Did the Reds pickup another steal in the late rounds of the draft? They were able to steal Denorfia out of the 19th round of the 2002 draft, at right now Cody Strait is looking like he could a potential steal as a 12th round pick in 2004 out of the University of Evansville.
In his senior season at Evansville, Strait hit .350/.440/.578 in 250 plate appearances. After the Reds drafted and signed him, he was assigned to Billings of the Pioneer League. Strait destroyed that league, hitting .388/.434/.653 in a little over 50 plate appearances. Strait was then promoted to Dayton where he found success a little harder to come by. He ended up just hitting .209/.266/.273 in 220 atbats with the Dragons.
Strait was again assigned to Dayton to open the 2005 season and it turns out he played the whole season there. He put up a decent statline of .266/.349/.426. Nothing great, but he did manage to improve his plate discipline a little bit. In 2004 he posted a 14 bb/95 k rate in 269 atbats. 2005 saw him improve it to 38 bb/102 k in 413 atbats. Still not great, but an improvement nonetheless. He also was hit by a pitch 15 times, and he proved himself to be a pretty solid base stealer with 25 steals in 32 chances(78%).
The 2006 season to date has been a successful one for Strait. After getting two more hits in tonight's game, Strait is now hitting .282/.354/.620. He has 5 home run and 9 doubles in just 71 atbats. He has successfully stolen 10 bases in 10 attempts for a perfect 100% rate. While is 5 bb/19 k rate is not that great, he has been hit by a pitch already three times and it appears he uses that as a tool to get on base similar to LaRue.
Strait will turn 23 in late May, so he is not a very young guy but he's also not too old for the league. If he continues to hit well then he should be promoted to Chattanooga. He is listed as an infielder on the Sarasota roster but I've noticed that he has been playing a lot of outfield too. I could see him being a solid utility player in the major leagues someday, which is more than what people expect out of a 12th round pick. If he can improve his bb/k rate then he could possibily become more than just a utility guy. Still, you have got to love the power he is showing early on. He is definitely a guy I will be keeping a eye on.