The Cincinnati Reds farm system has not been viewed with high regard this offseason by the national publications. Both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline previously rated the Reds farm system as the 28th best (or 3rd worst depending on how you want to look at it) in Major League Baseball. Keith Law of The Athletic just released his farm system rankings for 2020 and has the Cincinnati system at #23 on the list.

For Law, he notes that the trades of Josiah Gray, Jeter Downs, Taylor Trammell, and Shed Long that the farm system would be rated much higher. And he’s right – it would. There was a trade in there that didn’t quite work out with the Dodgers. But there was the trade with the Yankees that so far has gone as good as one could possibly imagine, too. The Indians trade is still up in the air.

While I still believe that a farm system that has the top six prospects that the Reds have is a bit better than the national publications are suggesting, Law’s ranking feels quite a bit closer than the 28th spot does.

The Cardinals are the top system in the division according to Law, coming in at #9 on the list. Pittsburgh is next up on the list. The Reds find themselves in the middle of the division, with the Cubs and Brewers being among two of the last three spots in baseball on this particular list.

Shawn Pender shares some insight for 2020

During the Cincinnati Reds broadcast Jim Day spent an entire inning talking with Shawn Pender, the VP of Player Development for the Reds. There were a lot of interesting things said, but a few of them stood out more than others.

Perhaps the biggest news was that Hunter Greene, assuming he remains on schedule, could start throwing in extended spring training games in mid-to-late May. From there he would then join either Dayton or Daytona, where he would piggy-back with another starting pitcher and throw limited innings as he continues to come back from Tommy John surgery.

Nick Lodolo, while in big league camp, isn’t going to throw in big league camp and that’s by design. He’s going to the minor leagues and they don’t want to start him throwing too early. He’s in camp to be around the staff and the big leaguers, work on things with the coaches there – but don’t expect to see him pitching in games on the big league fields.

It sounds like these will be the assignments for opening day, and none of them are really surprising:

  • Alfredo Rodriguez – Triple-A Louisville
  • Tyler Stephenson – Triple-A Louisville
  • Jose Garcia – Double-A Chattanooga
  • Jonathan India – Double-A Chattanooga

52 Responses

  1. Stock

    Interesting year for the farm. My top 10 reasons why.

    10. Deep draft this year.
    9. Will Boddy (Driveline) do something to make Gutierrez a legit SP.
    8. I am looking forward to seeing how Lyon Richardson and Jose Salvador progress this year.
    7. Several top 25 prospects will be playing in the minors for the first time.
    6. A Rod is showing some power in camp. Is it legit?
    5. I want to see if, with the assistance of Boddy, Jose DeLeon is the prospect he was several years ago and if Mahle improves because of Boddy tips. Hopefully both are working with Boddy.
    4. Greene returns
    3. Stephenson could be a top 50 prospect by year end.
    2. Lodolo is in ML camp but will not pitch in ML games. I think it is because he is working with Boddy. Hopefully he becomes a top 10 prospect by year-end. He has the control. If Boddy can add 2-3 MPH on his FB he may be on the fast track.
    1. Garcia could be a top 10 prospect as early as mid-season. Zero strikeouts so far this spring has me excited.

    • Big Ed

      That is a pretty good list. I add Sinai’s continued progress as something to watch.

      Mahle on Saturday was touching 97, and looks very fit. I am very optimistic about him.

      • Stock

        I agree on Siani. I should have included him in #8.

    • DaveCT

      Pender did show some restraint in praising AlfRod’s power, even with the tidbits of promise we’ve seen. If he get an even borderline bat, his defense could be a nice asset.

  2. MK

    I liked Pender’s explanation of moving Instructional league to spring. Just wonder if any other teams did that. His explanation included fatigue factor but psychologically it let some kids, especially the Latin kids get home to see family for first time in at least 8 months.

    • Doug Gray

      Not every team is doing it, but a lot are. Though some are doing it a bit earlier than the Reds are. Some are starting in late January.

  3. Jon Ryker

    Now, trading Suarez for several excellent prospects will fix this issue, allow you to play both Moustakis and Senzel, and make your run sustainable.

    • Colt Holt

      The only thing you will guarantee with a trade of Suarez is more projected losses in 2020. You don’t accomplish success by trading your best player to play an inferior player.

    • Doug Gray

      All while making your contending Major League team significantly worse.

      • Jon Ryker

        I don’t agree. You can now play Moustakis at 3B, where he belongs, and given India time to develop. You can put Senzel at 2B, where he belongs, and put him up near the top of the order. You then have a minor league supply ready to sustain you over the next 5-7 year.

        The alternative is that you play Moustakis at 2B, which is delusional, play Senzel part-time all over the place, and have no place for India to go a year or so from now when he’s ready.

        Plus, if you get a couple big-league ready player in the Suarez trade, it is not at all clear you are making your major league roster worse.

        Boston just got better by trading their best player. Suarez would bring more than Betts, because of his contract. I’ll take Moustakis giving me 80% of Suarez, allowing Senzel to play a lot more, giving India a spot to grow into in a year or two, and vastly improving my infield defense, all while vastly improving my minor league talent.

      • Doug Gray

        You only have a supply if you absolutely nail the trade. Which rarely happens when trading for prospect packages.

        You are almost guaranteed to make your big league roster worse by trading Eugenio Suarez. He’s the best player the team has. Really difficult to get better by taking the best player and sending them away. It’s not like he’s making $40M a year and you can use that to get two All-Star caliber, proven players for $20M each. He’s making like $11M.

      • Jon Ryker

        Not difficult at all if you increase playing time for players like Senzel, and playing him at 2B, where you don’t have anybody and allowing Moustakis to play a position he can actually play, like 3B, all while giving India a logical development path.

        That contract will allow you to take your pick of offers. You should be able to guarantee depth with that level of demand.

        The fact is, this team is Franciso Lindor away from being a World Series contender. I am no longer big on that trade, because presumably they’ve tried, and with Garcia coming, it is no longer the long-term need I thought they had.

        When they signed Moustakis, which I didn’t like, they made Suarez expendable. Trade him now and you will get more for him while opening a spot for Senzel, who needs to play very day (if he can) or be traded.

        Making you team deeper is always making it better.

        Suarez is their best player and my favorite player….but value is value….and he’s the best tradeable value in the game…..if you can’t nail that trade, then you need to hang it up.

      • Doug Gray

        Value isn’t value because the game isn’t played in that vacuum.

      • DaveCT

        If you read the Boston papers, you’d be very hard pressed to find anyone within Red Sox Nation to agree they are better without Mookie, who’ve I’ve seen several times since AA and is the real deal. They have lost their best player and leader. Verdugo has current and historical injury issues, and as for Jeter Downs, he’s a 2B with pop a year-year and one half away. Very few teams build around 2B.

      • doofus

        Doug,

        Mr. Ryker proposed a return of “Major League” ready players, not prospects for Eugenio “Corkscrew” Suarez.

        I and many others do not believe that the team would be “significantly worse” as you describe with a trade of Suarez.

      • Jon Ryker

        And the fact that he doesn’t cost $40 million dollars will get you more and better players in return. …..unless you’re saying that nobody except you thinks in terms of value and that nobody would be interested in trading for him.

        Are you saying nobody would empty the farm for him, given that contract?

        Or are you merely saying the Reds shouldn’t be interesting in somebody emptying their farm in their lap for a position they’ve already filled and which is currently a logjam in the organization?

      • Doug Gray

        I’m saying that simply saying “value is value” isn’t a good position to take, because that’s not true. Certain players don’t have the same value at one place that they may in another.

    • Jim t

      Best contract, best offensive player and lots of controllable years. Yes let’s trade him for a bunch of guys who have never sniffed the major leagues. All while increasing the payroll to compete this year. Jon please tell me your not a manager where you work.

      • RojoBenjy

        Opinions are welcome here.

        Throwing shade not so much.

      • Jon Ryker

        That’s why you’ll get a lot for him, and not such risky players. If you needed a 3B to hit in the middle of the order wouldn’t you give your four best prospects for that?

        With that contract, people will be lining up to make that deal…..Reds will have the pick of the cream of a lot of people’s farm systems…..all for a position they have other guys signed to play.

      • RedsVol

        Ryker makes a lot of sense to me. I’d hate to lose Suarez but he is redundant and his defense is going downhill. It seems that prospect performance at the Major league level is becoming more predictable – at least on hitting front. I don’t know if its because they’re using the same balls, more video analysis or what but players that perform at AA and AAA are coming in an producing in the majors. It didn’t used to be this way. Depends on what you get but I wouldn’t be opposed to listening on Suarez. Especially at the trading deadline if Senzel is healthy.

    • Sean D

      Why would you ever trade your best player who’s under team control for a long time at a super cheap price compared to his value?

      • Jam

        You just answered your own question. He has major trade value and hes not as great as everyone thinks . .250 hitter ,only hits HRs,mostly when it doesnt matter

      • doofus

        Jam,

        Exactly!

        “hits HRs,mostly when it doesnt matter.”

      • Amarillo

        Jam, Doofus, Uhhhhhh when do home runs not matter??
        I decided to assume this only hits homers when they don’t matter comment was a legitimate observation, rather than out of blue so I went to baseball reference “clutch” stats. Suarez had 17 home runs in tied games, 15 home runs in one run games, 8 in 2 run games, 2 in 3 run games, 4 in 4 run games, and 3 in > 4 run games. He had 40/49 home runs in games within 2 runs. AKA close games. He also had a higher batting average and OPS in “high leverage” situations than “low leverage” situations. So your comment that he mostly hits when it doesn’t matter is just factually wrong.

      • MichaelA

        Really? “when it doesn’t matter?” You do realize that statistics are kept in baseball, right? So, 32 of 49 HR’s were hit when the Reds were tied or losing. Another 8 HR’s were hit with the Reds only leading by 1. 81% of his HR’s were hit when the Reds were losing, tied, or up by only 1. He also had an average of 1.49 RBI per HR. The average inning? 4.3. Not exactly “when it doesn’t matter.”

    • Greenfield Red

      Along with all of the opinions in this thread that are against trading Suarez, all add the fact he’s a really good player who wants to be here.

      How many times do we hear that player X or player Y would never sign with Cincinnati?

      Now you have a really good player who wants to be here so badly he signed a contract which significantly under pays him (even though he did better in the first couple years of his contract than he would have without it) coming off a 49 hr year and you want to spit in his face by trading him?

      I completely disagree.

      • doofus

        “Really good player?”

        189 K’s in 2019; 33% more than in 2018.

        He is a selfish hitter, trying for HR’s instead of just hitting behind the runners to advance them or score them with a single.

        Plus he is a lazy defender. His throws to first are a circus and he has no range to his right.

      • MBS

        Suarez 2019

        .271 BA (#2 on the team)
        .358 OBP (#1 on the team)
        49 HR (#1 on the team)
        .930 OPS (#1 on the team)

        I never learned those fancy stats, but if these are good, I’d expect those are probably pretty good to.

      • Greenfield Red

        Gotta agree MBS. Suarez is a “really good player”.

        Some seem to not like those stats much. I don’t get it.

    • MBS

      The only way you could justify trading Senzel is if it makes the 2020 team better. If you are trading him for prospects, that won’t happen. If you got Lindor back, or another player back that can upgrade a weak spot. Then yes, it could make sense.

      • Jon Ryker

        So, we’re not allowed to think past 2020? Pretty risky proposition for a small-market team, don’t you think?

        They no longer need lindor, as they are thrilled with Garcia, so no need to trade Senzel for lindor. There IS a need to play Senzel every day at a position which actually helps your team….for this team, that is 2nd base.

      • Doug Gray

        You literally ALWAYS need a player like Lindor. The idea that you don’t need one of the best baseball players walking this planet because you have a prospect who’s never seen a pitch in Double-A is a real wild thought process. And I LOVE me some Jose Garcia.

    • AllTheHype

      Moustakis, Senzel, and Suarez will all be playing when healthy. Trading Suarez would not open a spot for one of the other two. It would simply weaken the team because Suarez’ at bats would be replaced with a Van Meter type.

  4. RojoBenjy

    Opinions are welcome here.

    Throwing shade not so much.

    • Jim t

      Been posting here since Doug formed the site I think I understand the rules.

      If Jon has a issue I’m sure he is capable of responding as he has been posting for quite awhile as well.

  5. Optimist

    Sounds like good news on those 4 MiLB assignments – notably, the 2 on the Bats are available for instant/injury call-ups, extra roster spot for Dheaders, etc.. Then, Garcia and India get 2-3 months to overperform in AA thus forcing a call up to the Bats and Sept. roster spots.

    Both good indicators of 2021 roster planning.

    Still, will be interesting to see where JVM, AA, Nay, etc. go.

    • Greenfield Red

      I look forward to seeing the Louisville Bats in Indy. Not only should they be pretty good, we should see several future major leaguers too. Not only that, but probably see AA who had one of the very best months a MLB player has ever had.

      • DaveCT

        I used to go see them in Pawtucket. This is the last year for McCoy Stadium there which is a shame but the type of progress that cant be stopped.

        Reds AA was in Waterbury, CT for awhile playing in was could barely be described as a ballpark. But some great players went through there.

    • DaveCT

      AA will also have Fairchild, ALopez, Friedl at some point and Beltre.

  6. DaveCT

    I used to go see them in Pawtucket. This is the last year for McCoy Stadium there which is a shame but the type of progress that cant be stopped.

    Reds AA was in Waterbury, CT for awhile playing in was could barely be described as a ballpark. But some great players went through there.

  7. Ed Goodman

    Where will Jake Paulson land after Spring Training ? Right hand pitcher.

  8. Stock

    I firmly believe no player is untouchable. This includes Suarez.

    If LA comes to us and says they want Suarez, DeSclafani and Amir for Buehler, Lux and Will Smith I say tell me where to sign. LA would never offer this but the point is Suarez is not untouchable.

    But if you are going to scream and yell to trade Suarez, provide a potential trade. Trading a player like Suarez in March rarely happens so the point is really moot.

  9. Gaffer

    I wonder what the ranking would be with Josiah Grey, Jeter downs and Taylor trammel, probably near 10? The fact that we have so little to show for these loses stinks (yes I know we have Bauer for 1 year).

  10. DocRed

    What is your opinion of Keith Law’s rankings in general Doug?

  11. Martino

    The thing about trying to predict what young men, mostly under the age of 24(ish) are going to do is well, unpredictable. How many guys drafted in the 34th round go on to have great major league careers? Not too many, but some always do. On the other side how many first rounders go on to the HOF? Same rule applies. It could be argued there’s a bigger chance of top round picks being flops than low round picks. I’m always rooting for the later round guys to show the critics wrong.
    It seems every few years there’s going to be someone drafted very low and who almost nobody knows who will go on to become a household name. Those are the guys I’m always rooting for.