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Cincinnati Reds 2011 Minor League Review

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America:

2012 (7) | 2011 (6) | 2010 (17) | 2009 (14) | 2008 (3) | 2007 (12)

2011 Affiliate Records

MLB: [79-83] NL Central

AAA: [73-71] International League – Louisville

AA: [53-86] Southern League – Carolina*

A+: [66-74] California League – Bakersfield

A: [83-57] Midwest League – Dayton

R: [44-32] Pioneer League – Billings

*Pensacola takes over as Cincinnati’s Double-A affiliate in 2012.

The Run Down

The Reds’ system was gutted quite thoroughly this offseason through trades.  And most of the remaining bright spots seem bound for graduation here shortly.  Included in that group are Devin Mesoraco and Zack Cozart, both of whom will carry much relevance in the fantasy game this year.  A couple more bats (see Frazier and Soto) are ready for the big leagues too. For now, though, must of Cincy’s pitching talent occupies the low level minors.  Daniel Corcino has a chance to break through in the next couple years, but there’s not much else worth excitement at this point – not in terms of fantasy, at least.  The Reds have had an impressive system for the past few years, but it’s been depleted considerably of late.  Regardless, this is certainly a group to get to know.

Arizona Fall League PlayersPhoenix Desert Dogs

Brad Boxberger (RHP); Nick Christiani (RHP); Donnie Joseph (LHP); Travis Webb (LHP); Brodie Greene (2B); Cody Puckett (2B)

Graduated Prospects

Aroldis Chapman (LHP); Juan Francisco (3B); Sam LeCure (RHP)

Players of Interest

Hitters

Devin Mesoraco | C:

Mesoraco probably begins the season platooning behind the plate with Ryan Hanigan.  It shouldn’t be long before he takes over full time, though, making him worthwhile to target in drafts.  Great upside here, but it might be 2013 before we see Mesoraco blossom as a top-tier catcher.

Zack Cozart | SS:

He’ll be the regular shortstop in Cincinnati this year.  Grey ranks him 15th among shortstops and projects him at 55/14/70/.245/20.  Seems fair.  Read Grey’s Cozart outlook here.

Todd Frazier | 3B/1B/OF:

Frazier has a shot at breaking camp with the Reds, and if Scott Rolen can’t stay healthy, he could see regular time.  The 26-year-old slugged six homers in 112 big league at-bats last year and has little left to prove in the minors.  Frazier’s defensive versatility should allow him to stick on the major league roster at some point this year.

Honorable Mention

Hitters

Billy Hamilton | SS:

Hamilton had 103 stolen bases in 2011, which is absurd.  He also posted a .700 OPS, showing room for improvement, but nothing horrendous.  He’ll be tearing up basepaths in the California League this year and could reach Double-A.  Don’t expect Hamilton to arrive until 2014, though.

Didi Gregorius | SS:

Gregorious isn’t touted quite so highly as Hamilton, but he’s ahead of him developmentally and he probably has a better shot of sticking at shortstop.  He projects a little better at the plate than Cozart, and with a good year in Triple-A, Gregorius could challenge for the regular SS role in 2013.

Neftali Soto | 1B:

Soto’s .303 ISO at Double-A in 2011 stands out.  He’s still raw at the plate, but power like that is intriguing.  He’s going nowhere as long as he’s behind Joey Votto, but he’s certainly a guy to monitor in case of injury or trade.

Henry Rodriguez | 2B:

After posting an .841 OPS between High-A and Double-A in 2011, it’s clear that Rodriguez can hit.  The concern here is that poor defense will hold him back.  With Ronald Torreyes out of the picture, the switch-hitting Rodriguez could be in line to take over for Phillips at second base in 2013.

Pitchers

Daniel Corcino | RHP – SP:

Corcino is still a few years from reaching the bigs.  Corcino throws a nice mid-90’s fastball, and counters with a slider and a change, both of which could use some work.  He draws comparisons to Johnny Cueto, though his secondary stuff will need to improve considerably if he’s ever to be frontline guy.  For now he projects more like a number three.

J.C. Sulbaran | RHP – SP

Sulbaran posted some impressive ratios in 2011 at High-A, though his 4.60 ERA doesn’t reflect it.  Like Corcino, he profiles as a number three starter, but his ceiling isn’t as high.  Sulbaran will join Pensacola’s rotation for 2012, where he’ll work on his secondary pitches.

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