It’s the middle of June, and the Reds are starting to add some new faces to the organization as recent draft picks sign on with the club. Rookie leagues are starting up soon, first half races in various minor leagues are wrapping up, and midseason prospect lists are starting to come out. The trade deadline is just around the corner (after we get through the July exhibition game between the Kansas City Royals and the National League), and the Reds will be major players with Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Aroldis Chapman among the names sure to be bantered about in rumors over the next few weeks. Brush up on the top prospects in other organizations. Maybe some of them will find their way here soon.
For now, here are the players who have carried the Reds’ minor league teams so far in June.
Hitter: Josh Satin
Pay: $$$ (.736)
Josh Satin "Sheets" kicks us off today, posting the best line from the Bats over the past two weeks. He slashed .333/.407/.511 in 54 plate appearances, while showing decent plate discipline with 7 BBs against 10 Ks. Irving "Berlin" Falu and Yorman "Our Man" Rodriguez were also quite good, with Falu riding excellent plate discipline (3 Ks vs. 10 BBs) and Rodriguez relying on a .373 batting average to get them each into the conversation.
Pitcher: Layne Somsen
Pay: $ (17.25)
I’ve got to be honest. I don’t see how the Bats are continuing to hover around .500 with this pitching. Anyone who is any good has been called up to the Reds already, and even a bunch of them are on the DL now. "Penny" Layne Somsen received the call early this month to move from Pensacola to Louisville, and he made the most of the opportunity so far I guess. He only allowed a single earned run over the 12 IP in June (10 IP with Louisville), but he wasn’t exactly dominating either with 10 Ks and 6 BBs on the month. I’ll pick Drew "Mays" Hayes for honorable mention because of his 35% K%.
Pensacola Blue Wahoos
Hitter: Marquez Smith
Pay: $$$$ (.795)
Marquez "de Sod" Smith has led the way for the Blue Wahoos so far in June. He posted a pretty fantastic .395/.477/.579 line over the last two weeks, with 2 dingers in 44 plate appearances. Seth Mejias-Brean and Juan "Hi Ho" Silva posted pretty good lines in limited playing time, and Jesse "Rip Van" Winker is putting it all together, but Ray "Chimi" Chang’s 49 PAs with an .896 OPS gives him the honorable mention.
Pitcher: Keyvius Sampson
Pay: $$ (41.12)
Until a couple of nights ago, Robert "Lewis" Stephenson seemed to have turned a corner. Then he walked six batters, reigniting questions about whether he’s got the control needed of a top of the rotation starter. Those walks cracked the door for "Miss" Keyvius Sampson to claim honors for the start of June. Sampson posted a 2.54 ERA over 17.2 IP, striking out 18 against 6 walks. Bob Steve has to settle for the honorable mention as a result.
Hitter: Sebastian Elizalde
Pay: $$$$ (.790)
Sebastian "Legend of" Elizalde earned Florida State League Hitter of the Week honors last week, and his strong performance has the Tortugas on the verge of clinching the first half in the Florida State League’s North Division. For June, Elizalde has slashed .298/.370/.638 over 54 PAs. That’s some strong power output in the pitcher-friendly FSL. Honorable mention to Taylor "AWANA" Sparks, who put up an even better .698 SLG in 47 PAs despite a K% of of about 28%. Sparks has been a butcher in the field at 3B this year, but he hasn’t made an error since June 4, so maybe he’s settling in there.
Pitcher: Barrett Astin
Pay: $$$$ (131.72)
Daytona is loaded with quality pitching prospects, but relative unknown "Grin and" Barrett Astin won’t remain unknown much longer. With an ERA under 2 on the month and a nifty 20 Ks compared to just 3 BBs, Astin was the best pitcher in the system the past fortnight. For all the bellyaching we did about the Broxton contract, dumping his salary for Astin could turn out as a fantastic move for the Reds. Nick"ed up" Travieso and Alejandro "to the" Chacin have also been excellent, but they have to settle for honorable mentions.
Hitter: Brian O’Grady
Pay: $$$$ (.819)
Brian O’Grady "Little" rides a sublime .326/.412/.651 slash line over 51 PAs to claim the top spot for Dayton so far this month. With 8 Ks and 5 BBs, O’Grady showed good plate discipline, continuing his trend for the year. He may be showing it is time to move him up to face some older competition. At 23, he’s more than a year and a half older than the Midwest League average. About three years his junior, Gavin "Lilly of" LaValley earns the honorable mention for June. Opportunity is all that really held LaValley back this month. He posted a spectacular .472/.513/.667 line in just 39 PAs, and his performance last week was good enough to garner him a spot on Baseball America’s Hot Sheet. He has turned it around nicely of late and is definitely worth keeping an eye on going forward.
Pitcher: Seth Varner
Pay: $$ (37.81)
Somehow, Seth Varner "Volf" keeps showing up as a top performer when I prepare these pieces. He’s a bit old for A ball, so he doesn’t get a lot of love as a prospect, but he just keeps performing. On the season, he’s struck out 67 batters against just 5 walks. I’d like to see him moved up to Daytona to see if he can maintain that performance against players his own age. On the month, he’s thrown 11 innings of 2.45 ERA ball, with 11 Ks and a walk. Tyler "Stephenson" Mahle (16 Ks, 5 BBs, 16 IP and Midwest League Pitcher of the Week to start June) and Brian "Big Game" Hunter (4 IP with 0 ER, 7 Ks, and 1 BB) earn honorable mentions.