Each Tuesday we look at the Cincinnati Reds farm system as they get set to begin a new week against a new opponent. With Monday off in the minor leagues this year for the organization that gives us Tuesday as a fresh starting point to both look back from and look forward on.
Is Tony Santillan the next guy?
The Cincinnati Reds pitching has been bad. More so, the bullpen has been atrocious. The non-Tejay Antone relievers on the Reds this season had a 6.50 ERA. On top of that they also have allowed 40 of 84 inherited runners to score – that’s 48%. The league average rate this year is just 36%.
Cincinnati needs help in the bullpen and when looking at the minors there isn’t exactly any clear answer in the Louisville bullpen. There are a few guys having success there, but they’ve also been guys who have had some big league experience and haven’t found much success. But then there’s Tony Santillan, who is having an outstanding year in the Bats rotation. In his start on Friday night he struck out 13 batters and hit 98 MPH on his 110th pitch of the game.
On the year he’s posted a 2.51 ERA in 32.1 innings with 12 walks and 45 strikeouts. He throws hard. He’s throwing strikes. His slider has been baffling hitters at the Triple-A level. Santillan doesn’t have any relief experience in his career, but if the Reds aren’t going to make any trades to bring in someone to pitch out of the bullpen, he might make the most sense to fill in a multi-inning role every few days just to give David Bell a potential option to look at besides Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims.
Mark Kolozsvary helps Team USA qualify for the Olympics
Just because you have trouble spelling Mark Kolozsvary doesn’t mean you may not recognize the name. If it sounds familiar it’s probably because he was a member of the Reds 60-man roster last season and spent his summer at the alternate training site at Prasco Park. Or maybe it’s from this past spring when he was in Goodyear alongside the big league club. Perhaps you heard about the home run he hit off of reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber?
Well, it appears that we all should have been paying more attention to what Mark Kolozsvary was trying to tell us with that home run and that was that he was going to come out of the gate swinging. In his first 12 games of the season in Double-A with the Chattanooga Lookouts he hit .349/.417/.674 with 10 extra-base hits. Long know for his defense, the catcher out of Florida was just beating up on Double-A pitching. That combination caught the eye of Team USA who was looking to the minor leagues for a catcher to join the team as they attempted to qualify for the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The last week of May, and the first week of June saw Mark Kolozsvary leave the minor leagues and join up with Team USA for a brief training camp and then a qualifying tournament. Team USA went 4-0 and earned a spot in Tokyo. Kolozsvary played a huge role in that as he hit .417/.588/1.000. His average was second best on the team. He led the team in home runs, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS (duh), and he also finished second on the team in runs scored.
Checking in with the Daytona Tortugas highlights
When the season began the Daytona Tortugas had four of the Cincinnati Reds Top 10 prospects on the team with outfielder Austin Hendrick, infielders Rece Hinds and Tyler Callihan, and pitcher Christian Roa. Unfortunately injuries have put every single one of them on the injured list and none of them are currently active for the team. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some highlights from this past week, and if you follow minor league baseball much you’ll know that it’s not exactly easy to get highlights on any regular basis from the Low-A South where Daytona plays. Only one team in the entire league broadcasts their games with a video feed. Several teams in the league literally don’t even broadcast the games via radio/internet radio. Down in Daytona, though, we are getting some highlights every so often and Tortugas broadcaster Justin Rocke put together a few clips from the weekend.