So, if you were watching the AFL finale last night, you got to see a handful of Reds on the Peoria Javelinas team win the championship game. Victory is not particularly exciting to have your team’s prospects compete in compilation teams against other compilation teams, but, hey, I guess it’s better than losing. The Reds had a total of 7 prospects on the Javelinas roster – here’s how they did:
Tim Crabbe (19 IP, 4.26 ERA, 11 K, 9 BB) : The tall right-handed starter pitched well-enough in hitter-happy Bakersfield to earn himself a promotion to Pensacola, where he struggled more, but still struck out a lot of batters. In the AFL, he did not fare particularly well by the numbers, but I doubt he helped or hurt himself much. After all, the level of competition was stiff, and as a starter, Crabbe’s probably not used to having only 2 or 3 innings to prove himself.
Drew Hayes (14 IP, 4.50 ERA, 11 K, 8 BB) : Hayes, a relief pitcher who spent the entire season in AA Pensacola, fared very similarly to Crabbe, if maybe a tiny bit better. The K-rate is lower than his minor league norms, but fine – the control is more iffy, and that’s the big question on Hayes. Looking at his game logs – it looks like he had 8 appearances out of 11 where he allowed 0 ER, then 1 appearance that was so-so, and 2 that were pretty bad.
Curtis Partch (12 2/3 UP, 3.35 ERA, 14 K, 6 BB): Curtis of the beautiful red curls acquitted himself very well in this year’s AFL. Partch also had a few struggles at AA Pensacola this year as he switched from starting to relieving, but he definitely had a great fall, so many Reds fans got to see him pitch in the AFL Rising Stars game along with more famous Reds prospects Billy Hamilton and Didi Gregorius. Hopefully this success will carry over to next season, and maybe we’ll get to see Curtis’s lovely locks in the bullpen sometime in September
Josh Ravin (10 1/3 IP, 6.97 ERA ,10 K, 2 BB): Obviously, Ravin wasn’t exactly a winner in the ‘results’ category, but his peripherals are excellent, and the runs are probably as much a matter of luck as anything. Additionally, Ravin (who is also transitioning to relief this year) missed a lot of time this season with an oblique injury, so this is probably as much to get some innings in as improving his stock as a prospect. Ravin has one of the fastest fastballs in the system, so it will be interesting to see him develop.
Didi Gregorius (74 AB, .284/.333/.392): Now for the hitters. Gregorius has really seen his stock rise this year, as he reached the upper levels of the minors and even a cup of coffee in the show. More people have now seen Gregorius play shortstop, and they’re pretty much universally impressed. Didi’s AFL was pretty much more of the same. His hitting was unremarkable, but pretty similar to what he did in the minors in 2012. Defensively, though, Didi impressed in both MLB Network televised games. Gregorius is probably almost as ready for MLB as he’ll ever be – that gives the Reds a dilemma when it comes to Cozart and Didi at the MLB level, but that’ s a good problem to have, as an organization.
Travis Mattair (32 AB, .188/.250/.219): Mattair, who just joined the system this year, hit pretty well in 2012, but his minor league numbers as a whole are unspectacular, and he spent the entire season at Bakersfield, which, again, is notoriously generous to hitters. Many a batter has had a successful season in the California league, just to fall back to earth the next year. Some don’t, of course, but Mattair’s AFL performance was not particularly reassuring. To be fair, Mattair got even fewer opportunities than most players in the AFL. With just 32 at-bats, it could just be a small sample size fluke, and maybe Mattair will come back and impress us in 2013.
Billy Hamilton (64 AB, .234/.306/.328, 10 SB, 2 CS): Billy is just settling into being a top MLB prospect, and the fame that comes in with breaking the minor league stolen bases season record, but he’s already tackling a new challenge: playing center field. Hamilton’s played middle infield for his entire professional career, so it’s quite an adjustment, but one that could really help the Reds, given our depth charts and contract situation. It’s also a pretty logical move: as Drew Stubbs has shown us, speed can be a great asset in center. In the few plays that I saw on tv, it looked like Hamilton was still in the learning process, especially when it came to playing balls near the wall, including an incident in the championship game, where Hamilton was assisted off the field after colliding with the outfield wall. Thankfully, Fay reports that Billy is just fine. Given the fielding situation, Hamilton’s batting was secondary, still, while Billy didn’t hit very well, he did show some patience, and, of course, wreaked havoc on the basepaths.