Highlight top Reds prospects for '10
The Reds have a ballpark built for hitting and they have a set of prospects coming up through the system that promise to be productive major leaguers. Our Eric Mack takes a closer look.
We break down the top five prospects for each organization for 2010, taking into consideration: games, at-bats, innings and major-league service time. We expect these players to have rookie status remaining heading into next year.
According to MLB rules: "A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the major leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a major league club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service and time on the disabled list)."
Note: Statistics are those at each stop in the minors this season and age represents how old they will be on opening day 2010.
The Reds have a ballpark built for hitting and they have a set of prospects coming up through the system that promise to be productive major leaguers. The question, as always, is whether Dusty Baker and the organization can develop pitching. The progress down the stretch of Homer Bailey was promising, but the loss of Edinson Volquez for most of 2010 really hurts. It could open the door for some young blood, but we really don't see a whole of lot quality young arms in the upper levels of the system.
1. Yonder Alonso, 1B, 22
The Miami product hasn't been impressive with his power yet, but his strikeout-to-walk rate (46-41 in 295 at-bats in the minors last season) coupled with his potential make him the most interesting name in the Reds' system. Alonso was a little banged up last season, but he still hit .292 with nine homers, 52 RBI, 33 runs, one steal, a .374 on-base percentage and a .464 slugging percentage in just 295 at-bats between Class A and Double-A. There is talk of moving Joey Votto to left field to make room for Alonso as soon as 2010, which says a lot about what the Reds think of Alonso long term. Votto is no slouch.
2. Todd Frazier, OF/2B/1B, 24
The problem with Frazier is not his bat. He is going to be a solid run producer in the major leagues. It is deciding on where to play him. He started as a shortstop, but he found time at first, second and in the outfield. The latter is likely to get him to the major leagues the quickest and he could be a potential impact in-season call-up for the Reds and Fantasy owners. Frazier went a combined .292-16-77-68-9 (.351-.481) in 514 at-bats between Double- and Triple-A. His homer total might not stick out right now, but his slugging percentage was buoyed by 45 doubles that will eventually turn into homers -- especially in the Great American bandbox.
3. Juan Francisco, 3B, 22
The Scott Rolen trade didn't make a whole lot of sense, since they were giving up on the potential of Edwin Encarnacion. But Francisco could bail them out with a third basemen of the future. They likely were anticipating Francisco's development before making the deal. He hit a combined .295-27-93-81-6 (.329-.518) in 529 at-bats between Double- and Triple-A, but like Encarnacion, he doesn't have a great strikeout-to-walk rate (115-24) or a good glove. That will keep him in Triple-A to start 2010 and leave him there until Rolen winds up on the DL.
4. Travis Wood, SP, 22
The slightly built left-hander was a standout last season, posting a combined 13-5 record with a 1.77 ERA and .204 batting-average against in 167 2/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A. He struck out 135 batters and walked 53, which is not a bad total for a young lefty. His smallish frame and the fact that he's a lefty makes him a potential reliever long term, but it is tough to look past those numbers. Consider him a candidate to help the Reds in 2010, perhaps even as a starter out of spring training.
5. Chris Heisey, OF, 25
He is a classic overachiever and perhaps the next Eric Byrnes, if we had to label him in one sentence. He enjoyed a breakthrough 2009 campaign, combining to go .314-22-77-91-21 (.379-.521) in 516 at-bats between Double- and Triple-A. He also hit 35 doubles, suggesting there is more power to come. Heisey will get a chance to earn at-bats in the Reds' outfield out of spring training and could be a pleasant surprise for Fantasy owners in NL-only Rotisserie leagues on Draft Day.
Best of the rest: Chris Valaika, SS; Matt Maloney, SP; Mike Leake, SP; Billy Hamilton, SS; Kyle Lotzkar, SP; Neftali Soto, 3B; Yorman Rodriguez, OF; Mariekson Gregorius, SS; Brad Boxberger, SP; Daryl Thompson, SP; Donnie Joseph, SP; Mark Fleury, C; Daniel Tuttle, SP; Ramon A. Ramirez, RP; Devin Mesoraco, C; Zack Cozart, SS; Juan Duran, OF; Juan Carlos Sulbaran, SP; Sean Watson, RP; Tyler Stovall, OF; Danny Dorn, OF; Pedro Viola, RP; Alex Buchholz, SS; Craig Tatum, C; Jordan Smith, SP; Daniel Dorn, 1B; Dallas Buck, SP; and Ezequiel Infante, SP.
2009 rookies to exhaust eligibility: Drew Stubbs, OF; Chris Dickerson, OF; Ryan Hanigan, C; Danny Herrera, RP; Carlos Fisher, RP; Adam Rosales, 3B; Drew Sutton, SS; Paul Janish, SS; and Darnell T. McDonald, OF.
Last year's top five here: Frazier, SS; Valauka, SS; Alonso, 1B; Thompson, SP; and Francisco, 3B.
You can e-mail Emack your prospect questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Prospects in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state. Be aware, due to the large volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee personal responses to all questions.
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