Reds Prospects According To…

Rating anything can become painstakingly difficult. You have a myriad of factors to consider regarding any type of list.

The same can be said about rating prospects. No, I’m not in the business but I do scan these lists, read the material associated with these ranking and attempt to form my own opinion. whenever they are released to see who is up and coming within the organization. Well, I’m checking out three different resources on how they rated the top 10 prospects within the Reds system.

Over the next three posts, I will be scanning those prospects that Baseball America, The Hardball Times and Minor League Ball rate highly and how they view the Cincinnati Reds future.

While none of these three are in total agreement from 1-10, there are some that are the same (or close) and there are some pretty sizable discrepancies. Here’s a chart for the three:

Rk Baseball America Hardball Times Minor League Ball
10 Kyle Lotzkar Juan Francisco Yorman Rodriguez
9 Todd Frazier Todd Frazier Kyle Lotzkar
8 Zack Cozart Cody Puckett Donnie Joseph
7 Juan Francisco Kyle Lotzkar Todd Frazier
6 Yasmani Grandal Billy Hamilton Juan Francisco
5 Yorman Rodriguez Yorman Rodriguez Yasmani Grandal
4 Yonder Alonso Yonder Alonso Billy Hamilton
3 Devin Mesoraco Yasmani Grandal Yonder Alonso
2 Billy Hamilton Devin Mesoraco Devin Mesoraco
1 Aroldis Chapman Aroldis Chapman Aroldis Chapman

A couple of things jump out at you. First, and the most obvious, is all three rated Aroldis Chapman as #1. The other is that all differ at #8 and for the prospect at that #8 position, he is not present on the other two lists. I will cover those three first.

Zack Cozart (SS – #8 on BA): Cozart was #10 on BA’s 2010 list, so in Cooper’s eyes, he’s improved enough to garner a rise in position. But is Cozart the future at short? According to John Sickels on Minor League Ball, maybe. Cooper believes Cozart will be in the starting lineup for the Reds one day. I’m pretty sure Reds fans won’t mind the .260+ batting average as long the glove, arm, speed and pop are there.

Tools-wise, Cozart may not hit for much of an average. The highest average Cozart has posted for any season is .280, but he does provide a bit of pop. He’s averaged almost 14 HR a season over his last three. And the one area where Cozart excels is stealing bases. In his three-plus seasons, he has swiped 46 bags and has been caught only 10 times for a success rate of 82%. That’s pretty darn good.

Expect for Cozart to start 2011  in Louisville.

Cody Puckett (2B – #8 on HBT): From a numbers point of view, Puckett is almost a mirror of Cozart, both offensively and defensively. A little more pop (15 HR/year) and almost the same success rate in steals (46 for 57). The averages are similar, too. Puckett is hitting .269 for his stint in the minors while Cozart rests at .262. Even the average for RBI a season are close (55 for Cozart, 61 for Puckett).

So why is Puckett rated this high by Matt Hagen on HBT? Hagen says Puckett “and the power he showed in 2010 could turn him into a solid asset for Cincinnati”. I can elaborate further. The power consistency. Puckett hit 19 HR in 2009 and 18 in 2010. Cozart was a bit more erratic there (14 in ’08, 10 in ’09, 17 in ’10).

Puckett should start the 2011 campaign with Carolina, but don’t be too shocked if he’s in Louisville at some point in early in the season.

Donnie Joseph (P – #8 on Minor League Ball):Taken in the third round in 2009′s draft (Mike Leake at # 8 and Brad Boxberger at #43 were taken in the 1st, Billy Hamilton was the second round selection), the lefty from the University of Houston was snagged after performing well at the college level. In Joseph’s senior season, he was converted into a closer. It’s a role he has continued since joining the Reds organization.

Here are some stats that should thrill Reds fans. In his year and a half in the minors, Joseph’s lowest SO/BB ratio at any level is 2.75. His lowest SO/9 at any level is 8.5. Both occurred at Billings shortly after he was drafted. His averages for those stats in his year and a half in organized ball are 3.72 for SO/BB and 13.4 for SO/9. He also owns 28 saves and a 2.40 ERA.

John Sickels on Minor League Ball admits he “might be too aggressive with this grade but I think he (Joseph) is more than a mere LOOGY type and might be able to close”. I think Sickels could be right on the mark with this.

Joseph most likely begin 2011 in Carolina, and like Puckett, an early promotion cannot be ruled out.

Tomorrow, I’ll look at four more from these lists and provide you a little bit of info on each. Just by looking at Cozart, Puckett and Joseph should give Reds fans all the more reason to be optimistic.

Topics: Cincinnati Reds, Cody Puckett, Donnie Joseph, Reds Prospects, Zack Cozart

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