The Reds have announced two new farmhands for next season.  The Reds have obtained RH RP Kevin Shackelford and RHP Barrett Astin from the Brewers to complete the Jonathan Broxton salary dump.  If you were like me and concerned that waiting so long for the two PTNL to be announced would rob you of the chance to see one or both with the Reds before seasons end, rest assured, because neither one is yet worthy of promotion to the Major League Level.

Kevin Shackelford is a 25 year old relief pitcher was drafted in the 21st round of the 2010 draft by Milwaukee.  This season he pitched at both the A+ (0.87 ERA in 20 IP) and AA (4.86 ERA in 50 IP) levels for the Brewers.  Last season he split time at these two levels as well (A+ 5.06 ERA in 32 IP and AA 0.92 ERA in 29 IP).  Last season he threw his fastball in the 92-95 mph range and touched as high as 97.  He also is said to possess a swing and miss slider.  These two pitches have helped him see some time as closer over the last three seasons where he has19 saves.  He was a catcher for two years in college before becoming a pitcher and has a solid 6′ 5″ 210 lb frame.  I’d guess, barring an outstanding spring, that he would begin his season next year at AA Pensacola.

Barrett Astin was selected by Milwaukee in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft.  The 22 year old RH pitcher posted a 4.96 ERA in 121 IP this season at A level Midwest League.  He split time this year as a starter (18 GS, 5.55 ERA in 96 IP) and as a reliever (9 G, 4 S, 2.27 ERA in 26  IP).  Astin’s fastball is said to have heavy sink and tends to induce a lot of ground balls.  He was throwing it 94-95 in 2012 out of the Arkansas bullpen, but it dropped to 88-92 in 2013 when he joined their rotation.  He also has a decent slider and curve.  His future looks a lot brighter as a reliever and I would expect to see him start out next season in the bullpen at A+ Bakersfield.

High A Bakersfield Blaze

The Blaze’s season has come to end as they fall to Visalia in the playoffs three games to one.  The Blaze lost the first two games at home by scores of 10-5 and 7-5.  The series then moved to Visalia where they won the first game 7-3 and then lost the second game 7-2.  The series loss is really not a surprise since this team was the team that went 33-37 in the second half of the season.  This team was decimated by player promotions from the playoff qualifying first half team that went 45-25.  This team was clearly not the same without the first half core of Jesse Winker, Kyle Waldrop, Seth Mejias-Brean, Ryan Wright, Ben Lively, and Carlos Gonzalez.

Rookie Billings Mustangs

The Mustangs are up against Orem in the best of three game Pioneer League Championship Series.  They played at home and won 4-3 in 11 innings in the first game.  They will now move on to Orem for the remaining two games to be played on 09/11 and 09/12.