Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart (2) hits an RBI single to tie the game against the St. Louis Cardinals . Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Cincinnati Reds Prospect Watch: Infielders

Nearly 20 games into the 2012 season seems a good time to review the progress of the future of this franchise.  The Reds opened the season with a wonderful opportunity to meet the prospects with the April 3rd Futures game.  After the Futures won the abbreviated meeting 2-1 on the strength of a Donald Lutz 2 run home run I thought it might be interesting to see how each of the players on the futures team are doing so far.  Seventeen future players were in the game on the futures side plus five other prospects/rookies who played for the Reds side in the contest made the game an exciting glimpse into the future of Cincinnati baseball.  Today, lets move around the infield and check how each of them are faring now!

First Base

Neftali Soto, 23,  is playing first for the Reds AAA affiliate, the Louisville Bats.  His season has started slowly with 16 hits in 69 at bats for a .232 batting average.  he has 2 HRs and 8 RBI but after leading the Reds farm system with 31 HRs in 2011.  I expect to see more power soon.

Second Base

Brodie Greene, 24,  has opened the season with the Reds new AA franchise, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.  Greene has hit the ground running with 11 RBI and 9 runs scored in just 19 games.  He is hitting with a .292 batting average and a .802 OPS.

Ryan Wright, 22, featured today on reds.com is playing for the Dayton Dragons this year.  He is hitting .278 with 4 doubles, 5 RBI and 7 runs scored.  (As an addendum, Wright went 3-3 with 2 triples tonight for the Dragons.)

Devin Lohman, 23, is playing for the Bakersfield Blaze in Advanced A ball.  He has been a catalyst for the Blaze scoring 11 runs with a .306 batting average.  He also has 6 RBI and 7 SB.  He is a defensive liability though with a .928 career minor league fielding percentage.

Shortstop

Zack Cozart, 26, is the starting rookie SS for the Reds this season and along with Cardinals starting pitcher Lance Lynn can make a serious argument for being the Rookie of the Year in the National League in the early going.  He played just 11 games in 2011 before his injury and now has played 16 games in 2012.  An interesting measure of his consistency is his OPS during these two brief periods.  In 2011 it was .811 and so far in 2012 it is .812.  He has scored 11 runs and driven in 3 while hitting 4 doubles, 2 triples and a home run (before tonight’s game).

Didi Gregorius, 22, is playing for Pensacola and is he has an interesting offensive stat line so far.  He has 27 hits in just 67 at bats for a .403 batting average.  What is kind of unique is every hit is a single.  Every single one.  We learned Didi can play some serious defense in his time with the Reds during spring training and now we see he can get himself into position to score, plating 13 runs so far in seventeen games.

Billy Hamilton, 21, I make no apologies when I discuss Billy.  This kid is the most exciting baseball player I have ever seen.  and he is adding to his game this season in Bakersfield under Ken Griffey‘s tutelage.  Billy has batted 68 times in 18 games and has 24 hits.  Of those hits 10 are of extra base variety, 6 doubles, 3 triples and a home run.  He has walked 11 times and been hit by a pitch.  So 26 times he has stood at 1st base.  Billy has 18 stolen bases on 22 attempts.  In his last game he went 0-4 and walked once and still stole two bases.  Billy has scored 18 runs and driven in 8 runs.  He still struggles with his fielding committing 5 errors but as he understands his range, I think that will iron itself out.  Billy Hamilton is the real deal.

Third Base

David Vidal, 22, is also making waves with the Blaze.  He has a .300 batting average and 10 RBI, 4 HR and 8 runs scored.

Todd Frazier, 26, was recently called up to the Reds after Miguel Cairo was forced onto the DL.  He did little in Lousiville after a stellar spring but in 6 at bats in Cincinnati has a double and a triple already.

Catcher

Devin Mesoraco, 23, is splitting time with Ryan Hanigan behind the plate for the Reds is batting .304 so far with 3 runs scored and an RBI.  He is handling himself well behind the plate and should be the Reds field general for years to come.

Tucker Barnhart, 21, is struggling at the plate for Bakersfield.  He is an excellent defensive catcher but he must improve his .175 batting average.

Mark Fleury, 24, is also struggling at the plate for Pensacola with a .158 batting average.  Hopefully both Barnhart and Fleury can pick it up as the season moves along.

Stay tuned and we will review both the outfield and the pitching prospects that played in the futures game and see where they are now.

Follow me on Twitter @JohnHeitz.

Tags: Bakersfield Blaze Billy Hamilton Brodie Greene Cincinnati Reds David Vidal Dayton Dragons Devin Lohman Devin Mesoraco Didi Gregorius Mark Fleury Neftali Soto Pensacola Blue Wahoos Ryan Wright Todd Frazier Tucker Barnhart Zack Cozart

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