Great post camisa!
The idea is that they have a lot less miles on their arms when they start pro careers. The downside (in addition to the stretching out that's referenced elsewhere in the thread) is that many of these guys had even less of an occasion to bother with developing offspeed stuff of the kind one needs to be a consistently successful big-league starter, so it's an added element of risk.
Players, fans share thrills
Dayton crowd applauds Reds stars, who appreciate their days as Dragons.
By David DiCenzo
Sunday, April 05, 2009
DAYTON — The familiar smells of summer waft through Fifth Third Field. Pizza. Hot dogs. Beer.
But it's batting practice that has fans buzzing. When second-year Red Joey Votto takes his cuts, he hits a towering shot that easily clears the 402-foot sign in right-center field. The ball caroms off a rail and falls to the concrete. Many members of the red-clad crowd on the lawn scramble for the souvenir.
The day is already memorable for thousands of fans eager to watch Cincinnati's present and future crop of stars.
"It's really neat," said 29-year-old Batavia resident Christy Holcombe, decked out in a Reds T-shirt with matching necklace. "To see the future players against the current players, some of the prospects coming up through the farm system, it's going to be amazing to see them play."
A serious fan, Holcombe is carrying a folder with a sampling of the approximately 2,500 photos she shot last season.
"This is my condensed version so I can get them signed," Holcombe said, adding that Bronson Arroyo is her favorite Red.
Friends Zach Balsinger, 12, and Daniel Gnau, 11, get a close-up look at BP from a temporary seat in the second row, down the first-base line. It was a long winter for the pair from Centerville and Gnau in particular is pumped with the new season just days away.
"I'm ready," he said.
Balsinger attended about five Reds' games last season, but being able to see his team close to home is meaningful, especially because of the familiar faces of former Dragons like Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey.
"It sure beats the drive down to Cincinnati," Balsinger said. "It's great to see the old Dragons because we've had season tickets since the first year."
Hours before the game, Bruce and Votto recalled their time playing at Fifth Third Field.
"This was a big stepping stone for me here in Dayton," Bruce said. "I have a lot of great memories. I was telling guys on the way here, this place is amazing to play (in) as a minor league baseball player."
"I don't think I've ever played for a team that had such a great fan base," Votto said. "Diehard fans."
Those diehards also gave a rousing ovation to Cincinnati legends Eric Davis and Ken Griffey Sr., honorary coaches for the futures team. Longtime Reds' supporter Chad Hall, 35, said it was a treat to see Griffey throwing BP.
"Where else can you see these stars in a stadium so close?" said the New London resident, alongside his 5-year-old son Caleb, who was seeing the Reds for the first time.
"It makes for a great day."
Reds defeat minor-league stars 9-6 in Futures game
Former Dragons on both teams provide fans with home runs and plenty of hits and memories.
By Marc Katz
Sunday, April 05, 2009
DAYTON — Exhibition games are played for the memories, not necessarily the final score.
And there were plenty of memories at Fifth Third Field Saturday afternoon, April 4, when the parent Cincinnati Reds beat their best minor-leaguers 9-6 in a Futures game attended by 8,956 fans under cool but sunny skies.
Four homers were hit by former Dayton Dragons, two for the Reds (Edwin Encarnacion and Luis Bolivar) and two by the Futures (Chris Valaika and Todd Frazier).
• The homers by Encarnacion and Boilvar (he'll open the season with Class AAA Louisville) hit the batter's-eye screen in dead center field, while Frazier's two-run blast cleared the left-field concession stand.
"My wife and family were here to see it," said Bolivar, who lives in Vandalia. "I feel pretty good right now."
Valaika's homer accounted for three runs as the Futures scored five times in the eighth.
"It's nice to do that in front of the hometown fans," said Valaika, who played for the Dragons in 2007. "And it's nice playing against the big club."
Frazier also was complimentary.
"If I could play here every day of the week, I'd do it," said Frazier, who was here for the final week of 2007 and 30 games last season. Valaika is scheduled to begin this season at Class AAA Louisville, while Frazier will begin at Class AA Carolina.
• Starting Futures shortstop Zack Cozart matched Frazier with three hits, and 11 former Dragons in all from both sides collected hits.
• Joey Votto and Jay Bruce were the biggest names in the Reds lineup as former Dragons, and Votto used his first at-bat to knock in a run with a double off the left-field wall in the first.
• Twelve former Dragons in all made it into the lineup for the Reds, including Votto, Bruce, Encarnacion, outfielder Chris Dickerson and starting pitcher Johnny Cueto, all expected to be on the roster for Opening Day on Monday. Infielders Paul Janish and Adam Rosales also played, and at least one of them — possibly both — will be with the team on Opening Day. Pitchers Robert Manuel, Carlos Fisher and Pedro Viola also played.
Chris Valaika, the Reds' minor league player of the year in 2008, hit a three-run homer and Todd Frazier had a two-run shot for the Futures team.
“I saw some good things from them,” Baker said. “I saw some good arms, quick bats and some power. This organization is going places.”
Stewart was very impressive. He was hitting 94 pretty consistently and throwing a great slider. When he gets a little better command of that slider...
The talk of Stewart being converted to a starter has been going on for a while. He has not been able to repeat the same velocity on back-to-back days. On the second day, he is down a few miles an hour. That is the reason for the consideration.
I thought Stewart was the most impressive player on the Futures Team, although Frazier's home run was something to see. Frazier did butcher a fly ball in left. I have been saying for a while, he is going to need some time out there. He had the one base running mistake. On the other hand, he did a great job of going from first to third on a single to right center in the second that most players, even faster players, would not have done, simply because Frazier is so instinctive on the bases.
Of all the relievers on the field yesterday, I think Stewart easily has the highest ceiling. It was my first time seeing him pitch live, and he did more than enough to live up to the hype.
Nice report, CDG.
"Bring on Rod Stupid!"
Stewarts stuff was easily the most impressive from the relievers, but Carlos Fisher really impressed me as well. I really like his stuff.
Zach Stewart's dad said the plan was to start Stewart at Double-A, but that was two months ago and things could have changed by now. His dad made this post over on Redlegs Baseball back in January:
http://redlegsbaseball.blogspot.com/...h-stewart.htmlZach has not been told anything about where he will be this season, but his agent met with the Reds at the winter meetings and they told him that their plans were for Zach to start at Double-A unless he was to have a bad spring training. In that case he would start back in Sarasota at high-A.
For those who haven't seen it yet, Doug has a ton of videos and pictures from the Future Stars game up on his website. Check it out:
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