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Updated: 2018-02-17T16:45:41-05:00


Scooter Gennett wins arbitration hearing over Cincinnati Reds



The 2B is in his second year of arbitration eligibility.

Scooter Gennett was the last remaining member of the Cincinnati Reds to hear the verdict of his arbitration hearing, and those results became public on Saturday. According to FanRag’s Jon Heyman, Gennett won his case over the Reds, and as a result will receive a $5.7 million salary in 2018 instead of the $5.1 million the Reds had counterproposed.

Pennington spent the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, but cut his chops with both the Oakland A’s and Arizona Diamondbacks before that in what’s been a pretty solid 10 year MLB career to date. Said career peaked back in 2010 in Oakland, as the switch-hitter posted a .250/.319/.368 line in 576 PA, swiped 29 bags, and that paired with plus defense played exclusively at short was good for 4.5 bWAR on the season. Since then, however, he’s spent the bulk of his time as a bit part utility player and hit just .230/.302/.328 in 2186 PA, which is why the Reds were able to scoop him up on a minor league deal.

It’ll be interesting to see how the battle between Pennington and Gosselin shakes out in spring training, especially since Alex Blandino is both on the roster and has spent time at short throughout his minors career. The hope is, of course, that Peraza takes the job and runs with it, thereby rendering the backup role there rather inconsequential, but given how Peraza quickly lost the 2B job just last year it’s a bit interesting that the Reds aren’t rolling into the season with a more proven option at short should a similar scenario arise.

2018 Red Reporter Community Prospect Rankings: Jacob Heatherly is your #25 and final prospect!



That’s a wrap, folks.

Jacob Heatherly won a narrow final vote over the likes of Gavin LaValley, Aristides Aquino, and most importantly, Nick Howard.

And with that, we draw our 2018 Community Prospect Rankings to a close. It’s actually a really good year down on the farm, with several lottery ticket types that have tools for days that we didn’t even get to.

We’ll wrap with a comparison of this years list to 2017’s, just to see how much smarter we all are this year. That’s it. We’re all just so much smarter...

So, who did we miss? Who’s your favorite under the radar prospect? Send your emails directly to aaron dot michael at red reporter dot com.

Red Reposter - Amir Garrett out of the starting rotation mix?


Wednesday links!’s Mark Sheldon is in Goodyear, Arizona with the Cincinnati Reds at the moment, and he penned a pair of pitching-centric articles yesterday as pitchers and catchers reported for day one of spring training. While there’s ample information in both (that we’ll touch on in a second), when you connect the dots between them and break down what manager Bryan Price had to say about things, one name in particular becomes of particular interest, especially when you consider where things stood just one year ago today. First, Sheldon broke down the candidates to claim spots in the rotation come Opening Day, with the predictable quartet of Luis Castillo, Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, and Brandon Finnegan penciled in for four of the five spots. While the likes of Sal Romano, Tyler Mahle, Robert Stephenson, and Michael Lorenzen were pegged as the likeliest of candidates, Sheldon notes Price mentioning that both Jackson Stephens and Amir Garrett “might get starts this spring,” but that’s far from a ringing endorsement of their respective chances. If you’ll follow me to Sheldon’s other article from yesterday, you’ll get the goods on DeSclafani entering camp healthy after a lost 2017 season. Obviously, a healthy Disco would go miles towards improving not just the starting rotation, but also the load lumped on the beleaguered bullpen, and that’s a story that’s both encouraging and worth a fistpump. At the bottom, though, are blurbss from Price noting that Cody Reed will be battling for a bullpen spot in Goodyear and that Rookie Davis is the lone pitcher behind schedule due to injury, which are more pieces of information we can use in this growing, cryptic rotation battle discussion. Considering the Reds’ lone pitching addition with any sort of outside shot of making the starting rotation has been Vance Worley (on a minor league deal), I think it’s safe to say that the quotes Sheldon got from Price back in December should still hold true (since the player pool and injuries haven’t changed things). Back then, he specifically said “I think we have at least two guys that have been primarily starters in our system that will compete for bullpen spots in Spring Training and bullpen spots only,” and that’s what’s stuck in my crawl at the moment. Reed, it would appear, is obviously one of those two, but given also that a) Amir Garrett isn’t listed as behind due to injury and b) isn’t listed as a legit candidate for the fifth starter role, where he stands in the current pitching landscape with the Reds might be getting a bit more obvious. Garrett, of course, had a platelet-rich plasma injection into his ailing hip this offseason, a procedure to help an injury he largely played through without mentioning to anyone during his struggles in 2017. His hot start was incredible, though, as was his rise to the middle of most every Top 100 prospect list during his MiLB career, and the former NCAA basketball player seemed a lock just a year ago as getting repeated shots to be a starter at the big league level. His unique situation might well be working against him in this instance, as he’ll already be 26 years old this year and his galavanting days with basketball forced him to be added to the 40-man roster back in 2014 long before he was polished enough to be a big leaguer. He’ll reportedly get a 4th and final option year in 2018, but given the picture painted by Price’s quotes, there appear to only be two set scenarios for Garrett this spring: Either he’s fighting solely for a bullpen role as that second unnamed pitcher alongside Cody Reed, or he’s already penciled in to start his season in Louisville and has been eliminated from consideration from the Opening Day rotation before spring training has even begun. After his 1.83 ERA through three excellent starts for the Reds just last April, that’s somewhat hard to fathom, but here we are. In other news, Eno Sarris took a closer look at whether the Reds are too fo[...]

Bryan Price again managing for his Cincinnati Reds career


He’s been the lame-duckiest manager in recent memory. There are peanut and crackerjack sized pieces of my soul that truly feel bad for Bryan Price. I know, the guy gets a front row seat for Major League Baseball games 162 times a season, pulls pitchers on command, makes out lineups, and gets to talk shop with John Fay everyday for months, and pulls down a salary I could only dream of in the process. Since he’s taken over the helm of the Cincinnati Reds, though, there have been two overriding stories that have been just as big as the managerial role itself. For one, the roster has been purposefully (and accidentally) torn to shreds and diminished. Almost as relevant, though, is that Price has repeatedly entered seasons as a lame duck manager. When the Reds opted to pick up Price’s 2018 option, it immediately became the third consecutive season in which he’ll serve as a manager without a guarantee for the next season, rendering him a lame duck after he was a lame duck after he was, also, a lame duck. That’s the kind of semi-commitment that would have most all of us annoyed on multiple levels in any arena, and since it’s just now occurring to me that this is going to publish on Valentine’s Day, perhaps that adds a bit of specific relevance to the concept for some of you out there. The Reds, while shedding veteran player after veteran player during a thorough rebuild, have for some reason kept Price around in the process despite the gargantuan pile of losses on his ledger, perhaps with the guise in mind that the team was going to lose its butt off regardless of which person was in charge. 2018, though, might finally be the year in which wins and losses matter. They’ll matter when it comes to deciding which players to extend, which ones to trade away, and certainly when it comes to deciding whether Price deserves any sort of commitment to a winning Reds culture instead of just a youth-fostering Reds culture. You don’t have to look hard to find the reasons behind why Price has nearly 100 more career losses as a manager than wins in just four seasons in that role. After trading away the likes of Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Mat Latos, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Aroldis Chapman, the single biggest moves to bring in ‘talent’ have been two-year contracts for Skip Schumaker and Brayan Pena, signing Opening Day Starter [TM] Scott Feldman to be a reliever, and trading for 37 year old Marlon Byrd. Pair that with the dissolving body parts of Homer Bailey and Devin Mesoraco, and the Reds of 2014-2017 were always destined to fail, especially when most of the bulk of the young pitching that has been assembled has simultaneously failed around him, too. If anything, that the necessary winning in 2018 is directly tied to the performance of the young pitching seems karmic in Price’s case. Of course, he served as standout pitching coach during the previous successful generation of Cincinnati throwing, and it was on the back of those great years that he landed the managerial role in the first place. And here we are, with the current season and the future tenuously set on the backs of Anthony DeSclafani, Luis Castillo, Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, Wandy Peralta, Brandon Finnegan, Tyler Mahle, Robert Stephenson, Sal Romano, a group that does look both talented and potentially formidable if the duct tape holding them together can do so for a few seasons at the same time. If ever there was to be a chance for Price to land himself a more permanent job with the Reds, I’d say it’s 100% riding on how that fireballing group progressively mows down opposing hitters as early as this year. If they don’t, it’s high time to commit to finding someone who can help that happen before that half of the roster sinks this rebuild altogether. [...]

2018 Red Reporter Community Prospect Rankings: Miles Gordon is #24!


Cool like Miles Gordon Miles Gordon rang in at #24 on the Red Reporter Community Prospect list, which is good, because he’s a promising young talent far down in the system that could use some recognition. But mainly what it means is that there’s only one spot left. Which means that this vote is very important, because whoever doesn’t make our list and is left over in the poll actually gets fired into the sun. I bet you didn’t know that, huh? The decision is in your hands. Gavin LaValley, 1B, 23 Highest 2017 Level: AA (Pensacola) Eye-Poppingest Fact: Solid power hitter, hit 18 dingers and 30 doubles in 2017. Most Worrisome Fact: 24.6 K%, .101 ISO in Double-A. Alias(es): Gavin “As I walk through” LaValley, Lily of LaValley, Mountains and LaValleys BB-Ref page Although he was drafted as a third baseman in the 4th round of the 2014 draft, Gavin LaValley made the switch to first base full-time in 2017. While the good news is that he found a position where he can stick, the bad news is that he is blocked by a guy named Joey Votto. LaValley started the first half of the year in High-A Daytona where he put up solid numbers. He hit .288/.322/.538 with 15 dingers and 14 doubles in Daytona, which was by far his best start to a season. That earned him a call-up to Pensacola in June where he saw his power drop off, as he had a meager .352 SLG% for the second half. While LaValley has the ability to spray the ball all over the field, his best tool is his power. While he struggled in that department in his first two minor league seasons, balls started leaving the yard and finding gaps at a much higher rate in 2016 and 2017. He has also shown solid pitch selection over his four minor league seasons, posting a career BB% of 8.4%. While his defense wasn’t good enough for him to stick at third, he is capable of staying at first base in the long run. Look for him to start the year in Double-A Pensacola. Aristides Aquino, OF, 23 Highest 2017 Level: AA (Pensacola) Eye-Poppingest Fact: Walk rate actually went UP, highest it’s been (7.7 BB%) Most Worrisome Fact: He still struck out a ton (28.8 K%, .282 OBP) Alias(es): Heiress Titties, BB-Ref Page Aquino was a big riser in our prospect rankings a year ago, as a toolsy younger who socked the shit out of the ball and showed all of the athleticism you’d want to see out of a 22 year old, having signed and played in the organization since 2011. He’d finally gotten a taste of pro ball past the rookie level and mashed. There were concerns, to be sure... AA ball didn’t treat him so well, however, and he’s fallen out of favor not only here but nearly everywhere else you’ll read. His .216/.282/.397 line is basically everything the doubters predicted; his wont to swing tanking anything resembling plate discipline, and not being able to tee off on higher level pitching as a result. He’s been somewhat of a slow riser, and he’s failed to adjust at the next level upon immediately arriving. He finally blasted the hell out of rookie ball and then struggled at Dayton (though he did immediately mash Daytona pitching). So maybe something will click when he starts his second full try at Pensacola (he did have his lowest BABIP in years, for instance). And all of the physical tools are still there. Regardless, the hot “under the radar” name from 2017’s list has fallen way back. Can he right the ship? Jacob Heatherly, LHP, 19 Highest 2017 Level: Rookie League (Billings) Eye-Poppingest Fact: Lefty that can throw in the mid-90’s. Most Worrisome Fact: 4.5 BB/9 in 2017 Alias(es): Heavenly, Roll Tide, King Jacob BB-Ref Page Jacob Heatherly is the 3rd round pick in the 2017 draft out of Alabama. He is a lefty that was drafted straight out of high school, and the Reds paid him $1,000,000 not to attend the University of Alabama. Pretty sweet deal. Heatherly is a prospect that offers a lot of potential, but didn’t have the best senior season. That coupled with w[...]

Handicapping the competition for Reds’ Opening Day starter


There is no obvious choice this year, so let’s stir up the bloghole! Scott Feldman. Edinson Volquez. Cory Lidle. Joey Hamilton. These are literally four names of pitchers who have received the august honor of starting the first game of the season for your Cincinnati Reds. It’s a big deal. They even put on a parade leading up to it. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about it is how perfectly remarkable and yet totally inconsequential it is. Like the election of a new Pope, it excites millions while also being completely arbitrary and entirely ceremonial. It’s basically the perfect topic about which a blog can write. So let’s speculate! For the first time in quite a while, the Reds don’t really have a clear leader of the pitching staff to be the obvious choice. The last two years, that man has been Anthony DeSclafani. Of course, he has never started an Opening Day game for the Reds due to poorly timed boo-boos in his elbybone. Before that, Johnny Cueto started four years in a row (I love Johnny Cueto). Before him, Aaron Harang started five in a row. Despite a tradition of historically weak pitching, the Reds have had remarkable stability at the top of the rotation for quite a while. That’s cool. But without a clear ace, there are a few guys on the staff who, if chosen, would illicit weak nods and mumbles of “oh okay I guess that’s reasonable.” So let’s handicap the field. The Whiz Kid Luis Castillo - 5/2 Castillo is probably the slight favorite at this point, if you ask me. Last week, FanGraphs proclaimed him “The Reds’ Ace in the Making,” except he already has himself made. He debuted last season straight out of AA and sliced up some serious eyeballs. He threw 89.1 innings to the tune of a stout-as-heck 141 ERA+. Thems some spicy bananners. He certainly has the stuff of an ace and a good string of dominant pitching to prove it. Of course, He has thrown all of 89.1 innings at the big-league level. While they were very good innings, the mantle of Opening Day Starter is traditionally bestowed upon a man of greater seniority. The Phoenix of Goodyear Anthony DeSclafani - 6/1 As mentioned above, Disco was the predetermined Opening Day Starter the last two years. Unfortunately, a series of arm injuries have forced him to begin those seasons on the disabled list and pitch a total of 123.1 innings. Those were very good innings, measuring out to a 3.28 ERA, but all of those innings were thrown in 2016. He spent the entire 2017 on the disabled list. A partially torn UCL (the target of Tommy John surgery) forced him to rehab into the heart of the summer, and then a setback erased the possibility of pitching at all. He did, however, rehab his way back to veritable health, showing off his healed ligament in the fall instructional league. He had a totally normal offseason and is allegedly totally healthy and normal. Giving him the Opening Day start after missing out the last two years would sure be a nice gesture. The Old Veteran Homer Bailey - 10/1 Homer Bailey will be 32 years old in May. 2018 will be his 12th season in Major League Baseball. He is the longest-tenured player on the team and he has never started an Opening Day. (pop-quiz: aside from Homer, who among active Reds pitchers has the earliest first pitch of their career with the team?) If you are looking at seniority as a determining factor for a ceremonial gesture, this makes a lot of sense. That said, Homer has certainly not pitched like a staff ace in quite a while. His last good and healthy season was 2014. Since then, he has an ERA of 6.39 in just 125 innings over three seasons. Of course, he has been working through numerous arm injuries and grueling rehabilitation over those long three years, but yeah. Thems some ugly numbers. The Fallback Brandon Finnegan - 25/1 In the event that God shows us no mercy and each of the three pitchers above him are unable to pitch on March 29th, they could do a l[...]