Baseball America Positional Rankings Doug Gray February 16, 2017 22 Comments The guys over at Baseball America have been releasing their positional Top 20 rankings this week, starting on Wednesday. They unveiled five positions yesterday, spacing them out throughout the day. The Cincinnati Reds were shutout in the shortstop and first base categories. That’s not terrible surprising. In the Baseball America Prospect Handbook the highest ranked shortstop they’ve got is Alfredo Rodriguez, who was ranked 18th. They didn’t have any first basemen listed in their Top 30 prospects. At third base Nick Senzel is the top of the class in all of the minor leagues. We kind of knew it would work out that way given that he was ranked 9th overall by Baseball America in their Top 100 and was the top third baseman. With no other Top 30 organizational prospects at the position he was easily the only Red that made the list. Second base didn’t have any Cincinnati Reds in the Baseball America Top 100. There were eight guys listed in the Top 100 as potential second basemen, but they all saw a secondary position listed, or had second base listed as their secondary position. Seven of those players are listed in the Top 20 second basemen, but that leaves 13 spots that were unknown until the release of the list. The Reds only had one second baseman in their Top 30, Shed Long, who came in at #16 on the organizational list. He cracked the Top 20 second basemen list at #13 overall. Rounding out the lists for the day was the Top 20 catchers. There were only five catchers in the Top 100, leaving 15 spots left unknown until yesterday. The Cincinnati Reds have two high end quality catchers with Chris Okey and Tyler Stephenson. Only one of them cracked the list. Tyler Stephenson came in ranked as the #18 catcher in minor league baseball. As they release more positions lists I will make a new post detailing where other Reds rank on the lists. 22 Responses Tom February 16, 2017 Maybe that explains why the Reds’ farm system is getting relatively mediocre ratings by all of the various publications and pundits. Doug Gray February 16, 2017 It ranked well at ESPN. It didn’t do so well with BA/Sickels. Not entirely sure what BP is saying – don’t believe that they have. Michael B. Green February 16, 2017 OF should have a few and pitching is where it’s at for Cinci. Norwood Nate February 16, 2017 Maybe Winker, Trammell, and Aquino have a shot, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we only see Winker. You’d have to assume with 3 OF positions across several levels of competition, it would be a little harder to land on a top 20 list. MichaelA February 16, 2017 What I believe gets lost in these rankings for the Reds is who is missing. That list includes a 25 year old 3B in Eugenio Suarez, a 22 year old middle INF in Jose Peraza, and 26 year old CF in Billy Hamilton. All 3 of these players have produced at the MLB level and at times very well. While he hasn’t made much hay in the MLB yet, 2B Dilson Herrera is also 22. His MiLB numbers are solid. While he will most likely spend time in AAA this year he isn’t eligible for most of these lists. There is solid young talent that has graduated to the MLB level. Couple this with the upcoming prospects of Winker, Senzel and all the young pitchers and maybe, just maybe. No, the Reds aren’t the Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers etc. but the Reds do have a core of talent they are putting together. I’m not delusional, I do believe the Reds still need a minimum of 1 more impact bat and another front line pitcher. The Reds can address one of these two with the #2 pick this summer. Doug, do you see any chance of Tyler Stephenson’s bat developing fast enough that a position change happens to get him to the majors faster? I realize that I am a glass half full kind of guy but I really believe that in 2018 the Reds won’t be a pushover. The talent is there to be a wild card team. Once a team makes the playoffs, anything can happen. Kap February 16, 2017 With his arm, I thought he could possibly make it as a right fielder if catching doesn’t work out and his bat develops enough Greenfield Red February 16, 2017 Hey Michael. I agree with you that talent is there. Where I take issue with the front office is that if they are not going to compete for major league free agents, and apparently they are not, they have to do more on the front end with the draft and international free agents. In terms of impact international free agents, all they have in the last few years is AR and VG. Not only are the Reds not competing for big name major league free agents, the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, ect are all doing more than the Reds on the international free agent market too… which is where the Reds claim to make their metal. There are still guys out there to be signed before June 15. There is not much evidence the Reds plan to add any of them. I hope I’m wrong. The Reds are shut out by the system from June of 17 to July of 19. Michael A February 16, 2017 The AR signing left me really scratching my head and questioning the front office. That was a very large sum of money to spend on highly questionable talent. VG was a good pickup at a decent price and could pay off well for the Reds. I would rather the Reds had spent the AR cash on a variety of international prospects than tying themselves to one and crossing their fingers. I really hope I am wrong. At the same time, I also don’t believe in signing anyone who is available just because they are available. The outfielder from Cuba (whose name escapes me) seems to fit the bill of someone to maybe take a chance on. It just all depends on when he is posted. As far as free agency goes, I would say that now is not the time. I am of the belief that the Reds need to see what they have right now. Some of the talent will surprise some of it will fail but they need to have a chance to do either. Where the Reds are at right now adding salary and clogging the lineup hinders the rebuild. And really, what is the difference between 68 and 77 wins this year? The biggest difference is next years draft slot. That could be used to add more high end talent. I believe the Reds need to see what they have and then add strategically via free agency (domestic and international). I get wanting to see better baseball and hurrying up the rebuild but the reality is rebuilds take a couple years minimum. I look at this year as the evaluation year with a true hope and belief for a chance at a wild card in 2018. Doug Gray February 16, 2017 In the 2015-16 signing period they signed two top 30 guys, the biggest bonuses they’ve handed out since 2013 (and one was the biggest to a non-Cuban since they signed Yorman Rodriguez in 2008). Now, you can argue that they should have been spending significantly more and just dealing with the penalties every two years, but in the last two years they’ve pretty much gone out and spent a bunch of money and acquired some top end kind of guys. Also worth noting that they’ve been linked to another high end Cuban pitcher this past week. He just became eligible – is 18, left handed and already throwing 92-94. So, they aren’t necessarily finished if the right guy shows up. Norwood Nate February 16, 2017 You’re not the only one still scratching their heads about the AR signing. Probably the most confounding free agent signing (not him, but the money spent) that I’ve seen the Reds make. I’m not sure he’s one of our top 30 prospects, personally I don’t think he is. For the money that they spent that’s sort of ridiculous. I think either Daal or Trahan, maybe both, will end up being more productive players than AR, and we had both already in the system. Doug Gray February 16, 2017 No, I don’t think that happens with Stephenson. It’s possible, but unlikely. I believe that his bat could play at third base, for example, but that kind of bat is all-star caliber at catcher and unless there’s a real reason to move it (such as he can’t catch), then you hold off on moving positions as long as you possibly can. wes February 16, 2017 I think they need more than an impact bat. I think the impact bat needs to be a shortstop. We seem to be entering a premium age of short stop and many teams have their guy- Cubs- Russell Dodgers- Seager Rockies- Rodgers/Story Braves Swanson Phillies- Crawford Nationals- Turner Mets- Rosario Rest of division not bad- Brewers- Arcia/Villar Pirates- Newman (#59 on Mlb) Cards- Perez (#91 on MLB) You can’t have your 8th or 9th best player on the field be the most important position on the field. Especially when others teams feature a top player. KyWilson1 February 16, 2017 Is this just for the NL? Either way your statement is true. The AL has some major young talent at SS as well starting with Xander Bogaerts and Francisco Lindor. The Yankees have a solid MLB SS in Didi and 2 potential super stars in the wings, Astros have Carlos Correa and Bregman, Texas has a talented vet in Andrus, the Angels have Simmons, and the White Sox have Tim Anderson. There is a crazy amount of high end talent all across baseball at SS. MK February 16, 2017 Peraza could be that guy. MichaelA February 16, 2017 Reds-Votto/Senzel +1? Does Senzel end up at short? Time will tell I know many people are down on Winker but if he is over the wrist issues (this is a true if) what about him? Maybe he is a 1A- if healthy? To me, it means less what position your star plays and more that you have them. Votto is a top 3 hitter in the league. Senzel should be an All Star. If they pick up another star #2 this year, the team is heading in the right direction. Circumstances have to work out right but it is not a doom an gloom as some think. Doug Gray February 16, 2017 There’s nearly zero chance that Senzel winds up at shortstop. Most don’t believe he’s even a second baseman, though you will still find a few people who would like to see him there. Doug Gray February 16, 2017 Among that group there’s a lot of unproven guys. Potential? Absolutely. Seager is a legit star. Trevor Story, almost there. Addison Russell – I’m a fan, but he’s going to need to step forward with the bat to be a true premium guy. I think he will, but he’s not there yet. Trea Turner…. that .388 BABIP is propping him up quite a bit. I’d put him in between Russell and Story – I want to see more, but I’m a believer that he can be a heck of a player. The BABIP and K/BB ratio leave a little bit of concern though that he’s not going to be able to continue crushing it, though. Rosario is in the minors, never played at AAA. Crushed AA though. Crawford struggled big time in AAA last year. But, I will say this much about Jose Peraza: If he’s the Reds 8th or 9th best player, they’re going to win a bunch of games. KDAVIS February 16, 2017 I know a lot of people don’t think Peraza will hit as well as he did last year, but his stats are nothing to sneeze at. Maybe in a year or two he will be considered elite? Doug Gray February 16, 2017 I doubt he’s ever considered an elite hitter – the power just isn’t there for that. But, if he can be a quality defender, a solid hitter and steal 35 bases…. that’s going to be a bunch of value. DanD February 16, 2017 With our first pick maybe Royce Lewis would be the SS unless he gets moved to the outfield. If so, I would be interested in Ricardo De La Torre with our second pick. Stock February 16, 2017 Hard to believe but I think I am more optimistic about the Reds hitting than others. C: Meso/Barnhart/Okey/Stephenson 1B: Votto 2B: Herrera/Peraza SS: Cozart 3B: Senzel LF: Winker CF: Hamilton RF: I have no idea Cozart is under rated and a RF should not be hard to find. The Reds have a dire need for SP’s though. Disco is solid #2. I think eventually Reed becomes a #3 and Garrett #4. But they need two studs and they are not in the system. There is some HS talent in the draft but by the time they make the majors, Cozart, Disco and Hamilton will be gone. Plus the Reds management will find a way to tear this all down. I am really looking forward to Doug’s reasoning as to why Homer Bailey is a top 20 pitcher and why his contract was a good deal for the Reds when signed. Doug Gray February 16, 2017 You missed my explanation the other day. And I never said it was a good deal for the Reds when they signed it. But I do stand by the argument that Homer Bailey was probably somewhere around the 17th-20th best pitcher alive when he signed his deal.