Growing up in the 90’s there was always talks of guys having a great power and speed combination. In the neighborhood that I lived in there weren’t many kids my age. Truthfully it was just me, and a set of twins – both boys who were my age. We were all really big into baseball. And we all had different favorite players, too. Mine was Ken Griffey Jr. The twins had their own stakes in Barry Bonds and Frank Thomas. One of us was clearly right as to who was the best of the bunch, and it wasn’t me. Of course I didn’t know how to properly value guys at the time, either.

What is and even then was clear, is that two of us were in favor of the power and speed player. Brandon, however, chose Frank Thomas. And there’s nothing wrong with Frank Thomas – he could absolutely rake. But he was no Ken Griffey Jr. or Barry Bonds. They could rake, with power, and they could run on you when they wanted, too. In the mid-to-late 90’s the game began to really change into more of a power only game as we entered into what is now known as the steroid era of baseball. The stolen base has never recovered. And while the risk/reward for a steal is nowhere near as valuable as it once was, being able to be a menace on the bases is still valuable.

Today I wanted to take a look at all of the players in the Cincinnati Reds farm system when it comes to their speed and power combination. In the minor leagues the details aren’t as available as they are with the majors. So we’re going to keep things a little bit more simple. For the speed aspect we are going to use Fangraphs “speed” score. And for the power aspect we are going to use a players Isolated Power, adjusted for the league(s) that they played in.

The further to the right the dot, the better the speed score for a player was. The higher up the chart, the better their power was. The power is adjusted to the league (but not by ballpark – so keep that in mind, too), so above 0 means better than the league average, while below 0 is obviously below the league average.

It should also be noted here that the speed score from the rookie level leagues just seems out of whack. Among the Top 20, only five players were from full-season leagues. Michael Siani was the only guy in the Top 5, and he ranked 5th, from a full-season league. Feel free to make some internal adjustments if you’d like to when looking at the data below.

Back to the chart now: Jose Acosta is that dot furthest to the right. He had the highest speed score of anyone, by a rather wide margin. And he also had well above-average power on the season, too. A.J. Bumpass stands out a bit, too. He had the 7th best speed score, and his +.085 isolated power score was 13th in the organization, too.

Let’s take a look at how everyone with at least 150 plate appearances stacked up.

Name PA Spd adjISO
AJ Bumpass 161 7.94 .085
Alberti Chavez 201 3.81 -.059
Alejo Lopez 540 4.57 -.051
Alex Blandino 293 3.23 -.053
Alfredo Rodriguez 524 4.80 -.085
Allan Cerda 165 3.02 .114
Andy Sugilio 485 6.27 -.045
Aristides Aquino 323 4.67 .158
Name PA Spd adjISO
Ashton Creal 213 7.28 -.015
Blake Trahan 402 3.27 -.087
Brantley Bell 398 3.90 -.020
Bren Spillane 243 4.21 .001
Brian O’Grady 489 5.19 .091
Brian Rey 311 3.22 .045
Bruce Yari 491 4.46 .011
Bryant Flete 152 1.47 -.024
Name PA Spd adjISO
Caleb Van Blake 157 5.51 .102
Calten Daal 291 4.88 -.076
Cameron Warren 211 4.17 -.026
Carlos Reina 176 3.99 -.006
Carlos Rivero 169 6.13 -.042
Cash Case 155 5.50 -.018
Chadwick Tromp 151 3.52 .118
Chris Okey 204 2.77 .040
Name PA Spd adjISO
Christian Colon 582 4.62 -.036
Claudio Finol 232 4.72 -.030
Cristian Olivo 157 3.22 -.075
Daniel Vellojin 216 6.86 .038
Danielito Remy 167 6.17 -.072
Danny Lantigua 206 5.52 -.008
Darlin Guzman 198 7.31 .160
Drew Mount 297 7.54 -.029
Name PA Spd adjISO
Elly De La Cruz 186 4.57 -.002
Eric Yang 209 1.70 -.025
Esmil Torres 190 6.82 .014
Fidel Castro 207 7.64 .097
Garrett Wolforth 232 4.85 .011
Gavin LaValley 449 3.53 .019
Hendrik Clementina 365 1.59 .052
Ibandel Isabel 368 2.52 .152
Name PA Spd adjISO
Ilvin Fernandez 170 3.07 -.072
Ivan Johnson 210 5.99 .024
James Free 177 3.70 .051
Jay Schuyler 440 3.84 -.026
Jeferson Geraldo 161 7.25 -.016
Jonathan India 512 6.16 .027
Jonathan Willems 366 5.55 -.045
Jose Acosta 234 9.54 .079
Name PA Spd adjISO
Jose Garcia 452 5.69 .045
Jose Siri 517 5.82 -.015
Jose Tello 193 4.39 .093
Josh VanMeter 211 5.78 .141
Juan Graterol 226 2.27 -.102
Juan Martinez 507 3.17 .006
Junior Melo 181 5.65 .079
Junior Tamares 198 8.29 -.004
Name PA Spd adjISO
Leonardo Seminati 232 2.18 .017
Lorenzo Cedrola 381 7.14 -.032
Mariel Bautista 454 5.74 -.013
Mark Kolozsvary 291 2.91 .021
Matt Lloyd 198 2.19 .071
Michael Beltre 322 4.14 -.032
Michael Siani 531 8.03 -.030
Miguel Hernandez 484 4.27 -.024
Name PA Spd adjISO
Miles Gordon 324 7.36 -.024
Mitch Nay 393 3.75 .092
Morgan Lofstrom 230 3.35 .015
Narciso Crook 374 6.95 .037
Nick Longhi 424 3.14 .001
Pabel Manzanero 440 2.55 .025
Phillip Ervin 172 5.28 .014
Quin Cotton 274 5.03 -.028
Name PA Spd adjISO
Quincy McAfee 225 3.71 -.089
Rafael Franco 152 7.93 -.060
Randy Ventura 366 5.90 -.085
Ranser Amador 166 4.49 -.092
Reniel Ozuna 379 5.43 -.024
Reyny Reyes 169 4.22 -.066
Rob Refsnyder 344 2.89 .003
Samuel Colmenarez 166 7.13 -.029
Name PA Spd adjISO
Sebastian Almonte 163 7.93 .052
Shard Munroe 227 6.02 .008
Sherman Johnson 241 4.21 -.066
Stuart Fairchild 460 4.17 .060
Taylor Trammell 381 6.47 -.022
Thomas Lora 188 7.35 -.001
Name PA Spd adjISO
TJ Friedl 269 7.99 .027
TJ Hopkins 228 8.51 .003
Tyler Callihan 238 7.84 .043
Tyler Stephenson 363 2.40 .002
Victor Ruiz 256 2.40 -.073
Wilmer Alcantara 168 8.27 .110
Yonathan Mendoza 342 3.15 -.050

A few things stuck out to me. I expected Brian O’Grady to have a better speed score than he did. 20 steals and just 4 caught stealing feels like it should have warranted a better overall number than one that ranked him 42nd out of 93 players. Not that it sticks out, but it feels very on the nose: 8 catchers/former catchers were among the bottom 13 spots in the speed score. It was certainly a down season for Jose Siri, but seeing him rated 31 in the speed score and 53rd in the power score would have been a shocking thing to suggest when the season began.

With all of that said, these are simply statistical pieces of information based on one season. Players learn. Players change and sometimes they improve. Development isn’t linear. This is only a piece of the informational pie. It’s not measuring tools, or future ability – it’s just attempting to measure what happened in the 2019 season.

10 Responses

  1. PUSHERMAN

    We traded the only two legit speed/power guys we have. Well Siri has both but he can’t hit. Trammell has a chance to hit. But Jeter Downs is textbook power speed prospect. 24 bombs and 24 steals. Fun prospect. Such an awful move even more so in hindsight. The Refs have no clue how to value or project not only their own prospects but other teams players either

  2. Oldtimer

    Ken Griffey, Jr accomplished what he did with natural ability and hard work.

    Frank Thomas and Barry Bonds also (but maybe ALLEGEDLY some chemical assistance later in their careers).

    I’d take Junior over either one.

    • Greenfield Red

      Hey Oldtimer. I usually like your posts and agree with them. I question this post a little. How hard did Jr. actually work? It seems to me that more than many professional athletes he relied on God given ability but lacked the kind of drive and preparation that is usually present in the best of the best.

      Hence roughly 400 HRs in his 20s and 200 in his 30s. Those numbers are from memory not from even looking them up.

      Tell me where I’m wrong.

      • Oldtimer

        REALLY hard. Natural ability only goes so far. You don’t get anywhere near his numbers on ability alone.

        Injuries hurt him a lot in the second half of his career. His 1990s were as good as anyone in recent memory.

      • Oldtimer

        One last tidbit. I think KG Jr is one of top 5 CF in my lifetime (born 1951). Mays, Mantle, DiMaggio, and Trout are the other four. I’ve been lucky enough to see all but DiMaggip play in person. His last year (1951) coincided with my first year on Earth.

  3. DaveCT

    This is interesting in that it validates (to some degree) some of the hunches we might have had over the season, i.e., Fidel Castro having decent speed and some pop. It also shows TJ Friedl and Trammell about even, at least this year. Perhaps that led to the decision to trade Trammell, that we have a 4th OF type at a similar level in the pipeline. Several, really, but Friedl stands out. I like this Doug. Bit more than fun facts on a Sunday morning. Thanks.

    • DaveCT

      Actually, Crook is in there, too. I expected a bit more speed from Fairchild, though.

  4. Jon Ryker

    Speed is valuable IF people decide to make contact and move them along with productive outs. If you’re just going to strike out behind it, then it doesn’t matter….but the actual issue is that striking out and swinging for the fences simply closes off a lot of avenues of offense which are particularly useful against good pitching.