Projecting the Pensacola Blue Wahoos roster Doug Gray March 13, 2013 20 Comments Infield Catcher – Tucker Barnhart Barnhart will likely return to Pensacola for a second go of things after struggling in his initial time with the Blue Wahoos. The 22-year-old hit just .200/.262/.292 in 41 games last year at the Double-A level. He really struggled offensively, but he was very strong on the defensive side of things where he is among the best in all of the minors. First Base – Travis Mattair Mattair is a third baseman normally, and he will likely see some time at the position throughout the season, but could man first base to get both he and David Vidal into the lineup on a daily basis. “Moose” as he is often called hit .274/.344/.465 in Bakersfield last year with 53 extra-base hits in 126 games and after a slow start in April really hit well (.296/.363/.492 from May through the end of the season). Second Base – Brodie Greene Brodie Greene will likely return as the starting second baseman after hitting .244/.319/.329 with the Blue Wahoos in 2012. His power really fell off from 2011, so he will look to rebound in that department, which is what held him back with just 3 home runs despite the home park being very home run friendly. Third Base – David Vidal Vidal spent most of his 2012 with Pensacola and is slated to return after hitting .230/.294/.397 in 97 games there. He picked things up towards the end of the season and hopes to build upon that in his return. A flashy defender at third, he will likely see time at DH to give Travis Mattair some time at third as well. Shortstop – Devin Lohman Lohman split time at shortstop and second base last year in Bakersfield, but with Billy Hamilton no longer in the way, he will see most of his time at short for the Blue Wahoos. In 2011 he hit .257/.353/.401 showing good plate discipline and solid power. Outfield Left Field – Donald Lutz The big outfielder will return to Pensacola in the hopes of improving on his .242/.315/.389 line he posted in 165 plate appearances there in 2012. Reports from spring have him slimmed down some, which could help his defense and speed, though he was an average runner before. If he can get into a groove his power could do some real damage with how well the ball flies in that stadium. Center Field – Bryson Smith Smith hit .307/.333/.425 for Pensacola over 50 games to end the 2012 season and should return to the outfield in 2013. While he didn’t see much time in center last season, Ryan LaMarre is no longer standing in his way and Smith could be the main guy in center for the Blue Wahoos. Right Field – Steve Selsky The Reds organizational hitter of the year in 2012 after hitting a combined .317/.377/.515 with 56 extra-base hits. His plate discipline was much better in Bakersfield than in Dayton, but is still something he will likely want to improve upon moving forward. Starting Pitchers Josh Smith – After a slow start in April Smith was able to really get into a groove and wound up posting a 3.80 ERA in 147 innings with 140 strikeouts and 46 walks for Bakersfield in 27 starts. While the Reds pitching depth may eventually push him to the bullpen, he has what it takes to remain a starting pitcher in the minor leagues. Chad Rogers – Rogers was one of the best starters in the California League before getting an August promotion to Pensacola where he posted a 1.99 ERA in 6 starts with 23 strikeouts and just 6 walks. His career ERA in 2.92 and the groundball pitcher could be the anchor for the Blue Wahoos rotation. Tim Crabbe – Crabbe split his time between Bakersfield and Pensacola in 2012. He showed a lot more success in Bakersfield than Pensacola and will return in the hopes of improving on his 4.90 ERA in 86.1 innings where he had 66 walks and 93 strikeouts. His control was much stronger in Bakersfield with just 15 walks in 57.2 innings, so hopefully he can build upon that. Mark Serrano – The Reds have used Serrano in both a starter and reliever role in his career, mostly as a reliever in 2012, but there may be a need to have him start in 2013 to fill out the rotation. He made 9 starts that covered 45.1 innings with 9 walks and 44 strikeouts to go with a 2.58 ERA in 2012 for the Blue Wahoos. Fifth Starter – The final starter will likely be a free agent. Relievers – They are just too difficult to project. Guys can jump over levels with ease at times, so I am going to just skip over them. 20 Responses Sandheel March 13, 2013 Doug, can you explain the reason for assigning players to “Minor League Camp” rather than to a specific farm team? I used to think it was because the specific team was not yet decided. But Kris Negron, a veteran of AAA, is not going to be assigned lower than Louisville, so why “Minor League Camp”? The Duke March 13, 2013 Only players on the 40 man roster get assigned to a specific place in spring training. If you aren’t on the 40 man, you go to “minor league camp”. Doug Gray March 13, 2013 Basically what Duke said. It is just how the rules are written for the 40-man roster, so when those guys are sent down, they must be assigned to a team (even though at this point they may not actually begin the season with that team – it isn’t a rule that if they are “assigned to Louisville” that they must begin the year with Louisville, which is weird, but has happened). As The Duke pointed out, non 40-man roster guys don’t have rules written about their “being sent down”, so they just get the generic minor league camp move that is probably easier on the paperwork. Alan Horn March 13, 2013 It’s only spring training, but has anyone else noticed that Mesoraco has really been hitting well thus far? Kind of like Frazier made a statement last spring. The Duke March 13, 2013 He has clearly outplayed Olivo, but if Dusty is only going to play him 2-3 of every 10 games, then he should probably go to AAA. He needs MLB at bats, but regular AAA at bats will be better than how he was used last year. Alan Horn March 13, 2013 Thus far, he has clearly out hit Hannigan also(Although Hannigan isn’t doing bad. He is hitting .333 versus Mesoraco’s .471) Doug Gray March 13, 2013 I am loving it, but it is going to be a shame that he is still only going to be playing 2-3 days a week if his bat truly is ready to make an impact. Alan Horn March 13, 2013 I agree. If he hits, he plays as long as his defense is acceptable. At some point the pitchers have to get comfortable throwing to him. The Duke March 13, 2013 Do you think Renken or French make find themselves in about starters role? I think Ryan Wright could maybe get bumped up to AA if he impresses over the next couple of weeks. Doug Gray March 13, 2013 I could see Renken finding himself in the Pensacola rotation, though I believe he needs more time in Bakersfield because he wasn’t successful there last year. Not sure that Wright gets the bump…. he showed power in Bakersfield, but his plate discipline fell apart in that last month. MK March 13, 2013 It seems Donald Lutz has opened some eyes this spring. I have heard Dusty talk about him in a few interviews. I was kind of surprised he didn’t go with the first cuts. I wonder if they might not push him to Louisville. From the game last night it seems Henry-Rod has really digressed defensively. In addition to leading the team in errors he didn’t cover first on a bunt. He never was going to be a gold glover but I thought he would be adequate. I was also surprised to hear on the broadcast last night that if a 40-man roster player is not optioned by March 15 and then becomes injured he has to remain on the Major League DL until able to play. This means big league pay and per diem rather than minor league pay and per diem. So there should be more cuts by Friday. The Duke March 13, 2013 HRod is showing more and more his ceiling might be as a utility player with some hitting ability and limited power. MK March 13, 2013 I think he his major problems have been at second base. Maybe he is just a third baseman. Doug Gray March 13, 2013 The Reds have openly talked about Lutz being in AA and he absolutely should be despite impressing anyone in Spring Training. He was poor in extended time in AA last year. Didn’t know that 40-man roster/DL spring training rule. That is interesting if true. Alan Horn March 13, 2013 I’m kind of surprised most folks don’t have him in their top 10 Reds prospects. He seems like a candidate for LF in a year or so. The Duke March 13, 2013 Lutz didn’t exactly year up AA last year, and he was playing 15 pounds heavier, and he is 250 now. He has some serious power in that swing though, it reminds me of Gary Sheffield. Has a lot of trouble hitting lefties too iirc. sultan of swaff March 13, 2013 Pensacola will have a lot of intriguing players who could really play their way into serious prospect status with a good season. Selsky, Lohman, Serrano, and Lutz top that list. Doug, what are the reports on Lohman’s range at SS? Doug Gray March 13, 2013 Lohman can play short, but won’t wow anyone with his range. DaveCT March 13, 2013 Who is your candidate to be the first Hi-A call-up? Wright? Moscot/Landfield? Bowe? Doug Gray March 13, 2013 It honestly probably depends on injuries or performance from someone ahead of those guys.