Thursday, February 9, 2012

Law ranks 3 Reds in top 100 prospects

One of the things I've come to love leading into the new season is prospect rankings. There are numerous sites/experts who release their rankings, and the latest is Keith Law. His 2012 Top 100 Prospects list can be found on ESPN Insider. You must be a subscriber in order to read the full analysis on each player, but you are certainly free to view the list from 1-100. All you care about though is that the Reds had three players listed: C Devin Mesoraco at #8, RHP Daniel Corcino at #54, and SS Billy Hamilton at #64. The Reds farm system was somewhat top loaded prior to the Mat Latos and Sean Marshall trades, meaning there were a lot of great prospects at the higher levels of the minor leagues. Law even says they would be in the top 10 for prospects among organizations if the trades have never occurred. Post-trades, however, most of the Reds depth of very good prospects now lies at the lower levels with guys who won't be MLB-ready for a couple years, like 2014 and beyond.

Here are some highlights from Law's analysis of the three Reds' prospects in his Top 100.

On #8 prospect Mesoraco:
"...an impressive year in Triple-A in which he showed patience, some power and enough defensive ability to profile as an All-Star backstop in the big leagues."

"He is a rookie of the year contender in 2011 if he gets the playing time and should produce 25-homer seasons down the road at a position where any kind of offense is welcome."

On #54 prospect Corcino:
"Corcino, who's listed at 5-11, 165 pounds, isn't big -- he gets both physical and stuff comparisons to Johnny Cueto -- but he dominated the Midwest League and has been a frequent target for other clubs talking trades with the Reds."

"His command, aggressiveness and two plus pitches really set him apart, and he could probably handle a jump to Double-A, which would allow him to avoid the hitters' haven of Bakersfield, Cincy's high Class A affiliate."

On #64 prospect Hamilton:
"He's a natural right-handed hitter, but was better from the left side in 2011, laying off high fastballs that he previously would just pop up; as a left-handed hitter he's a half-step closer to first and could rack up a mess of infield hits just by bunting or shooting the ball to the left side."

"He has game-changing speed, however, and a .312/.382/.387 second half with a much better contact rate gives hope that he'll come out strongly in the hitter-friendly Cal League in 2012."

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