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Friday, June 30, 2006

Recent Reds minor league player tidbits

First off, I want to highlight, a blog run by Doug Gray, for his excellent coverage of the Reds' minor league system. I've somehow largely overlooked him 'til now, but he's done a great job of keeping everyone current on day to day progress, news, and analysis of our minor league prospects. Other sites that feature excellent Reds' prospect information, of course, include Raising Reds, Redleg Nation, and Reds (and Blues).

A few tidbits on Reds prospects that I've noticed recently that weren't reported elsewhere (I think):

Baseball Prospectus's Kevin Goldstein had this to say about Reds prospects in his Midpoint National League Report:
Great Leap Forward: First baseman Joey Votto has returned to 2004 form, batting .315/.387/.563 at Double-A Chattanooga and competing for a Triple Crown in the Southern League. 2005 first-round pick Jay Bruce has exceeded expectations at Low Class A Dayton, batting .290/.346/.537 with 39 of 75 hits going for extra bases.

Not What We Expected: A second-round pick in 2004, outfielder B.J. Szymanski is a lesson in why you take raw, athletic high school players, but not college ones. At 23, Szymanski is only in Low Class A, batting .231/.310/.455, and has a strikeout for every 2.49 at-bats. Catcher Miguel Perez is hitting just .223/.283/.287 at Chattanooga, and while he doesn't have to hit a ton because of his outstanding defensive skills, he certainly has to hit more than that.

Open Questions: 2004 first-round pick Homer Bailey has two no-hit outings, has allowed fewer then two runs in six of 13 starts at High Class A Sarasota, yet has also given up four or more runs six times. With that kind of inconsistency, why rush him with a promotion to Double-A? Can the team resist the urge to also push Bruce and lefthander Travis Wood?

Who Will Be Number One: It's between Bailey and Bruce. While Bruce has closed the gap some, it's probably not enough to pass up Bailey, one of the few pitching prospects with true No. 1 potential.

It's good to see Goldstein praising Bailey more often lately, because he's been rather hard on him most of the season.

I will say that the comment about raw athletic college players is mildly distressing, as some might argue that this is precisely what we did with our #1 selection this year...

John Sickels on Jon Coutlangus, in his update on the Giants' top preseason prospects:

16) Jon Coutlangus, LHP, C+
Claimed on waivers by Cincinnati. Currently has a 2.09 ERA and 36/17 K/BB in 39 innings for Double-A Chattanooga. Having a fine season and could contribute in the bullpen soon if his command improves a bit.
Let's hope he improves fast, along with the rest of his AA-cohort. I'm eagerly awaiting Sickels' upcoming update on the Reds' other top prospects...not on his schedule yet, but maybe next week..

Speaking of Sickels' site, a guy in the diaries there named mowwer rated Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey as among the top 10 prospects in the minor leagues. And no one argued with him on our two guys. For what that's worth. I gotta say, I'm pretty thrilled with Homer Bailey's first two starts in AA. I'm not ready to say he's the next Cole Hamels, but it's pretty exciting to see him catch fire like he has since his promotion. As I ventured recently, maybe a challenge was what he needed to bring his game to the next level. Kudos to Krivsky et al for promoting Bailey when they did.