Mon, 22 Jan 2018 06:43:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 4444956 The history of Cincinnati Reds Top 100 Prospects Mon, 22 Jan 2018 06:43:47 +0000 Looking back at the Cincinnati Reds history on the Baseball America Top 100 prospect list. Joey Votto, inarguably the Reds best player in the Top 100 list era, showed up on the Top 100 list just twice while he was in the Minor Leagues.

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At 9am today the good folks at Baseball America will unveil their Top 100 Prospect list (I will have up an article shortly after the list goes live) for 2018. Baseball America is the gold standard among the national prospect lists. Their lists date back to 1990, by far, the longest running list.

The Cincinnati Reds will be represented by multiple prospects in the list that comes out later this morning. If I had to guess, I would say they will land four prospects on the Top 100, with a chance for five. But, for now, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the history of the Cincinnati Reds Top 100 prospects on the Baseball America lists.

Cincinnati Reds Top 10 Overall Prospects

Since 1990 the Reds have only had five players make the Baseball America Top 10 list. Homer Bailey did it twice, after 2007 (#5) and again after 2008 (#9). Jay Bruce is the highest rated Reds prospect ever. He was the #1 player after the 2008 season. Aroldis Chapman ranked 7th on the list after 2011. Reggie Sanders was the only player from the organization from 1990-2006 to make the Top 10. Sanders was the #9 prospect after the 1991 season. Nick Senzel was ranked 9th after the 2016 season.

The Best Single Season of Top 100 Prospects

Using an AP Style format (100 points for a #1 ranking and 1 point for a #100 ranking) I compiled the rankings for reach year from 1990-2017. Going into this exercise, I was sure that the 2008 class was going to be at the top of this chart. That year the Reds had two Top 10 players and four Top 50 players. WRONG. The 2000 Reds topped the chart with 319 total points from six players. That 2008 group had 317 points from five players. Here’s the comparison of those two years, which stood out among the entire history:

2000 2008
21. Gookie Dawkins 1. Jay Bruce
24. Drew Henson 9. Homer Bailey
55. Ed Yarnell 34. Johnny Cueto
56. Adam Dunn 44. Joey Votto
59. Rob Bell 100. Drew Stubbs
72. Jackson Melian

Seeing that list, you can certainly understand why, particularly before I began doing this job, the 2000 group wasn’t a great memory. Only Adam Dunn became a regular among the six players. Drew Henson was in the NFL a few years after this list came out. Dunn was the only player from that group to produce more than 1.1 WAR for his career. On the flip side, Drew Stubbs has been the worst, by far, from that 2008 group and he’s produced 11.1 WAR for his career. The 2000 group, anchored entirely by Adam Dunn’s 25.4 WAR, combined for 25.5 WAR. The 2008 group, with all five players still active, have combined for 128.5 WAR in their career.

Here’s how each year stacks up, only including the Top 100 (which, let me be clear, is NOT indicative of the overall strength of the farm system in a given year – though, at times it certainly can be).

Breaking things down by position

From 1990-2017 there were 1164 players listed as pitcher first (several were listed as pitcher/some other position. I counted those as pitchers). That was good for 45% of the prospects listed being pitchers. The Reds, however, aren’t near that same ratio of pitchers to position players. The organization had 35 pitchers out of 94 total players. That’s just 37%. Thinking back to pre-Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey, that should not be surprising. The entire group of prospect starters brought up through the system was basically Brett Tomko. For 25 years.

35 players were listed as infielders. That number, however, includes Billy Hamilton twice being listed as a shortstop (also listed twice as an outfielder). 24 more players were listed as outfielders.

Who made the most lists?

Making a lot of prospect lists can be both good, or bad. The good side could mean that a player was highly regarded from the very beginning and maintained that value through the minors. At the same time, it also could mean that the player didn’t move quickly – though that comes into play more with a college player than the high school player.

One player made the Top 100 list five times, leading the way for the Reds. Pokey Reese showed up on the list every year from 1992-1996. There were several other players who showed up on four different lists. Billy Hamilton (2011-2014), Homer Bailey (2005-2008), and Robert Stephenson (2013-2016) all showed up on four Top 100 lists.

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Jose Siri homers again in Dominican playoffs Fri, 19 Jan 2018 05:02:38 +0000 Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jose Siri hit his Dominican Winter League best 4th home run of the playoffs on Thursday night for the Gigantes.

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Jose Siri just keeps on keeping on. All he has done in the last year is hit, hit, and then hit some more. After hitting .293 with 24 home runs for the Dayton Dragons in 2017 he had a short break before joining the Gigantes in the Dominican Winter League.

After being limited early on in the Dominican Winter League season, in mid-November he started getting regular playing time. Jose Siri would go on to hit .321 during the regular season for the Gigantes and help lead them into the playoffs. Since the playoffs began he’s hardly slowed down.

On Thursday night against Escogido, Jose Siri hit his Dominican Winter League leading 4th home run of the playoffs. He took an offspeed offering on the outside corner of the plate and smashed it to the opposite field to tie the game up in the 4th inning.

Wednesday night Jose Siri was also doing damage. The center fielder went 2-3 with a double, walk, run scored and he drove in two more. In 15 games during the playoffs he’s slugging .532 with a .290 average, four home runs and three more doubles.

Cincinnati Reds sign 16-year-old Rafael Franco

Over the past few years the Cincinnati Reds have stepped up their game in signing players out of Mexico. That trend continued recently as they signed 16-year-old center fielder Rafael Franco , buying his contract from the Sultans of Monterrey in the Mexican League. This article, translated via Google Translate gives a little insight into his skills, with the emphasis at age 16 on his speed being a big attribute to his game. This article also notes his speed, but notes that he has a good arm, too.

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The Unnamed Cincinnati Reds Podcast: Episode 6 Fri, 19 Jan 2018 03:45:21 +0000 Despite the lack of action in terms of roster moves by the Cincinnati Reds, we've got plenty to talk about on this weeks episode of The Unnamed Reds Podcast.

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Another week and a lack of movement around Major League Baseball has come and gone. Despite that, there was plenty to talk about this week in The Unnamed Reds Podcast. Brian Snow and myself spent some time talking about a variety of topics.

  • Arbitration for the Reds
  • Is free agency broken? And how can baseball fix it, if it is?
  • The Marlins are asking for one of the best prospects in all of baseball from the Braves for Christian Yelich. Would you trade one of the Reds best two prospects for him?

If you want to download the podcast directly, you can do so here.

If you would like to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, you can now do that. It took a bit longer than expected, but it’s mostly my fault for messing up the application process. If you use old fashioned RSS feeds to subscribe to podcasts, you can do that here.

We still don’t have enough ratings over on iTunes. So if you’ve got a minute we’d greatly appreciate it if you could swing by and give the podcast a rating. It’ll help us move up the rankings and get in front of other listeners.

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John Sickels releases his Reds Top 20 Prospect List Thu, 18 Jan 2018 21:09:49 +0000 John Sickels just released his Cincinnati Reds Top 20 Prospect List for the 2018 season. Nick Senzel leads the way in a very deep farm system for the Reds.

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John Sickels has been creating prospect lists as long, or longer than any other writer out there. His work goes back into the mid-90’s, and for as long as I can remember, he’s been doing his work at I’ve even contributed a handful of articles over there in the past. Earlier this afternoon he released his version of the Cincinnati Reds Top 20 Prospects list.

Like we saw last week when Fangraphs released their prospect list for the Reds, Sickels also broke the rules and included a player the other rankers hadn’t within his Top 10. Jeter Downs, the Cincinnati Reds compensation 1st round pick in 2017 came in at #9 on the list. That, however, was the only “out of the norm” top 10 player. Of course, Downs was 11th on my own list, so it’s not really out of the range, either.

Nick Senzel was the top prospect on the list for Sickels. You’re shocked, right? He was given an A- grade. For Sickels, that’s his suggesting he’s an elite prospect. He also noted that most Grade A prospects develop into stars. High praise for the Reds top prospect.

Senzel isn’t the only A- prospect in the Reds system, though. Hunter Greene was also given that same grade, and ranks second in the system. Sickels suggests that he’s got all of the requirements to be an ace in the future. Jose Siri ranks 8th on the list. I really like what is said here, even though the possibilities as so wide rangings:

8) Jose Siri, OF, Grade B-: Age 22, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2012, hit .293/.341/.530 with 24 homers, 11 triples, 46 steals, 33 walks, 130 strikeouts in 498 at-bats in Low-A; electrifying tools with 70-speed, 55 or 60-power, 60 throwing arm, had few problems with Midwest League pitching despite contact concerns and aggressive hitting philosophy; Midwest League sources loved his tools and there’s little to argue with in the numbers but also expressed concern about how he’ll handle higher-level pitching; an exciting player with a wide range of possible outcomes; if he keeps hitting like this when he reaches Double-A, stock will rise quickly. ETA 2020.

How valuable is the Cincinnati Reds farm system?

What makes Sickels list stick out is that he has grades for players. In the past we’ve been able to use his grades to assign a monetary value to players. Using that same system and the grades given out to the Reds players, the Reds system value would be $217.1M dollars of surplus value. That would generally rank a farm system in the Top 5 farm systems in all of baseball based on past results.

Of course, all of the rankings aren’t out yet, so we don’t know how the team stacks up just yet. What we do know, though, is that it’s still pretty strong. Being anchored at the top by two A- grade players goes a long way, but the depth really came into play, too. We also know that compared to the rankings by Sickels last year, the team is significantly better off on the farm. Last season’s grades were only good for $170.0M dollars of surplus value.

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Reds Minor League Talk: Episode 22 Thu, 18 Jan 2018 02:53:02 +0000 After a bit of a hiatus during the winter, Cincinnati Reds Minor League Talk is back. In this episode we talk about new managers, Nick Senzel, and Jose Siri.

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Well, it’s been quite a while since I sat down for an episode of Reds Minor League Talk. Nearly two months, actually. As I note in the video, things just got busy and it got pushed to the back burner, so-to-speak. I will be making a real effort to have these on a more regular basis moving forward.

This episode is 16 minutes long. I talked briefly about the new managers that have been named throughout the farm system. The majority of the video is talking about two players. The first is player is Nick Senzel. I talk about where he could play in 2018, and what it could mean to the other players in the organization. The other player I discussed is Jose Siri. He’s just continued to hit in the Dominican Winter League, including tonight as I type this.

A request for your help

On a sort of related note, though, I have a request. Youtube, last night, emailed me to tell me that they will be removing my ability to monetize my videos. I make fractions of a penny when commercials run on my videos. If I don’t reach 1000 subscribers and 4000 HOURS of watch time in the last year, as of February 20th, I will lose that small amount of income. While I don’t make much money via youtube, it’s not nothing. It helps cover small things, like lunch every so often. So if you aren’t subscribed on Youtube to the RedsMinorLeagues channel, and have 30 seconds, please go do that. And if you’ve got some spare time, give some of the longer videos a watch or ten to try and help me reach the required watch time. With most of my videos only being 1-2 minutes long, despite plenty of views and videos uploaded in the last year, the watch time is very low as a result.

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DSL Reds/Rojos coaches and roving instructors for 2018 Wed, 17 Jan 2018 22:06:41 +0000 The Cincinnati Reds announced their coaching staff for the two Dominican Summer League teams in 2018, as well as the roving instructors for the organization.

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Things are almost wrapped up when it comes to the Minor League coaching staffs. Only the affiliate that will be in the Appalachian League has yet to have it’s staff named, and that could be due to the fact that the team doesn’t have an official home yet. The Reds will have a team in the league. They will almost assuredly be in Greeneville, but they have yet to reach an agreement with the local college for the stadium usage, where the team has played in the past.

The Dominican Summer League has two Reds affiliates. The DSL Reds and the DSL Rojos have both named their coaching staffs, though the official release doesn’t say who is managing/coaching with which team. The two managers will be Jose Castro and Cristobal Rodriguez. Both are former players in the Cincinnati organization.

The pitching coaches will be Luis Andujar and Luis Montano. Montano pitched in the Reds farm system from 2006-2009, reaching Double-A that season. The hitting coaches will be Edward Bens and Luis Terrero. Both also played in the Reds farm system, though only one year for each of them. The bench coaches will be Jefry Sierra and Luis Saturria. Sierra spent time in the Reds farm system from 2008-2014, topping out in Dayton.

Reds roving instructors and other staff

The Reds also released their roving instructors for the 2018 campaign. Here’s how that list breaks down:

  • Fielding Coordinator: Billy Doran
  • Pitching Coordinator: Tony Fossas
  • Hitting Coordinator: Milt Thompson
  • Outfielder Instructor/Quality Control: Darren Bragg
  • Baserunning/Bunting Instructor: Delino DeShields
  • Latin American Fielding/Hitting Coordinator: Joel Noboa
  • Mental Skills Coach: Frank Pfister

There are also four guys listed as special assistants to the General Manager, who will be minor league roving instructors. All are former Major Leaguers with the Cincinnati Reds. Miguel Cairo, Mario Soto, Eric Davis and Barry Larkin will all serve in these roles. All of them have served in the roles in the past with the organization, too.

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Pensacola Blue Wahoos 2018 coaching staff unveiled Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:42:49 +0000 The Pensacola Blue Wahoos have announced their entire coaching staff for the 2018 season. There will be several new coaches joining the team this upcoming season.

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The Pensacola Blue Wahoos were the last team to release their 2018 coaching staff to the public. We found out last week that Jody Davis would be taking over as the manager of the Blue Wahoos in 2018. He’s replacing Pat Kelly, who moved up to manage the Louisville Bats. As noted in the article linked above, Davis has managed in the Minor Leagues in the past, from 2006-2010 while in the Chicago Cubs organization.

Danny Darwin, better known as Doctor Death in some circles, will be returning to Pensacola as the pitching coach. It will be his third season in the Reds organization in that same role. He also served as a coach in other organizations from 2006-2010. Darwin is a 21-year Major League veteran. From 1978-1998 he threw 3016.2 innings, splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen. In 1990 he led the National League in ERA, posting a 2.21 mark in 162.2 innings.

Pensacola will be getting a new hitting coach in 2018. Mike Devereaux will be taking over the job that Gookie Dawkins held in 2017. It will be the first season in the organization for the former Major Leaguer, who had been a coach in the Colorado Rockies organization for the previous handful of seasons. From 1987 through 1998 he spent time in the Major Leagues for parts of each season. He would have 4102 career plate appearances for five different organizations in that span, hitting 105 career home runs.

Lenny Harris will also be joining the Blue Wahoos coaching staff. He will take over as the bench coach in Pensacola. In 2017 he served in the same role with the Arizona League Reds. This is his second season in the Reds organization as a coach. Prior to that he worked on the Miami Marlins Major League staff in a few different roles, and also managed one of their farm teams. He also worked in the Dodgers and Nationals organizations before that. Harris had a long Major League career as a player. He debuted in 1988 and retired after the 2005 season. He played in 1903 games during his Major League career, stealing 131 bases in that span.

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AZL Reds coaching staff named for 2018 Wed, 17 Jan 2018 06:34:53 +0000 The Arizona League Reds coaching staff for the 2018 season has been named. Manager Jose Nieves returns to manager, where he's served for the past few season.

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The Arizona League Reds coaching staff has been named for the 2018 season. The team based in Goodyear out of the spring training facility of the Cincinnati Reds will be led once again by manager Jose Nieves. This will be his 10th season in the organization. Nieves will be entering his 5th season as manager of the AZL Reds. He previously managed the now defunct Venezuelan Summer League Reds and Dayton Dragons. The 42-year-old manager spent parts of five seasons in the Major Leagues from 1998-2002 with the Chicago Cubs and Anaheim Angels.

Elmer Dessens will return as the pitching coach. This will be the sixth consecutive season in which he has served in the role for the Reds. The Mexico native spent parts of 14 years in the Major Leagues between 1996-2010. He spent time in both the rotation and the bullpen throughout his career, throwing 1174.1 innings. Three of his seasons came with the Reds, from 2000-2002 where he was an above-average pitcher who threw 530.1 innings.

Also returning to the AZL coaching staff is Todd Takayoshi. Last year he served as the hitting coach, after serving in the previous season in the same role with the Billings Mustangs. Before joining the Reds organization he was the assistant hitting coach for the Dodgers. He also worked in various roles with the Angels organization prior to that.

The fourth coach on the staff will be taking his first role in coaching and is former Reds Major and Minor Leaguer Donald Lutz. He is currently playing in the Australian Baseball League, where he’s spent many offseasons playing winter baseball. He is making it count, too, where he’s hitting .300/.412/.760 with a league best 13 home runs for Brisbane. Lutz was the first German-raised player to reach the Major Leagues when he made his debut in 2013. He would spend parts of two seasons in the Major Leagues, both with the Reds. From 2008-2016 he played in the minors with the organization. In 2017 he spent a small amount of time playing in the Mexican League.

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Ray Martinez returns as Billings Mustangs manager Wed, 17 Jan 2018 05:43:13 +0000 The Billings Mustangs have announced their coaching staff, mostly, for the 2018 season. Ray Martinez will return as the manager.

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The Billings Mustangs have announced their 2018 coaching staff. Ray Martinez will return as the manager of the Mustangs. It will be his third season with Billings as manager. He previously managed the AZL Reds in 2015 and served as a hitting coach with several teams in the organization between 2011 and 2014. Martinez played in the Minor Leagues for the California and Montreal organizations (what a weird thing to type) from 1987-1996. After that he spent the 1997-2009 seasons playing in the Mexican League.

Returning to Billings is pitching coach Derrin Ebert. During the last two seasons he served as pitching coach with the Dayton Dragons. However, he was the pitching coach with the Mustangs during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Prior to that he was the pitching coach in 2012 and 2013 with the AZL Reds. Ebert saw action in the Major Leagues with the Atlanta Braves in 1999. From 1994-2005 he spent time in the Minor Leagues with six different organizations.

Bryan LaHair will be the Mustangs hitting coach. Yes, that’s the same 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star, Bryan LaHair. This will be his first year as a professional coach since retiring from playing. He spent parts of three seasons in the Major Leagues. He played professionally in affiliated baseball from 2003-2014, including a stint in Japan. In 2016 and 2017 he played indy ball.

In the past few years there has been a 4th coach with the Mustangs. Right now there has not been one named. However, it sounds like there will be one coming to Billings, but that the coach simply hasn’t been named yet.

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Ricky Gutierrez to manage the Daytona Tortugas Tue, 16 Jan 2018 20:23:23 +0000 The Daytona Tortugas have named their coaching staff for the 2018 season. Ricky Gutierrez will manage the team and a new coach to the organization joins the staff.

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The Daytona Tortugas have announced their 2018 coaching staff. Taking over as manager will be Ricky Gutierrez. Technically, Gutierrez served as manager in Daytona for the last few weeks of the season as he took over for Eli Marrero. He was the teams bench coach up to that point. This will be his second season in the organization. From 1993-2004 he saw action in the Major Leagues. In 4126 plate appearances he hit .266/.338/.350 for six different teams.

Tom Brown will be returning as the Tortugas pitching coach. It will be his third straight season with Daytona in the role and 12th in the organization. Prior to joining the Daytona staff he was the pitching coach at several stops, and also the rehab coach in 2014-2015. He saw big league action in the 1978 season with the Seattle Mariners, where he posted a 4.15 ERA over six games.

Hitting coach Alex Pelaez will also return to Daytona. He served in the same role with the Tortugas in 2017. In past seasons he’s been the hitting coach for Pensacola, Dayton and Billings. He was also the hitting coach for Team Mexico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Pelaez reached the Major Leagues with the San Diego Padres in 2002. He played in the minor leagues with the Padres, Angels and Reds between 1998-2005.

A new coach to the Reds organization, Desi Relaford takes over as the bench coach for the Tortugas. He spent parts of 11 seasons in the Major Leagues from 1996-2007. He had 3347 total plate appearances while playing for seven different teams. His best season was 2001 with the Mets when he hit .302/.364/.472 in 120 games played.

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