Reds minor league Top Tools for 2016 Doug Gray December 17, 2016 19 Comments The season has long been over, and I unfortunately haven’t watched a baseball game in months. What did happen over the last six weeks though was the completion of the write ups for the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospects List. Now that that is finished I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the top tools throughout the system. There are 17 different categories to look at, including breaking down different tools for starting pitchers and relief pitchers. That second part is a good distinction as the two sets of pitchers are working with very different parameters. The entire list is available for subscribers to the site. If you aren’t a subscriber, you can sign up here for $4 a month and help support all of the work done here. To continue reading this article you will be to be a subscriber to the website's premium content. Content protected for Subscriber users only. Click here to read why some content is behind a subscriber wall. Already a subscriber? Log in below Username Password Remember Me » Lost your Password? Not a subscriber? Sign up now. $ 4.00 a month gets you full access to everything on the website. 19 Responses MK December 17, 2016 When considering pitcher fastball are you considering velocity only? Doug Gray December 17, 2016 No, but it’s a big factor. MK December 18, 2016 Regardless of speed which pitchers, starter and reliever , have the most movement on their fastballs? Doug Gray December 18, 2016 Reliever is two guys – Herget and Chacin. Herget gets a ton of movement when he drops his arm angle and throws a little softer. With the starters, it’s a much tougher one to answer. Have to think about that one for a while. Michael Davis December 17, 2016 Nice job Doug. What happened to Alan, he has disappeared from the site? Doug Gray December 17, 2016 I do not know, but it was nothing on my end if he chose to exit. Norwood Nate December 18, 2016 I’m bored on a Sunday with little news coming in. So I decided to look at potential trade spots for both Phillips and Cozart. I first started looking at fantasy rankings for both 2B/SS to see where either may be an upgrade. Then I considered stats, age, etc for each player. I then also looked at each team’s top prospects (MLB.com, just for convenience) to check ETA’s for top 2B/SS prospects for those teams. Obviously, still other things need to be considered such as that status of the other team in regard to playoff contention. Obviously teams in full rebuild won’t need a one-year stop gap. So, without considering the return, which in my opinion is inconsequential to the Reds primary objective of opening up playing time for both Peraza and Herrera, here are the best options I can find. Phillips: #1 spot – LA Dodgers. The Dodgers do not have an obvious answer at 2B for the moment. They are trying to trade for Dozier of the Twins but will have to pay a steep price in prospects (likely DeLeon + another top guy). Micah Johnson looks to be a fringe prospect and Willie Calhoun is probably a year away as their best 2B prospect. They have an immediate opening and are contenders. Due to their luxury tax situation the Reds may have to pay a good portion of Phillips salary to move him, or take an unwanted contract back. But anywhere Phillips goes that may be the case. The upside for the Dodgers is that they find a stopgap 2B without giving up prospects. #2 spot – KC. The Royals finished 81-81 last season and a year removed from a WS. They should attempt to compete this year. Raul Mondesi is the future at 2B but he was pretty dreadful in his debut last year (149 PA, 32 wRC+) albeit at age 21. He only has 14 games under his belt at AAA so it makes sense to get more seasoning. Phillips would be a solid option as a stop gap and should fit into the Royals teams philosophy of defense and contact oriented offense. If the Royals wish to be competitive in 2017 Phillips would be a good option for them. #3 spot – NYY. Castro played 2B for the Yankees last year and put up eerily similar numbers to Phillips (Castro: 1.1 WAR, 94 wRC+, Phillips: .9 WAR, 92 wRC+). Phillips would be an upgrade defensively over Castro and similar offensively. It would also allow NY to use Castro as a Zobrist-like super sub at 2B/SS and possibly the corner OF, DH, or even 3B. It’s not an ideal fit, but NY as a destination seems like a good fit for Phillips and stranger things have happened. It would go along way in deepening the Yankees as a team and give them more options to play with. Other spots: LAA – Phillips is an upgrade offensively to Espinosa. It’s unlikely as the Angels just acquired Espinosa who was reportedly unhappy to move to a utility role. Cozart: #1 spot – Miami: Hechevarria is coming off a dreadful year at the plate (56 wRC+) where he’s never been above average. Cozart (2015/16 version) is an upgrade at the plate and won’t give up any ground in the field either. Miami is bolstering their rotation and looks to try and compete. Cozart would help them and won’t cost much in prospects or dollars. #2 spot – KC: Likewise, Alcides Escobar is coming off a two pretty rough years at the plate (65 and 68 wRC+ in 2015/16 respectively). Like the situation in Miami, Cozart should represent an upgrade at the plate without taking away anything in the field. #3 spot – TB: The Rays don’t really have anyone lined up to play SS. Brad Miller is technically listed as a SS but he’s played all over the field recently and could be utilized elsewhere. Cozart would be an upgrade defensively. The Rays have the rotation to compete, adding Cozart would solidify the SS position and their infield defense and would also act as a 1-year stop gap to their top prospect SS Willy Adames. Other spots: DET if they want to upgrade over Iglesias and wait longer on Dixon Machado. SD, BAL, ARI may also be landing spots, but less likely either due to rebuild status, or in BAL case not wanting to move from Hardy. What do you guys think? redleggingfordayz December 18, 2016 I am gonna go ahead and guess with pretty big certainty, that neither of them are traded this offseason. I like the trade ideas though, but sadly I don’t see them being moved unless dave stewart takes over for some other GM in the next 3 months :) Bill December 18, 2016 With Brandon Phillips, I think we will have to wait and see if the Twins are serious about moving Dozier. Both the LAD and NYY have the prospects to make a deal worthwhile for the Twins. BP provides both a nice short-term piece at 2B. If an off-season trade doesn’t materialize, the Reds next opportunity will the MLB trade deadline. At that point the Reds will have paid BP about $9.5M making $9.5M a logical amount that could be included to facilitate a trade. If I were convinced that LHSP Hyun-Jin Ryu was healthy, he is a player that could be acquired and later flipped at the deadline. With Cozart, I’ve got to think if a team had interest and made a reasonable offer he would have been traded. Teams may want to see him perform in Spring Training and we will likely wait for an injury to develop that creates a need for a potential partner. Unlike BP, money shouldn’t really hold up a trade for Cozart. I think a trade for Cozart will happen before the season starts. I’m less optimistic about BP. DaveCT December 18, 2016 Tampa Bay may be a dark horse option. I’ve been reading lately of their desire to compete at a higher level this year, even if parting with a starting pitcher to do so. Also, with their many outstanding arms comes a need for strong defense which Zach would provide. Being smaller market, he is also a reasonable salary to take on while they transition to Adames. We could probably get a few seats on a fishing charter in return, too. Make the deal, Nate! HavaKlu December 18, 2016 I guess you guys don’t follow the rays very closely. They traded Matt Moore to the Giants for Matt Duffy in order for him to be their SS even though he played 3B for the Giants. He is certainly going to fill that role next year with Brad Miller being shifted to 1B. Of course Willy Adames is the SS of the near future at which time they will shift Duffy to 2B as Logan Forsythe will become to expensive for them to retain. No place for Cozart on the Rays. DaveCT December 19, 2016 Honestly, Zach is much more highly rated offensively and defensively than Duffy, although the latter has two more years of control. Just because a team makes one trade doesn’t mean they won’t make another. Especially at the low cost of Cozart and the Rays looking to add more offense. I’d say there is viability here. HavaKlu December 19, 2016 Dave—in all due respect I don’t think you understand the Rays financial philosophy. There’s is no way they would pay Cozart almost 5 million as a one year rental when they have Duffy for 600 T and whom they specifically traded for to be the SS. I love Cozart still think he is the best choice for the Reds at SS. I think Peraza is better suited for 2B and am questioning why everyone thinks Herrera will walk right in and take over 2B Arnold Ziffle December 19, 2016 Tampa Bay’s SS hit 30 HR’s in 2016. The Rays 2B hit 20 HR’s. They are not in need of a SS or a 2B, unless the Rays move Brad Miller or Logan Forsythe to another position. The Rays have some guy named Longoria at 3B, so a position move their isn’t likely. They would have to move Miller to LF, and that isn’t likely either. THERE IS NOOOO MARKET FOR COZART OR BP, UNLESS ANOTHER TEAM’S SS OR 2B IS INJURED. If no injuries occur in spring training, then the Reds will have to wait until late July to even see if they can trade them. Thus, taking valuable playing time away from Peraza and Herrera. Reds Front Office painted themselves into a corner AGAIN. They could have non-tendered a contract to Cozart and saved $4.5-5MM. And then released BP. But nooooooo. The Reds front office brain trust leaves them on the roster, has no takers for either, and will play them both more than 80% of the time hoping to create a make believe market that will never materialize before the trade deadline. There won’t be any significant prospect return from either, so why waste the time and not cut both players now??? Reds front office mismanagement on full display for all of MLB to witness. DaveCT December 19, 2016 Thanks, Havaklu. Yeah, I don’t follow the Rays specifically but there is a fair amount of coverage via the Boston media, in part of the Red Sox/Rays rivalry of recent years. Coverage here recently has the Rays looking to add a big bat and that they see a window of competitiveness. That said, I’m not that invested in this concept (Zach to Tampa). Just looking at open ended possibilities. So with that in mind, I’d up my trade demands to us getting the fishing charter plus 5 pounds of gulf shrimp and two dozen shucked oysters, with hot sauce. Seems reasonable. redleggingfordayz December 18, 2016 Doug, shouldn’t GRIT be the biggest tool here??? Uncle Walt would be pretty disappointed… HavaKlu December 18, 2016 I think the market for Phillips and Cozart is very depleted unless someone comes up with an injury. The Dodgers will go with Utley if they don’t get Dozier. Merrifield is the number 1 2B at KC. And I don’t see Phillips replacing Castro wh’s under contract thru 2019. Likewise I don’t see Cozart replacing Hechivarria or Escobar. The Rays have Matt Duffy as their SS for next year. Bill December 18, 2016 Doug, thanks for this analysis and for the outstanding scouting reports on our top prospects. I’m looking forward to the State of the Farm positional reports in the coming weeks. Your site definitely helps the offseason go by faster! Doug Gray December 18, 2016 State of the Farm is usually winding down this time of year. This year I decided to start them after December. I was thinking maybe we’d see some trade that would alter things a little bit. That didn’t happen. I also wanted to get through all of the Top 25 write ups before jumping into that, too. I’m still going to do another 50+ season review/scouting report articles, but they may not come every say like they have been. Maybe just three a week, with the State of the Farm articles filling a daily slot once a week, then something else.