Cincinnati Reds’ High-A Affiliate Advances to Championship Series


While the Cincinnati Reds are all but eliminated from the playoffs, one of their minor league affiliates is making already making a postseason splash. On Wednesday, the High-A Daytona Tortugas completed a sweep in a best-of-three series against the Clearwater Threshers, an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Threshers had been the Florida State League’s best team throughout the year, earning the best record in both the first and second half of the season to grab a playoff spot. But when they ran into the Tortugas and their formidable pitching staff, records went out the window.

Reds’ No. 3 prospect Amir Garrett got the ball in game one for the Tortugas and turned in the best start of his professional career. The lefty allowed only one hit over seven innings, while striking out 12 and walking none. Garrett’s perfect game ended in the fourth when a batter reached base on a dropped third strike, but his no-hitter continued into the seventh inning before allowing a single.

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Garrett was given a 1-0 lead after the first inning on RBI single from Daniel Pigott and it was the only offense he would need. Sebastian Elizalde helped add on to the lead with a sacrifice fly in the third before Taylor Sparks hit a solo home run in the sixth to make it 3-0, which would prove to be the final score.

Another strong outing by a top pitching prospect pushed the Tortugas to another win in game two on Wednesday.  No. 6 prospect Nick Travieso wasn’t quite as dominant as Garrett was the night before, but he was pretty close. In seven innings of work, Travieso gave up only one run on six hits and one walk, while striking out five. His only mistake was allowing a solo home run to Threshers cleanup hitter Rhys Hoskins in the fourth inning.

Catcher Chad Wallach got the Tortugas on the board in the fourth with a solo home run, after hitting only three the entire regular season. Hoskins’ home run tied it in the bottom of the inning, but the Tortugas took the lead for good when a two-out error by the Threshers allowed the go-ahead run to score in the seventh.

Daytona will now move on to the best-of-five championship series against the Charlotte Stone Crabs, High-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Tortugas will host the first two games on Thursday and Friday, before the series shifts to Charlotte. Jackson Stephens will be on the mound in game one.

The Tortugas aren’t the only Reds representatives in the playoffs, as the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos begin postseason play on Thursday night against the Biloxi Shuckers, a member of the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization. Daniel Wright is set to start game one, followed by Cody Reed and Tim Adleman in games two and three of the best-of-five series.

The Reds’ rookie affiliate, the Billings Mustangs, also opened their first playoff series on Wednesday with a 5-2 win, defeating the Missoula Ospray, an Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate. Catcher Tyler Stephenson, this year’s first-round draft pick by the Reds, went 1-for-4 in his first taste of professional playoff action.

Next: Reds to send seven prospects to Arizona Fall League