This week has seen the various players of the year awards handed out. Tony Santillan got the top honor as player of the year in the organization. Mariel Bautista, Seth Varner, and Ryan Hendrix also took the awards for their positions, too. Today, we’re going to talk about the other players that were considered for those spots.

When it came down to the player of the year, there really wasn’t much competition. Tony Santillan just stood out above the competition. His innings, his ERA, his walks, his strikeouts, the levels he pitched at – it all just added up and put him up on top. The rest of the awards, though, were much closer.

Position Player of the Year discussion

The Position Player of the Year went to Mariel Bautista. It’s the first time that I wound up giving the nod to someone from the rookie levels. Part of that was from the fact that no one in full-season ball just went out and had an incredible year. The two guys who were really in contention with Mariel Bautista were Ibandel Isabel and Brian O’Grady. They were the only hitters in full-season with at least 300 plate appearances and an OPS over .825.

Isabel had a .900 OPS in the Florida State League and set the record for most home runs in a season in the league with 35. Overall he hit .258/.333/.566. In that league, the average and the on-base percentage don’t really stick out. The slugging percentage though may as well be 1.000, because guys just don’t slug .566 in that league very often. What hurt him in the choice was his position, and his lack of baserunning prowess. He spent more time at designated hitter than any other spot on the field, and when he was in the field it was almost all spent at first base. He only stole one base on the season, too. Outstanding overall seasons, but just not quite enough to get him the award.

Brian O’Grady split his season between Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville. He racked up 376 plate appearances and hit .280/.358/.512 between his two stops. The higher levels helped his case, and he certainly hit quite well. Only having 376 plate appearances though did ding him a tad – had he gotten 500 he probably would have taken home the award.  He stole nine bases, but was caught five times. That’s neither good, nor really bad – so it didn’t really add much value. Defensively he’s a step ahead of where Isabel was. Most of his time in the field was spent in left, but he also played in 24 games at first base. He saw some action in center and at third, but neither was for more than a few games overall. Another strong season, but the defensive spot and just not quite enough playing time overall to overcome the overall season from Bautista.

Starting Pitcher of the Year discussion

This award went out to Seth Varner yesterday. There were more than a few contenders for this one. Tony Santillan was not eligible for it, or he would have gotten the nod. Doubling up on the awards isn’t something I like to do. Spreading out recognition for outstanding seasons is better.

When looking at this award, the things I’m focusing the most on is ERA (when adjusting for the league) and innings pitched. While ERA can be deceiving in terms of telling us about future performance – it is telling us how effective the guy was at that point in time, and for me, that’s what matters when it comes to handing out awards.

Looking at the guys at the top of the system in innings, Packy NAughton, Daniel Wright, Vladimir Gutierrez and Jose Lopez – they all threw 141.0 or more innings. But they all also had ERA’s over 4.00. While that doesn’t automatically kick them out of the running, they would have needed a huge advantage in the innings over other contenders. They didn’t over a guy like Seth Varner. Or a guy like Scott Moss. They did over a guy like Keury Mella and Robert Stephenson, who threw 108.0 and 113.0 on the year.

For me, it came down to Seth Varner and Robert Stephenson. Scott Moss had a 3.68 ERA in 132.0 innings. The innings are strong, but his ERA was only slightly better than the league average of 3.80. That pushed him just outside of the running. Robert Stephenson led the full-season starters in ERA at 2.87. And he racked up a better strikeout rate than any other starter, too. But because of his time in the Majors, he only threw 113.0 innings. Varner didn’t really beat him in the innings department by much, essentially just adding on two more quality starts worth of innings. The thing that helped tip the scales on top of a small edge in innings was that Varner led the organization in WHIP among starters.

Reliever of the Year discussion

This award went out to Ryan Hendrix this season. He dominated out of the bullpen for the Daytona Tortugas in 2018. Much like the starting pitching award, I was looking at things like innings and ERA. With relievers, I also wanted to look at strikeouts because they often come into games with runners on that technically aren’t going to count against them in the line if they score. But strikeouts help out a lot here in preventing other runs from scoring.

For me, that meant it was going to come down to Hendrix, Alex Powers, Kevin Quackenbush, Robinson Leyer and Tanner Rainey. When it comes to ERA among that group, Ryan Hendrix had a big advantage on the group. His ERA was 1.76, with Alex Powers next on the list at 2.34. But, Hendrix did pitch in a pitcher friendly league. Still, the advantage he had was not small and the league adjustment didn’t overcome that difference.

When it came to innings, no one really jumped out ahead of the others. There wasn’t a guy who had 70+ innings and a strong ERA versus some of the guys who had 42-50.0 innings. When it came down to the strikeouts, that’s really where Hendrix stood out. He had a 13.9 strikeout-per-9 rate. Alex Powers was the next best from the contenders group, with a still impressive 11.7 mark – but that’s significantly behind where Hendrix was. In the end, it really seemed to be me coming back to Hendrix and Powers. The edge in ERA, strikeouts, and the small edge in innings led to Hendrix getting the nod.


10 Responses

  1. MK

    Stephenson to Varner WHIP 1.16 to 1.10 at one and two higher levels and stronger competition. With all the peripherals seems as though Robert should be the winner.

    • Doug Gray

      Varner has the edge in base runners allowed. And innings. One level higher for Stephenson.

  2. AirborneJayJay

    Good process. Thanks. It makes it clearer now on what you judged by and placed weight on. Your choices are well reasoned out.
    You might want to come up with a name for your awards. The Poties? The Potties? The Dougies? IDK.

    Now about the Mesa brothers being declared free agents. The older one, 21 years old and elite CF and top international free agent now, Victor Victor Mesa. The Reds I know won’t be in the running for him because of the $300,000 limit. They could sure use an elite CF. But how much of the Reds $6,025,400 IFA allotment do they still have left? The Reds have traded some of it already, but how much? It can only be traded in $250,000 increments. It is listed that the Orioles ($6.5MM), Marlins ($4.3MM), Rays ($3.6MM) and Dodgers ($2.78MM) as the teams with the most remaining money to spend. How probable could the Reds trade a big chunk of their remaining balance to a team seeking to sign Mesa and thus get a pretty good prospect in return? Granted, the higher the $$$ traded the better the prospect should be in return. What would trading ~$2.0M of their allotment bring back? That type of sum could propel the Rays or Dodgers up while getting the Reds a very nice prospect.

  3. Wes

    Tale of two halves this season imo. 3rd year following Doug’s work and first 1/2 was best half season I’ve seen and 2nd half was worst. Happy for guys who got the nod, but if reds are ever gonna right the ship they r gonna need their best prospects winning these awards.

    • Doug Gray

      It was a tough year, injury wise, for most of the top guys. Greene and Senzel went down to injuries. Trammell played *most of the year*, but he was almost always dealing with something nagging at him. Jose Siri missed the first 2 months of the year.

  4. abado

    This has been kind of a down year for Reds position player prospects. There are a slew of guys with OPS of 730-780. (All of Trammell, Friedl, Long, Aquino, Downs, Fairchild, Willems, Siri, Siani, Ty Stephenson fall in that range.) I guess that’s normal for decent (but not great) prospects, but it leaves me feeling wholly uninspired. There were some incremental improvements in that bunch and from the top prospects in general. But there are very few break-outs or even significant improvements from position player prospects.

    In contrast, last year we had Senzel cement himself as a top prospect in the game, Siri busted out in a big way, guys in Rookie ball like Sugilio, Gordon, Fairchild, and Downs showed flashes of quality all-around tools, Trammell broke out as a teenager in A ball, Shed Long continued to rake (at least for the first 2/3 of the year), and even Blandino had a bit of a resurgent year making it to AAA.

    This year, the best year-long performances came from players who are old for their level or have very limited skills or don’t seem like players the Reds care that much about. Isabel is 23 in A+ with a 1 dimensional game; O’Grady is a 26 YO in AAA and likely tops out as a 5th outfielder; Clementia’s stats are buoyed by a torrid May in an otherwise pedestrian year; Dilson Herrera might not be in the organization next year; maybe I should be more encouraged by Gabby Guerrero & Michael Beltre, but their stats weren’t that good and they aren’t that young.

    • Norwood Nate

      I typically prefer to look at a prospect’s OPS compared to their league. The FSL league, for instance, suppresses power and the league average OPS was .692. Trammell’s OPS looks much better when you consider it is about 90 points higher than league average.

      • abado

        Trammell did have a good year overall. However, other Reds prospects have done better in Daytona since last year: Senzel (.847), Long (.922), LaValley (.870) had higher OPS last year, and Friedl (.817) and Isabel (.900) both had higher OPS this year. Trammell also faded as the year went on — just a .630 OPS in July and .730 in August.

        So, yeah, Trammell had a decent year overall, but I’m still left wanting more because he was much better early in the year and other Reds prospects have hit better in Daytona recently.