It’s time once again to see who is carrying the minor league clubs in the Reds organization. Selections are based on performance from May 1 to May 15.
Hitter: Eugenio Suarez
Pay: $$$$ (of $$$$$)
Besides having the most fun name to say, Eugenio "for your thoughts" Suarez had one of the hottest bats in the entire minor league system the last two weeks. He put up a sweet .293/.444/.512 slash line in 54 plate appearances. He homered twice and stole a base (although he was caught once). That 18.5% BB% would look really nice hitting near the top of the Reds lineup. It’s a good thing their middle infielders have been completely healthy these last two weeks so that they haven’t had to give 35 PAs to a backup hitting (and slugging) .172 in May. Sigh... Distant honorable mention to Ramon Cabrera, who somehow racked up 43 PAs with a .395 OBP in May despite me being completely unaware that he was in the Reds system, let alone that he played catcher for Louisville.
Pitcher: Pedro Villarreal
Someone has to win the award, and Pedro "Beachfront" Villarreal stumbles into it this pay cycle. He only pitched 7 innings, and he did strike out 7 batters versus just one walk, but he also allowed 3 ER. Jon "Gopper" Moscot can have an honorable mention for giving up just 6 ER in 21 innings, but his 11 K to 7 BB is hardly indicative of a pitcher ready for a call up to the majors, even if he is 5-0 on the season.
Pensacola Blue Wahoos
Hitter: Kyle Waldrop
Kyle "Brick in the" Waldrop has been outstanding this month. He’s slashed .364/.379/.636 over 58 PAs with 3 bombs - which is sadly one more than the rest of the team. His plate discipline hasn’t been great, as he K’d 13 times while walking just once. If plate discipline is more your thing, Ryan Wright gets an honorable mention for being nearly as good as Waldrop this month, but in a completely different way. His line of .319/.431/.383 was buoyed by 10 BBs against just 2 Ks in 58 PAs.
Pitcher: Josh Smith
"Captain" Josh Smith was excellent in two AA starts, and his success continued after being called up to AAA as well. Over two levels, he threw 18 innings, striking out 18 and walking 0, while only allowing one ER. That was the best performance by a Reds minor league pitcher in May, and since the majority of Smith’s time was spent in AA, he gets the honors here. Tim "sexist" Adleman, Kyle McMyne, and Keyvius Sampson "and Delilah" all earn honorable mentions for some of the better performances throughout the system this time around.
Hitter: Alex Blandino
Uncle Phil has gone cold in May, leaving Alex "The Great" Blandino to pace the offense in May. Blandino’s .340/.400/.396 line in 60 PAs was solid but unspectacular. No homers and an a merely OK 12 Ks to 5 BBs suggests that he BABIP’d his way into a solid fortnight. No one else really warranted consideration, as only Sebastian Elizalde (.729) posted an OPS above .636 among the rest of the squad. They better start hitting if they want to hang on to first place in the FSL North.
Pitcher: Sal Romano
Since the offense wasn’t hitting, the Dragonas needed the contributions of Sal "Macaroni Grill" Romano to stay afloat. Over 20.2 IP, Romano allowed just 4 ER, striking out 16 while walking only 4. He lowered his ERA to 2.77 for the season with his performance these last two weeks. Jimmy "Get a Brain" Moran earned an honorable mention for 7.1 IP with just 1 ER allowed.
Hitter: Brian O’Grady
The Dragons have had several good performances this month, and Brian "Beef" O’Grady narrowly edges out Ty "George" Washington and Jonathan "Rey don’t think so" Reynoso for the honors this pay cycle. O’Grady and Washington both showed good plate discipline, and their OBPs - .410 for O’Grady and .411 for Washington - were nearly identical. The difference in O’Grady’s favor was his .510 SLG. Reynoso showed good pop (.478 SLG), but the 11 Ks to 2 BBs weren’t working in his favor.
Pitcher: Seth Varner
A repeat winner, Seth Varner "Brothers" began May right where he left off in April. He threw 13 IP with 15 K and 1 BB. The walk is the only one he has allowed all season. He allowed just 7 hits and 2 ER in two starts. As a 23 year old in low A ball, it may be time to move Varner up a level. Jeremy "Evil" Kivel can have an honorable mention for striking out 11 of the 23 batters he faced, but in walking 5, he wasn’t close to Varner for this pay cycle’s honors.