Sound bites that are declarative, objective, and catchy have a way of sticking in our respective craws.
“Our farm system is now ranked in the Top 10 in MLB, up from being 28th going into 2020.”
The above quote was doled out by Owner Bob in his PR interview with Tommy Thrall just last week, and while it’s true that there are roughly thirteen-dozen places that do such rankings - and some do have the Reds as a fringe Top 10 organization - it’s also true that said interview ran on MLB.com. So, it creates an interesting paradox when MLB.com, hoster of said interview, releases their organizational rankings - rankings that have the Reds system at 15th among the 30 MLB clubs out there, up from being 24th going into 2020.
Not saying Bob’s wrong here, as Baseball America has the team’s system ranked 7th. I’m just pointing out that it’s a declarative assertion about something that’s completely nebulous, one that sounds cool until you realize it’s all just huff and puff.
I will say that it’s hard to ignore the Seattle Mariners having the most Top 100 prospects of any team (6) and the 2nd overall ranking in these subjective rankings, however. It’s hard to ignore that when you know the Reds just gave them their best hitter and got none of those players who were regarded higher than Brandon Williamson. Clearly, the Reds believe they both know what they’re doing and know it better than the evaluators at em-el-bee dot com, either that or they know they saved enough money to not care what they say.
Speaking of rankings, FanGraphs has finally reached the fun portion of their Positional Power Rankings: DH and the OF. I say ‘fun’ here because we’re all Reds fans, we’ve all still managed to stay Reds fans despite the club stepping on the wrong side of a rake every year for three decades, and project to still stay Reds fans through thick and thin. Well, it turns out that FanGraphs thinks the Reds have bottom-of-the-barrel expected production from their DH spot, their LF spot, their CF spot, and their RF spot. Like, they really, really think that - the LF’s 25th spot ranks as the most optimistic of that bunch out of the 30 MLB clubs. I suppose the ‘fun’ I’m having while sifting through these rankings is because I...pretty much agree with them completely, and the hair I’ve been ripping out after every move the Reds made all winter finally feels as if it’s been a bit justified. (Here’s DH, RF, and CF, fwiw, though I’ll warn you that they aren’t pretty...just fun.)
In other news, a certain former General Manager picked 10 MLB players poised for a breakout during the 2022 season over at The Athletic, and a certain current Cincinnati Reds catcher made the list. Sorry Tyler, I guess that means you’re not breaking out this year.
Also from The Athletic comes C. Trent’s second Opening Day roster projection, one that includes the club voraciously devouring Shogo’s contract and carrying 15 pitchers during the 28-man roster days. He also mentions that Colin Moran has an option remaining, something I’d overlooked as the club’s infield/shortstop injuries mounted, as I’d just assumed that by now he’d accrued over 5 years of service time and couldn’t simply be optioned. That’s not the case, though, meaning his guaranteed money contract could still end up more flexible than I’d envisioned. For the record, I still envision that guaranteed money contract as a hilarious one.
I once again did some Q&A with Cards Conclave about the upcoming Reds season as part of their annual run through the opponents of the St. Louis Cardinals. A number of us responded, and you can read through it here.
The Dodgers just traded for Craig Kimbrel and didn’t even have to give up a prospect to do so. Hell, they didn’t even have to simply absorb Kimbrel’s entire contract! That club is defined by their talented farm system and financial might to out-spend all of their peers, and they just got Craig Kimbrel without having to use either of those resources. Hot diggity dang, must be nice.
Finally, MLB and the MLBPA officially settled on which rules they’ll use for the upcoming season, with roster tweaks embedded in them to account for the lockout-induced compression of spring training in place. Rosters will expand to 28, IL rules will be altered during April to allow for more liberal usage of the shuttle-bus to and from AAA, and the damn ghost runner on 2B in extra innings will continue to be it’s idiotic fantasm self out there again.