I’ve been lucky enough to get a press pass to Bats games this year and, as a result, I’ve taken in a fair bit of baseball. The Bats’ roster is an interesting one. They have more than their share of legit prospects, but also a lot of journey and cast offs – as you expect with most AAA teams.

I have been paying very close attention to Jesse Winker and Jose Peraza and this is what I can tell you:

Winker is ready. Period. There is no reason other than service time manipulation to keep him in the minors. He’s walking more than he strikes out and putting up a .316/.404/.434 line. He may not ever be an enormous power threat- though he still has room for growth and I’ve seen several balls that were fly outs, but only barely stayed in the park – but he has more than enough power to be scary. His ability to get on base is something the Reds desperately need. When watching Winker’s at bats, it’s very clear that he is a cut above the other players on the field.

Peraza has been an even more pleasant surprise. Like most of you, I didn’t know much about him when he was acquired by the Reds. Based on his stats, I was expecting quite the free-swinger. But that’s not what I’ve seen. He’s not Winker with the bat, nor does he need to be since he’s middle infielder. He seems to generally wait for his pitch and when he swings, he hits it. I know the fear is that he was Hamilton 2.0 and while he is fast (though not Hamilton fast), he hits the ball harder and strikes out less often. If he keeps the walk rate around its current 6.2%, Reds fans will be pleased with what they see when he comes up.

I should also note that I was at Cody Reed’s start on Sunday. I had a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old in tow, so I wasn’t able to pay attention as much as I would have liked, but from what I saw, you should be excited. He touched 96, sat at 94-95, and pitched 7 1-hit innings. The off-speed stuff looked good, too. Obviously he was fooling some batters.

That’s my first update of the year from Louisville, I’ll try to keep these coming every couple of weeks.