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Today, the Cincinnati Reds named the players who will attend the Arizona Fall League and represent the Reds for the 2013 AFL season. They will be members of the Glendale Desert Dogs (formerly of Peoria) along with prospects from Dodgers, Marlins, Twins and White Sox. For those that follow prospects, there are some familiar names and highly rated prospects on the Desert Dogs’ roster.
When you see the list of the Reds players selected, you may notice that all have one thing in common: all have donned or currently don a Pensacola Blue Wahoos uniform for 2013.
Catching prospect Tucker Barnhart is in his fifth season within the Reds organization and was a non-roster invitee to last spring training. Barnhart is known for his defense as he was awarded the Rawlings Gold Glove as the minor league’s best defensive catcher when he was a member of the Dayton Dragons. He was also an organizational All-Star for 2012.
Drew Hayes will be making a return trip to Arizona as he was also a selection last year. He leads the Blue Wahoos in appearances (48, along with the recently promoted Loek Van Mil) and also owns a pair of saves. Hayes was also a non-roster invite and earned some praise from Dusty. Hayes also earned an organizational All-Star in 2011.
Ryan LaMarre leads the Blue Wahoo in steals with 22 and tied for the team lead, along with Barnhart, in walks with 44. He’s also the team leader in outfield assists with 12 as their center fielder. LaMarre was an organizational All-Star for the 2011 season.
Michael Lorenzen may by the guy that appears to be on the fast track to Cincinnati. Just this past June, the Reds grabbed Lorenzen with the draft’s #38 overall selection. Including his current club in Pensacola, Lorenzen is now playing on his fourth team since signing with the Reds (AZL Reds, Billings, Dayton, Pensacola). I said it was a fast track.
Travis Mattair will also be reintroducing himself to the AFL. The Reds acquired Mattair via the Rule V Draft from the Philadelphia Phillies after the 2011 season. “Moose” currently leads the Blue Wahoos in home runs (13) and RBI (56). He also earned an organizational All-Star honor for 2012.
Yorman Rodriguez, a member of the Reds 40-man roster, will be headed for Arizona. Maybe this third-go-around with Blue Wahoos manager Delino DeShields is helping with his development. The walk rate (9.1%) is the highest at any level since ‘09 when he was a member of the Gulf Coast Reds (9.8%) and his strikeout rate has shown a little improvement as well. In 2010 as a member of the Billings Mustangs, Yorman made the Reds organizational All-Star squad.
Chad Rogers started the 2013 in Pensacola, but now is a member of the Louisville Bats starting rotation. A non-roster invite to spring training, but Rogers might be known more for surviving a shark attack. Well, for now.
Jamie Walczak sits atop the Blue Wahoos staff in SO/9 with an eye-popping 12.2. That’s almost like video game numbers, isn’t it? Walczak started 2013 in Bakersfield and earned a promotion in mid-June.
For the players, there will be a familiar face on Desert Dogs staff: Tom Browning.