Looking Back at Prospects


As we dive into November, pretty soon Baseball America will unveil its top 100 prospects of all of baseball. Along with that release will come the top 10 prospects for each organization. To gear up for that release, I thought we’d look back over the past five years and see what has transpired in the way the Reds were viewed.

When Baseball America does this for each organization, they also reveal what they believe will be the starting lineup for a couple years down the road. What did they foresee would be the Reds starting lineup in 2010? Here’s what was projected back on January 28, 2007.

Catcher: Miguel Perez
First Base: Joey Votto
Second Base: Brandon Phillips
Third Base: Edwin Encarnacion
Shortstop: Milton Loo
Left Field: Adam Dunn
Center Field: Drew Stubbs
Right Field: Jay Bruce
No. 1 Starter: Homer Bailey
No. 2 Starter: Aaron Harang
No. 3 Starter: Bronson Arroyo
No. 4 Starter: Johnny Cueto
No. 5 Starter: Travis Wood
Closer: Sean Watson

Obviously, Encarnacion and Dunn are no longer with the Reds having been traded.

There are three players on this projection (Miguel Perez, Milton Loo and Sean Watson) that have not permanently donned a Reds uniform. Why is that? We’ll see.

Miguel Perez was the #7 Reds prospect for 2006. That was the last time he was ever listed. He was also rated as the best defensive catcher within the Reds farm system. Perez wore a Reds uniform during the 2005 season and appeared in only two games, going 0-3 at the plate. Perez never played above the AA level for Cincinnati again. After the 2007 season, Perez was a free agent and latched on with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Two lackluster seasons (’08 and ’90) within Pittsburgh’s system and Perez was on the move again. This time, Cleveland for 2010. Yep, Double-A Akron became his home where he appeared in 44 games and hit .280 with nary a homer and only 14 RBI.

Milton Loo was a third baseman that was to be converted to shortstop.He was drafted both in 2004 and 2005 by the Reds. He didn’t sign after the 2004 draft so the Reds took another swing at the kid from Hawaii in 2005. It looked like a big hit as Loo completely devoured pitching in the Gulf Coast League hitting .372 in 2006. His season was cut short due to an elbow injury. High hopes emerged. Then the bottom dropped out. In 2007, Loo failed to report to the Reds and was placed on the suspended list. Reports surfaced that he was attending to a family matter. The rumor was that Loo was homesick. Believe whichever story you wish. Loo has not played in the minors since 2006 and has never played on a big league field.

Sean Watson was a second round pick out of Tennessee back in 2006. His first season in organized baseball was eye opening. Between Sarasota and Dayton, Watson posted a 9-6 record, an extremely respectable 3.42 ERA, and accumulated 135 strikeouts in 126.1 innings. The turnaround, for the worse, came in 2007 when his control and his conditioning were questioned. Watson was moved to the bullpen and he stayed as a reliever until the Reds cut ties with Watson this past season. His release was primarily due to the signing of Russ Springer.

Rating prospects is never an easy task. Perez, Loo and Watson could only be judged on their past performances and the chances, with risks, of how good they possibly could be. There isn’t a particular method for determining that after signing, that, for whatever reason, they would travel the paths they chose. Perez is still languishing in the minors. Loo never played after 2006. Watson may still land elsewhere, although I’ve found nothing to date to suggest he has.

Again, baseball is a tough (and risky) business.