Former Louisville Cardinal Chris Dominguez signs with Reds

Dominguez 580x386 Former Louisville Cardinal Chris Dominguez signs with Reds

The 2006-2009 Louisville Cardinal third baseman Chris Dominguez has signed a Minor League deal with an invite to Major League camp with the Cincinnati Reds. He has spent the last six seasons in the San Francisco Giants organization after being drafted in the third round of the 2009 draft.

Dominguez’ time at UofL was special, hitting .321 for his career and slugging 61 home runs and 45 doubles. His biggest home run of his college career came against Mississippi State in the College World Series in 2007. Coach Dan McDonnell calls Dominguez the “best UofL hitter ever” and I would have to agree.

He racked up the hardware while at Louisville winning the Big East Player of the Year award twice, Big East Championship MVP and 2009 Sporting News Preseason Player of the Year.

After being drafted by the Giants in 2009 he has spent the last six seasons in the Minor Leagues until this past season when he got a chance in the big leagues. His first hit as a Major League hitter was this rope for a home run against the Padres on September 21.

If Dominguez doesn’t make the big league club out of Spring Training we will most likely see him here with the Bats. A Louisville reunion would be great for the power hitting third baseman.

Robert Davidson at your service

My name is Robert Davidson and I am one of the Bats’ media relations interns for the 2015 season. I am a senior at Penn State University and am working toward a degree in journalism and a minor in political science.

I am originally from the Cleveland area, and have worked in minor league baseball each of the last three seasons, two as a member of the media and one as a game day staff intern. I moved to Louisville in August and have fallen in love with this town.

I always dreamed of playing baseball professionally, but having Tommy John surgery during my junior year of high school effectively ended my playing days. Pursuing a journalism degree has given me a second chance at a career in baseball. Baseball was my first love and I hope to work in this game for the rest of my life.

But that’s enough about me. I am here to serve you, the fans. This blog is a fantastic outlet for the Bats media team to help the best fans in minor league baseball connect with players, coaches and staff throughout the season.

These are just a few of the projects we are considering for 2015:

  • Weekly podcasts (audio or video)
  • Coaching or teaching segments where Bats players and coaches discuss the mechanics of the game
  • Scouting reports on the top Reds prospects at all levels
  • Interviews with players and coaches throughout the season
  • Q&A’s with local media and prospect writers
  • Weekly notebooks of team news, game summaries and top performers

We would love to hear from you about which projects interest you the most. If there is something else that you would like to see us explore this season just let us know in the comments and we’ll try to make it happen.

I am honored to be a part of this great organization and can’t wait for the season to start. Only 58 days until Opening Night!

Felix Perez and Venezuela move to 3-0

 

Felix Perez 580x873 Felix Perez and Venezuela move to 3 0

CREDIT: PAT PFISTER

In the Caribbean, Venezuela is now in sole possession of first place after a 6-2 win against Cuba on Thursday. Felix Perez collected his first hit of the series, a single, and also walked once. He is now 1-for-10 in the series with a run scored.

Both Venezuela and Puerto Rico will play on Friday. Puerto Rico is still looking to get into the win column in the series, as they see their elimination number fall after every loss. Neftali Soto has had a nice series hitting .455 (5-of-11), drawing a pair of walks and zero punch outs. Ruben Gotay is on the other end of the spectrum, as he hasn’t gotten a hit in 11 chances. He has been on base once in the series.

Friday is a must win for Gotay and Soto’™s Puerto Rican squad. As their elimination number dwindles, the pressure begins to rise. For Venezuela, if they win Friday they are in the driver’™s seat at 4-0, and go into the weekend atop the standings. It should be a good day of action in the Caribbean.

Jay Bruce and his 2007 season

Jay Bruce 580x872 Jay Bruce and his 2007 season

The 2007 season for Reds outfielder Jay Bruce was an extraordinary one. After spending the 2006 season at Dayton and hitting .290 with 42 doubles and 16 home runs, he was promoted to, the then High-A team in Sarasota. Bruce was only 20 at the time and man was it something special for the first-round pick in the 2005 draft out of Beaumont, Texas.

Bruce played 67 games in Sarasota compiling a .325/.379/.586 slash line. In 298 plate appearances he slapped 87 hits around the park, 27 of them doubles and 11 clearing the wall. He struck out 67 times in his stop in Sarasota, but the power was good enough to overlook the strikeouts. He was promoted to Double-A Chattanooga to see how he would fare there.

Chattanooga was a short stop for him. He played just 16 games for the Lookouts, recording 22 hits, 11 of them for extra bases. He did strikeout 20 times in 74 plate appearances, but again if you can hit for power, you can overlook the strikeouts to a degree. After just 83 games at two different levels, he had made his way to the highest level of the minor leagues.

He had finally made it to Louisville to show what he could do against some of the best talent the minor leagues had to offer. He didn’™t shy away as he remained consistent with his production. At 20 years of age, he was seven and a half years younger than the average player in Triple-A.

His average dropped a bit here with Louisville, but he was still providing power, slugging .567. He had just over 200 plate appearances to end the year recording 57 hits in the process. He again showed the extra base hit ability smashing 11 home runs and 12 doubles. He also showed some speed, stretching out two triples.

Jay Bruce run 580x800 Jay Bruce and his 2007 season

It wasn’™t just about the offense that was impressive for Bruce. He also had a cannon for an arm and had the ability to play center and right field. He played the majority of the time in center field with over 100 games played at the position and totaled 9 assists. He played just 33 games in right field for the entire season, 11 with Louisville. In those 11 games he had two assists and turned one double play in 25 chances.

Overall for the 2007 season he hit .319, with 46 doubles, 26 home runs and also stole eight bags. In the outfield he was rated 22 runs above average combined for both center and right field by baseball-reference. These numbers earned him the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Award for the 2007 season.

When the 2008 Baseball America prospect rankings were released, Bruce saw his name at the top of the list. He landed in front of current big leaguers, Evan Longoria, David Price, Clayton Kershaw and current teammate Homer Bailey who were all in the top ten. 2007 was a crazy season for Jay Bruce and it is always good to look back at those great Minor League seasons, especially on this Throwback Thursday!

Neftali Soto reaches base four times in loss

Neftali Soto Blog 580x385 Neftali Soto reaches base four times in loss

CREDIT: PAT PFISTER

The third day of the Caribbean Series is complete and Neftali Soto continues to hit well for the Puerto Rican squad that doesn’™t have a win in three chances. Soto had two hits, walked twice and drove in a run. He reached base in four of his five plate appearances. Even that wasn’™t enough to propel his team to the victory, in the 3-2 extra inning loss to Cuba.

His teammate and 2014 Louisville Bat Ruben Gotay still hasn’™t gotten a hit in the series. He was the designated hitter on Wednesday to give him a day off in the field and still couldn’™t find his stroke. He finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Puerto Rico has the day off after playing three straight days and they will be back in action on Friday versus the Dominican Republic.

In the first game Wednesday, Felix Perez and the Venezuelan team moved to 2-0 with a 6-5 win against the Dominican Republic. Perez didn’™t have a hit but he did walk and score a run. He has yet to get into the hit column, but he will presumably have another chance today as Venezuela takes on Cuba at noon, Eastern Time.

Delino DeShields audio with our own Nick Curran

Delino DeShields 580x384 Delino DeShields audio with our own Nick Curran

Delino DeShields at his introductory press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

 

After his introductory press conference, Nick Curran caught up with brand new Bats manager Delino DeShields.  The new Louisville skipper shares his thoughts on being in Louisville, balancing developing players and still winning games, Billy Hamilton, college basketball (in true Louisville fashion) and much more.

Neftali Soto and Puerto Rico fall to Mexico 3-2

Soto 580x873 Neftali Soto and Puerto Rico fall to Mexico 3 2

CREDIT: PAT PFISTER

Puerto Rico played their second game of the Caribbean Series on Tuesday, losing to Mexico 3-2. Neftali Soto and Ruben Gotay each got the start for Puerto Rico.

Soto was 1-for-4 on the night and Ruben Gotay didn’t have a hit but did reach base via walk. That walk turned into one of Puerto Rico’s two runs in the 3-2 loss to Mexico.

Soto is now 3-for-8 overall, all three hits singles, in the first two games of the series. He has also tallied a run in the series.

Gotay has yet to get a hit in the first two games and got on base for the first time yesterday. Hopefully he turns those struggles around and gives Puerto Rico a chance the rest of the way. Their elimination number is now three after a 0-2 start.

Felix Perez and the Venezuelan squad will be back in action today at 12 ET, as they take on the Dominican Republic with a chance to tie for first with Mexico at 2-0. Perez didn’t have a hit in the first game after being named the Venezuelan Winter League Offensive Player of the Year.

Three Bats playing in Caribbean Series

Neftali Soto Blog 580x385 Three Bats playing in Caribbean Series

The Bats have three players from last year’s team play in the Caribbean leagues this winter. Infielders Neftali Soto and Ruben Gotay both played in Puerto Rico and outfielder Felix Perez played in Venezuela.

Soto played 16 games in the regular season and finished with a .263/.358/.351 slash line with four extra-base hits. He did a good job of staying patient at the plate as he drew nine walks in almost 70 plate appearances.

Gotay had a good winter playing in 39 games and hitting .262. He had 13 extra-base hits and also drew 22 walks, to just 24 strikeouts.

Perez had an excellent winter season playing in 56 games, hitting .356, leading the league in hits with 80, finishing third in home runs with nine and driving in 38 runs. This performance landed him the Offensive Player of the Year Award.

The Caribbean Series began yesterday as Puerto Rico faced off with Venezuela and Soto was 2-for-4 with a walk, Gotay didn’t have a hit in four trips to the plate and Perez also didn’t have a hit in the game, but Venezuela did get the win in the first round matchup.

Former Cincinnati Red and Louisville Bat Daryl Thompson (2006-2011) got the start and win for the Venezuelan squad. He pitched six innings, allowed one run on three hits and struck out five.

Venezuela has the day off on Tuesday but will be back in action on Wednesday against the Dominican Republic. Puerto Rico will play on back-to-back days as they face off with Mexico, who defeated Cuba yesterday, at 6:30 EST.

Reds sign Paul Maholm to minor league deal

Paul Maholm Reds sign Paul Maholm to minor league deal

CREDIT: MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Veteran left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm has officially signed a Minor League deal with the Cincinnati Reds with an invite to Major League camp, the team announced on Sunday. He last pitched in the majors for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014 for 30 games, eight starts and also finished seven games.

Overall for Maholm he has played for four teams including the Dodgers since breaking into the majors in 2005 with the Pittsburgh Pirates (2005-2012). He also has played for the Chicago Cubs (2012), Atlanta Braves (2012-2013).

Looking ahead to Spring Training Maholm will have a chance to earn a spot on the Major League roster, with multiple slots open. He will be in the conversation for the final two spots in the rotation along with Tony Cingrani and Anthony DeSclafani. Also, the possibility of being a swing-man in the bullpen could interest him.

In his career he has faced 122 batters out of the bullpen with a .306 opponent average. His best overall season was split between the Cubs and Braves in 2012 as he pitched to a 13-11 record with a 3.67 ERA in 189 innings. He struck out a career-high 140 batters, compiling a 2.64 strikeout to walk ratio.

 

An odd coincidence for the Louisville Baseball Club, January 21 and the letter “U”

Exactly one player in Louisville franchise history played with a last name beginning with the letter “U.” Tom Urbani appeared in 50 games for the Louisville Redbirds between 1992 and 1996 while in the Cardinals organization. He would go on to appear in 81 Major League games (65 with St. Louis and 16 with Detroit) before calling it quits in 1998.

There was, however, another Louisville player, infielder Jose Gonzalez, who changed his name to Jose Uribe (his mother’s maiden name) sometime following his trade from St. Louis to San Francisco. Gonzalez appeared in 275 games for the Redbirds between the franchise’s first year of 1982 and 1984. He went on to a ten-year big league career appearing in 1038 games, 985 of them with the Giants. He died tragically in a car accident in 2006 at the age of 47.

Now, what is the connection between Mr. Urbani and Mr. Gonzalez/Uribe? Both share January 21 as a birthday–Urbani in 1968 (Happy 47th) and Gonzalez/Uribe in 1959. Like so many things in baseball, just another odd coincidence.

gonzalez uribe urbani 580x413 An odd coincidence for the Louisville Baseball Club, January 21 and the letter U

(images via krispaulw.com)