Last Friday, John Sickels had Cincinnati Reds' Director of Player Development, Terry Reynolds, on his "Down On The Farm Friday" show on XM Radio (soon to be SiriusXM?). They spoke about the Big Four prospects in Cincinnati - Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto. That was not unexpected.
What surprised me were the discussion of three other prospects - Todd Frazier, Juan Francisco, and Neftali Soto. All three had just made my first draft of preparation for my NL-Only minor league draft.
For those in very deep leagues that go very deep into minor league prospects, here are three who you may not have heard of but will know by season's end.
1. SS Todd Frazier: Reynolds said he will begin the season in Low A Dayton and play SS. Frazier will stay at SS until he gets blocked, but Reynolds was not concerned about that. He said Frazier can easily move to 3B and has the power to stick there. Right out of Rutgers University, the 1998 Little League World Series hero from Toms River, NJ, showed that he could easily handle the transition to wood bats with a slash stat line of 319/405/538.
2. 3B Juan Francisco: He will start at Sarasota in the Florida State League. After 25 HRs in Low A Dayton, it will be interesting to see how his power translates in the hitting-adverse FSL. I am especially interested in seeing how he adapts at the plate when the ball does not go over the fence. With a mere 23 walks in 534 ABs and 161 Ks, how he adapts will mark his status as a real propsect or a pretender.
3. 3B Neftali Soto: That is correct. Soto is not a SS. Reynolds told Mr. Sickels that Soto has been moved to 3B and will likely begin in Billings with a chance to start in Dayton. There is little to know right now about Soto except he broke Juan Gonzalez's high school HR record in Puerto Rico. With the Gulf Coast Reds, his slash stats were 303/355/454.