From John Sickels:
A new experimental feature today: "Is There Any Hope For?"
Today's victim: Ryan Wagner of the Cincinnati Reds. Is there any hope for him?
I thought he'd be racking up 30-save seasons by now, but command problems and injuries have held him back. I'd like to think he will overcome these issues and turn into the dominant closer that I expected. But he's starting to remind me more and more of Matt Anderson, another college-trained pitcher who also has awesome stuff but never found consistent command.
I'd like to solicit the opinions of Reds fans and others about Wagner. Can he recover? Please contribute in the comments.
It's an interesting question, one that I haven't given much thought to previously. It's odd how quickly Ryan Wagner fell off my personal radar screen, going from certain future closer to suspect bullpen member in less than a year. I think, like so many other Reds pitchers, Wagner's fate rests with Vern Ruhle. If he's able to do better than Don Gullett than some of these guys might have chances. If he's worse than Gullett (or roughly the same) then Wagner will probably continue to struggle, at least until he leaves for greener pastures in a few years. Wagner's slider is sick, an 80 on the scout scale, and whenever a pitcher has a great out pitch there's hope. He's still only 23 so he's got plenty of time to right the ship, and I think he will. The real question is simply whether he'll be good in Cincinnati or whether he'll have to wait to blossom somewhere else.
I also wanted to take a second to plug John's prospect book. If you're at all interested in prospects and the minor leagues then give it a look and consider buying it. There's nobody who works harder than Sickels when it comes to this stuff and his books are always worth a purchase.
I've attached the same poll that John has over at his site about Ryan Wagner; I'm interested to see what you guys think.