Are the Reds looking at a new Farm Director? Doug Gray August 9, 2018 31 Comments Updated: August 15, 8:30pm C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic just tweeted out that Jeff Graupe is being promoted within the organization. FWIW, #Reds‘ Chris Buckley and Jeff Graupe are being promoted. No exact titles yet — C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) August 16, 2018 There still has not been any replacements named and it appears that the Reds are still not commenting on the moves. Original article: It appears that the Cincinnati Reds may have a new farm director soon. Yesterday morning I first heard information about a conference call between several front office members and the minor league coaching staffs. On that call there was communication saying that current Director of Player Development Jeff Graupe was going to be reassigned within the organization. Later that afternoon I heard the same thing from another source with a little more detail about the call. I have contacted several people in the organization for comment and have gotten no comment or no reply. With that said, I feel very confident in my sources on this. The two sources relayed very similar stories, and have no way at all of being connected to each other. Jeff Graupe has been with the Cincinnati Reds since 2006 when he joined the organization in the Baseball Operations department. He worked his way up to his current position after the 2012 season. What being reassigned in the organization means is unclear. It could be anything from a demotion of sorts, a lateral type move to another part of the organization, or a promotion into another part of the organization. What also remains unclear is who would be taking over as the farm director. There are likely some internal candidates, some of whom have held the position in other organizations – including Buddy Bell who just joined the Reds organization this past offseason. There could also be someone outside of the organization that is coming in for the job. Whichever it is, it seems that the Reds have made that decision. It just appears that they aren’t ready to talk about that move publicly yet. 31 Responses KevinD August 9, 2018 Maybe the Reds realized that they have “developed” pitchers who can’t throw strikes, or outfielders who can’t hit cut-off men. Reply AirborneJayJay August 9, 2018 Could it be for the sole reason that the minor league pitchers, when they come to Cincinnati, as a whole cannot throw strikes consistently very well?? As a group, most have had a pretty difficult time at the ML level throwing strikes and attacking the hitters the last 3 seasons. I am not looking for news of a promotion. They are going after the man at the top of developement. A whole new philosophy on training and developing pitchers may be coming. As Marty said yesterday on the broadcast while Mella was having his difficulties, “Something has got to change” in the development of Reds pitchers. This may be it. Reply Colorado Red August 9, 2018 I would think it would be pitching coaches, etc. The Farm directory probably does not have individual contact with a lot of players. Reply Doug Gray August 9, 2018 I’d think that if that were the reason that it would be the pitching coordinator, along with the coaches that would be at fault rather than the farm director. And let’s also realize that the current set of pitching coaches, and the one previously, were all either the pitching coordinator or pitching coaches in the organization on the farm – and that those above Graupe decided that they were good enough at their jobs in the minors to put them in the Majors. So, no, I don’t think that’s it at all. Reply MK August 9, 2018 I have heard that there are some staff in the instructional area that aren’t real thrilled with the quality of talent they are getting to work with AirborneJayJay August 9, 2018 I agree with what you say about the coaches up and down the system. You can’t replace all of them. So, if you want change implemented, you go to the top to effect that change, and that was Graupe. And those subordinates, the coaches, then implement the new way. He was the head of Development. It might be like the military, when the higher ups aren’t satisfied with an officer, they’ll promote them and then quickly transfer them out. Most of the time to a new MOS code altogether. They don’t remove all of the Sargeants and NCO’s. If we see Graupe in a new position in the organization, and he becomes the director of something, say the Reds Community Fund, then we’ll know this was all about player development, or maybe lack thereof. Jonathan Linn August 9, 2018 Does this poistion set the culture and priorities of the farm system? Im curious what this position acutally does Reply Doug Gray August 9, 2018 I think it is all a joint effort in terms of the culture and priorities of the system with the GM/President (in this case, Krall and Williams). Reply Norwood Nate August 9, 2018 Don’t forget Walt. Rosie Red can’t fart without Walt meeting with Dick, Nick, and Riggs about it. SultanofSwaff August 9, 2018 Let’s hope that it’s not just a reshuffling of personnel, but an re-imagining of the player development side. 2 things I’d like to see: 1. Stop using a one size fits all model for advancement. Promotions in large part just at the all-star break, starting first round college players in rookie ball rather than low/high A, leaving players who are performing at a high level with the peripheral stats to back it up at a certain level for a pre-ordained time. In many school systems they have ‘spiral learning’, meaning kids are moved up and exposed to advanced classes and then kept there or brought back down until their comprehension improves……a continual 2 steps forward, 1 back process. I think this should be the model. 2. Re-evaluate the criteria for drafting pitchers. The only constant I can identify is arm strength. That one quality had led the organization to draft college relievers and try to shoehorn them into starting pitchers. It has yet to work. Of course my point is invalid IF the organization were more adept at building on this natural ability, but seeing that they aren’t, it might be time to chart a different course and opt for more ‘finished’ pitchers who may lack the ceiling but have higher floors. In the era of the 5 inning pitcher, this seems a more sensible course. Reply SultanofSwaff August 9, 2018 MK, I’d like to hear your thoughts! Reply MK August 9, 2018 I am not so sure there has been a lot of continuity in instruction, especially when Mack Jenkins was Minor League Pitching Coordinator. As an example when Alejandro Chacin lived with me he was told to throw a breaking ball on his first pitch in relief. The theory was the hitter was looking red. When Darin Ehbert took over the relievers never heard that concept. Think it is a little better now that Fossas is in charge. But the guys at the top not throwing strikes are from Jenkins regime. Norwood Nate August 9, 2018 If it’s anything like their previous recent hires (Price, Williams, Krall), it will be someone internal, which probably just amounts to reshuffling honestly. Reply Doc August 9, 2018 Maybe someone could teach outfielders that walls are hard! My approach would be to assess each pitcher coming into the system via draft and find a successful major leaguer or two who are very similar. Then work with the youngster to learn how to pitch successfully the way the model did. Far fetched, maybe, but what do I know. Would Nolan Ryan have been a good model for Hunter Greene, as one example? Cody Reed/Steve Carlton? Just a thought. Reply kevinz August 9, 2018 this is only a good move if pick the right person not just for the sake of change. First move should be all Pitchers Reds draft or trade for must have a feel for a changeup. I mean all they draft is Pitchers with a feel for a slider. Time to change it up. Look at Tony Satillian he scrapped his slider for the most part. Now he has change up now he has takin off. Command has helped as well but the Change up was he huge difference. Reply kevinz August 9, 2018 *the Reply Big Ed August 9, 2018 I don’t have any opinion one way or the other about the farm director’s performance, although they were just selected as the 6th best organization. But, look, the reason top-shelf pitchers make $20 million/year is that it is incredibly difficult to command MLB-caliber fastballs AND breaking balls. There are maybe 50 guys in the world who can really do it, and they can’t do it every game. There are maybe 12 who are truly outstanding at it. If it were easy to do, then pitchers would get paid like postal workers. Do Stephenson, Romano and others need to develop better command, or another pitch? You bet, but that is far easier said than done. There isn’t a magical Command Pill to take, or a Tom Emansky drill to do, that will get them to the next level. It may happen for Stephenson or Reed or Mahle or Romano, or it may not, but the Reds’ development staff has gotten them on the cusp of it, and it is just a matter of luck/circumstance/determination whether they can take the next step. Reply Big Ed August 9, 2018 Having said that, the Reds have committed organizational malpractice in teaching Phil Ervin how to play outfield. Tammy Wynette could not have done worse. Reply Cguy August 9, 2018 LOL! Doc August 9, 2018 I wonder whether as pitchers get ever taller, there is some height above which control becomes more difficult. With a wider arm arc or longer travel, maybe small errors are magnified. For the longest while the best golfers were in a fairly tight height range. As they have gotten ever taller, equipment has changed to accommodate them, but pitchers have no such technology advancements to help them. As hitters have gotten taller they hit it farther, but they miss it more. I know it’s not that simplistic, and there have been superb very tall pitchers, but one wonders if the search for speed means bigger pitchers means less accurate. Maybe there is an ideal height range for the combination of speed and control. Reply Michael W. August 9, 2018 Doc, I appreciate your thought process on this. Reply Jon Ryker August 10, 2018 That is part of it, I’m sure. I’m more concerned about approach…..if all you’re judged on when scouting is how hard you throw the ball, then two things will happen after you’re drafted: First, your arm will eventually fall off, because max effort does damage, even if you limit pitch counts. Second is, you are so mechanics-driven in maximizing this, that no subtleties are learned about moving the ball a little, locating it precisely (which you can’t do at max effort), and, in general, getting the hitter’s timing off balance. The only chance these kids have to become good pitchers is after they’ve injured themselves to the point where throwing hard won’t work….if they’re lucky, they’ve already gotten a big contract, so teams will give them a chance to figure it out. More likely, they are scrapped, and another batch of hard-throwing rubes comes in. Hitting has played into this by always swinging for the fences, which eliminates place hitting, allows shifts, drives up strikeouts, and lets pitchers get away with more walks. The whole system of play now is based on delusion: that fantasy baseball is real. It’s boring. It’s inefficient. And unless you simply have an all-star team, it doesn’t beat teams who know how to play. Reply Hanawi August 10, 2018 Doug I know you don’t get into the details too much with the DSL but was wondering if you’ve heard anything on Jose Salvador. Walk rate is a bit high but 24 hits allowed in 48 innings with 63 Ks. Has only allowed more than 1 run once. Reply Doug Gray August 10, 2018 I do not have any specific information on him. I will say this much, though, in the very few conversations I’ve had about players from the team, he’s not been pointed out as a guy to really keep an eye on. That, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean anything as the conversations generally have just been of the casual variety without digging into who to watch/pay attention to. I’ll try to see what I can get on him because those numbers certainly jump off of the page. Reply Hanawi August 10, 2018 Thanks for the response Doug. IMHO August 10, 2018 Players that were drafted or signed in June have a disadvantage once they are sent to the Rookie teams. They are immediately put into a game situation – no instruction in Arizona – no game time. The get a physical, sign a paper and jump on a plane. Then SP become RP and put in the pen and positional guys sit the bench all because some big signed guy has to be on the field/mound. While it is a numbers game, the eye should also play a factor — That’s where a pitching coordinator should come in. If a SP is sucking wind, then the pitching coach should pull him BEFORE he gets hurt. All my years I have never heard a pitcher/player tell a coach, “Yeah, you’re right I stink/hurt right now, I’ll come out.” It’s on those coordinators & coaches who should be making the correct call/decision – not a kid who MUST PROVE HIMSELF. Then you’re stuck in a tied situation – bring a kid in who isn’t “a guy to really keep an eye on” maybe he does great, maybe he stinks – maybe he strikes out with bases loaded or throws the opposing home run pitch. That could all be avoided if the coordinators & coaches do their job. Then these kids can do theirs. Sorry for the rant. But I just shake my head at the amount of kids gettin hurt. Reply Doc August 10, 2018 Are you saying, IMHO, that there should be more instruction going on in AZ, and fewer instructional league games? What a novel concept to actually teach! It couldn’t hurt to have them spend the first month, or even the first summer, of their professional career with maybe two games per week and four to five days per week of fundamentals skills development. Of course, of all those who go through AZ, no more than a handful will ever make it very far. But it would help to identify at, say, a one or two week camp, those who have the fundamentals solidly down, and those who need a summer to see if they can develop them. After all, Ervin was a first round draft choice five tool player, but those tools obviously did not include hitting the cutoff man, nor getting good jumps, nor having one’s head during the game where one can see daylight. Perhaps this could have been identified in a skills camp, and rectfied early. Reply IMHO August 10, 2018 Doc, a lot of the college guys have gone through May and some June playing ball – by Junior or Senior year, they should know the fundamentals. If they don’t they shouldn’t be drafted or signed. But, when they land in AZ, if they need extra medical clearance, they cannot play or workout with the team. If they are signed after the draft, they have a day or two for medical clearance and then they are off to rookieland where they are bugs under a magnifying glass. Who knows, maybe the draft should be earlier to accommodate a camp like you suggest – but we can’t reinvent the wheel. It’s just seems backwards to have players go through a season, to be told you have to go to AZ for instructional camp (because you didn’t have the fundamentals straight) before spring training before you know where you will go next…… Reply Jon Ryker August 10, 2018 You are correct. In the end, there is a right way to play, and they haven’t insisted on it, or, indeed, displayed an awareness of it, in quite some time. Reply Jon Ryker August 10, 2018 They have not shown an ability to teach people how to play baseball since the early 90’s. Reply IMHO August 10, 2018 Which brings us full circle to player development. Doug’s past interview and report on Player Development and the Trackman system was an interesting read. Graupe said (and I am paraphrasing) these systems track pitching and throwing to ascertain particular things, including potential injury. I will guess they show speed as well and a drop in the velocity, which could indicate injury/dead arm and a bunch of other things numerically. What I am curious about is this – how long does it take to read those numbers as opposed to asking a kid or making sure the trainers are aware of an injury? There is so much money spent on these players to perform – but what about making sure they are injury free. Is it said so loosely “oh well just give him surgery and he’ll get PT and be better?” Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.