A Minors Obsession

Dominant pitching on the farm and hot bats all around

Last night in Tennessee, Jose Lopez took the mound for Pensacola. The 23-year-old right handed pitcher tossed a complete game, 7-inning shutout in game 1 of a double header. He allowed just one baserunner, giving up a single to Ian Rice in the 2nd inning. Lopez would also strike out seven batters.

It was just another start over the last five weeks that was dominant. Going back over his last seven starts in Double-A, Jose Lopez has been downright incredible. He’s thrown 47.0 innings since then and allowed 21 hits and eight walks. That’s also come with 41 strikeouts and just two home runs. That’s come along with a 0.96 ERA in that span.

The start on Tuesday pushed his ERA down to 2.43 with the Double-A Blue Wahoos and moved him to 7-1 since being promoted. Jose Lopez began the year in Daytona and was strong there as well. For the year between his two stops he’s posted a 2.60 ERA in 124.2 innings with 41 walks and 120 strikeouts. If you’d like to read more in depth on Jose Lopez, I wrote up some background information and a scouting report on him here.

Hot bats all around

While Jose Lopez is dominating for Pensacola on the mound, Nick Senzel is dominating in the batters box for the Blue Wahoos. I’m typing this after game one of their double header, so these numbers will be different, slightly, by the time you read this, but Senzel has been on fire.

In July, across 27 games played, the third baseman hit .358/.414/.575. That came with nine doubles, a triple and four home runs. In August so far, he’s played in seven games and has hit .379/.400/.552 with two more doubles and another home run. He’s up to .338/.391/.519 in Double-A in the 42 games since arriving. Yeah. He’s good.

Jose Siri saw his hitting streak come to an end at 39 on Friday night. He’s hit in the two games since then. going back to the date in which his hit streak began, he’s hitting .344/.372/.667 with 15 doubles, three triples and 14 home runs in 207 plate appearances. He’s also one home run away (the game on Tuesday night is still going on – so, this could change) from going 20-30 on the year. He’s sitting on 19 home runs for the year and has 32 stolen bases.

17 thoughts on “Dominant pitching on the farm and hot bats all around

  1. Hunter Greene 1-4 with a 2 run triple. He’s going to be interesting to say the least!
    Tyler Mahle 5 ip/ 2hits (1 hr), 1 er, 2 bbs, 5 Ks. 98 pitches in 5ip seems high, but he should get a shot with the Reds shortly?

    Alex Blandino has been on a nice roll as well. 2-3 w/a walk last night. He’s now hitting .281 and obp is up to .397. They’ll prob wait til the rosters expand on Sept 1 but why not bring him up now?

    • Blandino isn’t on the 40 man roster yet. He will need to be next year so maybe, but they may want to evaluate the fringe of their 40 man roster now to see who they want to jettison after the year. A lot of guys need to be added this winter.

      • Big changes coming on the 40 man after the season is over. A bunch of players will be jettisoned, or will not get a contract for 2018. Blandino is a marginal prospect at this point. If the Reds keep Cozart, where does he fit in among Peraza, Cozart, Senzel, Gennett, Suarez? Utility man? Maybe he gets a call up in September; they make space on the 40 man for him.

    • I don’t know what Tyler Mahle’s innings and pitch count for the season is, but I would make a guess that he is getting close to his limit for the year. So even if he was added to the 40 man by Sept 1, he might not get called up to pitch for the Reds this year. He will be prominent in Spring Training next year, but if I were to make a guess, he will start 2018 in AAA ball, if he is physically OK. 2018 will likely be another year of the revolving door of starting pitchers and bull pen arms. I don’t see that 2017 has answer a lot of questions.
      1. Homer is sort of healthy enough to pitch
      2. Desclafani is injury prone
      3. Finnegan is hurt
      4. Castillo looks promising
      5. Everybody else (young guys) is up in the air, starting pitcher-wise.
      6. Adelman, nice guy that he is, is probably below replacement level pitching.
      7. Feldman won’t likely be back next year.

  2. Thanks for some good news on the Reds today Doug. The Padres game was depressing. I know Hunter Greene was a two way stud in high school but do you think he has any real chance of advancing as a hitter? It seems to me he’s a pitcher first and the Reds should focus on developing his pitching skills (his throwing skills seem just fine). What are your thoughts on developing Hunter Greene?

    • Greene is and will be a pitcher. But I like the idea of letting him DH 4 times a week to see if he can hit, too. If you can truly hit as a pitcher, you’re talking about adding an addition 1-2 WAR a season for a starting pitcher. That’s enormous value.

      • I don’t see any downside to that approach. Plus, if he hurts his arm pitching, or turns into Rick Ankiel, then they at least have a reasonable hitting prospect.

      • Thanks for the update Doug. I always enjoy your posts.
        Jose Lopez is certainly good news. Senzel and Trammel are making the 2016 draft look really good.
        I will disagree with you on Greene.

        Any good hitter will tell you its a full time job. You need at bats and tunnel work every day, every week, every month. You cant be a part time hitter and be good.

        Here is a link from an LA Times story about him.

        http://www.latimes.com/sports/mlb/la-sp-la-preps-baseball-draft-20170609-story.html

        Greene has not pitched competitively since April.
        Many say he could be an incredible shortstop. There seems to be wishful/wistful thinking of being a 2 way player. This isn’t 12 year old baseball. Most all elite pitchers give up hitting by age 16. He seems not willing to do that.

        Plus the injury factor. Are you willing to risk some wild Billing’s pitcher with control problems hitting him in the wrist? The article notes he’s not a particularly good hitter or base-runner. The Reds almost drafted Kyle Lewis last year instead of Nick Senzel. He, of course, tore his ACL in a collision at the plate a few weeks after his pro career started. You don’t take that risk on the #2 pick who is a pitcher throwing 100 mph.

        • He can hit in the cage every day. He can get 25 at-bats a week around his pitching. He doesn’t need to hit like a starting position player. He needs to hit better than other pitchers to provide significant extra value.

          As for risking injury by facing pitching – you’re adding some additional risk, yes, but he’s going to eventually hit in the minor leagues either way. Pitchers hit in AA and AAA.

        • Rick Ingalls, a Southern California area scout for the Reds, has seen Greene play dozens of times and said he “compares favorably” to a pair of shortstops he evaluated as a national cross-checker for the Angels in 1992 and 1993: Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

          “I can’t say he’ll be the next Jeter or A-Rod — those guys are Hall of Famers,” said Ingalls, who is 65 and in his 37th year of scouting. “I’m just saying that at 17 this kid has some qualities that, if things go the right way, he could be an every-day, better-than-average shortstop, and maybe a star.”

          I read the article. I don’t know Rick Ingalls from Laura Ingalls (or half-pint) but this guy thinks he could make it if the pitching stuff doesn’t pan out.

  3. This team will be exciting in 2 years. They have a lot of great prospects thst should hit the team in 2019. 2020 will be a great year. Patience.

    • Elements of this team are exciting in 2017.
      On offense Joey Votto is an MVP candidate.

      Zach Cozart Adam Duvall and Eugenio Suarez are playing at very high levels all around.

      Tucker Barnhart and Billy Hamilton are gold glove candidates. Scott schebler and Scooter Gennett have given big time power from the left side. Jesse Winker looks very promising.

      Raisel Iglesias is an elite reliever willing to pitch multi-innings to win..Peralta and lorenzen have elevated the bullpen to a solid unit.

      Luis Castillo looks very promising as a front end starter. That’s it. I’ll certainly give Tyler Mahle and Michael lorenzen the benefit of the doubt when/ if their time comes.

      A deep starting pitching rotation wins you 90 games. 2-elite shutdown starters….200 Ip…30 starts..15 wins….All star selections …wins championships

      Where do you see pitchers who can do this in 2019/2020? Joey Votto will be 37 then…. His best days behind him. Are you asking him to be patient?

      Asleep at the wheel drivers are very patient. They also end up in a ditch.
      This rebuild is stuck in the ditch. Other clubs in rebuild mode didn’t have their $100 million #1 starter have a career altering injury that took 4 productive years….. and counting…. away. They didn’t have major injuries to the top 2 young pitchers they traded for as key components to their rebuild….nor did they have their other top 3 prospects fail miserably when given a chance.

      And the priority is getting Hunter Greene some at bats?

      • There is a lot of good news about the Reds starting lineup this year. The bullpen has been good at times. The starting pitching has largely been lousy, which is why they are in last place.
        Somewhere, sometime it will get better. Either suspects turn into prospects, or they go out and sign some free agents, or a little of both.

  4. If Nick Senzel has a strong spring training like he is playing now, there is no need to play him at AAA in 2018. Except for the first 2 1/2 weeks in April so as to get the extra year of service time. By April 18 Nick Senzel should be a Red. For this reason also, he won’t be a September call up.
    Blandino is having a great rebound year and has played himself back into the 2B conversation. Love his OBP. He may make 2 of 3 of Gennett, Peraza and Herrera expendable. Time for a big blockbuster trade this winter.
    Jose Lopez has had a remarkable season. I thought Scott Moss was going to be the breakout pitcher this year, but it has been hands down Jose Lopez.

    • Usually to avoid an early arbitration year and thus early FA, June 1st is the general cut off date (super 2 status) that varies a few days I think each season. So if they have him on the roster in April, they lose that extra year of partial control.

  5. Resigning Danny Darwin should be the Reds’ top off-season priority. He did a great job in Pensacola with Amir Garrett last year, and Tyler Mahle and Jose Lopez this year. Even Deck McGuire has pitched well for him.

    • I like your behind-the-scenes thinking here. We so seldom have pitching prospects exceeding expectations, that if one team or coach in the minors is doing wonders, they need, no must re-sign him and give him a big raise…AND pick his brain for the MLB pitching coaching and training.

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