Here at FO, we're in awe of how stacked the current Louisville Bats team is. In the current starting lineup, there's a solid mix of number 1 pick prospects (Alonso, Mesoraco), big bats who could contribute at a major league level (Balentien, Francisco), and highly rated hitters who are having good years (Frazier, Sappelt, Valaika). Throw in a pitching staff with established major league spot starters with potential to contribute more (Maloney, LeCure), bullpenners with MLB experience (Burton, Herrera, Del Rosario, Fisher), and two lefty fireballers (Valiquette is one), of which is one of the best prospects in baseball, ever (Chapman). It's no wonder they're back in the saddle and are poised to win their division and make a deep playoff run. On to this week's ratings.
Bats' new arrivals
Two Bats made their AAA debuts in the last few weeks, and both are tearing it up so far. Dave Sappelt is .333/.362/.489 so far in 12 games, including a 5-hit game the other night. Devin Mesoraco is hitting .444/.545/1.222 in his 4 games so far, including a walk-off grand slam in his first game and another grand slam in his next at-bat.
Puckett hasn't had a breakout year this year, but he's been hot lately, with a .342/.395/.842 line in his last 10 games. He has 5 homers and 12 RBI in that span, including homers in each of his last 4 games. He is murdering the baseball.
Who? I know, I know, you've heard enough about this guy lately, but he's been even better than advertised. He has a 1.59 ERA in his last 10 appearances, and a 2.57 ERA as a reliever in 24 games. In his last 10, he has 19 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. 6 scoreless appearances in a row. Get him here, Walt.
Creepy pictures aside, he's not exactly lighting things on fire on his rehab. He's given up 11 runs in 11 innings in his two starts. Is that going to be good enough to earn a rotation spot when he's deemed healthy? Hell, is that enough to find a place to put him in the bullpen?
After his white-hot start in AA, the Reds' other other other Cuban prospect is hitting only .167/.250/.194 in his last 10 games. Hopefully he can step it up and earn a spot to Spring Training next year, I'd like to see what he can do against good pitching.
A draftee from this year, D'Anna moved quickly up the system after killing the AZL. He had a mediocre stint in Billings, and was moved up to Dayton where he's been even worse. He's .182/.208/.318 so far there, so let's hope he can get back on track and learn to hit better pitching.
And now, onto this weekend's games after the jump...
- Louisville lost 2 of 3 games over the weekend. They lost 8-1 on Friday night, mostly due to a horrible rehab start by Aaron Harang. The 'Tang gave up 6 runs in 6 innings pitched, which is not good for someone who's trying to make his way back onto a crowded pitching staff. Meanwhile, the Bats only mustered up 3 hits, the highlight being a triple by Daniel Dorn. They won 10-6 against Indianapolis on Saturday. Dave Sappelt was the star of this one, going 5-for-6 with 2 doubles, a triple, his first stolen base in AAA, and 2 RBI. 6 different Bats drove in runs in this game. Matt Maloney gave up 4 runs (1 earned) in his start, and Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless 9th inning where he reportedly threw a baseball 104 miles per hour. A hundred and four. Unfortunately for the Bats, they lost the last game of the weekend, a 4-2 loss against Indy. It was a pretty good start by Ben Jukich wasted, where the soulsucker went 6 2/3 innings and only gave up 1 run with 6 strikeouts. Todd Frazier and Chris Valaika had two hits each. Up next: Chad Reineke goes for the rubber match of the series at 7.
- Carolina split their two games over the weekend. Matt Klinker led the Mudcats to a 6-4 win on Friday over Mobile. Klinker went 6 innings of 4-run ball, and his bullpen stepped up to preserve the win, with Lee Tabor and Federico Baez pitching scoreless innings and Donnie Joseph adding a 1-2-3 8th in his AA debut. Jake Kahaulelio hit a 3-run bomb to lead the offense. They lost 2-1 on Saturday, despite a great outing by Scott Carroll. Carroll went 7 innings of 1-run ball, and Chris Denove went 3-for-3 to contribute to the offense. The Mudcats were rained out Sunday, but this weekend brought great news that they'll continue to be the Reds AA affilate for the next two years at least. Up next: The Mudcats take on Birmingham at 7:15, with no starter announced yet.
- Lynchburg won 2 of 3 in their weekend series against Wilmington, 7-0 and 9-1 wins to start the weekend and an 8-2 loss on Sunday to prevent the sweep. Friday night was a dominant pitching performance, with Pedro Villarreal and Daniel Guerrero pitching 4 innings apiece of shutout ball. Blair Carson stepped in and pitched a scoreless 9th to preserve the shutout. Cody Puckett led the way on offense with a 2-for-5 night with 3 RBI and his 15th homer of the season. On Saturday, Curtis Partch pitched 8 innings of 1-run ball, and Puckett had another strong game going 3-for-4 with his 16th homer. The pitching wasn't as good in Sunday's game, but this game saw a 1-run 9th pitched by the Hillcats' Abe Woody. Sound familiar? He was the 31st round pick by the Reds in 2005, before he was traded to Arizona for former infielder turned current pitcher and Louisville Bat Jerry Gil. Anyway, he's back. Oh yeah, and Cody Puckett hit another homer, his 17th, and his 4th in as many games. Up next: Josh Ravin takes on Winston-Salem at 7:05.
- Dayton actually won their weekend. How weird is that? They lost the first game 5-2 against Great Lakes, even thought Daniel Corcino pitched wonderfully. Corcino went 5 2/3 innings of 1-hit, shutout ball with 7 strikeouts, but his bullpen let him down. They started a new series off on Saturday with a 6-3 win against Lake County. Ricky Bowen gave up 1 run in 5 innings pitched with 6 strikeouts, and Kevyn Feiner and Ryan LaMarre both hit homers. Dayton won Sunday's game too, a 12-7 win. Didi Gregorius was 3-for-5, and Henry Rodriguez and Justin Reed both hit 2-run shots. Up next: Clayton Shunick takes on the Captains at 7.
- Billings dropped their series against Orem. They lost 5-4 in 10 innings on Friday, as Jonathan Correa had a little trouble, giving up 4 runs in 4 innings. Yorman Rodriguez was 3-for-5 with a RBI, and the relief performance by Luca Panerati was also worth mentioning, as he gave up 1 hit in 3 shutout innings. The Mustangs shut Orem out 2-0 on Saturday, behind an encouraging start by Kyle Lotzkar. Kyle went 5 shutout innings with 9 strikeouts in his first start as a Mustang. Donald Lutz was 3-for-4. On Sunday, Orem won another one 5-4. Dayne Read was 3-for-5. Up next: The 'Stangs have a day off.
- The AZL Reds dropped their weekend as well. They lost on Friday night 6-3 to the AZL Brewers, despite 2 hits each by Ronald Torreyes and David Vidal. Yasmani Grandal was 1-for-2 with 2 walks in his Reds debut. They got beat up by the AZL Angels on Saturday, a 9-3 loss. Jaren Matthews and Danny Vicioso had two hits each. They ended up winning the last game of the weekend 6-5 in 10 innings, with Jaren Matthews hitting his 7th homer. Up next: The A-Reds take on the AZL Tribe at 10.