Player development is arguably one of, if not the most important thing that a Major League Baseball organization. Being able to develop players, then get them into the Major Leagues and get that production rather than have to spend the money in free agency to get it can be a big advantage for a team. There are several systems out there that try to place value on prospects, and Major Leaguers, in terms of value. The team at Driveline Baseball did the research on all prospects that were signed/acquired by Major League teams from 2012-2019 and determined how much value was generated by those players. The results for the Cincinnati Reds was not what any Reds fan would like to see.

You can see the entire chart at the link above, and there’s a ton of information beyond that inside the article. If you’ve got time, be sure to go read it. But here’s the top three teams and the bottom three teams in Major League Baseball from 2012-2019:

Rank Team Value Generated
1 Dodgers $464,865,547.46
2 Astros $439,387,604.06
3 Cardinals $348,125,476.92
28 Reds -$182,461,842.95
29 Marlins -$253,054,117.03
30 White Sox -$347,589,346.78

The Cincinnati Reds aren’t the worst, but they have been very close to it. The White Sox have been an absolute disaster by this study, nearly TWICE as bad as the Reds, who were 28th. But back to the Reds – they’ve gotten a significant amount of negative value from their developmental side. With trades that haven’t produced the expected value, to draft picks that haven’t produced the expected value – it’s been a very tough stretch.

The 2012-2018 Drafts

It’s not realistic to have much value in either direction from the 2017 or 2018 drafts. They are simply too recent to swing it. But going back to 2012 we can see where some of the value went. Nick Travieso was the teams 1st round pick and unfortunately he’s yet to reach the Major Leagues as he’s dealt with a shoulder injury that occurred when he was having success in Double-A. Jesse Winker and Jeff Gelalich were also supplemental 1st round picks that season. Winker has found some success in the Major Leagues, but he’s only just now played in a full season worth of games at the big league level (157 for his career as I type this).

The 2013 draft saw the Reds have two first round picks. They selected Phillip Ervin and Michael Lorenzen. Six years later both have Major League experience – though Ervin has a negative WAR for his career and is back in Triple-A. Lorenzen is coming out of the bullpen, and in 2019, playing some defense in center. The next year had two more 1st round picks: Nick Howard and Alex Blandino. Howard came down with a case of the yips, then had arm injuries and hasn’t made it past Double-A, where he did have some success last season. Blandino is currently recovering from ACL surgery, and has played in 69 games at the Major League level.

The next season the Reds spent their 1st round pick on Tyler Stephenson. He’s in his age 22 season and just getting started at the Double-A level. Nothing wrong to this point here, but as a high school pick he wasn’t going to reach the Major Leagues as quickly as some college players may have. In 2016 the Reds took Nick Senzel. The pick seemed great at the time, and when he’s been on the field, it’s looked even better as Senzel’s performed at a very high level. But due to a combination of injuries and what seems blatant to everyone, some service time manipulation, he has not yet played in the Major Leagues.

Picks made in 2017 and 2018 shouldn’t really have the expectations of being contributors. The above information looked only at 1st round picks. And while there’s tons of evidence that second round picks shouldn’t really be expected to be future big league contributors based on the entire history of the draft. Still, the Reds have had some real struggles in that stretch with their second round picks. The six picks in the second round from 2012-2016 were Tanner Rahier (released for off the field issues), Kevin Franklin (released), Taylor Sparks, Tony Santillan, Tanner Rainey, and Chris Okey.

The first two players failed to make it to Double-A. Taylor Sparks and Chris Okey have both struggled mightily to hit since being drafted. Tanner Rainey has reached the Major Leagues, throwing 7.0 innings for the Reds last season before being traded to the Nationals in the offseason for Tanner Roark. Then there’s Tony Santillan, who has worked his way up to Double-A before his 22nd birthday and is currently a Top 100 prospect in all of baseball. He’s the only prospect of the group that ever made the Cincinnati Reds Top 10 Prospect list over the years.

With prospects like Nick Senzel and Taylor Trammell likely to reach the Major Leagues soon, the following paragraph is likely to change. But the Cincinnati Reds have gotten one signed draft pick from 2012-2018 to provide more than 2.0 WAR for their career – Michael Lorenzen. They have only gotten 1.0 WAR from two other players – Ben Lively, who never threw a pitch for the Reds (1.7 WAR) and Tyler Mahle. One season at a league-average level is worth 2.0 WAR. The player that’s provided the most WAR of any Reds draft pick in that span is from Andrew Benintendi, who was drafted in the 31st round in 2013 but was unsigned and went to college and was later drafted and signed in the 1st round by the Boston Red Sox. He’s provided them with 7.3 WAR. The Reds draft picks that have been signed in that span have combined for 3.7 WAR. Seven drafts and 3.7 WAR – total. Matthew Boyd, unsigned as a 13th round in 2012, has also provided more WAR for his career than the entirety of the players drafted and signed by the Reds – he’s provided 4.0 WAR in his career.

Some of it has been bad luck. Injuries to Nick Travieso and Nick Senzel has probably led to that total WAR being a little lower than it otherwise would be. Nick Howard getting the yips isn’t something you can foresee. None of that was predictable. Both pitchers looked like Major Leaguers before issues popped up.

The Trades from 2012-2018

The Cincinnati Reds have been involved in a few big trades in this time frame, but two stand out the most. The first one came when the team traded away Johnny Cueto in the summer of 2015 to the Royals. In return they acquired Brandon Finnegan, Cody Reed, and John Lamb. The offseason following that 2015 season saw the Reds trade away Aroldis Chapman after a domestic dispute with his then girlfriend. In return for that trade the Reds acquired Eric Jagielo, Caleb Cotham, Rookie Davis, and Tony Renda.

Those two trades netted the Reds seven prospects. Brandon Finnegan has provided 2.1 WAR for the Reds since that trade. The other six prospects have combined for -6.0 WAR. There’s a lot of things going on here, much like the drafting issues. Eric Jagielo was acquired while injured – he had previously had knee surgery and was working his way back. He was never the same hitter once he returned. Caleb Cotham’s arm gave out and he wound up retiring and now works for the Reds. Rookie Davis saw his hip give him issues and it cost him time before he became a free agent this past offseason. Finnegan’s injuries have left his stuff diminished.

That 2015 season was a point where the organization decided to sell off impending free agents. Mike Leake was moved for Adam Duvall and Keury Mella. They have combined for 5.6 WAR in their careers thus far. Todd Frazier was traded to the Dodgers after the season. In return the Reds acquired Scott Schebler, Jose Peraza, and Brandon Dixon. They have combined for 2.5 career WAR to this point.

The next season saw the Reds trade away Jay Bruce for Max Wotell and Dilson Herrera. Both players showed up with shoulder injuries. Wotell struggled to get healthy and was subsequently released after posting an ERA over 10.00 in the Reds organization in very limited action between 2016-2018. Herrera struggled to get his shoulder back to health, but hit well in the minors with the Reds despite that. He wasn’t given much of a chance in the Majors with the Reds and was granted free agency after the 2018 season.

In the 2012 offseason the Reds made a trade to acquire Shin-Soo Choo. In that deal they traded away Top 100 prospect Didi Gregorius. Some guy named Trevor Bauer was also moved in that deal. Gregorius has gone on to provide 16 WAR for his career since then.

Not everything was bad on the trade front, though. Prior to that 2015 season the Reds made two different trades on December 11th of 2014. They moved Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon in separate deals. In return they landed Anthony DeSclafani, Chad Wallach, Jonathan Crawford, and Eugenio Suarez. Three future big leaguers in that group. Crawford at the time was a well regarded prospect but who has had injuries derail his career. The Reds, however, don’t get credit in this study for Eugenio Suarez, who was not a prospect at the time of the trade despite being 22-years-old. With regards to Suarez specifically, he’s developed into a much better player than he was expected to be when he was acquired – and the Reds get no credit here for that.

The biggest mark on the ledger for the Reds, however, comes from the deal the team made on January 19th, 2017. That’s the day in which Cincinnati moved Dan Straily for Zeek White, Austin Brice, and Luis Castillo. It’s still early in the career for Castillo, so he hasn’t made the impact he likely will have if this is revisited in 3-4-5 years. But since joining the Reds he’s already provided 5.6 WAR in what has essentially been 1.5 seasons. And unlike Eugenio Suarez, which has also turned out to be an absolute steal – Castillo was considered a prospect at the time and is accounted for in this study.

The International Signings

This is an area where the Cincinnati Reds have been lacking for a long time. Before the rules changed and every team works on basically the same level when it comes to money that can be spent, the Reds largely didn’t spend what many other teams were spending. From 2009-2014 they didn’t sign a single player for 7-figures that wasn’t signed to a Major League contract (Aroldis Chapman, Raisel Iglesias). Their biggest signing in that span never played in a single game for the organization. Jonathan Perez signed for $825,000 in the 2012 signing period. The pitcher dealt with multiple injuries after signing and never threw a single pitch in a game that counted in the record books.

Things changed in 2015 when the Reds ownership opened up the check book a little bit. That year they signed Cristian Olivo for $1,000,000 and Miguel Hernandez for $600,000. Both players were Top 30 prospects on the international market at the time and it was the first time since the 2008 signings of Yorman Rodriguez and Juan Duran that the team had signed two such players in a given year. To put that in perspective, there was one season in which the New York Yankees signed 10 of the top 30 players.

The next signing period changed things, though. It was the last chance that teams could spend any amount of money that they wanted to. There were penalties for doing so, but teams didn’t think the penalties were harsh enough to stop them from doing so. The Reds tried to take advantage of this and spent nearly $30M, including the penalties, to sign Alfredo Rodriguez, Jose Garcia, and Vladimir Gutierrez.

When you look at the Cincinnati Reds rosters from 2012-2018 for players that they signed internationally in that time period, here are the names that are included:

  • Raisel Iglesias

That’s it. That’s the entire list. Some players that they signed internationally prior to 2012 did show up – Wandy Peralta, Alejandro Chacin, Aristides Aquino, Didi Gregorius, Donald Lutz. But the 2012-2018 international signing periods have resulted in one player reaching the Major Leagues – and it was a player who was signed and ready to pitch in the Major Leagues.


The Cincinnati Reds have been bad at drafting, signing, trading, and developing prospects over the course of this study that extends back to 2012. The data shows that very clearly. The fact that two players they drafted and couldn’t/didn’t sign have outperformed the entirety of every drafted and signed played is almost unbelievable. That since 2012 they haven’t drafted and signed a single player who has turned into either a starting pitcher or starting every day position player is only slightly less unbelievable. I do believe that those things will change as we get further into the future because I’m a big believer in some guys that still haven’t reached the Majors yet. But that’s a very long time to still be able to make those statements.

On the international front, it takes longer to get players from signing to the Majors since 98% of the signings are of players who are 16 or 17-years-old. Still, to go from 2012-2018 and have only one signee reach the Major Leagues isn’t a good sign. From that group there are certainly still legitimate prospects who haven’t reached the Majors yet – Vladimir Gutierrez, Jose Siri, Mariel Bautista, Jose Garcia, Miguel Hernandez, Andy Sugilio, Jonathan Willems, and Michael Beltre are all Top 25 prospects by my rankings. Juan Martinez and Danny Lantigua are also inside of the Baseball America Top 25. It’s tough to say that the 2012-2018 signings have been a failure as a whole – there hasn’t been enough time to truly say that. One of those players turning into an All-Star changes the entire thing. But the results to this point aren’t good.

With the trades, things are certainly a mixed bag. The Cueto and Chapman trades had very different looks at the time. The trade with the Royals was generally seen as a good one for Cincinnati at the time, while no one understood the Chapman trade at the time in terms of talent-for-talent – only that the Reds were selling low simply to avoid the bad publicity that was there for having him on the team after the incident took place. Both, at least to this point, have turned out poorly for the organization. With the Chapman deal there’s nothing to redeem – everyone is gone. The Cueto trade still has Cody Reed and Brandon Finnegan to try and get value out of.

But the Reds hit absolute walk-off grand slams when they acquired Eugenio Suarez and Luis Castillo in separate deals. Suarez has already made an All-Star team. Castillo is looking like a future All-Star, and potentially Cy Young candidate.

The Reds have experienced some bad luck in all of these categories, specifically when it comes to injuries. Some were unpredictable. But when looking at the acquisitions of Eric Jagielo, Max Wotell, and Dilson Herrera – some of them are highly questionable at best given that they were all injured when acquired.

At the end of the day, luck or not, the Cincinnati Reds have been very bad compared to the rest of Major League Baseball in the last seven years when it comes to drafting, signing, trading for, and developing prospects. Everything isn’t lost because of how it looks at this current second. As noted – guys like Senzel, Trammell, Stephenson, Santillan – and the international group spoken of above haven’t reached and produced in the Majors yet and could change the data. But other teams also have prospects that fall into that category of “haven’t reached the Majors yet and could provide more and better data”, too.

This past offseason saw the organization go in a very different direction at the Major League level in nearly every aspect of coaching and big league development. Only one coach remained from the previous staff. And the Reds added multiple new coaches to help further develop at the Major League level. That started late last season in the minors when the team moved now former farm director Jeff Graupe into more of a scouting role. The farm director role he held at the time is now held by Eric Lee, but that’s also no longer the top spot – which is now held by Shawn Pender as the Vice President of Player Development.

That wasn’t the only change, though. Chris Tremie was brought in from the Cleveland Indians to take over as the Minor League Field Coordinator. In the scouting department the team promoted Shawn Pender to the Director of Amateur Scouting – which means that he’ll be running the draft for the organization now. On the international side of scouting Tony Arias moved into a scouting role stateside and the Reds hired Trey Hendricks as their new Director of International Scouting.

This stretch wasn’t good for the organization. And it seems that someone took notice and felt there needed to be changes. And there were changes all over the place within the organization. Nearly from top to bottom, the top people within various parts of the organization were replaced by someone new. Some of the people who were replaced remained in the organization in different roles. Some did not return to the organization. Take that for what you will, but if nothing else, the Reds are trying something different. They are trying something new. The results won’t be apparent immediately – particularly when it comes to development – but it will be interesting to look back in 10 years to see if the changes did indeed alter what had been happening previously.

39 Responses

  1. Hanawi

    Not a surprise. Mentioned this last week talking about trading with the Dodgers and Yankees. Those two teams have significantly better scouting. Reds will lose deals with those teams more often than not. One of their big wins was with one of the two teams worse than them.

    Seems like they shuffled the deck chairs on the Titanic with those development and scouting reassignments.

  2. another bob in nc

    I’m surprised that the Reds are only “near” the bottom. If bad luck were random it would affect all clubs at sometime. Given the degree of bad luck, do we create our own bad luck?

    • Doug Gray

      If you check out the linked article, within there is another linked article that actually does show that bad luck is quite an issue in player development.

      But, sometimes you do create your bad luck – which is why I brought up guys like Max Wotell, Dilson Herrera, and Eric Jagielo – all of whom were acquired injured (Wotell didn’t admit he was injured until the following year, but isn’t that why you have doctors?).

  3. Tony Cloninger

    Buckley is still there. Lurking around. I hope his input has been diminished to the point of irrelevance.

  4. Doc

    To make a statement that Senzel being sent down is blatant service manipulation to everyone is just not true and easily disproved. Everyone would include me, and I don’t believe it is blatant service manipulation, hence – disproved, though I am only one among many who have disagreed wTh the service time mantra. However, it does indicate that the author is incapable of presenting an objective assessment without his own blatant bias.

    No one yet, including the writer, has shown how Senzel should have been on the 25 man ahead of Schebler or Ervin based on 2019 spring training results, which is when the competition for the job was open. There has been no legitimate comparison of Senzel’s 44 game 2018 minor league performance with Ervin’s more extensive 2018 major league performance, a promotion that was earned by a very hot AAA performance.

    He may become a great player, or he may become a great bust. As little as he has been able to stay on the field last season and this thus far, he is closer to bust than savior, though I don’t think that is the likely long term outcome. I wish him a great career and hope he is all the rating services think he will be, but he’s not there yet, and he did not earn his way into the bigh club when he had the chance, BY HIS OWN ADMISSION.

    • Dug

      Tatos for the padres shows what a young player can do for a team. The players advocated for him to be on the team and the team has responded by playing well.
      Reds would be better served with Senzel in CF starting in May.
      The pitching has been stellar. If Senzel can jumpstart CF and be the leadoff guy that kills two birds with one stone.

    • RojoBenjy

      “The writer” of this post above persists in the irritating practice of showing “the writer’s” own bias against the founder of this site in most comments.

      This website’s founder has logged the 10,000 hours that are needed to become expert at his craft. That makes his informed opinions valuable to most of his readers.

    • Michael Smith


      So Senzel was not one of the 25 best players in spring training? How are those small sample sizes from spring training working out?

      • Brian

        To be fair, I do agree that senzel should be called up and recognize that he should have started the year. I would however like to shine a light on two ridiculous arguments I hear frequently.

        1. He’s one of the best 25 players, he should be on the team. In reality it doesn’t matter that he’s better than, say, Zach Duke. He’s not competing for one of the 25 spots, he’s competing for 1 of 5 outfield/utility spots. Plus there’s the issue that you don’t bring a prospect up to sit, so if he’s up, he’s playing every day for his own development. You’re not giving him Kyle farmer playing time.

        2. He was sent down just so he could save Bob C’s money. That’s just a dumb argument I hear Chad make every week on the podcast. He got sent down for control, not necessarily money. He’ll be every bit as expensive going through Arb as he would’ve been and he’ll likely get 4 Arb years. As chad would say, “if he’s good, then you would extend him for that year anyway.” Yes, but money isn’t zero sum. Meaning that if you pay him a year more, you may not be able to pay someone else.

        All that being said, he should obviously be on the team playing every day CF. for my own sanity though, please stop using those two arguments

    • mark l

      @Doc – literally the entire point of coming to this site is to get Doug’s opinion. We are all biased, but I wouldn’t read this site if Doug just reported and gave no opinions about those reports. Doug does a pretty good job of trying to give an educated opinion about minor league news, and that’s why I have been reading this site everyday for 8 years.

    • Doug Gray

      That’s because the writer has said multiple times that spring training is for getting ready to play and should not be used to determine whether one wins or loses a job, unless it’s painfully obvious that said player has had a massive change in their skillset that should be expected moving forward.

      Literally every talent evaluator on the planet thinks Nick Senzel should have made the team. Some of them can’t say it out loud because they’ll lose a grievance over it, but yeah….. no one was out there saying that he wasn’t one of the three best outfielders in the organization.

    • Josh martin

      Look at the stats of the guys you mentioned. I think Senzel would be right there with them at the very least or he could have been a spark plug for a stagnant offense. Since we only have spring training to consider I would argue that Senzel played better than Schebler and should have made the team.

  5. Jon Ryker

    They clearly don’t meaningfully teach fundamentals. Nobody seems to actually know the basics of how to play, even on the big-league roster. Hopefully, that is changing. No evidence of it yet.

  6. Big Ed

    Including Benintendi in that is a bit unfair. Everyone knew that he was committed to going to Arkansas, and the Reds more or less drafted him as a tip of the hat to his dad. The same thing happened with Walker Buehler, who got drafted by the Pirates in the 14th round, when everybody knew that he was headed to Vandy.

    But you are spot on on everything else.

    It may have been a bit more instructive to throw out the last 3 years and sart at 2009, given that the Reds do appear to have drafted better the last 3 years, and those guys haven’t yet had a chance to play in MLB yet. I am afraid that making that adjustment would make it look even worse. My feeling has always been that the Reds’ last “window” shut at about the time that the farm system was at its lowest point, due to the Reds’ player-development issues. (Pity the Marlins, because they face similar issues and have at least 3 more fallow years in their rebuild.)

    The International issue is the Reds’ biggest failure. It’s been 50+ years since they signed and developed a top-flight hitter from the Latin America.

    • Big Ed

      I will add that the period studied coincided very closely with the Walt Jocketty era.

      • Oldtimer

        The WJ era also coincided with the only 3 playoff appearances by the Reds since mid 1990s. The. Only. 3. Playoff. Appearances. By. The. Reds. Since. 1990s.

      • ohiojimw

        @OT> WJ used talent Krivsky and others drafted and developed. Some were on the Reds, most bought pieces from other orgs. What he didn’t do was restock the store.

        Granted the job was more difficult because they were drafting further down; but, they just didn’t get the job done. Also as Doug noted the Bruce and Chapman trades were outright busts. Even the Frazier trade seems suspect.

        Then there is Michael Lorenzen. I like him; and have said for years his potential has been largely squandered by how the Reds have (mis)used him. This said wasn’t there probably somebody better to spend that 38th overall choice on and hope that ML was still there to take a flyer on as a starting pitcher 31 picks later when they made their 2nd round choice?

      • Nep O'Tism

        Too true Jim.

        Walt inherited a team that already had either in it’s minor league or on it’s major league roster:
        Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Drew Stubbs, Paul Janish, Josh Hamilton, Brandon Phillips, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Dunn, Ryan Hanigan, Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, Devin Mesoraco, Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart, Travis Wood, Justin Turner, Chris Heisey, Sam LeCure, Logan Ondrusek… probably some more I am forgetting.

        That’s the vast majority of the core of those playoff teams, and some other various good players that made All-Star games for other teams… all from Day 1 already there when Walt took over the job. That’s 13 All-Stars inherited, by my count.

        I can also find success as a team’s GM is the previous GMs leave me 13 All-Stars as a core to work with. Doesn’t mean I will do a good job keeping up that success. (And Walt didn’t.)

      • Oldtimer

        Check the starting lineups and pitching rotations in 2010, 2012, and 2013.

        You’ll find many players brought to the Reds by Jockey, not Krivsky.

        If Krivsky were so good, why was he fired? Why didn’t he make the playoffs three times, or even once?

      • Doug Gray

        Well, let’s start off by noting that Krivsky got fired because Castellini wanted his guy, his friend from his ownwership time in St. Louis (yeah, Castellini was one of the owners of the Cardinals before he became the majority stake owner of the Reds), Walt Jocketty.

        The rotations in 2010-2013 was basically Arroyo/Leake/Bailey/Cueto/Latos – no one else threw more than 203.2 innings (Travis Wood) among starters for the Reds. Walt Jocketty was “responsible” for “2” of those guys. He definitely is responsible for Latos. He traded for him. The other was Leake, who was drafted while he was in charge, but that probably wasn’t his call because that’s generally not how drafting works. Arroyo, Bailey, Cueto – all were around before Jocketty showed up in Cincinnati. All were around before Krivsky, too.

        The lineup on those teams was anchored by non-Jocketty guys, too. Votto/Bruce/Stubbs/Phillips/Cozart/Hanigan/Frazier/Heisey all got 1000+ plate appearances in that time and not one of them was a Jocketty guy. Only Scott Rolen and Johnny Gomes got 750+ plate appearances for those teams that were Jocketty guys.

    • RobL

      If you started at 2009, you get Mike Leake, Yasmani Grandal, and Robert Stephenson. So the assumption that it would be worse is way off. In fact, 2012 marks the exact point of were the Reds great draft run ends. “In Buckley we trust” was a thing. The Reds had a tremendous run of success. Then the well ran dry. Winker marks the only real high pick success. Actually, Lorenzen is a success too. But between injury, and a change in strategy, the well ran dry. I believe the Reds had a valid idea of using arms with low mileage and trying them as starters. Travieso, Howard, Lorenzen, Iglesias, Greene, and Gray all fall into this category. However, all they did was prove that it doesn’t work. All but Gray has had trouble with injury. And in that attempt to exploit a possible market inefficiency, all they did was dry up the next wave of talent.

  7. Cguy

    Gee, Ok the Reds are lousy at developing their draft picks & International Player Signees. Maybe they should try trading a couple of their midlevel draft picks for several established ML players. Or perhaps trading a future draft pick & a blocked prospect for an established sp & get that pitcher signed for several years. The Reds are doing things a bit better than they were. Unfortunately, they stuck with doing things poorly way too long.

    • Doug Gray

      You can’t trade draft picks unless they are the compensation picks.

      • RobL

        Doug, I believe he is directly referencing the Downs/Gray trade and the Comp pick/Long trade. He used a couple of poorly chosen terms that muddied the point.

  8. DocProc

    With Votto and Winker on the bench, the only player in Saturday’s starting lineup who was drafted/developed by the Reds was Tucker Barnhart. The only pitcher in our rotation developed by the Reds is Tyler Mahle–and he’s only there because Wood’s injured.

    Suarez, Castillo, and Scooter (and likely Gray, Iglesias, and Dietrich) were great pickups, but man the draft choices and farm system have been awful.

  9. Nep O'Tism

    The biggest pains from the Chapman trade is a two-parter:
    1. The previous season, the Reds were reportedly asking for “the moon and the stars” for Chapman and the Diamondbacks were apparently “willing to pay the moon, but not the stars”. If I am remembering the wording correctly.
    2. The Yankees then turned around and traded Chapman with half a year less control than the Reds did, and got a top 40 prospect who turned into a 21-year-old rookie All-Star 2B/SS (Gleyber Torres), a guy they traded to get JA Happ, and another guy they traded for international money… then turned around and re-signed Chapman in the offseason.

    Outside of that, the Jay Bruce trade is actually more painful for me than the Cueto trade, because I actually thought Finnegan/Reed would turn into decent starters for the Reds. They were so obsessed with getting Dilson Herrera (they often get locked on a single player, see Peraza and the two different trade attempts for him) and his well-known bum shoulder that they turned down Brandon Nimmo who had an OBP over .400 in 2018 and a career OBP of .389, and can play center (granted not terribly well, but probably better in GABP CF).

  10. RedsFaninPitt


    How does this analysis change your views on Chris Buckley? You have been so positive in the past on his draft picks, but this doesn’t
    paint him in a very positive light. Or, do you pin more blame on the development side. We all know the Reds have been very poor on the international side. I think in 2 years this could look very different given what they have in the pipeline.
    and where they are in the development stage. A lot of this is the timing of the look back period. Less than 4 yrs ago was when the first really high draft picks started. We are on the cusp of many of those making the big leap to the majors.

    • Northern ky reds

      I think the blame starts with castellini and stops with jocketty. The owner knows nothing about baseball. Only in this city would jocketty could a free pass and last so long. People treated dusty like crap but he was the best thing since sparky. But dusty, not Walt, got the blame. Dusty got the players to believe.

      I think picking from within was a bad idea in the office and hasn’t been working. Most of the old guard was probably jockettys people. Which doesn’t surprise me. I think I would have requested interviews from astros , dodgers, and yankee underlings. We’ve signed a lot b.s players.

    • Doug Gray

      It doesn’t, really. Nick Travieso got hurt. Nick Howard got the yips, then got hurt. In the ledger, those are failures. In reality, that’s just bad luck. The guy taken between them was Phillip Ervin (and Michael Lorenzen). We haven’t seen what’s happened after those three guys in this sample from the first rounds: Stephenson, Senzel, Trammell, Greene, India. Is there a guy in there you are regretting? That was clearly the wrong pick, particularly at the time?

      Now, I do think you can point at the second round and ask what’s happening there. As noted in the article, the history of the draft suggests you shouldn’t actually expect much of anything from a second round pick. Our hearts tell us we should, but that’s generally not the reality. But there’s a difference between “maybe gets a cup of coffee” and “couldn’t hit .200 or make it out of A-ball” for 5 of the 7 years, too.

      It’s the international side that gets me the most. That’s where there’s been a general complete failure. Lack of money has a whole heck of a lot to do with it, too. We don’t know what the scouts could have done if they had more money to spend. But what we do know is that they didn’t have much money to spend until that 2015 and then 2016 period, and when they did spend it, they – at least to this point – found some actual, real prospects. But from 2009-2014 they didn’t spend much, and when they did it was usually on a mid-tier, 6-figure guy rather than on a top 25 caliber guy in the class. None of those types worked out when they did go that route. The trades probably killed a lot, too. It would be interesting to see how the value broke down in these three areas.

      As noted, I think this study will look a bit different from this stretch of time if we look back at it in another 8 years. Will the Reds still be bad? Yeah, probably. That 2012-2014 stretch was rough due to the injuries of the 1st rounders, and that’s generally where you’re going to find the value. But it likely finds something in that Stephenson-India group, too.

  11. Northern ky reds

    For the reds gm, note to self:

    If The dodgers, Yankees, Indians or astros call on a minor leaguer, pass on the deal.

  12. Redsvol

    Doug – thanks for posting this. It shows what many of us followers have known for a long time – but its startling to see it so clearly laid out.

    I have commented before that the Cardinals are the gold standard and I’ll stand by that – they typically drafter late in the first round (because they are collecting hardware) yet consistently find and develop talent. The Reds have drafted quite a bit higher recently and you don’t have to be a rocket science to draft in the top 5 and find some major league talent there.

    They key to Cardinals success and Reds failure in my humble opinion is the lack of later round draft picks that seem to make it to majors. Reds can get most of their first rounders to big leagues but typically no-one else unless its a cup of coffee. Cardinals consistently get their later round guys to the big leagues. I think that falls on everyone involved in the last 10 years in Redland – both drafting and developing and minor league coaching. That is why I was disappointed we didn’t see more turnover in minor league development and coaching this past summer. They all need to go.

  13. AirborneJayJay

    Great article. Great read. I have often said how bad those draft years were. They did hit on a few in the later rounds of those years like Amir Garrett, and Shed Long will be a Major Leaguer soon.
    The drafting really turned around in 2015. TStephenson and Santillan at the top of that draft was solid. But their fortunes changed with the declining ML record and better draft positioning starting in 2015.
    It will be very interesting watching how the Reds will draft in this upcoming draft with the new regime.

  14. KentuckyRedHead

    Thanks Doug. Good stuff. Great topic. Super posts! True the Reds just rearranged the deck chairs. True, too, that more development people should’ve been axed, especially the coaches at the lower levels, which are the most critical because it’s the entry levels for young players. The prior Farm Director was given high draft picks and failed. The new Dev. VP (Pender) had a winning % of .222, .333 and .333 at St. Joe’s, in his only gig. Wow! What a development force! If he couldn’t develop players to do better than .222, why is he the Reds head honcho. He’s from Haverford, PA and he knew Haverford alumni with the Reds (the prior FD, Jeff Graupe, and Eric Lee, the new FD, who was helped in the Reds door by Graupe. Both played at Haverford). It’s often not what you know, but who you know. Graupe has been accountable for PD for many years and now his Haverford bud is the FD. DW is accountable for Developmental hires and retaining them. Development is the key to an org., as we see now with no able hitters to call up to help the Reds woeful offense. If Winker and Barnhardt are the only 2 position players on the 25, other than long-ago draftee Votto, that says it all. Dick W. is like old man Bush with Quayle; his failure to get rid of him cost him in the end. The Reds must totally clean house and get rid of nearly everyone, like the best at development did — Houston. DW would be fine if he got rid of his Quayles, incl. Doran and best-pal Buddy Bell, etc. What is Doran’s value-add? Heck, he was the Field Coordinator before they rearranged the deck chairs, therefore, he’s also been a part of the development problem. Bringing in Buddy’s son David to helm the team is not exactly infusing new blood into the system. Crikey! He has slow-footed, weak-arm Wink leading off and playing CF and even slower Votto also leading off. Bell may be writing the lineup, but it’s likely only dictation from an analytics guy. How’s that working? Nothing is working with the Reds and us fans are not attending games. Do the right thing DW and things will be good for you and us. Please, we implore you. Aren’t you embarrassed?

  15. Rick

    Poor Doug has been defending the Reds player development for ages. He is consistently wrong about everything Reds related, and this is his full time job! That is hilarious. Doug is just a fanboy with a following of a few other moron reds fans. He ran away from the other Board he posts on because he is so embarrassed by all of the people exposing his stupidity.