REDLEG NATION MINOR LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE MONTH

Reds starting pitcher prospect Robert Stephenson was chosen by the writers as the Redleg Nation Minor League Player of the Month for July. The 2011 1st round pick was promoted from Billings to the Dayton Dragons last month. In July, he started 5 games with a 1.25 ERA and 0.969 WHIP. His July pitching line was 21.2 IP, 13h, 8bb, 24 K.

Stephenson was the subject of a Reds.com article by Mark Clements earlier this week. Some snippets are below, but the full article is worth a read.

Stephenson has yet to record a loss in the Minors, holding a combined 3-0 record with a 2.30 ERA in 11 starts, and Reds assistant director of player development Jeff Graupe said the club has been extremely impressed with Stephenson’s velocity, which ranges from 93-99 mph, and has touched as high as 101.

“He’s an intelligent young man, and physically, his arm strength is top of the charts,” Graupe said. “For a starting pitcher to be able to carry that [velocity] for six or seven innings, that’s pretty impressive.”

The hard-throwing right-hander has chalked up 57 strikeouts with just 15 walks this season while recently working on adding a changeup to his arsenal — a pitch he didn’t throw in high school, when he resorted to a split-finger fastball instead.

“I mostly rely on the fastball to get ahead,” Stephenson said. “I try to back them on fastballs, and if I get ahead in the count, I go to offspeed. [The changeup] is something I just started throwing in the past year. I got a really good feel for it when I was in Billings, then I kind of lost feel for it, so I haven’t been throwing it quite as much recently.”

“Amazingly, for a guy like Robert — who has the velocity he has — there isn’t a ton of effort in his delivery,” Graupe said. “So while we are monitoring his innings and his pitches at this point, he’ll be able to grow at a healthy rate over the next couple years to a point where I think he’s physically strong and durable enough to where he’ll take a pretty big workload.”

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Games Played on 08/14/12 Minor League Player of the Day: Pensacola LF, Donald Lutz, went 4-5 with 2 home runs. This is his 4th and 5th homers since coming to Pensacola and gives him 22 for the season. AAA Charlotte 6 – Louisville 2 Henry Rodriguez was 2-4 as the only Bat with a multiple […]

Games Played on 08/12/12 Minor League Player of the Day: Pensacola SS Billy Hamilton: He went 3 for 4 with a 3B, a BB, and 3 SB. AAA Gwinnett 5 – Louisville 2 Didi Gregorius went 2 for 3 with a BB. Felix Perez went 2 for 4. Corky Miller doubled. Todd Redmond, 3.54 ERA, […]

Games Played on 8/10/2012 Minor League Players of the Day: Billings LF Jesse Winker was 2-4 with a double and a homer, driving in 2 runs. In 42 games, Winker has a slash line of .358/.473/.497 with a couple of homers and 32 walks (31 strikeouts) in 151 AB’s. AAA Louisville 3 – Gwinett 2 […]

Games Played on 8/8/2012

Minor League Player of the Day: Penscacola starter Chad Rogers threw 6 innings, allowing only 3 hits, a walk, striking out 6 and not giving up any runs. It’s his second start for the Blue Wahoos, running his ERA in AA to .82 in 11 innings of work.

AAA
Toldeo 8 – Louisville 4

Brian Peacock was 2-3 with a homer, Felix Perez was 2-3 with a homer and a walk, and Nefi Soto was 2-4.

Pedro Villarreal started and ran his record to 3-9 with the loss, he threw 4.1, allowing 8 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), a walk and 3 strikeouts. The only relief to escape without a run was Travis Webb, who threw a hitless 9th.

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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 chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Games Played on 8/2/2012

Minor League Player of the Day: Wirfin Obispo struck out 10 batters and allowed only 2 hits and 1 run on a solo homerun in his 6-inning start for Pensacola.

AAA
Charlotte 8 – Louisville 1

Todd Redmond threw 5 innings of 3-hit baseball, allowing 2 unearned runs, 1 walk, and striking out 4. J.J. Hoover tossed a perfect 9th inning with 2 strikouts.

Denis Phipps was 2-for-4 with a double and a solo homerun. Didi Gregorius was 2-for-3 with a walk.

AA
Pensacola 6 – Tennessee 1

Wirfin Obispo allowed just 2 hits and 1 run over 6 innings while striking out 10 batters. Wilkin De La Rosa and Justin Freeman pitched three perfect innings to preserve the win.

David Vidal was 2-for-5 with a homerun and two RBI. Josh Fellhauer was 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, a stolen base, and two RBI. Bryson Smith was 2-for-5 with a stolen base, a run scored and two RBI. And of course, Billy Hamilton stole two more bases, walked twice, and scored two runs.

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Games Played on 07/27/12 Minor League Player of the Day: Bakersfield OF Steve Selsky: He went 2 for 3 with a HR, a 2B, and 2 BB. AAA Louisville 3 – Buffalo 1 Chris Valaika went 1 for 2 with a BB. Neftali Soto hit his 13th home run. Tim Gustafson, 4.64 ERA, got no […]

Games Played on 7/25/2012

Minor League Player of the Day: Didi Gregorius was 3-for-5 with two runs scored, including the walk-off homerun in the Louisville Bats win over Buffalo.

AAA
Louisville 5 – Buffalo 4

Down 4-0 in the bottom of the 8th inning, Didi Gregorius got the 4-run rally started with a 1-out single, later scoring the first Bats run of the game. In the bottom of the 9th inning, again with 1 out, Gregorius hit the game-winning, walk-off homerun. It was his 2nd homerun in as many days, and his 4th with Louisville in just 56 at-bats. Mike Costanzo was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a run scored.

Brett Tomko (3 runs, 4 hits, 3 bb, 2k) made his first start since May 30, only going 3 innings. Travis Webb struck out 5 batters in his 2.2 shutout innings. J.J. Hoover was credited with the win in his scoreless 9th inning of work.

AA
Huntsville 6 – Pensacola 2

Bryson Smith was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Billy Hamilton walked once in four plate appearances, stole second base and scored a run. Hamilton has reached base in all 13 games he’s played with Pensacola.

Kyle Lotzkar (4ip, 4r, 3er, 6h, 3bb, 5k, 3 HR allowed) continues to have a rough time since his callup to the AA level. Josh Ravin, Justin Freeman, and Chris Manno each pitched an inning to finish the game, combining to strike out 7 of the 10 batters they faced.
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Games Played on 07/21/12

Minor League Player of the Day: Louisville SP Todd Redmond: He got the win as he went 7 IP and allowed 0 R on 5 H and 1 BB with 8 K.

AAA

Louisville 4 – Pawtucket 0

Didi Gregorius went 2 for 4 with a HR. Henry Rodriguez went 2 for 4. Mike Costanzo went 1 for 3 with a 2B and a BB.

Todd Redmond, 3.36 ERA, got the win as he went 7 IP and allowed 0 R on 5 H and 1 BB with 8 K. Jordan Smith added 2 IP of scoreless relief.

AA

Pensacola 4 – Mobile 2

Ryan LaMarre went 2 for 4 with a HR. Brodie Greene went 2 for 4. J. C. Sulbaran tripled. Donald Lutz and Bryson Smith each doubled.

J. C. Sulbaran, 4.08 ERA, got no decision as he went 5 IP and allowed 2 R on 3 H and 1 BB with 7 K. Drew Hayes got the win with 1 IP of scoreless relief. Josh Ravin added 1.1 IP of scoreless relief. Justin Freeman picked up the save with 1.2 IP of scoreless relief.

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Games Played on 7/19/2012

Minor League Player of the Day: Henry Rodriguez was 4-for-5 with a homerun, 3 runs scored and 2 RBI.

AAA
Columbus 13 – Louisville 12

Henry Rodriguez was 4-for-5 with a homerun, 3 runs scored and 2 RBI. Neftali Soto was 2-for-4 with a double, a grand slam, and 5 total RBI. Mike Costanzo was 2-for-5 with a homerun and 3 RBI.

Columbus scored 6 runs, 4 earned, off Bats starter Chad Reineke in 4.1 innings.

AA
Pensacola 8 – Mobile 6

Josh Fellhauer was 3-for-5 with a 3-run homerun and 4 total RBI. Brodie Greene went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and 2 runs scored. Billy Hamilton had 2 singles and a walk in 5 plate appearances, scoring 1 run and knocking in another. Hamilton has reached base in his first 8 games with Pensacola, leading to a .276/.382/.483 batting line.

Kyle Lotzkar allowed 4 runs on 2 hits and 6 walks in 4.1 innings while also striking out 6. Josh Ravin was credited with the win in his first appearance for Pensacola. Ravin went 1.2 sutout innings, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 3. Curtis Partch and Justin Freeman each pitched a scoreless inning to close out the game.
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Games Played on 07/17/12

Minor League Player of the Day: 8th round draft pick, Billings 3B, Seth Mejian-Brean had a pretty good doubleheader, going 4-7 with a double and homer, scoring 3 runs and driving 3 in. Thus far in the Billings season, he’s hitting at a .333/.436/636 clip in 10 games.

AAA

Columbus 5 – Louisville 4 10 innings

Xavier Paul (LH hitting OF) continued his hot streak since coming to the Bats. His OPS at Syracuse was .888, and he’s moved that up to 1.180 at Louisville. He was 4-5 last night. Corky Miller was 2-3 with a homer, Nefi Soto was 1-4 with a homer.

Tim Gustafson had a good start for the Bats, going 5.1 shutout innings, allowing 2 hits and 3 walks while striking out 3. But the bullpen faltered…Nick Christiani .2 IP 3 H 3 R 3 ER 1 BB 1 HR (and to show how stupid the hold stat was, he was credited with his 7th hold), Travis Webb and Jordan Smith both threw scoreless innings, but Donnie Joseph got a blown save with an inning where he gave up 2 hits and a walk, while giving up a run. Kanekoa Texeira took the loss, going .2, giving up the winning run on 2 hits and a walk.

AA

Jacksonville 5 – Pensacola 4 10 innings

Ryan LaMarre was 2-3 with a double, Miguel Rojas was 2-5, and Donald Lutz, in his first game as a Blue Wahoo, went 1-5 with a homer.

Wirfin Obispo started and went 4 innings, allowing 3 runs on 3 hits. Brian Pearl threw a scoreless inning, Curtis Partch threw 1.2 scoreless innings, and Justin Freeman threw a scoreless frame.

The loss went to Mark Serrano, who gave up an unearned run in the 10th.

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I’ve been a Reds fan since the late ’60’s, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in ’84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in ’90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.

Games Played on 07/16/12

Minor League Player of the Day: Bakersfield starter, RHP Tim Crabbe, showed he didn’t believe his recent demotion was warranted, by throwing 8 innings of 3 hit, 1 run baseball in his first start back in Bakersfield. He walked 1 and struck out 6.

AAA

Columbus 8 – Louisville 2

Denis Phipps was 2-4. Didi Gregorious hit his first AAA homer, as the Bats only collected 4 hits on the night.

Ryan Feierabend (who?) started and raised his ERA to 6.75 with 4.1 innings of 9 hit, 7 run (5 earned) work. And the Reds released Scott Carroll?

Carlos Fisher threw 2 scoreless, one hit innings of relief.

AA

Jacksonville 2 – Pensacola 1

Beau Mills was 2-4 with a homer to account for the only Wahoo run.

J.C. Sulburan started and threw 4.1 innings of 1 run baseball, giving up 3 hits, but walking 4 while striking out 4. He took the loss, taking his record to 6-7.

Brian Pearl threw 1.2 hitless innings, Justin Freeman threw .2 (but walked 3), and Chris Manno got the final out.

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I’ve been a Reds fan since the late ’60’s, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in ’84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in ’90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.