The Bakersfield Blaze were the only Reds affiliate to make it to the playoffs in 2012. They won the first half by going 41-29 before going 31-39 and finishing in 4th in the second half of the season.
The Blaze got off to a slow start as they went 3-7 over their first 10 games of the year before going on an 11 game winnings streak before losing the final two games of April to finish the month at 14-9. The offense scored 106 runs on the month, while the pitching and defense gave up 91 runs as they pushed toward the first half division title.
In May Bakersfield brought home a record of 16-14 as the rebounded from a 4 game losing streak to end the month on a 4 game winning streak. The offense scored 155 runs during the month and the pitching and defense combined to allow 140 runs. They finished the month at 30-23 overall.
June rolled around for the Blaze and they pushed forward with 16 more wins and took 11 losses with only one time in the month did they lose more than one game in a row. They lost back to back games on the 25th and 26th. The 16th marked the end of the first half of the season. Billy Hamilton, Donald Lutz, Tony Cingrani, Brian Pearl and Chad Rogers were all named to the All Star team. In the game Billy Hamilton went 1-5 with a run and 2 steals, Chad Rogers gave up an unearned run with a strikeout and Brian Pearl threw 0.2 innings with a strikeout.
July was a tough month for the Blaze who lost several players to promotion after wrapping up the first half division title to secure a spot in the playoffs. Going 11-17 on the month led to the first losing month on the year. The offense scored 135 runs while the pitching and defense gave up 158 runs.
With the calendar flipping to August things didn’t change much as the Blaze went 15-17 for August and September. The Blaze scored 174 runs in that time frame while the pitching and defense gave up 208 runs. With the first half division win Bakersfield was awarded a first round bye in the California League playoffs. The Blaze had to wait 4 days for their playoffs to begin. They started things out right as they won the first two games of the series at home in Bakersfield, but they lost three games in a row in Modesto to end their season.
Top Position Prospect
This was a rather easy choice as Billy Hamilton tore through the league and earned a promotion mid season. With the Blaze Hamilton hit .323/.413/.439 with 104 steals in 82 games. Whether Hamilton remains on the infield or ultimately moves to center won’t matter much. He has a very high upside if his bat can be even average at the MLB level due to his base stealing and potential defensive value with plus range.
Honorable Mention: Donald Lutz
Top Pitching Prospect
Another easy choice as Tony Cingrani was clearly the best pitching prospect on the team. He posted a 1.11 ERA in 56.2 innings with a 0.92 WHIP, 13 walks and 71 strikeouts. With an above-average fastball with above-average to plus command of the pitch he can dominate at times with the pitch. His secondary stuff needs work and he needs to show more confidence in it, but at worst he should be a viable reliever in the Major Leagues with the potential to be a good starter.
Honorable Mention: Chad Rogers