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2005 Red Reporter Top 40 Prospects: A Look Back

I'll have one of these up every day this week, doing ten players at a time, and then on Friday I'll have a look at breakout players who weren't on this year's list but will probably be on the list for '06. Accountability is a good thing, and so often you see preseason predictions/lists/etc. made and then quickly forgotten about.  I find it fun to look back and see where I got things right, and (probably more often) where I got them wrong.  On to the list:

40.) Paul Janish, 23, SS, .245/.346/.385, 205 AB, Dayton

Paul Janish was drafted in the fifth round of the 2004 amateur draft, which might have been a bit high for a guy who wasn't a great hitter in college.  He hasn't gotten much better in the Reds system, although he does have a good eye, drawing 29 walks in 205 at bats.  His value is in his glove, and if it's as good as advertised he might be able to make it to the majors hitting .250/.340.  Janish had Tommy John surgery midway through the year, but should be back and ready to go at the beginning of next season.

39.) Alexander Farfan, 22, RP, 57.1 IP, 7.69 ERA, 29/58 K/BB

Yeah, that's not a typo.  58 walks, 29 strikeouts.  It doesn't get much worse than walking a batter an inning.

Farfan supposedly dials it all the way up near 100 MPH, but it's becoming more and more clear that he doesn't have a clue where it's going to go.  Anyone who throws as hard as Farfan does is always a threat to develop into a legit prospect, but I think Farfan might be nearing the end of the road, at least with the Reds.  It's interesting (and not in a good way) that he's been in the Reds system since 2002 but hasn't managed to get over the Dayton hump.  Spending three years at low-A really says alot about how well you're doing.  Farfan barely made my top 40 for 2005, and he obviously won't come anywhere near it next Spring.

38.) Craig Tatum, 22, C, .188/.311/.281, 128 AB, Dayton

Tatum is going to be out of baseball in the next year or two unless he manages to at least break the Mendoza line.  Whenever you hear people talk about the great draft that Dan O'Brien had in 2005, remember that he wasted a third rounder on Tatum, an all glove, no stick catcher, even though the Reds have one of those at every level of the system.  

It wasn't even a dumb pick as far as taking Tatum.  Good glove catchers certainly have value.  But they're not a priority for the Reds, not with Sardinha, and Peterson, and Perez already in the system. If Tatum had been taking in the tenth round, or hell, in the twentieth then I wouldn't have nearly the complaint.  But there are always a ton of good players available in the third round, which makes it all the more tragic that O'Brien selected Tatum.

37.) Jeff Bannon, 27, SS, .266/.319/.449, 365 AB, Chattanooga; .282/.295/.443, 174 AB, Louisville

Two walks in 174 at bats for AAA Louisville spells disaster.  Bannon is getting old, and it's possible that he's pressing because of it, but he's got to have a tad more patience than that.  The middle infield is getting pretty crowded for the Reds (Lopez, Freel, Olmedo, Bergolla) so there's probably not ever going to be room for Bannon.  He might get some service time in another organization at some point (he does have some power for a MI), but it'll be a cup of coffee at best.

36.) Mark Schramek, 25, 3B, .214/.281/.353, 416 AB, Sarasota

Time to become a pitcher or give up.  

Somewhat amusingly, the Baseball Cube has him listed as a pitcher, despite his never having played the position in professional baseball.  It'd be nice if they knew something we didn't, because they guy can't hit a lick.

35.) Miguel Perez, 22, C, .268/.305/.347, 291 AB, Sarasota; .208/.275/.292, 72 AB, Louisville; .000/.000/.000, 3 AB, Cincinnati

Yeah I didn't expect this guy to make his major league debut in 2005, and it just further illustrates how weak the catching position is for Cincinnati (past Valentin and LaRue of course, both of whom were quite good in '05).  There's a chance that within the next two-three years Perez will be the Opening Day starting catcher for the Cincinnati Reds.  Does that frighten anyone else?

34.) David Shafer, 23, RP, 13.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 18/2 K/BB, Sarasota; 39.2 IP, 4.08 ERA, 41/24 K/BB, Chattanooga

It's been fun watching Shafer progress through the system.  He's consistently struck out more than a batter an inning at every level he's faced, which bodes well for his future.  Control isn't bad either. He'll be in the Reds pen in '07, barring injury.  I suppose he might even make his ML debut next year, if he dazzles.  Quite possibly the best relief pitching prospect in the system now that Todd Coffey is a major leaguer.

33.) Chris Dickerson, 23, OF, .236/.325/.383, 436 AB, Sarasota

Not a good year for Dickerson.  Still displayed a great batting eye (53 walks), but just didn't hit.  I expected more after his low-A performance (.303/.410/.408), but it's possible he'll make the adjustment to high-A next season.  Probably lost prospect status after this season, but he could easily regain it with a solid '06, especially if he manages to get to Chattanooga.

32.) Chris Denorfia, 25, OF, .330/.391/.564, 188 AB, Chattanooga; .310/.391/.505, 323 AB, Louisville; .263/.364/.421, 38 AB, Cincinnati

I guess this could have been predicted from looking at Denorfia's 2004 numbers at Potomac (.312/.416/.536), but I was scared off a bit from his drop off at Chattanooga (.249/.340/.394).  The biggest question now is whether or not Denorfia is for real, which in a way is a frightening possibility. If he's capable of hitting, say, .280/.365/.490 then the Reds would have five outfielders who would be starters for quite a few teams.  That's a good thing if DanO is willing to deal (and he has said that he will be more proactive this offseason), but it's a bad thing if the Reds continue to sit on their hands.

31.) Phil Dumatrait, 24, 10 IP, 2.70 ERA, 13/3 K/BB Sarasota; 127.2 IP, 3.17 ERA, 101/70 K/BB, Chattanooga

I'll get excited when he's not walking 5 batters per 9 innings pitched.  But otherwise a nice season, and a solid comeback from Tommy John surgery.  I suppose he could be viewed as a darkhorse bullpen or rotation candidate for next season at some point, although he'll certainly have to spend some time at Louisville first.  

Tomorrow: A look back at prospects 30-21.