2017 Reds / This Week on the Farm

This Week on the Farm

The first week of the minor league season has come to a close. This is a pretty exciting year to be following the Reds minor league players since they are pretty deep in talent and there are interesting players to follow at each level of the minors. It’s time to check in and see who’s hot and who’s not after the end of the first week of the season.

AAA Louisville Bats

Hitters

1B/OF Sebastian Elizalde is off to a scorching hot start at AAA with slash line of .484/.485/.742/1.227. The 25 year old LH hitter posted a .297/.324/.387/.711 line last year at AA. OF Jesse Winker is off to a good start, .308/.424 /385/.809, and hopefully something will sort itself out soon so he’ll be up with the big club as soon as he meets his service time obligations. C Rob Brantly, .353/.389/.588/.977, is off to a hot start in a bid to show he is ready to become the third catcher should Stuart Turner get sent back to the Twins upon Devin Mesoraco’s return from his rehab assignment. 2B Dilson Herrera is off to a somewhat slow start, .227/.292/.409/.701, while splitting his time between 2B and DH thus far. 3B Brandon Dixon is struggling so far, .192/.214/.346/.560, in his first exposure to AAA.

Pitchers

RH SP Sal Romano has dominated in his first two starts at AAA posting a 1.38 ERA over 13 IP allowing 11 H and 1 BB with 8 SO. SP Tim Adelman (2.57 ERA) and SP Rob Wooten (2.92 ERA) are off to very good starts as well. Jackson Stephens (11.25 ERA) had a rough first outing. RP Evan Mitchell has not allowed a run over his first 5.1 IP while striking out 8 batters.

AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos

Hitters

IF Alex Blandino is off to super hot start, .364/.500/.545/1.045, while trying to rebound from a tough season at AA last year (.670 OPS). OF Brian O’Grady (.300./.364/.600/.964) is off to a great start this season. OF Gabriel Guerrero, .348/.375/.435/.810, is off to a good start with the Reds minor leagues. C Devin Mesoraco is hitting .267/.267/.467/.733 in his rehab assignment. OF Aristides Aquino is struggling, .160/.192/.200/.392, in his first exposure to AA.

Pitchers

SP Tyler Mahle has been outstanding in his first two starts posting a 0.71 ERA over 12.2 IP allowing 4 H and 3 BB with 12 SO. SP Luis Castillo (1.50 ERA) had a good first outing with the Reds. RP Jimmy Herget has assumed the closer role and has not been scored on over 4 IP with 8 SO. RP Austin Brice has tossed three scoreless innings in his rehab assignment.

High A Daytona Tortugas

Hitters

OF Daniel Sweet, .292/.433/.333/.767, is pacing the team thus far at the plate. OF Reydel Medina (.739 OPS) and 1B Gavin LaValley (.736 OPS) are doing all right so far. SS Alfredo Rodriguez (.607 OPS), 3B Nick Senzel (.585 OPS), and 2B Shed Long (.460 OPS) are all struggling in the early going.

Pitchers

Starting pitchers Jonathon Crawford (1.04 ERA), Wendolyn Bautista (1.50 ERA), Jose Lopez (1.69 ERA), and Ty Boyles (0.00 ERA) are all off to great starts on the mound. RP Geoff Broussard has recorded 2 saves and has not been scored on over 4.1 IP.  RP Ty Rainey (0.00 ERA) has not allowed a base runner and has struck out 10 batters in 4 IP.

Low A Dayton Dragons

Hitters

C Tyler Stephenson, .263/.391/.632/1.023, is off to a very good start this season. CF T.J. Friedl, .333/.346/.667/1.013, picked up right where he left off last season. OF Michael Beltre, .389/.476/.444/.921, is off to a great start as well. OF Taylor Trammell, .174/.240/.304/.544, is off to a slow start in his first exposure to full season baseball. SS Hector Vargas (.699 OPS) and OF Jose Siri (.507 OPS) are off to slow starts as well.

Pitchers

Starting pitchers Ryan Olson and Andrew Jordan were both not scored on in their first starts of the season. SP Tony Santillan (3.00 ERA) and SP Wennington Romero (3.00 ERA) are both pitching well also. RP Joel Kuhnel has recorded 3 saves and has not allowed a run over 4 IP.

36 thoughts on “This Week on the Farm

  1. Big Sal Romano. Just biding his time. He and Garrett sure look like anchors for the Reds rotation for years to come.
    That is great news on Blandino. He really needs a rebound season.
    Rainey, since moving to the bullpen has become electrified. He is definitely one to keep an eye on early this year as he might move up quickly.
    Another very good waiver wire pickup by Dick Williams’s front office in OF Gabby Guerrero.
    Some of the top prospects are struggling a their new levels. But it is early and the hitting will pick up soon.

    • One more year and then running out starters like journeyman Feldman and over the hill vets like Arroyo should be a thing of the past for the next 6-7 years. Even if Homer never gets healthy again, there are just tons of options heading into 2018:

      Brandon Finnegan
      Anthony Desclafani
      Cody Reed
      Amir Garrett
      Robert Stephenson
      Sal Romano
      Rookie Davis
      Jackson Stephens as a swing starter between AAA and MLB

      and then on the cusp in AA and AAA should be:

      Tyler Mahle
      Luis Castillo
      Vlad Gutierrez

      Some real interesting relievers coming up over the next year or two as well

      -Jimmy Herget, 3 saves in 6 games already in AA, 8 K’s in 4 IP
      -Ariel Hernandez, 2 70 grade pitches with his fastball and curveball if he can have at least average control
      -Tanner Rainey, hasn’t allowed a base runner in 4 IP in High A so far with 10 K. He’ll move up to AA before too long
      -Ryan Hendrix, 2016 draftee is back in Low A, but I expect he moves up to Daytona once Rainey moves up. Can hit 100 mph and has a swing and miss slider
      -Ismael Guillon, back in AA but not for long I think, the lefty getting a bunch of K’s and more consistent in a bullpen role

      Not to mention guys with lesser raw stuff who have produced like Alejandro Chacin, Evan Mitchell, Jake Ehret, Austin Orweiler, and Joel Kuhnel. Or starters now who’s stuff may tick up in a relief role like Keury Mella, Jonathan Crawford, and Jose Lopez

      This may be a golden age of Reds pitching talent if 2 of these guys can step up and be front of the rotation pitchers, and almost all of them are under team control for a long time still.

  2. I can’t wait for Romano to be at the bigs. Agree about him and Garrett. I think Reed is about to show his stuff too. Stephenson’s stuff last night against the Pirates was nasty. DIdn’t realize his slider or curve or sinker (whatever the hell it is) was such a hell of a pitch. He just needs to get location consistent. Just!

    Pretty exciting time to be a Reds fan.

    Oh, and Friedl is going to be a star. Book it.

    • It’s learning

      Finnegan in his star looked wild in the box score but it was because his stuff was moving off the plate to right handlers (2 seamer I guess with that movement) at 93-94, while his inside pitch was just off the plate at 98. When he throws that 2 seamer inside and let’s it run back over the plate, look out.

      Stephenson has 3 plus pitches. That was the best I have seen his change last night. His biggest problem is locating the fastball. He learns to keep his mechanics in check and the ball low in the zone, he will dominate

      I have to say that this is the most effective coaching staff I have seen for the Reds. Young hitters are all improving, Hamilton is now a legit hitter and lead off man, Suarez improvement in the field is so good that he looks like a gold glove finalist. And Price and the pitching coaches are doing big things with this young staff.

      I have had the same thoughts that many have about Bronson, but maybe with the best record in the league and all of the young bucks in uniform, I should give the staff applause right now. I’ll say it, Price should be extended right now for the end of last year and what is going on now. He is growing up as a manager which happens when you have a lot of talent.

      And we have a full time GM who is not afraid to churn the roster for improvement

      This is going to be a fun year

      • Stephenson’s curveball was only used a couple times last night, but it was filthy. Tons of movement at 81 mph and it got him one of his K’s. If he can get his fastball command buttoned up, he could be ready to turn it around. I would think that is what Ted Power and Brian Price have to be working with him the most on. Garrett is hitting his spots with the fastball and is dominating. Stephenson’s raw stuff if a grade better than Garrett’s, but Stephenson isn’t hitting his spot with the fastball. If Bob Steve starts hitting the low and inside corner for strikes, watch out.

        • It seems like it would make more sense to have him in AAA working on his control, rather than have him throw an inning or two here and there in the majors.

          • You’re preaching to the choir. Let Astin and/or Rookie Davis fill that long man reliever role for the Reds and get both Reed and Stephenson in a rotation somewhere.

          • I agree that they want him working with Ted Power, but can’t help to wonder if it is also that they don’t want him working with Delino DeSchields. 🙂

          • If that’s the case then Delino Deshields needs to be fired. Working with the player and guiding them along tends to be rather important when you are a minor league manager. I used to think Deshields was being groomed to take over at the big league level, but he’s been rather uninspiring as a minor league manager.

      • It looked to me like Finnegan was trying to throw every pitch threw the catcher, the backstop, and the back of the stadium….overthrowing, IMO.

        • Catcher comes up, calls time, and jogs out to the mound. Hands Finnegan the ball “Settle down now. I know I get on your nerves but you don’t have to try to kill me by throwing it through me.” smiles “Nice and easy, to the glove.” Catcher jogs back to his position.

          • “Relax, all right? Don’t try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls – it’s more democratic.” – Crash Davis

      • I am beginning to believe in this coaching staff as well. I’ve not been a big fan of Brian Price. However, the work the staff has been doing with our pitchers seems to be doing wonders! Reed, Peralta, Davis, Garrett!

        Suarez is becoming my favorite player, I’ve heard Chris welsh say how hard of a worker he is. This type of effort is contagious.

  3. Where is Teejay Antone this year? Is he injured and not pitching?

    I know Travieso is hurt right now too, and not on anybody’s roster.

      • Thanks for the heads up. That’s really unfortunate. I had an opportunity to sit next to him in the stands at a rookie ball game when he was keeping the book on that day’s starter. Good guy! I was rooting for him to make it. I hope this doesn’t destroy his career.

  4. Reed and Stephenson need to prove or not prove they belong in a big league rotation.Nothing to prove for either in my opinion by pitching anywhere else but in the majors.I do respect Price and Williams by filling out the roster with pitchers they feel are the best and who knows sometime really soon the guys mentioned above may be starting.Frequently,teams will use guys that they envision as starters out of the pen just to get them pitching to big league hitters just to see how they handle it.Personally I just want to see the young guys given a chance to see what they can do.I do feel that starting Feldman and Bronson does nothing other then keep down the innings the young guys have to pitch but I don’t them starting all year long was ever part of the plan.Just guessing of course.

    • Robert Stephenson has pitched 3.2 IP in the last 18 days. We know what he needs to work on, fastball command. It’s hard to work on that against live hitters from the bench.

      • And he can’t do it in bullpen side sessions like he could as a starter because he needs to be available to pitch anytime if needed.

  5. I didn’t like Eric Jagielo when they aquired him last off season in the Chapman trade and I like him even less now. His numbers in the low minors looked pretty good on the surface, but carrying a 25%ish SO% through the low minors screams problems and Jagielo has simply tanked since the Reds aquired him. I think he has to be added to the 40-man roster next season to avoid potentially losing him, but I don’t think anyone would touch him as a 40-man roster addition. He’s not even good roster fill at the AA level. Jagielo isn’t really blocking anyone right now, but he is taking playing time from more legitimate IF prospects at AA.

    With Mesoraco on rehab assignment at AA, Joe Hudson has to be chomping at the bit for playing time. Hudson is a very good defensive catcher with issues at the plate. He has a whopping total of 1 PA this season with all the time and attention garnered to Mesoraco during his rehab assignment. Hudson was left unprotected in the rule-5 draft this season, but Conconnati retained his rights. He’s not as good defensively as Turner, but his defense behind the dish is pretty darn good.

    • I could be wrong, but I think he would have had to be added this past season. The reason I think that is he was drafted 1 spot ahead of Ervin in the 2013 draft. Ervin as a college player had to be added this past season. Jagielo was also a college player. I think the Reds chose not to protect him last year, and I don’t blame them one bit.

      But, I also didn’t like him when he was acquired. Mainly because I read he couldn’t really stick at 3B and was likely a 1B, which is silly to acquire when you have Votto locked in.

    • I didn’t think Jagielo would be a big time prospect, but after the two seasons below before coming here, it’s hard to figure how he went so bad so quick. Very odd case. I’m hoping he bounces back this year. Not really impeding anyone but maybe LaValley right now.

      A+ 2014 .259 .354 .460 .813
      AA 2015 .284 .347 .495 .842

  6. Alex Blandino is my pick for bounce back player of the year. He’s a former 1st round (comp) pick and was cruising right along until hitting AA last year. In fact, I believe one rankings site had him just outside of the overall Top 100 heading into last season, and he was certainly a Reds top 10 guy on almost every list entering 2016.

    The issue is, he suffered a wrist injury playing for his home-country (Venezuela?) in the spring and then started the year a little late. We all know wrist injuries have a big effect on hitting. From April 15th-June 29th he hit an abysmal 192/296/310/606 slash line.

    From July 1st-Sept. 5th he slashed 273/371/364/734. That slash line is much closer to the 263/355/404/759 career slash line he has produced in the minors. In fact, the average and OBP are slightly up, but the power was done. Wrist injuries sap power, so even later in the year it wasn’t really a shock to see it hadn’t fully returned.

    Combine the wrist injury with his first full season in AA (said to be the hardest adjustment in the minors) and it’s not hard to see why there is some optimism for a bounce back.

    My bounce back pitcher is none other than Tanner Rainey. Rainey started the season as a starter, and struggled. In 91 IP he gave up 96 hits, 62 BBs, 61 ER while recording 93 K’s. His ERA was over 6.

    Since moving to a reliever on August 8th last season, Rainey’s pitched 16.1 innings (including 4 IP this season) giving up 3 runs, 4 BBs, 13 hits, while recording 30 K’s. He’s been nothing short of dominant since moving to the pen. As a 2nd round pick he has the pedigree and seems to have found the place where he’ll experience the most success.

    • I really like Blandino too and expect him to bounce back big this year. But I’m pretty sure it was a thigh injury he suffered in the WBC last season.

      “But Nicaragua is playing without its shortstop, Reds prospect Alex Blandino, who had the walk-off hit against Germany but then left due to a right thigh injury. “

  7. From what I’ve heard, the Red’s coaches are drooling over Castillo. Hope he gets to AAA soon so I can check him out. Replacing Romano when he moves up?

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