Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bailey impresses in intrasquad game

By: Justice B. Hill /

Homer Bailey throwing a curveball. Photo: Al Behrman

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Homer Bailey didn't know why the Reds picked him and right-hander Bronson Arroyo to start in their intrasquad game here Wednesday. Bailey did have some thoughts about his selection, though.

"I think they just went in alphabetical order -- Arroyo then me," he said. "That's what I thought it was."

Bailey's comments drew laughter. Not that Bailey wasn't right, for it well could have been how the decision was made. His name does follow Arroyo's on an alphabetical listing of players at Reds camp.

But surely the Reds wanted to see Bailey, whom Baseball America ranks as the top prospect in the organization, perform in front of fans at Ed Smith Stadium, and they did. He left them impressed.

"He's so smooth it just seems like half of the pitch gets on you a lot quicker than it looks," said Adam Dunn, one of four hitters Bailey faced in his one-inning outing.

The 20-year-old Bailey didn't make a big to-do of his performance. While he admitted he tried to impress people, he also wanted to work on some things. In his case, that meant working on his offspeed pitches.

Nobody questions the high-octane fastball Bailey possesses, because it's the pitch that had long drawn raves from scouts. But to get to the big leagues, he'll need more than one pitch to survive, which is why he's been working on his offspeed stuff.

He did just that in his outing Wednesday.

"I think all my offspeed pitches were either hit or strikes," Bailey said. "It's something I worked on in the offseason.

"But I wasn't quite locating like I wanted to. I left a few of 'em up."

He didn't leave any of 'em up to Dunn.

"He threw me a good changeup," he said of Bailey. "I know that's not his pitch; he's working on it."

It's that pitch that will decide how quickly he goes from prospect to a Major Leaguer. But like any pitcher in the early days of Spring Training, Bailey is trying to find his groove. He's working on mechanics and location. His strength is there, and so is his fastball.

"But that doesn't mean I have to go out there and try to throw 97 every pitch," he said.

And he didn't try to do that either, which perhaps explains why his outing was as uneventful as it was: four hitters, one walk, no runs.

Not a bad box score for a pitcher fresh from the college ranks. His work performance showed people plenty, particularly Dunn.

"He looked good," Dunn said of Bailey. "I'm on the bandwagon."

Update on todays Intrasquad game; Dickerson sprains ankle

This is all compliments of C. Trent Rosecrans, who does an excellent job on his Reds Blog for the Cincinnati Post.

Adam Dunn on Homer Bailey: "I'm on the bandwagon."

Dunn walked against Bailey and saw more pitches than anyone. He said he was surprised at how good Bailey's change-up was. Bailey threw two change-ups to Dunn.

Javier Valentin, who served as Bailey's catcher, said Homer showed "he belongs up here."

(Chris) Dickerson said he turned his ankle and thinks it's OK. He had it tested and they think it's just a sprain. However, as we were talking, his ankle just kept swelling. Yesterday he was really in the discussion about who was the fastest player on the team, and from home to third, he certainly looked like it.

(Josh) Hamilton was 0-2 with a walk, strikeout and fly out. He was also caught stealing. Hamilton got an extra at-bat in the fifth, putting him in the ninth spot and that's when he flied out.

Line score
Russell's Muscles 0 0 0 0 0 0-3-1 (hits by Denorfia and two by (Joey) Votto, including a double, error by Crosby)
Ed's Reds 0 0 1 0 0 1-3-0 (hits by Gonzalez, Castro and Moeller)

The one run was unearned.

A little on Chris Dickerson and Minor Leaguers in the Instrasquad game

Kevin Kelly of the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote this on Chris Dickerson

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKED: Chris Dickerson was in minor-league camp last spring when he was invited to join the major-league club for a Grapefruit League game.

How well the outfielder handled the assignment earned him a second look. Dickerson went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI as a substitute in the final two exhibition games.

"He did well enough to come back the next day as a fill-in guy," Narron said. "And he did well enough where he's on the 40-man roster right now."

The Reds added Dickerson, a 16th-round draft pick in 2003 and cousin of Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson, to their 40-man roster in late November. The 24-year-old spent last season at Double-A Chattanooga where he batted .242 with 12 home runs and stole 21 bases in 115 games.

"I opened up some eyes," Dickerson said. "I'm just going to come in and get my work done (this spring). I feel comfortable. It's not my first go-around because of the experience I got last year. I pretty much just have to come out and approach every day like I did last year."

Also, here are the starters for todays Intrasquad scrimmage (starts at noon), minor leaguers are in bold.

Team Nappy (in white)
Phillips 2B
Gonzalez SS
Dunn DH
Conine 1B
Hamilton CF
Ross C
Castro 3B
Wise RF
Dickerson LF
Arroyo SP

Team Bucky (in grey)
Freel CF
Denorfia LF
Encarnacion 3B
Hatteberg DH
Valentin C
Bellhorn 2B
Votto 1B
Crosby RF
Janish SS
Bailey SP

As a side note, if this were a real team and Alex Gonzalez were batting second with his career .292 batting average, I would be very disappointed. With that said, don't be surprised when it happens in the regular season becuase I firmly believe that Jerry Narron thinks because you play a certain position on the field that somehow it correlates to where you should bat in the line up.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Homer Bailey to start tomorrow in Intrasquad game

Looks like Bailey will be starting for one Reds team and Bronson Arroyo will be starting for the other Reds team in the intrasquad scrimmage. Real spring training games start Thursday for the Reds. Minor League Spring Training also is officially slated to begin March 1st.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sickels on Jay Bruce vs Cameron Maybin

John Sickels did a "Prospect Smackdown: Cameron Maybin vs Jay Bruce" for his website (, where he basically compares two prospects, gives some information on each and tells who he thinks is the better prospect.

Prospect Smackdown: Cameron Maybin vs. Jay Bruce

Background and Intangibles
Maybin: Maybin was the 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft, picked out of high school in Asheville, North Carolina by the Tigers. Many teams rated him as a Top Five talent, but concerns about his bonus demands knocked him back to 10th. The Tigers signed him for $2.65 million. Well-known as an amateur, Maybin has seen nothing but success as a pro. Although he was busted for underage alcohol possession last summer, but his work ethic and overall makeup are rated very highly by the Tigers.
Bruce: Bruce was drafted in the first round in 2005, 12th overall, out of high school in Beaumont, Texas. Like Maybin, he was well-known and well-regarded as an amateur, and rated one of the best young hitters available in the '05 draft class. Signed for $1.8 million, he also rates very highly in the work ethic and intangible departments.
Advantage: Maybin was a bit more highly-regarded as an amateur, but not enough to make a real difference. I don't think the booze possession thing is something to worry about, not unless it recurs. This looks even to me.

Physicality, Health, and Tools
Maybin: Maybin is 6-4, 205 pounds, a righty hitter and thrower, born April 4, 1987. All of his tools are rated above average or better: power, speed, arm strength, overall athleticism; he has everything you want. Maybin has more speed than Bruce, and while his power potential is likely as great, it is not as well developed at this point. He'll likely maintain his speed longer. Nagging hamstring and finger injuries have bothered him at times, but it hasn't been anything major or worrying in the long run.
Bruce: Bruce is 6-2, 205 pounds, a lefty hitter and thrower, born April 3, 1987. All of his tools are rated above average or better: power, speed, range, arm strength, overall athleticism, he has everything you want in an outfielder. He has less pure speed than Maybin, but a touch more power. A sore quad muscle cost him playing time last year, but overall he's been quite healthy.
Advantage: Very very close, with Maybin probably having a slight edge in the long run. He'll keep his speed longer, and while he doesn't have as much current power, most scouts think he'll equal Bruce in that department with more experience. Both of them are Five Tool guys overall.

Performance and Polish
Maybin: Maybin hit .304/.387/.457 in the Midwest League, posting a +22 percent OPS and a +53 percent SEC. The only negative in his numbers is a high strikeout rate, 116 in 101 games, but the Tigers don't seem to think this is a long-term problem, and he did draw 50 walks in 385 at-bats. Some people have been concerned about Maybin's ground ball ratio, but I'm not convinced this will be a long-term problem. We'll see. Maybin was supposed to be somewhat raw coming into pro ball, but showed more polished than expected last year.
Bruce: Bruce hit .291/.355/.516 in the Midwest League, posting a +26 percent OPS and a +58 percent SEC. His strikeout rate was not as high as Maybin's, but he didn't walk as often. Overall his production was slightly better, in the same league and at the same age. He's considered a bit more polished than Maybin overall.
Advantage: Slight edge for Bruce here.

Maybin: Maybin projects as a potential Gold Glove outfielder with power and speed, perhaps similar to Jermaine Dye with more speed, or Torii Hunter with a higher batting average.
Bruce: Bruce projects as an All-Star outfielder with plus power, though not as much speed as Maybin, perhaps similar to Larry Walker or Jim Edmonds.
Advantage: Considering that they were born within 24 hours of each other, there's no age/projection edge here. It depends on what flavor of player you like, I suppose.

I'd rate them even in background/intangibles, Maybin a very slight edge in tools, Bruce a slight edge in current performance and polish, and even (if different) in projection.
Overall I rated Bruce a bit higher in the book (9th overall compared to 16th), but both got Grade A- ratings, and this smackdown shows just how close it really is.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

News about the website, and news on Miguel Perez and Joey Votto

Well after about a year of doing this site through I have decided to make a move with the website. It looks like the site will be moving over to Most Valuable Network as a part of their entire sports coverage. I like what they have done over there recently, and they approached me about starting to cover the Reds system for them. What that means though is if you have an RSS feed to this site, you will want to check for updates for when the switch is made and switches over to the MVN format, and then update your RSS feeder. Also, if you have the site bookmarked through the blogger address, you will need to pay attention for the switch and update your bookmarks. This process of getting everything set up could take a week or two, but changes are on the way, and hopefully they are for the better.

Now, as for the minor league news for the day, check below. has an article up about Miguel Perez and how he is recovering from his surgery.

The Hardball Times had this to say about Joey Votto:

Joey Votto
23 years old | Cincinnati Reds
Votto improved all facets of his offensive game in 2006. He made contact often enough to hit over .300, walked frequently enough to post an OBP over .400, and launched a career-high 22 home runs for Double-A Chattanooga. Votto earned MVP honors in the Southern League and is now the heir apparent at first base for Cincinnati. Of Votto's 22 home runs in 2006, 15 went to right field, so he should have no trouble maintaining his power production when he has a shot at Great American Ball Park's cozy right field.

Check out the entire article by clicking here and going to The Hardball Times.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Articles on Joey Votto and Homer Bailey

John Fay wrote an article on Homer Bailey for the Cincinnati Enquirer. There is plenty of praise from plenty of guys.

Here are a few quotes from the article

"He's got a chance to be great," said Mario Soto, a Reds Hall of Famer. "If they need somebody this year, he's ready. I pitched A ball, went to Triple-A for a couple of months and then pitched in the big leagues."

"It's exciting for the fans, because quite frankly there hasn't been someone in the Reds organization come along like this as a starting pitcher in a long time," Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said. "But a certain amount of patience is required. You want to put the guy in the right spot to have success."

"Stuff-wise, it comes as advertised," said Mack Jenkins, the club's minor-league pitching coordinator. "But, for his age, he has such a good head on his shoulders. The thing I like best about him, the thing that separates him, is his competitiveness. Every time he takes the field, he goes out there to win. And he prepares the four days in between to the 'nth' degree to win. Guys his age don't have a game plan. He's got a game plan for every day, whether he's pitching or not pitching."

Click here to read the entire article

Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News wrote an article on Joey Votto.

"He was impressive," said Narron. "Against Brian Meadows, he hit the ball out of the park everywhere — left, right and center. That's just batting practice, but to be able to hit the ball out of the park the other way shows he has a chance to be a very good big-league player."

"I've played shortstop, third base and outfield in rookie ball, but I was catching in the minors and I couldn't stand catching," he said. "I was miserable. I'd catch bullpens and later I felt bad for the pitchers because I didn't realize until I got older how important bullpen sessions were for the pitchers. I was young and didn't care. I was 18 and it was the worst and I couldn't stand it, going crazy, getting sore legs."

To read the entire article click here

John Fay also wrote an article on Joey Votto

Here is something quite important from the article that it seems a lot outside of the organization seem to forget about when they talk about Joey Votto.

He quickly emerged as a top prospect. In 2004, he combined to hit .301 with 19 home runs and 92 RBI at Dayton and Potomac.

But in 2005, Votto struggled at Single-A Sarasota. He hit .256 with 17 homers and 83 RBI - not bad, but not a step forward.

Votto blames it on the rules then-GM Dan O'Brien mandated for minor-league hitters. All hitters had to take a strike before swinging.

To read the entire article, click here

Friday, February 23, 2007

Could Homer Bailey be throwing a knuckle-curve?

This picture is from spring training the other day. I posted it on the website and Chris from asked what he was throwing and I checked out the grip and honestly couldn't figure it out. I knew Homer threw a 12-6 curve and an 11-5 curve and his change up to go with his 2 fastballs. The fastball is eliminated right away, and that grip doesn't seem like a change up at all. Chris made a post on his site about it and Al, a poster was also curious as to what it was. He took it upon himself to do some research and found out that the grip looks strikingly similar to the one Mike Mussina uses to throw his knuckle-curve. I blacked out Homers body and highlighted the grip he has, then put Mike Mussina in the lower right hand corner demonstrating how he holds his knuckle-curve. Outside of the seam positioning, the two look identical. Chris and I both asked C. Trent Rosencrans of the Cincinnati Post to see what he can find out about this pitch and he said he will try to do so. Hopefully we can find something out about it, it should be interesting.

After asking around I got an answer from a pretty well known minor leaguer about what we are seeing. Here is what he said about the picture:

"I think a lot of fans are confused with the term "knuckle curve," thinking its a different pitch from a traditional curveball. I refer to it as a spiked curveball. Spiking the ball with you index finger allows you to get over the ball better giving you that 12-6 spin. Looks like Homer's grip is a little different but still the same idea. I throw mine the exact same way as the photo of Moose."

So basically what we are looking at is the grip Homer uses on his 12-6 curveball that we all hear so much about.

More prospect photos from Spring Training

These are some pictures taken Steve Stark, a fan down in Sarasota. He shared them with me and said I could put them up on the site.

Homer Bailey

Phil Dumatrait

Homer Bailey again

Brad Salmon

Third time is a charm for Homer Bailey

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Prospect Pictures from Spring Training

Here are some Minor Leaguers at Reds camp, all taken by Al Behrman

Paul Janish

Chris Dickerson

Homer Bailey

Homer Bailey again

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Baseball Prospectus Top 100 Prospects List

Kevin Goldstein over at Baseball Prospectus released his Top 100 +10 who just missed Prospect list today. The Reds had 3 in the top 100, and 1 player who just missed.

#4 Homer Bailey

#9 Jay Bruce

#54 Joey Votto

And in the "10 who barely missed the cut"

Drew Stubbs

To view the entire list, click here to go to Baseball Prospectus.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A look at Minor Leaguers competing for the #5 Rotation spot

Today I wanted to look at the Minor League pitchers that are in the Reds camp this spring, and the spots they could be fighting for.

Rotation Spots

Now it appears that 1-4 goes Harang, Arroyo, Milton and Lohse. That leaves open just the #5 spot for the taking. Phil Dumatrait, Bobby Livingston and Homer Bailey will all compete with Kirk Saarloos and Elizardo Ramirez for the #5 spot. Unless an injury happens that is 1 spot for 5 guys who all have to compete over it. In my mind, the favorites have to be Saarloos and Ramirez starting the season at #5, but lets take a look at the other guys who all with a good spring could possibly take the mound for the Reds this April. I want to include what some projection systems think these guys are pegged to do this upcoming season. I will use CHONE and ZIPS projections as long as they are available for the players.

Homer Bailey

Homer has everything you would like to see in a pitcher. He is tall, 6-4, brings in a dominate fastball that sits in the mid 90's and touches 98. He has a 12-6 hammer curve and a slower 11-5 version as well. He has a change up that needs some improvement, but lets remember that he won't turn 21 until the first week of May. Despite the fact that he may be the best pitcher going for the #5 spot, he probably will be sent to AAA to continue his development and to work more and mature against better hitters before he sees the mound in Cincinnati.

2007 CHONE 4.94 93.0 99 55 51 13 50 83
2007 ZiPS 7 8 4.50 27 24 126.0 120 69 63 15 66 110

Phil Dumatrait

Phil began last year in AA where he posted a 3.62 ERA in 49.2 innings before being promoted to AAA where he posted a 4.72 ERA. There were rumors of a loss in velocity for Phil, to where he was barely hitting the high 80's with his fastball. Phil has never been a guy who throws a ton of strikes (career milb walk rate is 4.29/9ip) and if his stuff is beginning to suffer, his odds are not very good at breaking camp with the Reds. I would expect him in Louisville to start the season.

2007 ZiPS 6 12 5.72 26 25 140.0 156 97 89 20 69 91

Bobby Livingston

Livingston was a waiver claim from the Seattle Mariners for the Reds. Livingston has a below average fastball that sits in the mid 80's, with a good curveball and a good change up. He also throws a below average slider at times. One good thing he has going for him is that he has very good control (milb walk rate is 1.80/9ip). Looking at the projections, it seems that the CHONE projections like him quite a bit more than ZiPS do. I don't think he will be a true challenger for the #5 spot, and like Bailey and Dumatrait he will probably be heading back to AAA.

2007 CHONE 4.50 156.0 170 85 78 20 55 78
2007 ZiPS 6 13 6.28 26 24 149.0 185 114 104 32 47 69

Monday, February 19, 2007

Hal McCoy article on Homer Bailey

No. 5 spot beckons Bailey

Phenom is eager to be in the majors, but won't rush the Reds.

by Hal McCoy

Staff Writer

Monday, February 19, 2007

SARASOTA, Fla. — Homer Bailey walked into camp Saturday wearing cowboy boots and a studded cowboy belt around his jeans, looking as if he might be the new sheriff in town.

While that might eventually be the case — Bailey as the No. 1 pitcher in the Cincinnati Reds rotation — right now the 20-year-old No. 1 draft choice (2004) knows that the No. 5 spot in the rotation is open, and that's all he sniffs.

It might not happen. Bailey probably will start the season at Class AAA Louisville, and that's all right with him, at least outwardly, but how long can the Reds hold a good man down?

They continue to keep a low profile on Bailey, even Reds manager Jerry Narron, who not only thinks Bailey could be the sheriff, but thinks he could be John Wayne.

Asked about the fifth starter candidates Saturday during the first day of spring training camp, Narron said, "We have a lot of guys to choose from. E-Z (Elizardo Ramirez), Matt Belisle, Paul Wilson, Bobby Livingston, Victor Santos, Kirk Saarloos ..." As he hesitated, somebody said, "H. Bailey," and Narron repeated, "H. Bailey."

Narron, in fact, likes a lot the of arms he sees dangling from his pitchers.

"Outside of us not having a true closer, our pitching is as good as it has been around here for a while," he said.

Bailey is low-keying his situation as much as the organization is soft-shoeing his situation.

"I'm just going day-to-day because there are a lot of good players on this team," he said. "I'd be in trouble if I wanted to be one through four because those spots are taken (Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, Eric Milton, Kyle Lohse). No. 5 is available, so I'd be crazy if I said I didn't want it. But it's not my say, and all I can do is follow what they want."

What Narron says is, "We hope to give Homer a lot of innings this spring, more than we gave him last spring (7.1 innings in four games, two earned runs, nine hits)."

The Reds' position is that Bailey needed to work on a changeup and tighten up his breaking ball, so Bailey said he did more over the winter than down a 13-point buck on a deer-hunting expedition in Texas.

Does Bailey love hunting? Down his left side vertically from his armpit to his hip is tattooed the word, "Cazador" — Spanish for hunter — and on his back is tattooed a hunting scene — a man pointing a shotgun down a road toward trees.

"I drove several times from Austin to Houston to work with a pitching coach, David Evans, a guy I've worked with for five or six years," said Bailey. "We worked on the changeup and breaking ball, and we'll see this spring how much it has improved."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Miguel Perez to miss half the season

Miguel Perez is expected to miss half the season after surgery to remove his first rib to relieve pressure on his subclavian artery.

Saturday, February 17, 2007 Interview with Gary Roller, GM of the Billings Mustangs

Bill from has an interview up with the GM of the Billings Mustangs and it really is a great read. Go check it out at

Friday, February 16, 2007

Baseball Prospectus: Reds 10th best system in baseball

This actually came out Tuesday, but with Valentines Day and an ice storm I was pretty busy with stuff and didn't have a ton of time to check everything. Anyways, here is what they had to say

A once moribund system suddenly has a potential ace in Homer Bailey and a potential impact outfielder in Jay Bruce. Joey Votto is pretty good in his own right, but the talent falls off in cliff-like fashion in short order.

They rank the Reds hitting as the 9th best in baseball and the Reds pitching as the 16th best in baseball. I think they are short changing the pitching myself, as I think the Reds have better pitching than hitting in the minors right now. Anyways, to check out their entire ranking system, click here to go to

Thursday, February 15, 2007 with some good stuff from today has up a "159 reasons to love the Minors in 2007" that basically says a little bit about each teams upcoming season. Below is what the say for each of the Reds teams.

Billings Mustangs: It will be a bittersweet season in Billings, as fans will say a long goodbye to Cobb Field. The venerable facility has hosted the Mustangs since 1948, but after the season it will bow before the wrecking ball in the name of progress. An as-yet-unnamed stadium will then be built on the same spot.

Chattanooga Lookouts: The River Walk in Chattanooga is one of the best places to be on the circuit. There are shops, restaurants, an aquarium and a footbridge over the river. The rock gardens and nearby caverns are also spectacular and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon before a night game. And don't forget to take a ride on the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Seriously.

Dayton Dragons: It began with Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns and Wily Mo Pena. It will continue with Joey Votto, Homer Bailey and Jay Bruce. Next up could be 2006 first-round pick Drew Stubbs. Just a stone's throw from the parent club in Cincinnati, you can see the Reds stars of tomorrow right now.

Louisville Bats: Homer Bailey's going to be in town, at least early on, and he's every bit as good as advertised. He's one of the premier pitchers in all of Minor League Baseball and figures to be a staple in the Cincinnati rotation for years to come -- so catch him while you can. And check out the new video board at Louisville Slugger Field while you're there.

Sarasota Reds: There are few if any host towns/cities to Minor League clubs that are lovelier than Sarasota, so make sure to try to enjoy the soft beaches and Gulf Coast sunsets as well as the baseball at Ed Smith Stadium. Check out Siesta Key for that sunset stroll and then one of the cute cafes in town for dinner. also has up a nice page with scouting reports on some of the top College players this year. They has scouting reports on Darwin Barney (SS, Oregon State), Andrew Brackman (RHP, NC State), Joshua Fields (RHP, Georgia), Brian Friday (SS, Rice), Tyler Henley (OF, Rice), Eddie Kunz (RHP Oregon State), David Price (LHP, Vanderbilt). Click here to check it out.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Washington Post article on Josh Hamilton

I highly suggest you take the time to read this article by Dave Sheinin on Josh Hamilton. It is a great article.

Washington Post article on Josh Hamilton

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sporting News Top 10 prospects

Mark Allen Haverty wrote this article for The Sporting News. He ranked Homer Bailey at #5 and had this to say about him:

5. Homer Bailey, SP, Reds. The Reds keep saying they do not want to rush Bailey, but they don't really have a choice if their bats somehow get them into contention. And Bailey, a 2004 first-round selection who has blown through the system, might force the Reds to make the call-up even if the team is not in the hunt. Bailey was downright dominant in Double-A last year, finishing 7-1 with a 1.59 ERA and 77 K's in 68 innings. His stuff is just nasty.

If you want to see the entire list, click here to visit

Rotoworlds Reds Top 10 Prospects

Mathew Pouliot wrote this for the entire NL Central, if you want to check out other teams Top 10's, click here.

Cincinnati Reds

1. Homer Bailey - RHP - DOB: 05/03/86 - ETA: May 2007
3-5, 3.31 ERA, 49 H, 79/22 K/BB in 70 2/3 IP for Single-A Sarasota
7-1, 1.59 ERA, 50 H, 77/28 K/BB in 68 IP for Double-A Chattanooga

The Reds have tried to be cautious, but Bailey, the NL's top pitching prospect, is on the cusp of the majors following a dominant stint in Double-A during the second half of last year. The seventh overall pick in the 2004 draft throws 94-97 mph with movement and features a curveball that ranks as one of the top breaking pitches in the minors. With his walk rate down significantly last year, the only thing missing from his game is a plus changeup. It looks like he'll get a month or two to work on the pitch in Triple-A at the start of this year, but if the Reds want to contend, Bailey will have to be in the rotation by June 1.

2. Jay Bruce - OF - DOB: 04/03/87 - ETA: 2009
.291/.355/.516, 16 HR, 81 RBI, 106/44 K/BB, 19 SB in 444 AB for low Single-A Dayton

Despite batting .167 in the final month of the minor league season, Bruce finished with an 871 OPS and 63 extra-base hits in 117 games. He is on his way to showing 30-homer power and has proven to be better at going the other way than the Reds thought when they drafted him with the 12th overall pick in 2005. The left-handed hitter struggled some against southpaws, batting .236/.310/.439 in 123 at-bats. Bruce should be a whole lot more than a platoon player, though. While he's still seeing some time in center, he projects as an above average defensive right fielder in the majors. He could end 2007 in Double-A.

3. Joey Votto - 1B - DOB: 09/10/83 - ETA: July 2007
.319/.408/.547, 22 HR, 77 RBI, 109/78 K/BB, 24 SB in 508 AB for Double-A Chattanooga

Votto, a 2002 second-round pick, had his stock take quite a hit when he batted just .256/.330/.425 with a 122/52 K/BB ratio in 464 at-bats for Single-A Sarasota in 2005. He improved in all facets of the game last year, even turning in a better showing on defense and going from four steals in nine tries to 24 in 31 attempts. There was no doubt about Votto's power even when he was struggling in the big ballparks of the FSL. The question was whether he'd make enough contact to warrant a starting job in the majors. Now it looks like he will, though he still doesn't project as much more than an average regular. If he gets off to a good start in Triple-A this year, he could overtake Scott Hatteberg in Cincinnati at some point during the summer. He'll likely have some .270-25 HR seasons.

4. Drew Stubbs - OF - DOB: 10/04/84 - ETA: 2009
.252/.368/.400, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 64/32 K/BB, 19 SB in 210 AB for Rookie Billings

Stubbs starred at the University of Texas, hitting .342/.439/.580 in his final year as the team's center fielder. Still, the Reds decided against sending him to full-season ball after drafting him eighth overall in 2006. Stubbs is a legitimate defensive center fielder with plenty of power potential. What remains to be seen is whether his swing will allow him to handle advanced pitching. He struck out plenty even in college and continued to do so in the Pioneer League. Stubbs does enough else well that he'd be a quality regular in the majors as a .250-.260 hitter. However, it's possible even that will be beyond him.

5. Travis Wood - LHP - DOB: 02/06/87 - ETA: 2009
10-5, 3.66 ERA, 108 H, 133/56 K/BB in 140 IP for low Single-A Dayton

Wood had an outstanding debut after being drafted in the second round in 2005, going 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in 48 2/3 innings. Moved up to full-season ball, he continued to succeed on the strength of his excellent changeup, limiting hitters to a .215 average. Wood works at 89-92 mph with his fastball and is adept at throwing his change to lefties as well as righties. His curveball remains a problem, but he knows it and is he working to improve. The potential is there for him to reach Double-A as a 20-year-old this season.

6. Johnny Cueto - RHP - DOB: 02/15/86 - ETA: 2009
8-1, 2.59 ERA, 52 H, 82/15 K/BB in 76 1/3 IP for low Single-A Daytona
7-2, 3.50 ERA, 48 H, 61/23 K/BB in 61 2/3 IP for Single-A Sarasota

With a 15-3 record, Cueto, who had a 5.02 ERA in the GCL in 2005, was the Reds' breakthrough prospect last year. The 5-foot-11 right-hander owes a lot to his new changeup. He was already throwing in the mid-90s at times and showing a slider with a lot of movement. The change could give him three above average pitches by the time he's ready for the majors. What keeps him ranked below Wood is the likelihood of injury. While he's not a max-effort guy, he's still at high risk for arm problems. If he can remain healthy, he might be a factor in 2008.

7. Paul Janish - SS - DOB: 10/12/82 - ETA: 2009
.398/.435/.612, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 10/7 K/BB, 0 SB in 98 AB for low Single-A Daytona
.278/.355/.421, 9 HR, 55 RBI, 39/38 K/BB, 8 SB in 335 AB for Single-A Sarasota
.267/.313/.333, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 5/1 K/BB, 0 SB in 15 AB for Double-A Chattanooga

Janish isn't three years away, but the Reds couldn't resist giving Alex Gonzalez a long-term deal in November. Like Gonzalez, Janish is a defense-first shortstop. The Rice product doesn't quite have Gonzalez's range, but he is above average and sure-handed. On offense, he's similarly well-rounded, but without anything that sets him apart. He has 10-12 homer power and is willing to take a walk. He probably won't hit for high averages in the majors, but he should do better than Gonzalez in that area. Steady progress would make him a solid regular in 2009.

8. Chris Valaika - SS - DOB: 08/14/85 - ETA: 2009
.324/.387/.520, 8 HR, 60 RBI, 64/21 K/BB, 2 SB in 275 AB for Rookie Billings

Valaika's exceptional debut could put him on the fast track beginning this year. The 2006 third-round pick out of UC Santa Barbara projects to keep hitting for average, so if he can maintain the power he demonstrated last year, he should have a future as a regular. Unfortunately, he probably isn't going to last at shortstop. A position switch isn't on the way at the start of this year, but his lack of range suggests that he'll switch to second at some point.

9. Sean Watson - RHP - DOB: 07/24/85 - ETA: 2009
0-0, 1.52 ERA, 16 H, 19/5 K/BB in 23 2/3 IP for Rookie Billings
1-2, 8.59 ERA, 22 H, 16/5 K/BB in 14 2/3 IP for low Single-A Daytona

Watson made the move from starting to closing at the University of Tennessee, racking up 16 saves in his final two years. The Reds drafted him in the second round last year and had him start four games and relieve in 13 in his pro debut. It's likely that he'll be a starter this year, but because of his lack of a quality third pitch and subpar command, he figures to be a long-term reliever. Watson averages 93 mph with his fastball and shows a sharp curveball. The command might never be there to make him a closer, but he does have some upside.

10. Chris Dickerson - OF - DOB: 04/10/82 - ETA: July 2008
.242/.355/.424, 12 HR, 48 RBI, 129/65 K/BB, 21 SB in 389 AB for Double-A Chattanooga

Dickerson only really lacks in one area, but it's a big one. He's amassed averages of .236 and .243 the last two years, leaving him at .253 in his career. Dickerson is a terrific athlete with a great deal of range in center field. On offense, he displays 15-homer potential and draws a fair number of walks to help make up for all of the strikeouts. Still, none of that's going to matter unless he can bat .250 in the majors. A breakthrough remains a possibility, but at age 25, it's getting to be now or never.

Next five - SS Milton Loo, LHP Phil Dumatrait, RHP Sam LeCure, OF Josh Hamilton, RHP Josh Ravin

Friday, February 09, 2007

More media love for Bailey and Votto

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote an article on 2007 Rookies. He ranked his Top 10 guys to watch for, and then 10 more guys in alphabetical order to also keep an eye out for. Both Homer Bailey and Joey Votto get some love from the writer in this article.

4. Homer Bailey, SP, Cincinnati Reds – The next great Texas power pitcher may be in the big leagues by the time he turns 21 in May. The Reds flirted with promoting Bailey for the stretch run last season, and his numbers at Double-A – 7-1 with a 1.59 earned-run average – certainly merited it. Caution prevailed, and it's the only reason Bailey will start the season at Triple-A.

Joey Votto, 1B, Reds – Scott Hatteberg's fine season notwithstanding, the Reds can keep Votto – whose power numbers have gotten progressively better – down for only so long.

If you want to read the entire article, just click here to go to Yahoo! Sports.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

BP: Joey Votto is #1 First Base Prospect

Baseball Prospectus writer Nate Silver ranked the Top First Base Prospects. The article is a subscriber only article, so I won't post what is there, but I will say that they ranked Votto as the #1 First base prospect and the #3 First basemen under the age of 25. With that said, they also commented that first base is a relatively weak position because it is the last resort for guys who can't play defense. For those of you with a BP subscription, click here to read the article.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Ken Rosenthal on the next Justin Verlander

Ken Rosenthal of posted an article based mostly around Homer Bailey and Philip Hughes. I took some of the article out that revolved around Hughes, since he isn't a Red. To read the entire article, just click here.

Where's the next Verlander?

Ken Rosenthal /

The search is on for this year's Justin Verlander, but good luck trying to find him.

Verlander made an enormous impact last season, earning 17 wins, helping the Tigers to the World Series and winning American League Rookie of the Year.

It's unrealistic to place similar expectations on two of the game's top pitching prospects, Yankees right-hander Philip Hughes and Reds righty Homer Bailey — even though, like Verlander, they were first-round picks in 2004.

Verlander, drafted out of college, was 23 at the start of last season. Hughes and Bailey, drafted out of high school, are not yet 21.

Both are likely to create buzz in spring training.

Both need to start the season at Class AAA.

Some young pitchers come quickly; Dwight Gooden arrived at 19, Bret Saberhagen 20. Tigers righty Jeremy Bonderman, entering his fifth major-league season, is only four months older than Verlander. Mariners righty Felix Hernandez, entering his third season, is only a few months older than Hughes and Bailey.

Such cases, however, are rare.

A better comparison to Verlander — at least in terms of experience — is Mets right-hander Mike Pelfrey, a collegian who was the ninth pick of the '05 draft. Pelfrey, 23, is entering his second pro season, just as Verlander was a year ago. But while Pelfrey is a top prospect, he isn't as highly regarded as Hughes and Bailey.

Still, the last thing the Yankees and Reds want to do is accelerate their respective phenoms at the risk of damaging their careers.

The Reds, likewise, are trying to protect Bailey. Their recent trade for right-hander Kirk Saarloos was motivated, in part, by the team's desire to give him more minor-league preparation.

Pitchers drafted out of high school need time — time to build endurance, time to refine their secondary pitches, time to master their craft.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore, who spent more than a decade working in the pitching-rich Braves' organization, prefers most pitchers to work 400 to 500 innings before reaching the majors. Brewers G.M. Doug Melvin sets the number at 600.

Those are not rigid standards; certain youngsters are capable of making more rapid ascents. Hughes and Bailey might be in that class — particularly Hughes, who, according to scouts, shows an advanced feel for pitching. But Hughes has thrown 237 innings as a professional, Bailey 255. Neither has exceeded 146 innings in a season nor risen above Class AA.

Last season, the Red Sox kept left-hander Jon Lester on strict pitch counts at Class AAA in April and May, trying to ensure that he would stay strong enough to help the major-league team through September. At the time, Lester was in his fifth pro season, two years ahead of where Hughes and Bailey are now.

Once promoted to the majors, pitchers face deeper lineups and more selective hitters, leading to higher pitch counts and greater strain.

The experience, frankly, can be overwhelming.

"You have to be careful about rushing players to the big leagues, bringing 'em up too early, having their first failure occur at the major-league level as opposed to somewhere in the minor leagues," Reds G.M. Wayne Krivsky says, speaking generally, not specifically about Bailey.

"You run the risk of setting a player back. When you bring 'em up, you want to have good feeling that they're here to stay and not on a yo-yo back and forth to Class AAA. The temptation isn't that great for me. I like to use the expression, 'The player will tell you when he's ready."'

The decision, though, is not always that simple.

Hughes, the Yankees' most ballyhooed pitching prospect since Andy Pettitte, will face unique fan and media scrutiny in New York, especially if he is thrust into the role of savior.

Bailey, the shining light of a Reds' farm system that often has failed to keep young pitchers healthy, must learn to pitch at hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.

Even well-intentioned general managers occasionally rush players due to the respective needs of their clubs.

Bonderman was 6-19 at age 20 for a team that lost 119 games; the Tigers are fortunate that he grew from the experience when he could have crumbled.

The Twins, a team that generally is conservative with young talent, promoted right-hander Matt Garza last August just over a year after drafting him in the first round; Garza, a college pick, rose even faster than Verlander.

The consensus on Hughes and Bailey among baseball people is that each could reach the majors by the second half of the season -- and, in a perfect world, prove as valuable as veteran trade acquisitions.

Just don't expect either to be this year's Verlander.

That would be asking too much, too soon.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Project Prospect peice on Jay Bruce

Adam Loberstein of Project Prospect wrote this on Jay Bruce

Farm Feed: Jay Bruce

Over the course of his 18 major league seasons, Ken Griffey Jr. has posted a career vital line of .291/374/.557, slugged 563 home runs, and driven 1608 runners home while collecting 10 gold gloves, 11 all-star births, and the 1997 MVP award.

Good thing the Cincinnati Reds feel they have a replacement inline.

When the Reds made West Brook High School product Jay Bruce the twelfth overall selection in the 2005 draft, they knew they were getting a good prospect.

But this good?

The center fielder had a solid, but not overly impressive start to his minor league career. In 17 games with Billings in the Pioneer League, Bruce hit a rather pedestrian .257, but displayed enough patience at the plate early on to post a strong .358 OBP to go along with a .457 slugging number.

Following his stint with Billings, the 6-foot-3, 195-pounder was transferred to the Gulf Coast League for the 37 remaining games to close out the 2005 campaign. Bruce put up a .270/.331/.500 line with five home runs and 35 RBI, proving that while the teenager may not have been ready to breakout onto the scene, he was more than prepared to show he could make an impact.

And make an impact he did in 2006.

Bruce used his 444 at-bats at Single-A Dayton to prove that now was his time to take baseball by storm. The Beaumont, Tex. native posted an impressive vital line of .291/.355/.516 while driving the ball all over the yard, collecting 42 doubles, five triples, and knocking 16 over the fence – playing hurt.

Once his injured shoulder regained its strength, Bruce finished out 2006 by posting an imposing 1060 OPS in 99 June at-bats. Bruce also spent his time with Dayton showing his ability to make a mark on the base paths by collecting 19 steals.

While Bruce’s 66:159 walk to strikeout rate has left some scouts asking questions about his free-swinging nature, the 19-year-old phenom has displayed more all-star potential then any other teenage bat in the minor leagues. The solid defensive play, speed, and power presence of Jay Bruce gives the Cincinnati Reds’ faithful something to be very excited about for the future.

As the teenage icon continues to gain the experience to grow into the player he is expected to become, just know that Jay Bruce has what it takes to become the number one prospect in all of baseball as his development continues.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Tim Evearitt of on the Reds Top Prospects

Reds' Top Ten Prospects Include Past And Future Chattanooga Lookouts
Right Handed Pitcher Homer Bailey Is Number One
by Tim Evearitt
posted January 31, 2007

Baseball America’s top ten prospects for the Cincinnati Reds organization includes two former Chattanooga Lookouts, one returning Lookout, and perhaps two or three players who could arrive in 2007.


1. Homer Bailey, rhp

2. Jay Bruce, of

3. Joey Votto, 1b

4. Johnny Cueto, rhp

5. Drew Stubbs, of

6. Travis Woods, lhp

7. Sean Watson, rhp

8. Milton Loo, ss

9. Paul Janish, ss

10. Chris Valaika, ss

* * * * * * * *

As expected, Homer Bailey tops the list. Bailey, who made a huge impression pitching for Chattanooga, will start at Triple-A Louisville but could quickly move up to the Major Leagues.

#2 Jay Bruce is expected to open at High-A Sarasota but could be a mid-season callup to Chattanooga.

Baseball America notes that the league in which Bruce played (low Class A Midwest League) had other top draft selections – such as Cameron Maybin, Colby Rasmus and Justin Upton—but it was Bruce who ranked as the league’s No. 1 prospect. And even though he was the youngest player in the MWL all-star game, he came away with the MVP award. He led the league in doubles and extra-base hits (63).

#3 2006 Chattanooga first baseman Joey Votto should open the season with the Louisville Bats.

#9 Paul Janish made it to Chattanooga near the end of the 2006 season and is expected to return to the Lookouts.

#4 Pitcher Johnny Cueto is expected to begin the season with the Lookouts.

The other players are expected to spend the season at either Sarasota or Dayton (Low-A).

This article was found at or by clicking here.