Feb 22, 2013; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Hamilton (6) walks through the dugout during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Goodyear Ballpark. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)
The Louisville Bats hold a record of 31-35 after a victory over the Durham Bulls Tuesday night. While their record is not very impressive, there are some individuals on the team who are making noise and making a case to be selected for the 2013 Triple-A All Star Game. A couple of these guys are very well-known around the Reds organization, others not so much. Let’s take a look at who these stellar Bats are:
We all know about Hamilton. After setting the minor league single season record for stolen bases last season, a lot was expected of Hamilton this year. With a position change (from shortstop to center field), some wondered if Hamilton’s numbers would dip while he adjusted. While is average (.251) isn’t all that impressive, the fact remains; Hamilton is fast and can change games with his speed.
In Tuesday’s game, with the bases loaded and one out, Hamilton hit what would’ve been a rally-killing double play ball. Instead, Hamilton beat out the throw, extending the inning. Two batters later (and after Hamilton stole second), Neftali Soto mashed a grand slam into the left field seats, giving the Bats a two-run lead.
Later in the game, Hamilton singled, stole second and third, then scored on a sac fly. The three stolen bases pushed Hamilton’s International League-leading total to 40.
The ability for one player to have such an impact on the game is huge. If not for his hitting, Billy Hamilton definitely needs some consideration for All Star votes based solely on his speed, talent level, and potential to be a star.
We all know about Cingrani as well. The highly touted southpaw has been every bit of extraordinary this season in split time with the Bats and the Reds. After defeating the Cubs Tuesday night, Cingrani boosted his record to a perfect 6-0 (3-0 with each the Bats and Reds) in 2013. In six game with the Bats he is 3-0 with a ridiculous 1.15 ERA in 31.1 IP. He has given up just four earned runs, struck out 49 and walked just 11.
If not the Reds having injury problems and being forced to recall Cingrani to pitch, this guy would undoubtedly be starting for the IL in the All Star Game. With the fact that he’s only pitched six games, there is a small chance he’ll be left out (emphasis on the word SMALL).
An unknown guy off to a historic start in 2013. That just about sums up Bats right hander Greg Reynolds.
Reynolds, a 2006 draft pick of the Colorado Rockies, is 7-0 in 13 games (12 starts) this season with a 2.51 ERA. In 86 innings or work, Reynolds has surrendered just 82 hits and 15 walks while ringing up 51. He has given up two or fewer runs in nine of his last ten starts. Reynolds’ 86 IP are the most in the league and his 1.13 WHIP is fourth.
The 6’7” Reynolds is the first Louisville starter to start the season 7-0 since 1984 when Ralph Citarella started 8-0. Without a doubt, Reynolds should be on the IL All Star Team and, frankly, should be the team’s starter.
Talk about a guy who carried over success from last year into this year. Perez finished last season hitting safely in 51 of his last 70 games, hitting .325 over that time with 22 multi-hit games. Perez has hit safely in 43 of 64 games to start this season and is hitting .287 with 20 multi-hit games.
Let’s do some math, shall we. In his last 134 games, Felix Perez has hit safely in 94 of them, is hitting .311, and has 42 multi-hit games in that time. Perez’s 15 doubles ranks second on the team while he leads the team in RBIs with 41. To go along with a very good bat, Perez is multi-faceted defensively and plenty capable of playing all three outfield positions.
If Perez keeps up his torrid hitting, there is only one possibility for how his story will end…in the big leagues.
This case won’t be very strong. Hessman, who used to wreak havoc on the Bats when he played for the Toledo Mud Hens, is an absolute masher. I once watched this man hit two home runs that LANDED in the street outside of Louisville Slugger Field in the same game. For those of you who don’t know, it’s at least 470 feet from home plate to Witherspoon Street just outside of the stadium.
Hessman has 15 dingers this season for the Bats to go along with 27 RBIs. This man probably won’t be selected for the All Star Game, but he should get written in for the Home Run Derby. Wonder how far he could hit a ball on a hot July night in Reno, NV?
To cast your ballot for the Triple-A All-Star teams (International League and Pacific Coast League), head here.
This post was compiled and written for Blog Red Machine by former BRM Staff Writer Kevin Geary.