Well, the Reds limped into the All Star Break, and hopefully Walt is spending his time thinking of ways to improve the team. Two other Reds affiliates, Louisville and Carolina, also hit their ASBs after today, so it's going to be a light week in baseball all around. Luckily those two teams had better weekends than their parent club. So heading into the symbolic "second half" of the season, which prospects are setting themselves up well for a strong finish, and which are floundering a bit?
Many were skeptical about his real power potential after the wrist injury a year ago, and while the return of his power is still not a sure thing, the last 2 weeks have done a lot to appease the critics. In his last 10 games Alonso is hitting .400/.442/.725 with 3 homers and 3 stolen bases to boot. He also impressed scouts in batting practice at the futures game on Sunday. Whether he ever wears a Reds uniform is still highly questionable, but at the very least Alonso is strengthening his trade value as the centerpiece of the Hanley Ramirez trade.
You heard the expression "what goes up must come down"? DoJo laughs at your trivial little truisms. He just keeps on rising and doesn't show any signs of slowing down. In his last 10 games he's thrown 11 innings, striking out 19, walking 2, and allowing 1 run. He now has 43.1 IP on the season with 76 strikeouts and 13 walks. The balls that do reach the field of play are mostly grounders, so his piddly 1 homer allowed isn't a fluke either. I haven't followed prospects for that long, but those are some of the most dominating numbers I've ever seen from a pitcher.
I think we all realize two things about our current Reds shortstop: He won't be replaced this season, but he likely won't be around next season either. That leaves us with the question of whether The Coz can be a viable option, or if he'll be just another Paul Janish. He's had his struggles at the plate, but lately he's turned it up a notch, OPSing .867 with 7 walks in his last 10 games. He'll never be a world beater offensively, but he walks a fair bit, has 12 homers so far this year, and plays great defense. I'm pretty sure he could outplay Cabrera right now, but we'll probably have to wait until September or next spring training to find out.
It's bad enough that he got demoted and the guy who replaced him is pitching well. To add to the misery, Lefty Smurf has continued his tendency to be very hittable, allowing 2 homers and 4 ER in just 7.1 innings in AAA. He could still be effective, but it looks like the slow-pitch gimmick has worn off a bit, and he needs to adjust.
Boxy got moved to AA and to the bullpen in the last 2 weeks, seemingly to limit his innings on the season. The problem is he hasn't adjusted very well, giving up 9 runs on 11 hits and 8 walks in just 6.1 innings out of the Carolina pen. I feel confident he'll make the adjustment, but it would be a shame for his strong first half to be forgotten because of a terrible second half.
Continue after the jump for the recap of a busy weekend!
- Louisville won on Friday night 3-0 behind Edinson Volquez's last rehab start. He threw 7 innings, allowing just 1 run and 3 walks while striking out 9. I'll go on record as saying he'll have some hiccups for the Reds, but still, it's going to be great to have him back. Drew Sutton was 2-3 with a double, and Chris Valaika was 1-3 with just his 2nd homer of the year. Saturday saw the Bats win 4-2. Enerio Del Rosario, Jared Burton, Aroldis Chapman, and Danniel Ray Herrera combined for 3.2 scoreless innings from the 'pen. Zack Cozart was 2-3 with a double and a walk, Todd Frazier was 2-4, and Wlad Balentien hit his 12 homer of the season. Sunday the Bats lost 7-5 in 10 innings. The bullpen blew this one, as former Reds relievers Herrera, Carlos Fisher, and Enerio Del Rosario combined to allow 4 runs over the final 3 innings. Wladimir Balentien was 2-4, Daniel Dorn was 1-3 with a walk and his 6th homer, and Zack Cozart hit his 12th homer of the season. Up Next: Louisville starts their ASB tomorrow as well. They will resume play on Thursday.
- Carolina won on Friday 3-1 behind a dominant start from Scott Carroll. Carroll pitched 8 innings, allowing 1 run and striking out 7. Devin Mesoraco was 2-3 with a double, and Dave Sappelt was 1-3 and drove in all 3 runs. Saturday the Mudcats won 9-1. Denis Phipps was 2-4 with a triple and walk, Dave Sappelt was 3-4 with a double and walk, Jake Kahaulelio was 2-5 with his 8th homer, and Devin Mesoraco was 1-4 with a double and a walk. Sunday Carolina was off. Up Next: They are on their ASB as well and will play again Wednesday.
- Lynchburg lost on Friday, 5-0. Not much of note in this one, except Jordan Hotchkiss did last 7.2 innings, allowing 3 runs and striking out 4. Saturday the 'Cats won 4-0. Felix Perez was 2-3 with a triple, and Cody Puckett was 2-4 with a double. Sunday the team won 5-4. Jeff Jeffords and Justin Freeman combined for 3.1 scoreless innings of relief, and Donnie Joseph struck out the side in the 9th (plus a walk) for his 13th save on the year. Josh Fellhauer was 2-5, and Neftali Soto and Felix Perez each hit doubles. Up Next: Lance Janke starts at 7:00.
- Dayton won Friday 6-0. This was a team effort pitching wise, as 4 pitchers combined for the shutout and none threw more than 3.1 innings. Ryan LaMarre went 2-4 with a double, Cameron Satterwhite went 3-4 with a double, and Alex Oliveras hit a grand slam. Saturday Dayton lost 4-2, despite a strong start from Tim Crabbe. The Crabbe-Man threw 6.1 innings of 1 run baseball, but the 'pen ruined it for him. DiDi Gregorius was 2-3with a walk, and Tommy Nurre was 2-4. Sunday Dayton lost 3-1. JC Sulbaran had one of his better starts, lasting 6 innings, giving up 2 ER on 6 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 7. Alex Oliveras provided the offense, hitting his 3rd homer of the season. Up Next: Jacob Johnson starts at 7:00
- Billings won 10-2 on Friday behind a strong start from Clayton Shunick. Shunick allowed 1 run in 6.2 innings while striking out 4. Jonathan Kaskow was 3-5 with a triple, Devin Lohman was 2-3 with 2 doubles, Billy Hamilton was 2-4 with a double and walk, and there were a bunch of other guys with hits. Saturday Billings won 5-4 in 11 innings. Tyler Cline allowed 1 run in 5 innings, and threw 3 shutout innings, striking out 4. Billy Hamilton was 2-4 with a walk, and Jefry Sierra was 1-3 with a walk. Sunday Billings won 9-4. Daniel Wolford, Blaine Howell, and Porfirio Martinez combined for 6 shutout innings and 7 strikeouts from the 'pen. Juan Duran was 2-4 with a double. Up Next: Daniel Corcino should start at 7:05.
- AZL Reds won 1-0 behind a great start from Ismael Guillon. The 18 year old threw 6 shutout innings, striking out 6. The offense was provided by recent draftee David Vidal, who hit his first home run as a professional. Saturday the team was off. Sunday they lost 5-3. Jonathan Correa threw 5 innings, allowing 1 earned run, and Juan Silva went 2-4 with a double and home run. Up Next: Someone will start at 9:00.