Reading through bloglines today, and came upon this post by John Sickels:
Working on the Reds farm system today....
This system is loaded. You have the top quartet of Bruce/Cueto/Votto/Bailey, but even beyond them there is a good combination of performance guys and projection guys. My initial run through came up with 49 names worth writing about. I have narrowed that down to 39, which is the most I can put into the book. Even that, some of the guys I cut I wish I could put in.
Take heart, Reds fans. You have a lot to look forward to.
Ok, I've read that three times, and it really does say what I think it says. It does, doesn't it?
How long has it been since someone outside of the Reds' organization has said something like that? Much less a respected talent evaluator like Sickels? The guy isn't perfect, but he's about as good a resource as we non-baseball folks have available to us when it comes to minor league prospects...
Update: Here's his top 20 list:
Pretty exciting. To show how ignorant I am about the Reds' system, I had absolutely no clue who Daniel Dorn was. That power surge in Chattanooga last year was kinda neat, but low sample sizes, ya know? Still, the kid could arrive in Louisville next year, so it's time to start watching him.
- Jay Bruce, OF, Grade A (I'm not worried about the strikeouts given his age and performance)
- Johnny Cueto, RHP, Grade A-
- Joey Votto, 1B, Grade A-
- Homer Bailey, RHP, Grade B+
- Todd Frazier, SS-3B, Grade B+
- Matthew Maloney, LHP, Grade B (I have always liked him, has component marks of a power pitcher not a finesse guy even though he doesn't throw hard)
- Devin Mesoraco, C, Grade B
- Drew Stubbs, OF, Grade B-
- Neftali Soto, SS-3B, Grade B-
- Kyle Lotzkar, RHP, Grade B- (a long way off but a good intuitive feeling)
- Daniel Dorn, OF, Grade B- (major sleeper)
- Jared Burton, RHP, Grade C+
- Tyler Pelland, LHP, Grade C+
- Pedro Viola, LHP, Grade C+ (sleeper!)
- Travis Wood, LHP, Grade C+ (health??)
- Josh Roenicke, RHP, Grade C+
- Scott Carroll, RHP, Grade C+
- Chris Valaika, INF, Grade C+
- Adam Rosales, 1B, Grade C+
- Sean Watson, RHP, Grade C+
- Brandon Waring, 3B, Grade C+ (the strikeouts scare me)
I also have to say that the '07 draft class is looking mighty good. It's too early to know much about Mesoraco's outcome, which is no surprise for a high school catcher. But Frazier is looking like a steal, and it's great to see guys like Lotzkar and Soto being ranked so favorably. Unfortunately, the class of '06 isn't doing quite as well...though I tend to think that Watson, at least, is a bit better than his rating would indicate. But what do I know? :)