Reds prospects: Rhett Lowder's debut, Louisville Bats lose after ABS challenge

The Louisville Bats lost a game in somewhat controversial fashion.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Rhett Lowder
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Rhett Lowder / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The Cincinnati Reds 2024 season got underway last week, but the team's minor league affiliates aren't that be far behind. The Louisville Bats, Cincinnati's Triple-A affiliate, already started their season last weekend, and the Dayton Dragons returned to Day Air Ballpark for their home opener on Friday.

The Daytona Tortugas, the Reds' Low-A affiliate opened their 2024 campaign on the road with an extra-innings loss to the Port St. Lucie Mets, and the Chattanooga Lookouts were run off the field by a final score of 12-0 in their season opener against the Birmingham Barons.

Several of the Reds top prospects are scattered throughout all levels of the Reds minor league system. Connor Phillips and Rece Hinds are suiting up for the Bats, while Julian Aguiar and Austin Hendrick are down in Chattanooga. Catching prospect Alfredo Duno will begin his 2024 season playing for the Tortugas, and top pitching prospect Rhett Lowder made his professional debut for the Dragons on Friday.

Reds prospects: Rhett Lowder makes professional debut for Dayton Dragons

Lowder was the Reds first-round pick last season, and many fans believe that the right-hander could make it all the way to the big leagues by the end of the season. The Wake Forest product got off to a good start with four strong innings against the Lansing Lugnuts.

Not a single run crossed the plate, as Lowder was relatively flawless in his Dragons debut. Lowder recorded five punch outs and allowed just two hits and one walk. There are many who feel that Lowder is big league-ready right now, but like fellow first-rounder Paul Skenes, the 22-year-old will need to prove himself in the minor leagues before making the leap to The Show.

Reds prospects: Triple-A Louisville Bats lose thanks to ABS challenge system

For those baseball fans who've yet seen how baseball's ABS (automated balls and strikes) system works, it's almost like watching a tennis match at Wimbledon. If a player believes the umpire got the call wrong, he can then ask for a video review. Much like in tennis, the review will show video of the ball either clipping the strike zone or missing it entirely.

On Friday night, the Bats were trailing the Gwinnett Stripers 6-5 in the ninth inning with runners on the corners and two outs. A 1-2 pitch to Bats' catcher Mike Trautwein was ruled a ball, but the catcher challenged the call.

The ABS revealed that the umpire got the call wrong, and the game ended on an overturned call. That's not the way you want to see a game end, but if it means getting the call correct, most baseball fans will probably enjoy the ABS challenge system.

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