Reds Off Night Allows Focus on Bakersfield Winning Streak

Tonight with the Reds losing a day game, it appears to be a good time to focus on the 9 game winning streak authored by the Bakersfield Blaze.  Pitching for the Blaze will be highly touted prospect Tony Cingrani who has a 1-1 record entering into the game but in three starts this season has pitched 17 innings allowing just a single earned run and 20 strikeouts.

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) was part of a blockbuster trade that sent prospect A.J. Cole to the Oakland Athletics. Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

His mound opponent, playing for the Athletics affiliate, the Stockton Ports, also has an interesting background.  A.J. Cole was a 4th round draft pick in 2010 by the Washington Nationals, he landed in the Oakland A’s organization when he was included in the Gio Gonzalez trade in December of last season. The  Seedlings to Stars Fansided team considers him to be the 30th ranked prospect this season and the best in the Athletics organization.

In addition fans will get the opportunity to feel the excitement each time Billy Hamilton steps to the plate.  Billy is currently batting .356 with 26 hits in 73 at bats.  His on base percentage is an electrifying .447 and he has collected 19 stolen bases in 23 attempts over the course of 19 games.  An exciting development in young Mr. Hamilton’s career is his ability to collect extra base hits.  In 2011, he had 30 extra base hits among his 153 hits and 550 at bats; already in 2012 he has 11 extra base hits among his 26 hits.  He had 18 doubles, 9 triples and 3 home runs last year and this season is currently sitting on 6 doubles, 4 triples and a home run with the season just under way.  An interesting article about Hamilton compared him to other teams SB totals in 2011 and Hamilton outpaced the majority of minor league teams in all of baseball.  The article also projected that instead of stealing fewer bases this season he will actually increase his total to 107.  Considering his current pace of a steal a game, that number might even be conservative.

Gameday audio can be found here on the milb.com website.  Game time is 7:05 pm PST or 10:05 pm back in Cincinnati.

Follow me on Twitter @JohnHeitz

Topics: A.J. Cole, Bakersfield Blaze, Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds, Gio Gonzalez, Oakland A's, Reds Prospects, Seedlings To Stars, Stockton Ports, Tony Cingrani, Washington Nationals

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