By Scott Barzilla

Finally, we get to the end of the prime nine series. The Reds are a perfect example of what happens to a farm system when a team becomes successful. They are on their way to their second divisional championship in three seasons. This year’s team in particular seems to be poised to make a run at the pennant. They obviously will have a lot of competition from the Nats and the wild card teams, but they have as good a chance as anyone.

Like with the Nats, some of the players get promoted and become a part of the big club and some get traded away for other players on the team. Like with the Nats, the catching situation in particular highlight what happens to a farm system in these situations. Whether it is worth it in the long run is up to the individual fan. If it leads to a World Series championship it is worth it. What happens if they just make it to the playoffs? Is it worth it then?

   

Age

LV

How

BP

BA

MLB

POS

C Tucker Barnhart

21

AA

D

18

NR

NR

NR

1B Neftali Soto

23

AAA

D

9

NR

9

7

2B Ryan Wright

22

A+

D

20

NR

10

NR

3B Sean Buckley

23

A

D

NR

NR

11

NR

SS Billy Hamilton

22

AA

D

1

2

1

4

OF Ryan LaMarre

23

AA

D

NR

NR

7

NR

OF Jesse Winkler

19

A-

D

NR

NR

14

NR

OF Kyle Waldrop

20

A

D

13

NR

18

NR

P Robert Stephenson

19

R

D

4

7

2

NR

Tucker Barnhart– Catcher

The Reds at one time had both Yasmani Grandal and Devin Mesoraco in the minor league system. They chose to keep Mesoraco and deal Grandal to the Padres in a deal for Mat Latos. The question will remain whether they backed the right horse. In this case, Barnhart is a distant third to those three. For the Reds, they have Mesoraco and Ryan Hanigan already in the fold, so they are good for the time being.

Neftali Soto– First Base

He had been solid in every minor league season and seemed to be better each in every season. That is until this season. He struggled mightily in AAA this year, but Joey Votto is signed through the end of the decade, so he has all the time in the world to develop. If he can start producing again next season he might end up being decent trade bait.

Ryan Wright– Second Base

Just like with Soto, Wright needs to wait on Brandon Phillips. He was extended this year so Wright will either have to make it as a backup or wind up as trade bait himself. Unlike Soto, he ended up helping himself out a lot this year, so we will have to see if he increases his value in the coming season.

Sean Buckley– Third Base

This is where Todd Frazier ended up graduating to the big leagues. He didn’t play a ton at third base, but overall he was a quietly productive hitter. He hit nearly 20 home runs in part-time duty, so he seems like a perfect guy to take over for Scott Rolen when he finally cashes it in and calls it a career. Buckley will have to wait his turn, but you never know when an opportunity may arise.

Billy Hamilton– Shortstop

I don’t care what league you are playing in. When you steal 155 bases you are going to be noticed. Hamilton did more than just that this year. There are some that question whether he will stick at shortstop. There are some that question his tools outside of his obvious speed. He might not stick as a shortstop, but really his offensive skills play anywhere. He might be a decent second base prospect or center field prospect. Either way, he is the most exciting young offensive player in the game right now.

Ryan Lemarre– Outfield

He made himself a decent prospect this season through solid performance. He made it to AA this season and demonstrated solid on base skills and speed on the base paths. He doesn’t profile as a star, but with so many spare parts in their outfield, there could be space for someone that can be a steady performer at more than one place.

Jesse Winkler– Outfield

Numbers can sometimes be deceiving. Winkler hit a ton in the Pioneer League, but it is the Pioneer league after all. However, a .943 OPS is a good mark in any league and he was taken in the supplemental portion of the first round. At 19, he has plenty time to develop, so we will have to wait and see.

Kyle Waldrop– Outfield

Waldrop had a very pedestrian season this year. He doesn’t do anything really well, but he does everything kind of well. When you do that you have the makings of a pretty good bench player at the major league level. He might develop more power into the future and if he does he could profile as an everyday right fielder.

Robert Stephenson– Pitcher

He got picked with their first round pick in 2011. So, he hasn’t quite advanced to full season ball yet as the Reds want to bring him along slowly. He can dial the fastball up to 97 MPH on occasion. He has a devastating curve when he can command it and he’s developing a change. Like most pitchers of his ilk, he could wind up in the bullpen down the line. It all depends on how he does with his secondary pitches.

 

Scott Barzilla

Scott Barzilla is the editor in chief at hardballchat.com. He is also the author of four books, including The Hall of Fame Index. The Hall of Fame Index was nominated for the Sporting News Award for statistical innovation in 2011.

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