Cincinnati Reds (and planned substitutions)
Billy Hamilton CF (Chris Heisey)
Brandon Phillips 2B (Kristopher Negron)
Joey Votto 1B (Neftali Soto)
Jay Bruce RF (Roger Bernadina)
Ryan Ludwick LF (Jason Bourgeois)
Todd Frazier 3B (Chris Nelson)
Zack Cozart SS (Ramon Santiago)
Brayan Pena C (Tucker Barnhart)
Homer Bailey RHP (TBA)
Ryan LaMarre CF
Ruben Gotay 2B
Felix Perez RF
Max Ramirez 1B
Mike Costanzo 3B
Tucker Barnhart C
Mike Wilson LF
Argenis Diaz SS
Mike Leake P
The Reds are in Louisville today to play the Bats at 4:00 p.m. in front of a sold out crowd at Louisville Slugger Field. Cincinnati starter Mike Leake will pitch for Louisville today, while Homer Bailey will go for the Reds. Leake was scheduled to pitch last night in Pensacola, but the exhibition game with the Blue Wahoos was rained out.
Click the link below to find out who is on the Bats’ roster today, and stay tuned for starting lineups later this afternoon.
Finally, baseball is upon us. The Cincinnati Reds will be in town for an exhibition against the Bats tomorrow afternoon and rosters are finally starting to shake out. We’ll know more about who will be in Louisville to start the regular season next week, but the excitement of baseball at Louisville Slugger Field is more than enough for now.
The Reds are in Pensacola tonight for an exhibition game against the Blue Wahoos, but let’s catch up with how the players are feeling about their last week in Arizona for Spring Training and the beginning of a new season. Of course, they were talking about other things, too.
Here are your tweets of the week:
Tony Cingrani gets us started. He joins the rest of the world in being someone who wants that dog.
— Tony Cingrani (@Grani_13) March 22, 2014
Brayan Pena visited fellow Cuban Aroldis Chapman in the hospital. Salvador Perez, who hit the ball that hit Chapman, was there as well. You may notice a familiar face (it’s Felix Perez) on the left side of the picture. Felix is also a native of Cuba.
The cuban connection and Salvador Perez visiting Chapy pic.twitter.com/0cSgrjdXul
— Brayan Pena (@cuban2727) March 22, 2014
Donald Lutz is a champion. Fogo de Chau is a Brazilian steakhouse. You already knew at least one of these things. You knew the first one.
— Donald Lutz (@braunerhulk) March 22, 2014
Deion Sanders is mentioned in this post every week because he is a former Louisville Bat, but he also did this other thing during his career as a professional athlete.
That’s how Prime is supposed to be chilling at the HOF. Truth pic.twitter.com/RVlzMClTBY
— DeionSanders (@DeionSanders) March 22, 2014
Minor league catcher Chris Berset is a proud alum. If his Maize and Blue win tonight, they’ll play the winner of the game everyone in the Commonwealth is talking about on Sunday.
Chalk up another Sweet 16 appearance #GoBlue
— Chris Berset (@CBerset10) March 22, 2014
Reds pitching prospect Nick Travieso started the countdown.
1 week left of spring training! Ready for the season to come!
— Nick Travieso (@NTravieso21) March 22, 2014
Billy Hamilton is putting a pretty serious amount of faith in the Reds faithful.
It’s about that time for twitter to pick out my walkout songs
— billy hamilton (@b_ham_3) March 23, 2014
March Madness commenced in a big way during the NCAA tournament’s opening weekend, and it drew mixed reactions from the guys in Reds camp.
dayton…. you’re really killing me right now
— Robert Stephenson (@robsteev44) March 23, 2014
Yup I picked Dayton to beat Cuse #SorryAboutThatPick
— Thomas Neal (@TdaddyNeal) March 23, 2014
Corky Miller makes the improbable probable.
@Corky_Miller got hit by a pitch and walked in the same at bat today! Don’t see that too often
— Donald Lutz (@braunerhulk) March 25, 2014
Shark eating seafood. Makes sense.
Can you say feast! pic.twitter.com/YDnIaM3FF5
— Chad Rogers (@SharkRogers) March 26, 2014
It’s hard to disagree with Tucker on this one.
— Tucker Barnhart (@Tucker_Barnhart) March 26, 2014
(Calls In n’ Out Burger to inquire about franchise opportunities)
— Lee Hyde (@leehyde27) March 27, 2014
J.J. Hoover has a couple of friends waiting for him when he gets home from Spring Training.
Can’t wait to see these two in 3 days. pic.twitter.com/HaMMIcTXUC
— JJ Hoover (@JJ_Hoover) March 27, 2014
Finally, Spring Training has come to a close, the Reds are ready to go in Pensacola tonight before flying up to Louisville for their final tune up tomorrow afternoon.
— Thomas Neal (@TdaddyNeal) March 27, 2014
Hope to see you next spring AZ. Its been legit as always. — Jason Bourgeois (@jbourgeois11) March 27, 2014
Off to Pensacola, FL. Getting excited for this year to start. Fun times about to transpire. #redlegnation
— Todd Frazier (@FlavaFraz21) March 28, 2014
See you tomorrow at Louisville Slugger Field.
The Cincinnati Reds wrapped up their Spring Training with two split-squad victories against the Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday afternoon.
One team, highlighted by Billy Hamilton and Brandon Phillips, stayed in Goodyear and played host to the D-backs, ultimately defeating them 9-1.
Hamilton completed his impressive spring season with a 3-for-4 performance that included two triples and a RBI.
Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani, who was told he is the club’s No. 2 starter on Thursday morning, pitched seven solid innings and allowed one run on five hits to go along with two walks and six strikeouts.
Pitchers Chien-Ming Wang and Lee Hyde each pitched an inning of scoreless baseball.
The club racked up 16 hits and potential Bats players Ray Chang and Mike Wilson each recorded two hits and two RBI on the afternoon.
The D-backs lone run came on first baseman Nick Evan’s fourth-inning home run, his first of the spring.
The second split-squad team traveled across town to Phoenix to play the Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park and came away with an 8-2 win.
Milwaukee got on the board in the first inning on a Ryan Braun RBI double off Reds pitcher J.J. Hoover. However, they were then held scoreless for six innings with their second and final run of the game coming on former Auburn Tiger Hunter Morris’ eighth inning home run – sorry, I had to.
The Reds lit up the scoreboard with 14 hits and were led by Jason Bourgeois’ 2-for-3 performance including a home run and RBI. Prospects Yorman Rodriguez and Juan Silverio also recorded two hits apiece and Juan Duran added a two-run home run, his first of the spring.
Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen pitched four innings of scoreless baseball and earned the win.
Opposite Lorenzen, Brewers pitcher Kyle Loshe allowed two runs on five hits in five innings and got the loss.
Cincinnati completed its Cactus League season with a 14-17 record after getting off to a 4-12 start. The club complete the spring with a .269 batting average and 4.82 ERA, good for fifth and 10th respectively among National League teams.
The players traveled east following yesterday’s games for an exhibition game against the Double-A Blue Wahoos on Friday evening. Mike Leake will make the start. After tonight’s game, they will board another plane and travel north to Louisville for Saturday’s exhibition game against the Triple-A Bats scheduled for 4 p.m. at Louisville Slugger Field. Homer Bailey will take the mound for the Reds.
The Reds will then have an off day on Sunday before opening the 2014 regular season in a 4:10 p.m. game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park on Monday. Johnny Cueto will get his third consecutive Opening Day start for the Reds.
Neither starting pitcher put on a performance for the ages on Tuesday, but the Oakland Athletics’ bats were able to heat up enough to beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-4 in Phoenix. The A’s scored early and often in the matinee thanks to production from the bottom half of their lineup to cruise to their 13th win in the Cactus League this spring.
Brandon Phillips got the Reds out to the first lead of the game with one swing of the bat in the top of the first inning when he teed off on his fifth home run of the spring. Unfortunately, Cincinnati starter Jeff Francis couldn’t hold the lead, as Oakland put up a crooked number in their half of the second inning.
Like Phillips in the first, Brandon Moss swung the lead back to the Athletics with a three-run home run to center. Billy Hamilton and Todd Frazier responded in the top of the third, as each drove in a run to knot the game at three.
Oakland would score a run in the third, fourth and fifth innings to extend their lead to 6-3 after five, an advantage they wouldn’t relinquish. Francis surrendered five runs on six hits and three walks in four innings of work before being relieved by Trevor Bell.
The Athletics’ bullpen only allowed one hit in four shutout innings to close the game. On the Reds’ side, Manny Parra and Logan Ondrusek each logged scoreless innings in relief while Sam LeCure allowed two in the seventh inning.
Bats Update: Aside from Francis, a few other players who could make their way onto the Louisville roster next week saw time in a Reds jersey on Tuesday. Trevor Bell threw an inning in relief and allowed a run on a hit. Corky Miller, Kristopher Negron and Neftali Soto combined to go 0-for-6 at the plate, while outfielder Jason Bourgeois went 1-for-3 with a run scored and a walk.
The Reds will be on the road again Wednesday afternoon against the Chicago White Sox, with first pitch at Camelback Ranch in Glendale scheduled for 4:05 ET. Brett Marshall (3-0, 2.08) will pitch first for Cincinnati against Chicago’s Scott Downs (1-0, 12.46).
Here’s Wednesday’s Reds starting lineup:
1. Jason Bourgeois – LF
2. Chris Nelson – 3B
3. Joey Votto – 1B
4. Ryan Ludwick – DH
5. Jay Bruce – RF
6. Brayan Pena – C
7. Roger Bernadina – CF
8. Ramon Santiago – SS
9. Kristopher Negron – 2B
There are six days until the Reds kick off their regular season. On Monday in Goodyear, the key bats of the Cincinnati lineup looked ready to go. Despite falling to the Cleveland Indians 8-3, mainstays in the starting nine gave Reds fans plenty of comfort about the season ahead.
Starting pitcher Alfredo Simon was roughed up by Cleveland in his five innings of work, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk. He struck out three.
Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall hit a solo homer to right center field in the top of the second to give the Tribe an early lead. The long ball was Cleveland’s friend on the day, as Ryan Raburn hit a two run shot in the third and Jason Kipnis padded the Indians’ lead with a three-run home run in the sixth.
Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick tallied two hits apiece in the loss, with Votto and Bruce going on to score all three Cincinnati runs. Bruce and Ludwick each drove in a run. Starting shortstop Zack Cozart accounted for the third RBI with his double in the sixth inning.
Bats update: Neftali Soto is still in contention for a roster spot with the big club, and went 1-for-1 after replacing Ludwick in the lineup. Soto is now hitting .381 for the spring. Lee Hyde threw 1.2 innings and allowed one run on two hits with a strikeout in only his second outing this spring in which he’s allowed a run.
The Reds will visit the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday afternoon at 4:05 ET. Jeff Francis (0-2, 4.85) will take the mound for Cincinnati against Oakland’s Tommy Milone (1-1, 3.86).
Here’s Tuesday’s starting nine and a pair of backups for the Redlegs:
1. Billy Hamilton – CF
2. Chris Heisey – DH
3. Brandon Phillips – 2B
4. Todd Frazier – 3B
5. Neftali Soto/Chris Nelson – 1B
6. Roger Bernadina/Kristopher Negron – RF
7. Zack Cozart – SS
8. Jason Bourgeois – LF
9. Corky Miller – C
Reds closer Aroldis Chapman suffered a scary injury when he was struck in the face by a line drive off the bat of Royals catcher Salvador Perez’s bat last Wednesday.
He was carted off the field on a stretcher and taken to Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center in Sun City, Ariz., where initial tests indicated a fracture above his left eye and nose and a minor concussion.
The Cuban native underwent surgery on Thursday afternoon and had a metal plate inserted to provide stability above his left eye.
Chapman returned to the Reds Spring Training complex in Goodyear, Ariz., on Sunday and spoke to the media for the first time since the incident.
His interpreter, Tomas Vera, translated what Chapman said.
How are you feeling?
To be honest with you, I feel really good. I feel a lot better than I thought I was going to be. I feel good.
What were your thoughts out there and when did you feel relieved?
At that exact moment you don’t have a chance to think about anything when it actually happened. All I was thinking about is nothing wrong was happening with me. I didn’t have any bad thought in my mind when I was down and feeling what I was going through. The worst part was when they told me that it was going to be a while before I throw. That’s the part that actually bothered me. That’s what I was thinking about. That’s what made me mad was the time I was going to be away from the field.
How scary was the moment?
To be honest with you, I wasn’t thinking about (anything). It’s so quick, something you don’t have a chance to think about. But as the time was coming I was conscious the whole time. I never lost my consciousness. I knew what was going on. But I started worrying about what happened. My face just started getting bigger and I started thinking about what were the consequences going to be from this. But I was able to recognize and know what was going on with my surroundings.
Have you ever experienced anything close to that?
Never anything like that, personally. To me, this is the first time in my whole life that I have something like that happen to me. I never experienced something like that before in my whole life.
Do you worry about the mental aspect of getting back on the mound and how do you get over that?
Personally, I haven’t had a chance to think about that. I haven’t thought about what’s going to happen with this. I think it could happen to anybody else and it’s just something that could happen in my job. I know this is something that is going to happen and I just have to get over it. Personally, what I’m thinking right now is I’m going to have to throw more balls in now and I can’t leave balls in the air so I’m going to have to throw inside more.
Where are things going to go from here?
In the next few days I’ve been told I’m going to be able to start working with my cardio, walking on the treadmill and I’m slowly going to be able to start with more activities. And also start picking up a ball and keeping my arm in shape and then progresses as pitching goes in the next few weeks. Whatever they told me I’m allowed to do I will do it.
What did it mean to have the teammates support you?
I feel proud. I feel really happy to know I have this many people who came to me. All of my teammates came to see me and it will make you feel good when you see all the people. Not just from my team, all the Cuban players here in this area came to see me. Not only the physical part, but also through social media. The amount of people who have prayed for me and the good things they are doing for me make me feel proud and happy of so may people who contacted me.
Was that your father that came out to the mound?
Yes, that’s my father. I didn’t really see it when he came in, but after I saw the video and the replay of that I saw him there. He was with me the whole time.
Are you surprised at how good you look considering?
I feel surprised like you. I can’t believe it, but after I watched the video and every time I see it I feel really happy because this could be something worse. The way I feel right now, I have no pain, how I have been progressing through this has been great.
What about the picture you posted to social media?
Basically, when you have so many people trying to contact you and asking you how things are going you don’t have time to reply to everybody. I wanted to show them how I feel so I decided to put that picture on Facebook and Instagram to show them I’m doing good.
Reds vs. Royals
The Cincinnati Reds slugged four home runs en route to a 9-3 win against the Kansas City Royals at Goodyear Ballpark on Friday afternoon.
The Reds got on the scoreboard with three runs off Royals Opening Day starter James Shields, who had only allowed one run all spring, in the bottom of the second inning. Chris Heisey’s one-out triple got things going for the club. He later scored on Skip Schumaker’s RBI single, which was followed by Kristopher Negron’s two-run home run, his first of the spring.
Roger Bernadina continued to swing a hot bat with a solo home run the following inning, extending Cincinnati’s lead to 4-0.
However, the Royals cut the lead in half with two runs in the top of the fourth. They loaded the bases after Reds’ starter Brett Marshall, who looks to find a spot in the Reds rotation with current injuries, issued three walks. Their first run scored on Lorenzo Cain’s sacrifice fly and another crossed the plate on Jimmy Paredes’ RBI single.
The Reds lead became even smaller in the top of the sixth inning after Neftali Soto’s error at third base not only allowed Pedro Ciriaco to reach base, but also allowed Cain to score.
Shortly after, Heisey’s solo home run in the sixth inning, his Cactus League leading sixth home run of the spring, pushed the Reds lead to 5-3 and Soto’s three-run blast in the eighth put the finishing touches on a 9-3 victory.
Marshall notched his third win of the spring and pitched four innings of solid baseball. He allowed two runs on two hits to go along with three walks and four strikeouts. The former Yankee and Cub is now 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA this spring.
“I was cruising for three innings and kind of just took it for granted, I guess, instead of pounding the zone and acting like I have the rest of the game to go,” Marshall told the media after Friday’s game. “I kind of got away from command and the ball was coming out all over the place. I buckled down and threw some strikes there at the end.”
Opposite Marshall, Kansas City’s Shields allowed five runs on six hits, including three home runs, to go along with no walks and six strikeouts on the way to his first loss of the spring.
Reds’ reliever Jonathan Broxton, who is coming off of offseason forearm surgery, also pitched one innings of scoreless baseball.
Reds @ Cubs
Reds outfielder Roger Bernadina continued to make his case that he deserves to be on a big league club’s 25-man roster on Saturday. His four-RBI day, including a three-run home run in the first inning off Cubs starter Edwin Jackson, propelled the Reds to a 8-3 win.
The game was played at the new Cubs Spring Training complex in Mesa, Ariz., in front of a crowd of 15,241, only two shy of the Cactus League record the organization previously set on Thursday against the Seattle Mariners.
Ten players recorded hits as the Reds totaled 17 base knocks in the game.
Kristopher Negron’s single in the first inning was followed by a Brandon Phillips walk. Both scored on Bernadina’s three-run shot.
The Cubs cut Cincinnati’s lead to 3-1 in the bottom half of the inning after Nate Schierholtz’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly off Reds’ starter Tony Cingrani.
Bernadina then notched his fourth RBI of the day in the third inning when he added a two-out RBI single. He has now recorded three home runs and eight RBI in his last six games.
Chicago scored two unanswered runs in the third and fifth innings, both coming on Anthony Rizzo’s RBI hits. Rizzo recorded three hits and two RBI on the afternoon.
The Reds added insurance with one run in the seventh, two runs in the eighth and one run in ninth coming on Phillip’s fourth home run of the spring – a solo shot to lead off the inning.
Cingrani pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on five hits to go along with four walks and four strikeouts en route to his second win of the spring.
Jackson, on the other hand, threw five innings for the Cubs and allowed four runs on eight hits to go along with one walk and seven strikeouts. He received his third loss of Spring Training.
Reds vs. Brewers
The Reds returned to Goodyear Ballpark on Sunday, but their offensive production was nowhere to be found in a 9-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
The team recorded only five hits and scored its lone run on a Jay Bruce RBI single in the sixth inning. Bruce was the only offensive bright spot with a 2-for-4 performance including his RBI single.
Additionally, Reds’ starter Mike Leake struggled in his four innings of work. He allowed eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits with most of the damage coming in the six-run second inning. Kevin Mattison’s double drove in two runs and three more came around to score when Jonathan Lucroy’s RBI single to right field got past Jay Bruce for a three-base error. First baseman Lyle Overbay, who was informed he made the team despite a 0-for-26 slump, led the way for the Brewers with three hits and a RBI.
“His stuff was up and it was flat,” Reds manager Bryan Price said of Leake. “He had good velocity. He threw some good cutters. He left some curveballs up, some fastballs up. It was two stories. The first inning, he had three ground-ball outs. In the second inning, he had I think five extra-base hits — most of them to the gap. … His arm looked good. He was healthy. He’ll make his next start and should be ready to go for the season.”
Brewers’ starter Matt Garza was sharp in six innings of work. He allowed one run on four hits and struck out six while issuing two walks in his first win of the spring season.
Despite the loss, the Reds have won eight of their last 10 games with an overall Cactus League record of 12-14. Entering the last week of Spring Training, Cincinnati will host the Cleveland Indians at Goodyear Ballpark at 4:05 p.m. ET on Monday and the game can be found on MLB.TV. Reds starter Alfredo Simon (1-2, 4.42) will take the mound for his sixth spring start and face the Indians’ starter Carlos Carrasco (2-1, 5.59).
The rest of the Reds lineup will look like this:
1. Chris Heisey – CF
2. Brandon Phillips – 2B
3. Joey Votto – 1B
4. Jay Bruce – RF
5. Ryan Ludwick – LF
6.Todd Frazier – 3B
7. Zack Cozart – SS
8. Brayan Pena – C
9. Alfredo Simon – P
March Madness has begun, and the Reds are heading into the home stretch of their Spring Training season. In just over a week, they will be here at Louisville Slugger Field to play the Bats in their final exhibition tune up before heading to Cincinnati for the regular season. It’s all happening so fast, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Let’s check in with the guys in Arizona and see how they’re holding up in that wonderful warm weather. Here are your #TweetsOfTheWeek.
We begin with Travis Mattair, who took some time before a game to sign some autographs for the people.
Signing before the game yesterday! pic.twitter.com/HJxMskd58s
— Travis Moose Mattair (@mooser3226) March 15, 2014
OK, Donald. We all know its beautiful out in Arizona and that we aren’t there.
How is everyone doing today??? Wonderful day out here in az
— Donald Lutz (@braunerhulk) March 15, 2014
Apparently, In-N-Out burgers are the way to go when you’re out West.
— Tucker Barnhart (@Tucker_Barnhart) March 15, 2014
Primetime can make friends anywhere.
To all the San Juan Policia. Love u all to life. Thanks for the hospitality. Truth pic.twitter.com/4VOcEPPTxP
— DeionSanders (@DeionSanders) March 16, 2014
Kristopher Negron (among others) wished everyone a happy St. Patrick’s Day. The threads for the Reds were nothing short of excellent.
Happy St Pattys Day! pic.twitter.com/bf75AJzs3a
— Kristopher Negron (@KNegs17) March 17, 2014
Controversy struck in the Reds’ clubhouse…
— Josh Fellhauer (@The_Felly_3) March 17, 2014
Here’s another look at the St. Patty’s Day jerseys, complete with Manny Parra’s family and adorable child.
Happy St. Patty’s Day from my fam to yours. pic.twitter.com/guu46aZnMM
— Manny Parra (@MannyParra26) March 18, 2014
Brandon Phillips was a good sport about a very unfortunate umpire injury.
#RealTalk: Everybody keep my friend, umpire Brad Myers in your prayers! Not a good sight but at least he had a little sense of humor bout it
— Brandon Phillips (@DatDudeBP) March 18, 2014
Negron reported some foul play in the Cracker Barrel parking lot.
— Kristopher Negron (@KNegs17) March 18, 2014
Ryan LaMarre and Mike Costanzo rubbed elbows with Austin Powers royalty.
— Ryan LaMarre (@RyanLaMarre4) March 18, 2014
Sometimes, Kristopher Negron prefers to not wear shoes to Dominos.
— Todd Frazier (@FlavaFraz21) March 18, 2014
Last year’s Red’s first round pick Phillip Ervin has some words of wisdom.
Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.
— Phillip Ervin (@Mr_MagicErvin) March 19, 2014
Most of the clubhouse tweeted their support for Aroldis Chapman, who was struck in the head with a line drive. Here are a few.
Keep Chapman in your thoughts and Prayers. That was one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Praying he comes back quick!
— JJ Hoover (@JJ_Hoover) March 20, 2014
Praying for the teammate chapman hate to see that happen chappy is a strong dude I hope my homie is ok
— billy hamilton (@b_ham_3) March 20, 2014
— David Holmberg (@David_Holmberg) March 20, 2014
The Reds had an official update yesterday. Here’s to a speedy recovery for Aroldis.
— Reds (@Reds) March 20, 2014
We mentioned that the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is underway earlier. Here are some early reactions from yesterday.
well there goes a perfect bracket
— Robert Stephenson (@robsteev44) March 20, 2014
So glad i didn’t fill out a bracket this year..
— Pedro Villarreal (@pvillarreal14) March 20, 2014
And St. Louis ruined my perfect bracket .. Bye bye billion $
— Bryson Smith (@bryson_smith1) March 21, 2014
Some guys went to take in a Phoenix Coyotes game. Robert Stephenson forgot that it can be a bit chilly in ice arenas on occasion.
definitely should’ve brought a jacket to the @phoenixcoyotes game. they play hockey on ice, DUH…
— Robert Stephenson (@robsteev44) March 21, 2014
Finally, we’ll leave you with one of our own. Baseball is so close.
Turf blankets are completely off. It’s so beautiful. pic.twitter.com/qlrvT4gHhW
— Louisville Bats (@LouisvilleBats) March 18, 2014
There are eight days remaining until the Reds exhibition game. See you next week.
Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the top prospects on teams we are most familiar with – our International League West opponents the Indianapolis Indians, Columbus Clippers and Toledo Mud Hens.
Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates)
The Pirates signed Polanco as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2010. He is currently rated by Baseball America as Pittsburgh’s No. 1 prospect and the No. 10 prospect in all of baseball. The 22-year-old was optioned to Triple-A on March 14 and will likely spend at least the first half of the season there. He spent most of the 2013 season in Class-A and Double-A, earning himself a Futures Game Selection, and only received nine Triple-A at-bats. To put that into perspective, former prospects Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte received 881 and 431 Triple-A at-bats respectively before being called up to the big leagues. In the three levels, Polanco hit a combined .285 with 12 home runs and 71 RBI. Prior to being optioned, he was 6-for-22 (.273) with two doubles, one home run and two RBI.
Taillon was the Pirates’ second overall selection of the June 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Baseball America currently rates him as the No. 2 prospect in the Pirates organization and the No. 22 prospect in baseball. He spent the majority of the 2013 season with the Double-A Altoona Curve and was named an Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star. In 26 appearances between Double-A and Triple-A, the 22-year-old prospect was 5-10 with a 3.72 ERA. Prior to his reassignment to minor league camp on March 10, Taillon made two Spring Training appearances, allowing four hits and three runs (one earned) to go along with one walk and three strikeouts.
The IL West foes will come to Louisville Slugger Field to take on the Bats on April 16-18, June 28-29 July 2-3, August 15-16 and to close out the season on August 31-September 1.
Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Indians)
The Cleveland Indians selected Lindor with the eighth overall pick of the June 2011 First-Year Player Draft. At only 20 years old, he is rated by Baseball America as the organization’s No. 1 prospect and the No. 13 prospect in Major League Baseball. Lindor was previously named both a MiLB.com Organizational All-Star and a Futures Game Selection in 2012 and 2013. He spent last season with the Class-A Carolina Mudcats and Double-A Akron Aeros and hit a combined .302 with 31 extra-base hits and 34 RBI. The native of Puerto Rico was reassigned to minor league camp on March 12. Prior to his reassignment he was 6-for-19 (.316) with two doubles, one home run and five RBI. Lindor is projected to make his Major League debut at some point this season.
A highly touted prospect out of UCLA, Bauer was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the third overall pick in the June 2011 First-Year Player Draft. He was involved in a five-player trade that sent him to Cleveland in December 2012. Bauer is currently rated by Baseball America as the Indians’ No. 3 prospect and the No. 83 prospect in professional baseball – entered 2013 at No. 14. In 2013, the 23-year-old right-hander was expected to emerge as one of the best young arms in baseball, but struggled Triple-A and the Major Leagues with a combined 7-9 record and a 4.30 ERA in 26 starts – four at the big league level. He is currently still in the competition to claim the Indians fifth spot in the starting rotation.
Another IL West foe, Columbus will make its way down to Louisville to play the Bats for the home opener on April 10-12 as well as on June 1-2, July 21-24 and August 21-22.
Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit Tigers)
Ray is a former 12th round draft pick of the Washington Nationals in the June 2010 First-Year Player Draft. He was acquired by Detroit this offseason by way of the Doug Fister trade. Ross is currently rated by Baseball America as the No. 4 prospect in the Tigers organization. He has yet to reach the Triple-A level and spent last season with both the Class-A Potomac Nationals and Double-A Harrisburg Senators, earning himself Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star honors. In 27 starts last season, Ray was a combined 11-5 with a 3.36 ERA. He is currently participating in his first Major League Spring Training and has yet to allow a run in 3.1 innings pitched.
The Tigers signed Perez as a non-drafted free agent in 2009. He has been with the organization ever since and is currently a rated as the club’s No. 10 prospect. Perez spent the 2013 season at three different levels – Double-A, Triple-A and the Major Leagues – and hit a combined .287 with 38 extra-base hits and 44 RBI. In 15 games this spring, the native of Venezuela is 7-for-35 (.200) with one double, one triple and four RBI.
The last of three IL West opponents, Toledo will come to Louisville for Bats home series on April 13-15, July 6-9 and August 28-30.