Cincinnati Reds: Top 10 Prospects

Cincinnati Reds

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 AverageJay Bruce
Best Power HitterJoey Votto
Best Strike-Zone DisciplineJoey Votto
Fastest BaserunnerChris Dickerson
Best AthleteChris Dickerson
Best FastballHomer Bailey
Best CurveballHomer Bailey
Best SliderJohnny Cueto
Best ChangeupTravis Wood
Best ControlJohnny Cueto
Best Defensive CatcherMiguel Perez
Best Defensive InfielderPaul Janish
Best Infield ArmJuan Francisco
Best Defensive OutfielderChris Dickerson
Best Outfield ArmJerry Gil
CatcherMiguel Perez
First BaseJoey Votto
Second BaseBrandon Phillips
Third BaseEdwin Encarnacion
ShortstopMilton Loo
Left FieldAdam Dunn
Center FieldDrew Stubbs
Right FieldJay Bruce
No. 1 StarterHomer Bailey
No. 2 StarterAaron Harang
No. 3 StarterBronson Arroyo
No. 4 StarterJohnny Cueto
No. 5 StarterTravis Wood
CloserSean Watson
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Aaron Boone, 3bIndians
1998Damian Jackson, ss/2bNationals
1999Rob Bell, rhpIndians
2000Gookie Dawkins, ssPirates
2001Austin Kearns, ofReds
2002Austin Kearns, ofReds
2003Chris Gruler, rhpReds
2004Ryan Wagner, rhpNationals
2005Homer Bailey, rhpReds
2006Homer Bailey, rhpReds
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Brandon Larson, 3bNationals
1998Austin Kearns, ofNationals
1999Ty Howington, lhpOut of baseball
2000David Espinosa, ssTigers
2001*Jeremy Sowers, lhpIndians
2002Chris Gruler, rhpReds
2003Ryan Wagner, rhpNationals
2004Homer Bailey, rhpReds
2005Jay Bruce, ofReds
2006Drew Stubbs, ofReds
* Did not sign
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
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Cincinnati Reds

The 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.