Billings 8, Helena 2 (Rookie)
–Let’s start our tour of the organization in rookie ball, where Redleg Nation Spotlight Player Matt Klinker made his first professional start (all of Klinker’s previous appearances had been out of the bullpen). It was a successful evening for the 22 year old right-hander from Furman University, as Klinker went four innings, giving up one run on four hits, striking out three and walking two.
Good work, Matt. Keep it up.
–Klinker was relieved by 21 year old Dan Zeffiro, who pitched three scoreless, hitless innings to pick up the win (2-1) and lower his ERA to 5.06.
–22 year old LF Kyle Maunus, a Western Michigan product, was 3-3 with an RBI, 2 BBs, and 3 runs scored. The night nudged his season OPS over 800.
—Fulton Kendrick, a 22 year old second baseman from Middle Tennessee State University, picked up a couple of hits, including a double, with a walk and 2 RBI.
—Johnny Cueto put together another decent start at AAA. The 21 year old righthander gave up a couple of runs in five innings, striking out five while walking two. Though he took the loss, Cueto’s AAA ERA is now 2.25, and he has a 15/2 strikeout to walk ratio at that level.
Honestly, this guy is a stud. His peripheral statistics look very, very good at every level this year (like Jay Bruce, Cueto has played at A, AA, and AAA in 2007). I’m starting to wonder if Cueto won’t be ready for the big leagues by mid-season 2008…or sooner.
–Offensively, there is very little to discuss. In his first rehab start, CF Josh “The Natural” Hamilton went 2-3. With Ryan Freel on the disabled list, the Reds really need to get Hamilton back to the majors as soon as possible.
Chattanooga (AA) did not play.
–Nothing worth discussing here, in one of the worst games DOTF has had to discuss in a while. The Reds managed only three hits — but they made up for the lack of offense with terrible defense, making four errors. Ugh.
–21 year old SS Zach Cozart, drafted in the second round this year out of Ole Miss, went 2-3 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Cozart appears to be adjusting to professional ball, but he has some work to do to justify being selected that high. Too early to make judgments either way, and we certainly hope for the best with this young man.
—Juan Francisco, the 20 year old 3B (and DOTF favorite) for Dayton, blasted his 17th HR, and added a walk. This kid really has a chance to be something special.
–The Mini-Bucs scored 4 runs in the last inning to take the first game of the doubleheader. 18 y/o SS Neftali Soto continues to look like a very good prospect, picking up a couple more hits, including a triple, and 3 RBI. He’s hitting .317/.364/.479.
–2B Radhames Moreta also went 2-4. On the year, the 20 y/o is at a healthy .235/.262/.275.
–Game 2 was just ugly. 19 y/o LF Tony Brown went 2-3 with his 5th homer. He’s hitting .241/.344/.402.
–18 y/o 3B Brodie Pullen went 2-3 with a double.
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.