Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2007.
|1.||Homer Bailey, rhp|
|2.||Jay Bruce, of|
|3.||Joey Votto, 1b|
|4.||Johnny Cueto, rhp|
|5.||Drew Stubbs, of|
|6.||Travis Woods, lhp|
|7.||Sean Watson, rhp|
|8.||Milton Loo, ss|
|9.||Paul Janish, ss|
|10.||Chris Valaika, ss|
|Best Hitter for Average||Jay Bruce|
|Best Power Hitter||Joey Votto|
|Best Strike-Zone Discipline||Joey Votto|
|Fastest Baserunner||Chris Dickerson|
|Best Athlete||Chris Dickerson|
|Best Fastball||Homer Bailey|
|Best Curveball||Homer Bailey|
|Best Slider||Johnny Cueto|
|Best Changeup||Travis Wood|
|Best Control||Johnny Cueto|
|Best Defensive Catcher||Miguel Perez|
|Best Defensive Infielder||Paul Janish|
|Best Infield Arm||Juan Francisco|
|Best Defensive Outfielder||Chris Dickerson|
|Best Outfield Arm||Jerry Gil|
|First Base||Joey Votto|
|Second Base||Brandon Phillips|
|Third Base||Edwin Encarnacion|
|Left Field||Adam Dunn|
|Center Field||Drew Stubbs|
|Right Field||Jay Bruce|
|No. 1 Starter||Homer Bailey|
|No. 2 Starter||Aaron Harang|
|No. 3 Starter||Bronson Arroyo|
|No. 4 Starter||Johnny Cueto|
|No. 5 Starter||Travis Wood|
OF THE DECADE
|1997||Aaron Boone, 3b||Indians|
|1998||Damian Jackson, ss/2b||Nationals|
|1999||Rob Bell, rhp||Indians|
|2000||Gookie Dawkins, ss||Pirates|
|2001||Austin Kearns, of||Reds|
|2002||Austin Kearns, of||Reds|
|2003||Chris Gruler, rhp||Reds|
|2004||Ryan Wagner, rhp||Nationals|
|2005||Homer Bailey, rhp||Reds|
|2006||Homer Bailey, rhp||Reds|
|TOP DRAFT PICKS|
OF THE DECADE
|1997||Brandon Larson, 3b||Nationals|
|1998||Austin Kearns, of||Nationals|
|1999||Ty Howington, lhp||Out of baseball|
|2000||David Espinosa, ss||Tigers|
|2001||*Jeremy Sowers, lhp||Indians|
|2002||Chris Gruler, rhp||Reds|
|2003||Ryan Wagner, rhp||Nationals|
|2004||Homer Bailey, rhp||Reds|
|2005||Jay Bruce, of||Reds|
|2006||Drew Stubbs, of||Reds|
|* Did not sign|
IN CLUB HISTORY
|Chris Gruler, 2002||$2,500,000|
|Homer Bailey, 2004||$2,300,000|
|Drew Stubbs, 2006||$2,000,000|
|Austin Kearns, 1998||$1,950,000|
|Jay Bruce, 2005||$1,800,000|
he final result wasn't what they wanted, but the 2006 season gave Cincinnati fans a feeling they were unaccustomed to: hope.
The Reds stayed in the thick of the National League Central and wild card playoff races until September, the first time they contended for the postseason this decade. At the same time, the farm system features their best group of impact prospects since Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns were climbing through the system.
Cincinnati fans can thank new ownership for lifting much of the doom and gloom that had hung over the team for most of this decade. The group, led by Bob Castellini, took over just before spring training. Castellini quickly fired general manager Dan O'Brien and replaced him with longtime Twins assistant GM Wayne Krivsky.
Hired in early February, Krivsky had little time to remake the team, but he didn't let the late start get in the way. Within two months he had made a trio of deals that improved the Reds. He added an all-star starter (Bronson Arroyo) by trading from his outfield surplus (Wily Mo Pena). Krivsky picked up two regulars, Brandon Phillips and David Ross, for even less.
Not every move Krivsky made paid off. The midseason eight-player swap that sent Kearns, Felipe Lopez and Ryan Wagner to Washington for Bill Bray, Gary Majewski, Royce Clayton, Brendan Harris and Daryl Thompson was supposed to bulk up a sagging bullpen. The plan fell apart when Majewski was sidelined for most of the second half with shoulder problems, and the Reds later filed a grievance saying that the Nationals weren't forthcoming about his health.
Cincinnati's offense collapsed in September, but even an 80-82 finish--the franchise's sixth straight losing year--couldn't dim all the optimism. New farm director Johnny Almaraz, whom Krivsky promoted from director of international scouting and player development, quickly scrapped O'Brien policies such as the tandem-starter system and a requirement that hitters take at least one pitch before they swung.
Several of the Reds' top prospects seemed energized by the change. Righthander Homer Bailey had a breakthrough season as his performance caught up to his exceptional stuff, while first baseman Joey Votto bounced back from a bad 2005 season to finish among the Double-A Southern League leaders in nearly every category.
Outfielder Jay Bruce, Cincinnati's 2005 first-round pick, built on a strong debut by ranking as the No. 1 prospect in the low Class A Midwest League. The Reds also managed to get through the season without any significant injuries to their top pitching prospects, a problem that had plagued the system for years.
In his first draft as Reds scouting director, Chris Buckley brought in a number of polished college draftees. Players such as outfielder Drew Stubbs (first round), righthander Sean Watson (second) and shortstop Chris Valaika (third) helped to bulk up the bottom levels of the system.
The team did suffer some turmoil after the season, as Almaraz and special assistant to the GM Larry Barton Jr. both resigned in December. Though Almaraz didn't give a reason for his departure before leaving, both had said they were unhappy at being left out of discussions between Krivsky and other lieutenants. Almaraz' departure ensures the Reds will have their third farm director in three years in 2007.