‘Fast track’ might not include Dayton stop
By Marc Katz, Staff Writer 1:11 AM Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just wondering what the fast track looks like when uttered by someone connected with the Reds.

After pitchers Mike Leake (Arizona State) and Brad Boxberger (USC) signed the other day from the first round of this summer’s draft, Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty immediately put them on the “fast track” to the major leagues.

The implication was these two will skip over the Class A Dayton Dragons and pitch higher in the organization next year.

Of course, just a week ago, Reds minor league pitching coordinator Mack Jenkins expressed hope Leake and Boxberger would sign in enough time to each pitch at least a game here as the Dragons try to make the playoffs, but maybe that was just wishful thinking on his part.

Farm director Terry Reynolds confirmed Wednesday it was doubtful either would pitch before the fall instructional league.

As for moving quickly through the organization, the Reds have been a little slow-footed compared to some other organizations.

Just one of their draft picks, Drew Stubbs, have reached the majors leagues from the 2006-2009 drafts, while four have made it from 2005 (Jay Bruce, Jeff Stevens with the Cubs, Carlos Fisher and Adam Rosales) and three from 2004 (Homer Bailey, Craig Tatum and Paul Janish).

Fast track? Thirteen first-round draft picks from 2006 are already in the majors and at least six have already made it from 2007.

There was a time when almost automatically the No. 1 pick by the Reds played in Dayton. When the Dragons began play in 2000, Austin Kearns, the No. 1 pick in 1998, was on the team, as well as pitcher Ty Howington, the No. 1 pick from 1999.

All but three No. 1 picks since (not including Leake) have played with the Dragons. The only ones missing were pitcher Jeremy Sowers, No. 1 in 2001 who did not sign, pitcher Ryan Wagner in 2003 who started his pro career in Class AA and last year’s No. 1, first baseman Yonder Alonso, who signed too late to join the Dragons.

Boxberger, a supplemental first-round pick (43rd overall), is the son of Rod Boxberger, who was the most valuable player for National Championship-winning USC in 1978. Rod was selected No. 11 overall by Houston that year, but never made it higher than Class AA in six years.

The elder Boxberger was 30-55 overall with the Astros, Yankees and Angels organizations. He recorded a 4.67 ERA and had control problems, walking 504 in 702 innings while striking out 389. He also threw 53 wild pitches.

How about this, though. Rod Boxberger started his minor league career in the Florida State League with Daytona. What if his son started his minor league career in a city that sounds something like that?
For some reason these stories never really get old when we all know they should.