Hello all you wonderful people out there! I hope you've had a chance to wash your car now that the weather across most of the country is beginning to break. I treated mine to a bath today and much to my surprise, I noticed it changed back to its original color. After being "road-salt white" for so long, I forgot that my car was actually burgundy. (and yes, "road-salt white" should be an official Crayola color).
Much to my relief (and to the relief of my boss, too, I'm sure), I'm nearly finished with the Player Development section of the 2010 Reds Media Guide. I have a few more bios to write and then I'll be ALL DONE! The process of producing a media guide is a tedious one involving several people. Unfortunately, I've been unintentionally holding everyone up as I trudge through stat lines, heights, weights and career highlights for each guy in our system (I'm that guy driving 20mph on a one-lane highway during rush hour).
Every year while I'm writing the minor league bios, I find one or two guys whose stats and accomplishments jump out at me. Although, I write the daily Reds Farm Report during the season, sometimes there'll be a couple of players who fly under the radar and surprise me this time of year when it's time to put all of their achievements down on paper. This year, it's Mark Serrano (not to be confused with this guy). There was a lot of good stuff about Mark to write due to the fact that, well, he's awesome...see for yourself, this is what I scribbled up about him:
SERRANO, Mark - RHP Age: 24; Ht: 6-2; Wt: 195; B: L; T: R; BORN: 9/14/85, Los Angeles, CA. SIGNED BY: Mike Keenan. RESIDES: Downey, CA. OBTAINED: Selected in the sixth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. CAREER NOTES: In 2009, went a combined 3-1 with a 2.11 ERA in 14 games (8 starts) for Rookie Billings and Class-A Dayton...overall held opponents to a .198 batting average...fanned 65 batters in just 55.1 innings...named Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for 8/10-8/16 (7ip, 2h, 0r, 0bb, 10k)...following the season Baseball America ranked his slider as the best in the organization...2009 At Oral Roberts University: went 9-1 with a 2.50 ERA in 20 appearances (9 starts)...pitched 3 complete games (2 shutouts)...named 2009 Summit League Player and Pitcher of the Year...named Second Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and Ping! Baseball...ranked second in Oral Roberts single-season history with 132 strikeouts (86.1ip)...ranked second nationally with 13.77 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched...tied for 5th in the NCAA in strikeouts (132) and 19th in ERA (2.50)...his first loss of the season came on 5/30 vs Arizona State when he allowed 4 runs (3er) on 8 hits and 13 strikeouts in 8.1 innings...his opposing pitcher in that game was Reds #1 pick Mike Leake who pitched a complete game, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits with 15 strikeouts. PERSONAL: Graduated from Downey HS (CA) where along with being a baseball standout was the MVP of the football team and first-team all-league gridiron star...played collegiately at Cypress College in addition to Oral Roberts University.
Not bad, eh? I would've loved to have seen that Serrano vs. Leake game. 28 strikeouts between the two of them! Mighty impressive.
Anyway, I was so intrigued by Serrano's accomplishments, that I asked a couple of people a lot smarter than me about him - Reds Senior Director of Player Development Terry Reynolds and Dayton Dragons Director of Media Relations and Broadcasting Tom Nichols. Here's what they had to say:
"Mark has a very good arm, good demeanor on the mound and a good feel to pitch. He has a chance to be a quick mover in our system." - Reynolds
"Mark is a great story. He was a late bloomer who became a dominant pitcher as a fifth year senior at Oral Roberts, and when he joined our club, he was one of the top pitchers in our league from his first day here. He has an outstanding slider that he goes to when he gets ahead in the count and it is a great strikeout pitch. But above everything, when you watch Serrano, the thing that stands out the most is his tremendous poise and quiet confidence. He is one of those guys whose demeanor never changes on the mound, whether he is sailing along with no one on base or battling a bases loaded jam with the tying run on third. He is a great competitor and he always gives you the feeling that he believes he is in control of the game. I think his teammates feed off of that confidence. Because of his age, he will have to move quickly, but I felt he was as impressive as any pitcher I saw in 2009 and I think you will eventually see him in Cincinnati." - Nichols (who saw most, if not all of Serrano's games last year)
Ok, so you heard it here first. Mark Serrano is good.