redsminorleagues.com http://redsminorleagues.com Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:06:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Keith Law releases his Cincinnati Reds Top 10 list http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/30/keith-law-releases-cincinnati-reds-top-10-list/ http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/30/keith-law-releases-cincinnati-reds-top-10-list/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:06:11 +0000 http://redsminorleagues.com/?p=11925 Keith Law of ESPN has released his Cincinnati Reds Top 10 Prospects list and there's a rather big surprise among his list.

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At 10:30 this morning Keith Law released his Cincinnati Reds top 10 prospects list. Unfortunately it’s behind the ESPN Insider wall and it doesn’t really include any scouting reports, though there are some notes on some players.

The two guys at the top are Jesse Winker and Robert Stephenson, though we already knew that since they were both inside his Top 50 prospects in the game. It was the player that Keith Law ranked third in the system that was the surprise.

Coming in third on the list is Aristides Aquino, who hasn’t ranked in the Top 7 on any other national list to this point and has missed the entire Top 10 on several lists. Aquino was apparently in consideration for a spot in Law’s Top 100.

It continues to be strange that Law ranked the farm system so low, especially while suggesting that Aristides Aquino is a borderline Top 100 prospect, yet that player didn’t rank inside of the top 10 on several national Top 10 lists inside his own system.

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Breaking down the Reds top prospects list http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/30/breaking-reds-top-prospects-list/ http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/30/breaking-reds-top-prospects-list/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 11:00:03 +0000 http://redsminorleagues.com/?p=11923 Looking at the Cincinnati Reds prospects lists and seeing how it stacks up to past years lists.

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It’s been a big week for prospects list and today will see two more national lists come out as Keith Law is scheduled to release his Reds Top 10 list later today and MLB.com will be releasing their Top 100 list tonight on MLB.com and MLB Network.

With all of the lists coming out I thought it would be a fun experiment to look at my own Top 40 Cincinnati Reds prospects lists going back eight years (to my first list – and to be perfectly honest, my lists have gotten much better over the years as it’s been easier to get better information in that time).

The Cincinnati Reds have a farm system that seems heavy in pitching and light on position prospects. The top 10 is certainly pitching heavy in 2014, but what about the Top 40 list? Is it heavier than it’s ever been?

Not really, no. Of the eight lists I’ve made over the years that span 40 players deep, the list for this year ranks third (tied with the list heading into 2008). It does hold the most pitchers in the last five lists  (19, 15, 17, 16 and 17 were the number of pitchers in past Top 40’s from the last five lists). There were 14 right handers and five more lefties that cracked the Top 40 this year (I’m including DeSclafani and Crawford, while not counting Lively).

How do other positions stack up to past years?

It’s tough to crack the list as a first baseman. There have only been eight first basemen listed in eight lists and that includes the same guy a few times. It’s the easiest position to find on the field and more than a few guys do move to first base from other spots down the road.

Second base is a spot where you don’t often find top prospects. Usually big league second baseman are former shortstops that stuck at shortstop for most of their minor league career before transitioning to the other side of the bag. The list this year didn’t have a single second baseman on it. Four years in the past had two and in 2011 there was a historical best four listed on the list.

Third base fell in line well with four guys listed. Only twice in eight years has there been a number of third basemen listed that wasn’t four or five. It’s a fallback position for non-shortstops (Todd Frazier is a nice example here), but also a position that will see guys move across the diamond to first base in the long run if they can’t stick.

Shortstop is one of the toughest places to play on the field. You need to have a lot of range, good hands and a big arm to play the spot. There just aren’t enough guys that can do all of that and still hit enough to make it to the big leagues, which is why when a player shows a chance to stick at the position, they are often viewed favorably as a prospect. It’s a rare skillset to have. Apparently I’m consistent in ranking shortstops over time though. In six of the eight years there have been three listed. In the other two years there were five. More than a few guys on the list at shortstop eventually moved to other positions.

Outfielders is another spot where the Reds are considered to be deep at. On my list the top five position prospects are all outfielders. Alex Blandino is mixed in a bit higher on some lists, but the point remains that most of the teams top position players are indeed outfielders. Over the last three lists though, this year has the fewest outfielders listed with nine. In the previous two years there were 12 and 11, though all of the lists prior had eight or seven outfielders listed.

Finally we get to the catchers. I listed four catchers in the Top 40 this season. That’s the most, tied with the list heading into 2010 there’s ever been. Catching is the toughest position on the field to find. I don’t want to say this the wrong way, but catching is less athletic than the other up the middle positions (not that it doesn’t require athleticism), but more skill is required to play it well. It’s not a position you can get by on with pure athleticism. It takes time, usually years and year and years of experience and practice to be able to stick at the position. The current crop of catchers in the system isn’t the best it’s ever been, that would be the group that had Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal being among the Top 50 prospects in the game at the same time, but it’s a group that’s improved over the past few seasons from a weakness in the system to one with some potential.

Talent at the top

If we look at just the Top 10 list things get a bit more clear as to why the Reds are viewed as being so pitching heavy. This years list have seven pitchers in the Top 10. The previous lists had 6, 5, 2, 3, 3 and 2. It’s been pitching heavy the last two years. It’s also been outfield heavy as the other six prospects to make the Top 10 in the last two seasons were all outfielders.

Overall Thoughtt

The Reds reputation as pitching and outfield heavy holds plenty of water, especially at the top. The top is where most people look and only the truly passionate go beyond the Top 10 lists for a farm system anyways, so from afar it seems that the Reds a system heavily tilted towards pitchers and outfielders. Overall though the number of pitchers and outfielders line up pretty well with where it’s historically been, it’s just that the pitchers and outfielders right now are performing well and have moved towards the top a bit more than in the past.

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Jesse Winker and Robert Stephenson are Top 50 prospects http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/29/jesse-winker-robert-stephenson-top-50-prospects/ http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/29/jesse-winker-robert-stephenson-top-50-prospects/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 16:59:06 +0000 http://redsminorleagues.com/?p=11919 The Cincinnati Reds landed just two prospects in the ESPN.com Top 100 prospects, but both Jesse Winker and Robert Stephenson were inside the top 50.

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ESPN’s Keith Law released his farm system rankings yesterday, shoving the Reds to the back half of the league at #17. Today he released his Top 100 prospects in the game and had just two Reds on the list.

Law ranked Jesse Winker at #40 in all of baseball. Law seems to love his plate approach and thinks he will be an elite on-base machine in baseball and hit 20 homers. It’s a strange ranking for someone with that profile if that’s what he actually believes. Four players in baseball had 20 HR and a .390+ OBP last season. Winker’s a left fielder, so I get that, but he’s projected to be an elite level bat by Law in his write up – you’d think a higher ranking would be in order.

Robert Stephenson came in at #49 on the list. Law says he’s got #1 potential with the big fastball and curveball combination but he’s not a fan of the change up (I believe, and apparently everyone else does from the national scene that it’s quite a bit better than Law does) and questions whether he’s a future starter or reliever. The control is a concern for Law, and that’s understandable. Stephenson will have to throw more strikes moving forward, but he’s shown that he can do that in the past.

Michael Lorenzen, nor Raisel Iglesias would made the list (Editors note: Law does not include Raisel Iglesias as a prospect for some reason, so he was not eligible for the list), which are the two other Reds prospects that I’d imagine will show up on other national lists if the Reds have others make them (even though I’m clearly the low man on the Iglesias totem-pole – I just need to see him work as a starter before ranking him ahead of guys I know can start – but that hasn’t stopped others from ranking him highly among the teams prospects).

Winker’s ranking seems to be about where I’d expect to see him on other lists. I doubt he’s outside of the Top 50 on any of the national lists, but I’d be surprised to see him inside the Top 25 on them as well (he gets dinged for being a left fielder). Stephenson being at #49 seems low to me and I think it will be the lowest of his national rankings. Law seems to hold a belief on Stephenson that you just aren’t reading elsewhere (mostly about that change up, which gives Law a thought that he is a reliever – no one else is talking like that). I’d look to see him in the 20-40 range on the other national lists when they come out.

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Cincinnati Reds Retrospective: 2005-2009 Drafts http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/29/cincinnati-reds-retrospective-2005-2009-drafts/ http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/29/cincinnati-reds-retrospective-2005-2009-drafts/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:00:07 +0000 http://redsminorleagues.com/?p=11914 Looking back at how the Cincinnati Reds drafts from 2005-2009 have turned out and shaped the future of the team.

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This is going to wrap up the series that looks back on the Cincinnati Reds drafts from a historical perspective. While we could technically look at the 2010-2014 drafts, they are still so close that gaining much information from them isn’t too helpful. You can read the entire series here.

The 2005 Draft

Things started out well in the 2005 draft when the Reds selected Jay Bruce in the first round. He’s hit .251/.323/.467 in seven big league seasons where he’s hit 182 homers and posted an OPS+ of 111 (where 100 is league average).  To this point in his career he’s posted a WAR of 14.3. The team followed the Bruce pick by selecting left handed pitcher Travis Wood. He pitched parts of two seasons with the Reds before being moved to the Cubs where he’s spent the last three seasons. In five years he’s thrown 738.1 innings with a 4.11 ERA. His best season came in 2013 where he threw 200.0 innings with a 3.11 ERA. In his career he’s had 5.0 WAR as a pitcher, but he’s picked up an additional 2.1 WAR at the plate thanks to nine home runs in just 288 plate appearances.The fourth round saw the team head back to the state of Texas to grab Sam LeCure. After splitting time in the rotation and bullpen in 2010 with the big league club he’s spent the last four years working out of the bullpen. He’s logged 300.2 innings with a 3.53 ERA (and a 111 ERA+) through five seasons and he’s accumulated a 2.7 career WAR. In the sixth round the Reds picked right handed pitcher Jeff Stevens. He’s best known to Reds fans as the player who was traded for Brandon Phillips, but he would throw parts of three seasons in the big leagues with the Cubs. He threw 37.1 innings with a 6.27 ERA and a career WAR of -0.7. The 11th round saw Carlos Fisher taken by the Reds out of Lewis and Clark State College. The right hander threw 98.2 innings with the Reds between 2009-2011 with a 4.74 ERA with a -0.3 WAR. In the next round the team picked up Adam Rosales. Rosales has carved out a career as a utility player, seeing big league action over the last seven years. In 1101 plate appearances he’s racked up 2.6 WAR thanks mostly to his ability to play solid defense all around the field. The final signed pick that made it to the big leagues was 13th rounder Logan Ondrusek. From 2010-2014 he’s posted a 3.89 ERA in 270.2 innings and racked up 0.7 WAR. The one that got away: In the 42nd round the Reds drafted RHP John Axford but he didn’t sign. He would be signed as a free agent the following year and has gone on to save 116 games in his career and was particularly dominant in 2010 and 2011 where he had 70 saves and a 2.19 ERA. Total WAR for signed players: 26.8

The 2006 Draft

Just like the 2005 draft the Reds went to the state of Texas to pick up an outfielder. This time they took center fielder Drew Stubbs and despite how some Reds fans thought of his game, he was a solid player for the team. He’s spent six seasons in the big leagues where he had 84 home runs and 147 steals. In 2909 plate appearances he’s racked up a career WAR of 9.2. In the third round the team picked up Chris Valaika. In three of his four big league seasons he saw fewer than 70 at-bats, but did play in 44 games during the 2014 with season with Cubs. He’s had limited action and is entering his age 29 season where he’s racked up -0.3 career WAR. In the sixth round the team picked up right hander Jordan Smith. He pitched parts of two seasons with the Reds in 2010-2011 but hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since. He had a 4.94 ERA in 62.0 big league innings and had a -0.5 WAR for his career. With their seventh round selection the team picked up infielder Justin Turner. He had just 31 plate appearances before the 2011 big league season, never playing with the Reds, but he’s stuck in the big leagues since and has accumulated 1248 plate appearances where he’s hit .281 (108 OPS+) while having 4.8 career WAR. The 10th round pick for the Reds was right handed pitcher Josh Roenicke. He pitched 14.1 innings for the Reds before he was traded to Toronto during the 2009 season. He was in the big leagues between 2008 and 2013, but spent the full 2014 season in Triple-A. In 220.1 big league innings he has a 4.17 ERA and a career WAR of 1.8. Down in the 17th round the Reds selected Chris Heisey out of Messiah College, one of only two players picked from the school (strangely enough in back-to-back years). After spending a few years in the minors he made it up to the Majors in 2010 and has stuck ever since. In 1452 career plate appearances he’s slugged .422, but he’s struggled in other offensive areas. He’s brought a lot of value on defense though and has racked up 4.6 career WAR. The final pick the Reds made that would make it to the big leagues came in the 20th round when they selected catcher Eddy Rodriguez. He would end up being released by the Reds in April of 2009 and played independent ball for the next two seasons before signing with the Padres in February of 2011. His big league time was limited to just two games and seven plate appearances, but he made it count by reaching base three times and homering, which was good enough for 0.2 WAR in his career. Still with a chance: Josh Ravin (RHP) and Danny Dorn (1B). Total WAR for signed players: 19.7

The 2007 Draft

Making it four years in a row, the Reds nailed their first pick when they selected catcher Devin Mesoraco. His career got out to a rougher start than expected but he wound up as a top prospect in the game and turned that into an All-Star during the 2014 season with the Reds. After a slow start to his big league career his huge 2014 season pushed his career OPS+ to 105 and he’s accumulated 4.2 career WAR. In the supplemental first round the team selected Todd Frazier out of Rutgers. He moved around a lot in the minors, playing just about everywhere before finally settling in on third base at the big league level and like Mesoraco, turned into an All-Star in 2014. In four big league seasons he’s posted a 112 OPS+ and posted a 10.9 career WAR where he’s provided value on both sides of the ball. The second round pick in 2007 was shortstop Zack Cozart. He took a while to reach the big leagues but has been the full time starter since 2012. He’s struggled offensively in his career with a career OPS+ of just 77, but he’s been one of the better defensive shortstops in the game, helping him rack up 7.1 career WAR in just three seasons. In the third round the team picked up another future big leaguer as they took Scott Carroll out of Missouri State. He would be released by the Reds in July of 2012 and was immediately picked up by the White Sox, where he has been ever since. He made his big league debut in 2014 and pitched 129.1 innings for the White Sox with a 4.80 ERA. That was good for a -0.6 WAR. With their next pick the team picked up Neftali Soto. He’s spent small parts of the last two seasons with the Reds where he’s struggled mightily at the plate and racked up -0.6 WAR in that time. Way down in the 21st round the Reds picked left hander Jeremy Horst. He pitched 15.1 innings for the Reds in 2011 before being traded to the Phillips where he spent 2012-2013 in their bullpen. His 2014 was spent in Triple-A. For his big league career to this point he has 72.2 innings with a 3.34 ERA and a 0.6 WAR. In the 26th round the Reds made their final pick of a future big leaguer that they were able to sign was Curtis Partch. The big right hander has thrown 30.1 innings, all for the Reds in 2013 and 2014, with a 4.75 ERA. He’s posted a -0.1 WAR for his career. Still with a chance: Kyle Lotzkar (RHP). Total WAR for signed players: 22.0

The 2008 Draft

Continuing with their first round successes the Reds picked Yonder Alonso with their first pick in 2008. He played in just 69 games for the Reds, hitting .299 before being traded to the Padres where he’s posted a 106 OPS+ in three seasons. In 1409 career plate appearances he’s had a 4.2 career WAR. The team followed that pick with the selection of right hander Zach Stewart. He was traded to the Blue Jays before reaching the big leagues  and spent parts of the 2011 and 2012 seasons in the big leagues where he threw 103.0 innings with a 6.82 ERA and posted a -1.6 WAR. In the seventh round the Reds picked right hander Pedro Villarreal out of Howard College. He’s pitched in parts of the last three seasons with the Reds. In 21.1 innings over the three seasons he’s posted a 6.33 ERA and had -0.4 WAR. In the ninth round the team pegged outfielder Dave Sappelt with their pick. He saw limited big league action from 2011-2013 with the Reds and the Cubs, hitting .251 and accumulating 0.2 WAR in that time. Way down in the 32nd round the Reds picked up left handed pitcher Justin Freeman. He would pitch one inning for the Reds in 2013, marking his only big league appearance. Still with a chance: JC Sulbaran. Total WAR for signed players: 2.3

The 2009 Draft

This draft is still really close to the break-even point as high schoolers from this draft were just 23-years-old last season. The Reds started things out well when they picked up right hander Mike Leake. He has been in the big leagues since 2010 and has thrown 891.2 innings with a 3.92 career ERA. On the mound he’s had 6.3 WAR for his career, but he’s also picked up 3.4 WAR at the plate in that time. The Reds followed that pick with another pitcher in the supplemental first round as they selected Brad Boxberger. He was moved before he made his big league debut and has spent parts of three seasons in the big leagues, all in the last three years, where he’s posted a 2.52 ERA in 114.1 innings. He’s picked up 2.1 WAR in those three seasons. The teams second round pick was of Billy Hamilton. Hamilton spent his first full season in the Majors during 2014 and now has 633 big league plate appearances and already has 69 career steals. He’s had 3.2 career WAR in his short big league career. Making it three rounds and four future big leaguers, the Reds third round selection of left hander Donnie Joseph. He’s had limited action in 2013 and 2014 with the Royals, pitching just 6.1 innings. In the 10th round the Reds picked up catcher Tucker Barnhart. He would make his big league debut in the 2014 season and would play in 21 games and racked up 0.2 WAR. In the 13th round the Reds picked up righty Nick Christiani out of Vanderbilt. He’s spent parts of the last two seasons with the Reds, throwing 17.0 innings with a 4.76 ERA. Still with a chance: Josh Fellhauer (OF), Juan Silva (OF), Jacob Johnson (RHP), Tim Crabbe (RHP), Jamie Walczak (RHP), Yovan Gonzalez (C). Total WAR for signed players: 15.0

Overall

The Reds were very successful in this period of time and it’s a large reason that the Reds have been contenders over the last few seasons as the farm system has gone from providing little-to-no big leaguers to providing 32 draftees that have already reached the big leagues with more than a few who still have a chance to emerge from this time frame. The 2007 draft may go down as the best one from this group thanks to landing Mesoraco, Frazier and Cozart in the first two rounds, though 2005 with Bruce and Wood could rival it. Or maybe the Leake and Hamilton class tops them all. The best pick was either Justin Turner in the seventh round of 2006 or Chris Heisey in the 17th round later that same year.

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Keith Law ranks the Reds as the 17th best farm system http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/28/keith-law-ranks-reds-17th-best-farm-system/ http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/28/keith-law-ranks-reds-17th-best-farm-system/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:30:39 +0000 http://redsminorleagues.com/?p=11911 ESPN writer Keith Law ranks the Reds as the 17th best farm system in baseball.

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Earlier today ESPN writer Keith Law released his farm system rankings. He didn’t look favorably on the Cincinnati Reds system, ranking them 17th in all of baseball, which was behind the Cubs (1st), Pirates (7th) and Cardinals (13th) within the division. They ranked only ahead of the Brewers within the division (they were 28th).

I’ve not always agreed with Keith Law on prospects, once getting into a heated argument with him  over who had the better future between Mitchell Boggs and Homer Bailey. Once again, I’m not in agreement with him on the ranking of the Reds system.

I don’t have access to ESPN Insider, so I can’t read the article, but I just have a hard time believing that a team with four or five Top 100 caliber prospects (those were JJ Coopers words – so assume he means Stephenson, Winker, Iglesias, Lorenzen and Howard) that also has the depth that the Reds have somehow rank in the second half of the big leagues in farm system value. If you have read what he says about the Reds, feel free to summarize what was said in the comments.

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Neftali Soto helps team to Puerto Rican Winter League Championship http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/28/neftali-soto-helps-team-puerto-rican-winter-league-championship/ http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/28/neftali-soto-helps-team-puerto-rican-winter-league-championship/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:30:43 +0000 http://redsminorleagues.com/?p=11909 Cincinnati Reds prospect Neftali Soto had two hits in the final game of the Puerto Rican Winter League Championship game to help his team win.

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Tuesday night saw the Puerto Rican Winter League come to an end with Cangrejeros de Santurce taking home the title and advancing to the Caribbean Series with a 5-3 win in a dramatic Game 6.

Mayaguez jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Santurce got a run back in the fifth inning, but trailed 3-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. That’s when the home team would rally to score four runs to take a 5-3 lead, a lead that they would hold onto over the next inning and go on to celebrate the championship.

Cincinnati Reds first/third baseman Neftali Soto played a role in the victory. Soto racked up two hits in four at-bats. He would single in the first inning but was stranded at second base. In the eighth inning though he got the rally started with a one-out single. He scored the next play when Anthony Garcia doubled him in. As noted above, a rally ensued for four runs that led Santurce to the victory.

Soto and his team will move on to the Caribbean Series, which begins on February 2nd. It will be played in Puerto Rico this year. Only Venezuela has not had its champion crowned. Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic have all finished their playoffs and have their representatives. The countries will usually supplement the league champions for the Caribbean Series with talent from other teams in the league. Mexico has won the last two and three of the last four Caribbean Series, which is a round robin style tournament where one team is eliminated after four games. The final four teams are seeded and play 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3 in a one game, winner-takes-all “round” with the winners meeting in the championship game.

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Felix Perez has a big night in the Venezuelan Winter League Playoffs http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/28/felix-perez-big-night-venezuelan-winter-league-playoffs/ http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/28/felix-perez-big-night-venezuelan-winter-league-playoffs/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 11:00:34 +0000 http://redsminorleagues.com/?p=11906 Cincinnati Reds outfielder Felix Perez had a big night in leading his team to a victory of the Venezuelan Winter League playoffs on Tuesday night.

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Felix Perez has crushed the ball all winter long while playing in Venezuela. He hit .360 in the regular season for Caribes de Anzoategui. He’s carried that forward in the playoffs where he’s hit .342 and smacked six homers in 19 games.

On Tuesday night the outfielder, who spent the regular season in Triple-A Louisville for the Reds, had another big night. With his team leading the Venezuelan Winter League Championship Series two games to one he was able to put the team on his back as he notched three hits in five at-bats.

In the first inning he came to the plate with two outs and two runners on and he drove them both in to give his team a 2-0 lead. In the third inning he came to the plate with two more runners on and he came through again, this time he smashed a 3-run homer to put his team up 6-0. He would single later in the game for his third hit and Anzoategui would win by a score of 8-4 and take a three games to one lead in the best of seven series.

Perez drove in five runs on the night, pushing his RBI total to 21 during the playoffs. He’s hit .342/.402/.658 during the playoffs.

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Which minor leaguer is best equipped to beat a shift? http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/27/minor-leaguer-best-equipped-beat-shift/ http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/27/minor-leaguer-best-equipped-beat-shift/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:20:22 +0000 http://redsminorleagues.com/?p=11903 Which Cincinnati Reds minor leaguer is best equipped to beat the shift by hitting grounders the opposite way?

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It’s been a raging debate on the internet over the last 30 hours or so as new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said that he would look at eliminating the shift in baseball to try and inject some offense back into the game. In a Baseball Prospectus article posted this morning it’s noted that two “sabermetric friendly” General Managers think it’s a good idea to ban the shift.

All of the talk about the shift got me to wondering though,which minor leaguer is best equipped to handle the shift. The first thing that popped into my mind was “guys who are good at bunting and use it as a part of their game” and I think that is still the best answer. But I decided to eliminate the bunts from the equation and look at only ground balls, since they are the type of ball that the shift is designed to take away hits on.

Since I do create spray charts for all of the guys in the system I had an idea of the player who went the other way the most often. That of course doesn’t automatically mean he went the other way with groundballs more than everyone else though, but in this case, it did.

I combined all ground balls to shortstop, third base and left field as “pulled grounders” and all ground balls to first base, second base and right field as “opposite field grounders” for right handers, and for left handers, it was the opposite.

Carlton Daal had the best rates on grounders going the opposite way. The shortstop had 143 grounders in the 2014 season. 85 of those were pulled and 58 of them were to the opposite field. His 41% of opposite field grounders was tops on the list. Of course, as a right handed hitter, Daal would face the shift less often than a left handed hitter would and would be less effected even if he saw the shift as often as a lefty would because of the inability to play 80 feet deep into left field like you can play in right field (the throw is possible from right, but not from left).

Guys like Jesse Winker and Kyle Waldrop, who used the entire field well in 2014, saw their opposite field grounder rates under 30%.

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Marquez Smith homers, Felix Perez shines in winter league playoffs http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/27/marquez-smith-homers-felix-perez-shines-winter-league-playoffs/ http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/27/marquez-smith-homers-felix-perez-shines-winter-league-playoffs/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:00:23 +0000 http://redsminorleagues.com/?p=11901 Cincinnati Reds prospects Marquez Smith and Felix Perez shine in the Mexican and Venezuelan Winter League playoffs on Monday night.

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The Mexican Winter League playoffs came to an end on Monday night as Jalisco fell to Culiacan by a 4-3 score. Cincinnati Reds prospect Marquez Smith got the start at designated hitter in the game and had one of the Charros’ four hits and he made the hit count as he smacked a solo homer to left field in the fifth inning to get his team on the board. The season comes to an end for Smith after more than 300 plate appearances over the winter. Here is his total line for the winter, including both the regular season and playoffs.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K AVG OBP SLG
290 42 76 19 1 14 46 34 57 .262 .340 .479

Down in Venezuela the finals continued with Caribes taking on Magallanes.  Caribes fell 10-3, but it wasn’t due to Felix Perez. The right fielder went 3-4 with an RBI as he continued to crush the ball in the winter league. After hitting .360 in the regular season the left hander is now hitting .324 during the playoffs. The series will continue Tuesday night.

Felix Perez (Venezuela), Alejandro Chacin (Venezuela), Jose Mijares (Venezuela), Neftali Soto (Puerto Rico) and Yovan Gonzalez (Puerto Rico) are the only Reds still playing winter ball.

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What does the future hold for RHP Dan Langfield? http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/26/future-hold-rhp-dan-langfield/ http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/01/26/future-hold-rhp-dan-langfield/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:11:42 +0000 http://redsminorleagues.com/?p=11895 After missing the 2013 season, Dan Langfield returned for 2014 and had an up-and-down season with flashes of dominance. Where does his future lie?

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When Dan Langfield finally returned in May of 2014 after missing all of the 2013 season, it was a very impressive return. He topped out at 97 MPH, pitching in relief and just dominated the opposing hitters. Things went smoothly for Langfield for a bit of time after that, but he would have some ups-and-downs over the rest of the season.

There were plenty of good things. He made nine starts out of his 21 appearances, showing that he can still handle more than just a relief role in terms of his stamina. The right hander had 81 strikeouts in 60.1 innings pitched. From a stuff standpoint, he really stood out at times.

There were some not-so-good things too. He walked 43 batters in 60.1 innings pitched, a rate that must come down in the future. He was a very big fly ball pitcher, which isn’t something that can’t be overcome, but he had the second lowest groundball rate of all pitchers in the system during 2014.

As noted above, Langfield had time as both a starter and a reliever. Let’s take a quick look at his splits:

Split PA BB K BB% K%
As Starter 173 32 50 18.5% 28.9%
As Reliever 105 14 35 13.3% 33.3%

I chose to look at these stats first for a reason. To me, they are the most important. How often do you miss bats and how often do you miss the strikezone? Pitchers walks and strikeout rates generally tell us how successful they will be (along with home run rate – Langfield had the same rate for each). As a reliever Langfield walked significantly less hitters and struck out significantly more (on a rate status). His strikeout rate as a starter was very, very high. On the flip side, his walk rate as a starter was incredibly high. As a reliever his walk rate was quite high and it looks small compared to what he did as a starter in terms of walks.

Now let’s take a look at some different numbers from his time as a starter and a reliever:

Split ERA IP H BABIP
As Starter 3.96 38.2 25 .247
As Reliever 5.32 23.2 20 .327

Here we see a different story than the one above. His ERA and hit rate was much lower as a starter than as a reliever despite guys making more contact, hitting homers at the same rate and walking guys at much more frequently. The big difference is that his batting average on balls in play was significantly lower as a starter than it was as a reliever.

What role is best for Dan Langfield moving forward?

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