Welcome to day two of the Farmies. Yesterday brought us some major power, defense, and rising prospects. Today we celebrate the real cream of the crop of the Reds minor league system.
Comeback Player of the Year
2007-Bailey makes his debut to delirious fan support and is anointed the Great Hope. He proceeds to struggle a bit the rest of the year.
2008-He's beaten out for a rotation spot by Johnny Cueto and has a very rough year between AAA and the bigs. In the offseason he almost gets traded straight up for Jermaine Dye.
2009-He learns a bit of humility, a bit of control, and the split-finger and dominates AAA. He comes up to Cincinnati and has a positively Arroyo-like end to the season. His last 9 starts he goes 6-1 with a 1.70 ERA, striking out 53 in 58 innings and holding opponents to a .631 OPS against.
Last offseason many had given up on him. As of this minute he might be our second best starter. Welcome, GoodHomer. We hope you're here to stay.
This goes to Justin Lehr for two reasons: 1) He was pitching in Korea last year, and this year posted a 2.51 ERA and .89 WHIP in 75 AAA innings, and 2) Teaching Homer the splitter. Big ups, Justin. I wish you the best of luck, just not with the Cincinnati Reds.
2010 Breakout Candidate
Wait a minute, you say. How do you give it to a guy who hit .228 in high-A this season? Here's why: His BB rate, LD% and ISO all improved dramatically, and his average was weighed down by a .276 BABIP despite the high line drive rate. AND he was only 20/21 playing in the FSL, which makes everyone not named Jay Bruce look bad the first time round. Minorleaguesplits.com's luck factor says he should've put up a line of .279/.356/.452. I'd take that from my catcher. Most importantly, perhaps, his defense behind the plate is reported to be much improved. Next year will be his 3rd full pro season, and I could see him cruising through Carolina and being a late season call-up to AAA, with people debating whether to make him or Ramon Hernandez the starter in 2011.
Juan Duran-Next year you can start to judge him by his stats, which I'm guessing will be much better.
Minor League Manager of the Year
Last year's IL manager of the year is this year's RR Manager of the Year. I can't imagine how hard it is to manage a AAA team with so much personnel change during a season, but Sweet kept the Bats rolling all year to an 84-58 record and the organization's only playoff berth. He owns a 387-330 record in 5 seasons as the Bats manager. The Reds record over that span is 377-433. Draw your own conclusions.
Joe Ayrault-Do you have any idea which team he manages? Didn't think so. His team was terrible, but I thought he deserved a little love anyway. His Wikipedia page has a couple fun facts.
Minor League Hitter of the Year
.296/.328/.523, 29 HR, 32 doubles, 93 RBI. Would you take that line from your third baseman? How about your left fielder? That's the line El Nino Destructor put up over two levels (AA-AAA) this season. You can talk all you want about walks and strikeouts, E.N.D. won't listen. He crushed AA as a 21 year old, turned 22, decided he was a man amongst boys, and proceeded to own AAA. Then, when called up to the big club in September, as the team's youngest player (2 months younger than Bruce), he put up an OPS of 1.139 in 25 plate appearances. In that short time he was worth .5 WAR, which was more than Willy Taveras, Alex Gonzalez, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Rosales, Darnell McDonald, and Drew Sutton, and equaled the value of Jerry Hairston Jr. and Ramon Hernandez......ROAR.
(Thanks to BubbaFan for the amazingly awesome pic)
Always a bridesmaid but never a bride, Chris Heisey had this award wrapped up in late June, scuffled a bit in AAA, but still put together a good campaign. He was pipped at the post by Francisco's August and September. Final line-.319/.386/.523
Todd Frazier had another very, very solid season. If you like walks (I gaze into their eyes at night) it was tempting to give him this award. Final line-.292/.353/.474
Minor League Pitcher of the Year
This one's a no brainer. Over two levels (AA-AAA) Wood posted a 13-5 record. He must be good right? In addition to the all-important W-L record, Wood sported a 7.15 K/9 rate and lowered his BB/9 rate to 2.86, by far his best rate in 4 professional seasons. These two solid peripherals, combined with a low BABIP, meant that his WHIP was a sparkling 1.04. Oh, and he only gave up 6 homers all year in 176 IP. Yes, but wasn't he supported by good defenses in Carolina and Louisville? Perhaps, but his FIP was a very solid 3.28. Did I mention the kid is only 22? Stop your arguing, the kid can pitch.
Zach (sniff, sniff) Stewart
Justin Lehr had a great year in Louisville, and taught Homer that splitter. If he had any prospect value he'd be on stage crying and thanking his agent right now.
That's all, folks. Thanks for joining us tonight, don't forget to tip your waiters, and we'll see you again next year.