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Season Recap: Louisville Bats

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Well, it's officially the offseason.  We've had some good posts so far this week about who to get in free agency, but what about the guys already here?  In this series we'll give you a better idea of what went on in the 2010 minor league season, and try to project a "state of the organization", kind of.  A lot of the deals that the team could make in free agency could have long term ramifications, so let's see what we already have.

Overview

The Louisville Bats went 79-64, and won the IL West by just 1/2 game over Columbus.  Their playoff series faced them against Durham, the same team they played last season, and we saw similar results, with the Bats losing the series 3-2 in 5 games.

League Leaders

Chris Valaika finished highest on the team in hitting, placing 7th in the league with a .304 average.  The most impressive batting performance is arguably that of Wladimir Balentien, who finished 2nd in the league in slugging at .536, 5th in the league in OPS at .873, 3rd in the league in homers with 25, and 8th in the league in RBI with 78.  Zack Cozart also made the leaderboards, placing 5th in the IL with 141 hits, 5th in the IL with 30 SB, and his 91 runs scored were tops in the league. 

On the pitching side, there were a few bright spots, led by Matt Maloney, who finished 4th in the league in ERA at 3.34.  Aroldis Chapman was the only Bat to make the list for strikeouts, with 125, finishing 5th in the league.  That's pretty impressive for a debut, but out of the top 5, he only pitched 95 2/3 innings while the 4 guys in front of him all pitched over 150 innings.  Chapman also finished 6th in walks with 52. 

Follow us after the jump for some end of season awards...

So nycredsfan and I both voted on 4 categories for each level, to compare our viewpoints.  Here's who we picked for the Bats:

MVP

nycredsfan: Wladimir Balentien
BK: Wladimir Balentien

Unanimous here, and I don't think there's anyone else we could have picked.  Wlad batted .282/.337/.536 with 25 homers and 78 RBI in 401 AB, and surprisingly never saw the major league roster.  The most impressive part of Wlad's season was after the all-star break, where his line was .368/.418/.730, for a 1.148 OPS.  All of this, and the guy's only 26.  Is there a chance the Reds are able to bring him back next year in some capacity?  Would you rather see him in the outfield than Jonny Gomes?

Most Surprising Player

nycredsfan: Chad Reineke
BK: Daniel Dorn

nyc went with a guy who put together a pretty solid season for being a relative unknown.  Reineke started in the bullpen, but moved to the rotation eventually, and put up a 3.91 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 131 1/3 innings.  Not only that, he was a rock down the stretch, and if this was 2002, would have probably seen some innings in Cincinnati in September.  Look, I'm sure he's a great guy, but I'm glad that didn't happen. 

Daniel Dorn surprised me because I didn't really expect him to be substantially better after a surprisingly solid debut AAA season in 2009.  In a predominantly DH role, Dorn really turned it on this year, batting .302/.398/.545 for the year, but yet, is another guy who the team didn't feel deserved a look at the big league level.  If he continues to hit this well, I think there's a chance we see him get some ABs next year.

Most Disappointing Player

nycredsfan: Todd Frazier
BK: Todd Frazier

No brainer here.  To his credit, Todd really picked it up at the end of the year after a slow start, but for a guy who was voted the number 1 prospect in the system, not getting out of AAA isn't what you want to see.  His numbers ended up at .258/.333/.448, which is respectable, but I think he's going to really need to step it up next year.  The good news is that he's still fairly young at 24, and his strong finish to the year (.323/.437/.495 in August) has me encouraged that he'll develop into at the very least a solid utility player.

Sleeper

nycredsfan: Daniel Dorn
BK: Matt Maloney

We made this award for someone who had a really good season, but did it under the radar, and I think Dorn definitely is a pretty good pick here.  Any time a guy that most people haven't heard of puts up a .944 OPS, that's a sleeper to me. 

Did anyone else realize that Maloney's K/BB ratio in AAA this year was almost 4/1?  He had 104 K in 134 2/3 innings, with only 28 walks, but got overshadowed by other guys in that rotation who also performed well (LeCure, Wood, and Chapman for most of the year).  As long as he's in the organization, he's a guy who I have complete confidence in to give us a good start when we need it, and I'm really wondering what Walt is going to do with guys like him and LeCure with the huge starting pitching surplus we have right now.

Let us know what you think, and we'll be running these for the next few weeks.  The offseason that puts us over the hump is just getting started, it's time to take these prospects and build a championship team with them.