Thursday, March 13, 2014

Reds rank 15th in future power rankings


Most would consider the current version of the Reds to be among the top 10-15 teams in Major League Baseball. But what might the future hold for Cincinnati five years from now?

Well, this is precisely what Jim Bowden, Keith Law, and Buster Olney of ESPN.com set out to determine recently, not just for Cincinnati, but all 30 franchises. The results of their rankings can be seen here.

Basically, the crew attempted to measure how well each team is set up for sustained success over the next five years, by weighting point scores from five different categories. Namely, how well each team is set to succeed with respect to their major league roster, minor league system, fiances, management, and mobility. Each team was then ranked according to their overall weighted point score.

As you can see from the illustration above, the Reds were ranked 15th. Here's how the ESPN crew justified their ranking of the Redlegs:

The Overview
The Reds may be a small-market team, but they've shown a willingness to take care of their own, locking up homegrown stars Joey Votto and Homer Bailey to nine-figure deals. But the loss of Choo robs the lineup of an elite OBP threat, and if speed demon Billy Hamilton is unable to hit major-league pitching, the Reds run the risk of falling well behind the Cardinals, Pirates and even Cubs in the NL Central for years to come. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
With Bailey locked, the Reds must decide if they want to give a similar contract to Mat Latos or Johnny Cueto. If Cueto's option is picked up, both are eligible for free agency after the 2015 season. The Reds need a right-handed power bat more than anything, so it's likely they will use available resources on that. -- Jim Bowden

Make-or-break year (Law's top 10 Reds prospects)
Jeff Gelalich was the team's third pick in 2012, coming in the sandwich round out of UCLA, but had an atrocious year in 2013 -- .245/.331/.300 at low Class A Dayton -- even though he was old for the level, and notably hitting just one home run all year. He's a non-prospect unless he has a breakout season in high-A in 2014, preferably getting himself to Double-A by midyear. -- Keith Law

Ranking among the middle-of-the-pack isn't such a bad thing. But it's certainly not great either. Especially when you consider three division rivals, the Cardinals (2), Pirates (5), and Cubs (7), rank much higher. For what it's worth, as good as Chicago's farm system is being touted, I'm still taking a wait and see approach with their potential for success. General manager Theo Epstein has done a great job building talent in the pipeline and it's bound to pay off eventually. But you just never know with the Cubs.

It should be noted that the Reds ranked 7th in these rankings exactly one year ago. The biggest areas I saw contributing to their lower ranking this time around was due to a perceived decrease in mobility and in what the voters perceived as a weaker MLB roster.

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