Thursday, June 25, 2009

Around the Horn in the Minors

Well, an interesting week down on the farm, as the short season leagues are starting up and we can get a look at the youngest prospects and the recent draftees.

Uber-prospects Juan Duran and Yorman Rodriguez made their professionals debuts in the Gulf Coast League. Joining them there was 2009 2nd round draft pick Billy Hamilton. For the Pioneer League Billings Mustangs, Alexis Oliveras is off to a solid start.

Alexis Oliveras -- After two seasons in the Gulf Coast League, Oliveras was promoted to the Pioneer League Billings Mustangs for the 2009 season. For the Mustangs, Oliveras is off to a solid start. In four games games, Oliveras has a .333/.400/.444/.844 OPS with 3 stolen bases and a 3/2 K/BB ratio.

It'll be interesting to see if Oliveras is ready to make some noise this season.

Juan Duran -- Duran is struggling, which isn't unexpected. Duran is still getting accustomed to his 6-5 and 190 lbs frame. After his first 10 professional ABs, Duran is still searching for his first hit. He has a 3/2 K/BB ratio and is spending time in rightfield.

Even for the Gulf Coast League, Duran is young for the league. Given that he's also very raw, early career struggles should be expected.

Billy Hamilton -- One of the best athletes in the 2009 draft class, Hamilton is off to a white hot start at the plate. In his first 13 at bats, Hamilton is hitting .462/.462/.462/.924 with 3 stolen bases in 3 attempts. Unfortunately, his defense isn't working out all that well, as he already has 3 errors in 3 games.

It'll be interesting to see how Hamilton develops. He seems unlikely to stick at shortstop and great athleticism doesn't always translate into baseball skill. Even so, he has significant upside and is off to a good start as a professional.

Yorman Rodriguez -- Yorman is one of the youngest players in the league, but he had quite a game today. In today's game, he went 3-5 with 2 stolen bases. In centerfield, he threw out Twins prospect Oswaldo Arcia twice at third base. Yorman is more polished than Juan Duran, so he should experiences fewer struggle early in his career.

Today was certainly a good start.

Josh Ravin -- Ravin may be starting to figure it all out. On the season, Ravin has a 3.67 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 66/40 K/BB ratio, and a 0.96 GB/FB ratio in 81.0 innings. In his 15 starts, he has only given up 4 homeruns.

With Ravin, it always comes back to control. His 2009 performance is a big improvement over his 2008 struggles, but a tick better control would really help him take it to the next level. Also, he could stand to improve his defense, as he seems to make a few too many costly errors on the hill.

So far his 2009 season has been a success for Ravin. Let's hope he keeps it up, as he's still young enough to reclaim his prospect status.

Devin Mesoraco -- Once again, Mesoraco is failing to impress at the plate. He's playing in a tough environment for hitters, but his .205/.305/.337/.641 is more than a bit disappointing. Still, I'm taking a very patient approach with Mesoraco, as even in the best of circumstances he would face a long development curve.

Mesoraco was drafted out of a cold weather high school and missed time due to Tommy John surgery, so he's piled up less experience than other young prospects. In addition, as a catcher, he has to learn a great deal on both sides of the ball.

It would be encouraging to see a stronger offensive performance from Mesoraco in the second half of the season, but I'm willing to be patient.


  1. nice artical even though i think its way to early to say how well the GCL players are performing after only 3 games.

  2. Hey Anon,

    Very true, I'm not drawing any conclusions from a 3 game data set. It was more to let people know that the short season leagues have started and point out what the young guys have done early in the season. Obviously, way too small of a sample size to make any definitive judgments on the short season guys.

    Thanks for the comment!!


  3. off topic but i heard that tucker barnhart is expected to sign in the next week or so and mark fluery has already signed where do you see both of them going

  4. Hey Anon,

    Well, if they sign soon and the Reds want them to join a team in 2009, then this where I think they'll go.

    I'd imagine Fleury would go to Dayton. He's the college guy and is more polished, so Dayton seems the logical place. Mesoraco is already at high-A, so I doubt they'd send Fleury there and I don't think he's ready for the jump to double-A.

    As for Barnhart, he would head to a rookie league, with the Pioneer League the likely destination. As a younger, high school prospect, the Reds will likely move him slowly up the ladder.

    Of course, that could be off the mark if the Reds wait until 2010 to assign them to an affiliate. Anyway, thanks for the comment!!