Cincinnati Reds #8 Prospect: Shed Long Doug Gray November 15, 2017 33 Comments The 2016 season was a coming out party for Shed Long. He looked to keep that going in 2017 with a return to Daytona. The season, however, started out slowly. Over the first eight games, Long went 4-28 (.143). He walked five times with just five strikeouts in that span, but the hits just weren’t falling in. Things turned around rather quickly, though. In the final 14 games of the month the then 21-year-old hit .339 with four doubles, a triple and four home runs. Despite the slow start he would finish strong and post a .278/.323/.478 line in 99 plate appearances. Over the first few days of May things had been solid at the plate for Shed Long. But starting on the 5th the second baseman went on a tear for the Tortugas. Over the 24 remaining games in the month, Long would have multiple hits in 14 of them. He would hit .385 on the month. That came along with 11 walks, seven doubles and five more home runs. His OPS on the month was an incredible 1.078. For the Florida State League, a notorious pitching friendly league, that’s video game level production. After such a torrid month, Shed Long slowed down in June, but only by comparison. In the first three weeks he would hit .278/.381/.593 with nine more extra-base hits. His first half performance led to an appearance in the Florida State League All-Star game. The Cincinnati Reds would promote Long to Double-A Pensacola following the game. The jump up to Double-A had some early struggles. The final week of June saw him go 2-20 with three walks and four strikeouts. Between the two stops he would hit .230/.337/.459. The struggles in Pensacola continued through the middle of July. Through the first 11 games he had just four hits, hitting .105 on the month. The batting average on balls in play Gods were not smiling down on Shed Long. Things began to turn around in the second half of the month, though. In the final 14 games of the month he hit .269/.321/.442 with five extra-base hits. His turn around continued into August where he would go 4-11 over the first three games of the month. Unfortunately that was the last game he would play for nearly a month as he dealt with a wrist injury. Shed Long returned to the lineup for the Blue Wahoos for a double header on August 30th. Over the final week of the season he would hit .400 with five walks and head into the playoffs where he helped Pensacola win a Southern League Championship. For all 2017 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason). Shed Long Spray Chart Shed Long Scouting Report Hitting | Shed Long can use the entire field, and in 2017 went the other significantly more often than he pulled the ball. He’s able to hit the ball with authority to all fields. His hit tool is average. Some scouts are higher on it than others, with those down on it being concerned by the sometimes big uppercut swing leading to easy fly balls. Power | He can hit the ball out to all parts of the field. He’s got average power, with 15 home runs being a reachable total in short order. Running | Shed Long is an above-average runner who will occasionally post plus times from home to first base. Arm | He shows an average arm, which plays just fine at second base. Defense | There’s been real improvements at the second base position for Shed Long. He’s improved to the point where he’s now an average defender at the position. Shed Long has a well rounded game. There’s not a real weak spot across the board. He doesn’t stick out to you defensively, but there’s upside with his offensive profile at second base. There’s real pop in his bat thanks to plenty of bat speed and strength, and his power should play well at the position. He’s shown a good ability to get on base throughout his career and has a good understanding of the strikezone. Long also brings speed to the bases, though it may show up more in going first-to-third or home than it does in the stolen base category. 33 Responses Wes November 15, 2017 Tool Shed! Kind of a make or break year for him. If he struggles at AA he’s likely to get passed by several younger prospects. Hope to see him have a good season. MK November 15, 2017 Shed would not be the first prospect to struggle in AA. It took the Stanford Flash parts of three seasons and now he is back on track. Maybe he will lose his spot on a prospect list, but their value is for people like us to discuss. Many players reach their peak at this level but I can’t imagine the Reds are ready to give up on him yet if he has another poor AA showing this year. Doug Gray November 15, 2017 Who would pass him by? Looking at the second basemen behind him, the ones that *could* pass him by have not seen a single pitch in Dayton yet. They aren’t passing him up in 2018. wes November 15, 2017 It’s what’s in front of him- not behind him. He needs to stay relevant and stay in front of management. If he struggles in AA this year then he’s clearly behind Scooter Stanford great Blandino Herrera And potentially Senzel/Suarez Then management is not making a spot for him….big year! The Duke November 15, 2017 Both his walk rate and strikeout rate improved in AA from what he did in High A, so that’s an encouraging sign that his plate discipline didn’t take a hit, but maybe he just didn’t make quite as much solid contact in his first taste of AA. It’s a good sign coming into this year that he may start putting up impressive numbers again though. Considering he hit 16 HR in 439 plate appearances, the majority of which were in a pitcher friendly league, I think you might be able to call his power above average with more of a 20+ HR ceiling. Maybe 25+ playing 81 games a year in GABP. The most impressive thing about his power though is how it played to all fields. Most prospects have a big spike in power to their pull side, but Shed’s is pretty even. His pull side is his best power naturally, but only a .116 drop off going to the opposite field is impressive as is his .025 drop off going to CF vs his pull side. A fairly even distribution of hits as well. Wes November 15, 2017 When you get power in unexpected places like 2nd base you can use that as a trade off in other places like outfield and short. A long term future team may very well consist of Winker and Peraza. If they both under produce on homers per position- getting 20+ from 2nd (Scooter or Tool Shed) then that’ll help make up for their lack of power. CP November 15, 2017 If Senzel ends up at 2B, the path to the bigs is blocked for this guy. I like him and really hope he produces, but realistically his path seems muddy. Any chance he can be given a shot at CF? Does he have enough range for that? His bath would play a premium at that position, but not if it comes along with him being a defensive liability. If you can play CF though, and produces this year, he could get his first look as a September call up late this year. Then he could be the guy in CF, unless Siri/Trammel/Friedle push him out later down the line…. Thoughts? The Duke November 15, 2017 I wouldn’t worry about “too many good players” being a problem. If Shed ends up being for real, then maybe Senzel moves to RF where his arm will play well. I also think Winker is going to hit for more power than most expect. I could see him with 20+ this year in GABP, especially if the specs on the baseballs are the same as last year. CP November 15, 2017 I like this thought, but I’m still holding out hope that Schebler has more than he has shown so far. I could be wrong, but there is potential for a .250/.260 avg, .350 or better OBP, and 30 HR power. AKA a poor man’s Jay Bruce, but hey Jay was/is a great player. Arnold Ziffle November 15, 2017 You know that isn’t such a bad question. I was thinking the same thing when I concluded the article. Long seems athletic enough to make a switch to CF. AA would be a nice place to make that switch. His hit tools could play up better in CF than 2B too. With the log jam ahead of him at 2B this may be a prudent move. No log jam at CF at AA or AAA. It worked out fairly well 5-6 years ago when they moved a SS to CF in the minors. That might be the answer to Life After Billy in CF. donny November 15, 2017 He doesn’t have the speed to play CF guys. He only has average speed. Ideally, you want everyone in the outfield to have plus speed, which is above average. So outfielders can make more plays defensively, to get to the ball. The guy with the strongest arm in right, then center then left exc. Doug Gray November 16, 2017 Donny – Shed has above-average speed, no question about it. But, you generally need plus speed to handle center. Shed has shown that at times in the past, too. Still, I’d be surprised to see the organization try and make that kind of move. Billy November 15, 2017 I’d be on board with Shed for CF, but this is the first time I’ve ever considered the possibility. Does he have the range to be able to play there? RedsinWashSt November 15, 2017 Wouldn’t think he is fast enough or athletic enough to play center. Senzel would probably be better than Long but probably still not good enough. Doug Gray November 15, 2017 I’d find it highly unlikely that he is an option in center. Wes November 15, 2017 So if Stanton ends up in St Louis- I don’t see that as being a bad thing for Reds. Historically he’s too big for baseball and has a history of injuries all ready. He is also a financial liability with that contract and can’t be moved to DH obviously in St Louis. CP November 15, 2017 He will probably be a beast for them for 3-5 years, but that back end of that contract could haunt them. Much like the one they avoided with Pujols…. Doug Gray November 15, 2017 I think the back end of that deal will be bad, but until he’s 34? He’s going to destroy baseballs at a very high rate and improve any team that he’s on. Stock November 15, 2017 I think Long bounces back and is a stud in 2018. The Reds should graduate Senzel, Mahle and Winker from their prospect lists this year. However, people like Long could very well make the 2018 prospect list superior to this years and possible the best in the history of the Reds. I love the depth the Reds have in the minors right now and in spite of three quality graduations and probable graduations of Ervin and Blandino next year we could be looking at the best prospect class in Reds history. wes November 15, 2017 Love the optimism. It’d take a high quality pick at top of draft, a trade that boosts system and at very minimum 12 of 20 players left on top 25 list to have career years to be that good. Possible though! Billy November 15, 2017 Let’s not get carried away here. The best prospect list in the history of the Reds is a tall order. Even in just recent history, there was the year where Bruce and Bailey were top 10 prospects and Cueto and Votto joined them in the top 100. Even if Trammell hits .375/.500/.700 and the Reds get the top player in the 2018 draft, I still think the 2018 list will lag behind that. Doug Gray November 15, 2017 I agree here, for the most part. If they are graduating a top 10 prospect, it’s going to be real hard to top that system without replacing them from someone nowhere near the Top 100 right now. Having Hunter Greene move up to a Top 10 guy doesn’t replace Senzel, because you now don’t have that guy that’s also a Top 25-ish guy, too. Stock November 15, 2017 I thought that at first but last week looked at it and now feel the post 2017 class is better than the post 2007 class. The 2007 class was great at the top but fell off quickly. A RP who averaged 7 K/9 IP in Doug’s top 10. Herget and Weiss did much better than that. Here is my comparisons (using Doug’s rankings) and why I think the 2017 class is superior. 1. Jay Bruce. We will get back to him 2. Homer Bailey. This is easy. Hunter Greene is a great comp. Both highly rated. 3. Johnny Cueto. Tyler Mahle works. Granted both these comparisons favor the 2007 class but pick 1, 4 even it out. 4. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. I think Senzel, Trammell and Winker compare to these two. Would someone trade the 2007 Bruce/Votto pair for the 2017 Senzel/Trammell/Winker. Senzel < Bruce but Votto < Trammell/Winker. Very close but I think the Reds 2017 top 5 compares to the 2007 top 4 quite well. 5. Drew Stubbs was coming off his age 22 season at Dayton. Solid season but not spectacular. I think Stuart Fairchild is a good comp. Both are CF. Neither showed much power at this point. 6. Todd Frazier first round supplemental pick in the June 2007 draft. Same spot as Jeter. 7. Travis Wood. Not much of a fastball but coming off solid season in Dayton. Comparable comp would be Lopez although Lopez is much further along. 8. Devin Mesoraco was the 15th pick of the draft but ranked below Frazier. Good comp should be whomever Doug ranks below Jeter which happens to be Jose Garcia. 9. Neftali Soto just finished a solid season in Montana. Miles Gordon would be a good comp though Gordon showed much more power. 10. Josh Roenicke. RP averaged 7K/9 IP in 2007. Weiss did better so good comp. 11. Kyle Lotzkar. 1st round pick in 2007. Comp would be Jacob Heatherly. At this point we have used Doug’s 25th selection from this years class and someone not even in the top 25 so it is safe to say we can be done. I also feel that comps 9 and 10 are a bit lopsided because the 2017 players are much better prospects. The 2007 comps were with prospects 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16 and 25. I like the 2017 crop used in this comparison slightly more but so very close. That leaves the Reds with prospect 6 – 10, 15, and 17 – 24. Namely Stephenson, Santillian, Long, Siri, Gutierrez, Sugilio, Blandino, Aquino, Herget, Hernandez, Ervin, LaValley, Longhi and Reyes who lacked comps in the 2017 class. Maybe my comps above are really bad but I think the depth of the 2017 class makes it clearly superior to the 2007 class. For these reasons I thought it best to compare the potential 2018 class to the 2017 class as opposed to the 2007 class. For the 2018 class to be better several players would have to step up but I think they will. If you feel the top 4 in 2007 are better than the top 5 in 2017 throw in some additional prospects. Clearly Greene/Mahle/Santillian/Gutierrez are preferred to over Bailey/Cueto Likewise, Senzel/Trammell/Winker/Stephenson/Long are preferred to over Bruce/Votto. Doug Gray November 15, 2017 Here’s the problem: 1-4 were all on the verge of the big leagues. And you are out of your freaking mind if you think anyone in that group is better than the Top 4 you are comparing them to. Jay Bruce was the #1 or #2 prospect on the planet at the time depending on which publication you were following. Nick Senzel isn’t there. Close, but not quite. Homer Bailey was a Top 25 guy at the time, and he was also dominating Double-A. Hunter Greene may have more upside, but right now, he’s not the prospect that Bailey was then. Johnny Cueto was universally rated as a Top 50 prospect at the time, and even a Top 25 guy depending on where you looked. That’s not quite where Mahle is at right now. Joey Votto was a Top 75 guy everywhere and a Top 50 guy some places. Trammell and Winker aren’t there right now. Drew Stubbs at the time was a Top 100 BA guy. Stuart Fairchild isn’t remotely close to that. The Top 5 was significantly stronger back then. It was stronger at every spot, 1-4. And farm systems are heavily weighted towards the top end talent than the depth – and for good reason. Depth usually means you can fill out a bench of bullpen. The top end guys mean you can have All-Stars. This isn’t to say that one day the current crop won’t have those guys, but the 2008 crop you’re trying to compare them to were all universally better ranked and valued. Doug Gray November 15, 2017 Also, on what planet did Miles Gordon show more power than 2008 Neftali Soto, who after utterly destroying Billings went to Dayton that year and continued to kill the baseball? Stock November 15, 2017 MLB.com has Trammell at 67 so yes he is in the 50-75 range that Votto manned. MLB.com has Greene at 18. Right where Bailey was. When ranking prospects you consider proximity, upside and floor. Therefore since even though Bailey was closer those ranking must feel Greene has a higher floor or a higher ceiling. I agree. So those two are equal in my book. Mahle is ranked 77 and Cueto was ranked in the 40’s I believe. Agree Cueto is a better prospect. I stated thus. Bruce is a better prospect than Senzel but the difference between Bruce and Senzel is not that wide. Stubbs was not a top 100 player post 2007. Soto played 40 games in 2007 and hit a whopping 2 HR. Gordon hit 8 HR in 61 games. Gordon’s ISO was 33% greater than Soto’s 2007 season. On the planet I live on that is a significant difference. Look at the the top 5 differently. Senzel (8) > Bailey (15-20) Greene (18) > Cueto (40’s) Trammell (67) = Votto (50-75) I don’t think Stubbs was a top 150 in 2007 but for arguments sake Stubbs = Winker. That means Bruce needs to be better than Stephenson, Santillian, Long, Siri, Guiterrez, Fairchild, Sugilio, Blandino, Aquino, Hergert, Hernandez, Ervin, LaValley, Longhi and Reyes. For example if the Reds would have traded their 6-10 and 13 ranked prospects last year they would have traded: Trammell, Aquino, Guiterrez, Castillo, Santillian and Mahle. That would have been a disasterous trade. Stock November 15, 2017 Just did some research. Stubbs was prospect 100 via BA post 2007. Winker is 99 via MLB.com. Razzball.com has Trammell at 16. Maybe not a big time source but speaks to his tool set. https://razzball.com/top-50-prospects-for-2018-fantasy-baseball/ Doug Gray November 16, 2017 Yeah – Razzball doesn’t count. Billy November 15, 2017 1) Jay Bruce 9) Homer Bailey 34) Johnny Cueto 44) Joey Votto 100) Drew Stubbs There’s no Bruce in the current system. Senzel is about where Bailey is. Greene is a bit higher than Cueto. Even though I think Trammell ranking around Votto is a reasonable thought, I suspect he’ll be closer to 75. Mahle will probably be about where Stubbs is – probably a tad higher. We’re basically talking about being short the best prospect in baseball. But that wasn’t the original contention anyway. The original contention was that AFTER next season – with Senzel, Mahle, and Winker having graduated – we could be looking at the best farm system in Reds history. That means, at a minimum, Greene & Trammell would need to be in the top 10, Pick #5 would need to be in the top 35, and someone else would have to come out of nowhere to be in the top 50. Even if all that happens, you’re only (at best) on par with the 2007 class. http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/top-100-prospects/2008/265655.html Stock November 15, 2017 This year we have 1 top 10 prospect, 2 top 25 prospects, 2 top 50 prospects, 3 top 75 prospects and 5 top 100 prospects. Assuming Trammell is equally as impressive as last year and Greene is as published. These are not reaches. Last years #5 pick is a top 30 prospect. Assuming the Reds have a good pick a top 50 prospect makes sense. If these three hold, and not a reach at all, then Greene is a top 10 prospect, Trammell becomes a top 25 prospect and our 1st round pick becomes a top 50 pick. I think Stephenson will move into the top 100 if he can stay healthy. I think Long dominates AA this year and moves to AAA. He becomes a top 100 prospect. I think at least 1 of Jeter and Garcia become a top 100 prospect. I think one or two of Siri, Gutierrez, Santillian and Lopez become a top 100 prospect. I would not even be surprised if one of the Mustang OF from 2017 hit the top 100. If no Mustang hits the top 100, only 2 of the four from Stephenson, Long, Jeter and Garcia make the top 100 and one from Siri, Gutierrez, Santillian and Lopez make the top 100 that brings us to the following. Top 10: Post 2017 (Stenzel), Post 2018 (Greene) 11-25: 2017 (Greene), 2018 (Trammell) 26-50: 2017 (None), 2018 (1st round draft pick) 51-75: 2017 (Trammell), 2018 (2 of Stephenson, Long, Jeter and Garcia) 76-100: 2017 (Mahle and Winker), 2018 (1 of Siri, Santillian, Gutierrez and Lopez). Even if only 2 of the final 8 I mentioned crack the top 25 it would be better than this year. I think the chances of 4 making it from those 8 is better than 0 or 1 making the top 100. Maybe I am being overly optimistic. I think Stephenson may have made it this year if not for being injured. With Long and Gutierrez both being so close I love their chances as well. If Siri hits in AA in the 2nd half the way he did in Dayton he is a lock considering his tool set. The one I am most excited to see play though is Garcia. If he is as advertised he may move into the top 50. PJ November 15, 2017 Why is Long considered an average(I’ve even seen some say below average) defender? I watched him in Daytona in ‘16 and ‘17 and I saw him play great defensively and offsensively. Baseball America named him the best defensive 2B in the FSL this year and he has never had a high number of errors in his career. He also shows good range and Doug I’ve even heard you say that before. Doug Gray November 16, 2017 Baseball America didn’t name him that, the managers in the league did. Let’s also note that an average defender is going to stand out in most minor leagues because most guys aren’t actual average defenders. You need to remember that when I say someone is average, I’m saying Major League average. That’s actually quite the praise. Michael B. Green November 16, 2017 I’m high on Shed Long. He’ll get added to the 40MR on Monday – if not before. I assume that he will adjust to AA this year. CIN showed complete confidence in him by batting him in the top part of the lineup in the SOU league playoffs/championship. The field instructors have done a good job helping Long adjust to 2B and he should continue to progress. Hopefully, he’s healed from his hand/wrist injury too. I think Long is the very reason CIN has announced that they are bouncing Senzel around to see where he fits (3B/2B/SS/LF) rather than just moving him to 2B. I’m sure Long and Senzel will get plenty of PA’s in Spring Training to gauge how they might perform at the next level. The future is bright!