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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Minor League Season Ends - For Real This Time

A few links of note as the minor league season has actually, really, honestly drawn to a close:

Doug Gray at RedsMinorLeagues has begun a season recap for the 2006 draftees, starting with the rather disappointing season from Drew Stubbs. I'm looking forward his series--Gray is among the best informed watchers of Reds' minor leaguers that I've encountered on the web. Excerpt from his Stubbs review:
For a first round pick it would seem that Drew Stubbs layed a huge egg in Billings. There could be so many reasons for this, and whether any of them are true or not, no one really knows but Drew. Coming into the draft, scouts really questioned his ability to hit professional pitching, so one theory is that the hitting coaches at Billings were working with him and changing his swing, and it took him time to adjust it all. Another theory is that he played a long season. Prior to his year at Texas, he played in an International Tournament for Team USA. Then he played a full college season starting in February, followed up by a season in Billings that just ended earlier this week. That is a lot of baseball for one year.
Similarly, Shawn at Cincinnati Reds Blog has begun a series recapping the seasons of each of our minor league teams. Thus far, he has featured the GCL Reds, the Billings Mustangs, the Dayton Dragons, and the Sarasota Reds. Excerpt from the Dayton review:
The best player who stuck around for the year was one Jay Bruce, a bright young star. Bruce is just 19, but hit .291 with 16 HR and 81 RBI against Midwest League pitching. He struggled against lefties (Bruce bats left-handed) and tired and slumped in August, but Bruce had a strong season, showing some good glovework as well as pounding 42 doubles and stealing 19 bases. He struck out 106 times while walking 44, so there is room for improvement. At his age, Bruce has a chance to be a big star.
Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus has posted recaps of minor leaguers who took a step forward and a step backward. Here are his bits on Reds:
Moving Up:

In 2004, first baseman Joey Votto was really good. In 2005, Votto was pretty bad. This year, it was back to the good, as the Canadian slugger raked to the tune of .319/.408/.547 at Double-A Chattanooga while making a run at the Southern League Triple Crown.

Honorable Mention: From seemingly out of nowhere, 20-year-old righthander Johnny Cueto went 15-3 with a 3.00 ERA across the two A-level teams, striking out 143 in 138 innings. He's under six-foot, but he had scouts in Florida buzzing about a fastball that sat at 94-97 mph. Shortstop Paul Janish resurrected his prospect status by hitting .304/.371/.460 across three levels to go along with his trademark outstanding glove.

Moving Down:

Already almost 24 years old, outfielder B.J. Syzmanski showed why spending money on raw college players is a very risky business, as he hit just .239/.309/.415 for Low Class A Dayton while leading the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts.

Honorable Mention
: 2005 12th-round pick Adam Rosales hit .325/.388/.558 in his pro debut, but was unable to replicate that success in his first full season, batting just .250/.328/.398. Once highly regarded, Richie Gardner came back from shoulder surgery and was rocked for a 6.97 ERA in five starts at High Class A Sarasota.
Finally, I have updated the stats on my minor-league recap, which was stupidly posted about a week early. I guess I'm just excited about our top prospects. :)

Also, in non-prospect news, Blogger has finally re-established the ability to edit the html templates again. I've gone through and done an initial adjustment, which gets us pretty much back to the state the blog was in pre-blogger update. I'm reasonably happy with where the site is now in appearance, except for the banner at the top--but I have started fiddling with some ideas in photoshop, and will hopefully have something snazzy up there soon.