A Minor Review of 2008: The Reds

by Marc Hulet - October 29, 2008 Comments (8)

The Graduate: Johnny Cueto | Born: February 1986 | Right-Handed Pitcher

The Reds received some solid performances from rookies in 2008 and Johnny Cueto was no exception. Despite the 9-14 record, Cueto pitched 174 innings and allowed 178 hits. He posted rates of 3.52 BB/9 and 8.17 K/9. Cueto needs to work on his consistency and avoiding the long ball (1.50 HR/9). He mainly relies on his low-to-mid-90s fastball and slider, but also features a hard change-up (averages 84 mph).

The Riser: Daryl Thompson | Born: November 1985 | Right-Handed Pitcher

After batting injuries throughout most of his career, the once-promising Daryl Thompson showed his potential again thanks to two straight (relatively) healthy seasons. He made three Major League starts in 2008 and struggled by allowing 20 hits and seven walks in 14.1 innings. His numbers, though, in Double-A and Triple-A were excellent so he is a good bet to have a bigger impact in Cincinnati in 2009. Thompson features a low-90s fastball, slider, curveball and change-up.

The Tumbler: Pedro Viola | Born: June 1983 | Left-Handed Pitcher

Pedro Viola was a late bloomer out of the Dominican Republic and did not make it stateside until the age of 23 in 2007. He made up for lost time and rocket through three levels that year before settling in Double-A. Viola returned to Double-A in 2008 but struggled with being too hittable. He allowed 88 hits in 82.1 innings and posted rates of 3.94 BB/9 and 9.18 K/9. He has a low-to-mid-90s fastball but his secondary pitches are fringy.

The 08 Draft Pick: Alex Buchholz | Born: September 1987 | Second Baseman

A sixth round pick out of the University of Delaware, Alex Buchholz is an offensive-minded second baseman, who was converted from a college third baseman. He was assigned to Rookie Ball, despite his age and experience, due to a plethora of infield talent in the system. Buchholz dominated and posted a line of .396/.460/.604 with 15 doubles in 134 at-bats. He also posted rates of 10.7 BB% and 18.7 K%. He should begin 2009 in A-ball and could move quickly.

The 09 Sleeper: Kyle Lotzkar | Born: October 1989 | Right-Handed Pitcher

Kyle Lotzkar, a Canadian, was selected in the 2007 supplemental first round due to an impressive repertoire that features a low-to-mid-90s fastball, solid change-up and improving curveball. The big issues with Lotzkar, who has limited pitching experience, are his command and control. In his second season, Lotzkar allowed just 29 hits in 37.2 innings and posted rates of 5.73 BB/9 and 11.95 K/9. He allowed just two home runs. His season was cut short by a stress fracture in his elbow, which should be healed by the spring. Fellow Canadian prospect Adam Loewen had his pitching career ended by a stress fracture, while White Sox closer Bobby Jenks was able to rebound from a similar injury early in his pro career.