It was disappointing news for many in Redleg Nation this week when Cuban 19-year-old phenom Luis Robert signed with the White Sox for a $26-million signing bonus. Despite the Reds losing out on what might be the last big-money Cuban signee, there is some positive news on the Cubans Cincinnati signed last year.
Shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez and righthanded pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez both started this season with high-class-A Daytona. Gutierrez got off to a very slow start, perhaps attributable to adjusting to all aspects of life in the U.S.A. But results recently have been very positive, including yesterday:
— Doug Gray (@dougdirt24) May 28, 2017
We’ve seen many young pitchers who can’t throw strikes consistently, so numbers like Gutierrez’s give us reason for optimism.
Rodriguez has been billed as a player who is major-league-ready as a defensive shortstop, but might have trouble hitting his way out of a paper bag. So his early hitting numbers at Daytona are also encouraging, again from our Doug Gray:
Alfredo Rodriguez is 2-4 tonight for Daytona. He’s hitting .341 in the month of May with 5 walks and 9 strikeouts. #Reds
— Doug Gray (@dougdirt24) May 24, 2017
So while the Reds front office passed on the opportunity to spend at least $50 million on Robert (his contract plus matching MLB penalty for being over their international spending limit), the two notable Cuban signings from 2016 are showing promising signs in the lower minors.
Maybe someday, Gutierrez will start a game for the Reds in Philadelphia. But today is not that day, because …
Feldman has been the “ace” of the Reds’ starting pitching staff. That term is a bit of a misnomer, but he does give his team a chance to win – and an occasional gem – more often than any other current starter. Eflin is a young pitcher who the Reds have not yet faced. The righthander’s career record is 3-7 with a 5.47 ERA, so you would assume the Reds will get some pitches to hit today.
Everyone should be available, with the possible exception of Austin Brice, who pitched two innings Saturday.
|2B Jose Peraza||2B Cesar Hernandez|
|SS Zack Cozart||CF Odubel Herrera|
|1B Joey Votto||LF Aaron Altherr|
|LF Adam Duvall||1B Tommy Joseph|
|3B Eugenio Suarez||RF Michael Saunders|
|CF Scott Schebler||3B Maikel Franco|
|RF Patrick Kivlehan||C Andrew Knapp|
|C Tucker Barnhart||SS Freddy Galvis|
|P Scott Feldman||P Zach Eflin|
News and Notes
Philadelphia’s Michael Saunders has had considerable success when facing Scott Feldman. Saunders is 4-for-16 with a double, triple, home run, and eight runs batted in. But when he makes outs, they are most often strikeouts (seven).
Billy Hamilton gets a rare day off from the starting lineup. Scott Schebler moves to center, and righthanded-batting Patrick Kivlehan gets the start in right – somewhat interesting that switch-hitter Arizmendy Alcantara was not given the start against a righty.
Tom Mitsoff is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, Ohio. He lived a teenage life atypical of most his age by prioritizing following the Reds. At one point in the 1970s and early 1980s, Tom kept complete scorecards on more than 1,000 consecutive Reds games. Now that adult life has forced him to move on from his beloved Southwest Ohio, he follows the Reds daily through MLB.TV and other online media sources, including Redleg Nation.