Hey guys and gals, it’s been a while since we’ve had one of these here. Without something that jumped out to me to write this morning, I thought today would be a good day to bring it back. I will answer any question between now and 4pm. Simply leave your question(s) in the comments below, and then I will answer it in this post and delete it from the comments section once I’ve answered it here. There are a few simple rules:

  • Avoid questions that will require a bunch of research to answer.
  • Each person can ask three questions.
  • Ask before 4pm.

Simple enough. Let’s get to it.

Since we missed the window to trade Scooter at his peak how about…. Senzel in left, Winker in right, Trammell in center (in 2020 after one more year of Hamilton) and India at 2nd (in 2020 after one more year of Scooter)? If you don’t like that strategy, what would you do to find a spot for Senzel, Trammell, Winker, and India?

If those are going to be your three outfielders, then you’d want Senzel in right and Winker in left because Senzel has a significantly better arm. But, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’d not play Nick Senzel in the outfield. If guys can play on the dirt, leave them on the dirt. They are far more valuable there unless they can play center. At this point, Jonathan India hasn’t played second base as a pro. And while I think he’s a very good prospect, 2020 – particularly to start the year, is a very aggressive timeline for him. If I’m looking at the outfield from internal options for 2020 it’s going to be me choosing from Winker, Schebler, Trammell, and Siri. Maybe someone else comes onto the scene in the meantime, but I think those are the current options you’re looking at – internally.

With Jonathan India, I’d play him at shortstop for now and see what happens. I’ve not seen him nearly enough to know one way or the other, but I saw enough range the one time I did see him play there that I’d keep giving it a look. With Senzel, I’m playing him at second base and have him start there in 2019 for the Reds. I’d move Gennett in the offseason unless there simply was no interest at all. And maybe there isn’t. If that’s the case, then fairly or unfairly (this is what it is, unfortunately), that probably means that Senzel’s got to bide his time in Triple-A a while longer.

Who do you see in the lineup in 2019 and 2020. With all the position players plying well in the minors it looks like we will have the pleasure of a very crowded group of talented position players. Same question but starting rotation and do you think there is a need to go outside to fill any roles?

The lineup in 2019 is going to look an awful lot like the one we saw a month ago before everyone started getting hurt. No one is a free agent and I believe they’ll all be back. In 2020 you’ve got to replace Hamilton and Scooter. That’s going to probably be Trammell/Siri in center and Senzel at second.

The rotation is an enormous question mark and I’d be lying if I said I had any clue. There are probably 10 options for 2020, but none of whom you should feel like are sure-fire locks to be in there at this point. No one has proven that they are a legitimate average starter outside of Anthony DeSclafani, who hasn’t proven he can make it a full season without missing time. The Reds are in this weird spot where they have plenty of arms, but they don’t have any reliable ones. Do they spend money to bring in reliable arms? Or maybe they spend talent in a trade to do so, but also have to pay that guy in arbitration/take on his contract? Or do they just go with the big arms they have and hope some of them pan out? Both are full of risks. Personally, I’d use the depth on the farm to try and acquire a higher end starting pitcher if available – ala the Mat Latos deal.

What is your power ranking for 2019 rotation? What would you offer Scooter Gennett for an extension? Would you rather sign a one-year (2019), $7-10M FA at CF or SP if both players were equal?

Assuming health, of course I’d have to say I’d go with this as the rotation: Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, Tyler Mahle. The other two spots are yet to be determined. Assuming the Reds don’t acquire anyone, how the rest of the season plays out for Sal Romano, Robert Stephenson, Lucas Sims, Cody Reed, and even Homer Bailey comes into play. Darkhorse: Tony Santillan – who is cruising in Double-A right now, but will only have about 10-11 starts at the level before the year is over. I doubt Santillan gets real consideration to start 2019, but maybe he should.

At this point I don’t think that I would offer Scooter Gennett an extension. Nick Senzel looks to be a high end player at the same spot, will be ready in April, and will be significantly cheaper for the next 5 years. I like Scooter Gennett and appreciate what he is (an above-average player), but it’s a long term business decision that I believe works out better for the Reds if they don’t extend him.

Give me the $10M starting pitcher. Though, honestly, I wouldn’t feel great about either. If you are signing a 1-year-deal, that probably tells us a lot about what you did in 2018 and are likely to do in 2019. Still, $10M should get you someone reliable-ish in the rotation. They probably won’t be very good, but shouldn’t be bad, either.

Do you think Senzel can play center? Can Micheal Beltre play a passable center moving forward and into the majors? What do you think is the ceiling of Josiah Gray? And are you guys related?

Generally speaking, to be a center fielder, you need a minimum of 60 speed. Nick Senzel has that. But, there’s a lot more that goes into it than straight line speed. Burst is very important. So is being able to turn your hips and get going. Those two areas are ones where I don’t know that Senzel has it or not. I’ve never seen it in action, so it’s tough to comment on it. But, I’d not play him in the outfield even if he could. Keep him on the dirt.

With Beltre, I think there’s a chance he could play a passable center defensively. That said, he’s down the depth chart behind a few guys – most notably Jose Siri and Taylor Trammell. I’d also have him behind TJ Friedl. That’s a lot of guys to pass by for center. Josiah Gray has very good fastball control. That always gives you that warm feeling inside when it comes to a ceiling. I’d say that he’s got that 2/3 ceiling. Right now the fastball is far more advanced than the offspeed stuff. He’ll flash good secondaries, but they are inconsistent still. That’s not unexpected, of course – he’s got limited time on the mound. The fastball control could allow him to move quickly, though. And while I have not done any DNA testing, I don’t believe Josiah and I are related.

I’m curious, how does Santillan compare as a prospect to Robert Stephenson from 2013? He seems to be showing solid control at higher levels than Stephenson did, so I’m almost wondering if he’s still being a bit underrated.

I believe that the 2013 version of Robert Stephenson was a better prospect. That version was a guy who would routinely sit 94-98 (and that was before everyone and their mother could do this) with a hammer curveball. And he did so while throwing tons of strikes. He wasn’t quite the same with his control after he returned from a hamstring injury that season, though. His change up still needed plenty of work, though.

Right now, Santillan is a year older than Stephenson was at that time. Age doesn’t factor in as much with pitching prospects as it does with position guys, but is worth noting here. Given the time period, though, I’d have said that Stephenson had the better fastball and better breaking ball, with Santillan having a better change. All of that said, I’d say Stephenson was the better prospect in 2013 than Santillan is right now, but that Santillan is drastically underrated by the national places when it comes to what I believe his actual prospect status should be.

Rookie Davis has disappeared off the radar. Seriousness of arm stiffness? Haven’t seen him on your updates. What’s his status? Thanks!

I do not have an updates on Rookie at this point. I wish I had a better answer here, but right now, I do not.

Any update on Travieso? Siani has hit well to start his professional career and I read he’s made adjustments to his swing. Does his production and adjustment change his ceiling from prior to the draft? Has Aquino done enough to stick on 40-man this offseason?

Nothing on Travieso in about 4-5 weeks. Last checked he was throwing bullpen sessions. I don’t think we see him on the mound this year given the date of the year.

The ceiling is the same. His production certainly has been outstanding. Some teams were more sold on the bat than others coming into the draft. The Reds were clearly one of the teams more sold given what they gave up to bring him in.

The big thing working for Aquino is that it seems that only one or two guys are going to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason. It’s also working for him that he’s showing signs of improvement in his weakest area over the last two months. Looking at the current 40-man, there are 43 guys – with three on the 60-day DL. Matt Harvey is a free agent, so that’s going to make 42. Everyone else is under contract.

Looking at the bottom of the 40-man, you’ve got to think it’s including Austin Brice, Rookie Davis, Jesus Reyes, Zack Weiss, Curt Casali, Brandon Dixon, Aristides Aquino, Phillip Ervin, Preston Tucker, and Mason Williams. The Reds will need to create three or four spots depending on who they will protect from the Rule 5. They will need more if they add anyone in free agency or trade (though maybe not here depending on who is traded). I don’t think Aquino would be the first to go from that list, but depending on what they do, he could be in jeopardy.

Thanks Doug for the Q&A session. I really look forward to reading your responses. My three questions would be 1: Do we ever get to see what Hunter can do with the bat as a position player/SS? 2: I’ve been reading a lot about teams unwillingness to trade top (1-5) prospect unless you get a premier position filled by elite talent. What would it take for you to trade a Trammell/India Package? 3: Read reports that Tyler Stephenson needed to prove that he could stay healthy all year in which he could really climb prospects status. How would grade his year? Can he stick to position and what is his ceiling/ETA.

No, I don’t think you’ll ever see Hunter Greene on the field as something other than a pitcher. His arm is too special that I can’t even imagine it being considered unless he just doesn’t develop at all.

If I’m moving those kinds of guys, you need to be sending back a #1/2 starting pitcher with long term control. If you can get a long-term answer in center field or shortstop, that’s an above-average dude, maybe you pull the trigger on that one.

I’d say that Tyler Stephenson has stepped forward this season. Health is a big factor. But, he’s also improved as a player, too. There’s still plenty to work on, but he’ll be ready for Double-A next year. Ceiling – he’s an All-Star catcher who is more bat than glove, but a guy who can hold his own behind the plate. I just think that ceiling wise, he’s a 25 HR catcher, and those guys are rare.

The Reds drafted well at the top in 2015 (Stephenson, Santillan) but the rest of the draft was sparse. In 2016 the Reds did fantastic at the top (Senzel, Trammell) and the rest of the draft was average (Hendrix, Hanson, Moss and Olson). In 2017 the draft was average at the top (Greene but a drop-off with Downs, Fairchild compared to Trammell, Santillan) but the depth was solid. These were three good drafts for the Reds (at least in my eyes at this point). However, I feel the 2018 draft was their best in the last 4 years. Early but great at the top (India, Gray, Siani). Lyon Richardson has little experience at pitching so am excited about him. There are also 4-6 players drafted later that I am excited about. It is so early to tell but what is your take on this draft and am I wrong to consider each of the prior 3 drafts a success?

It’s way too early to tell on any of them, really. I like them all. Generally speaking, a good draft means you got a starting player/pitcher, and a reliever/bench guy. Right now, the 2016 draft has the Reds with two Top 25 prospects in all of baseball. To put the 2018 draft ahead of that is a big ask right now.

10 of the players outside your top 25 include Cash Case, Beltre, Finol, Rylan Thomas, Randy Ventura, Diaz, Marinan, Debby Santana, Rey and Zeek White. I feel quite a bit higher on many of these than I did on the Reds 21-25 prospects the prior 3 years. I think this is by far the deepest the system has ever been with legit prospects. What is your take?

I really like the depth in the system right now. And you’re right – there are a lot of guys outside of the current Top 25 that seem like real, legit prospects. Of course, the actual current Top 25 probably looks a little different than my Top 25 list that was released 5 weeks ago. Some guys, particularly those in rookie ball are showing new/different things. But some of the guys that were in the top 25 have stumbled back a little bit, too. Top of my head, things are certainly in the conversation for deepest they’ve been in a real long time.

Midseason you put Siani at 25 because you hadn’t seen him yet. Now that you have I am sure he moves up for you. In fact, it is probably conservative to say he is in your top 15. Has he forced his way into your top 10? For me he has moved from 14 to 10.

Top of my head without doing the work needed, no, he’s not in the top 10. That could change when the list comes out and I’ve done the work that I need to. Right now, though, he’s probably on the outside of the top 10 – but absolutely higher than 25th.

After the Bats season is over, who among the position players do you believe will get the September call-up? Guererro? O’Grady? Peterson? Trahan? Among the relievers, any of Finnegan? Wisler? Brice? or Quackenbush?Do you think any of Sims, Mahle, or Reed get a start for the Reds this September?

Finnegan, Wisler, Brice, Sims, Mahle – they’re on the 40-man and I’d expect them in Cincinnati after the Bats season is over. I don’t think we’ll see someone else called up, though. I’d doubt we see a non-current 40-man roster guy brought up. I don’t think we’ll see more than a spot start in September for someone that’s not currently in the rotation unless there’s an injury.

Doug can you answer what you think of the catching situation down the road other than Stephenson. Do any of the following have more than a short call up between Tromp, Okey, Kolosvary and Brown to play in the majors?

I think that right now the plan and hope is that Tyler Stephenson can take over for Tucker Barnhart in a few years. Okey and Kolozsvary stick out defensively, but their bats – at least presently, don’t present themselves as starter types. Of course, catchers tend to develop offensive later – so you never know for sure. Tromp’s interesting because they’ve moved him up, but he’s also never been the main guy anywhere. He’s always held his own, though.

Do you think we will orchestrate a trade for Harvey or will we just let him walk? Chances we can sign(and would) to a team friendly 2-3 year deal?

No trade and let him walk. Chances to re-sign him are small. If you are trying to build up your value to a longer term deal there’s no way you’re signing to pitch in Cincinnati unless they are one of only a few teams offering.

Will we still explore trading Billy or are we stuck going into next year with Billy, Winker, and injury-prone Schebs as our 3 starting OF?

If you believe the rumor that the Reds weren’t even allowed to discuss trading Billy Hamilton at the deadline, which one writer actually put out there, then he’s coming back next year. There’s no reason to think Winker and Schebler won’t be to his left and right.

Will Senzel start 2019 as a starter in our infield? If so, for whom, Peraza or Gennett??

Not unless Gennett is traded – at least to begin the year. Rightly or wrongly, I can’t see them giving him the job out of the spring over a veteran like Gennett. And they aren’t playing him at shortstop, so that’s not happening.

Do you ever rank UDFA? Has there been an outstanding, signed player that caught your eye? Who has been the most surprising (signed or drafted)?

I don’t. And even thought I’m not sure if you mean international guys, or draft eligible guys that went undrafted – but either way, no. I’m simply not well versed enough on either at the time one would need to be ranking them. In terms of international guys, I’m actually hoping to write about one of them tomorrow morning that’s playing in the Dominican right now – so check back for that. It’ll be up some point this week, but I’m hoping for tomorrow before lunch. Could depend on how the night unfolds, though. Most surprising guy…. that’s probably a tie between a guy like Claudio Finol and Jonathan Willems. Both are with Greeneville and have been impressive, albeit in different ways and for different reasons.

What is the book on Ibandel Isabel? Until recently, I hadn’t heard of him and he’s leading his league in HRs. Any chance Gabi Guerrero sees time on the MLB club this year? What’s your thought on him?

Ibandel Isable has 80-grade power. It’s top of the scale. In 2017, among every player in professional baseball, on average, only Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton had a higher exit velocity. He’s a freak when it comes to the ability to hit the baseball hard. But, he’s also got a strikeout rate that would make anyone blush. And he’s still in A-ball. He’s going to have to cut down on his strikeouts a little bit before he’s really going to be in the conversation for future big league time.

With Gabby Guerrero, things are interesting. He’s got to be added to the 40-man this year or he’ll be a free agent. He’s aggressive at the plate, and because of that he looks more like a 4th/5th outfielder. What does help is that he can handle center in a pinch, and he can play in the corners. He’s got good pop in his bat and he can use it to all fields. How the Reds handle him in the next 7 weeks will be telling.

Joey For Prime Minister T-Shirt

23 Responses

  1. Doug Gray

    Thanks for all of the questions. Time to get ready for the evenings festivities.

  2. MuddyCleats

    Doug: Will Reds ever go “All In” and actually try for a winning season or continue to disappoint their fans w/ the perpetual draft, develop, trade 4 more prospect marketing scheme?

    P.S. Watched Rookie Davis pitch in Chattanooga. Looked OK for 3 innings, but not much swing & miss stuff. Got knocked around a little in the 4th and left in 5th w/ apparent injury? Looks like so many other Reds SP: all FB and little else to keep hitters off balance. He’s a thrower – didn’t see any attempt @ PITCHING. Twins Top 10 prospect SP, Thorpe?, gave Wahoos all they could handle. Good FB, nasty slider and worked in change-up for weak contact. Kid threw hard & still tried 2 pitch!

  3. RandyW

    I still believe that everyone is overlooking the possibility of senzel at short and moving peraza to center. I think reds didnt play senzel at short in minors because they didn’t want peraza looking over his shoulder.

    • Alex

      I believe in senzel more at short than peraza in cf. Plus having an outfield of winker in lf peraza in cf and schebler in rf would have to be the worst defensive outfield in the majors.

      • RandyW

        Agreed. I think Peraza is best served as a super utility type guy but we know that the Reds will run him out there until he’s a free agent just like they have hamilton.

      • The Rage

        He can’t play short. It is 3rd or 2nd. Pure and simple.

      • abado

        I’m the opposite. Peraza in CF makes more sense than Senzel at SS. It’s not particularly close in my mind, but neither makes much sense.

        Peraza is a good defensive SS, and that’s hard to find. Senzel doesn’t quite have the agility to cut it at SS or the burst to cut it in CF (I’d be worried about him there anyway with his vertigo issues).

        Why are we moving these guys again? To keep 2B open for Scooter? smh.

  4. RedsFaninPitt

    Would you sign Harvey to a 3 yr contract for 30-35 mil? Assuming Hamilton is moved during the off-season and Senzel is playing 2B, would it be a smart move to sign Jose Iglesias for 2-3 seasons to play SS (until Garcia/Downs/Hernández/India are ready)and move Peraza to CF (until Trammell/Siri are ready)? Peraza is not a very good SS, but he can hit.

    • Jasonp

      Why are people so enamored with Harvey. He has a 4.61 ERA with us and this is the best he has been in 4 years. Harvey has even less quality starts this year then Homer Bailey.

      He is going to be 30 before next year starts. What has he done that makes you think we should sign him for 3 years? He hasn’t been great or even average in a long long time.

  5. redlegs4ever

    Peraza is not moving to CF, Peraza is not staying at SS (at least if the Reds are serious about contending) And Peraza is not likely to be in the big leagues in a couple years.

    This “really good player” Jose Peraza is below average both offensively and defensively. People need to realize batting average doesn’t matter. There’s nothing in Peraza’s game that should be appealing to either analytical circles or scouting circles, aside from plus speed that comes with still mediocre baserunning.

      • redlegs4ever

        I’m not sure what’s “nonsense” about it. Every single metric used to evaluate overall offense and defense find him below average…

  6. RandyW

    If Harvey is our big off season signing then we are in a great deal of trouble.

  7. Doc

    Reed was supposed to start for the Bats Monday but was pulled and called to the Reds, ostensibly for long relief. He should be well rested. Tonight Romano got pounded, again, and the Reds were so far down by the time he was pulled in the second that it seemed a perfect role for the long reliever. So who gets the call? Lorenzen, followed by Hughes. Using the term loosely, what is the brain trust thinking by not calling on Reed in a low pressure situation to get his feet wet? Just doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Randy in Chatt

      Maybe because Reed did pitch last night, albeit in a short stint and the Reds needed someone to go longer to save the bullpen. This they chose someone who was rested. Two nights in a row and the second nite as a long stint is not a good a recipe for arm health.

  8. Mike in Ottawa

    I think “metrics” in many ways is ruining baseball. Maybe it is because I have not taken the time to understand them. But Peraza has done everything you could ask for in a SS/Leadoff hitter. He has improved his average, cut down on SO, and even drawn a few walks. Plus I think all things considered has played a good SS. I have watched a lot of baseball in my life and trust what my eyes see.

    • redlegs4ever

      If leading the league in errors and making outs at a higher frequency than any other leadoff hitter in the game is what you ask of a SS/Leadoff hitter than yes he’s done everything you could ask…

      • redlegs4ever

        He leads the NL in errors for a SS (or any position for that matter) and has the lowest OBP of any player that bats leadoff.

        I decided to sight those two things because I thought they were easy to understand. There’s several more actual “metrics” that show how terrible Peraza really is but you said you didn’t get those…

      • Cguy

        What? Tim Beckham the Orioles ss has 17 errors (in 235 Total Chances). Jurickson Profar the ss of the Rangers has 19E in 449 TC. Marcus Semien ss of the Athletics also has 19E in 507 TC. Tim Anderson ss of the White Sox has 15 E in 461 TC. The Reds ss Jose Peraza has 14E in 431 TC. Jean Segura ss for Seattle has 14E in 414 TC & Addison Russell ss of the Cubs also has 14 E in 413 TC. Cleveland’s ss Lindor is right behind with 13 E in 457 TC. There are about 5 more infielders with 14 or more errors including Reds 3rd baseman Suarez. As for hitting leadoff, that has more to do with management & relative team offense than anything unique to Peraza. He’s holding his own this year & may get even better.

      • redlegs4ever

        Obviously you’re confused to what teams are in the NL.

        As for the leadoff comment, it was a direct response to Mike saying he’s doing everything you can ask of a leadoff hitter.

      • Bill

        Jose Peraza has an OPS of over 900 and an sOPS of 160 when leading off an inning. He’s an average, but improving defender. While I doubt he will sustain his 2018 performance as a leadoff hitter, the stats show he is producing in that role very well.

  9. Doc

    Thanks, Randy. Need to get my eyes checked! Missed seeing Reed in the prior box score.