Minor League Player of the Day: Matt Klinker (Carolina) 6IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts; No-Decision

AA

Carolina 8 – Tennessee 3; final 10

I’m leading off today’s DOTF with the Double-A game because Chad and I had the luxury of attending the game and watching Redleg Nation Spotlight Player Matt Klinker start.  We were blessed with less than ideal weather but watched Matt pitch a great game. 

The game started when Kris Negron hit the 2nd pitch of the game over the left field wall for a solo homerun.  The Mudcats quickly followed that up with back to back singles, only to have one of those erased on a pick off throw and another erased when the baserunner thought there were 2-outs instead of one, and was doubled off first on a fly out to centerfield.  From the top of the first to the 7th inning, we watched a pitcher’s duel.

Through 3 innings, Matt had allowed only 1 walk and no hits.  In the bottom of the 4th, a ground ball found its way through the middle of the infield for a base hit.  After allowing his first hit in the 4th, Matt responded by retiring the next 8 batters he faced, 5 of which were charged with a strikeout!  Through 6 innings, Matt had allowed 1 hit, 1 walk, and struck out 7.

In the bottom of the 7th, Matt was dealt an ill fate to his game.  The first batter of the inning hit a chopper to Jake Kahaulelio at third which was promptly tossed into the dugout behind first base for a two-base throwing error.  The next batter blooped one into centerfield where Dave Sappelt’s diving attempt failed.  Sappelt’s throw into in the infield missed the cutoff man, allowing a run to score and the base runner to advance to second base.  The next batter hit a hard ground ball to thirdbase which was misplayed again, rolling into leftfield.  The official scorer gave this a hit, and I disagree.  The ball was hit hard, but it went right under Kahaulelio’s glove and I felt he could have made the play.  With this hit, Matt was taken out of the game.  The next batter proceeded to hit a sac-fly to right field, plating another run and ending Matt’s night.

All in all, I was extremely pleased with the performance by Klinker last night.  My only disappointment was that he pitched well enough to get the win, but was on the hook for the loss. Luckily for him and the Mudcats, the club rebounded and wound up winning in extra innings thanks to a 5-run explosion in the 10th.

Other Notable Stat Lines from the game:

Dave Sappelt: 2-5, 2 runs, HR, 3rbis

Chris Denove: 2-4, 1 run, HR, 2rbis

Kris Negron: 3-4, 1 run, HR, 1rbi

Jake Kahaulelio: 3-5, 1 run, 1 Error

AAA

Louisville 7 – Buffalo 6 

Luis Terrero went 1-4 with a homerun and 3 rbis.  The homerun was Luis’ first of the season for Louisville.  Chris Valaika was 2-3 at the plate while Justin Lehr helped his own cause offensively by driving in 2 rbis.

Lehr performed better with the bat than he did on the mound.  Lehr allowed 5 runs on 12 hits and 0 walks in 5.1 innings pitched for a no-decision.  He struck out 3.  Enerio Del Rosario pitched a scoreless inning in relief to lower his ERA to 1.93 in 18.2 innings pitched this season.

UPDATE: According to the Louisville Courier Journal:

Juan Francisco, who was a late scratch due to an appendectomy.

Bats manager Rick Sweet said the slugger would be out about “a minimum of four weeks.”

“He felt it this late morning,” Sweet said. “He told (trainer) Tomas (Vera), and all of a sudden he was done and started throwing up. He was in pretty bad shape.”

High A

Wilmington 6 – Lynchburg 5; final 10

Devin Mesoraco was a homerun shy of the cycle in this game, going 4-5 with 2 singles, a double, a triple, and scoring 2 runs.  Devin is now batting .333/.427/.613 on the season.  Cody Puckett, Neftali Soto, and Byron Wiley had 2 hits each in the loss.  Puckett and Soto each had a double and Puckett drove in 2 rbis. 

A

Dayton 4 – Fort Wayne 3

Five different Dragons players had 2 hits in the win.  Leading the way was Shane Carlson who was 2-4 with a triple, rbi, and 3 runs scored.  Didi Gregorius, Kevin Coddington, Frank Pfister, and Efrain Contreras were the other Dragons with 2 hits.

Doug Salinas picked up the win in relief by pitching 3 scoreless innings, allowing 0 hits, 2 walks, and striking out 4.

16 Responses

  1. Chad Dotson

    The player who forgot the number of outs and got doubled off first in the Carolina game was Yonder Alonso.

  2. Bill Lack

    So, when do we start the “Free Matt Klinker” posts? What bothers me is that Lehr is taking a roster spot at AAA, is 32 (will be 33 this season) and has a 6.25 ERA.

    I would also wonder about the catching situation…it appears Wilkin Castillo is the #1 catcher at Louisville (though Corky Miller is killing the ball), but we all know he’s no catcher. So, why not move Denove up and get Mesoraco to AA?

  3. RiverCity Redleg

    Valaika has been killing it. As bad as the Bats have been offensively (until lately), he is batting over .350 for the season. Interesting note, Chris Burke has 9 SBs already.

  4. BJ Ruble

    @Bill Lack: I agree tha Matt needs to be on the AAA roster. Lehr isn’t going to help the big club as a starter either. With that said, I really like Lehr, he helps out the younger guys, so I wouldn’t mind him in a long relief role. Another pitcher taking up a roster spot is Jon Adkins. I have really liked him, but he is struggling really bad as well. Both of those guys are journeymen who are never going to help at the ML level.

    As far as the catchers go…With Francisco out, that means more time for Castillo at 3B, which means they could bring up Denove easily. I too believe that Devin needs to be in AA, that would also free up time for Soto to work on his catching at Lynchburg.

  5. Greg Dafler

    Klinker should be in AAA starting. Maloney is on the DL again with the blister problem, so Klinker could take those starts instead of giving them to a reliever. When Maloney is ready to come off the DL, Lehr can move to the bullpen.

    It looks like Miller is catching more than Castillo, but Castillo has more at-bats because he’s played other positions. I was surprised that they’ve been using Castillo at catcher in AAA over either of Denove or Yarbrough.

  6. Greg Dafler

    I thought Maloney was on the DL, but I see that he is scheduled to start tonight…that shouldn’t prevent Klinker from getting the promotion…

  7. pinson343

    Great review, guys.

    I agree with moving Klinker and Denove to AAA and Devin to AA.

  8. wanderinredsfan

    Personally, I don’t think there’s much difference from AA to AAA for pitchers. I don’t see the need or rush to get Klinker to AAA. The only spot available would be Lehr’s, and Lehr provides good depth if the big league club struggles with injuries over the next few months.

    So long as Klinker is getting his IPs, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about. The ‘brass’ know what he’s doing, and it really doesn’t change his position on the depth-chart. Which is to say, whether in AAA or AA, Klinker is still about 5th down the depth-chart from making a MLB debut.

    I think more of a case can be made for Denove being in AAA, considering that is where he finished the season last year. With that said, I still think Miller and Castillo get called up before him, so I don’t know that it matters really for Denove either.

    So long as both players keep performing, they’ll both be in AAA soon enough.

  9. Sultan of Swaff

    Time to move up Alonso to AAA and put him in LF, plus shift Frazier to 3b. I can’t wait until Alonso starts raking enough to platoon him w/ Gomes in Cincy. I’m not sold on Nix in the least. Good pitchers exploit him on the inner half all the time.
    Nice to see Valaika having success as well. It certainly can’t hurt to have options in case there’s a taker for Phillips salary/ego.

  10. Bill Lack


    wanderinredsfan:

    Personally, I don’t think there’s much difference from AA to AAA for pitchers. I don’t see the need or rush to get Klinker to AAA. The only spot available would be Lehr’s, and Lehr provides good depth if the big league club struggles with injuries over the next few months.
    So long as Klinker is getting his IPs, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about. The ‘brass’ know what he’s doing, and it really doesn’t change his position on the depth-chart. Which is to say, whether in AAA or AA, Klinker is still about 5th down the depth-chart from making a MLB debut.
    I think more of a case can be made for Denove being in AAA, considering that is where he finished the season last year. With that said, I still think Miller and Castillo get called up before him, so I don’t know that it matters really for Denove either.
    So long as both players keep performing, they’ll both be in AAA soon enough.

    Reply

    Matt finished last year in AAA also, plus the organization has more depth to weather injuries and, IMO, it makes no sense to hold onto a 32 year old AAAA player, while keeping a 25 year old player below a level where they were successful last year.

  11. wanderinredsfan

    @Bill Lack: Thing is, Lehr was the I.L. pitcher of the year last season and helped out the big club in a pinch. He hasn’t found his control yet this season, but it’s too early to drop him just so Klinker can move to L’ville. Lehr could be a valuable asset this season, especially if the big-league club decides to limit the innings of Leake later on. Plus, Sweet likes Lehr, and I’m sure his opinion weighs in on the decision.

    Klinker is fine getting starts in AA. It’s not hampering his development any and doesn’t cause a player to be jettisoned for no apparant benefit to the Reds. AAA is not such a huge jump from AA in talent to warrant the move. It is not hampering Klinker’s development to remain in AA. He can make the jump to the bigs from AA just as readily as from AAA. I understand folks here want Klinker to succeed, but it’s an absurd idea to get rid of Lehr just to move Klinker to AAA.

  12. Bill Lack


    wanderinredsfan:

    @Bill Lack: Thing is, Lehr was the I.L. pitcher of the year last season and helped out the big club in a pinch. He hasn’t found his control yet this season, but it’s too early to drop him just so Klinker can move to L’ville. Lehr could be a valuable asset this season, especially if the big-league club decides to limit the innings of Leake later on. Plus, Sweet likes Lehr, and I’m sure his opinion weighs in on the decision.
    Klinker is fine getting starts in AA. It’s not hampering his development any and doesn’t cause a player to be jettisoned for no apparant benefit to the Reds. AAA is not such a huge jump from AA in talent to warrant the move. It is not hampering Klinker’s development to remain in AA. He can make the jump to the bigs from AA just as readily as from AAA. I understand folks here want Klinker to succeed, but it’s an absurd idea to get rid of Lehr just to move Klinker to AAA.

    Reply

    Is being the IL POY at age 31 really any big deal?

    Lehr is 32, we’ve got Wood, Maloney, Chapman, LeCure at Louisville. And control hasn’t been Lehr’s problem, he’s only walked 9 in 31 innings, but he’s given up 50 hits. What future does Lehr have here?

    It makes no sense to hold a young guy back for a 32 year old guy with zero future in the organization. Do you believe that if the Reds needed a starter tomorrow, it would be Lehr? No, it’d be Wood or Maloney…maybe LeCure (based on his numbers thus far this year).

    Not hampering development? How about feeling like no matter who well you’re pitching, you won’t get promoted (to be clear, this is me talking, not Matt)? You say there’s not much difference between AA and AAA, in that case, Matt is outpitching all of the above pitchers, why not move him up and them down? In addition, the Reds don’t make the jump from AA to the bigs..haven’t in years, at least not as far as I can remember.

    As I’ve said in the past, I’m prejudice in Matt’s favor, I admit that, he’s my friend, I like him…but your points don’t make sense to me.

  13. Matt WI

    @Bill Lack: I agree. The time we need Lehr is probably the same time the season gets sucked up the vacuum.

  14. wanderinredsfan

    @Bill Lack:
    As for the control issues, I’m just going by what Lehr and Sweet have been quoted as saying recently with regards to Lehr’s recent struggles.

    Actually, if the Reds did need a starter tomorrow, I do think that Lehr would get the call, simply because of his experience. It might be between him and Wood, but I’d still think they would go with the guy who had done it before. Until Maloney gets his blistering fingers under control, he won’t be called up. I think Klinker likely gets the call before Lecure, but Thompson probably gets the nod before either of them. Really, it doesn’t matter much, since Walt and co. feel better with Lehr in the system. I do too, until one of either Chapman, Wood, or Maloney are ready, or the season has gone in the tank. Either way, this wont likely happen for another couple of months.

    Don’t get me wrong, I prefer all other options going forward, especially long-term, but Lehr does have value with this franchise right now. If Klinker has to stay behind in AA to make him fit, then I’m fine with it. Ask me again in August, and I’ll likely give you a different answer. Again, I just don’t think there is much of a difference between AA and AAA, at least for starting pitchers. So long as Klinker gets his IPs and improving, then that’s all that matters. Klinker will have his shot soon enough. It might be next spring, but only because of the great depth that the Reds have right now. This is a good thing. I’m not going to knock the Reds for keeping Lehr as security for the time being.