The Bats managed to split their week- starting strong before dropping the final two games. Only one season-long Bat has an OBP above .300 (Bill Rhinehart). No season-long Bats are slugging .400. Pensacola didn't lose a game, sweeping the Birmingham Barons in five straight and taking the opener of the next series. They are still one game under. Bakersfield widened its lead to three games. Finally, Dayton came out one up after an impressive comeback to end the week. It looks like the Dragons' bats are finally coming around.
That's right, folks, it's a .500 or better week for all four squads!
AAA Louisville Bats
Record this week: 3-3.
Overall: 21-46. Last. Now seventeen and a half games back of Indianapolis (PIT). They presently have seven less wins than any other IL team.
6/7: Enjoy a rare moment of this year’s Bats firing on all cylinders, as the hitters smacked 13 hits and Sean Gallagher worked six four-hit innings (W 5-3, 4.82, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 74 pitches/47 strikes) amidst Louisville’s 8-2 spanking of Syracuse (WAS, 29-32). Bats salvage one of four. LF Cody Puckett drove in three runs, CF Joey Gathright was 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI (.314) and RF Bill Rhinehart homered (#5). Recently demoted 3B Mike Costanzo picked up where he left off, going 2-for-3 (.305). 2B Wilie Harris contributed two hits, two runs scored, and steal #2 (.232).
6/8: Newly signed Crafty Lefty Ryan Feierabend suited up for his Reds system debut… and it didn’t go too well, as Syracuse launched three homers amidst nine hits in four-plus (L, 7 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 90 pitches/49 strikes). Chiefs win, 7-3. Rhinehart followed up his homer from the day before with three hits (.240, 2 R, 2B). C Dioner Navarro hit homer #2 and added a single.
6/9: Mid-game three-run homers from Rhinehart (#6, 2-for-4, 2 R, .246) and 1B Danny Dorn (#7) helped the Bats build a 7-2 lead by the sixth. They hung on, 9-5, to defeat Scranton-Wilkes/Barre (NYY, 35-28). Chad Reineke, after taking several tough losses lately, got a win for a lesser performance (W 2-4, 4.30, 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K). Jordan Smith came on to bail out Travis Webb and Carlos Fisher to knock down save #6 (5.06, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 K).
6/10: 1B Neftali Soto slammed a two-run homer (#8) and added a later RBI single as the Bats made it two in a row over the Yankees, 5-4. Soto is still struggling overall (.238/.290/.379) but is 11-for-35 in June. Tim Gustafson got the win (1-1, 6.00, 5 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) with liberal help from his pen. Wirfin Obispo threw two more innings of hitless ball (4.86, 2 BB, 2 K) and freshly promoted Donnie Joseph set down six straight in his IL debut for the save.
6/11: Just when you thought things were picking up… a vintage 2012 Bats effort. A 3-1 loss where the Bats outhit the opposition nine to seven but squandered opportunities left and right (2-for-9 RISP, 3 GIDP). RF Felix Perez doubled and singled (.244, R) and Gathright had two hits and a RBI (.338). Hard-luck outing for Pedro Villareal, who fell to 2-3 (3.14, 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 107 pitches/68 strikes).
6/12: The Yankees force a four-game split, 9-7, building a five-run lead then hanging on to survive a three-run Mike Costanzo homer (#4, 2-for-4, .299) in the eighth. Perez popped homer #2 early on and Harris was 2-for-3 with two runs (.245). Sean Gallagher’s string of five straight starts of 2 ER or less came to an end (thud! L 5-4, 5.15, 3 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K). Josh Judy and Carlos Fisher continue to not fool many- each gave up two earned runs as their ERAs climbed to 4.80 and 4.32, respectively.
Transactions: 6/8: RHR Kanekoa Texeira placed on the 7-day DL with an elbow injury. LHS Ryan Feierabend, 26, signed and activated. The lefty is a Cleveland native, drafted by Seattle in the third round in 2003. He made the big leagues in just his third pro season, 2006, but couldn’t stick thereafter following a 8.03 ERA in 49.1 IP in 2007 and 7.71 in 39.2 IP in 2008. After the Mariners let him go as a free agent after 2010, he spent 2011 with AAA Lehigh Valley in the Philadelphia system, going 10-8, 5.39 in 132 IP. 6/9: LHR Donnie Joseph promoted from Pensacola. If all goes well, he won’t be able to play in the Southern League All-Star Game.
AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos
This week: 5-0.
Overall: 32-33, fourth place in the South Division, still five and a half games behind Mobile (ARI).
6/7: Pensacola got all five of its runs in the sixth (the big blow: a bases-clearing double from 1B Yordanys Perez) and Tim Crabbe survived six walks in five innings to notch the 5-2 win (W 3-2, 3.97, 2 H, 2 ER, 6 K) over Birmingham (CWS, 29-32) in the first game of this set at home. Crabbe got a lot of help from his bullpen, with Clayton Tanner (4.50, 1 IP, 1 H), Curtis Partch (6.10, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 K- but a 2.51 ERA in 11 relief appearances at this level) and freshly christened Southern League All-Star Donnie Joseph (save #13, 1.1 IP, 2 K). RF AJ Means had two hits to raise his average to .358.
6/8: Tony Cingrani is taking the jump to Double-A quite well! Six shutout innings (W 1-0, 1.42, 5 H, 2 BB, 9 K, 99 pitches/58 strikes) got him his first Blue Wahoos win, 3-0. Justin Freeman whiffed four in two (4.60, 2 H) and Drew Hayes got his first save (4.44, 1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K). 2B Brodie Greene was 3-for-4 with a solo homer (#2, .243).
6/9: Pensacola made it three in a row in Birmingham by getting all three of its runs in the first, then hanging on 3-1. Kyle Lotzkar ran his record to 3-1 (2.63, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 83 pitches/48 strikes). Wilkin De La Rosa took care of the sixth and seventh (1.37) and Partch the last two for save #1 (5.73, 1 H, 2 K). All-Stars Ryan LaMarre (.285) and Joel Guzman (.259) each had two hits.
6/10: SS Didi Gregorius singled home C Mark Fleury, who’d led off the inning with a base hit, to score the decisive run for the Wahoos in the top of the tenth. Justin Freeman set the Barons down in order in the bottom of the inning to save the 4-3 win for Hayes (W 1-2, 4.28, 1 IP, 1 H). Great bullpen work for Pensacola overall- 4.2 innings, two hits, one walk, no runs. JC Sulbaran started (4.46, 5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR).
6/11: Pensacola’s run at a five-game sweep was suspended in the fourth with the Wahoos leading 2-1. Daniel Corcino had scattered five hits over 3.1 innings; someone else will likely end up finishing. Guzman doubled in both runs in the first.
6/13: Five wins in a row! Mark Fleury’s bunt single, his third hit of the game (3-for-4, .191), scored Josh Fellhauer with the winning run in the bottom of the 11th! Pensacola triumphs 4-3 over Mobile (ARI, 38-27). Curt Partch pitched the top of the 11th for the win (3-3, 5.56). Gregorius had a pair of doubles (.287, RBI, R, BB, steal #2). The Wahoos had to use a total of seven relievers following starter Tim Crabbe (3.98, 4.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K)- but combined they gave up just one run.
Transactions: 6/9: LHR Donnie Joseph to Louisville. RHR Mark Serrano activated from the DL; I’m not sure I realized he was on it.
Baseball Prospectus bit about Tony Cingrani:
Tony Cingrani, LHP, Reds (Double-A Pensacola)
While Cingrani was dominating at High-A, the general sentiment involved waiting to see him do it at the upper levels. With nine strikeouts over six shutout innings on Friday, he's doing just that. Still, he's a tough player to figure out. While he's in his first full-season, he turns 23 next month, and he's still dominating off two pitches: a fastball and a changeup that both earn easy plus grades. Successful starting pitchers with Cingrani's path and lack of a breaking ball are rare, so now the sentiment involves waiting to see it will work in the big leagues.
Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus on Cingrani:
“You don't know what I can do! You don't know what I can do, what I'm gonna do, or what I'm gonna be! I'm good! I have good things and you don't know about! I'm gonna be something!”
Tony Cingrani was selected in the 3rd round of the 2011 draft, viewed by many as a future reliever, a role he had previously excelled in. Armed with an extremely lively plus fastball, Cingrani could push the pitch into the upper-90s in bursts, and with a fringy breaking ball, a fast-track approach out of the bullpen seemed likely. A funny thing happened along the way to the ‘pen, as Cingrani was pushed into the rotation, where his command has been sharp, his changeup has been a bat-missing out-pitch, and his fastball has been equally as impressive as it was in bursts. The slider is still a fringy offering, but the big lefty knows how to disguise his weaknesses while enhancing his strengths, and some sources now suggest starting is a legitimate option. Cingrani’s profile might be a better fit in the bullpen, where the big lefty could deliver near elite velocity with feel and touch. But some think the 22-year-old can bring more to the table if allowed to try, and so far in 2012, the Reds look very good for giving Cingrani that opportunity.
High-A Bakersfield Blaze
This week: 5-3.
Overall: 39-28, first place. Lead extended by 1.5 games to three over San Jose (SF).
6/7: The Blaze stole six bases without being caught off Visalia (ARI, 28-33) starter Anthony Meo, making up for the paltry three hits he surrendered. Two of those belonged to SS Billy Hamilton (69, 1-for-4, 2 R, .321). 2B Devin Lohman snapped a 1-1 tie with a two-run seventh-inning single, and the Bakersfield bullpen shut the Rawhide down over the final three. Brian Pearl got save #11 and lefty Chris Joyce (W 1-1, 4.72, 0.2 IP) bailed out Dan Wolford after the latter allowed two of the first three he faced to reach in the seventh. Brooks Pinckard (9.64, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) has struggled at this level overall but has permitted only two runs in his last six innings. Starter Josh Smith made it six quality starts in seven, working six five-hit innings (4.02, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K).
6/8: Off to Modesto (COL) for a three-game set. The Blaze got five in the second to grab a four-run lead, then squandered it before RF Jaren Matthews singled in 1B Dominic D’Anna to snap the tie in the sixth. The Bakersfield bullpen did a phenomenal job bailing out Rehabbin’ Andrew Brackman, with Pat Doyle (W 5-2, 4.10, 3 IP, 2 H, 5 K) picking up the win and Mike Griffin (4.29, 1 IP, 2 BB, 3 K) and Kyle McMyne (5.87, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) bridging to Brian Pearl (save #12, 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K, 1.14). DH Jason Christian returned from a near season-long stay on the DL to make no outs, walking three times and going 1-for-1 officially. Matthews had two hits and two RBI total to raise his average to .263.
6/9: Modesto picked up the winning run off Chris Joyce (L 1-2, 4.80, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER) in the bottom of the tenth to even the series at 1, 2-1. SS Billy Hamilton notched steal #70… then was thrown out an instant later (CS #13). The stretching out of Jamie Walczak to a starter went better this time (5.59, 4.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K). Justice French worked 1.1 (3.41) and Pinckard struck out four over two scoreless (8.71). Bakersfield survived seven no-hit innings from top prospect Tyler Matzek to stay in the game.
6/10: The Blaze took advantage of four Nuts errors while popping ex-Red Brandon Hynick early and often for nine of their fifteen hits and six of their eventual nine runs. Easy win, 9-4, in the series rubber match. Hamilton was 3-for-5 with bag #71, a double, a run, and a RBI (.320). CF Bryson Smith, snubbed for the All-Star team, had three hits, three runs, and three RBI (.317). D’Anna added three hits and three RBI (.258, 2 2B). Dan Renken fought his control and took an early exit (3.69, 3.1 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 5 K) but Dan Wolford bailed him out for the win (6-3, 3.86, 2.2 IP, 1 H, 4 K) and Griffin and McMyne (4.66, 2 IP, 1 BB, 1 K) finished up.
6/11: Two in the eighth, one on a clutch solo homer from C Tucker Barnhart (#2; 3-for-4, .258) tied the score and four in the ninth pulled Bakersfield to a 6-3 victory. CF Theo Bowe added three hits (.378, steals 18 and 19) and 3B Travis Mattair knocked in two. Chad Rogers worked five (2.33, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) but Pat Doyle picked up win #6 (6-2, 3.79, 3 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 K).
6/12: MAKEUP MADNESS in lovely Stockton! The Ports take game one, 9-5, as Justice French was hit hard (L 0-2, 4.83, 2.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 2 HR) and they scored in five of the six innings they batted. Game two featured reigning CL Pitcher of the Week Josh Smith striking out seven over the first four innings; Matthews hit his first homer of the year to give the Blaze a 1-0 lead in the second. In the fifth, Jaren then singled in 2B Niko Vasquez for a second run and scored himself on Barnhart’s RBI single. An insurance run was added an inning later when Vasquez knocked in D’Anna as Smith completed a seven-inning, complete-game 4-1 win (W 5-4, 3.75, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K). Billy Hamilton was 3-for-4 with steal #73- but he also scored no runs and was caught stealing two times (16).
6/13: Rehabbin’ Andrew Brackman was shaky but effective (6.75, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 2 K) as the Blaze built a 6-0 lead through four-plus. But it all collapsed in spectacular fashion, as Stockton scored nine over the last four times they came to the plate. Dan Wolford (L 6-4, 4.86, 0.2 IP, 1 H, 4 ER, 3 BB) took the most harm. Kyle McMyne also struggled (4.91, BS #4, 1.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER). Mattair hit a three-run homer (#8) and drove in four total (.236) while Barnhart, on a ten-game hitting streak (14-for-35, .400) had two hits and two RBI. His overall line is up to .266/.364/.380. Hamilton doubled and walked in five trips while picking up bag #74.
Transactions: 6/8: 3B Jason Christian activated from the DL. INF James Ewing sent back to Dayton. 6/12: OF Kurtis Muller up from Dayton; OF Bryson Smith placed on the 7-day DL. LHR Chris Joyce to Billings; RHR Porfirio Martinez activated from Billings.
Billy Hamilton made the Prospect Hot Sheet for June 1-7. BA also ran a really neat article detailing Hamilton’s chase for the minor-league stolen base record.
Hamilton, along with since-promoted LHS Tony Cingrani, RHS Chad Rogers, RHR Brian Pearl. and 1B Donald Lutz, was named to the California League All-Star Game.
Article on RHR Kyle McMyne from the charmingly named Go Lackawanna/
Low-A Dayton Dragons
This week: 4-3.
Overall: 28-38. 17.5 out; .5 down from last week.
6/7: CF Kurtis Muller’s game-winning single in the bottom of the eleventh gave all four Reds minor-league affiliates a winning day. Dayton triumphed 4-3 over Lake County (CLE, 28-31) to make it two straight in the three-game set at Fifth Third Field. The Dragons had to tie the score in the ninth to get to extras, as 1B Sean Buckley led off with a double (3-for-4, .230, now .389 over his last ten), moved to third on C Nick O’Shea’s infield hit, and later scored when 2B Brandon Dailey beat the throw to first on a forceout grounder. Stalin Gerson worked five (4.18, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR) but it was the bullpen that truly shined, with Cole Green (6.00, 3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K), Carlos Contreras (2.73, 2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 K) and James Allen (W 2-2, 4.46, 1 IP) all doing impressive work.
6/8: Dayton led this one 6-4 after four, but Lake County erupted for three in the seventh and seven in the eighth to win a 14-6 rout. DH Steve Selsky hit a two-run homer (#2) and C Yovan Gonzalez connected for #4. Dan Jensen had the kind of outing one would like to forget (L 3-6, 5.63, 1.2 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, two errors). Jake Johnson worked six solid (3.00, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K).
6/9: Bowling Green (TB, 34-28) rolled into town and directly over the Dragons in game one, 8-1. Dan Tuttle (L 1-3, 5.28, 5 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) started and lost. Rehabbin’ Bill Bray worked a hitless sixth, allowing a walk and striking out one.
6/10: Radhames Quezada played stopper, firing six (W 4-6, 3.82, 5 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K) for his third straight victory. Mike Dennhardt picked up the seventh and eighth (1.53, 4 H, 3 K) and Ryan Kemp the ninth of the 6-1 Dragons win. LF Juan Silva doubled twice and walked twice (.239, steals #14 and #15). Gonzalez was 2-for-3 with two RBI (.291).
6/11: Five in the third and hitting heroics from the surging Buckley (3-for-4, 2 2B, .238) and RF Kyle Waldrop (homer #3, 2-for-4, 3 RBI) gave Dayton a 9-5 win! Tanner Robles couldn’t quite make it five (4.57, 4.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) but Rehabbin’ Bill Bray looked strong in notching the win (1.2 IP, 3 K). Selsky added a single, double, two RBI, and two runs (.282).
6/12: Great Lakes (LAD, 30-34) hosted the Dragons and Stalin Gerson. Gerson looked fine at first, but the Loons swamped him for five runs in the third and never looked back, winning 6-4. Gerson managed five (L 3-5, 4.65, 5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 2 HR). Buckley hit a two-run homer (#4) and SS Juan Perez was 2-for-5 with a RBI and three stolen bases (14) from the leadoff slot.
6/13: Impressive comeback by the Dragons as they roared back from four down to win, 8-7, after 2B Joe Terry knocked in Juan Perez with the tiebreaking run in the eighth. Dayton survived four errors with help from CF Jefry Sierra’s four hits (.247, 2 RBI, steals #2 and #3) and Buckley’s fifth homer.
Transactions: 6/8: INF James Ewing down from Bakersfield. INF Brandon Dailey to Billings. LHR Bill Bray activated for rehab. 6/12: OF Kurtis Muller promoted to Bakersfield. OF Jefry Sierra activated from the DL.