Monday, December 22, 2008

2008 Top 25 Reds Prospects and Review

Well, I'm cleaning up the blog and getting ready for the 2009 list, so I'm continuing to look back at my thoughts on 2008. So, here was my list of the 2008 top Reds' prospects with links to my individual scouting reports. I'll post the link to this post under my past thoughts list. While I'm at it, may as well use the benefit of hindsight to see how some of these guys performed.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how my 2008 rankings shook out. Obviously, Homer Bailey has suffered a major setback. I went back and forth over whether to rank him behind Cueto, but ultimately stuck with Homer in the #2 slot. At this point, a case could be made that he should have been even lower than #3.

Some of the national publications were down on Valaika after his 2007 season, but I thought he'd be a nice bounce back candidate and it's looking good so far. Still, the one that jumps out the most in the top 10 is Travis Wood, who was very good at high-A, but really struggled at double-A in 2008. The jump from A-ball to double-A is widely regarded as the most difficult in professional baseball, so there is still time for him to bounce back. Even so, it was a discouraging performance, as a 7+ ERA is never a good thing.

I'm pretty pleased with where I had Dorn and Soto ranked, as each was very impressive in 2008. Dorn continues to rake and look for some respect among the national publications, while Soto exploded on the scene in 2008.

Unfortunately, Josh Ravin still struggled massively with his control, which at this point threatens to completely derail his career. That said, he's still my favorite pitching prospect and I'm still high on him. Even so, he needs to show improved control in 2009 to get his career back on track.

As for Kyle Lotzkar, 2008 was about what I expected. He's got the good stuff and put it to good use, but he also suffered a significant arm injury which may be attributable to his less than ideal pitching mechanics. His mechanics and likely heightened injury risk are what pushed him down to #16 on the list, as his raw tools would warrant a higher ranking. He was great while healthy, but wasn't healthy all that long.

Brandon Waring and Justin Turner continued to do what they do best. Waring whiffed and homered, while Turner continued to grind out good numbers despite possessing less than impressive tools. While I wish both the best in the Oriole organization, I'll admittedly miss Turner more than Waring.

Finally, Roenicke, Viola, Watson, Fisher, and Pelland showed why I hesitate to rank relievers near the top of the list. Viola, Watson, and Pelland struggled mightily, while Roenicke and Fisher were solid. Even so, none managed to make an impact at the MLB level.

Finally, two of my biggest omissions may turn out to be Daryl Thompson and Chris Dickerson. Honestly, I'm still not completely sold on DT, but his minor league season was impressive. As for Dickerson, nothing would make me happier than to be wrong about him, but despite a massive MLB debut, I'm not convinced that I am. I'll take a closer look at each in the 2009 rankings.

Anyway, for posterity's sake, here is my top prospect list for 2008. I'll be starting with my 2009 list over the next few days, so keep an eye out for it.

Reds Prospects for 2008
1) Jay Bruce
2) Homer Bailey
3) Johnny Cueto
4) Joey Votto
5) Drew Stubbs
6) Todd Frazier
7) Juan Francisco
8) Devin Mesoraco
9) Travis Wood
10) Chris Valaika

11) Neftali Soto
12) Danny Dorn
13) Matt Maloney
14) Josh Ravin
15) Adam Rosales
16) Kyle Lotzkar
17) Josh Roenicke
18) Pedro Viola
19) Brandon Waring
20) Sean Watson

21) Carlos Fisher
22) Sam LeCure
23) Justin Turner
24) Justin Reed
25) Tyler Pelland
Other Notables

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