Click Here To Visit Our Sponsor
Baseball America Online - Teams

scoreboards
Stats
features
columnists
news
draft
minors
NCAA
High School store
contact
contact

   
   
Reds Top 10 Prospects

By Josh Boyd
February 12, 2003

Want More?

Prospect Handbook
Does 10 prospects per team only whet your appetite? How does 30 sound? If you want the more of in-depth information you're finding here on three times as many players, Baseball America's 2003 Prospect Handbook is for you.

1. Chris Gruler, rhp

Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 200. Drafted: HS–Brentwood, Calif., 2002 (1st round). Signed by: Butch Baccala.

Background: The Reds were split on which high school pitcher to draft with the third overall pick in 2002: Gruler or Scott Kazmir. The consensus was that Kazmir had a higher ceiling, but his price tag was considered much higher as well. Gruler, who got a club-record $2.5 million bonus, wasn’t purely a signability pick, though. After his predraft workout, Johnny Bench said Gruler’s breaking ball and changeup were better than Tom Seaver’s. Gruler’s stock soared leading up to the draft as his velocity increased from the upper 80s to the mid-90s. With nine Reds scouts on hand for his final prep start, he hit 95 mph in the seventh inning. Upon reporting to Rookie-level Billings, Gruler was shut down after his first start as a precaution. He threw pain-free for the rest of the season, highlighted by six no-hit innings in the low Class A Midwest League. But his shoulder was sore during instructional league and doctors discovered fraying in his rotator cuff. Instead of having surgery, Gruler was ordered not to throw for two months and concentrated on rebuilding his shoulder strength.

Strengths: Gruler has two plus pitches to go with a clean and effortless delivery. His fastball explodes out of his hand and he pumped 89-94 mph fastballs with boring action in on righties. He snaps off nasty curveballs from the same arm slot, generating hard downward bite through the zone. While he toyed with a splitter in high school, Gruler shelved it in favor of a changeup, which has the makings of a reliable pitch. He has been a sponge since signing, soaking up knowledge from veteran pitching instructor Sammy Ellis and video work.

Weaknesses: The biggest hurdle for Gruler is his rotator-cuff injury. The fear is that while he has avoided surgery for now, six months of rehab won’t repair the fraying and an operation is inevitable. He needs to hone the command of his fastball and continue to develop his changeup.

The Future: Gruler’s shoulder ailment could keep him out of action until May, and the Reds will monitor him closely. Provided he returns at full strength, he’ll return to low Class A Dayton after a stint in extended spring training. He should move fast if he’s healthy.

2002 Club (Class)

W

L

ERA

G

GS

CG

SV

IP

H

HR

BB

SO

AVG

Billings (R)

0

0

1.08

4

4

0

0

17

11

1

6

11

.183

Dayton (A)

0

1

5.60

7

7

0

0

27

23

2

16

31

.227

  Copyright 2003 Baseball America. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.