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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Prospects list

Anonymous, 3:21 asked for the list of the 11 prospects rated higher than the Jared Burton by Baseball America. I'll go you 18 better and give you the whole list:

1. OF Jay Bruce: BA's four experts had him 1 or 2. Joba Chamberlain was ahead of him on one list; Evan Longoria on another.
2. RHP Homer Bailey: He was No. 1 the three previous years.
3. 1B Joey Votto: Had to love what he did in September.
4. RHP Johnny Cueto: My guess is he makes to the bigs early this year.
5. OF Drew Stubbs: Speed, power and defense are above average, but 142 Ks in 497 at-bats.
6. C Devin Mesoraco: Rough first year because of thumb injuries.
7. SS Todd Frazier: At 6-3, 215 he may end up at third.
8. 3B Juan Francisco: Reminds people of Eddie Encarnacion.
9. RHP Josh Roenicke: 10th-round pick in 2006. Throws as hard (98) as anyone the Reds have.
10. LHP Matt Maloney: A guy I really want to see throw this spring.
11. RHP Kyle Lotzkar: Supplemental pick in '07. Canadian, throws 96.
12. Jared Burton
13. SS Chris Valaika: Slipped to .253 at Sarasota after hitting .307 at Dayton.
4. SS Neftali Soto: Third-rounder in 2007.
15. LHP Pedro Viola: Signed late at 22. 95 Ks in 84 innings last year.
16. RHP Sean Watson: Second-rounder in 2006. Struggled at Sarasota after dominating at Dayton.
17. C Craig Tatum: Third-rounder in 2004. Got first invite to big leauge camp.
18. SS Zack Cozart: Second-rounder last year, outof Mississippi. BA called him the best defensive shortstop in the college.
19. SS Paul Janish: I've seen him in spring. Could play in the bigs defensively right now.
20. RHP Carlos Fisher: Started great last year. Faded in the second half.
21. LHP Travis Wood: 10-5 in '06. Limited to 12 starts by shoulder trouble last year.
22. 1B/3B Adam Rosales: 13 homers in 255 ABs at AA last year.
23. 3B Brandon Waring: Seventh-rounder last year. Led Pioneer League with 20 homers.
24. RHP Sam LeCure: Fourth-rounder in 2005.
25. SS Jose Castro: Obtained in the Jeff Conine trade.
26. LPH Tyler Pelland: Struck out 27 and walked seven in 23 innings at Louisville. Added to the 40-man.
27. OF Chris Dickerson: Best athlete in the system. But has .255 career average.
28. OF Danny Dorn: 32nd round pick in '06.
29. 2B/SS Justin Turner: Ca State-Fullerton teammate of Dorn's.
30. RHP Sergio Valenzuela: The 23-year-old the Reds took in the Rule 5.


at 6:21 PM OpenID dmd31base said...

Is SS Jose Castro any relation to Juan Castro?

at 6:30 PM Blogger Grizzlyfox said...

Would it be safe to assume that Sergio Valenzuela comes down with a groin/back/ankle/thigh/insert body part injury during spring training, a la Jared Burton?

at 6:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, wasn't Edinson Volquez rated among the best prospects in the Texas organization? Is Texas' system really that bad or is Cincy's system that good that he doesn't even crack the top 30?

at 7:15 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Book went to print before the trade. My guess is he would have been third on the list. Maybe second.

at 8:14 PM Anonymous redfuture said...

What is BA's rationale for leaving guys on the list who can't qualify as an MLB rookie? Jared Burton doesn't belong on a list such as this with all his MLB time. Edinson, who is on the Ranger list, shouldn't qualify either with parts of 3 years and 80 IP in the MLB.

at 8:26 PM Anonymous redfuture said...

This will be Drew Stubbs' make-or-break year. I know that he improved alot in the 2nd half of last year. The great majority of those strikeouts came in the first half. He is 23 now and will have to put on a late push similar to what Votto did to get here on schedule. He needs to do well in the 'High A' league and finish with a couple months of AA exposure this year. Its too much to ask him to come on like Bruce even though he has 2 1/2 years on Jay. So we probably can't expect Drew in the 'nati until 2010. If another outfielder doesn't 'trhive & arrive' by 2009, Hopper will have the chance to man CF with JB shifting to RF.

at 9:15 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Volquez wasn't on Texas' list. The criteria is you couldn't have more than 50 innings pitched or 130 at-bats in the big leagues. Burton only has 43.

Volquez was No. 1 on Texas' list last year.

And, no, the Castros are not related.

at 9:42 PM Anonymous redfuture said...

Thanks for the clarification John! Burton only got in 43IP but what impactful innings they were! Those are more or less a subset of the criteria that MLB uses to determine rookie status. Its just that MLB also considers 'days on the 25-man roster' as well. BA should consider modifying their prospect criteria to make it match the rookie criteria of MLB.

at 10:25 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John - any way Keppinger gets the nod at SS this year? His baseball IQ and offense are enough to make up for what he lacks defensively compared to Gonzo.

It seems to me that Gonzo/Ross are the weak links in the batting order.


Looks much better without Gonzo/Ross in there.

at 10:40 PM Anonymous PastorBrandon said...

Have you seen Justin Turner play?
His Numbers look really good. Kind of reminds me of Todd Walker, I dont know why, but i really like Turner.

at 12:47 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

in response to the post about gonzo and david ross sitting....keppinger does provide some good offensive numbers but gonzo (although last yrs numbers may not back it up) is as good as it gets defensively...with the lineup that the reds have, they better be able to produce some runs. i'm a little more supportive of putting valentin back there for a full season with ross being his backup just because i'd like to see what kind of numbers javy can put up for the whole year. but once again, you need to have a solid defense up the middle starting with the catcher and ross is much better in that aspect of the game....

at 2:46 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Concerning Gonzo, I would reserve judgment until we get to see him play while not worrying about a very sick infant child. Last year was full of legitimate distractions for him. John, do you know whatever happened with his son? It may be old news, but I don't remember hearing how he did.

at 3:54 AM OpenID sportshandicapper said...

Pastor Brandon, Did you happen to see Turner play at Dayton last year? He's what you'd call a ballplayer, alright. Although his 5 tools may not be overwhelming, I'd still be surprised if he doesn't somehow find a way to eventually make it to the bigs. He's a Keppinger-type of guy in a lot of ways. And speaking of ballplayers from Cal State Fullerton in the Reds' system, Danny Dorn is another who'll likely somehow find a way to the bigs eventually, despite having underwhelming tools.

Lotzkar at #11 is a little low, I think. He should move up quickly. I'm hoping to see him in Dayton the first half of this season before he moves to high A ball.

Here's a YouTube video on Lotzkar for anyone interested:

at 7:19 AM Anonymous NVreds said...

Anon 10:25

no offense, but that lineup is terrible, you have to mix the L/R bats. try this:


For the record I would start Gonzo before Keppinger, so my line-up would be different. I realize that leaves us thin at the top of the order which is why bruce will have to dominate this spring, anything less and the reds will need a lead-off hitter in CF instead

at 7:20 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Jay Bruce makes the the "Big" team, is it safe to say that he will not spend a lot of time on the bench?

If he is in the starting line up (assuming it is in Center Field), who is the Reds lead-off hitter?

I would assume the options become:
1) Jeff Keppinger starts at SS
2) A trade is still in the Reds future

John - Any predictions? (Won't hold you to them). In my opionion...this is a HUGE question mark going into Spring that is not getting much press. If this team is planning on competing, it looks to have a terrible offensive line up with Bruce in Center. Any of the individual parts look OK.... Just no real flow to the order.

at 7:32 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to highschool with Sam Lecure. Where do you see him starting this season, and ending up at.

at 8:25 AM Anonymous Heisey fan in Hershey said...

Check out Chris Heisey's stats, they are as good if not better than Dorn or Turner.

at 8:37 AM Blogger capadgett said...

anon@10:25 - Gonzo had his best offensive year in his career last year (per the AB he had) and we didn't even expect that from him when we got him. I know you think it's because of GABP but he actually did better on the road. Considering the personal things he had to deal with, I thought he did considerably well. I think kepp is good but I don't think he is an everyday SS in the MLB. I see Gonzo getting the majority of time at SS(110+ games) and Kepp filling in there and other positions and used a lot as a late innings PH and sub.

at 9:00 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, while I appreciate the full list of prospects from BA, I'm a little confused. Are you supposed to divulge the rest of the list that's meant for BA subscribers only?

at 10:59 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still wish they hadn't given up Cantu for a #30 on that list. Sigh.

at 11:09 AM Blogger Aaron said...

I forgot about Janish. He had a really good spring last year, didn't he? What were his minor league numbers last season?

at 11:09 AM Blogger Joe McManus said...

I would also like to see what Javier can do as the full time starter. Obviously Ross was very effective throwing out runners, but I feel like Valentin wasn't to shabby either, albeit in a limited sample. Also, the other parts of Ross' defense do not appeal to me. I specifically remember one game last year where the bases were loaded, one or no outs, and there was a dribbler about five feet in front of the plate. Ross picked up the ball and fired it to second instead of stepping on the plate. The throw was off and everyone was safe. I can't remember being so upset by a mental mistake from a major leaguer. I know it's hard to find a good all-around catcher, but I'd prefer to go with a guy who can hit for a better average (Javier). Really, I wouldn't even mind an all defense guy. I just can't stand how Ross hurts us in both aspects.

at 11:19 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure they really want to put Griffey, Votto, Dunn, and Bruce (all lefties) together in the lineup. That's one reason why Phillips fits well in the 4th slot.

at 11:38 AM Blogger Pat said...

Did I read that the Reds have the third rated minor league talent pool in the majors? If so, has the Reds farm system improved or gone down during the Krivsky years?

at 11:53 AM Blogger John Fay said...

I'm sure BA is OK with the list getting out there. I just gave the names. The book has long scouting reports on all the players.

I see LeCure starting at AA. He's projected as a No. 5 type.

The Reds are indeed rated third. Dan O'Brien has to get some of the credit because the reason they are where they are is Bruce, Bailey, and Cueto -- guys signed on his watch.

at 12:24 PM Anonymous Anon at 3:21 said...

Thanks John!!!

Also, I'm sure CTrent would appreciate you making a posting about his new position, if the Enquirer will let ya..

at 12:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the lefty bats in the lineup, so what?

If they hit they hit. If not, it's not because of the side of the plate they swing from.

at 12:48 PM Blogger Jon said...

"Did I read that the Reds have the third rated minor league talent pool in the majors? If so, has the Reds farm system improved or gone down during the Krivsky years?"

Stop it now, that's agitation here - "WAKE UP CINCY! KRIVSKY SUPPORTS THE WAR IN IRAQ!!!!

at 12:58 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Realizing I'm in a minority on this, I'd like to see the Reds give Reggie Sanders a fly.

He'd be the perfect all-purpose outfield backup who can bat in the middle of the order, handle the glove at all three positions and give Dunn and Griffey some rest against tough lefthanders.

He would also be another veteran presence and retire where he began.

I'm of the belief that Freel gets dealt if he proves he's healthy in first few weeks of the spring, and I'm not of the belief Bruce is automatic to go north with the club.

With Cantu gone and Keppinger set for utility infield duties, having a versatile, experienced, right-handed bat with some pop like Sanders seems like a decent fit.

at 1:02 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Well, Anon 12:32, since Fantasy Leaguers don't have to worry about situational pitching match-ups in late innings and real MLB batters and managers do, I understand your notion that having nine lefties in the order would not be a problem.

at 1:35 PM Blogger maus said...


Phillips creates a giant hole for Votto to shoot through. I know his OBP isn't as good as it should be but I'll make the trade off for stolen bases -- Votto might swipe a couple too.

Agon MUCH better defensively than Kepp in a normal year without distractions. Somebody has to play good defense other than Phillips. He'll get you some unexpected runs with a long ball now and then too. Kepp will be Mr. Supersub. Hopper can fill in for OF as well.

That lineup is going to score runs in bunches!

NOTE: mlb.com picked the Reds as one of several who may surprise this year.

John...any chance WLW would broadcast a few more spring games? I go through withdrawal during the week.

at 1:48 PM Anonymous redsfanwoody said...

Sanders as extra OF? Not bad, plus if some team needs him at trade deadline a possibilty to add to the depth of the farm system.

And I will second the motion that Freel is dealt before spring ends if he is healthy.

at 1:51 PM Blogger 24/7 said...

not big on sanders, but an interesting thought. ill have to check his stats...i would like to hear more on the status of sean burnett. he's a prima donna and has had injury problems but if he's close to healthy it should be worth a shot to give him a camp invite. if not, let him be, but the upside is worth looking into.

at 1:52 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I'm surprised the Reds don't put all the spring games on the internet. Steve Stewart did a few internet only last year. With him gone, they'd have to find someone to do play-by-play, but I don't think it would be a problem.

at 2:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Freel gets dealt, don't expect anything other than a couple cases of balls and a fungo bat in return. Freel's value is not that high on the trade market.

Perhaps he could be packaged for something in return. Otherwise, any deal for Freel is merely a case of the Reds trying to be nice to Freel.

at 2:16 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

A guy who can play almost any position and run has some value to a contending team who needs to fill a hole here and there. Freel does a lot of things that can consolidate two rosters spots.

If you are expecting a Bedard straight up in return, go bonk yourself in the head.

But a couple of minor-leaguers or a reliable right-handed No. 4 outfielder or reasonable catching prospect would be suitable return for Freel.

at 2:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John, what is Juan Castro's health situation? Will he be ready for spring training or because of the TJ surgery do you expect him to start on the 60 day DL?

at 2:31 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

For all you sports collector freaks, today the mailman brought conclusion to my 14-year journey to complete one of the most gorgeous, most unappreciated baseball card sets of all time, the 1994 Fleer Flair.

I tell you this because the final card for me was the Junior Griffey Hot Glove insert, perhaps the most stunning and innovative series in collecting history.

If you have not seen the 1993-'94 Flair cards, take a look on eBay. They are outrageously cheap but drop-dead gorgeous, made of thick, glossy stock never seen before. The Hot Glove inserts are a die-cut of a glove with the player image super-imposed.

It was the Flair, along with the Topps Finest, also of 1993, that introduced high-priced, super-premium cards to the market. They were the forerunners of today's four-figure autographed and game-used cards because they proved you, or we, were dumb enough to spend $5 and above for a pack of cards; that we would spend three and four figures for limited-edition inserts.

The Ripken and Griffey Hot Glove cards were the chief issues of the Flair and for years they hovered above $150,making the hobby gasp. Now, they can be found for under $20.

The cost for the final piece of my '94 set after 14 years: $11, including shipping.

Worth the wait.

at 2:36 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Castro had Tommy John surgery July 31. He said at Redsfest he was ready to throw. I would suspent he'll be 100 percent by late spring.

at 2:36 PM Blogger Mr. Doom and Gloom said...

any chance they move hatteberg for a prospect and look at sweeney to have a righty/lefty platoon at 1B?

i realize hatte is a steal with his current contract, and he's a great contact hitter which they desperately need, but i don't understand how they plan on working out the ABs between 2 lefty 1B, he's not versatile enough to play another position, and the last thing we need is another lefty in the OF if that's how they're planning to get votto ABs

at 4:48 PM Anonymous Kyle said...

If memory serves, McBeth, Salmon, and Coutlangus pitched less than fifty innings last year. Is anyone else surprised to see them left out?

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