First lets take a look at Kevin Goldstein’s list over at Baseball Prospectus. There are only 4 Reds on the list and it is is usual suspects.
Jay Bruce came in at the top of the list. In the chat there are a few things about him, one noting that Goldstein projects him to hit .287/.353/.491 next year as long as the Reds ‘do the right thing and play him from day 1’.
Homer Bailey was the #9 prospect overall and the #5 pitcher overall.
Joey Votto came in at #21 overall and the top first baseman.
Johnny Cueto was the #41 overall prospect and the 16th overall pitcher. Cueto appears to still be questioned because of his size concerns and Goldstein questions if he can handle a large workload in the majors.
The next list is done by Keith Law over at ESPN.com. Same guys as the last one, but ranked a little differently.
Jay Bruce came in as the #2 prospect on Law’s list. Law doesn’t think Bruce is a centerfielder and appears to be punishing him for it. Likely the only list with Bruce not #1. Unlike the BP list, Goldstein does give blurbs about each player. Here is what he had to say about Bruce:
Bruce is probably the top power-hitting prospect in the minors right now, unsurprising for a kid who was already well-developed physically at the time he was drafted. Bruce sets up very deep but generates excellent bat speed and is strong enough to drive balls out to all fields. He’s played center field but is best suited for right, and has a plus arm to play there. Because of the deep load at the plate, he can overcommit on breaking stuff and can be beaten with hard stuff inside, and he’s shown only moderate plate discipline in the minors. There’s no reason he couldn’t step in right now and win the Rookie of the Year Award in the NL if he’s given an everyday job.
Homer Bailey came in at #9 on this list as well, just like the Baseball Prospectus list. Here is what Law had to say about Bailey:
Bailey didn’t take the same step forward in 2007 as some of the other top pitching prospects in the game, but it’s too early to jump off the bandwagon. What Buchholz and Chamberlain did is the exception, not the rule, when it comes to pitchers without much pro experience; look at Chad Billingsley’s first go-round in the majors and the improvement he showed in his second year in 2007. Bailey was in the big leagues a bit too soon, then suffered a groin injury that prevented his return until September. His stuff remains outstanding: a 93-97 mph fastball and a power curveball with a sharp downward break. His changeup remains a show-me pitch, but the real obstacle for him is fastball command, and there are no mechanical reasons why his command won’t eventually be above-average, at which point he’ll give the Reds the true No. 1 starter they’ve been looking for.
Johnny Cueto came in at #30 on the ESPN.com list and here is what Law had to say about the Dominican Righty:
Cueto doesn’t get the hype of Homer Bailey because he doesn’t have the same big pitcher’s build, but his stuff is almost as good as Bailey’s, and he might be more advanced as a pitcher. Cueto is small and squatty but strong, and he has a smooth, easy arm action that produces fastballs anywhere from 91 to 96 mph with good life up in the zone. His changeup is his best secondary pitch, with good sink and tail and excellent arm speed, while his slider flashes plus with a hard tilt but still is inconsistent. He works quickly and aggressively but does not yet have the command to succeed in the majors, especially since his fastball is somewhat true and he could be homer-prone if he doesn’t work on the margins of the strike zone. If his command doesn’t improve, he will be a potentially dominant closer down the road, but he also could end up a solid No. 2 starter.
Joey Votto came in at a surprisingly low #56 according to Law. Here is what he had to say about the Canadian:
Votto is similar to the player he’ll eventually replace in Cincinnati, Scott Hatteberg, but with a bit more power. Votto’s calling card is his plate discipline, as he’s drawn at least 69 unintentional walks in four of his five full seasons in the pros. He has a max-effort swing that produces average to slightly above-average power, and while he stays back well on the ball, he has a hard time changing his swing once he’s committed to a pitch. He’s average defensively at first but looked somewhat Ryan Klesko-esque in a trial in left field last year.
Overall, I thought the ESPN list was questionable at best and really it had very little to do with the Reds on the list.
Photo: Tim Evearitt/The Chattanoogan