This week I want to highlight a player from each of the full season minor league teams.

AAA Louisville Bats

RH SP pitcher Tim Crabbe is off to a good start for the 9-10 Bats.  Crabbe is sporting a 2.57 ERA over three starts and one relief appearance.  Crabbe was a 14th round pick in the 2009 draft and steadily worked his way up through the system.  The 26 year old Crabbe is not someone you hear mentioned on prospect lists.  He did have a great season last year posting a 3.27 ERA in 24 starts at AA and then a 0.71 ERA in 2 AAA starts.  His SO rate has seemed to fallen off at the higher levels, but he walks very few and does not give up many HRs.  Crabbe is a bit old and doesn’t have the eye popping stuff of the big name prospects, but is worth keeping an eye on as he continues to put up good results at the highest level of the minors.

AA Pensacola Blue Yahoos

LF Donald Lutz is off to a sizzling .353/.405/.662/1.067 start for the 8-12 Blue Wahoos.  The 25 year old Lutz is a bit old for a top prospect.  He put up pedestrian .245/.318/.424/.741 line in an injury shortened half season at AA last year.  He doesn’t have as much plate discipline as one would like to see and strikes out quite a bit.  I would think that if he continues to show a mastery of AA pitching as he is doing now, he and his big time power will moved to AAA Louisville pretty soon.

High A Bakersfield Blaze

RH SP Ben Lively has been nearly untouchable over four starts for the 14-6 Blaze.  The 22 year old 4th round of 2013 draft pick is coming off of his first season of professioinal baseball where he posted a 0.73 ERA over 12 starts in the high offense Pioneer Rookie League and then added 2.25 ERA in one solid start at low A Dayton.  Lively has a 0.39 ERA over 4 starts at high A Bakersfield after esentially bypassing low A.  In 23 IP thus far Lively has allowed only 8 H and 1 BB while posting 33 K in the high offense California League.  Lievely appears on top 10 prospect lists and it will be interesting to see how he handles adversity once he finds a level where batters start to show a little success against him.

Low A Dayton Dragons

LF/IB Sebastian Elizalde has a .283 /.443 /.566 /1.009 slash line for the 11-7 Dragons.  Elizalde is proving thus far to be quite the find for the Reds.  The Reds signed him from the Mexican League over the winter where he posted a .301 /.353 /.450 /.803 line in 289 AB over the last 4 seasons.  The 22 year old bats LH and throws RH and played only the OF in the Mexican league.  He appears to be splitting time between 1B and the OF for the Dragons this season, but he must not be slow afoot though, as he 3 of his 7 appearances in the OF have been in CF and he has 5 SB in seven attempts.  Very encouraging signs for him are 15 BB in 70 PA and 8 extra base hits (3 HR).  It will interesting to follow his progression this season.

9 Responses

  1. Greg Dafler

    I’m a bit surprised that with Lutz being on the 40-man and having spent some time on the Reds 25-man roster last year, that he started the season in AA instead of AAA.

    • Tom Diesman

      I was too, but it makes sense looking at the numbers. He had posted only something close to a .725 OPS in a little over 400 PA at AA over the previous two seasons. So I figure they wanted to him to show he could shine there before promoting him too the next level. I figure it will be a quick promotion if continues as he has thus far.

      • Janet

        Another consideration is that with all the recent signees clogging up the outfield at Louisville, Lutz will get more PAs at Pensacola.

  2. Bill Lack

    Free Ben Lively….wonder how long they’ll keep him in Bakersfield?

    • WVRedlegs

      By the end of May he’ll be in Pensacola. His hometown is not far from Pensacola. Lively will be movin’ on up soon.

  3. Paul Gunsaulies

    I attended Monday nights’s AA Wahoos/Suns game here in Jacksonville. Was lucky enough to get to see Stephenson pitch. He started out at 94-5 in the first inning and by the 5th was up to 97 on the gun. He still needs some work on getting his secondary pitches over the plate but his fastball is electric. He also had a couple of hits and 3 RBI’s at the plate. Lutz, don’t believe in the excuses, should be at AAA, had a 1B/HR/2-2Bs going into his last plate appearance so of course I was yelling at him to get a triple to complete the cycle, and he did! He smiled when I yelled “Triple Lutz” as he was standing on 3rd.

  4. Shchi Cossack

    So if the Reds have to bring up an OF replacement from their minor league system, where is that OF coming from?

    At AAA:

    LH OF .288/.306/.390 Felix Perez, age 29 season
    RH OF .196/.288/.391 Mike Wilson, age 31 season
    RH CF .243/.291/.338 Jason Bourgeois, age 32 season
    RH CF .115/.281/.231 Ryan LaMarre, age 25 season
    RH LF .192/.276/.192 Thomas Neal, age 27 season

    At AA:

    LH LF .370/.418/.726 Donald Lutz, age 25 season – 40 man roster
    RH CF .325/.361/.442 Yorman Rodriguez, age 22 season – 40 man roster

    At A+:

    RH CF .394/.394/.606 Junior Arias, age 22 season – DL
    RH OF .329/.449/600 Kyle Waldrop. age 22 season
    LH OF .333/.413/.551 Jesse Winker, age 21 season

    The minor league FA roster fillers signed by the Reds during the off-season are blocking the real major league prospects and also robbing the real major league prospects of experience should they be needed at the major league level in an emergency. Pick 2 OF from the AAA roster and either move them down the competitive ladder to A+ or release them so Lutz and Rodriguez can move up to AAA and Waldrop and Winker can move up to AA.

    • L.A. Red

      You read my mind. I was looking at the Bakersfield Blaze Individual stats and that roster is LOADED with guys batting well above .330 and OBPs above .400! Its time to move some guys up and find out what we really have, basically lets see if these boys are the real deal or not!

      • Shchi Cossack

        Sorry about the mind reading thing LA. I try to avoid that, or at least manage and control it, as much as possible, but sometimes it’s simply beyond my control.