Bats Podcast Episode 3: Ryan Ritchey

Paul and Alex are back with Episode 3 of this season’s Podcast and they were joined by Bats’ Media Relations Director Ryan Ritchey.

They chatted about the Bats and their road success, and introduced Ryan to the Over/Under game from last time. Let’s just say Paul wasn’t thrilled with the results.

Also, Alex introduced a new game: “Alex, Paul, or Ryan”, giving Paul and Ryan a question about a Major League stat and the answer is a player with the first name of either Alex, Paul or Ryan.

 

The Life of an Umpire Supervisor

The press box at Louisville Slugger Field is a busy place after four o’clock for a standard 7:05 p.m. game. There, staff set up the scoreboard, head shots, computer systems, and anything and everything in between. The media arrives and finds their spot, but during the last homestand, there was an extra guest observing the game. Tom Lepperd, who is in his 30th season working for the Officer of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, was there to watch the umpires.

 

Lepperd’s job is simple- observe every single Triple-A umpire work at least one game as the home plate umpire. The Des Moines, Iowa resident gets to see just about every Pacific Coast League umpire when they come to Des Moines, home of the Iowa Cubs. However, seeing the International League involves some travel, hence the trip to Louisville.

 

He meets with the umpires after every game and discusses the good and bad that happened during the game that night. “After the game, we will go over that game in detail for each umpire. I keep a set of notes for plate, first, third, or if there are four umpires, second base,” Lepperd said. “They don’t get to see themselves work, so they can’t critique themselves.”

 

An ejection can be an exciting thing for fans to watch and cheer on. But for an umpire, it’s not as easy as swinging his arm to toss someone and then moving on. After an ejection, there is paperwork and a discussion. When Lepperd sees an ejection, he talks about it with his umpires. “What we do is talk through it, what happened, and in particular is there anything as an umpire you could have done differently to avoid it,” he said. “We always say try to work out of a bad situation, instead of [taking] the easy way out and getting rid of a ball player.” In the end, there’s an opportunity for learning and growth. “But it’s important that they review it in their own mind. ‘Was there something I said that caused it?’, ‘Was there something I could have done differently that would have had a different outcome?’”

 

One thing that has changed baseball in the last few years is the advent of on field replay. According to Lepperd, it hasn’t changed how umpires work their games. “We instruct the umpires to go out and umpire the same way they always have and not to be concerned about what the replay is going to show,” he commented. “What we’ve found is that some of these plays are so close, that they cannot be seen by the human eye.”

 

Working for 42 years in the game of baseball, including 12 on the field, Lepperd has seen some interesting things. In one Major League city, something he saw in the stands caught his attention. “When I first went up to the big leagues, an umpire had to sit in the stands and watch for fraternization between players,” he said. “I looked down and there were cob webs in the seats from not having been put down as the attendance was so bad.” He added that the Major League team turned it around and Lepperd was there when the team set a double-header attendance record not too long after the cob web visit.

 

Lepperd moved on to another city following his three days in Louisville. He gets to see many different ball parks and told The Bats Signal he hopes to get back to Louisville Slugger Field before the end of the season.

The Best Cincinnati Reds Draft Picks by Each Round

Barry Larkin was selected 4th overall in the 1985 draft. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.

Barry Larkin was selected 4th overall in the 1985 draft. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012 with 86.3 percent of the vote. (ANDY LYONS – Getty Images)

The very first Major League Baseball amateur draft was held in 1965. Since then, MLB teams have built their rosters with talent spread all across the board. Just this past year, Ken Griffey Jr. (1st overall in 1987, Seattle) and Mike Piazza (1,390th overall in 1988, Los Angeles) were voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Let’s take a look at the best draft picks selected by the Cincinnati Reds in each round of the First-Year Player Draft. The player had to sign with the Reds to qualify for this list. For numbers 14, 18, and 20, we’ll include special tributes to some of the best amateur free agent (AFA) signings made by the Reds before the draft era began (pre-1965).

 

1st Round: Barry Larkin (4th overall, 1985)                Seasons with CIN: 19 (1986-2004)

Larkin was drafted in a first round that included the likes of Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, and Will Clark, but Larkin was the only one of the four to win the illustrious World Series trophy, bringing Cincinnati their fifth world championship. Larkin was a 12-time All-Star and won 9 Silver Sluggers with 3 Gold Gloves. He joined the 30-30 club in 1996 with a career-high 36 home runs and stole 33 bases. He also won the 1995 NL MVP behind 15 homers, 66 RBI, and a career-high 51 steals.

2nd Round: Johnny Bench (36th overall, 1965)           Seasons with CIN: 17 (1967-83)

Bench is widely considered to be the greatest catcher of all-time, and 14 All-Star appearances and 10 Gold Gloves back that up. He was a key part of The Big Red Machine, the Reds teams that won back-to-back championships in 1975-76. He won the NL Rookie of the Year in 1968 and won two MVP awards in 1970 and ‘72. He and Roy Campanella are the only NL catchers to win multiple MVPs and his 389 career home runs are the second-most among catchers in baseball history behind Mike Piazza (427).

3rd Round: Aaron Boone (72nd overall, 1994)            Seasons with CIN: 7 (1997-2003)

The third-generation big leaguer is probably most famous for his walk-off home run as a member of the Yankees in the 2003 ALCS, but he enjoyed a productive career in a Cincinnati Reds uniform. He made an all-star game in 2003, and reached double-digits in homers in five straight seasons (1999-03), including a career-high 26 in 2002.

4th Round: Paul O’Neill (93rd overall, 1981)             Seasons with CIN: 8 (1985-92)

“The Warrior” is another former Red who might be more known as a Yankee, but he started his very productive career in Cincinnati. O’Neill was a key part of the 1990 World Series team, and he also made an all-star game as a member of the Reds in 1991, smashing 36 doubles, 28 home runs, and 91 RBI that season.

5th Round: Jason LaRue (139th overall, 1981)            Seasons with CIN: 8 (1999-2006)

LaRue was the primary backstop for the Reds for six years, providing solid defense as well as offensive production. He was one of four catchers (along with Ivan Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, and Javy Lopez) to have double-digit home run seasons every year from 2001-05. He hit 84 of his 96 career homers in a Reds uniform.

6th Round: Ed Taubensee (1986)                               Seasons with CIN: 7 (1994-2000)

Before there was Jason LaRue, Cincinnati’s main catcher was sixth-rounder Ed Taubensee. He actually bounced around the majors early in his career, including being involved in a trade for Kenny Lofton, before landing with the Reds again in 1994. He had a very underrated seven-year run with Cincy, hitting .286 with 77 home runs.

7th Round: Reggie Sanders (1987)                            Seasons with CIN: 8 (1991-98)

Sanders enjoyed a spectacular big-league career in 17 seasons, which includes being a member of the exclusive 300-300 home run-stolen base club (only eight members). He hit 125 homers and swiped 158 bags in his Reds career, including two 20-20 campaigns in 1993 and ’95. He went on to win a World Series with the Diamondbacks in 2001.

8th Round: Eric Davis (1980)                                     Seasons with CIN: 9 (1984-91, 96)

Speaking of power and speed, look no further than Eric Davis. He stole 80 bases for the Reds in 1986, hit 37 home runs the next year, and knocked in 100 runs twice. For his Reds career he hit 203 homers and stole 270 bags, which both rank in the franchise’s top ten. He came back to the team in 1996 after a five-year period spent between the Dodgers and Tigers, and got his sixth 20-20 season as a Red at age 34.

9th Round: Tom Browning (1982)                             Seasons with CIN: 11 (1984-94)

The first pitcher that makes the list is lefty Tom Browning. He was a workhorse during his tenure in Cincinnati, leading the league in games started in four seasons (1986, 88-90). He beat the Oakland A’s in his only World Series start in 1990, and he earned a trip to the All-Star Game in 1991.

10th Round: Ray Knight (1970)                                 Seasons with CIN: 6 (1974, 77-81)

Knight was the Reds’ primary third baseman during the tail end of The Big Red Machine era, playing in 418 of their 438 games from 1979-81. His best season came in ’79 when he finished fifth in the NL MVP voting, with 175 hits, 79 RBI, and a .318 average.

11th Round: Drew Hayes (2010)                               Seasons with CIN: 1 (2016 – pres.)

The 11th round hasn’t been too kind to the Reds, with only five draft picks from that round ever playing in the MLB, and only two players ever suiting up for the Reds. With right-hander Drew Hayes having a strong minor-league campaign in 2015 for AA Pensacola and AAA Louisville, he seems to have the best chance to change Cincinnati’s 11th round woes. Interestingly enough, the Reds selected the all-time National League saves leader, Trevor Hoffman, in the 11th round of the 1989 First-Year Player draft as an infielder, but he was drafted away from CIN by the Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft.

12th Round: Steve Foster (1988)                                Seasons with CIN: 3 (1991-93)

Foster isn’t one of the bigger names on this list, but he had a nice career as a reliever who complemented “The Nasty Boys” Rob Dibble, Randy Myers, and Norm Charlton in the early ‘90s. The righty went 3-3 in three years with the Reds, pitching to the tune of a 2.41 ERA. He threw in 59 games (58 in relief), striking out 61 in 89.2 innings for Cincinnati.

13th Round: Logan Ondrusek (2005)                        Seasons with CIN: 5 (2010-14)

The Reds got a nice surprise in Ondrusek, who was a key piece in their bullpen for five seasons. He appeared in at least 60 games on three occasions, including a career-best 2011 season where he pitched in 66 games, with an ERA of 3.23 in 61.1 innings of work. He ended his Reds career 21-11 with a 3.89 ERA before signing with the NPB in Japan.

#14 Pete Rose (Signed as AFA in 1960)                    Seasons with CIN: 19 (1963-78, 84-86)

The all-time hit king “Charlie Hustle” was born and raised in Cincinnati, where he signed as an amateur free agent when he was a teenager. Rose was the leader of The Big Red Machine in the 1970s, winning the 1973 NL MVP and making 17 all-star games, 13 with the Reds. His 4,256 career hits were accumulated over 24 seasons, and his 3,358 hits with the Reds alone would place him 9th all-time.

15th Round: Gary Redus (1978)                                Seasons with CIN: 4 (1982-85)

Redus had a nice albeit brief career with the Reds, with his best season coming in 1983. He stole 39 bases, hit 17 home runs, and finished in fourth place in the NL Rookie of the Year vote. His stolen base numbers increased in 1984-85, with 48 in each season.

16th Round: Chris Dickerson (2003)                         Seasons with CIN: 3 (2008-10)

Dickerson had a short-lived run in Cincinnati, but his highlight-reel plays in the outfield made him a fan favorite. He appeared in 148 total games for the Reds, hitting .274 (110-for-401) with 23 doubles, six triples, eight homers, 30 RBI, 60 runs, and 19 steals.

17th Round: Chris Heisey (2006)                              Seasons with CIN: 5 (2010-14)

Heisey was a nice value pick for the Reds in ’06: He was one of the best fourth outfielders in the majors from 2010-14, a run which included three playoff appearances. Heisey hit 50 home runs, stole 25 bags, drove in 147 RBI, and scored 184 times in his five seasons with the Reds, including an 18-homer, 50-RBI campaign in 2011.

#18 Ted Kluszewski (Signed as AFA in 1946)        Seasons with CIN: 11 (1947-57)

“Big Klu” was one of the most feared power hitters of the 1950s, hitting 40 or more home runs each year from 1953-55. He made four straight all-star appearances for the Reds, including 1954 when he led the MLB in home runs (49) and RBI (141). That season he finished second in the National League MVP race to the Giants’ Willie Mays. The 6’2, 240-pounder was famous for cutting the sleeves off his jersey to show his biceps.

19th Round: Pat Zachry (1970)                                  Seasons with CIN: 2 (1976-77)

Zachry only pitched in Cincinnati for a season and a half before he was traded for future Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver, but made a huge impact in his short Reds career. He won the 1976 NL Rookie of the Year by going 14-7 in 204 innings with a 2.74 ERA. He also beat New York’s Dock Ellis in game three of the 1976 World Series.

#20 Frank Robinson (Signed as AFA in 1953)        Seasons with CIN: 10 (1956-65)

Robinson signed with the Reds after playing at nearby Xavier University in Cincinnati. He went on to become one of the most prolific power hitters of all-time, finishing his career with 586 home runs (4th all-time when he retired). He won the NL R.O.Y. in 1956 with 38 homers, a Reds rookie record, then went on to win the MVP award five years later. To this day, he’s the only player to win an MVP in both the National and American League: (1961, Reds) and (1966, Orioles).

 

Notable Picks after the 20th Round:

21st Round: Eddie Milner (1976)                               Seasons with CIN: 8 (1980-86, 88)

Milner was a nice late-round find for the Reds: He was their primary center fielder in the mid-‘80s, registering 135 stolen bases with the team. He flashed some power in 1986, hitting a career-high 15 home runs.

29th Round: Ken Griffey (1970)                                Seasons with CIN: 12 (1973-81, 88-90)

Senior was a starting outfielder on The Big Red Machine alongside George Foster and Cesar Geronimo. He was a model of consistency in his career, playing 19 seasons and making three all-star teams. He had 1,275 hits, 71 home runs, 156 steals, and a .303 AVG in his Reds career. His son, Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., also played for the Reds, from 2000-08. Since Senior played 46 games for the 1990 Reds, he’s the only Cincinnati Red in the ballclub’s history to play for three World Series-winning teams (’75, ’76, ‘90).

41st Round: Todd Coffey (1998)                               Seasons with CIN: 4 (2005-08)

The hefty right-hander made 213 relief appearances in his Reds career, including a career-high 81 games in 2006 which led the team. Coffey was known for sprinting to the mound from the bullpen when his number was called.

Seth Mejias-Brean: The Brightest Star on Star Wars Night

Seth Pic

Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda, and Seth Mejas-Brean. Last night, the Bats third baseman joined the likes of some of the greatest heroes to ever appear on the big screen (except he has never appeared on the big screen). On Star Wars night at Louisville Slugger Field, Mejias-Brean found some force of his own as he sent a two-run home run just over the wall in left field to send the electric crowd home happy in the 11th.

“It’s nice to actually have something go my way”, Seth stated after conquering the enemy and sending the crowd into a frenzy. Entering play with a .163 average, it was about time that the Dark Side cut him some slack. Confidence has been his key and learning from his own mistakes after getting some good swings and just studying his craft, like any good Jedi, he has seen the improvements.

As a hero would be, Seth was ready for the final duel. “It was probably the most relaxed I had been all game.”  Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker-esque, it was a battle that had suspense and left everyone on the edge of their seats as it was unclear as to if the game would come to an end. “Right when I got around first, I thought he was going to catch it or it was going to hit the wall so I sped up.” But of course, it was Star Wars night and how else would a Star Wars fan end the night? He was showered with Gatorade (or something special from the Galaxy, I’m not sure) to cap off a night that was out of this world.

After tough rehab outing, Jon Moscot focuses on the positives

 

5/20 v Columbus

On Friday night, in his third rehab appearance with the Louisville Bats, right-hander Jon Moscot put aside the fact that he left the game with nine runs on the wrong side of the scoreboard and rather focused on the positives from his outing.

“Physically, I feel good, the left shoulder feels good. I’m very happy with that and I am just taking the positives out of today.” Moscot said.

Moscot’s season started in the minors as he was recovering from a non-throwing shoulder injury from June 2015. That injury flared up and since going on the disabled list on May 7th, Moscot has traveled back and fourth from Cincinnati to Louisville on the days of his scheduled starts. All three rehab appearances this season with the Bats, waiting for him was the Columbus Clippers.

“The first two times, to be honest, they just hit a lot more ground balls. I think I was up in the zone a little more tonight and they took complete advantage of everything that I threw and hit every mistake I made.” Moscot noted.

But again Moscot threw aside his performance and looked on the bright side, “That’s baseball I guess, you don’t obviously want to have those nights, it’s frustrating, kind of tough to deal with but I guess my left arm is feeling good and in five days I’ll be ready to go out there and do it again.” Moscot said. “These days, they happen. You don’t want them to happen a lot but they do happen and I’ll be ok.”

Through the struggles, Moscot’s goal remains not too far from his mind. “I’d really like to be sharp at this point, feeling as if I’m pretty close to coming back to the rotation up there (Cincinnati). But I’ll get there, I have no doubt about that.”

 

 

 

Bats Podcast Episode 2

A brand new edition of The Bats Signal Podcast is out, and Paul is joined by co-host Alex Mayer. Alex immediately challenges Paul to a game of Over/Under with Bats’ stats so far this season. Can Paul get more than five correct?? Alex doesn’t think so!

 

The Best MLB Players Born in Kentucky

Jim Bunning, born in Southgate, Kentucky, pitched the seventh perfect game in Major League Baseball history on June 21, 1964 (Credit: AP Images)

Jim Bunning, born in Southgate, Kentucky, pitched the seventh perfect game in Major League Baseball history as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies on June 21, 1964 (Credit: AP Images)

There have been 280 Major League Baseball players born in the state of Kentucky, where the Louisville Bats, Triple-A affiliate of the Reds, call home. The Bluegrass State ranks 19th for states with the most MLB player births. Minor league baseball in Kentucky dates back to the early 20th century, after the Louisville Colonels’ eight-year run as a big-league club in the National League from 1892-99.

In this article, we rank the 15 best MLB players that were born in Kentucky:

15: Corey Hart                             born in Bowling Green, 1982                 played 2004-15

Hart went to Greenwood HS in Bowling Green before being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2000. He had a very successful time in Milwaukee, making two all-star games. He had a pair of 30-homer seasons, and hit 154 homers in a Brewers uniform.

14: Gus Weyhing                         born in Louisville, 1866                         played 1887- 1901

The only player to appear on this list that played in the 19th century, Weyhing was a right-handed pitcher who played 14 pro seasons. His 264 wins are the most among Kentucky-born pitchers. Apparently he wasn’t afraid to pitch inside: His 277 hit-by-pitches are the most all-time.

13: Tyler Clippard                      born in Lexington, 1985                         played 2007-pres.

The right-handed reliever made two all-star games as a set-up man for the Washington Nationals in 2011 and ’14. His career ERA in 578 innings is 2.88, with a 44-30 record and 54 saves. He saved a career-high 32 games in 2012 as the DC’s closer, and has also spent time with the Yankees, Athletics, Mets, and D’Backs.

12: Brandon Webb                      born in Ashland, 1979                            played 2003-09

If Webb had stayed healthy, he’d probably rank much higher on this list, but he only pitched in six full big-league seasons. The University of Kentucky Wildcat was outstanding when he was on the field, going 87-62 with a 3.27 ERA in 198 career starts. He won the NL Cy Young in 2006, and went 22-7 in 2008 when he made his third and final all-star game.

11: Mark Reynolds                      born in Pikeville, 1983                            played 2007-pres.

Reynolds is playing with his 7th franchise in 2016, but his best days came as a Diamondback in 2007-10. His 239 home runs are 2nd-most among Kentucky-born players, and his 123 in an Arizona uniform makes the franchise top five. His best year came in 2009, when he hit 44 home runs, 102 RBI, with 22 stolen bases.

10: Gus Bell                                 born in Louisville, 1928                          played 1950-64

The Louisville-born outfielder is the first Cincinnati Red to appear on the list, playing for the Redlegs from 1953-61. He made four all-star games with Cincinnati, knocking in 100 or more runs on four different occasions. His 206 HR and 942 RBI are both 5th for Kentucky-born hitters.

9: Dan Uggla                               born in Louisville, 1980                         played 2006-15

Uggla is the only second baseman in MLB history to have four 30-homer seasons, three with the Marlins and a career-high 36 with the Braves. He made three all-star games and won the NL Silver Slugger for second base in 2010. His 154 home runs as a Marlin were a franchise-best until Giancarlo Stanton passed him in 2015.

8: Mike Greenwell                       born in Louisville, 1963                          played 1985-96

“Gator” played his entire 12-year career with the Red Sox, hitting a lifetime .303 as Boston’s left fielder. He had a spectacular 1988, smacking 192 hits, 22 home runs, 119 RBI, and hitting for a .325 average. He finished second in the AL MVP voting to the Athletics’ Jose Canseco.

7: Travis Fryman                        born in Lexington, 1969                         played 1990-2002

Fryman was one of the best third basemen in the 1990s to early 2000s. He made five all-star games in 13 seasons split between the Tigers and Indians. His 1,022 career RBI and 345 doubles place him 2nd among KY-born players, with his 223 home runs ranking fourth.

6: Bobby Veach                           born in St. Charles, 1888                        played 1912-25

Born in the small town of St. Charles, Veach became one of the best hitters in the pre-Ruth dominated American League. Among KY-born hitters, he owns the most doubles (393) and RBI (1,169), and ranks 2nd in hits (2,063) and triples (147). His primary team was the Tigers, played 12 seasons with them from 1912-23.

5: Paul Derringer                        born in Springfield, 1906                       played 1931-45

Derringer was a great pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds from 1933-42, a run that included six all-star bids. He was one of the top starters on the 1940 World Series team, winning 20 games that year in a league-leading 37 starts. He went 223-212 with a 3.46 ERA for his career, and also earned 29 saves.

4: Jay Buhner                              born in Louisville, 1964                          played 1987-2001

Buhner’s 310 career home runs are the most among Kentucky-born players in MLB history. He owns three of the four 40-homer seasons (1995-97) for KY-born hitters, with Mark Reynolds (#11 on this list) owning the other. The Yankees traded the powerful right fielder as a prospect to the Seattle Mariners in 1988, where he ended up finishing with the third-most homers in team history.

3: Earle Combs [HOF]                born in Pebworth, 1899                          played 1924-35

The starting center fielder and leadoff hitter on the famous Murderer’s Row Yankees teams of the 1920s attended Eastern Kentucky University before his MLB days. Combs led the league in triples three times, including a career-high 23 for the famous 1927 Yankees. He owns a .325 lifetime AVG, the best among KY-born players in the modern era. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1970.

2: Jim Bunning [HOF]                born in Southgate, 1931                         played 1955-71

Bunning had a spectacular 17-year career mainly spent with the Tigers and Phillies. He won 224 games (2nd-most for KY-born pitchers) with a 3.27 lifetime ERA. He made nine all-star games (most for KY pitchers) and pitched the seventh perfect game in MLB history on June 21, 1964. Bunning was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996, and was a United States Senator in Kentucky from 1999-2011.

1: Pee-Wee Reese [HOF]               born in Ekron, 1918                               played 1940-58

The number one spot on the list of greatest MLB players born in Kentucky goes to Harold Henry “Pee-Wee” Reese. The longtime Dodgers shortstop made 10 consecutive all-star games (most All-Star games for any KY-born player), and served in World War II forcing him to miss the 1943-45 seasons entering his prime. He leads all KY-born hitters in hits (2,170), runs (1,338), and walks (1,210). He finished top-10 in NL MVP voting on eight occasions, and played in seven World Series for Brooklyn. He had his jersey number (1) retired in 1984, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame that same year.

 

For a full registry of MLB players born in Kentucky, you can visit: http://www.baseball-reference.com/bio/KY_born.shtml

 

 

The MLB All-Bats Team 2016

Louisville Bats vs. Norfolk 5/1/11

Baseball is over a month into the season already, and a number of former Louisville Bats have made an impact with their big-league clubs. While it’s still just May, let’s take a look at the best former Bats player at each position so far in the 2016 MLB season.

Catcher – Dioner Navarro – White Sox (62 games in 2012 with the Bats)

Veteran catcher Dioner Navarro signed a one-year deal to play for the White Sox in 2016, making them his seventh MLB team. Navarro is hitting only .208 for Chicago through 24 games, but his 12 RBI is in the top five among AL catchers.

First Baseman – Joey Votto – Reds (137 games in 2007, ‘12, ‘14)

The perennial all-star first baseman isn’t off to one of his hottest starts (hitting .229 in April), but has rebounded quickly in May, posting a .447 on-base percentage through nine May games. Votto leads all active major leaguers with his .422 career OBP and ranks fourth with a .952 career OPS, trailing only Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, and Mike Trout. Despite his early struggles, Votto earns a place on the All-Bats Team with 20 walks (12th in the NL) and a .360 on-base percentage that is due to increase.

Second Baseman – Brandon Phillips – Reds (2 games* in 2014)

The 15-year veteran second baseman only played for the Bats in two rehab games in 2014, but the crop of second basemen for the early May All-Bats team was very limited. Phillips has continued his sensational offensive consistency in 2016, smacking six homers (2nd among NL second basemen) and six doubles (T-3rd). He also had a four-game home run streak from May 4-7, hitting .438 (7-for-16) with 5 home runs and 9 RBI.

Shortstop – Zack Cozart – Reds (213 games in 2010-11)

In his tenth season in the Reds organization and his sixth at the big-league level, Cozart looks to be a breakout candidate in the National League. He’s had a strong start to 2016, batting .340 with an OPS of .910 (both 3rd among NL shortstops) through his first 25 games. Cozart ranks 2nd among NL shortstops in doubles (10), trailing only St. Louis’s Aledmys Diaz with 11.

Third Baseman – Todd Frazier – White Sox (246 games in 2009-12)

On December 16, Cincinnati sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox in a deal that also involved the Dodgers. Frazier isn’t hitting for average out of the gate in 2016, but his 10 home runs rank him 2nd in the American League as of May 10, trailing only Seattle’s Robinson Cano (12 homers). The power doesn’t stop there: Frazier’s 30 RBI place him 2nd in the AL, despite his .218 batting average.

Left Field – Adam Duvall – Reds (25 games in 2015)

The Louisville product appeared on an MLB opening day roster for the first time in 2016, starting in left field for the Reds. Duvall has started off nicely, hitting six homers and slugging .538 (8th among NL outfielders). He came to Cincinnati at the 2015 Trade Deadline in a deal that shipped starting pitcher Mike Leake to San Francisco.

Center Field – Billy Hamilton – Reds (123 games in 2013)

Coming off back-to-back 50-plus stolen base seasons, Billy Hamilton hasn’t gotten off to his blazing 2014-15 starts, but his seven steals through 29 games still places him 3rd in the National League. The real story with Hamilton in 2016 has been his glove. According to Fangraphs, he ranks 2nd (4.1) among NL outfielders in Defensive Runs Saved, trailing only Pittsburgh’s Gregory Polanco (5.8).

Right Field – Jay Bruce – Reds (104 games in 2007-09)

The former first-round pick in 2005 and longtime Reds right fielder Jay Bruce is back to his old self in the run production category, totaling 21 RBI through his first 29 games. After posting pedestrian (for him) RBI totals the past two seasons (66, 87), Bruce looks to regain his 2011-13 form (97, 99, 109, respectively). If the Reds slugger plays 157 games in 2016 like he did last year, he’s on pace to register 27 homers and 113 RBI.

Designated Hitter – Edwin Encarnacion – Blue Jays (110 games in 2005-07, ’09)

The former Reds slugger has the second-most home runs (157) in Major League Baseball behind only Baltimore’s Chris Davis (167) since 2012. Encarnacion has continued to supply power in 2016 for Toronto, leading all AL first basemen in RBI with 26 (6th total in the AL), and also tied in the AL for the most games played with 35.

 

Starting Pitcher – Johnny Cueto – Giants (8 starts for the Bats in 2007, 2011)

When the Reds traded Cueto to the Royals in 2015, he struggled down the stretch with a subpar 4.76 ERA in 13 starts. Cueto managed to earn a World Series ring in 2015, then went on to ink a six-year deal worth $130 million with San Francisco. About a quarter-way into the season, Cueto’s handled the contract-jitters extremely well, posting a 4-1 record and 3.02 ERA in his first seven starts.

Starting Pitcher – Mat Latos – White Sox (4 starts in 2014)

Some wrote off Mat Latos after a dismal 2015 campaign which saw him play for three different franchises (the Marlins, Dodgers, and Angels), going 4-10 with a 4.95 ERA and potentially ruining his upcoming free agency. The White Sox signed Latos to a low-risk one-year, $3 million pact and, a couple months into the season, have reaped the rewards. Latos has started off 2016 with a stellar 5-0 record and 2.62 ERA in six starts.

Starting Pitcher – Edinson Volquez – Royals (17 starts in 2010-11)

Volquez started the defending world champion Royals’ home opener in 2016, tossing six scoreless innings and earning the win. Like his former teammate Johnny Cueto, who spent four seasons together in Cincinnati, Volquez also won a ring last season. He’s been solid in 2016, going 3-3, 3.89 in seven starts.

Starting Pitcher – Raisel Iglesias – Reds (6 starts in 2015)

The fourth starter on the All-Bats team at this point in the season is Reds pitcher Raisel Iglesias. The righty (1-1) has a 3.49 ERA through five starts, to go along with 29 strikeouts (2nd on the Reds) and only seven walks.

Starting Pitcher – Brandon Finnegan – Reds (8 starts in 2015)

Finnegan leads Reds pitchers in innings pitched (39.0), games started (seven), and quality starts (four). The 23-year-old also carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning in a start at Chicago on April 11. He’s posted a 4.15 ERA with 28 strikeouts for the Reds this year.

Relief Pitcher – Zach Duke – White Sox (26 games in 2013)

The lone relief pitcher on the list is White Sox lefty Zach Duke. The former starter was a relief pitcher for the Reds in 2013, and has been used as an almost-everyday reliever for Chicago in 2016. His 20 appearances lead all of Major League Baseball, as he’s posted a 2.63 ERA with 13 strikeouts and 3 walks in 13.2 innings.

Jermaine Curtis Presser: IL Player Of The Month for April Meets With Media

Jermaine Curtis was named the International League Player of the Month for April. Curtis was not aware he had received this honor until the day it was given to him. “I was shocked and overwhelmed. I actually found out from Ryan [Ritchey, Director of Media and Public Relations],” said Curtis. “I am still at a loss for words. “

 

Curtis gets a little pep in his step every time he looks at his numbers on the scoreboard, compared to others. “I put a bat on the ball and found some holes. I am grateful for every at bat,” said Curtis. To him it’s just that simple putting a bat to the ball and finding those holes on the field to get a good at bat.

 

Last year Curtis started off slowly and in July2015 he got on a hot streak before getting injured. His batting average was .273 in 2015, but already this season Curtis is off to a great start with a .364 batting average as of May 3rd. Curtis brought up that last year he was behind the game, in terms of his batting average, but this year he is ahead of the race. “Just the last few games I have not been seeing the ball too well, but I can still say I have that little cushion for myself,” said Curtis.“So when I do get it going again it’s going to keep going.”

 

The Louisville Bats have not had an International League Player of the Month since June of 2009 when pitcher Homer Bailey won the award. With this Player of the Month honor, Curtis hopes that this will help him get promoted to the Reds. “I hope this brings a little something to my name and gets me a little help,” he commented. ”It’s a great accomplishment to be able to get that award.”

 

Curtis gives credit to his teammates for receiving the honor. “If they aren’t getting on base and not getting those hits, none of this would have happened,” said Curtis. “Yes I got the player of the month, but my team contributed a lot to that.”

 

Bats Podcast 2016 Episode 1: Nick Curran

Bats Broadcaster Nick Curran joined Media Relations Assistant Paul Taylor to chat about the Bats’ recent hot streak, going 7-3 in their last 10 games.  They also talk about Jermaine Curtis, who is off to a torrid start at the plate, and pitchers Tim Adleman and Josh Smith, who are a combined 4-1 on the season.