Sept 15, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Cingrani throws during the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

Cincinnati Reds Five at Five: Rolen, the Core, More


Your daily dose of Reds news and links has a handful of offerings.

1. And what about Scott Rolen?

If you are one that likes to conjure up some feelings, ask Reds fans about Scott Rolen. While the Reds are still awaiting word if he will return next season, he got some pub from ESPN’s Buster Olney. Olney tweets that the Los Angeles Dodgers could be a team that explores potentially bringing in the 8-time Gold Glove winner. You see, the Dodgers have questions about the left side of their infield, a fact pointed out by Bill Shaikin of the LA Times (H/T to Chad Dotson of Redleg Nation on the Shaikin piece).

The Dodgers had hoped that (Hanley) Ramirez would play winter ball to work on his defense, but he appeared only as a designated hitter. Dee Gordon, who started last season as the Dodgers’ shortstop, made nine errors in 29 games in winter ball.

(Luis) Cruz, who can play shortstop or third base, batted .173 in 19 games in winter ball, with a .398 OPS.

And Reds fans thought Rolen didn’t produce over the past two seasons…

2. The Reds Core examined by Matt Snyder of CBSSports.com

This was one of those short, but interesting read by Snyder. No surprise here as Snyder affirms what Reds have know for a year or so: the face and future and cornerstone of the franchise is that of Joey Votto. This isn’t “news” to those of us in Cincinnati.

Snyder rates the Reds core with an A. He notes all of the players that the Good Guys “have star power, role players, depth and potential for improvement in several areas”.

But here’s an opinion from Snyder that I think most Reds fans would find true, if not obvious.

In fact, the Reds are so well set up that I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it would be a failure if they get to 2020 without having won a World Series ring or at the very least an NL pennant.

And do we ever hope this comes to fruition, Matt. Do we ever hope it does…

3. Prospecting

I think for any list of the Reds prospects, one base-stealin’ Billy Hamilton tops ‘em all. John Sickels of Minor League Ball is no different. Unlike some sites, Sickels reveals a top 20 list. Most are usually only 10 deep. He also affixes a grade to each prospects as well as adds a little insight on each.

As I perused the list, I can’t disagree with any of his top 5.

1. Hamilton
2. Robert Stephenson
3. Tony Cingrani (pictured above)
3. Daniel Corcino
5. Jesse Winker

Those are some nice arms among his top 5. Add the speed of Hamilton and the popping young bat of Winker. (I know of a Winker fan, right Eddie Taubensee?)

Sickles expands on this list of five (or actually six as he shows J.J. Hoover at that #6 slot).

The Reds farm system is in transition right now. The major league roster is filled with homegrown talent and the organization has proven it can develop players from within. The actual minor league list is top-heavy right now, very impressive in the first five or six slots but thinning out very rapidly after that. That is to be expected and should not be considered damning, especially since many of the Grade C guys are players who have high ceilings but are just getting started or that we need more data about.

For as many prospects as the Reds have dealt over the last year or so, the Reds still have nice pieces within the system. Sure, it’s not as deep as it once was, but there will be those that say prospects are just that: prospects. Even if you think too many were sent packing in order to acquire Mat Latos, Sean Marshall, Jonathan Broxton and Shin-Soo Choo, the Reds have done well to keep at least three of those top 5, especially those arms.

And those arms could come in handy on down the road.

4. Missing Drew

Something that raised a little ire was Hamilton being “given” #6. After all, that was the number Drew Stubbs wore while he was a Red. There are genuinely some things to miss about Stubbs departing for Cleveland. In fact, Andrew J. Roth expresses a reason I don’t think too many Stubbs fans will appreciate.

After a tough loss, it would have been difficult for me to blame Phillips for grounding into a double play or Bronson Arroyo for leaving a curveball over the heart of the plate. But Drew Stubbs! All he did for nine innings was stand there. He stood out in center field and caught some baseballs. He stood next to home plate and watched some baseballs whiz past. He didn’t toss a ball between his legs like Phillips or throw six other great innings like Arroyo. Stubbs wouldn’t even look upset after his routine 0-fer night. He was the perfect scapegoat.

Maybe a little tongue-in-cheek?

5. Oh, Russell…can’t stop thinking about baseball, huh?

The proof is in the pudding. Or rather, the numbers. It’s short. Click the link. You’ll be sorry if you don’t. Made my day…

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