It's time once again for everyone's favorite awards show! Welcome to the Farmies, where we here at the RR Minor League Bureau honor those outstanding performances from Reds minor leaguers that make you want to sell your belongings, move to Billings, and become a member of the Mustangs Fan Club!
This year, we are asking for your help. We will run one major award each day, and ask you, the loyal reader, to vote on who you think is most deserving of the award. This will culminate in the selection of the organization's top hitter and pitcher later in the week.
Before we get to today's award, we need to briefly mention some technical awards that were given at a dinner this past weekend.
The Chernobyl Award: Most explosive power
Juan Francisco (for the 2nd year running)
Honorable Mention: Devin Mesoraco
The Bizarro Big Donkey Award: Best Outfield Defense
Honorable Mention: Yorman Rodriguez
The Manos Del Oro Award: Best Infield Defense
Honorable Mention: Zack Cozart
Jeffersons Award: Movin' On Up Fastest Through the System
Dave Sappelt--Sappelt only had half a season above low-A ball entering 2010. He ended the year in Louisville, is currently playing in the Arizona Fall League, a league reserved for advanced prospects, and will probably be given a shot to make the big club out of spring training.
Honorable Mention: Jeremy Horst
Comeback Player of the Year
Devin Mesoraco--Last year's Official RR Breakout Candidate broke out in a big way. Most had written him off last year. After this season he's one of the team's top prospects.
Honorable Mention: Yonder Alonso
Follow after the jump for the nominees for today's award......
WorldCom Award: Greatest Prospect Stock Plummet
We're going to start with a bit of unpleasantness: Today's award goes to the player that saw his prospect stock drop the most this year, due to bad play, injury, or both. Here are your nominees:
Wlad's stock didn't drop because of poor play or injury. In fact, he led the Bats in homers and RBI while staying healthy all season. No, his stock dropped because the Reds couldn't manage to find a roster spot for him despite only having 3 healthy outfielders. The team doesn't seem very high on him (despite the .873 OPS this year) and if he's not protected before this year's Rule 5 draft, don't expect to see him in the organization next year.
J-Sizzle is still very young--he turns 21 tomorrow--but he spent his second straight year in low-A Dayton and isn't showing signs of improvement. He made fewer starts this season, pitched fewer innings, allowed more walks and struck out fewer batters. He needs to show significant improvement, and probably needs to do it in high-A, to stay in the prospect conversation.
Perhaps the most disappointing season of any Reds farmhand. Entered the season as the Reds #1 prospect according to Baseball America, and #2 according to you fine folks, but he struggled in a major way. His strike out rate shot up to the highest level of his career, and after 4 years in the system he is still without a definite position. There were encouraging signs at the end of the year, most notably the highest HR total (17) of his career. But with LF on the Reds a gaping hole, it seems he missed a golden opportunity to win the job.
This guy was a lot of people's favorite prospect 2 seasons ago, but after a second straight lackluster season, his prospect status is seriously in doubt. The organization tried him at catcher with mixed success, and he spent much of the second half of the season at 1B, where his offense is much less impressive. And about that offense--he keeps striking out more and more, and isn't really walking enough to make up for it. Again, there are signs of hope--increasing power potential chief among them--but the bottom line is that if he ends up at 1B his bat is questionable, and there are questions about his ability to stick at C.
$2 million dollar signing bonuses, especially when given to 16-year olds, create high expectations. No one really knew much about Duran when he was signed, except that he was a bit of a physical freak with tremendous power potential. Well, 2 years later, one of those things has definitely proven to be true. Duran is listed between 6'5" and 6'7", but has yet to demonstrate the power he was signed for. As with all of these guys, there are caveats (he did improve his power and walks, and is still only 19. Plus, you try figuring out how to play baseball with his size...it's a process) but it's getting more and more difficult to consider him a legitimate prospect.
OK kids, have at it. Whose status fell the most this season? If you have a candidate who didn't make the list, feel free to write them in on the ballot by posting a compelling argument in the comments. Enough popular sentiment could swing the vote for you.