This week I will take a look at a player from each of the full season minor league teams that is not performing up to what we expected or hoped from them this season.


AAA Louisville Bats


The Reds acquired 22 year old David Holmberg in the Ryan Hanigan trade last December and expected the LH SP to provide depth for the starting rotation. His strong season last year, 2.75 ERA in 157 IP, in the AA Southern League earned him a start in the majors for Arizona where he allowed 3 R over 3.2 IP. Hopes were after Spring Training was that he would go to AAA Louisville and continue to pitch well and be a solid option for the Reds to call up to fill a starting rotation spot should they need someone. Unfortunately, he has fallen on hard times to begin this season. He currently finds himself on the DL with shoulder tendinitis after just 3 GS, 9.1 IP, and with a 14.46 ERA. Here’s hoping his shoulder issue is minor and he returns soon and pitches well.


AA Pensacola Blue Yahoos


Juan Duran is a tool laden 22 year old RF who last season clubbed 20 HR while putting up a solid .251 /.323 /.450 /.773 slash line in his second full season at A+ Bakersfield. These numbers nearly mirrored what he had done two seasons before at A Dayton, but with more BB and less SO. He earned the promotion to AA Pensacola to start this season, but is off to rough start at .220/.271/.320/.591. Let’s hope he can show the adjustments necessary to rebound this season and turn things around, so we can see him in AAA Louisville next year, rather than spending a second season trying to solve AA pitching.


High A Bakersfield Blaze


Drew Cisco is a 22 RH SP who put up a solid 3.86 ERA in 130 IP last year at A Dayton. Promoted to A+ Bakersfield this season he currently has a 5.54 ERA in 7 GS over 37 IP. He is not someone you see on the Reds top prospect lists, but has shown success in both of his professional seasons thus far. Let’s hope he can turn things around and continue to progress over the remainder of his season in the high offense A+ California league.


Low A Dayton Dragons


Last season’s number one draft pick Phil Ervin burst onto the professional scene by slashing .326/.416/.597/1.013 in 149 PA at Rookie Billings and then continued to impress by putting up a .349/.451/.465/.916 line at A Dayton in 51 PA. Many questioned his reassignment back to A Dayton to start the season, but the 21 year old OF has struggled early there, posting a .192/.267/.275/.542 line over 135 PA. Conjecture is that he will rebound to his performance levels of last season after he has fully healed from off season surgery to the injured wrist that ended his 2014 season.


15 Responses

  1. zaglamir

    Holmberg’s injury really doesn’t bode well for the Redlegs. I remember discussion of him being the future for when someone moves on from the Reds rotation in a few years. It also scares me a bit that he seems to have been so sloppy to begin the season. Was the injury a factor in his first 3 games?

  2. WVRedlegs

    Time for Ben Lively to be promoted to Penscola. Just down the road from his hometown. He has earned a promotion. In 7 games, 6-0, 0.63 ERA, 42.2 IP, 23 H, 3 BB, 54 K.
    I can hear the theme song from “The Jeffersons” playing, “Movin’ On Up.”

  3. clay kindred

    Reds have 5 legit SP prospects at Pensacola, so Lively will stay put.

    • WVRedlegs

      One of those guys could get the call to go to Louisville. I will bet you a beer that he’ll be in Pensacola by June 10. I would say June 1, but the 10th will give him a couple of extra starts in A+. He’s dominating the hitter friendly California League. Not much more for him to prove there. Lets see what he can do with better competition.

    • WVRedlegs

      Five? They don’t have 5 that are better than Lively. Maybe one. By season’s end, Lively will be a higher rated prospect than four of those five. He is on the fast track. He came from college, so he is about ready for AA. And with moving Lively up, it might make room at Bakersfield to move up Travieso or Romano.

  4. Janet

    Dear Tom, you continue to call our AA team the Blue Yahoos. That is not their name. Do you think they are just a bunch of yahoos who don’t know how to play? Are you getting kickbacks from a certain internet company? Or are you so confused by the fact that Juan and Wahoo start with the same sound but aren’t spelled anything alike that you decided to change the name entirely.

    • lwblogger2

      @Janet – I’m not sure why Tom and can only make an educated guess that his auto-correct is “correcting” Wahoos to Yahoos.

    • Tom Diesman

      My apologies Janet. It was completely unintentional. Thanks for pointing that out and I’ll get it corrected for next week. Sadly it doesn’t say much for my proofreading though now does it? ☺

  5. ToddAlmighty

    Jeeeze… all four of them are “Man, they kind of suck right now, lets hope they rebound!”

    …not much of a confidence builder, I have to say.

  6. Steven Warspick

    Lively profiles as a back of the rotation starter. He has great deception that allows him to fool 20 year olds with 4 mediocre pitches. Let’s hope that the Reds hang in there until they get healthy so we can stop obsessing about players of his calibre.

    • MrRed

      Hmm…haven’t read anywhere else that he has “4 mediocre” pitches. Do elaborate. And, being deceptive is what propelled another young Reds pitcher up through the minors and into the bigs recently. I’d say deception is working quite effectively for Cingrani.

      • brmreturns

        Lively is basically a RH Cingrani with better off-speed offerings. He is not a front of the rotation starter and relies on deception. Or a Mike leake with a better fastball, if you prefer that analogy better. None of his pitches would be graded better than a 60-65 (scouting scale), which isn’t bad at all, just not elite.

      • WVRedlegs

        Lively just might be the one who replaces Leake in the rotation, if Leake opts for free agency after next year. So, having a very good or solid prospect for the #3-5 slots in the rotation in the Red’s pipeline is a good thing. Especially one that is dominating each level he has been at, just as Cingrani did. Lively is not a mediocre pitcher and neither are his pitches. Location trumps velocity. A cursory look at his stats will tell you he is throwing strikes and getting people out. Very few BB’s and few hits allowed has equaled very few runs scored against him. Now there’s a novel approach to pitching, give up only a few BB’s and hits. Yeah, he has mediocre stuff.