I mentioned it first in the title, so I suppose it’s the first thing to dive into today. The folks at MLB Pipeline have updated their Top 100 overall prospects list, and have somehow found a way to rank 50 players higher than Elly De La Cruz.
I don’t buy it. You shouldn’t buy it. It’s free, so we don’t have to. Still, it’s a traveshamockery.
Anyway, Nick Lodolo spearheads four Cincinnati Reds prospects on the list, with each of Elly, Matt McLain, and Brandon Williamson checking in, too.
The trade front has yet to truly ramp up, but the kind of stage-setting that usually preempts it certainly has begun to round into form. For instance, the Los Angeles Dodgers have found themselves testing their depth already in recent weeks with the injury to Mookie Betts (and his move to the infield while his shoulder fully heals), and now they’re facing a long absence for Chris Taylor and his broken foot, too. While Trayce Thompson has filled in reasonably for the short term, it would shock me if the uber-ambitions Dodgers didn’t find a way to address that combined, proven absence via the trade market. Given the positions of need and their roster versatility, both of Tommy Pham and Brandon Drury seem to make some sense in their own ways for the Dodgers, while also being fits elsewhere, too.
Pham, to his credit, doesn’t appear to view his time as a member of the Cincinnati Reds as ending just yet. Or, if he has, he’s not about to forget it quickly, as he opined to The Enquirer’s Charlie Goldsmith that he thinks this club is just a piece away from being a “contender” in 2023. We talk about his inevitable trade this summer because he’s exactly the kind of player bad teams trade, but he does have a mutual option for 2023 (even though I cannot recall the last time one of those was exercised by both club and player). I admire his optimism, but even if the Baseball Health Gods all conspire to keep the Reds healthy and if they opt against moving Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle, it would take the kind of investment in the team from the owners to make them contenders in 2023 that I just do not foresee. Short of convincing the Tigers to give away Riley Greene for Luis Castillo and Brandon Williamson becoming Chris Sale overnight, I just do not know.
The full rosters for the MLB Futures Game will be announced on Thursday, and I cannot imagine we won’t see Elly De La Cruz named as a participant. This is me speculating like a dork, but I’m calling it. Tune in Thursday so you have evidence for yelling at me later, folks.
Here’s an interesting look at measuring consistency from FanGraphs, and it’s worth a read. It mentions Joey Votto in one measure of inconsistency, which tracks the eye-test so far this year, but it’s perhaps encouraging when you notice which other names join him in that particular gauge.
Finally, here’s MLB.com’s look at the hottest pitching prospects in each system, and Chase Petty gets the nod for the Reds. Petty’s still a long way away from the bigs, but he has absolutely looked the part of ‘former 1st rounder and prized return from the Sonny Gray deal’ so far in 2022. I still wish like hell that the Reds hadn’t punted so hard on the 2022 season and rubbed it in our faces immediately afterwards, but I do believe they at least got a good, far-off piece in Petty in the process. So, there’s that.