If you've noticed the current theme, we are celebrating the 10 year birfday of Red Reporter! What better way to celebrate than to go back in time to when the Reds were bad, and the farm system wasn't very good. In 2005, the Reds farm system was one of the worst in baseball. Seriously, I developed minor depression just reading the list. Homer Bailey and Joey Votto were there, but they were serious unknowns. So, I decided to buck the trend and speed the clock up a year. We'll be looking at Arney's Top 40 prospects for 2006! I'm not going to talk about them all, but you can click on the links and check out the names. I'll hit on the names you recognize and talk a bit about them.
First, just to let you know, JD and basically every prospect evaluator in the world agreed that Edwin Encarnacion was the Reds #1 prospect in 2005. He graduated to the majors, so he isn't part of the 2006 lists.
39. Jeffrey Stevens, 22, SP
Not much to see here. He was traded less than a month later as the PTBNL to Cleveland for Brandon Phillips. WOOOO BRANDON PHILLIPS!!!! Stevens would see a little bit of time pitching out of the bullpen for the Cubs. He's now a scout for the Orioles.
37. Brad Salmon, 26, RP
He's no Mike Trout.
35. Thomas Pauly 24, SP
The year before he was one of the top pitching prospects after being a 2nd round pick in 2003. Sickels ranked him over Homer Bailey. He was a reliever in college that never threw more than 47 innings. The Reds tried to turn him into a starter, which is scary if you think about their current philosophy. His shoulder blew up after throwing roughly 120 innings in 2007, and no one ever heard from him again.
33. Abraham Woody, RP
Hehe. The Lincoln Boner.
32. Sam LeCure, SP
Here is a name you definitely recognize. Jim Day may call him Nails, but I call him Yosemite. Sammy had just been drafted in the 4th round of the previous draft out of the University of Texas. He put up respectable numbers in Billings and had a very safe vibe to his future outlook. He ended up being a stalwart in the Reds pen and has been worth 2.7 bWAR so far in his career.
27. Jimmy Journell, 28, RP
FO could have had fun with this name. You could say we could fill a journell with nickname possibilities.
25. BJ Szymanski, 23, OF
This one is sad. Szymanski was a highly touted pick when the Reds took in in the 2nd round of the 2004 draft. He was seen as an outfielder that could do everything well. He had a lot of upside, and was pretty high on the Reds prospect lists in previous years. He showed some decent power and speed in the minors, but he couldn't stop striking out. He averaged over 30% strikeouts over his minor league career. His walk rate also fell each year he was promoted. He retired after stinking it up in 50 at bats in AAA Louisville in 2008.
23. Ryan Hanigan, 25, C
Ooooh, Ryan Cannongan. You know this guy's story as he became one of the RR's favorite players. Hanigan would never top the big lists, but would finally stick in Cincinnati in 2009 at the age of 28. He was usually a part time player with Ramon Hernandez and then Devin Mesoraco. Hanigan walked more than he struck out every year he was with the Reds (except for his September call up season) and played outstanding defense at the catcher position. He would be traded to Tampa Bay for David "Mongo" Holmberg. Hanigan was worth a cool 7 something bWAR with the Reds. I think he's with Boston now? Hell, I don't know.
22. Carlos Guevara, 24, RP
Guevara was a screwball pitcher who was striking out a ton of batters in the minors. The Reds didn't protect him and lost him to the Rule 5 Draft. Everyone collectively lost their damn minds. He didn't do anything worthwhile after that.
Between these lists, Wily Mo Pena was traded for Bronson Arroyo! Saturn Nuts!!!
17. Travis Chick, 22, SP
You might remember this name. He was traded to the Reds from the San Diego Padres, with Justin Germano, for Joe Randa. You might remember Joe Randa, too. He was pretty awesome, and did a pretty awesome thing on Opening Day once. Chick was traded in 2006 for Eddie Guardado. He would pitch in the majors at one point, pitching 5 innings for the Mariners. He last pitched in the minors in 2010.
15. Justin Germano, 23, SP
Oh, hey Justin Germano! We just talked about you. Germano was brought to the Reds in the aforementioned Joe Randa trade. Germano was a decent looking prospect, but didn't stay in Cincinnati long. Wayne Krivsky traded him to Philadelphia for Rheal Cormier (BARF). Cormier rheally sucked, and again everyone lost their damn minds. Germano went to a lot of different teams and played in Japan, Korea, and was the first MLB pitcher to throw a MLB pitch in China. He's still kicking the tires, signing a minor league deal with the Mariners in December.
11. Tyler Pelland, 22, SP
His name stuck out to me. I don't remember much other than he was left handed. I feel like the Reds tried to make him a starter, but he was having arm issues. He put up very good strikeout numbers in 2007 and 2008 in AA and AAA, but then never pitched again. I'd assume career ending injury, but someone would need to remind me.
10. William Bergolla, 23, 2B
A toolsy infielder with a lot of speed, good defense, but almost no power, Bergolla was looked at a cheap option to take over 2B at this time. That never really happened. He had 38 PAs for the Reds in 2005.
9. Elizardo Ramirez, 23, SP
You definitely remember The Lizard. He pitched a few years for the Reds, including 104 innings in 2005. Ramirez always struggled with striking people out, but didn't walk many either. The worry was that his stuff wasn't good enough to work against Major Leaguers and that worry ended up being right. There is something about Jerry Narron pulling a Dusty Baker and Ramirez ending the 2005 season on the DL. He pitched pretty well most of the season with a 2.5 K/BB ratio. He last pitched in the minors in 2010.
8. Javon Moran, 23, OF
I literally know nothing about this guy. JD made it seem like he was a decent hitter with no power. Basically, he was ranked 8th because the Reds farm system sucked. GET A BRAIN, MORAN!!! I bet he liked the Cardinals.
7. Phil Dumatrait, 25, SP
Here is a guy that made some disastrous starts for the Reds. He was a first round pick before coming to the Reds. Phil was adequate in the minors, but never really had much of a strikeout pitch. The most hilarious thing he did with the Reds was the 18 innings he pitched in 6 starts in 2007. That's an average of 3 innings per start with a 15.00 ERA. He walked more guys than he struck out, had a H/9 of 19.5, HR/9 of 3.0, and a WHIP of 2.833. He pitched parts of two more seasons in Cincy, and while they weren't as bad they weren't good. He'd pitch for the Minnesota in 2009 and finally hang up his cleats in 2011.
6. Adam Rosales, 23, SS
No one has ever ran out a home run faster than this man. Mr. Scrappy. The New Pete Rose. He's played for a lot of teams, but was never really a starter. He is more of a role player, but is still playing in the league right now. He has accumulated 2.7 WAR over his career.
5. Joey Votto, 22, 1B
This is how bad the Reds farm system was. We went from Adam Rosales at #6 to Votto at #5. It was a top heavy system for sure. I don't need to tell you anything about Votto. He's beautiful. He's the best. We swoon so hard for him. He was the 2010 NL MVP and will be the 2015 NL MVP. Just for those counting, Joey has accumulated over 35 bWAR in his career, and his beard is immaculate.
4. Jay Bruce, 19, OF
OH MY GOSH. He was 19 at one point, and I think playing in the majors the next year. He was at one point the #1 prospect in all the land. Greaty googigly moogily he is/was good. Be good again, Jay. Please? He's hit 182 home runs in his career, accumulated 14.3 bWAR, and might have the greatest hair in the majors.
3. Travis Wood, 19, SP
You must have been pretty good to be ranked above Jay Bruce when Bruce was drafted in front of you. Wood was good, and is probably still good. He also had a down season. When he was with the Reds he had to kind of reinvent himself after injuries. He made a great debut with the Reds his rookie year, almost throwing a perfect game against the Phillies. Wood would eventually be traded to the Cubs for Sean Marshall. Wood has had an up and down career, but did post 4.4 bWAR in 2013.
2. Homer Bailey, 20, SP
#2? Are you serious? Homer Bailey had his up and downs in his career to start out, but in 2006 he was a can't miss prospect. He would become the 1A or 1B prospect in all of baseball. Early on he was seen as an injury risk , but had tons of potential. Homer Bailey has been on of the steadiest pitchers for the Reds in the past couple years and was just rewarded with a $100 million dollar contract. He has only accumulated 7.3 bWAR in his career, but that is more to do with his slow start.
1. Chris Denorfia, 25, OF
This one just made me laugh because it reminded me what it felt like to be a Reds fan in 2005 and 2006. Everything was so bad and had gone so wrong that we were excited about a 25 year old player who was killing it in AA and AAA. JD basically concludes that this is probably an over slot, but Denorfia was the closest player to making an impact at the major league level. It's just really funny to see him ranked over Votto, Wood, Bruce, and Bailey. Really funny actually. I won't judge JD too harshly, though. I get his point. Denorfia's OBP was flirting with .400 in AA and AAA. Unfortunately, Deno didn't get much of a shot in Cincy. He was traded in 2006 after 140 PAs for the great Marcus McBeth, the great Ben Jukich, and cash. Denorfia would end up being a pretty dang good 4th outfielder. He's still in the league and has tacked up 10.6 bWAR. I would have ranked him #6, and bumped the rest up. Hindsight is 20/20, though.
For me it was really fun going through these rankings that are 10 years old. I was just graduating high school when these came out, and really just starting to give a damn about prospects. I don't think there is much to agree and disagree over, except for the Denorfia thing. Outside of the top 4-5, the Reds farm system was complete poopy. We don't have the same high end talent right now, but I'd say it is certainly deeper. Next, we'll go through the first ever Community Prospect rankings to show you how stupid YOU are.