Just typing the title to this article felt great. We’re back to a point in baseball where there are actual possibilities to have multiple “news and notes” for a single day. Spring training is underway for minor leaguers, the draft preparation is in full swing as both college and high school baseball is underway everywhere (except in the few states that don’t have high school baseball). Let’s hop right in.

Spring Training Video

While minor league spring training is closed off to the public that doesn’t mean we don’t get any looks behind the fences to see what’s going on. Kyle Boddy, the Reds Director of Pitching, shared some video from the backfields on Monday of four pitchers. In the first video he’s got looks from Christian Roa, Bryce Bonnin, and Joe Boyle – three of the six draft selections from the 2020 Major League Baseball draft by the Reds.

That wasn’t the only clip that he shared on the day, though. Ryan Olson, who at one point was forced to retire after having back surgery, was given the thumbs up to return to the mound and is back with the Reds this year. Formerly a starter and now a relief pitcher, Olson is throwing 95-96 and his slider’s looking pretty nasty right now, too.

Two weeks from today and we get minor league opening day. Two. Weeks.

Updated Draft Rankings

ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel has updated his draft board. You’ll need to be an ESPN+ subscriber to read the piece. But the spot up at the top of the board is getting closer and closer between the guy at the top – shortstop Jordan Lawlar – and the guy at the second spot – starting pitcher Jack Leiter.

This year more than at any time in the past, there is going to be a lot of time to really dive into things. With the draft now being held during MLB’s All-Star week, it’s pushed the draft back an entire month from when it has historically taken place. The College World Series will long have been completed by the time players are selected. Summer league baseball will be going on. Teams will have time to evaluate more guys for more time, particularly those who aren’t going to go in the first few rounds and may take their chances in some of these college summer leagues with the hopes of improving their draft stock.

McDaniel’s draft board has write-ups on the top 25 guys, then lists players 26-100 along with seven guys that “just missed”.

Over at Baseball America they just published a piece on 12 pop-up prospects in the draft this year. Like the ESPN piece, you’ll need to have a subscription to Baseball America to read it. But if you do subscribe you can check it out here.

International Rankings Get an Update

The draft rankings aren’t the only ones to get an update this week. Baseball America has also updated their 2021-2022 international signing class rankings. The Top 25 list will require a subscription to read. For the Cincinnati Reds there’s still just one player in the Top 25 expected to sign with them, but Ricardo Cabrera is rated as the #3 player in the class here.

Earlier this year I spoke with an international scout who believed that the Venezuelan shortstop was the top player in the class. Obviously when we’re talking about 15 and 16-year-old players there’s going to be a lot of subjectiveness in the rankings. Most of these guys haven’t been seen in public workouts for a while, either. Between the pandemic limiting much of the scouting activity that has been permitted by Major League Baseball employees, and the fact that once teams and players come to agreements on deals we see the players stop having workouts with other teams. Given that those deals are agreed upon a year, sometimes two in advance, this is more of an educated guessing game than other aspects of prospect ranking.

27 Responses

  1. Tom

    Just a hunch, but it feels like Ricardo Cabrera is the last gift from the Dick Williams overhaul.

    So pleased to read this: “Earlier this year I spoke with an international scout who believed that the Venezuelan shortstop was the top player in the class.”

    Language, Tom. Come on – you know better.

    • Tom

      Whatever language was in there was unintentional. I read it before and after posting and missed it entirely. Sorry.

    • gregmlb24

      Doug, that is just ridiculous to say something about that comment. I’m not even sure if people see that as a cus word anymore. We are all adults and I think we can handle it. You’ve been around Baseball long enough to know that we don’t always use the best language.

      • Greenfield Red

        Completely disagree Greg. It’s Doug’s site, and he can run it as he sees fit. Additionally, I am one of many on here who appreciate the fact that not every aspect of our world is rated R or even PG while addressing the issues of the day. You don’t have to come on here if you don’t like it.

      • gregmlb24

        You’re correct I don’t have to come here. I just don’t like another adult treating another adult like a child. Sorry, but Tom wasn’t using the word for the sake of using it. The fact that he apologized for using the word d$&n in a quote was just a little crazy imo. I agree we don’t have to use bad language but the guy was quoting someone and the word wasn’t that harsh.

      • Doug Gray

        You can literally find quotes for anything and just “be quoting”. That doesn’t mean I’m going to allow it to remain on my digital pages here. “Wasn’t that harsh” means that it was harsh. It’s not difficult to just not do it. We’ve got rules here. They’re pretty well established and the regulars know them. It’s why I give warnings instead of flat out just start banning people. But if it becomes a habit with specific users, well, I’ve banned people for it before.

        I’m running a business here. And just like any other business, the customers can cause problems for other customers and I’ll ask them to leave if I need to. Cursing, for example, isn’t something we tolerate here. Not just because there’s no need for it, but also because it directly impacts my business model with advertisers that pay for my water and electricity.

        If you’d like to use language like that there are plenty of other places you can go to do it. Sign up for twitter and have at it. This isn’t the place for it. You and anyone else can express your frustration without cursing. I’ve got faith in that one.

      • Doug Gray

        I get to make the rules for the language here, Greg. What I hear and what I allow to remain published on the digital pages here that I pay a lot of money to maintain are two very different things.

      • DaveCT

        This site is administered by one who has been highly consistent from moment as with RNL’s. My language is far looser than Doug’s but who cares, really. It’s easy. Just be more aware of language.

      • BK

        Doug, thank you for maintaining this standard. We’re not all adults here. Children do follow baseball and do come on this site–mine did when they were younger and interested in learning more about professional baseball. The standards are appropriate for the content. As a decade plus reader here, the standards has been consistently enforced.

      • RojoBenjy

        Someone claiming to be an adult should also understand how to follow rules and not complain like a child

      • Greenfield Red

        One last thing on this cursing issue. I have a 14 year old son. He and his friends have discovered cursing, and they think it’s so cool. I continually work to tamp it down the best I can. The point I continually make to him is this: If you want to make yourself more effective and look more intelligent, make your point in any situation without cursing and without raising your voice. It really does work, and in time people will respect you much more for it.

      • gregmlb24

        Actually cursing is a sign of intelligence and higher integrity.

  2. DavecT

    Bonnin looks a little max effort but Boyle seems to have some easy gas. With Roa reportedly throwing harder, too, i can see why Boddy is excited.,

    • AllTheHype

      Roa’s changeup looked nasty….Castillo-esque. I kept watching it over and over. It’s only one view but if he can locate it, it sure looks good in that video.

    • AllTheHype

      Also agree on Boyle. Nice easy gas with movement too.

      • DaveCT

        You got that right. This is like a scientific experiment. Who can Boddy, then DJ, turn into much greater talent or ability?

  3. Greenfield Red

    Doug, is it believed the Reds already have an agreement in place with the young kid? As you say, there is a long way to go before we see him at GABP, but it is really good to see the Reds playing in the upper echelon of this market again.

    • Doug Gray

      Nearly every player in the entire class for every team is spoken for already. The guys who deals aren’t agreed upon with are ones you won’t hear about for years, if ever.

      • Greenfield Red

        Thanks for that follow up, and a big thank you for the community standards that are enforced here.

  4. James Phillips

    Do you think there’s any chance the draft stays as a part of All-Star Weekend? How would that affect first-year development?

  5. MK

    Glad to see Olson back. His first 2 starts in Dayton in 2017 he was lights out and Midwest League Pitcher of Week before the back injury cropped back up. He had the same back issue in college.

  6. Brad

    Any word on Jacques Pucheu? Any spot for him in a bullpen or rotation? Local kid (to me). Wondering how he’s doing.

    • Doug Gray

      So this is actually a weird thing that I don’t know an answer for, but I’ll tell you what I do know. The official transactions page from MILB says he’s still with the organization. He is also listed in the Reds Media Guide. But the spring training roster I got in early April did not have him listed among the roughly 120 players invited out to Arizona.

      There could be a few reasons for that, but I don’t want to speculate on them at all. For now I’d just say we’re in a holding pattern.

  7. Bill Rishel

    It seems nearly impossible to find information on minor league players in spring training like the Wolforth kid out of Nova. Was a Gold Glove catcher. Do you have any news on him.

    • Doug Gray

      When no one is allowed to go to spring training it makes information very difficult to come by. Aside from the fact that was is in Goodyear I don’t have any information at all on him right now.