10. William Bergolla, 23, 2B
Last year's ranking: 5
Louisville, 400 AB, .293/.325/.390, 16 SB
Cincinnati, 38 AB, .132/.132/.132
Bergolla has a lot of problems, namely how he derives so much of his value from his batting average, but really does a second basemen have to hit all that much? The Reds have a ton of options at second right now, but it would be silly not to give Bergolla a shot in the next year or two. He's cheap, he wouldn't hurt too much offensively, and he's got a good glove. He's the kind of guy you find a spot for so that you can give Rich Aurilia's/Tony Womack's/etc. salary to a pitcher.
For some reason Bergolla was a lot more aggressive at the plate in 2005, and he's going to need to at least return to his 2004 level of selectivity (which wasn't all that great either - but better than last year).
9. Elizardo Ramirez, 23, SP
Last year's ranking: 11
Louisville, 131.1 IP, 3.77 ERA, 82/18 K/BB
Cincinnati, 22.1 IP, 8.46 ERA, 9/10 K/BB
Ramirez might be just a little too hittable to ever really succeed at the major league level, but he gets this high of a ranking because he's had some passable success at the AAA level. His solid control disappears at the major league level, suggesting that he really doesn't have the stuff to challenge major league hitters. You have to hope that he'll eventually be able to figure things out and translate his AAA competency into some ML success. I say this all the time, but I'd love to see Ramirez given a shot in the big league bullpen, to get his feet wet. He's got to learn how to pitch to major league hitters (because he can't just come out and overpower them), and he'd do less damage from the bullpen while learning. Wouldn't surprise me at all to see Krivksy move him at some point this season after what's happened the past couple of weeks.
8. Javon Moran, 23, OF
Last year's ranking: 13
Sarasota, 210 AB, .329/.378/.395, 13 SB
Chattanooga, 83 AB, .301/.341/.386, 7 SB
I'm higher on Moran than most, and it's largely because he's met every challenge so far pretty well. He's hit .300 at his last three stops in the Reds organization, and he's got some speed. He has pretty much no power, and if anything will be his downfall it'll be that. Moran needs to start driving the ball, at least a little (more doubles would be nice), but until he does that I don't think he'll have much of a future as a starter. The fact that I have him 8th can be read as a pretty clear indictment of the Reds farm system.
7. Phil Dumatrait, 25, SP
Last year's ranking: 31
Sarasota, 10 IP, 2.70 ERA, 13/3 K/BB
Chattanooga, 127.2 IP, 3.17 ERA, 101/70 K/BB
Everyone in the Reds system seems to have some flaw or another, most players have quite a few. Dumatrait came back nicely from his arm troubles of 2004, and put up great numbers at the AA level. All except for those walks.
Guys with nice strikeout rates and high walk totals seemingly don't sit too well with Wayne Krivsky. I think Dumatrait has a future in the big leagues, probably as a reliever, but I've got the feeling it's not going to be with the Reds.
6. Adam Rosales, 23, SS
Last year's ranking: NR
Billings, 140 AB, .321/.396/.529, 5 HR
Dayton, 134 AB, .328/.378/.590, 9 HR
This is the first player on the list that I'm genuinely excited about.
Sure, he's pretty old for the levels he played at last year, but you'll have that with a player out of college. The point is that he's a middle infielder with power, and those are rare enough to draw attention. Rosales also managed 22 doubles between Billings and Dayton, to go along with his 14 home runs. This could just be a case of an older player dominating inexperienced pitching, but it feels different, I think because of that .590 SLG percentage at Dayton. Rosales is one of the most important guys to keep an eye on this year in the Reds system.
5. Joey Votto, 22, 1B
Last year's ranking: 2
Sarasota, 464 AB, .256/.330/.425, 17 HR
At first glance it seems that Votto took a huge step backwards last year, but that really wasn't the case. Joey isn't the first player to have trouble with the Florida State League. Check out Miguel Cabrera's line when he was a 19 year old playing for Jupiter:
489 AB, .274/.333/.421, 9 HR
Sure, Cabrera was three years younger, but come on ... we're talking about Miguel Cabrera. The FSL is a tough league, and Votto's going to look pretty good when he gets promoted to Chattanooga. He should still be considered the future at first base.
4. Jay Bruce, 19, OF
Last year's ranking: NR
GCL, 122 AB, .270/.331/.500, 5 HR
Billings, 70 AB, .257/.358/.457, 4 HR
You obviously want your first round draft pick to put up a 1000+ OPS right out of the gate, but Bruce still had a nice start, showing solid power, and pretty impressive patience. Just by looking at that walk rate plus his slugging percentages I'd say the Reds made a nice choice here. Could be in the major leagues a lot sooner than anyone thinks. Remember that Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns were both in Reds uniforms at the age of 22 (21 in Dunn's case).
3. Travis Wood, 19, SP
Last year's ranking: NR
GCL, 24 IP, .75 ERA, 45/7 K/BB
Billings, 24.2 IP, 1.82 ERA, 22/13 K/BB
Small sample size. But damn. Those 45 strikeouts in the GCL made for a 16.88 K/9IP ratio. He obviously hasn't been at all challenged yet, so it's tough to form a real opinion just yet beyond "wow". I can't wait to see what he does this season.
2. Homer Bailey, 20, SP
Last year's ranking: 7
Dayton, 103.2 IP, 4.43 ERA, 125/62 K/BB
Still injury free! I'm impressed just by that.
Bailey threw 100 pretty decent innings last year, and had an excellent K rate, but he's going to have to cut down on the walks. 5.38 BB/9IP is a helluva lot, and it's the biggest thing that's going to hurt him moving forward. With the long look he received in Spring Training I have to imagine he'll be on the move this year, starting at Sarasota and ending up who knows where. Whether he can make it to the major leagues with his right arm intact is one of the more intriguing story lines that the Reds have to offer right now.
1. Chris Denorfia, 25, OF
Last year's ranking: 32
Chattanooga, 188 AB, .330/.391/.564, 7 HR
Louisville, 323 AB, .310/.391/.505, 13 HR
Cincinnati, 38 AB, .263/.364/.421, 1 HR
I'm not entirely sure that the Reds appreciate what they have with Chris Denorfia, because he ought to be the starting center fielder on Opening Day. That'd improve the defense , not just with the addition of Denorfia, but also by moving Griffey to left. It'd also improve the offense because Denorfia is definitely a better hitter than Scott Hatteberg. Won't happen, but it should. Regardless, I think Denorfia is going to make an excellent fourth outfielder, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see him get 300+ AB at the major league level this year. This is assuming the Reds don't do something truly stupid like give at bats to Tony Womack when they could be going to Denorfia, and until I find out otherwise I'm just going to assume that they won't be doing that.