team, it’s tough because I wouldn’t sell any of the parts that could bring back a premium player except for Chapman, which the Reds won’t move.

  8. Will Rich

    Who do you see being sent to the Arizona Fall League this year?

    • Doug Gray

      You can get another question. Billy beat you to it by a minute, so just scroll up and see the answer I gave him.

  9. Brad Konerman

    1. If Reds fall out of contention, I would look to move Broxton. Do you agree? Does anyone else have trade value?

    2. With Billings and AZL, is it more important for pitchers to log innings or record great stats?

    3. The Reds payroll is at 110M in 2014, rises to 135M in 2015 when projecting arbitration. What can the Reds afford before 2015 and after the 2015 new tv deal?

    • Doug Gray

      1. Absolutely. I don’t think the Reds will though because they see 2015 as a season they can win in and he’s still around for it. Chapman has trade value. The starters all have trade value. Doubt any of them get moved, or even considered to be moved though.

      2. Innings, without a doubt. They need innings against other professionals to learn what works, what doesn’t work, and what they need to improve upon.

      3. I think you are looking at it. They know what they have for 2015, and that’s probably what they are going to be topped out at. They made their bed for 2015 and so they’ve been able to somehow make it work out. After that, who knows? It really depends on how the season ticket sales do for 2015 (with the AS game, they are going to rise substantially), but also how many of those people retain their tickets the next year and what kind of tv deal that can land.

  10. Will Rich

    What would your midseason top ten Reds prospect list look like?

  11. KyWilson1

    How does Aquino compare to Yorman?

    Early returns on this years draft look promising, how would you rank LaValley, Blandino, Sparks, and O’Grady?

    With all the talk about extending pitchers, wouldn’t it be smarter to try and extend Frazier through his prime than try to extend 2 or 3 pitchers?

    • Doug Gray

      1. Similar but different. Yorman is a lot more advanced (he is 20 months older) at the plate. Aquino pulls the ball a lot, Yorman usually goes the other way. Yorman is faster and a better defender. Both have strong arms. Good power potential with both. Toolsy guys.

      2. At this point, I’d put them in the same order as they were drafted. That may change as I get more reports in and see the guys in Billings more next month, but for now, that’s how I would keep them.

      3. Frazier is already in his prime and the Reds control him until he’s finished his age 31 season.

  12. KyWilson1

    Also there is still another Wednesday in July, it would be the 30th.

    • Doug Gray

      Oh yeah? Well that’s what I get for not looking at calendars!

      *feels shamed*

      • DaveCT

        If I may, it is still the 4th Wednesday, as per the intro above:

        “The fourth Wednesday of the month means I will be around all day to answer questions.”

        So after review, batter is SAFE!

      • Doug Gray

        I totally went back and edited the post. I cheated.

  13. Logan

    Broxton would definitely be able to be sold. What type of return could you get on him?

    What type of reliver do you see Contreras becoming in the future?

    Where would you slot Taylor Sparks in your prospects list after his hot start?

    • Doug Gray

      1. That depends on what team were interested. A team that is heavily influenced by sabermetrics isn’t going to give you nearly as much as a team that is more old school. His ERA is outstanding, but his peripherals are pretty questionable. If a team buys into ERA, they see a star caliber reliever. If a team looks at peripherals as a way to see how someone will perform moving forward, they see a 6th inning reliever. With the right team, a guy who would probably rank in the Reds 8-15 range would be a good get for Broxton in my opinion.

      2. I think a 7th inning guy is a safe bet because he does have some issues with the walks at times. His ceiling is that of a closer though, but to reach it the walks need to come down.

      3. Outside of the top 10 at this point. That could change before the list comes out in October, but right now he’s on the outside of the top 10 looking in.

  14. Kyle J.

    1. At first, it looked like the Reds drafted Brian O’Grady because he was a senior that would sign well-below slot, and allow them to spend money on other draftees. However, since being drafted, he’s batted .293/.419/.533 with 3 HR’s. in Billings. Could he end up being a surprise out of the draft class?

    2. Any chance Blandino or Sparks will get promoted to Dayton before the end of the season? Both seem to be adjusting to pro ball pretty well.

    3. Who debuts in Cincy first: Stephenson or Lorenezen?

    • Doug Gray

      1. He could be, but at the same time he could be a college senior sign who is doing what advanced players should do: Hit well in the Pioneer League. He’s already 22-years-old and is generally speaking, more advanced than most of the guys in that league. With that said, the performance has been fantastic and any time someone is walking more than they are striking out, you’ve got my attention. He’s a better athlete than I expected coming out of college too.

      2. Doubt it. The Reds want Blandino to play shortstop and Sparks to play third. Dayton has those two spots locked down by 20-year-old guys who they also like quite a bit and who have performed. No where for them to play.

      3. Stephenson.

  15. Mongo

    1. Mongo planning to see Blue Wahoos in 10 days. Moscot scheduled starter by Mongo’s complex calculations. With no Winker, and no Stephenson nor Lorenzen scheduled, should Mongo still go and it be worth it?

    2. If Mongo go, should he challenge Delino DeSheilds in foot race?

    3. Mongo thank you for excellent website.

    • Doug Gray

      1. Yes and yes. Moscot is a good pitcher. You will still get to see plenty of position prospects too.

      2. If Mongo likes to lose, go for it.

      3. That not question. Still appreciated.

    • Doug Gray

      Top five pitching prospects right now, or top five pitcher ceilings, because that is two very different answers.

      I read it as Top five prospects right now and their ceilings, so I will give that:
      1. Stephenson – #1
      2. Travieso – #2
      3. Lorenzen – #1
      4. Howard – #2 until I see more of him
      5. Iglesias – #3 until I see more of him

      If you just meant top five ceilings, let me know and I can get to that.

  16. Joe

    Thanks Doug. You answered my question correct but since you brought it to my attention what are the top 5 pitcher ceiling?

    • Doug Gray

      I would think that Stephenson, Lorenzen and Howard would be the top three. After that it gets tougher to pick out the next two. Kivel gets into the conversation. So do Romano and Garrett. Maybe Ismael Guillon depending on exactly how you feel about him (I wouldn’t put him there, but I feel there are some out there who would). I think it really depends on exactly what you are looking for in your ceiling as for who you pick among that group as well as Travieso/Iglesias. I think I’d probably go with Romano, who has the stuff and the build to just be an absolute workhorse. The final guy, it really is just a toss up.

  17. Brad Konerman

    What is the status of the big news from yesterday? Are we going to hear today?

    • Doug Gray

      Winker with the torn tendon and heading to the disabled list, posted yesterday evening.

  18. John

    1. How does Howard’s stuff compare to Lorenzen’s at this point last year when Lorenzen was rocketed up the system as a reliever?

    2. Now that we’ve had a few years to watch Travieso, do you think it was a decent pick, or do you this the Reds reached for him?

    3. The offense in Billings has been putting up video game scores as of late. Should that be taken as a statement of the hitting-friendly nature of the league? Or is it a sign that we have a lot of really good offensive prospects at that level?

    Thanks.

    • Doug Gray

      1. I’ve only seen Howard once, so it’s tough to really say. From that one outing, Howard had better control though. Of course, one outing doesn’t tell us much in that department, but it’s really all that I had to go on.

      2. It was an excellent pick. I still can’t figure out how so many people think he has been a bad pick. In the midseason rankings I had him as the 3rd best prospect in the system. In the Baseball America midseason rankings they had him as the 4th best prospect in the system.

      3. It’s a little bit of both. The league is very hitter friendly, and lately they’ve been in a very, very home run friendly ballpark.

  19. Joe

    Bonus question ( if allowed). If you had to choose who to sign long term would it be Latos or Cueto and why. Thanks

    • Doug Gray

      Latos. I trust his body type to hold up longer than I do for the Cueto body type.

  20. Cam

    Outside of Phillip Ervin, which position players at Dayton intrigue you the most?

    • Doug Gray

      Carlton Daal, Tanner Rahier and Jose Ortiz intrigue me the most. Reynoso and Rosa both are toolsy outfielders but are still pretty raw in their skills.

  21. herbie

    Do the Reds make any trades before the 31st? If they do will we all be screaming and cussing at our screens?

    What are your thoughts on carrying 13 pitchers on the roster?

    Is Cozart really the best defensive SS so far this year? Or is he just the benefactor of the Reds increasing their usage of the shift and the general wonky-ness of defensive stats?

    • Doug Gray

      1. I think they will and I think we probably will be confused as to why they overpaid.

      2. On this roster, it’s stupid. Our pitchers tend to go deep into games. There is no need. On some other rosters maybe it makes more sense. But not this one.

      3. No, he’s not, Andrelton Simmons is. But, Cozart is very, very good defensively and among the best in the league.

  22. Dick

    Thompson and Washinton in Billings..Are the the Reds Double Play combination of the future
    How do you like the 2014 draft so far?
    LaMarre…Will he be left behind?

    • Doug Gray

      1. I wouldn’t bank on it. It’s been a very long time since a group has come up together as middle infielders and both been starters for a prolonged period of time.

      2. So far, so good. Only a month into their careers though.

      3. I think he may get 2015 to give it one last go as far as keeping on the big league radar. He’s unfortunately been hurt for two of the last three seasons, and it’s really cut into his development time and allowed a group of other outfielders to catch up to him. But it’s going to be a very important season for him.

  23. Max

    1. What grade would you give our top prospects so far? Meeting, above, or below expectations?

    2. Raw pitchers like Garrett, Stephens, or Romano what type of ceiling do they have? And how much do you value production at that level?

    3. Yorman Rodriguez? I like him a ton, what type of year in your opinion has he had and what’s his ceiling/floor?

    • Doug Gray

      1. I think for the most part, they are meeting expectations. Phillip Ervin has struggled some, but he’s been pretty darn good for the last two months. Yorman Rodriguez had a horrible, horrible May as he came off of an injury, but outside of that month he has actually hit well.

      2. I think Garrett and Romano can be #2 starters if everything goes right for them. Stephens I see more of a #3/4 kind of guy. I want to see some production at the level, but I am more concerned with how they look on their best day rather than how they look every day (on in a pitchers case, every 5th day).

      3. As I noted in question 1, I think he’s been fine outside of May when he came back from the injury (he’s hit .282 with the best strikeout rate he’s had since 2010 if we remove May from the equation). Ceiling wise, I think he could be an all-star caliber player. Floor is basically what he is now, a guy who could be on the bench of a big league team who provides speed, defense and occasional power.

  24. coltholt

    a) Should it officially be time to sell with an eye still on 2015…(Cueto, Simon, Chapman, Ludwick)
    b) If Jocketty sits pat and we miss the playoffs, is it time for BC to seek other options at the GM position this offseason?
    c) If you were GM, what do you target as the center piece(s) in a Cueto and/or Chapman deal?

    • Doug Gray

      1. Yes, but you don’t sell on Cueto because he will be here in 2015 and a big contributor. You aren’t going to get anything for Ludwick and probably couldn’t get any takers unless you agreed to pay his buy out ($4.5M). Trade Simon and Broxton while you can.

      2. Not really. I don’t think there is a move to be made that is realistically going to put you in the spot to make up that many games. Acquiring Mike Trout probably wouldn’t even be enough to do it this year.

      3. If I am trading Cueto, which I wouldn’t right now, I’d want a top 25 caliber player who also plays shortstop and is at least in Double-A right now (unless the Astros wanted to trade me Carlos Correa). I would ask for a decent chunk more in return as well, but that’s where I would start looking in order to find potential trade partners. I’d probably go the same route with Chapman, and look to add in a good utility player to help round out the bench instead of having a whole bunch of guys who can’t hit at all coming off of the bench.

  25. Van

    1. Could you rank the top reliever prospects in the system and what their ceilings are?

    2. Not saying the Reds should be sellers at this point, but what do you think they could get for Simon? Chapman?

    3. Marvel or DC? CHOOSE! (I’m out of questions…)

    • Doug Gray

      1. At this point, Carlos Contreras still qualifies as a prospect, so he’s the top guy. Closer ceiling. Carlos Gonzalez has really stepped forward this year, but maybe more as a 7th inning ceiling. El’Hajj Muhammad is similar to Gonzalez. The wild card is a guy in Dan Langfield. He’s starting now, but plenty of scouts see him as a reliever. As a reliever I think he’s got a closer ceiling.

      2. I think they could get more for Chapman than Simon. How much though, that’s a tougher question. I imagine you could get an elite-elite level prospect for him (top 25 guy) and other parts. For Simon, maybe a Top 75 prospect and a utility guy or something like that. I’d be trying to sell hard on Simon right now. If you can find someone who buys into him as a starter and is willing to pay for him as a starter, pull the trigger immediately.

      3. I’m more of a Marvel guy. Mostly because I enjoyed their movies a little more. Iron Man, I’ve enjoyed both Spiderman storylines, Captain America, both Thor movies. DC has the Batman franchise and then Man of Steel (I never liked the earlier Superman movies).

  26. Daryl

    What do you think of Drew Cisco? Just general thoughts. Thanks.

    • Doug Gray

      Sorry for the late reply. Cisco is a guy who has good offspeed stuff, but the fastball needs to be absolutely pinpoint perfect in location or it’s hittable. He’s a big time strike thrower.

  27. Daryl

    Sorry. Also noticed Klimesh was promoted to AA. What are your thoughts on him too? Ceiling?

    • Doug Gray

      I like Klimesh. Throws strikes, good breaking ball, good velocity. One thing I hear from scouts is that his fastball is pretty straight, so it’s more hittable than you would think with his velocity. I think he has a 7th inning reliever ceiling to work with.