It’s a busy week for the Reds down on the farm. There are lots of player promotions to cover. Let’s start with the players recently promoted from the farm up to the Reds.

OF Jesse Winker, .317/.399/.411/.810 at AAA, got the call up to the Reds to provide an extra bat for the bench and the DH spot while Zack Cozart went to the DL. Many have long awaited to see the 23 year old face MLB pitching and provide the Reds with the OBP skills he’s displayed in the minors. Hopefully the Reds can display some of those sorting and hard decision making skills we’ve been waiting for all season and they find a way to keep Winker on MLB roster after Cozart completes his time on the DL.

C Stuart Turner, .143/.167/.250/.417 in 30 PA at MLB, is back with the Reds after a stint on the DL. The 25 year old Rule 5 catcher comes back from his AAA rehab assignment where he hit .237/.297/.237/.534 in 64 PA. I really wonder if the Reds can afford to keep him around as roster spots continue to get harder to come by. Turner hasn’t put up a .700 or better OPS since Rookie ball in in 2013. With Mesoraco and Barnhart both healthy, it seems a bit silly now to hang onto a 3rd string catcher all year while crippling the roster for a manager who already has a tough time managing one to begin with. I think it’s time to cut bait and let him go back to the Twins. Rob Brantley, .306/.348/.463/.811 at AAA, can fill in just fine this season should a need for a 3rd catcher arise.

RH RP Ariel Hernandez, 2.18 ERA 33 IP 18 H 20 BB 39 SO at AA, was recently recalled for the second time to help fortify the worn out bullpen. The 25 year old now has 4.2 IP 0 H 0 BB 6 SO with the Reds over 3 relief appearances. His great stuff, low hits allowed, high SO totals, and high BB totals in the minors scream Robert Stephenson. Yet he’s been lights out so far with the Reds. It will be interesting to see if his strike throwing issues rear its head before he’s sent back down and how he handles it. I’m also hoping he’s sent to AAA instead of AA when the time comes.

RH SP Luis Castillo, 80.1 IP 68 H 13 BB 81 SO at AA, is being called up for tomorrow’s start against the Nationals. The 24 year old also has great stuff and has shown immaculate control this season at AA. It will be fun to see his stuff plays against MLB hitters and what kind of composure he maintains on the mound against the Nationals. Like, Hernandez, one would suspect that after he makes this spot start, he will find himself in AAA instead of back at AA.


AAA Louisville Bats

The Bats have a 28 – 42 record and are 4th out of 4 in the International League West.

The AAA All-Star Game will be on July 12th.

International League hitters are hitting .256/.326/.394/.720.

IF Alex Blandino, .259/.374/.462/.836 at AA, joins the Bats after coming on strong to erase a slow start this season at AA. The 24 year old 1st round pick in 2014 will most likely get most of his time at 3B with the Bats since they have Vincej and Herrera currently manning the up the middle infield spots.

2B Dilson Herrera, .248/.298/.383/.681, got off to a terrible start this year in April (.647 OPS) and May (.596 OPS). He’s finally started to heat up and look like the prospect we were hoping to get in return for the Jay Bruce deal. The 23 year old has thus far hit .298/.344/.509/.853 in 57 PA in June.

SS Zack Vincej, .273/.326/.339/.665, also had a rough April (.648 OPS) and May (.467 OPS). He’s rebounded with a .369/.431/.462/.892 in 65 PA thus far in June.

International League pitchers have a 4.02 ERA.

LH SP Brandon Finnegan went 5 IP 4 H 2 BB 5 SO while tossing 71 pitches in his rehab start last night. Two of the 4 H were HRs that resulted in 4 R. I’d expect that he’ll need at least one more rehab start to get his pitch count up to the 90 pitch range before he’ll return to the Reds rotation.

RH SP Tyler Mahle, 1.59 ERA 85 IP 57 H 17 BB 87 SO at AA, has been promoted to the Bats after dominating AA hitters the first half of the season. The 22 year old will join a stacked starting rotation with the Bats that also now contains Stephenson, Reed, Romano, and Stephens. The Bats also have Rookie Davis on the DL and still have starting pitchers Buchanan, Wojciechowski, and Ross on the active roster. Also remember that Castillo, as mentioned above, is deserving a spot here soon as well. Something is going to have to give here and there are two rotation spots open now at AA with the promotions of Castillo and Mahle, so there are some more moves coming here soon.

RH RP Jimmy Herget, 2.73 ERA 16 S 29.2 IP 22 H 12 BB 44 SO at AA, has been promoted to the Bats bullpen. The 23 year old has 3.1 IP 2 H 0 BB 7 SO with the Bats thus far. Unfortunately one of the 2 H was a two run HR and he has a 5.40 ERA early on at AAA.


AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos

The Blue Wahoos have a 40 – 30 record and are 1st out of 5 in the Southern League South. The Blue Wahoos are the Southern League South first half division champions.

The AA Southern League All-Star game on June 20th was cancelled due to rain. OF Gabriel Guerrero, who has 0 HR this season for the Blue Wahoos, won the Southern League All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday.

Southern League hitters are hitting .244/.323/.370/.693.

3B Nick Senzel, .305/.371/.476/.847 at A+, has been promoted to the AA Blue Wahoos. The 22 year old has done nothing but hit since being the 2nd overall pick in last years draft. If the fast tracked Senzel continues to hit versus AA pitching for the remainder of this season, he will set himself up with a good chance of opening up next season at AAA Louisville and perhaps making his major league debut next season.

2B Shed Long, .317/.383/.551/.935 at A+, joins the Pensacola team as well. The 21 year old simply punished A+ pitchers the last half of last year and the beginning of this year. The jump to AA is one of the toughest for minor league hitters. It will be interesting to see how Long progresses the remainder of the season.

1B Gavin LaValley, .288/.332/.538/.870, earns a promotion to AA also. The 22 year old has now amassed 633 PA at A+ with 43 2B 26 HR 106 RBI and a .280/.333/.498/.832 slash line in a pitchers league. LaValley is the first legitimate 1B prospect to come up through the Reds system since Joey Votto and Yonder Alonso.

Southern League pitchers have a 3.61 ERA.

RH RP Jake Ehret, 5.73 ERA 11 IP 12 H 11 BB 10 SO at AA, rejoins the club a stint at A+ Daytona. The 24 year old put up a 11 IP 6 H 3 BB 9 SO performance while at A+.

Look for some more moves soon to have two additions to the current starting rotation of Mella, Lopez, and McGuire. I suspect the two additions will come from the current glut of SP at the AAA level.


High A Daytona Tortugas

The Tortugas have a 33 – 32 record and are 3rd out of 6 in the Florida State League North.

The A+ Florida State League All-Star game was played on June 17th. Gavin LaValley went 2 for 3 with 2 HR and was the game MVP. Shed Long went 2 for 2. Nick Senzel went 0 for 1 with a BB. Chris Okey went 0 for 1 with a SF. Ty Rainey tossed 1 IP of scoreless relief with 1 SO.

Florida State League hitters are hitting .250/.321/.364/.684.

OF T.J. Friedl, .284/.378/.472/.850 at A, was promoted to the Tortugas. The 21 year old is off to a hot start at A+ with a .412 /.412 /.412 /.824 line in 17 PA. Hopefully Friedl can continue his success at the plate at this level also.

SS Luis Gonzalez, .276/.310/.398/.708, is promoted from Dayton and will likely take over 2B at Daytona with Alfredo Rodriguez still there at SS. The 22 year old had spent the last two seasons in Dayton where he had only put up about a .580 OPS before this season.

2B Brantley Bell, .240/.309/.332/.640 at A, joins the club and may fill the open spot there at 3B. The 22 year old was repeating this season at Dayton where he had put up a .620 OPS last season. His promotion appears to be more out of necessity than merit.

1B James Vasquez, .236/.308/.391/.699 at A, was promoted to fill the Tortugas void at 1B. The 24 year old was repeating the season at Dayton where he a .653 OPS last season. Like Bell, he is being promoted to fill an open spot, not because he had mastered the previously level.

Florida State League pitchers have a 3.52 ERA.

RH RP Ryan Hendrix, 2.36 ERA 6 S 34.1 IP 19 H 10 BB 61 SO at A, has been promoted to join the Tortugas bullpen. The 22 year old had split time last season between last season between Rookie level Billings (5.19 ERA) and A level Dayton (3.04 ERA). His 16 SO/9 certainly stands out this season.


Low A Dayton Dragons

The Dragons have a 41 – 29 record and are 2nd out of 8 in the Midwest League Eastern. The Dragons clinched a wildcard berth in the Midwest League East Division with their first half finish.

The A Midwest League All-Star was played on June 20th. Tyler Stephenson went 0 for 2. Michael Beltre went 0 for 2 with a BB. Scott Moss threw a scoreless inning. Wennington Romero gave up a solo HR in 0.2 IP. Aaron Fossas gave up a two run HR in 0.2 IP.

Midwest League hitters are hitting .250/.324/.382/.706.

IF Colby Wright, .225/.359/.400/.759 at Rookie Billings last season, was added to the Dragons roster. The 23 year old played 3B/1B/2B for Billings last year and will most likely find playing time at either 3B or 2B with the Dragons this year.

1B Bruce Yari, .267/.398/.440/.838 in 93 PA, should probably take over at 1B full time now for the Dragons. Yari was added to the Dragons after the season started and has done very well.

Midwest League pitchers have a 3.96 ERA.

RH RP Junior Arias, 2.18 ERA in 20.2 IP at Billings last year, was added to the roster. The 22 year old did get 3.1 IP with Dayton last year as well with a 13.50 ERA.

RH RP Sandy Lugo, 6.30 ERA in 30 IP at Daytona, was sent down to Dayton. The 23 year old issued 17 BB in his 30 IP at Daytona. Lugo put up a 2.45 ERA last season at Dayton where he notched 77 SO in 55 IP.


Rookie Billings Mustangs

The Mustangs have a 2 – 1 record and are 2nd out of 4 in the Pioneer League North.

The Pioneer League hitters are averaging .299/.394/.444/.839.

OF Andy Sugilio, .571/.625/1.429/2.054, has homered in each of the 2 G he has played.  C Jake Turnbull, .333/.429/.667/1.095 has gotten off to a great start at Billings. 3B Leandro Santana, .300/.417/.600/1.017 is off to a hot start as well. 1B Montrell Marshall, .273/.250/.727/.977 is out to a good start.

The Pioneer League average ERA is 6.11.

RH SP Tyler Mondile, 0.00 ERA in 5 IP, had a great fist start. LH SP Max Wotell, 3.00 ERA in 6 IP, had a nice first start for the Mustangs. RH RP Yerry Santos and RH RP Connor Bennett have both put up 2 IP scoreless outings out of the bullpen.


Rookie AZL Reds

The Reds begin play on June 24th.


12 Responses

  1. Tom Mitsoff

    I hope Hernandez stays with the big league club until he shows that he can’t handle it. He has been stellar, and we haven’t had many who fit that description.

    • Joey Barrett

      I agree Tom and I if not for how terrible the starting pitching has been I believe that the Reds would have one of the top bullpens in baseball. They are putting up stellar numbers despite all the innings they have pitched. Huge turn around from the results of last year.

    • IndyRedMan

      Cingrani walks a ton of people and he’s still around! I know one thing…it def makes no sense to leave a 25 yr old at AA all year mowing down kids that prob will never make it! I would groom him to replace Lorenzen with the late inning setup w/Peralta & Cingrani.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I know walks have been a big issue for Hernandez in the minors. So far in the bigs he hasn’t issued one. Of course, he’s been used in very low-leverage and low-pressure situations. It would be interesting to see how he’d perform in a close-game situation.

  2. The Duke

    I imagine Austin Ross moves back down to AA to fill one of those rotation spots. He’s been hit around in his short stint in AAA so far. Domingo Tapia has also bounced between AA and AAA and has made a few spot starts, so he might end up in the Wahoo rotation as well


    Vlad Gutierrez might move up at some point this year if he can avoid the occasional blow up game, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if he spent all year in Daytona.

    I have to imagine Scott Moss moves up to Daytona some time soon, but the rest of Santillan, Romero, Boyles, and Jordan aren’t likely to move up any time soon. I suppose Boyles if necessity drives it, but he’s been pretty bad this year when in High A and has been fairly pedestrian in Dayton. He’s one I could see being moved to a relief role in 2018.

  3. David

    I think when Bronson comes off the DL, then he will be waived, and given the opportunity to retire with some grace.
    That opens a spot on the 40 man roster for Mahle. At last, he is at AAA. Price said the other day he would have gotten a look with the Reds if he had been on the 40 man roster.

    If he continues at AAA as he has at AA this season, I could see a ML debut in August or September, depending how others perform.

  4. cfd3000

    Thanks for the updates as always Tom. I agree that it’s probably time to let Stuart Turner go. At the start of the year he was a cheap insurance policy on Mesoraco’s health and durability. Now that Mes is doing fine Turner is a luxury on the 25 man (and the 40 man) roster that doesn’t make sense with the logjam of players ready for Cincinnati and in need of playing time. If Rob Brantley is even decent behind the plate then he can be the third catcher if Mesoraco or Barnhart gets hurt, and he can wait in Louisville instead of Cincinnati. I’d much rather see Winker, Hernandez, or any number of other pitchers in the Reds dugout instead of Turner.

  5. IndyRedMan

    Its good to see some people on the move…..finally!! Louisville SS Zach Vincej (how do you pronounce that?) is hitting .351 in his last 10 games. If they move Cozart then they could always give him a look! Obviously they want to see Peraza step up but they’d be able to send him down for a wakeup if need be!

  6. wizeman

    This was fun to read. Now we are into the sorting. Senzel, Shed Long, Mahle. Winker, Hernandez and Castillo. Feels like it should be early April.
    Anniversary celebration on Saturday. Asking if I can watch Bailey pitch would probably be a a mistake.
    Really hoping Stephenson pitches well tonight.

  7. Big56dog

    He obviously is hurt, why would they keep a lousy hitting catcher who cant play defense?

  8. MustangFan

    As the 2017 All Star game showed, the Reds have traded away an entire roster of major league All Stars, and gotten little in return.