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Cincinnati Reds 2009 Minor League Review
Overall farm rankings via Baseball America (2009)
2009 (14) | 2008 () | 2007 () | 2006 () | 2005 () | 2004 ()

Record of Major and Minor League Teams
MLB: [78 – 84] NL Central
AAA: [84 – 58] International League
AA: [65 – 74] Southern League
A+: [54 – 83] Florida League
A: [59 – 80] Midwest League
R: [28 – 27] Gulf League
R: [24 – 52] Pioneer League

The Run Down
With Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Edinson Volquez, and Johnny Cueto and the possibility of Homer Bailey pitching adequately, the Cincinnati Reds have a nice young nucleus. Pitching still seems to be a problem that has plagued them for the past few years. The Josh Hamilton-Volquez straight-up trade was directly related to that problem. Then two weeks ago, the Reds signed Aroldis Chapman to rather large contract for an unproved 21 year old flame thrower. This move bolsters their pitching depth as did their top picks in the 2009 draft (Mike Leake and Bradley Boxberger). Looking through all the Reds minor league players, some of their top prospects played well, but aren’t going to be as fantasy relevant as some of the lesser prospects may be. Many of the Reds position spots are either taken by greater players (Votto, Bruce, Phillips, Rolen) or youngsters that should be given a chance in 2010 (Drew Stubbs, Drew Sutton (SS), and Ryan Hanigan (C)). Nevertheless, the city of Cincinnati has some fun prospects on the rise, most notably Yonder Alonso, Chapman, Todd Frazier and Juan Francisco. I am not going to talk about rookies from the 2009 draft (Leake or Boxberger) and Grey has already mentioned Aroldis Chapman and his analysis. Plus, I am sure everyone is tired of hearing about his “instant” ability to pitch in the majors. Um, yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it and punch myself if he starts the year in the majors.

Graduating Prospects
#3 – (CF) Drew Stubbs; #16 (C) Ryan Hanigan; #24 – (RHP) Carlos Fisher

Arizona Fall League Players – Peoria Saguaros
Pitchers – Bradley Boxberger; Mike Leake; Logan Ondrusck; Sean Watson
Hitters – Yonder Alonso; Zack Cozart; Chris Heisey

Players of Interest
Hitters
#1 – Yonder Alonso | 1B | A+/AA | 22 | .292/.374/.464 | 295 AB | 24 2B | 9 HR | .172 ISO | 46:41 K:BB | .318 BABIP | 33.1 GB% | 27.1 LD% | 39.8 FB%
His total at-bats are nearly evenly split between the two levels. There is no sense in repeated what I said in August when I wrote a Scouting the Unknown article on Yonder Alonso. Same applies today as it did before.

#2 – Todd Frazier | 2B/3B/OF | AA/AAA | 23 | .292/.351/.481 | 514 AB | 45 2B | 16 HR | .189 ISO | 79:48 K:BB | .322 BABIP | 32.2 GB% | 22.6 LD% | 45.2 FB%
Only 63 AB at Triple-A
With light hitting Chris Dickerson and flameout Wladimir Balentien playing in left field, Frazier may have a chance to play at the major league level in 2010. He only had 63 at-bats at Triple-A in 2009, so he’ll need another half season there. With his ability to play multiple positions, he’s become a jack-of-all-trades. Meaning he isn’t above-average at any position. He has a strong arm and soft hands which would translate well to left field and third base. Owning above-average raw power, Frazier could provide average defense at either left or third with 20 to 25 homers a season with a good average (.275 to .300 range). Think Melvin Mora.

#8 – Juan Francisco | 3B | AA/AAA | 22 | .295/.329/.518 | 529 AB | 31 2B | 24 HR | .223 ISO | 115:24 K:BB | .332 BABIP | 45.7 GB% | 20.5 LD% | 33.6 FB%
With Francisco projected as the future third baseman, Frazier may be relegated to the outfield. Granted, he may outgrow third and need to be traded or switch positions. He only had 92 at-bats at Triple-A, but he had 21 at-bats in the majors. The last three years (including this one) he has totaled 25, 23, and 24 homers (between three levels). Watch for his power to develop again at Triple-A and wait for Rolen to make his annual trip to the DL. Playing in the Reds bandbox, Francisco could put up some surprising rookie numbers.

#22 – Chris Heisey | CF/OF | AA/AAA | 24 | .314/.379/.521 | 516 AB | 35 2B | 22 HR | .207 ISO | 21/3 SB/CS | 77:48 K:BB | .346 BABIP | 31.9 GB% | 19.4 LD% | 48 FB%
Few players stock rose as much as Heisey’s did in 2009. With an appearance in the majors this past September, Heisey looks to be out of the Randy Winn mold. 15 to 20 homers with 15 to 20 steals. His defense (strong arm and good range) will get him noticed, as will his ability to play all outfield spots. Some scouts have pegged him as a fourth outfielder. This past year, he showed that he could be a regular.

Pitchers
#18 Matt Maloney | LHP | AA/AAA | 25 | 7.8 K/9 | 1.6 BB/9 | 150 IP | 3.00 ERA | 3.32 FIP | 1.15 WHIP | .7 HR/9 | .318 BABIP | 43 GB% | 15.5 LD% | 35.7 FB%
Maloney threw 40 2/3 IP at the MLB level in addition to what he did in the minors. Although he looks like a solid number three pitcher, his strong tendency to give up homers and fly balls make him more of a fourth or fifth in the rotation, especially in the Reds small park. He does have a natural sinking 88 to 91 mph fastball, a plus changeup, and an average curveball and slider. Not blessed with the most overpowering “stuff,” Maloney does a good job of using his talents to pitch and not just throw. Not overtly sleeper worthy, but in really deep leagues, he may possess some stretches where he could be ownable.

Travis Wood | LHP | AA/AAA | 22 | 7.2 K/9 | 2.8 BB/9 | 167 2/3 IP | 1.77 ERA | 3.28 FIP | 1.04 WHIP | .3 HR/9 | .259 BABIP | 42.7 GB% | 15.7 LD% | 37.9 FB%
Aided by an extremely low BABIP, Wood’s stock has risen (no pun intended) back to pre-2009 levels (#21 in 2008). I mention him because (A) he is a lefty, (B) he has a career .284 BABIP, and (C) pitching is always unpredictable. With Dusty Baker riding his young pitchers, you never known when a prospect will get called upon. Wood may be called upon soone rather than later if he can prove 2009 wasn’t a fluke. (He only threw 48 2/3 IP at Triple-A with noticeable differences in his statistical performance).

Ben Jukich | LHP | AAA | 26 | 7.8 K/9 | 2.9 BB/9 | 123 IP | 4.10 ERA | 4.28 FIP | 1.34 WHIP | 1.2 HR/9 | .306 BABIP | 51.3 GB% | 16.8 LD% | 26.9 FB% (career 53.6 GB% | 15.3 LD% | 27.9 FB% | .6 HR/9)
Much like Wood, Jukich had a great year.  With a better defense behind him and his great career ground ball ratios (53.6%), he’ll perform better than expected. He is rather old and his prospect status is nonexistent. His fantasy prospects aren’t much different, but each year a ground ball pitcher can come up and surprise (Matt Palmer had a few good outings, Scott Feldman had a great year relying on a sinking 2-seam fastball, etc).

Sam Lecure | RHP | AAA | 25 | 7.8 K/9 | 2.8 BB/9 | 143 1/3 IP | 4.46 ERA | 4.05 FIP | 1.31 WHIP | 1.1 HR/9 | .314 BABIP | 38 GB% | 18.3 LD% | 39.1 FB%
Not sure if he should even be mentioned for fantasy purposes. None of his stats would be good for the majors, or even at the Reds home park. Just another arm to shy away from.

Honorable Mentions
Hitters
Wes Bankston | 1B/3B | AAA | 25 | .267/.313/.449 | 457 AB | 26 2B | 17 HR | .182 ISO | 88:50 K:BB | .297 BABIP | 36.1 GB% | 18.1 LD% | 45.8 FB%
The last three years he has played for Tampa Bay, Oakland and now Cincinnati. He’s also hit 17, 20, 17 HR the past three years. Could be a source of cheap homers at the cost to your batting average.

Pitchers
Matt Fairel | LHP | A/A+ | 21 | 7.7 K/9 | 3.1 BB/9 | 160 2/3 IP | 3.02 ERA | 3.59 FIP | 1.25 WHIP | .5 HR/9 | .299 BABIP | 44.1 GB% | 16 LD% | 33.9 FB%

These next pitchers have better upside than the ones already mentioned (minus Leake, Chapman, and Boxberger), but aren’t going to help you in 2010 without a rash of injuries. He threw 50 IP at Single-A and then went on to High-A and pitched well.

Mace Thurman | LHP | A/A+ | 22 | 9.3 K/9 | 2.8 BB/9 | 79 2/3 IP | 1.81 ERA | 2.99 FIP | .99 WHIP | .3 HR/9 | .250 BABIP | 42.9 GB% | 15.2 LD% | 36.2 FB%
His numbers were mind-boggling at Single-A and only went down to mind-blowing at High-A. He could be a set-up man within the next calender year (2011) or the closer within the same time frame.

  1. Kris says:
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    Ben Jukich is not part of the Reds organization anymore. He was exposed to the rule V draft and claimed by the Cardinals.

    I wasn’t particularly thrilled about this at the time it happened (because it was done to make room for the redundant and probably useless Chris Burke), so thanks for reminding me…but for everyone’s info, there you go.

  2. Mark G says:
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    I love baseball.

  3. Drew says:
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    I expect Jukich to be back with the Reds by the end of the year. I doubt he stays on the Cardinals 25-man roster all year. He is not ready for major league hitters.

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