Several of this year’s Bats players have contributed to the run for the NL Central Division crown with the first-place Reds, eight of them making their Major League debuts. Let’s take a peek at some of their numbers.
After hitting .231 in ten games to start the year with the Bats, the Reds recalled Todd Frazier on April 17. The Sinatra-singing New Jersey native has done nothing but impress since then. He has more than made his argument for NL Rookie of the Year honors, posting a a .283 average with 18 bombs and 62 RBI through Thursday’s games. He absolutely exploded with the absence of first baseman and 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto from the lineup. His .306 average in the month of July was followed by his robust .330 average in August with six home runs and 25 RBI. Frazier has played mostly third base, but has also filled in at first and in left field.
The Bats’ 2012 Mary E. Barney MVP Award winner, reliever J.J. Hoover, was dominant in two stints in Triple-A. He finished 4-0 with a 1.22 ERA in 30 games and converted 13 of 14 save opportunities. He has pretty much done the same in his time with the Reds. Wednesday, he earned his first Major League save, pitching the final inning of the Reds’ three-game sweep of the Pirates. He is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 23 games with the Reds. Cincinnati acquired Hoover just before the season started in the trade that sent former Bat and Red Juan Francisco to the Atlanta Braves.
The Reds signed catcher Dioner Navarro to a minor league deal prior to the season and the 2008 AL All-Star has produced with the Bats and Reds. Navarro hit .319 in 62 games with Louisville with five homers and 32 RBI. He made his Reds debut on August 4 and in two stints with Cincinnati has hit .270 in 13 games with two homers and seven RBI.
On July 12, after hitting .315 with eight homers and 44 RBI in 60 games with the Syracuse Chiefs, outfielder Xavier Paul was released by the Washington Nationals and signed by the Reds. In his six short games with the Bats, he hit .480 (12-for-25) with a home run and four RBI. He was quickly called up by the Reds and has hit .305 in 40 games, including .333 (9-for-27) as a pinch hitter.
After starting the year at Double-A Pensacola, infielder Mike Costanzo was promoted to Louisville. With the Bats, he hit .291 in 23 games before his contract was purchased by the Reds. He made his Major League debut on May 13 and lifted the first pitch he saw to left field for a sacrifice fly in the Reds’ 9-6 win over the Washington Nationals. He went on to record his first Major League hit at Yankee Stadium on May 19, but that would be his only hit before being optioned back to Louisville.
In his second full season in Triple-A, super-utility man Kristopher Negron (a.k.a. “Spiderman”) had proved himself defensively capable at just about everywhere on the field. Negron was called up by the Reds on June 6 and debuted the next day as a pinch runner. In his four games, he went 1-for-4 and scored two runs before being optioned back to Louisville. He suffered a torn ACL on July 5 attempting a diving catch in the outfield at Indianapolis and has spent most of the time since rehabbing in Goodyear, Ariz.
In another trade with the Braves, the Reds acquired starter Todd Redmond on July 14 for infielder Paul Janish. Redmond was 2-3 in five games with Louisville before finally getting the call as the 26th man on the roster to pitch the second game of the Reds’ doubleheader with the Chicago Cubs on August 18. He made his Major League debut after having already been on a Big League roster three times before, twice with Cincinnati. He did not fair to well, lasting just 3.1 innings and allowing four earned runs on seven hits in taking the loss. Redmond is known in Louisville as the only player to throw a nine-inning no-hitter at Louisville Slugger Field, coming against the Bats as a member of the Gwinnett Braves on May 28, 2010.
After being promoted from Pensacola on July 10, infielder Didi Gregorius made a big splash, hitting .324 in his first 18 games with the Bats and hitting a walk-off solo home run against the Buffalo Bisons on July 25. Gregorius was called up after the Bats’ season ended and has gone 2-for-10 in three games with the Reds. He made his Major League debut on September 5 against Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies as the Reds fell 6-2. He also flashed the leather during his debut, making an acrobatic grab on a soft line drive over his head in short center field.
Also making his Major League debut on September 5 against Philadelphia was righty Pedro Villarreal. He came out of the pen and pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out his first hitter, Dominic Brown. It was Villarreal’s first relief appearance of the season after starting 26 games between Pensacola and Louisville.
After being promoted from Pensacola to Louisville on July 4, infielder Henry Rodriguez jumped out to a .309 average in his first 23 games at Triple-A, including hitting a two-run home run in his first start. Rodriguez was called up by Cincinnati on September 1 and made his Major League debut the next day in Houston as a pinch hitter. He has gone 1-for-5 with a walk in his six games with the Reds, all as a pinch hitter. He recorded his first hit on September 8 at home against the Houston Astros.
It was somewhat of a down year in Triple-A for the 2011 Reds Minor League Hitter of the Year, outfielder Denis Phipps. He struggled out of the gates, hitting just .157 before the All-Star break. Still, he came on late and hit .285 with the Bats after the break and finished with a career-high 15 home runs. He was called up by the Reds on September 1 and made his debut September 3, drawing a pinch-hit walk against Philadelphia. He has appeared in four games with Cincinnati, three as a pinch hitter and one as a pinch runner. He is 0-for-2 and still looking for his first Major League hit.
All of these players except Costanzo and Negron are currently on the Reds roster and look to contribute down the stretch run. Cincinnati’s magic number for the Central sits at eight. If the Postseason started today, the Reds would face the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS.
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