It's the first day of the season for the brand new Redlegs in our two rookie ball affiliates! Let's look at where these new faces have landed and what we can expect from our teams.
First of all, let's look at the changes in Dayton. It's been an exciting week for the Dragons, as they added two new faces from extended spring training to their already stacked roster, Kyle Lotzkar and Ronald Torreyes. Unfortunately, that doesn't leave a whole lot of firepower for the rookie ballers.
Billings actually doesn't look too shabby. Their pitching staff will likely be anchored by lefty Ismael Guillon and righty Wes Mugarian. Guillon had a 3.32 ERA in the AZL last year, with a staggering 73 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched with only 23 walks. Mugarian was the Reds' 5th round pick out of high school last season, and was signed for a little over slot value. Arms from this year that we'll see in Billings are 4th rounder Kyle McMyne and local product Dan Jensen.
The Mustangs' offense will likely feature outfield duo Juan Silva and Kyle Waldrop. Waldrop was the 12th round pick from last year that signed for $500K, and projects as a corner outfielder with a big bat. There will be some other really nice pieces in this infield to watch, with guys like Junior Arias, Devin Lohman, Nick O'Shea, and Sean Buckley.
The AZL team won't be as star-studded, but there's still a lot here to follow on the pitching end. They're led by this year's 3rd rounder Tony Cingrani, and last year's 6th round pick Drew Cisco (who signed for $975K), who will be making his pro debut. Draftees from last year worth keeping an eye on are guys like Jose Amezcua (7th round), and Lucas O'Rear (11th round), who's coming off of an injury suffered in basketball season. Oh yeah, and don't forget about Joel Bender, who's a local kid out of Oak Hills HS who was signed away from a Louisville commitment out of the 27th round. Guys from this year's draft on the AZL team will be pitchers Justice French and Carlos Gonzalez (no relation), and infielder Juan Perez. The rest of the roster is filled out with Dominican and Venezuelan league players, but guys like righty Abel De Los Santos could be worth following (9-1, 1.85 ERA in DSL last year).
Okay, let's see how they did in Monday's games.
- Louisville lost 7-4 to Pawtucket. Zack Cozart was 2-for-5 out of the leadoff spot and continues to be a better option at SS than the scrubs the Reds are running out there. Todd Frazier and Danny Dorn both homered for the Bats, but the bullpen didn't help causes. Tom Cochran gave up 3 runs in 5 innings with 7 strikeouts and no walks, but Chad Reineke gave up 4 runs in relief. Up next: Homer Bailey takes on the PawSox on rehab at 7:05. Aroldis Chapman may also make an appearance in this one.
- Carolina is on their all-star break. The Southern League All-Star game is tonight, with Brad Boxberger the only Mudcat meriting selection.
- Bakersfield is too. The Carolina/California All-Star game is tonight, with two Blaze members making the cut for the Cal team. Yasmani Grandal and Josh Fellhauer were the lucky two who were selected.
- Dayton is also on their break, and will also have an All-Star game tonight. Three Dragons made the cut this year, led by Josh Smith who should start for the Eastern team. Also appearing will be pitcher Daniel Corcino and 1B Dominic D'Anna.
- Billings lost their opener 9-4 to Great Falls. Wes Mugarian got the start and gave up 4 runs (only 1 ER) in 5 innings, with 7 strikeouts and no walks. El'Hajj Muhammad came in and pitched 2 1/3 shutout innings of relief. On the offensive side, Robert Maddox and Dayne Read had multi-hit games, and Drew Poulk hit his first homer of the season. Up next: Stalin Gerson takes on Great Falls at 9:05.
- The AZL Reds started their season with a 4-0 loss to the AZL Tribe. Luca Panerati gave up 3 runs (2 ER) in 6 innings pitched on a rehab assignment. The A-Reds only gathered up 2 hits on offense, thanks to Carlos Sanchez and Jon Matthews. Up next: AZL Mariners at 10:00.