Future Outfielders

Yesterday I began covering some of the Reds future in looking at three infielders and a catcher. It went out a tad late last night, so if you missed it, here’s your chance to read it by going here. Let’s look at some outfielders today.

In light of John Fay filling us all in on how Baseball America rated the top 30 Reds prospects, I will tag that ranking (if applicable) as we go through these potential future Reds.

Please keep this in mind as we go over these players. By no means is this “list” a definite ranking. It is to merely bring to light exactly how deep the talent is within the Reds organization. There is no intention of slighting a player whatsoever.

The first outfielder to look at is Ryan LaMarre (#11 on BA). The Reds tabbed the University of Michigan center fielder in last year’s amateur draft and LaMarre was dispatched to Dayton. Why? Maybe because in his senior season in Ann Arbor (I know that may rile up a few OSU fans). LaMarre posted splits of .419/.453/.649. He performed well at Dayton with splits of .282/.370/.396. The decrease in SLG shows that his power has yet to translate to pro ball.

LaMarre was also 18 for 27 in steal attempts. Yes, he has speed and plenty of it. And that speed helps him in the field. In college, LaMarre comitted more errors than he had assists. Something clicked from a defensive standpoint as LaMarre made no errors and had eight OF assists while playing both in Dayton and spending a brief period (8 games) in Lynchburg.

Going forward, the Reds will hope the power stroke evolves and LaMarre learns the art of stealing bases on a more proficient scale. I can see why BA had him so high because he has a high ceiling.

Kyle Waldrop is next. He was the Reds 12th round pick last June out of Riverdale HS in Fort Myers, Florida. Waldrop logs in at #21 on BA’s list of Reds prospects. Waldop had originally committed to playing college ball at the University of South Florida, but he decided to go pro. He had reasons.

First, Waldrop was named to BA’s 2010 All High School Second Team. That Second Team produced a total of six first round picks during the June draft. Waldop had to figure he was worthy despite not going until the 12th round. Also, it seriously is kind of hard to turn down $500,000 which was his bonus. Many thought he would go earlier. The concern? Signability due to his commitment to USF. Also, as already stated, he thought he’d go higher.

If you glance at his stats, you’ll be unimpressed. He only played seven games and managed only a .214 BA and 9 SO. But that’s it with Waldrop. He is projected as a power hitter (despite 0 HR in his short stint) and those that make such lists love the power aspect. But Waldrop is athletic. Very athletic. That adds to his ceiling all the more. He also played football and was considered by a few schools in that sport as well. A naturally gifted athlete that fell through the cracks can be a nice find in the 12th round.

The upcoming season will provide more of a look at the 19 year old. Think of it like this. Billings will most likely lose Yorman Rodriguez, but possibly gain Waldrop.

Another young outfielder to keep an eye on is Juan Duran. BA has him at # 28. Another 19 year old with huge upside. And it all references to that bat.

Duran showed a bit of pop in Billings last season by smacking 6 homers. That may seem a bit low, but it was more of where these homers went. The righty only hit one of those to left field. The other five were to either center (4) or right (1). That shows Duran can and is willing to hit to all fields. That’s even reflected in all of his at-bats. 40% resulted in the ball being hit to 1B, 2B or RF.

One issue that should be of is the high number of strikeouts. In 221 PA, Duran whiffed 71 times. For his career 558 PA, his SO number is 170. Want to somewhat equate those numbers? Last season Drew Stubbs (yes, MLB pitchers, I know) made 583 PA with 168 SO. Needless to say, plate discipline must be #1 on his priority list. And the fielding isn’t exactly there either. He committed 8 errors on 65 chances.

You must be wondering why so high on this kid? Upside. You hear that term all the time. He’s still very young and he does possess excessively raw ability. It’s a matter of harnessing it.

Finally, we come to a guy that could be listed as an outfielder or even a first baseman, Daniel Dorn. Or Danny if you prefer. One of BRM’s biggest fans, David Silverwood, brought Dorn up as I was penning the top 10 lists series.

Dorn has made a steady progression through the system. After tearing up rookie ball in ’06 (.354/.457/.573), Dorn split the next two seasons between High_a and Double-A. In both of those seasons, Dorn cracked at least 20 HR and managed at least 60 RBI. All the while, he did also keep his BA reasonable (.287 and .275). The 2009 season saw Dorn in Louisville and he again displayed the power and held a decent batting average. The run production did slip though. Same for 2010. Dorn can play corner OF or 1B. I know those players can be a dime a dozen.

So, why is Dorn not up with the Reds? It seems like the Reds aren’t so willing to give him a shot to be honest. The needs at the MLB level for 2010 and 2011 have halted Dorn’s path. Prior to last season, it was hopeful that Drew Stubbs could hold down leadoff. Didn’t happen. Reds GM Walt Jocketty was forced to search for that need again prior to the upcoming season. Hence, they went and signed Fred Lewis.

I’m of the belief that if Stubbs could have stuck as a leadoff type guy, Dorn would have had a realistic shot at going north with the team out of spring training this year. Being a lefty bat, he and Jonny Gomes could have been the platoon in left. Same type of power numbers and Dorn does hit for a bit more of an average.

You could now ask of Dorn’s future with the organization. Hard to say. With the hurdles seemingly being raised for him, Dorn may be better served to be dealt to a club that could utilize him. I don’t like saying that either, but time may be running out as Dorn will be 27 midway through this season.