Broo View: How come Reds can't be like Cubs? It's all in drafting, developing good players

Posted at 6:06 PM, Nov 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-03 19:56:57-04

Some random thoughts while wondering if the Reds will ever again be as good as the Cubs are now. OK, that actually is a random thought ...

So I watched almost every pitch of the World Series and I'm wondering where the Reds' version of Anthony Rizzo is?  Where is the Reds' version of Kris Bryant?  Anybody in Redsland have an answer for Kyle Schwarber, or Carl Edwards, Jr. or Jake Arrieta?

How about Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon?

Look, the Cubs were a vast wasteland of bad baseball for decades.  Rarely did they compete for championships since 1945.   And we all know about 1908.   The Cubs only found baseball religion in the last five years.   But when they found it, they found a choir full of angels.

Picking high in the Major League Baseball draft was the first opportunity.  Being lousy in Major League Baseball is a pathway to being good.

Epstein arrived in Chicago in the fall of 2011.  His first draft was the following spring.   His first first-round pick was an outfielder, Albert Almora.  He pulled off the play of the game in the 10th inning Wednesday night. All  he did was show the good baseball sense to not overestimate a fly ball, remain at first base and tag up and go to second.  He would later score the go-ahead run.

Epstein took Kris Bryant with the second overall pick in the 2013 draft.  In 2014, he took Middletown's Kyle Schwarber fourth overall. 

Every MLB team has the same metrics the Cubs have.  But under Epstein, they populated their front office with good, young, sabermetrically driven talent.  It took talent evaluation to a whole new level.  Draft smart, know your overall philosophy and then develop that talent as quickly as possible for the Major League level.

Not to pick on the Reds (because a lot of other teams in the MLB would love to have the front office talent the Cubs do), but the same year the Cubs took Bryant, the Reds selected Phillip Ervin, an outfielder.  He hasn't made it past AA in four minor league seasons. Last year, Ervin hit .239. He hasn't hit above .242 since his first 12 games in "high A" ball.

In 2014, the year the Cubs drafted Schwarber, the Reds drafted pitcher Nick Howard in round one and third baseman Alex Blandino in the compensatory round.   In three seasons, Howard hasn't pitching higher than "A" ball and is more of a middle relief pitcher than anything else.  Since 1964, Blandino has made it to the Reds "AA" team in Pensacola. He managed to hit .232 in 2016

Admittedly, this is a small sample size. But I used it to highlight this point. There are a number of reasons why the Reds are in baseball's abyss right now.  They have not aged well, have many gaps at their major league level, their bullpen has rotted and they have had little help off their bench since 2012.  But at the core of it all has been their inability to move players thought highly on draft day through their system and to the major league level. 

We still haven't seen Jesse Winker.  Robert Stephenson hit a major pothole last season.  And their best pitching prospect last season, Cody Reed, wasn't a homegrown talent.  He was acquired by trade.  And when Reed, who showed great promise in "AA" and "AAA" before his promotion to the Reds, was given his chance at the major league level, he flamed out.

Clearly, there is a glitch in the Reds' minor league system, be it coaching or philosophy or both.

Now that he's fully in charge, maybe General Manager Dick Williams can fix that.  The Reds don't need Theo Epstein or Joe Maddon.  They just need to follow the blueprint.  And maybe that trophy that was hoisted in the Cubs clubhouse Wednesday night won't be so far away from Cincinnati after all ...

I'm so happy for Davis Ross.  He was one of the real good guys when he played for the Reds a few years back ...

The Bengals are rounding up the old band again.  In a "Chris Crocker-like" move, the Bengals have signed defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry ...

Reading the quotes from Bengals Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther earlier this week, it sounded like some of the defensive linemen were being put on notice.  Now they sign Gilberry.  I'll bet there's a linebacker or two on the horizon.  Can't help but think Rey Maualuga's time here may be short ...

By the way, the next time someone tells you player  so and so made 10 or 12 or 13 tackles, ask how many "plays" he actually made.  Simply tackling an opponent isn't making a play.  Taking the ball away or sacking a quarterback is "making a play." Anything that doesn't change field position or eliminates a scoring opportunity is merely a game fundamental ...

I think the AFC West may produce two wild cards.  Raiders and Broncos are now 6-2, Chiefs 5-2.  Oakland has to play Denver twice in the final eight games.  Denver has to play Kansas City twice.

Ohio State plays Nebraska this Saturday night, right here on 9 On Your Side.  If you're a Buckeyes fan, don't sleep on the Huskers.  Their only loss was an overtime loss to #11 Wisconsin.  And they've given up 17 or fewer points in five of their seven wins.  For a team that can't throw, and the Buckeyes can't throw, that's a major warning flag....