The Lynchburg franchise has been in existence in the Carolina League since 1966. Prior to this year it was affiliated to the Pirates for the previous 15 seasons. The Reds are on a one year deal and from all accounts would like to stay. After playing in the Uber pitcher friendly FSL, the Carolina League while not a hitters haven plays a little close to neutral and IMO shows a players true skill set with a bat and a pitchers ability a little closer to the actual norm.
There was some positive vibes surrounding this team coming into the year. Most the men on the original roster were pushed up from Dayton, who came oh so close to making the playoffs from the second half surge last year.
Pitching wise the team looked like it would be good on paper with some key holdovers and a few good arms up from Dayton.
Overall in an 8 team league, they rank 5th in ERA (3.94) Hits Allowed (686) 2nd in Shutouts (6) 8th in saves (16) IP (709) CG's (0) Hit Batters (51) 7th in Runs Allowed (381) HR's Allowed (60) 3rd in fewest BB's allowed (238) 9th in K's (584) and 4th in WHIP (1.30)
The rotation started the season with...
as the original 5...
Fairel has been promoted to AA after a 5-1 / 3.04 ERA / 1.01 WHIP Line
Boxberger has been promoted to AA as a reliever to conserve innings, after going 4-6 / 3.19 ERA / 1.24 WHIP / 9.11 K per 9 line in High A
Partch seems to have some supporters in the Reds Front Office. Hasn't really put up good numbers at any level since his debut in 2007. Has a projectible body at 6'5". Throws fairly hard (around 90-95) but doesn't K to many batters(6.43 Per 9), pitching more to contact and has a very attractive ground ball rate (2.24 this year). Only 23 he could be converted into a reliever (where he's had more success)going into next season.
Webb was a holdover from last season and has been promoted to AA after posting a 0-1 / 2.79 / 1.50 WHIP / 9.0 K per line. At 25, he needed to be advanced one level.
Serrano a 2009 draftee, looked world beater good in Dayton last year. He started the season with a small injury that held him back a few days. Currently in AAA for what probably amounts to one start, his line in High A reads 3-6 / 4.42 ERA / 1.31 WHIP /8.8 K per 9. Is 24 and profiles as a middle reliever in the future. Has a solid GO rate as well (1.51).
With a natural attrition that occurs in the lower minors every year the current rotation consists of...
TBD (Serrano in all probability)
Avery is an organizational guy who has battled arm issues the last couple years. At 26 just filler in a system to help keep abuse low on the young prospect arms.
Janke looked adequate as a starter last year putting up solid numbers in Dayton and Sarasota but has struggled as both a starter and a reliever in Lynchburg this year. But, with no attractive options in Dayton and being only 23, he will continue to get chances to turn himself around.
Hotchkiss is a very interesting prospect. Used primarily as a reliever and occasional spot starter for most of his career in the Reds system. His stuff seems to translate better as a starter than a reliever. Has a Higher K rate as a starter (7.94 vs 6.11) and a lower BB rate (1.70 vs 2.57). Had a terrible start last time out that actually made his starter numbers drop a touch. ERA prior to that start as a starter was 2.22 after was 3.44. At 25 at the start of next season, probably in line for a starters job next year at Carolina just as much for his production, as the lack of options at this level.
The bullpen like all other levels of the system is in constant flux with comings and goings....
all hold overs from the previous year with newcomers ...
Freeman is a control pitcher who can miss bats (8.48 K per 9) avoids the Walk (1.16 BB per 9) and gets alot of GB's (1.83 GO/FO Ratio). Had a rough April but in his last 13 appearances his line reads 17.2 IP 16 H (.232 BAA) 4 ER's (2.04 ERA) 1 BB (0.5 Per 9) and 21 K's (10.7 Per 9). As a GB pitcher his numbers could improve at each level with better defense behind him. In 146 professional innings he has walked 24 batters and struck out 135. Will be in AA next year and defiantly qualifies as a ML bullpen prospect.
Horst has been promoted to AA.
Thurman a LHP was last years Donnie Joesph. Dominated A+ in 2009. Started the year there again and suffered an arm injury in the first month. Should be back at some point in 2011.
Gaffney RHP and Gonzalez LHP both suffered the same fate.
Bowman in a LHP with a WHIP higher than any pitcher in the system who has played all year (1.93). Doesn't walk LHB (3 in 13.2 IP) mainly because they hit every thing he throws at them (.328 BAA). RHB don't hit him well at all (.237 BAA) mainly because if they just stand there and watch the pitches go by (29 BB in 22.2 IP). At 24 in High A ball, probably in his last season as a Red farm hand.
Some others have pitched for the Hillcats this year...
Watson a demoted pitcher from Carolina, showed a ton a promise as a Starter, then reliever, early in his career. In 2008 his control went on vacation and never returned. As a second round pick he has more chances than most to find it again but really has done nothing to improve even after his demotion. 25 in a couple week (July 24th), he might have one more early season chance next year to turn himself around.
Lil Harang. Google "bad star in Greek".
Jeffords who is a 25 yr old pitcher coming of an arm injury last year, has a poor line on the year (5.10 ERA / 1.43 WHIP) but as his arm has gotten farther away from surgery, has gotten better (14 IP / 0.84 WHIP / 17 K's - Since June 1st) Will be in Carolina more than likely to begin 2011.
Christiani is a 2009 draftee from Vandy, that was the last signed in the class. Starting in Dayton didn't have wowser numbers but showed control and GB tendencies. After being promoted to High A he just got better. (.194 BAA / 1.29 BB rate per 9 / 2.42 GO-FO Ratio) Small in size 5'10" will stay in the pen and be in Carolina probably before seasons end. A definite ML possible talent.
Ware is a recent promotion from Dayton and if it wasn't for Joesph he'd be the best reliever in the lower minors this year. He wasn't drafted and came in after the draft as a tryout signee. Was the closer in Dayton after Joseph left and just dominated the MWL (1.84 ERA / 7 saves / 1.00 WHIP / 9 K per 9 / 1.65 BB per 9 / .229 BAA / 1.85 GO-FO Ratio). Someone in the forum made the statement that High A wasn't high enough for him. They were right (0.00 ERA / .087 BAA / 0.57 WHIP / 1.33 GO-FO Ratio / 9 K's per 9) in his first 2 weeks there. Will be 23 on July 17th. Definite prospect.
Daniel Guerrero has pictures of Terry Reynolds in a compromised position and will continue to blackmail him to keep his 85 MPH fastball in the system.
Joseph. One of my untouchables. Having the best season of any legit Reds Minor League reliever I can ever remember. Between Dayton and Lynchburg, he is putting up Nintendo numbers. (33 appearances / 12 Saves / 0.88 ERA /.142 BAA / 40 IP / 12 BB's / 70 K's / 1.30 GO-FB Ratio) Hasn't been scored on in his last 10 appearances. (.103 BAA) Could be a Loogy in the Majors tomorrow and an effective one. At 22 he is a Future ML closer or at worst setup man by 2012.
The offense had a few holdovers and a few new faces from Dayton. With the move to the Carolina League improvements around were expected. Certain players exceeded expectations, while others struggle to make theirs.
Rank 2nd in fewest K's (577) HR (55) 3rd in BA (.265) SLG% (.391) 2B (165) 4th in OPS (.715) Hits (730) 5th in OBP (.324) 6th in SB (61) Runs (326) 7th in RBI's (288) 8th in BB's (209) 3B's (10). A team that doesn't walk, doesn't have much speed, but doesn't K, that hits for power.
Soto has become very versatile in his second season in High A. Drafted as a SS, moved to 3B, plays 1B regularly, as well as learning to catch, his value as a prospect is increasing. A very streaky hitter, his OPS suffers from a poor BB Rate. It has show slight improvement this year. Already equaling his HR (11) and 2B (21) totals from last year in 200 less AB's. Very slow of foot. Will never be a SB threat. If he can stick at catcher, his stock would dramatically improve. Very very young still at just 21, has alot of time infront of him and could start 2011 in High A and not be that big of a deal. The real positive is that at 21, he absolutely tunes up RHP all day long. (.335 /.505 /.840) But has a very hard time vs LHP. (.237 /.270/.507) If he get used to facing LH and hits them like most RH's can, he could ceiling into a .800/.850 OPS player at the Major League Level.
Puckett is a former SS who moved to 2B who could be moved to LF as early as next season. Hits for power (.504 SLG%) takes a walk (.360 OBP) has some speed (12 SB in 14 Att). While not a top prosect, he could be alot more than an organizational guy. Just 23, he should start in Carolina next year.
Buhholtz had an incredible Debut at Billings (1.075 OPS) and jumped a level to begin 2009. Struggled last season in Sarasota (.622 OPS) but has shown a strong rebound this year (.745). Started to show power in June (5 of 6 HR's) but like his previous two seasons, got hurt and derailed his year. That is a concern. Just 22 he also could repeat High A next year and not be much of an issue. Can play 2B/3B/SS.
Rojas just 21, is the among if not the best defensive SS in the minors. Has range and a solid glove, arm is above average and could be a defensive replacement in the majors tomorrow. His bat however is concern. He hit well enough in the MWL as a 20 year old (.665 OPS) and was moves along to make room for Gregorious who has the more advanced bat. OPSing .534 on the year, showed improvement in June before getting injured (.669). If he could OPS .650 in the Majors he could start with his glove.
Mendez is a singles hitter and played a little 1B and 3B and has been promoted to Carolina.
Gualdron 22, is a Utility IF who shows flashes at times and hits RHP well (.803 OPS). Has gap power and IMO could be a solid everyday organizational guy who at his ceiling, could get a cup of joe at the Majors.
Carlson and Feiner are organizational guys.
The OF has been revamped since the beginning of the year.
Fellhauser is still there but suffering through a disappointing season (.695 OPS) (.571 in June) it could be from the fatigue since this is his first full season of pro ball. Only 22 will probably repeat High A to start the year.
Reed 22, is another of those tool shed OF's but had a horrible start to the year (.532 OPS) and may be done with the organization after testing positive for Drugs.
Sappelt has been promoted to AA Carolina.
Wiley was a personal favorite and started at Dayton. Was released after a conflict with coaches and now with Arizona.
Contreras 23, was a fill in from Dayton when Wiley was released and is a good defender but never showed much with his bat in the states.
Day is a former catcher who plays LF and DH most the time. At 24 and with no real tools will probably hang around as a good organizational guy for a few years.
Greene 22, plays all over. A 2010 draftee has show a pretty decent bat so far, and could be in Carolina as soon as the start of next year.
Perez 25, is a Cuban signee who manhandled the DSL (1.073 OPS) and is showing a nice skill set in High A. (.413 OBP) After adjusting at to the US his first 5 games, (.573 OPS) he has been on a tear his last 5 (1.087). Will probably move to Carolina next month and be in Louisville to start 2011. A 4th 5th outfielder with a plus arm, Range and glove at all 3 spots.
McMurray and Mesoraco both have been promoted to AA Carolina.
Coddington 23 on July 24th, started in Dayton after Mesoraco blocked him at first. Finally receiving his promotion, he continued to show a good OBP (.374) but lacks any kind of power (.322). Will remain in High A more than likely next year.
Wideman is another young catcher who has been bounced around where needed and could be a solid organizational catcher. Still just 21 it's hard to see them giving up on him with not really giving him constant playing time.
Soto, Joseph, Christiani and Ware are the 3 best shots at reaching the ML. Puckett, Buchholtz (when healthy) Freeman and Jeffords all seem to have something to them that will probably get them to AAA. From there at least you have a shot. Hotchkiss is a wild card and Partch and Serrano might be better served in the Bullpen long term. If Thurman returns healthy next year you can add him to the ML mix.