As we lead up to both the start of the 2008 season and our “Diamond Cutter” top 100 prospects list, I will be taking a look at the top five prospects from every single Major League team. Each team will have its top five prospects along with a brief scouting report on each player that I have pulled from my scouting notes. Today we continue on with the NL Central with the prospect rich Cincinnati Reds. As always, let me know how you feel about the rankings in the comments section below or via email.
1.) Jay Bruce, OF: Bruce is a monster of a prospect and a five tool player to boot who can impact the game with his power bat, speed, and defense. He has a powerfully lofted swing with fantastic bat speed which gives him the ability to hit for power and average. He needs to work on his plate discipline and he also tends to struggle against lefties and off speed pitches which racks up his strikeout total. If he can learn these items the next few years and combine that with his current skills, he will be a monster with 35-40 HR in the hitter friendly Great American Ballpark.
2.) Homer Bailey, RHP: Bailey has all the pieces to be a number one starter for years to come. He’s tall with a big league frame with superb arm action. He has a 3/4 slot motion that allows him to stay tall along with two plus pitches (fastball at 89-97 mph and brutal curveball 75-80 mph) along with a bat-splitting breaking ball which, when he has command of them, can make him virtually untouchable. (entire “Prospect Spotlight” scouting report).
3.) Johnny Cueto, RHP: Cueto has a great arm action, excellent movement, and very good command on his fastball (89-94 mph) as well as his slider and change. His slider is his best pitch and is one of the best in the Minors. He has very good control but can struggle at times with leaving pitches up in the zone. This has improved a lot however due to how smart of a pitcher he is and his improved command. Cueto is still very young and does not need to be rushed through the system. Often is forgotten about and over-shadowed due to Homer Bailey’s presence, but the Reds organization knows what they have in him and know he will be something special.
4.) Joey Votto, 1B: Votto is the top powering hitting corner infielder in the entire Reds system. He has an excellent approach to the plate with a great eye. Despite his plate discipline, he is aggressive at the plate and has very good gap power which should add up to a lot of doubles in his career. Has good speed especially for a catcher turned first baseman. He has across the board tools but does still struggle a bit in his new position at first and has even dabbled in the outfield recently.
5.) Drew Stubbs, OF: Stubbs is a tough one to get a read on. On one hand he incredibly athletic and is a potential five tool player with incredible raw talent. But on the other hand he strikes out too much and can struggle making contact at the plate. If the right coaches can mold him he has unlimited potential with his speed and power. Stubbs is also a fantastic defensive outfielder with great range thanks to his plus speed. If he can learn to shorten up his swing and become a little smarter on the bases, Stubbs could hit 20-30 homers and steal 40+ bases in the Great American Ballpark. Or he could fizzle out and never reach AAA.
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