“It’s a combination of people that do it,” explained Walker, who landed with the Reds along with Reds President of Baseball Operations Walt Jocketty from the Cardinals’ front office in 2007.
“(Doran and Graupe) talk with the rovers who come in and the instructors. Then I come in from the administrative end of things to evaluate. We have some input, but mostly it’s the player development people who decide who needs to move and when. Some of the more higher-profile guys, we have a little bit more say in it.”
Player development at all levels is what counts most in the minors. The challenge is to manage 150 potential Reds players amid position needs, injuries and productiveness. Sometimes it’s not the best player who gets a promotion, but rather the player who best fills an immediate need.
“Injuries have a big part of it,” Walker said. “If the Daytona (Fla.) club gets a couple kids the logical place to look to is Dayton and see if there’s anybody there that can move. The strange part of it is sometimes if it’s going to be a temporary thing, it’s not the best player from Dayton who goes, it’s someone to protect (Daytona) for a few days.”
The Dragons were 29-62 overall (8-13 second half) going into Saturday’s series opener against the visiting Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Brewers). Dayton’s lineup includes first-rounders Stephenson, a catcher (2015 draft) and third baseman Nick Senzel, No. 2 overall in last month’s draft. That’s the highest the Reds have drafted since Kurt Stillwell also was chosen second overall in 1983.
“The primary guys in the organization are given a priority, but they’re also given a priority to play at a level that’s best for the organization,” Walker said. “Those are the players we generally talk about before we make a move.”