Tonight will be a big night in Dayton as Cincinnati Reds 1st round pick Nick Lodolo will be taking the mound for the Dragons. As far as I can tell, there will also be a decent contingent of Redleg Nation there, too (four of us as far as I know). On Wednesday the left-handed pitcher spoke with some of the media in Dayton prior to the game. Give it a watch/listen below.

The 6′ 6″ lefty is coming off of a season where he threw 103.0 innings with a 2.36 ERA at TCU before the draft. The Reds selected him 7th overall. They sent him to Billings where he made six starts for the Mustangs, but was very limited in his usage. Over those six starts he only threw 11.1 innings where he allowed 12 hits, 3 earned runs (2.38 ERA), walked no one, and he struck out 21 of the 46 batters that he faced.

Jonathan India, Stuart Fairchild out to strong starts in Double-A

It’s been a very short stay for Jonathan India thus far in Double-A. The 2018 1st round pick of the Cincinnati Reds just got promoted to join the Chattanooga Lookouts on Monday. But India has made an impact in that short stay, too. He’s gone 5-for-11 (.455) with a walk, he’s been hit by a pitch (.538 OBP), and stolen two bases.

It’s not just Jonathan India that’s making a quick impact for the Lookouts, though. 2017 2nd round pick Stuart Fairchild is also on fire for Chattanooga. He had a very brief call up earlier this year to Double-A, but he’s been back for the last week and he’s kept on hitting. Through his 10 games with the Lookouts this season he’s hitting .357/.471/.571 with 3 walks, 3 doubles, a home run, 2 steals, and just 5 strikeouts.

Keep an eye on Joel Kuhnel

The Reds bullpen was outstanding in the first half of the year, mostly. It’s been more than a bit shaky in the second half. In the last month or so the Reds have reached into Triple-A and called up a few pitchers to fill in for the bullpen. Sal Romano was the most recent, but Lucas Sims – who filled in as a starter yesterday, and Jimmy Herget have both been recent call ups as well.

All three of those guys were in Louisville and having varying degrees of success. But there’s a guy that hasn’t been called up with a chance to be a difference maker in the near future for the Cincinnati Reds bullpen: Joel Kuhnel. The right-hander was the teams 11th round pick back in the 2016 draft out of Texas Arlington.

He began this season in Double-A Chattanooga, posting a 2.27 ERA in 35.2 innings with 8 walks (3 intentional) and 30 strikeouts. That performance earned Kuhnel a promotion to Triple-A Louisville just over a month ago. He’s made 11 appearances since then, and it was only the very first one that saw him allow a run. That puts his ERA at 0.79 for the Bats. Over his 11.1 innings he’s struck out 12 batters and walked 4. On the season between his two stops he’s posted a 1.91 ERA across 47.0 total innings.

Joel Kuhnel isn’t on the 40-man roster right now. That’s probably the only reason he hasn’t been one of the pitchers called up at this point. The numbers have been dominant. And it’s not like he doesn’t have the stuff, either. He sits in the upper 90’s with his fastball, touches triple-digits, and has a put-away offspeed pitch.

Fidel Castro, yes, Fidel Castro is heating up

I’ve been writing about the Cincinnati Reds farm system at RedsMinorLeagues.com since January of 2006. There have been a few times that I’ve done some outstanding work there and felt that it didn’t reach nearly as many people as I felt it should have. And then there’s the times where something I wrote reached tens of thousands of people that I never intended it to reach. That’s what happened last year when I wrote a simple article about how the Reds were promoting a prospect from the Dominican Summer League to the Arizona Rookie League. That players name, not anything he’d done on a baseball field had everything to do with that “viral” article. The Reds were promoting Fidel Castro to the United States.

That post was short, just over 300 words in total. But somehow the title, the name Fidel Castro, it caught the attention of people online and blew up on reddit in multiple non-baseball forums. For a few days there the traffic got crazy. It eventually slowed down.

What didn’t slow down, though, was Fidel Castro. He had hit .262/.404/.516 for the Dominican Summer League Reds last year. After his promotion he spent the next month hitting .315/.413/.519 for the Arizona League Reds.

This season he’s returned to the Arizona League. Now the 20-year-old outfielder is continuing what he started last year. Sort of. Over eight games in June he hit just .259/.300/.333 across 30 plate appearances with 14 strikeouts. But since July rolled around he’s been on fire. Over the 14 games he’s played in the month he’s hit .339/.403/.732. That’s come with 4 doubles, 3 triples, and 4 home runs. He’s drawn 6 walks and 13 strikeouts in those 62 plate appearances.

20 Responses

  1. Pete

    This is all good news and excellent work as always. Could India play SS at the MLB level if push came to shove?

    • Seat101

      It would take a heck of a lot of pushing and shoving.

    • Doug Gray

      On an every day basis I can’t imagine anyone thinking he’s a shortstop. In an emergency? Sure.

      • Mike

        What if the emergency is that the other shortstops couldn’t be counted on to hit their respective weights?

      • Pete

        Thanks.

        Kid looks like he could come up quick: only 17 games in Rookie ball, 27 in A, 87 in A+, now in AA. His stats look good to me. If he can only play 3B, I hope the Reds are thinking about a plan with regards to Suarez. Praying India is a real hot shot and can realize his projected power potential. This could make 2020 much more intriguing.

    • Indy Red Man

      “What if the emergency is that the other shortstops couldn’t be counted on to hit their respective weights?”

      Be careful! Seat may hunt you down like the dad from Taken. He’s convinced Peraza will turn into Alex Rodriguez II any day now….except steroid free and a with much wealthier girlfriend:) Really! Peraza could sold world hunger by lunch if given the opportunity:)

  2. Michael Smith

    @pete

    I think he could play second and if need be Left.

    • Pete

      Good stuff, thanks Michael.

      I hoping, fingers crossed, those spots are covered. Winker/Ervin platoon and VanMeter. We really need a SS. I was looking through statistics this morning for Suarez. Suarez is doing well for an average player but compared to the other third baseman in the NL he is ranked 8th of 12 qualifiers in wRC+ (118). By itself this is fine but the Reds need to have some studs at some of the positions, for instance, if Suarez was a SS he would be ranked 3rd of 12 qualifiers.

      Hypothetically if India turns out to be an All-Star quality 3B at the MLB level, can Suarez handle SS well enough? I’m a bit of a dreamer and I’m sure everyone here knows I’d like to see a very young team on the diamond before long – Votto the noted exception.

      Only position where I see a problem in the short-term is C if the Suarez/India dynamic works out. Now if we do have that very good young team and have a low payroll, the Reds could pick up a couple of high-dollar guys to fill in the gaps. We don’t know exactly what those gaps maybe, yet – need to find out as soon as possible. I apologize for posting so frequently but I’m bullish on the future if the cards are played right and the Reds get a little luck, God knows they are due for some.

  3. Jreis

    It is comical to think Suarez can play short stop at this point. Just not nimble enough. My thought is to move Suarez across the diamond to first when india is ready. I know this puts Joey on the bench but it really opens up the infield.

    I still say our best option at shortstop is Hunter Greene. Let’s just dump the pitching idea before more injuries accumulate. This guy is an athlete and fans will come to see him. Guarenteed!

    • Doc

      Right on! I, too, have been saying that about Greene since he was drafted.

  4. Redgoggles

    I just saw where the Cubs optioned Addison Russell again….lots to overcome (DV history, same division, etc.), but I would think it’s worth a phone call as he is still young and would solve a long term need. Maybe a fresh start would rejuvenate him?

    • Pete

      I think it’s worth a phone call. He is an okay hitter about the same as Peraza last year; however, Addison is a far superior fielder. His trade value should be at rock bottom, what’s going to cost to inquiry? Nothing. Only 25 yesars old with 6 years of MLB experience.

    • Doug Gray

      No. Absolutely the heck not. I want nothing at all to do with that loser.

      • Pete

        Sometimes people get second chances. Does he have heavy remorse and a strong desire to straighten himself out? Is this one of many offences. I’m a fan of baseball and the Reds in particular and when giving a choice between solving society’s ills and winning games, I go with the latter. I’m not saying the kid is fit to ever play in MLB again but he is young and I wouldn’t be opposed to giving him a second chance depending on his mindset.

        Watched Lodolo pitch last night and he looks polished over TV. Could this guy move up quick and maybe we see him as soon as next year? His control look impeccable and mound presence strong, how much does he need to learn in the minor laegues?

  5. Chris Mo

    It’s time to sell the soon to be free agents for whatever their market value currently is. Not because the Reds need to reduce payroll, but because it is time to play the youngsters you have to see what they can do at the major league level. Reality is the wildcard is out of reach. If the Reds play .667 (18-9) against the division, and .600 (21-14) against everybody else, they still project to fall a couple games short of the wildcard. And who among us genuinely believes the current Reds can make that kind of run? After the 1-8 start the Reds have played to a 45-46 record.
    Roark, Puig, Jose Iglesias, Hughes, Gennett, and Dietrich all have value. Fans would miss Puig’s cannon in right field. We will not miss the licking of the bat, hitting himself with the bat, or admiring the balls flight before running hard. We will miss Iglesias gold glove defense, the beauty of what a pure major league SS defensive looks like. As much as we loved the offense displayed by Scooter during his multi-year run, we will not miss his pedestrian defense and lack of arm strength.
    How much value is for someone else to decide, but this comment is about playing the younger guys.
    Winker (1st rd pick, 49th overall), Ervin (1st rd pick, 27th overall), Senzel (1st rd pick, 2nd overall) would be the outfield. Suarez, Peraza (begrudgingly, he would be the only SS left), VanMeter, Votto would be the infield. Whoever is healthy catches. Wood plugged into the starting rotation where Roark left. Give Romano some starts if Mahle is out for a while. Bring up some of the young relief pitchers like Kuhnel because the trades should free up a few spots on the 40 man. I don’t see a significant drop in production statistically. I believe the kids would be more exciting to watch.

    • DDEarly

      No winker period and you keep puig ! Always and go for it van meter is better than winker ! Winker brings value trade him too American League now why we can and get a good pitcher one that can do it all but mostly late or in a go too guy situation period ! This team is ready too rock but you must keep most of it together puig is amazing and great for this club and attendance and do not forget scooter who brought us everything and more ! He is coming !! And I use the young peraza especially with our young studs coming up you trade peraza now where he can flourish but we can get something in return ! We need another catcher and I love the one we just got the guy can hit and play someone really goofed on him ! And Russell from Chicago maybe a real steal ! You know the reds do not put up with isdyesthis would be good for him and us he has severe talent ! But I am keeping g puig !! Sign him now!! Senzel in CF and Ervin / Vanmeter in left snd there’s your extra outfielder but those guys are great and no one has puig dark and he has so much potential he is gonna even get better but you keep Iglesias at SS scoots and 2b Suarez 3b and of course Joey at 1b ….. Joey has figs it out and he us gonba bust out ! Our real issue right now is “ yep” u guessed it the manager !! I think we sweep the brewers yesterday’ if we do not keep Suarez out of the game one of if not the hottest hitter in the game !! I will never understand that and that game was so impfor the Reds !! …… go reds

    • Bill J

      I seen where those you named to trade Chris will only be worth AS it A+ player each. Maybe if you put some in a package you can get a AAA player.

  6. LWblogger2

    3B has some serious hitters. That wasn’t the case as little as 5 years ago where a 118 would have probably put him in the top 3. He could probably still play SS in a pinch but he’s bigger than he was before and is over 2 years removed from playing SS in MLB. I think it’s unlikely he could slot back there.

    • LWblogger2

      Was supposed to be a reply to Pete. Oh well.