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Red Reporter 40: 11-20

20. Brandon Roberts, 24, OF
Last year's ranking: NR
2005 stats:
Billings, 274 AB, .318/.386/.438, 32 SB

Had a little case of mistaken identity here at first, and it turns out that Roberts is only 21, not 24 like I'd previously thought. That makes his year at Billing a bit more impressive, but he's still a little old for the level. He needs to get to high-A asap so that he can start getting challenged.

19. Rafael Gonzalez, 20, SP
Last year's ranking: NR
2005 stats:
Billings, 42 IP, 3.43 ERA, 37/23 K/BB
Dayton, 26 IP, 9.35 ERA, 22/24 K/BB

A fatter Homer Bailey. There's a lot of work to do here, but he has a lot of time to get it done. I'd be looking to deal him for something a little more certain if he manages a solid season.

18. Bobby Basham, 26, SP
Last year's ranking: NR
2005 stats:
Sarasota, 50.1 IP, 3.75 ERA, 42/6 K/BB
Chattanooga, 51.1 IP, 2.98 ERA, 46/9 K/BB

Basham missed all of 2004 with an injury, but he came back displaying his trademark control, walking just 15 batters in 101.2 innings. He's pretty old for AA ball, but you still can't argue with his results.  Trader Wayne wasn't a fan though, as he dealt him to the Padres today, getting back a light hitting catcher. It's not one of his better moves.

17. Travis Chick, 22, SP
Last year's ranking: NR
2005 stats:
Mobile, 97.1 IP, 4.86 ERA, 92/40 K/BB
Chattanooga, 46.1 IP, 4.86 ERA, 21/27 K/BB

Chick must have pretty filthy stuff to have been overpromoted the way he's been. He needs to spend another full season in AA, and I'm not convinced he wasn't hurt last year during his stint with Chattanooga.  How else do you explain the drop in strikeouts and the meteoric rise in walks?  I still like the return the Reds got with Joe Randa, but Chick is looking like a project, and we all know how the Reds usually do with pitching projects.

16. David Shafer, 24, RP
Last year's ranking: 34
2005 stats:
Sarasota, 13.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 18/2 K/BB
Chattanooga, 39.2 IP, 4.08 ERA, 41/24 K/BB

I've been talking this guy up for a couple of years, and while I still believe in him, he struggled for the first time last season. But even his struggles looked pretty good, as he still managed to strike out over a batter an inning.

I'll never understand why the Reds have promoted Shafer the way they have (it took him two years to get out of Rookie ball, despite solid stats) and it's coming back to haunt them now.  Shafer is getting a little long in the tooth, and he's been in the organization for four years.  It's time to get some use out of him.  I'd start him in AAA and then he'd be on my short list in 2007 for the pen, assuming all goes well.

15. Justin Germano, 23, SP
Last year's ranking: NR
2005 stats:
Portland, 112 IP, 3.70 ERA, 100/32 K/BB
Louisville, 49.1 IP, 4.01 ERA, 38/5 K/BB

What's not to like here? Germano isn't going to be a front of the rotation guy, but if the Reds gave him a shot I imagine he could manage to come in under a 4.75 ERA.  There are pitchers in the Reds rotation right now making $9 million a year that I can't confidently say that about. He's not as hyped as Travis Chick for whatever reason, but his results speak for themselves. I'd love to see him in the Reds bullpen at some point this year, and if he does well with that then for him to get a starting job next year.

14. Rob Stratton, 28, OF
Last year's ranking: NR
2005 stats:
Louisville, 26 AB, .308/.379/.769, 4 HR

Four home runs in 26 at bats before the injury. Twelve home runs in Louisville back in 2004, in just 119 at bats.

Maybe I didn't learn my lesson with A.J. Zapp last year, but it seems to me like Stratton could help someone.  That someone might not be the Reds, but there are teams that I think could use his services. He's slugged in excess of .500 at pretty much every stop in the minors, but he's always struck out too much, and failed to get on base.  He seems to have figured things out in the past two years, and I hope he makes it through this season healthy just so we can see what he can do.  If he spends an entire season at the AAA level then I could see him hitting 35+ home runs.

13. Miguel Perez
Last year's ranking: 35
2005 stats:
Sarasota, 291 AB, .268/.305/.347
Louisville, 72 AB, .208/.275/.292
Cincinnati, 3 AB, .000/.000/.000

So you've got a catcher who can't hit worth a damn, but he's a plus defender.  He's not hitting at high-A ball, what do you do? Dan O'Brien thought it'd be a good idea to jump him two or three levels.  

Thank God that crazy bastard is gone.

12. Calvin Medlock, 23, SP
Last year's ranking: NR
2005 stats:
Sarasota, 108.2 IP, 3.06 ERA, 98/22 K/BB

Medlock is a tad old for his level, but he performed exceptionally well.  He needs to start in Chattanooga this season and get challenged a bit, so that the Reds can see if they have a legit prospect on their hands or not. I think they do, although I'm not sure the Reds will agree with me. Medlock is only 5'10, so he's going to have to overcome some serious prejudices to make it.

11. Tyler Pelland, 22, SP
Last year's ranking: 30
2005 stats:
Sarasota, 102.1 IP, 4.05 ERA, 103/63 K/BB

I was pretty concerned by his 44 innings in Dayton back in 2004 (8.66 ERA), but Pelland alleviated those worries with a nice campaign in 2005. He's got to get his control problems figured out, but he had a nice strikeout rate last year, and he's relatively age appropriate for his level. The jump from A ball to AA is one of the bigger jumps a player has to make, so this'll be a big year for Pelland.

Tomorrow: 1-10