Long and Vladimir Gutierrez."In what is one of the closer votes we’ve had in a while Babe Ruth Jersey , Jose Siri edged out Shed Long by a total of four votes.Obviously elections are important (hint, hint) and it’s important for everyone to turn out.Remember, you can’t complain if you don’t vote.Ok, well, that’s not really true but whatever.Jose Siri will probably start the year in AA to see if he can get on to a hot start before moving on to AAA Louisville.Well, that’s what I would do anyway.On to number #8. Shed Long, 23, 2BHighest 2018 Level: AA (Pensacola)Eye-Poppingest Fact: 57 walks against 123 strikeouts in 522 plate appearances. .261/.353/.412 line.Most Worrisome Fact: Can he stick at 2B? He was a bit streaky during the season with a slight drop in powerAlias(es): Shed My Pants, Tool Shed, Shedric Von Long In The DrawersBB-Ref PageShed Long has been a guy that’s been hanging around for a while, and it’s funny because he’s the oldest guy on the list so far. He was drafted in the 12th round of the 2013 draft as a catcher. The catcher thing didn’t work out, obviously, but he’s athletic enough to play 2B. Ever since becoming a pro Shed has shown the ability to get on base while providing some very nice pop from a middle infielder position. He’s also good for 15-25 steals a year it seems. The one weakness that has always followed Long was if he has the glove to stick at 2B because otherwise he’d probably have to become a corner outfielder. His bat doesn’t play as well there.Long had a relatively strong 2018 even if it was sort of underwhelming based on previous seasons. He also represented the Reds in the Arizona Fall League where he had a .644 OPS because he showed pretty much no power but had a OBP of .333. I’m also for some reason thinking that Shed had missed a small amount of time with an injury? Possibly a wrist injury? I can’t bring myself to do the research on it. Either way, Shed Long is a pretty dang good prospect to have kicking around in the Reds system at this point, and for a lot of teams he’d be in their top five. I’d expect him to start in AAA.Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP, 23Highest 2018 Level: AA (Pensacola)Eye-Poppingest Fact: 3.82 K/BB ratio, 8.9 K/9, 2.3 BB/9Most Worrisome Fact: 4.35 ERA in 147 innings and was pretty hittableAlias(es): Vlad Goots, Gootius Maximus, The CountBB-Ref PageVladimir Gutierrez was an international signee ($4.75 M bonus) from the 2016 class where the Reds paid a whole bunch of money to some base ballers. I don’t want to go in great detail on those signings because they’re super controversial but Vladimir Gutierrez was not controversial. He is a small guy (6’0, 190lbs) and profiled much like Raisel Iglesias when he was signed. Gutierrez is also considered to be one of the more polished pitchers in the Reds system http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-giancarlo-stanton-jersey , and his name has been brought up briefly in trade rumors.Gutierrez has had a rather up and down professional career so far. Scouts laud him for his control and breaking pitches. His fastball isn’t super overpowering (low to mid 90’s, but has touched as high as 98) but it has decent movement and he can control the pitch. The problem with it so far is that it gets hit well. He also has a curveball that grades out at 60 and a change up at 50. If you go based on his peripherals Gutierrez looks really good and some of his blips are probably just maturation and feel. There has also been some concerns about his endurance at the ends of games and near the end of the season. He did pitch 147 innings in 2018, and as long as he can limit the real bad games the sky is the limit for this kid. His start to the 2018 season was about as bad as it could get with an ERA of 5+ in April and 7+ in May, but he settled down well in the Summer months. I think there’s a real good shot that he starts the year in AAA.TJ Friedl, OF, 23Highest 2018 Level: AA (Pensacola)Eye-Poppingest Fact: .381 OBP over 570 plate appearances in A+ and AAMost Worrisome Fact: .100 ISOAlias(es): TJ Of The Hill Friedl, Frield Day, You Got A Friedl In MeBB-Ref PageAt this point, I think everyone is aware that TJ Friedl came to the Reds as a undrafted Free Agent after some weird mix up in the 2016 draft. Basically, he was playing in an All-Star circuit, didn’t have an agent, and no one knew he was eligible to be drafted. Once it was figured out he was eligible to be drafted, the Reds threw the largest amount of money at him to sign him. I think it was something like $700,000 or so but don’t quote me on that. It’s also not like the Reds were throwing money around. They were the only team that could offered that much because of rules.Regardless, the only thing Friedl has done since signing with the Reds is get on base, and he definitely did that in 2018. Friedl was putting up a super impressive season with Daytona (.405 OBP, .817 OPS) before being promoted to Pensacola and holding his own (.359 OBP, .719 OPS). Scouts like Friedl because of his dependability and because he’s a bit scrappy. He plays a good center field, and can reliably play all over the outfield, and as long as he gets on base he’ll find himself in the big leagues sooner rather than later. There could be a bit of controversy putting him on the voter list so early because he does lack that big prospect ceiling. But, he’s also one of those players that shows reliable skills that could make him a starter or at least a 4th outfielder type. Honestly, he’s probably one of my favorite prospects in the system so he’s getting a favoritism boost.Mike Siani Joe DiMaggio Jersey , 19, OFHighest 2018 Level: Rookie (Greeneville)Eye-Poppingest Fact: .288/.351/.386 slash line over 205 plate appearances.He’s like really good at playing the defense. Most Worrisome Fact: .98 ISO and he didn’t pick up many steals. Alias(es): Mike Trout Siani, Mike Salami, Say It Ain’t SianiBB-Ref PageWhen picking the new guy to put on the list I kept thinking to myself, “Don’t pick the young guy that’s in lower level rookie ball.Just don’t do it.”Well, I did it and I’m not ashamed.I’m gonna dream big on this kid because he’s got some killer tools in his arsenal.Mike Siani was considered a high potential draft pick that should have went earlier than the 4th round but a lot of teams figured he’d go to college.However, the Reds threw some big money at him ($2,000,000) which almost no youngster turns down.It’s real fun to see what the Reds do with their draft bonus pool money.They’ve been pretty creative.What is exciting about Siani is that Mike Trout is his favorite player so of course he’s going to turn into Mike Trout.Definitely.Siani is lauded for being one of the best defensive center fielders in not only last year’s draft but probably in all of minor league baseball at any level.He’s got legit, plus skills across the board sporting great range, an amazing arm (90+ MPH pitcher in high school), and a nifty glove.Scouts believe that he’ll also probably keep his above average speed.The only knock on him is that scouts were mixed on how well he would hit.He’s not a real big guy right now, but there is some belief he could put on twenty pounds or so without losing a step. In 2018, he was promoted to hit against college aged hitters and fared pretty well (see the Eye-Poppingest Facts).He didn’t hit for really any power but showed a mature approach at the plate that I don’t think many expected.Obviously, his talents are in the field but if he can continue to hit (and find some power) he’s going to be a top prospect in no time.The smart bet would be that he starts the year in instructional league and then starts the year in Billings.However, I’d be real interested to see if the Reds are more aggressive and just let him sink or swim in Dayton.They did the same thing pretty much with Taylor Trammell and that worked out pretty good. With spring training right around the corner, over a hundred significant free agents remain unsigned, including the two marquee free agents of this off-season - Bryce Harper and Manny Machado...."With spring training right around the corner, over a hundred significant free agents remain unsigned, including the two marquee free agents of this off-season - Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Whether it is due to analytics showing teams the folly of free agency, or outright collusion, there has been a fundamental shift in the perception of free agency which has caused two consecutive inactive off-seasons. The glacial pace of the off-season has brought up deep concerns about the business of baseball Mickey Mantle Jersey , in particular, how players are paid. For the owners, the concern is that guaranteed contracts tie up too much money in players that are on the decline. For the players, the problem is that they receive far below market value salaries for their first six years of the big leagues before they are eligible to test free agency. One possible solution to this problem is to move from a model that gives guaranteed contracts to one that relies more on pay-for-performance. This isn’t a completely new idea. Following the 1989 season, baseball owners presented a plan to pay players not yet eligible for free agency based on performance. Working on a committee to examine the proposal was a lawyer by the name or Rob Manfred. The system was tied to other proposals limiting free agency including a salary cap. Because of that, it was shot down by union chief Donald Fehr, leading to a lockout of the players that wiped out spring training that year.There were also concerns a “pay-for-performance” model would lead to players going for the fences all the time, and spurning calls by their manager to sacrifice bunt. The model was decried for not incorporating defense and being unfair for pitchers, who relied on wins, which weren’t always within their control.Of course, players swing for the fences all the time now even with guaranteed deals. There are a number of widely accepted defensive metrics. And pitcher wins is widely understood as a statistic that doesn’t accurately measure a pitcher. We also have a widely-used metric that encapsulates a player’s value in Wins Above Replacement Value (WAR). While it is true that WAR would not capture “intangibles”, those tend not to be particularly rewarded in the current system either.How would a pay-for-performance model based on WAR work? The exact numbers and formula for WAR would have to be negotiated between the union and owners. A very rough estimate is that with $10 billion in MLB revenues, about half should go to players, or $5 billion. There are always 1,000 WAR in a season, putting the value of 1 WAR to be $5 million.You would still need to have some base pay, for players that were replacement-level or worse, or were injured for the season. I would recomend a base pay of $500,000 for players in their first and second year of service time, $1 million for players in their third and fourth year of service time, and $2 million for players in their fifth and sixth year of service time. You could subtract the cost of the total base pay salaries from the $5 billion owed to players (there are also pension payments and other costs to account for), and revise the dollar-per-WAR down so that players still get 50% - let’s estimate it at $4 million per 1 WAR for the purposes of illusration.On top of the base pay http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-giancarlo-stanton-jersey , a player would be owed $4 million per WAR based on his performance that year. The antiquated arbitration system which rewards service time over production would be completely eliminated. There would be no reason to game the system for service time (except to move back free agency and that could be remedied somewhat by making it either 5.5 or 6.5 seasons of service time to be eligible for free agency). There is also no reason why you couldn’t have a player’s base pay go up as soon as he hits the service time threshold, even if it is in the middle of a season. So for a player like Whit Merrifield in his second year of service time, he would have a base pay of $500,000, but would get in effect, a bonus at the end of the year based on his 5.2 WAR, an amount that would total $20.8 million for a total salary of $21.3 million. Could there be possible sticker shock for teams that see they have to suddenly pay a player $20 million at the end of the year? Perhaps. But teams can mitigate some of that volatility by offering more long-term deals, like the one Merrifield received. Only now those players will have more leverage to get something closer to market value. What about veterans who have reached free agency and are enjoying guaranteed contracts? They can still enjoy guaranteed contracts, but teams should be encouraged to move to a more incentive-based model. Right now, teams are not allowed to offer contracts based on performance-based incentives, instead the only incentives allowed to be offered are for playing time (i.e. $1 million for reaching 500 plate appearances) or receiving awards. Teams should instead be allowed - and even encouraged - to offer veterans a base salary plus incentives based on WAR. The player could potentially make even more money than a guaranteed deal if they produce, but if they fail to, they would get just their base salary (there could be a veteran base salary minimum). With teams shying away from big-time free agent deals, allowing more flexibility and incentivized deals could help thaw the spending freeze. There would be complications of course, particularly in the transition. Teams would be asked to spend a lot more money on pre-free agency players while still having guaranteed contracts on the books. So perhaps the dollar-per-WAR payments will have to start out at a lower level and be incrementally increased as those big dollar contracts expire. And players who are now reaching free agency missed out on potentially lucrative paydays as they enter a lower-pay free agency period, so perhaps there could be some sort of compensatory fund for them. Certainly the numbers would have to be negotiated on and even re-adjusted each year. And there could be problems with players complaining about how they are used that doesn’t max out their WAR - and thus pay - potential.But this would get both sides more of what they want. Players get rewarded more handsomely for their most productive seasons. Teams get more flexibility with unproductive, older players. This free agent period has been difficult for baseball fans, but perhaps one good thing that comes out of it is a complete re-examination of how baseball does business. And it may be time for a new model.