Cincinnati Reds finally see farm system improve after two bad seasons at MLB level

Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds had a difficult time improving their farm system when they were making playoff runs.

While the Cincinnati Reds were making playoff runs in 2010, 2013, and 2014, they were also collecting late round draft picks.  It is tough enough for a smaller market team to compete every year.  That becomes even worse when they are drafting late in the rounds.

The 2011 first round pick for the Cincinnati Reds was Robert Stephenson.  Stephenson is in line for a shot at the rotation.  That is a good return for a later pick in round one.

In 2014 the Reds had two first round picks which they used on Nick Howard and Alex Blandino.  Blandino is a second baseman/third baseman combo, who looks destined to become one of the line of bench players.  Nick Howard is a pitcher who is still in Single-A three seasons after the draft.

In 2015 the Reds drafted catcher Tyler Stephenson in the first round.  Tyler, like so many catchers, is having a hard time maintaining his offensive balance, while learning how to be a professional catcher. He is still the heir apparent catcher for whenever the Devin Mesoraco experiment comes to an end.

The players taken in the other recent years are the ones that every one is taking about.  Jesse Winker is supposedly the best on-base machine this team has seen since Joey Votto came to town.  Last year’s first round pick, Nick Senzel, could be in Cincinnati before the end of 2017.

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The Cincinnati Reds have one of the most improved farm teams during 2016.

Perhaps the Reds’ greatest improvement came from a pair of international signings.  The Reds’ signed former Cuban Serie Nactional Rookie of the Year and Gold Glove winner at shortstop, Alfredo Rodrguez, to a contract last summer.  They also signed pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez who appears to be the next Raisel Iglesias.

Another big improvement was the draft.  In addition to drafting Nick Senzel with the second overall pick, the Reds drafted high school outfielder Taylor Trammell and top ranked college catcher Chris Okey.  They also got another supply of starting pitching prospects.

After the draft, the Reds made the steal of the summer.  They signed free agent outfielder T.J. Friedl after the draft.  He was projected as a second round pick in 2017, but few teams besides the Reds realized that he was eligible to sign this year.

Next: Cincinnati Reds trade Dan Straily

The Reds have one of the most improved farm systems in 2016.  They accomplished it between a combination of drafting and signing young players.  Now the Reds need to train these young players to get them ready to play in Cincinnati.