In a normal year we would be in the middle of working through the individual writes ups for the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospects, having already completed the Top 25 list itself. But this year, as you know, isn’t a normal year. There wasn’t a minor league season. Some players got to participate at Prasco Park with the alternate roster. A few guys saw time in the big leagues and remain eligible for prospect lists (only Tejay Antone and Shogo Akiyama were rookies entering the year for Cincinnati and logged enough time to not remain rookies for next year). But by-and-large, most guys didn’t get on the field this year until instructional league – and even that was only 40 players and mostly limited to guys who would have played in rookie-ball or Low-A this year.
All of that to say: Right now, it’s very tough to be confident in putting together a prospect list. The amount of players that got on the field in an official capacity was less than half of the minor leaguers in the organization. The ones that did get on the field did so behind closed doors and there were no stats, and only small amounts of video. While I do have contact with people in the organization who see these guys play, a big part of what I do is travel around and see these guys in person 50 times a year. And the other days I’m watching multiple games on MiLBtv.
Guys that made strides this year, even without a season, are hidden a bit. Their gains aren’t easily noticed from the outside. I’m going to do my best to continue to talk to people in the organization about what they were able to see in this, I don’t even know what to call it – season?
What I have decided to do, though, is to hold off on starting a new prospect list until the end of December. That’s usually when the winter leagues regular season comes to an end. Without any season to look at, at least to me, it feels like being able to see guys (both watching online, as well as just having some stats to talk about and look at) has some value. Not all of the rosters are official yet for the various leagues around the world, and even if they were – they’ll change during the course of the season.
So there’s still going to be a Cincinnati Reds Top 25 prospect list this offseason. It’s going to come a lot later than it usually does, though. And it’s going to play out differently, too since the normal write ups for individuals includes writing about their season and how it went along with a scouting report. For many guys, that simply won’t be possible. I’ll do my best to try and provide any notes on the players that do wind up making the Top 25.
What waiting a little bit also does is make it so I don’t have to come back and later adjust the list due to a potential Rule 5 pick either adding or subtracting a player from the list. That’s an issue that’s come up in the past. Trades can always alter things beyond the initial publication, but at least we’ll now avoid the Rule 5 aspect of things.
What’s coming this week
Hey, Rule 5 talk….. The date this year to protect players is November 20th. That’s Friday. Starting Monday we’ll be going position group by position group through Thursday (infielders, outfielders, starting pitchers, relief pitchers) to talk about those that are eligible and who among them could be the most likely to be protected by the organization.
Winter league baseball is also about to start this week in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, as well as restart in Mexico (they shut the league down for an 11-day stretch due to positive COVID-19 tests with several teams). Depending on just how many players from the organization are out there and playing, it may make sense to do daily updates like we would normally do during the regular season. That plan will be adjusted depending on how things shake out – but it’s something I’m considering.