Sunday, February 26, 2012

One Great American Ballpark, to another in Petco Field

By Corey R. Cunningham
The Cincinnati Reds addressed their needs for a young, hard throwing right hander, when they shipped two first round draft prospects to the Padres. The Reds sent SP, Edinson Volquez, and two top prospects in OF/1B Yonder Alonso and C Yasmani Grandal, in exchange for SP Mat Latos.

Latos will take the No. 2 slot behind opening day starter Johnny Cueto. Mat was drafted in the 11th round of 2006 by the Padres and spent the last 3 season pitching in Petco Park. Latos who had a down year in 2011, looks to re work his offseason skills by getting back to his 2010 numbers, which was his best season yet. In 2010 he yielded a record of 14-10 with a 2.92 ERA. He had 189/K to 50/BB, allowing 150/H in 184.2 IP. His production in 2011 was a bit more generous to the offensive opposition. He had a record of 9-14 with a 3.47 ERA, allowing 168/H in 194 IP. Just as in San Diego with a good closer in once Padre Heath Bell, and a solid bullpen, he will have the same opportunity in Cincinnati. The Reds went out and acquired Closer Ryan Madson to replace the aging Francisco Cordero, and acquired RP Sean Marshall from the Cubs, along with prospect RP Aroldis Chapman, who needs to earn his paycheck he received from the Reds. This division lost two top hitters to the American League in Pujols and Fielder, should be a little bit easier to pitch in. My prediction for Latos: 17-9, 3.22 ERA, 201 K.

Edison Volquez was shipped to San Diego in what we consider, “a pitchers park”. He is looking to put the 2011 season behind him, and most of his career for that matter, in a new looking uniform from the Padres organization, and this may be a new beginning for the once a time 17 game winner. For only the 2nd time in 7 years Edison has pitched over 100 IP, and only one time, in 08’ he pitched 196 IP, by far the best year of his career. In 08’ he went 17-6, 3.21 ERA, 206/K. This may have been a fluke year for Volquez, however, the past 3 years has been a nightmare, going a total of 13-12, a High 4 ERA, 218/K. He will hold down the No. 3 spot behind Cory Luebke, and in front of Andrew Cashner. My prediction: 9-9, 3.77 ERA, 144 K.

Yonder Alonso, who was targeted as the key piece in the deal, will be the opening day starter in San Diego, and why not; in Cincinnati last year he played in only 47 games, hitting for .330 BA, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 29 H, and 4 EBH. He was held up mostly in AAA by 1B Joey Votto and the Reds played Alonso in LF. In the minors, he played 192 games at 1B and only 92 in LF, at the time he played mostly 1B, and did not start LF, until the Reds figured he was coming on strong down in the Minors and needed to figure out a situation to have him and Votto in the lineup. He played in 91 games in 11’ in AAA Louisville. He batted .296, 12 HR, 56 RBI, 106 H, and only 60 K, with 28 extra base hits. He held a .466 career SLG, and .837 OPS in the minors. My prediction: .300 BA, 19 HR, 94 RBI. I’m predicting big numbers for Alonso, as I am a huge fan and hope the best for this prospect.

Catching prospect Yasmani Grandal was drafted in the 27th round of the 2007 June Amateur draft by the Boston RedSox, who then re-entered the draft in 2010 in the 1st round of the June Amateur draft by the Cincinnati Reds. It did not take long for the Reds once again to hit the panic button on yet another top prospect they could not hold onto for long. Just as Joey Votto plugged a hole at 1B for Yonder Alonso, Reds starting catcher Devin Mesoraco has plugged the catching position for Grandal. Grandal quickly worked the minor league ladder in 2011 working all 3 levels of ball. In 56 games at High-A Bakersfield he hit .296, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 14 EBH, in 206 AB. In 45 games at AA Carolina he hit .301, 4 HR, 26 RBI, and 15 EBH, in 156 AB. In 4 games at AAA Louisville, he hit .500, in just 4 games. More than likely, he will start in AAA Tucson as the job right now belongs to Nick Hundley. My prediction for full AAA season: .295 BA, 14 HR, 68 RBI.

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