Bats excited about their two prospects
By C.L. Brown
Louisville Bats vice president and general manager Dale Owens is as eager as the rest of the Cincinnati Reds' fans who have never watched Homer Bailey pitch and Joey Votto hit.
Bailey and Votto created quite a buzz last season while earning the Reds' top minor league awards at Double-A Chattanooga. This season will mark the Triple-A debut for both players, who will start the season with the Bats.
"It's the most highly touted group of prospects, especially two of that level, that I've seen come through at the same time," Owens said. "Adam Dunn was touted, but he was alone in his class. Same with Geoff Jenkins. But we've never had two like Homer Bailey and Joey Votto."
Tonight fans can sneak a peak at what the fuss is about.
The Bats will have an open workout from 7-9 p.m. at Louisville Slugger Field. Admission is free, and concessions and the gift shop will be open.
Louisville will open its season tomorrow against the two-time International League champion Toledo Mud Hens at 7p.m.
Bailey, 20, is viewed as the organization's No.1 prospect. Some figured he would get called up last season after he went 7-1 with a 1.59 ERA at Chattanooga. The Reds' named him their 2006 Minor League Player of the Year.
Baseball America listed Votto as the Reds' No.4 prospect. The 23-year-old Toronto native hit .319 at Chattanooga last season. He led the Southern League in batting average and doubles (46) and was second in home runs (22). He was the Southern League's MVP and the Reds' minor league Hitter of the Year.
"They've had great success already at every level," Owens said. "Votto was (nearly) a triple crown winner in the Southern League, and Homer just dominated both Double-A and Single-A last year."
Fans will have to wait until Sunday to see Bailey pitch. Southpaw Bobby Livingston, who nearly became the Reds' fifth starter, is scheduled to take the mound for the Bats tomorrow.
Louisville finished third last season in the IL's West Division, just 1½ games behind Toledo and Indianapolis, who tied for first.
C.L. Brown can be reached at (502) 582-4044.