Here at Farmers Only headquarters, we're also giddy about the callup of 28-year-old rookie Mike Costanzo. The same guy that only two years ago, was hitting .278 in the unaffiliated Atlantic League playing alongside guys like Ben Davis, Blaine Neal, and former Reds farmhand Travis Chick. Now he's celebrating at the plate after Joey Votto walk-off homers.
His trip to the big leagues is a strange one, but he also has a unique distinction. As the Reds have a new AA affiliate, Mike Costanzo is the very first Pensacola Blue Wahoo to appear in a major league game. What about the other affliates? Louisville was originally a Cardinals affiliate, so we'll discount those years and look at the iteration with their current Bats mascot, which began in 2002. The answer here might surprise you, as he's still with the team in the baddest man this side of the Mississippi, Corky Miller. Corky came up on April 11th, 2002 to replace the super old and not very good Kelly Stinnett. Bakersfield hasn't had a big leaguer as a Red yet, but changed their name to the Blaze in 1995 when they were still a Dodgers affiliate. The first Blaze player to make the big leagues is another familiar name, as Hideo Nomo had one start there in the middle of his rookie of the year season.
Dayton, of course, has been a Reds affiliate since their inception in 2000. If you had to guess who the first Dragon to make the big leagues would be, you'd guess Adam Dunn, right? While it's impressive that after being on the 2000 team, he made his debut in 2001, pitchers Jose Acevedo and Brian Reith made it to the big leagues before Dunner did in July. He's not the answer to this question though, as the boring Mark Wohlers had a rehab outing there in 2000. Boo. Billings has been around forever, but became a Reds affiliate in 1974. Outfielder Steve Henderson was the first to make the big leagues from this team, but he didn't do it with the Reds, as he (along with teammate Dan Norman) was traded to the Mets for some Seaver guy. The first Red from that team was pitcher Dan Dumoulin.
Now that the history lesson is over, let's look at who's hot and not in Redsland:
The Hellflower is plumber video games hot right now. He's got a .919 OPS over his last 10 games, but the most impressive stat for me is his 13/13 BB/K ratio. That's criminally low on the strikeout side, and is a great sign. I'd like to see that steals number up, though.
Last year's 4th round pick out of Villanova, he had a disappointing debut in 2011, but has been lights out this year. He's got a 1.40 ERA in 19 1/3 innings so far, with 19 strikeouts to only 3 walks. He's holding righties to a .154 average so far.
So far so good for Lotzkar in AA. In two starts, has an ERA of 1.46 and is holding opponents to a .163 average so far.
Maybe it's why he's in AA, but I expected more from a former big leaguer. A .212/.278/.394 line isn't gonna cut it. I'll chalk it up to still having that Cub stink on him.
You know when you're on a team and despite being one of the better players on the team, the coach's son gets yelled at more than everyone else since he's the coach's son? This is kind of like that. Buckley needs to be better than .167/.278/.244 so far. That includes a .386 OPS in his last 10 games. That's OPS... on-base PLUS slugging... at .386. Pick it up, young man.
Don't laugh, Junior, you haven't been much better. .326 OPS in his last 10, and 32 strikeouts to 3 walks so far this year. Take a fucking pitch, Junior.
Before we get to the games, I think it's time we do our first section recapping the recent moves, as it's been a hectic week.
- Roster Moves: With Costanzo on his way up and Ron Mahay on his way out, Willie Harris and Wirfin Obispo take their spots in Louisville. Andrew Means and David Vidal are now at Pensacola, along with pitchers Kyle Lotzkar and Cabbage Partch. Ryan Kiel and Chris Joyce come up from Dayton to Bakersfield, and Jon Matthews is making his season debut in Bako. New faces in Dayton are pitchers Michael Dennhardt and Lucas O'Rear, who is super tall. John Holdzkom and Yorman Rodriguez are in extended spring training trying to get their games on track.
- Louisville lost both of their games to Lehigh Valley before being rained out on Sunday. Despite a quality start, Brett Tomko dropped to 0-4 on the year after a 4-1 loss. Kris Negron homered, as the Bats could only get one hit off of former big league doormat Scott Elarton. Saturday's game went into extras, as former bat Jeremy Horst got the 5-3 win. Jeff Francis had a quality start and Willie Harris (!) had 2 hits (!!) and an RBI (!!!!!). Charlos Fisher gave up 2 runs in the 10th to get the loss. Up next: Doubleheader today, starting at 5:05. Sean Gallagher and TBA will start.
- Pensacola won 2 of their 3. They lost 6-4 on Friday despite a homer by Cody Puckett. J.C. Sulbaran started, gave up 2 runs in 6 innings, and walked 6 (!). That is a lot. Kyle Lotzkar got the win in his 2nd AA game as he went 6 1/3 innings in a 8-0 win. Koyie Hill and P.J. Phillips had 3 hits each, with HIll hitting his 1st homer of the year. Yeaaaaaah Koyiieeeeee! Sunday's game was a 4-2 win, with Josh Fellhauer, Yordanys Perez, and Cody Puckett all homered. Up next: Daniel Corcino takes on Birmingham at 8.
- Bakersfield lost both of their games against Inland Empire, 4-3 on Friday and 8-7 on Saturday. Donald Lutz drove in 2 runs on Friday another on Saturday, but Saturday's game was the interesting one. Tony Cingrani gave up 1 run and struck out 8 in 6 innings, and left the game tied. The 66ers scored 5 in the 7th, the Blaze put 5 up of their own in the 8th, and it looked like a Blaze win after they took the lead 7-6 in the top of the 13th. Unfortunately, the pitching, as Michael Griffin gave up a hit and walked 2 and Chris Joyce gave up the winning run. Up next: Justice French makes his second start against Stockton at 10:30.
- Dayton lost 2 of their 3 weekend games, but won Friday 5-4. Stalin Gerson pitched great, pitching 5 shutout innings with 6 strikeouts. Daniel Tuttle got knocked around in a 16-4 loss on Saturday and Lucas O'Rear gave up 1 run in his debut on Sunday in a 6-3 loss. Up next: Radhames Quezada gets Lansing at 7.