Continuing on the Prospects Theme

Last night, I posted a comparison of three sites (Baseball America, Hardball Times and Minor League Ball) that have released their top prospects within the Reds organization. I will continue to expand on that a bit more today.

For those that didn’t catch it, you can find it here.

In continuing on this quick evaluation of those prospects, I determined there was one way to do so. Yesterday, I covered the three prospects that were different on each list as far as the names themselves. Today, let’s take a look at these based on where they averaged on these three.

Since there are nine players on all three, I figured this was the best way to go about my task. I also didn’t want to have a post that was a mile long. For this post, I’ll cover ranks 9 through 6. Tomorrow will be the top 5.

A recap of the lists:

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

First, at #9 is right handed pitcher Kyle Lotzkar. He was the #53 overall pick (a “sandwich” pick for the Reds) in the June 2007 draft. Coming out of high school in British Columbia, Lotzkar had a lot of steam (literally) heading into the draft. Then, troubles hit. A fractured elbow in ’08, a setback in ’09 that required a resetting of the elbow and if things couldn’t have gone worse, Tommy John surgery. It’s a story in itself that Lotzkar was even able to take the mound in 2010.

But one thing has remained consistent even through all the arm issues, his strikeout rate. It has never been lower than 10.0. At Billings last season, he fanned 33 while walking only 2. That’s a 16.5 SO/BB ratio. And he did pitch well in the Arizona Fall League. His SO/BB was significantly lower (2.25), but his SO rate was still 10.0. If Lotzkar can continue on the path of staying healthy, look for him in Cincy in about three years.

Starting in Dayton, where he played in 2008, seems like a nice, fresh start. Familiar surroundings may be good.

At #8 is Mr. Everything Todd Frazier. Frazier was atop the list on BA last year. In BA’s pre-2010 list, Frazier was the 43rd rated prospect overall. He was ranked 6th on HBT and 2nd on Minor League Ball for 2010.

So why the slide? He struggled at the plate average-wise. Most of that occurred at the beginning of the season, too. After three seasons of never hitting below .281 at any level, Frazier batted .258 in Louisville last season. His strikeouts were slightly elevated, too. Still, he has pop. For the last three years, he’s posted 19, 16 and 17 HR.

But Frazier could be as valuable a prospect Cincinnati has. Point to a position and he’ll play there. During his days in the minors, Frazier has played first, second, short, third and left field. Most of his time has been in left with short being his #2 home. That could be the rub here. Find Frazier a home defensively and he will settle in at the plate.

A familiar name hits #7, Juan Francisco. For 2010, he was # 5 on BA, #4 on HBT and #6 on Minor League Ball, the same ranking John Sickels gave him this year. Again, another player on a perceived downward trend, but not as much as Frazier.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way. First, his fielding is suspect at best. Francisco has been touted as the guy after Scott Rolen. Not with a lifetime fielding percentage of .912 as a third baseman. Second, the whiffs. Too many of them. 161 in ’07, 123 in ’08, 115 in ’09 and 81 in ’10. Those do not include his stints with the Reds in ’09 and ’10 either.

The positive can easily be found here:

Year Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
2006 2 Teams 54 218 30 63 17 0 3 32 6 43 .289 .310 .408
2007 Dayton 135 534 69 143 21 4 25 90 23 161 .268 .301 .463
2008 Sarasota 127 516 71 143 34 5 23 92 19 123 .277 .303 .496
2009 2 Teams 131 529 81 156 31 3 27 93 24 115 .295 .329 .518
2010 Louisville 77 308 46 88 24 4 18 59 16 81 .286 .325 .565
5 Seasons 524 2105 297 593 127 16 96 366 88 523 .282 .313 .494
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/20/2011.

Enough said there and that’s why Francisco continues to be a top prospect. Louisville or Cincinnati? I see Louisville…to start.

For our last player today is #6, Yorman Rodriguez. There are two words that are always used to describe Rodriguez, young (he’s only 18) and raw. In his 111 minor league games, his splits are .276/.316/.384. Not mind blowing. The strikeouts scare you a bit (114 in 472 plate appearances), but the one thing that this kid can do is steal a base. He’s 22 for 26 in that department. Might want to see a little more of that, too.

His defense isn’t quite where you might want it, but, again, he’s 18.

I could see starting 2011 in Dayton under the guidance of Dragons new skipper Delino DeShields as a major plus in the development of Rodriguez. DeShields was his manager in Billings last year.

Tomorrow is the top 5.

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Tags: Cincinnati Reds Juan Francisco Kyle Lotzkar Reds Prospects Todd Frazier Yorman Rodriguez

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