Thus far in 2007, the struggles of the Reds' bullpen have been well-documented, but the Chattanooga Lookouts wouldn't know what it's like to have a struggling bullpen. The Lookouts currently possess three of the hottest Reds relief prospects in their system in Calvin Medlock, Tyler Pelland, and Carlos Guevara.
As was mentioned last night in the minor league updates thread, while top tier prospects such as Homer Bailey, Jay Bruce, and Joey Votto are receiving well-deservedly publicity and hype for their accomplishments, this current trio of relief prospects currently down in Chattanooga are a microcosm of the types of players the Reds need to successfully reach the majors and develop into key contributors.
Here's a quick look at what Medlock, Pelland, and Guevara have done thus far in 2007 ...
RHP Calvin Medlock: Medlock was selected in the 39th round of the 2002 amateur draft and began his minor league career initially as a starting pitcher. Last season, the Reds committed to converting Medlock in a full-time reliever, and he has been nothing short of dominant coming out of the bullpen. Last season in Chattanooga, Medlock pitched in 42 games, totaling 63.2 innings with a K/9 of 9.90, BB/9 of 3.96, and a HR/9 of 0.57. Thus far in 2007, Medlock has improved his command dramatically and has been the type of dominant relief ace every team dreams about with 41 strikeouts and only three walks in 32.2 innings, and he may be looking at a possible promotion to Louisville and/or Cincinnati sometime this season.Code:Reliever Age G IP ERA DIPS WHIP HR K BB HR/9 K/9 BB/9 K/BB Medlock 24.6 20 32.2 3.03 1.94 0.83 2 41 3 0.55 11.30 0.83 13.67 Pelland 23.7 9 18.0 3.50 2.80 1.28 2 28 7 1.00 14.00 3.50 4.00 Guevara 25.2 19 25.2 2.10 2.58 1.01 2 33 7 0.70 11.57 2.45 4.71 TOTAL 48 76.1 3.07 2.36 1.00 6 102 17 0.71 12.03 2.00 6.00
LHP Tyler Pelland: Pelland was selected in the 9th round of the 2002 amateur draft by the Boston Red Sox and acquired by the Cincinnati Reds in August, 2003 to complete the deal that sent Scott Williamson to the Boston Red Sox earlier that season. Earlier this season, the Reds committed to converting Tyler Pelland to a full-time relief pitcher, and the early returns have been extremely encouraging. As a starter, Pelland struggled mightily with his command and posted a lifetime 5.10 BB/9 coming into 2007. Thus far this season out of the bullpen, however, Pelland's command has improved dramatically and he's cut his BB/9 down to 3.50. Meanwhile, with a bit of extra velocity out of the pen, Pelland's strikeout rate has simultaneously jumped up with a K/9 of 14, and the cumulative result is now a K/BB ratio of 4.00 out of the bullpen. Pelland is not yet 24-years-old, and it will be exciting to see his development curve as he continues to adjust to his now full-time relief role.
RHP Carlos Guevara: Guevara was selected in the 7th round of the 2003 amateur draft and has posted outstanding numbers at every level he's pitched at throughout his minor league career. Coming into 2007, Guevara had a career 3.06 ERA in 235.2 minor league innings with a K/9 of 11.36, BB/9 of 3.14, and HR/9 of 0.69. Last season in Chattanooga, Guevara pitched in 49 games, totaling 77.1 innings (career high) and finishing with a 3.72 ERA, 10.36 K/9, 3.14 BB/9, and a 0.70 HR/9. Thus far in 2007, Guevara has improved both his K/9 and BB/9 rates and may be looking at a possible promotion to Louisville and/or Cincinnati very soon.