Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Baseball Americas 11-30 Reds Prospects

C. Trent Rosencrans posted this on his blog.

Baseball Americas Reds 11-30 Prospects

11. OF Cody Strait
12. RHP Sam LeCure
13. RHP Josh Ravin
14. RHP James Avery
15. OF Chris Dickerson
16. LHP Phil Dumatrait
17. LHP Tyler Pelland
18. RHP Daryl Thompson
19. LHP Camilo Vazquez
20. RHP David Shafer (who was traded to the A's)
21. C Miguel Perez
22. LHP Jon Coutlangus
23. RHP Jordan Smith
24. OF Justin Reed
25. RHP Brad Salmon
26. 3B Juan Francisco
27. OF Norris Hopper
28. RHP Rafael Gonzalez
29. OF B.J. Szymanski
30. OF Josh Hamilton

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Terry Reynolds interview on Around the Minors

Cincinnati Reds Farm Director Terry Reynolds was on Around The Minors today with Jonathon Mayo and Lisa Winston on MLB Radio. The entire interview is available on or by clicking here for the direct link to the broadcast. I went ahead and made a transcript of the interview though. Now I am completely paraphrasing here with the questions and answers, but I typed it up as I listened, so its roughly accurate, but I may have it worded slightly different as I attempted to keep up. The questions asked by Winston or Mayo are in bold, while Terry Reynolds answers are in plain text.

ATM: Is there a Chance Votto is in Cincinnati in 07?

TR: No, I think Votto's path would be a full season in AAA. You can never predict what might happen, but his bat is bit ahead of his defense and he's going to need some time in AAA to play defense and improve in that area. But if he continues to hit the way he did last year in the Southern League those kind of bats are going to play sooner rather than later. Hopefully he continues down that same path and continues to improve defensively. Probably you are looking at 2008.

ATM: With Milton Loo, Chris Valaika and Paul Janish all playing SS, which of these guys to you see having the ability to move to second or third if and when that needs to happen?

TR: The nice part about that is, they all can play SS. With that being said, anybody that can do that can make the more to second without many problems. That's probably something that will happen later because you can never have too many shortstops. Janish will probably begin in AA, Valaika in one of the A ball teams and Loo depending on his spring will end up in Dayton or Billings.

ATM: What can you tell us about Johnny Cueto, his stuff, his timetable and what you like about him?

TR: He is right on Homers tail as far as performance that he has put up the last two summers. The difference in those two guys is probably their physical status, with Cueto being 6'0". He and Homer would be on similar timetables as far as moving one level at a time.

ATM: With Cueto coming from the international side, who are some other guys that stand out from that side of operations?

TR: The two guys who stood out for us in the instructional league the most were Phipps (Denis) and Francisco (Juan). Both of those guys have very good tools. Phipps is more of an all around athlete, while Francisco is a big strong left handed hitting third basemen with lots of power.

ATM: What chance does Josh Hamilton really have to make the team?

TR: I think he will be provided every real opportunity to make it. You don't make that selection without thinking he has a legit chance to make your club. That being said he has a lot of work to do, we have a lot of work to do to get him into camp, see where he is physically and see how he is mentally. Then see how he competes with the guys he will be competing with. As we all know when it comes to just raw physical ability, when this guy came out in the draft he was clearly the #1 pick that year, and he has only gotten bigger and stronger since then. He is in Florida and is taking BP and things like that, so I wouldn't bet against the guy. We would like to have him with the club even if he's not a regular, he can do a lot of things off the bench though, late inning defense replacement, pinch run, hit a HR....

ATM: Who are some of the sleepers you think people aren't talking about now, but will be after 2007?

TR: Paul Janish isn't really a sleeper, but is someone everyone in the organization feels has a chance to be a successful infielder at hte big league level and a guy who just is like a "throwback" type of guy. Outstanding fielder, excellent arm, gets the big hits when you need them, knows how to play the game. I think he is a guy who will continue to move at a fairly rapid pace if his health allows it. Sam Lecure will probably pitch at Chattanooga this year. He is one of those guys that you want on your side when you go out to play a game. He finds a way to beat people. Chris Dickerson who has as good of tools and a defender of anyone in the minors. He is coming off a surgery on his non dominant shoulder which has slowed him down over the course of the fall and into the spring, but we hope he is fully back during the course of the season. He is one of those guys who may move quick.

ATM: Is there anything Jay Bruce can't do?

TR: Well in my mind, no. You don't want to jinx a guy by saying something like that. Mentally and physically he has everything you want in a ball player. You can never predict injuries and you know you keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't happen. That being said if he stays healthy and on track there is no reason he cant be real good and a real productive outfielder in the big leagues for a long time.

Jay Bruce hits a HR in the MWL All-Star game

Just another Reds Prospect Video for some of us who can't wait for baseball to get here soon enough.

Monday, January 29, 2007

2006 Baseball America Reds Top 10 Prospects

Baseball America released its Reds Top 10 Prospects list today. Remember, the chat starts at 3pm. They also released the systems best tools. I decided to list the 2005 and 2004 lists as well, to give a perspective on where the system has been and how it has moved over the past 3 seasons.

Top 10 Prospects

2006 2005 2004
1. Homer Bailey, rhp Homer Bailey Homer Bailey
2. Jay Bruce, of Jay Bruce Edwin Encarnacion
3. Joey Votto, 1b Travis Wood Richie Gardner
4. Johnny Cueto, rhp BJ Szymanski Joey Votto
5. Drew Stubbs, of Chris Denorfia BJ Szymanski
6. Travis Woods, lhp Rafael Gonzalez Thomas Pauley
7. Sean Watson, rhp Miguel Perez Todd Coffey
8. Milton Loo, ss Tyler Pelland William Bergolla
9. Paul Janish, ss Joey Votto Tyler Pelland
10. Chris Valaika, ss Travis Chick Paul Janish

Best Tools

Tools Category 2006 2005 2004
Best Hitter for Average Jay Bruce Jay Bruce Joey Votto
Best Power Hitter Joey Votto Jay Bruce Joey Votto
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Joey Votto Chris Denorfia Joey Votto
Fastest Baserunner Chris Dickerson Brandon Roberts Javon Moran
Best Athlete Chris Dickerson Chris Dickerson BJ Szymanski
Best Fastball Homer Bailey Homer Bailey Homer Bailey
Best Curveball Homer Bailey Homer Bailey Homer Bailey
Best Slider Johnny Cueto Zach Ward Richie Gardner
Best Changeup Travis Wood Travis Wood Steve Kelly
Best Control Johnny Cueto Bobby Basham Richie Gardner
Best Defensive Catcher Miguel Perez Miguel Perez Miguel Perez
Best Defensive Infielder Paul Janish Paul Janish Paul Janish
Best Infield Arm Juan Francisco Adam Rosales Paul Janish
Best Defensive Outfielder Chris Dickerson Chris Dickerson Chris Dickerson
Best Outfield Arm Jerry Gil Jay Bruce Chris Denorfia

Overall I think the system is heading in the right direction. The Reds have the impact players at the top in Bailey, Bruce and Votto. The 2006 draft seemed to add some nice depth with guys like Valaika, Dorn, Parker, Ravin and a few others. I think anything I disagree with in their top 10 list would just be a waste of time to argue about, because all of the players are there, just a few are switched around. Anyways, if anyone has anything to say, feel free to discuss.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Johnny Cueto on Youtube

Johnny Cueto during the Midwest League All Star Game. Not his best game ever, but I thought it would be nice to show it around.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Bryan Smith on Homer Bailey vs. Philip Hughes

As you may have seen, Bryan Smith (co-founder of The Baseball Analysts) recently published his Top 75 Prospects for Today he took some questions he received about his list and answered them. The one we are looking at is about the never ending Homer Bailey is better than Phil Hughes, or Phil Hughes is better than Homer Bailey statement.


How can you rank Homer Bailey ahead of Phillip Hughes. Looking at their statistics side by side, Hughes' numbers are better in every respect. And if you say that it's the stuff that defines the greater prospect, the difference in stuff between Hughes and Bailey is minimal with Bailey having slightly more velocity although Hughes has a heavier ball. Further, if it is stuff that defines the prospect than I'm certain you can find a myriad of prospects who have the same stuff as Bailey and Hughes. The key than must be the marriage between stuff and control that translates into success and therefore the better prospect. Isn't that the embodiment of Phillip Hughes? The remarkable maturity (pitching knowledge), super stuff, and superior control all combine to create one of the best pitching prospects we've ever seen. The part of that equation that Homer Bailey holds is super stuff and improving control. Taking into account the previous argument, you can only conclude that Phillip Hughes is indeed the better pitching prospect.

By a power of about eight million, this type of question (dealing with these two prospects) was the most popular I received, speaking to the fabulous intensity of Yankee fans. Still, its funny, because the difference between the two players is totally negligible. Both prospects are generational, both are top tier, and both project as aces in the Major Leagues (the only two in the minors). So, I don't really think the individual ranking is important, but I will do Bailey the honor of defending him, since he was ultimately my choice.

As far as "stuff" goes, I disagree with the question, I don't think you can find other stuff like Bailey's or Hughes' in the minor leagues. Someone like Jason Neighborgall might have impressive raw stuff, but it doesn't compare to these two players, as he has no idea where it is going. Say what you will about Homer Bailey's command, but it hardly had an adverse effect on his performance in 2006. In the end, I decided to label the Reds prospect with the minors best stuff, and I again, I disagree with the e-mail about how he labels their fastballs. I would not say that Hughes has more life than Bailey, but instead more sink, as Bailey's exploding four-seamer has plenty of life. I love Hughes' two-seamer, however, so the fastball difference is about as negligible as their overall ranking.

But, again, why Bailey? What overcomes Hughes' edge in command? Two things: breaking ball and health. Now, let me remind, I'm not claiming Hughes is poor in either category at all. His curveball is fantastic, but my reports of Bailey's hook were phenomenal. The pitch might be a 75 on the 20-80 scouting scale soon, and it should generate a lot of swings-and-misses at the Major League level. While Hughes is long removed from past shoulder soreness, he is still more susceptible for future injury than Bailey.

Now listen: I believe Philip Hughes will not only pitch in the Majors in 2007, but I believe he'll start admirably in the playoffs. I believe he will anchor the Yanks' rotation for years to come. And I also believe the same for Homer Bailey's, who has enough star power to reinvigorate the city of Cincinnati.

To see his entire list, as well as his response to some questions visit

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Krivsky and Narron on Homer Bailey and Josh Hamilton

This is from C. Trent Rosecrans and his Reds blog for the Post

Went to the stag at La Salle tonight, but didn't stick around for everything. I just talked to some folks before it started and got out before the main program began (and even passed up the meal)

Anyway, the biggest topic of conversation, of course, was Homer Bailey.

Bailey will be in major league camp, but nobody is committing to much quite yet. I asked Jerry Narron how he'd treat Bailey in camp -- as a starter or a reliever or what. "We'll treat him like a guy who pitched in AA last year."

Wayne Krivsky was asked if he's ruled out Bailey starting the season with the Reds. He said he hasn't.

"I'm not going to say no to anything, it's just let's not get too excited," Krivsky said. "Let's let it play out. He hasn't pitched AAA yet, he only has half a year at AA. I'm not smart enough to tell you right now what our team's going to be when we leave spring training. I'm sure heÂs going to go down there and compete and we'll see how it shakes out. We need spring training to evaluate everybody."

As for Homer, he said he wants to make the decision as difficult as possible for Krivsky and Narron.

  • Another interesting tidbit is that Narron said he and Josh Hamilton have been meeting halfway between their hometowns in North Carolina, in a town called Smithfield, to work out several times a week.

    "It's been a lot of fun watching him," Narron said. "He's a tremendous athlete. He's got great bat speed. The one thing that's really hurt him is he hasn't played the last couple of years. It's going to be a huge adjustment for him and hopefully he makes our ballclub."

    Narron said his plan is to play Hamilton nearly every day and get him about 80-100 at-bats in the spring, no matter how he does. He'll also play him in all three outfield positions.

    "There are very few players in the major leagues with the kind of talent he has," Narron said. "But when you haven't played above (Class) A ball, it's a huge challenge for him."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Pecota on Homer Bailey

This is from The Lineup Card through

6. Where should Homer Bailey start the season?

Phillip Hughes is the top pitching prospect in baseball, followed closely by Bailey. Though Cincy's pitching has improved with the Bronson Arroyo trade and the development of Aaron Harang, they could sure use a potential ace. Bailey is projected to toss 129 innings, with 119 Ks, 66 BB, a 1.46 WHIP and a 4.64 ERA. The Reds can probably afford to wait on Bailey, who's only 21 and doesn't project to be a real impact arm quite yet. He's also projected to allow 18 taters. Wayne Krivsky should wait a little while longer, he'll be worth it.

I think they are expecting an awful lot of walks from Bailey next season.... 66 walks in 129 innings is 4.6bb/9ip. I am not so sure I buy into that. Also 18 HR in 129 innings works out to a 1.26 HR/9ip.... again, I am not so sure I buy into that. In Homers 254 minor league innings he has allowed just 12 HRs, which is a rate of 0.42 HR/9ip. The majors have better hitters, but I am not sure it will cause his HR rate to triple.

Homer Bailey named Reds Minor League Player of the Year

Bailey Reds' top Minor Leaguer of 2006
Blooming starting pitcher honored as Player of Year
By Mark Sheldon

CINCINNATI -- This news wouldn't really fall under the category of a surprise.

As buzz about Reds top prospect Homer Bailey continues to build, the starting pitcher just added one more accolade to his resume. On Wednesday, the organization named Bailey winner of the Sheldon "Chief" Bender Award as the 2006 Minor League Player of the Year.

The award is named after Bender, who spent 64 years in baseball. His last 39 years in the game were with the Reds' scouting and player development departments.

The 20-year-old Bailey was 10-6 with a 2.47 ERA in 26 starts combined at Class A Sarasota and Double-A Chattanooga. The right-hander struck out 156 batters, compared to 50 walks.

The seventh overall pick of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, Bailey was an All-Star from both the Florida State and Southern Leagues last season and named as both leagues' top prospect. He was also selected to pitch in the MLB All-Star Futures Game.

Bailey's adjustment from Class A to Double-A was impressive. He did not allow a run over his first three starts, covering 17 innings, and twice notched a season-high 11 strikeouts in a game. With the Lookouts, he went 7-1 with a 1.59 ERA in 13 starts as the clamoring intensified for Bailey to be promoted to the Majors.

That didn't happen, as the Reds have been deliberate and cautious with Bailey's development. He will be in Major League camp as a non-roster player during Spring Training with an outside chance of joining the rotation as the fifth starter. However both general manager Wayne Krivsky and manager Jerry Narron have already indicated Bailey will likely begin 2007 at Triple-A Louisville.

Other Reds prospects were also recognized on Wednesday. First baseman Joey Votto was named the organization's Hitter of the Year and pitcher Johnny Cueto the Pitcher of the Year.

Playing for Chattanooga, Votto led the Southern League with a .319 average and was its Most Valuable Player. The 23-year-old had 22 homers and 77 RBIs and also led the league in hits (162), doubles (46), on-base percentage (.408), slugging percentage (.547), extra-base hits (70), total bases (278), runs scored (85) and walks (78).

Cueto was 15-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 26 starts at Class A Dayton and Sarasota. The 21-year-old right-hander led all Reds Minor League pitchers in victories, and he was second behind Bailey in strikeouts with 143.

I find it interesting that Johnny Cueto won the Pitcher of the Year award for the Reds system, but Homer Bailey, a pitcher, won player of the year. I think Joey Votto should have won the Player of the Year award though.

Too early for a mock draft? Apparently not

Todd Morgan from is the first that I have seen to put together a mock draft for the 2007 MLB Draft. You can check out the entire mock draft by clicking here.

15. Cincinnati Reds Matt Dominguez, 3B, R-R, 6’2, 180, Chatsworth High School, California

Dominguez and fellow prep 3B Vitters followed each other around last summer, one-upping one another in one showcase event after another. Their similar size and skill sets will probably link them in scouts’ minds for years to come, but when it comes down to it Vitters is a step ahead at this point. The difference isn’t huge though. While Vitters has better raw power than Dominguez, the latter has better speed and is farther along defensively with a slightly better arm. Dominguez is also a tick faster on the bases.

The Reds farm system is pitching heavy right now, and as they lean toward prep players with early-round selections, Dominguez will be a good pick here. He has the ability to play third base in the majors, but also has the athleticism and arm strength to make a smooth transition to a corner outfield spot.

Like always, preseason mock drafts, especially for baseball have absolutely no validity to them. There is way to much that can happen in a season, be it injury, poor performance or someone else coming through and making himself a better prospect. With that being said, it is still quite fun to take a look at and keep an eye on some guys you think you would like.

Todd has the Reds taking a High School 3rd Basemen from Chatsworth HS in California. The Reds drafted Josh Ravin last year in the 5th round out of Chatsworth HS, so the Reds scouts are probably pretty familiar with Dominguez already.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

David Shafer traded for Kirk Saarloos

David Shafer and a PTBNL were traded today for Kirk Saarloos and a PTBNL.
Shafer went 1-2 with a 2.36 ERA and 26 saves for AA Chattanooga last season. Best of luck to him in his new organization.
Where does Sarloos fit into the Reds plans? Will he come from the bullpen or will he start? Top 15 Prospects; Bruce at #15, Bailey at #3

Bryan Smith, for released his 2007 Top 15 prospects in baseball today. Jay Bruce came in at #15 and Homer Bailey was the highest ranked pitcher at #3.

Photo by: Paul Gierhart/

15. Jay Bruce, 20, RF, Cincinnati Reds
2006 Stats (Class A-): .291/.355/.516, 19 SB in 444 AB

Bruce had a historic season for a teen-ager in the Midwest League, showing left-handed power unrivaled for a player of his maturity. Like so many young left-handed hitters, Bruce has work to do with southpaws, striking out in 30 percent of his at-bats against them in 2006. This is not what scares me. What does is the context within Bruce's numbers and the similarities they bear to Brian Dopirak's legendary Midwest League season in 2004. That year Dopirak became wildly hyped in prospect circles, but I made note of a 27-game stretch during the summer in which he was a decidedly better player than the rest of the season, which is the same thing that happened to Bruce in 2006. In 33 games between June 4 and July 10, Bruce was amazing, hitting .427 and clubbing 24 extra-base hits. The rest of the season? A paltry .238 batting average. However, his power did remain consistent throughout the season, so I am now cautiously confident in Bruce's future.

I think one thing that Bryan overlooked here was in August when Jay tried to play through an injury. If you take out Jays August, he OPS'd .800 the parts of the season that wasn't August or June 4-July 10. While that is nowhere near what he did the rest of the season, for Bryan to exclude 28% of Jays at bats is a little pressing if you ask me. Everyone has a hot and cold time during the season....Jay just happened to go absolutely insane for 124 at bats in a 5 week period of time.

3. Homer Bailey, 21, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
2006 Stats (A+/AA): 2.47 ERA, 99H/138.2IP, 156K/50BB

A year ago, things did not add up with Homer Bailey. The prep star's full season debut began in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League, where he allowed a 7.73 H/9, struck out 125 batters and allowed just five home runs in just over 100 innings. However, his ERA was 4.43. The reason? Sixty-two walks, indicating poor command that Bailey had not shown as a high schooler. The anomalies I saw straightened themselves out in 2006, when Bailey became the game's best pitching prospect. The electricity of Bailey's stuff -- the life of his fastball and break on his curve -- are fantastic, and Bailey already attacks hitters like a veteran. In 2005, Bailey walked fewer than two batters just six times. In 2006, he raised the number to nine starts. If he can make a 50 percent improvement on that number again next season, Bailey will finish the year in Cincinnati.

I don't really disagree with anything Bryan says about Bailey. I look forward to seeing him in Cincinnati sometime this year, although I hope its not until July....but I am not holding my breath either.

I added an RSS feed to the site

Someone contacted me earlier today wondering why I didn't have one on the site, and to be honest I didn't know much about them. I did a little research and decided to try and add one. It currently works with my browser that doubles as a feed service, so if anyone else uses RSS feeds and has any problems getting it to work, let me know.... Like I said, I didn't know much about them until about 2 hours ago, so I am not 100% sure what I did works for all RSS feed services.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sports Illustrated Top 75 Prospects; Joey Votto #32

Bryan Smith, formerly of The Baseball Analysts and now contributes to The Hardball Times, Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America, also contributed to SI to make his Top 75 list and is releasing it 15 players at a time. Tomorrow the top 15 should be released.

Photo by Tim Evearitt

32. Joey Votto, 23, 1b, Cincinnati Reds
2006 Stats (AA): .319/.408/.547, 24 SB in 508 AB

Votto is the rare prospect who finds himself in the middle of the contact skills, power and intelligence Venn diagram. While the power is obvious, Votto's smarts are more subtle: He has fantastic patience, plus-baserunning instincts and has become a plus-defender at first base. After striking out 54 times in his first 56 games, Votto began making contact more often, whiffing just 55 times in his last 80 games. Very nearly a polished product, Votto's only remaining work is an improvement against southpaws after slugging .399 against left-handers in 2006. Nonetheless, he remains an early 2008 Rookie of the Year favorite.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Project Prospect 2006 Top 5 Rookie Pitchers

Photo by Tim Evearitt

Project Prospect took a look at the Top 5 Rookie Starting Pitchers for 2006, where they ranked Homer Bailey at #4. Here is what they have to say:

4. Homer Bailey, RHP, CIN: Bailey has all the credentials: great upper-nineties fastball, solid curveball, good size (6'4'', 200), and a hometown that shares its name with a ZZ Top song (La Grange, TX). There is one knock on Bailey, though: he was born May 3rd, 1986. Very few major league pitchers experience great success as 21-year-olds.

Opportunities do arise, however. Matt Cain pulled it off last season. If Bailey starts off 2007 by continuing to limit batters to under 6.60 hits per 9 innings while posting a strikeout rate above 10.0, then the Reds will give him an opportunity -- their staff needs serious help.

Bailey could conceivably get 10-15 starts with the big league club, and if he’s called up it means he’s in rhythm and in peak form, ready to post good numbers.

I like what they said, and most of its true. Although like I posted last week, there has been some recent success with pitchers 21 and younger in the majors. The only thing I disagree with is that I truly think Homer gets more than 15 starts next season.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 has an interview with Joey Votto online now

On the frontpage of there is an audio interview with Joey Votto, or if you go to their interview page, it is also located there.

Also, there is video from the Rookie Career Development where Jonathon Mayo sits down with Homer Bailey, Phil Hughes, Matt Garza and Adam Miller. This part of the video begins at about 15:30 into the segment if you just want to fast forward. As a side note, Homer looks like he could use a hair cut.

Again, all of this is available on

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Enquirer Article on Homer Bailey; Josh Hamilton news

John Fay wrote this in todays Cincinnati Enquirer

It's going to come down to Homer.

For the Reds to have a chance to break through and leave the trail of losing seasons behind, Homer Bailey is going to have to be part of the rotation and pitch well.

That is not what the Reds plan to do. Bailey will almost certainly start the year at Triple-A. And there's no guarantee that he's ready for success in the majors.

But it says here that ultimate success or failure of the 2007 Reds will be tied to Bailey.

If Bailey can do for the Reds in 2007 what Justin Verlander did for the Detroit Tigers in 2006, the Reds can be contenders for the postseason.

Verlander, after spending most of 2005 dominating at Single-A and Double-A, went 17-9 with a 3.63 ERA for the Tigers in last season. He won the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

It would be a huge leap for Bailey to do that. Verlander was 23 when the '06 season started. He pitched three years of college ball.

Bailey doesn't turn 21 until May 3.

Verlander's numbers in the minors in 2005 were better than Bailey's were in 2006, and Verlander was given two starts in the majors at end of '05.

So it may be a stretch to hope that Bailey can be close to having the success Verlander had.

But if I'm running the Reds, I take a shot on Bailey.

Because when you look at the Reds today - just over a month from the start of spring training - it's hard to fathom them competing for the National League Central title.

In other words, Wednesday's trade for Jeff Keppinger didn't put the Reds over the top.

Nothing against Keppinger - it sounds as if he could be a nice addition coming off the bench - but the trade for him was like a lot of the moves the Reds made this offseason. You could see the merit in it, but it wasn't likely to sell one ticket.

General manager Wayne Krivksy said Friday that he likes the club he's put together.

"I think we're better," he said. "We improved defensively. We've got competition for the (fifth) starting spot. We're looking for more ways to improve. I like the additions we've made."

But for the first time in a long time, you've got to wonder if the Reds can score enough runs to be competitive. The offense struggled mightily in August and September last season, and the one guy who came through consistently late in the year, Rich Aurilia, is now a San Francisco Giant.

Because if the offense figures to be watered down from recent years - remember the Reds led the NL in runs scored two seasons ago - the success of this team is going to depend on pitching and defense.

That brings us back to Bailey. Krivksy mentioned the competition for the fifth spot. Matt Belisle, Elizardo Ramirez, Phil Dumatrait and Bobby Livingston will compete for the spot along with Bailey.

All of the above have potential. But Bailey is the only one in the field who projects as a top-of-the-rotation type of pitcher.

You have to admire the Reds' efforts to be cautious with Bailey.

But if the Reds want to break through this year, the guess here is Bailey is going to have to be pitching at Great American Ball Park on or before his 21st birthday.

EARLY ARRIVAL: Josh Hamilton, the Rule 5 draftee, plans on getting to Sarasota in late January.

"I didn't know he was getting there that early," Krivsky said. "He's views this as a great opportunity. He's been working with Jerry (Narron). Jerry's thrown him some BP."

Hamilton, the No. 1 choice overall in the 1999 draft, is seeking to come back from drug problems and injuries.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Pitchers 21 or younger in the Majors from 2000-2005

Today I was looking through topics over on and someone brought up the history of Reds pitchers at age of 21 and the track record was not very good at all. However, I think the past 10 years specifically we have had more young pitchers brought up with the ability to succeed due to strict innings and pitch counts. I went back from 2000-2005 and looked for every pitcher 21 or younger to pitch at least 80 innings in 1 season. I found 24 seasons and they are listed below.

Player Year Age ERA W L IP H HR K W
Quevedo, Ruben 2000 21 7.47 3 10 88 96 21 65 54
Santana, Johan 2000 21 6.49 2 3 86 102 11 64 54
Greinke, Zack 2005 21 5.80 5 17 183 233 23 114 53
Bonderman, Jeremy 2003 20 5.56 6 19 162 193 23 108 58
Perez, Oliver 2003 21 5.47 4 10 126.2 129 22 141 77
Asencio, Miguel 2002 21 5.11 4 7 123.1 136 17 58 64
Davies, Kyle 2005 21 4.93 7 6 87.2 98 8 62 49
Bonderman, Jeremy 2004 21 4.89 11 13 184 168 24 168 73
Peavy, Jake 2002 21 4.52 6 7 97.2 106 11 90 33
Sabathia, C.C. 2001 21 4.39 17 5 180.1 149 19 171 95
Greinke, Zack 2004 20 3.97 8 11 145 143 26 100 26
Smith, Bud 2001 21 3.83 6 3 84.2 79 12 59 24
Meche, Gil 2000 21 3.78 4 4 85.2 75 7 60 40
Kazmir, Scott 2005 21 3.77 10 9 186 172 12 174 100
Garland, Jon 2001 21 3.69 6 7 117 123 16 61 55
Zambrano, Carlos 2002 21 3.66 4 8 108.1 94 9 93 63
Perez, Oliver 2002 20 3.50 4 5 90 71 13 94 48
Ankiel, Rick 2000 21 3.50 11 7 175 137 21 194 90
Prior, Mark 2002 21 3.32 6 6 116.2 98 14 147 38
Willis, Dontrelle 2003 21 3.30 14 6 160.2 148 13 142 58
Williams, Jerome 2003 21 3.30 7 5 131 116 10 88 49
Rodriguez, Francisco 2003 21 3.03 8 3 86 50 12 95 35
Hernandez, Felix 2005 19 2.67 4 4 84.1 61 5 77 23
Villarreal, Oscar 2003 21 2.57 10 7 98 80 6 80 46

Now, there were 3 pitchers who were primarily relievers (Santana, Rodriguez and Villarreal) but the rest were all starters. Homer Bailey turns 21 at the beginning of May. There is a lot of speculation on whether he will break spring training with the Reds. Looking at the list, there have been quite a few guys in there who performed just fine, but there has also been some guys who did not perform so well. Of the 21 players on the list that were starting pitchers, 16 of them (76%) produced an ERA better than 5.00, which would be well enough as a #5 starter to merit being in the rotation. 12 of the pitchers (57%) posted an ERA under 4.00, which definitely warrants them being in the rotation at such a young age. This past season there were also quite a few successes with Chad Billingsley, Matt Cain and Joel Zumaya.

If Homer Bailey does make it to the Reds this season, and I think he will, I would expect him to join the 76% that posted an ERA under 5.00 and be a good addition to the rotation from the #5 spot. Whether he can join the 57% and post an ERA under the 4.00 has yet to be seen, but I wouldn't put it past him.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Reds trade Haltiwanger for Keppinger....DFA Olmedo

Today the Reds traded Russ Haltiwanger for Jeff Keppinger. To make room on the 40 man, Rey Olmedo was DFA'd.

Jeff Keppinger Career Stats

Year Team Age Level AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG
2002 Hickory 22 A 478 75 132 23 4 10 73 47 33 .276 .344 .404
2003 Lynchburg 23 A+ 342 55 111 21 2 3 51 23 28 .325 .365 .424
2004 Binghamton 24 AA 47 14 17 3 1 0 5 6 2 .362 .426 .468
Altoona 24 AA 323 45 108 17 2 1 33 27 17 .334 .384 .409
Norfolk 24 AAA 19 1 6 1 0 0 2 4 2 .316 .458 .368
NY Mets 24 MLB 116 9 33 2 0 3 9 6 7 .284 .317 .379
2005 Norfolk 25 AAA 255 40 86 15 3 3 29 16 13 .337 .377 .455
2006 Norfolk 26 AAA 323 36 97 13 0 2 26 28 21 .300 .353 .359
Omaha 26 AAA 127 21 45 6 1 2 17 12 9 .354 .407 .465
KC 26 MLB 60 11 16 2 0 2 8 5 6 .267 .323 .400
MLB Totals 176 20 49 4 0 5 17 11 13 .278 .319 .386
Milb Totals 1914 287 602 99 13 21 236 163 125 .315 .368 .413

It looks like he has very little power, but hits for a good average and walks more than he strikes out. Sounds just like what Wayne wants....guys with no power, never strike out and can glove it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Spring Training Invitations handed out

This is from Marc Lancaster:

Among minor leaguers already in the organization, RHP Homer Bailey, LHP Michael Gosling, C Ryan Hanigan and IF Paul Janish will be in big-league camp.

As for players signed to minor league contracts and invited to camp, you've got C Miguel Perez, OF Dewayne Wise, IF Anderson Machado, RHP Tom Shearn, C Ryan Jorgensen, LHP Jason Kershner, RHP Victor Santos and C Dan Conway

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Joe Nuxhall on Homer Bailey

Not sure how I missed this, but I did. This is from the Dayton Daily News on the 4th:

"I'm saying right now, I think he's going to be in the starting rotation," Nuxhall said of the 20-year-old Bailey, the Reds' most promising prospect who was almost untouchable at Class AA Chattanooga last season.

Narron has said Bailey most likely will start the season at Class AAA Louisville in the Reds' minor league system.

"The big thing that has to happen, he has to show consistency with his breaking ball and off-speed pitches," said the 78-year-old Nuxhall, former Reds pitcher and radio broadcaster, probably the most beloved sports celebrity in Southwest Ohio.

"If he shows that consistency during spring training," Nuxhall added, "I'm predicting he'll be there."

You can read the entire article by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Project Prospect Top 100; 4 Reds

The guys over at just released their Top 100 Prospect list and it includes 4 Reds.

6. Homer Bailey - RHP
7. Jay Bruce - OF
30. Joey Votto - 1B
100. Johnny Cueto - RHP

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Reds trade Brendan Harris

By Mark Sheldon,

CINCINNATI -- The Reds traded reserve infielder Brendan Harris to the Devil Rays for a player to be named later or cash on Tuesday.

Harris was designated for assignment by Cincinnati on Dec. 21, when Jeff Conine arrived in a trade with the Phillies.

Harris was acquired from the Nationals with relievers Gary Majewski and Bill Bray as part of a July 13 eight-player deal that sent Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez to Washington.

Over 25 games in the Majors last season, including eight with the Reds, Harris batted .238. He spent most of the 2006 season in Triple-A.

Harris batted .283 with five homers and 32 RBIs over 219 at-bats with New Orleans in 2006, while batting .324 with five homers and 28 RBIs over 148 at-bats with Louisville.