Projecting the Louisville Bats roster Doug Gray March 21, 2013 15 Comments Infield Catcher – Corky Miller & Miguel Olivo Corky Miller will return to Louisville for what seems like his 20th year, though it will only be his 10th. He will split time with Miguel Olivo who was hoping to catch on with the big league squad, but has struggled to hit this spring. Olivo hit .222/.239/.381 with the Seattle Mariners in 2012. First Base - Neftali Soto While the Reds have tossed out the idea that Soto could see some time at third base this year in an attempt to find a place for his bat at the MLB level, he should see a majority of his time at first for the second straight year. He will look to improve upon his 2012 with the Bats where he hit just .245/.313/.400. He improved his plate discipline last year, but nagging injuries held back the rest of his offensive game. Second Base – Emmanuel Burris Burris split his 2012 between AAA and the Majors with the Giants. In the Majors he posted a .213/.270/.221 line, but was solid in AAA with a .274/.342/.377 line. He was competing for a spot on the Reds bench as a backup infielder but has fallen behind the other players and isn’t on the 40-man roster, likely leaving him a spot in Louisville. Third Base – Henry Rodriguez Rodriguez saw his first struggles at the plate since arriving in the US last year in Louisville as he also tried coming back from a broken hand. He has had a good spring with the Reds, hitting .379/.400/.517 thus far, but he has been shaky on defense and wasn’t likely fighting for the backup infield spot. While he has played around the infield in the past, and may find himself moving around from time to time in 2013 to get Neftali Soto some game time at third base, expect Rodriguez to spent a majority of his time at third. Shortstop – Cesar Izturis Izturis is battling Jason Donald for the final roster spot and is having a solid spring with a .293/.341/.415 line so far, but his not being on the 40-man roster will likely push him to Louisville as Donald is having a good spring and is on the 40-man roster already. Izturis hit .241/.254/.343 in the Majors in 2012. Outfield Left Field - Felix Perez Felix Perez will return to Louisville after hitting .301/.348/.401 in 2012 with the Bats and playing all around the outfield. A good defender in his own right, Perez will likely be the weakest defender in the Bats regular outfield rotation. He will likely spend time in both left and right field. Center Field - Billy Hamilton The top prospect in the system and the most exciting player to come through the system in a long time, Hamilton will work on honing in his defensive skills at his new position in Louisville after beating up the competition between Bakersfield and Pensacola in 2012. I would expect him to still steal a bunch of bases, but far less than the 155 he stole last year as he will focus on other parts of his game as he prepares to take over for Cincinnati in 2014. Right Field - Ryan LaMarre LaMarre played the 2012 season with plantar fasciitis. After having surgery in the offseason he looks to rebound some on his .263/.356/.353 and has taken the offseason to work on his swing as well. A natural center fielder, with Billy Hamilton on the cusp, he will move over and split time in both corners where he should be a plus defender. With full health and a new swing, it will be interesting to see how he responds. Starting Pitchers Tony Cingrani will help lead the Bats rotation in 2013. Tony Cingrani - Tony Cingrani is one of the two premiere pitching prospects who will be in the rotation for the Bats to begin the year. After leading the minor leagues with a 1.73 ERA last season with 172 strikeouts in 146 innings the left hander will take the next step in his progression. He struggled in Double-A with his walk rate, but still was able to dominate on most nights. Control will be something to watch for with Cingrani along with the development of his slider for the Bats. Daniel Corcino - Joining Cingrani is another of the Reds top pitching prospects as the two should be able to provide plenty of help for the Bats rotation. Corcino skipped over Advanced-A last season and struggled, like Cingrani, to keep the walk rate under control at times in Pensacola. He finished 2nd in the league in ERA among qualified pitchers, but his strikeout rate was lower than it had been int he past as well. Like Cingrani, watching his control will be a key development point for Corcino in Louisville. Armando Galarraga - Best known for throwing a perfect game that was erroneously taken away from him on out 27 by a blown call at first base, Galarraga has started just 13 games in the Majors over the last two years. Last season he posted a 4.13 ERA in AAA for Houston over 9 starts. He hasn’t been the same since having surgery to remove bone chips in his throwing elbow with his control being iffy since. Being further from the surgery, he hopes he can control the strikezone better and help round out the Bats rotation. Chad Reineke – It seems that like battery mate Corky Miller, that Reineke has been in Louisville forever. It will only be the 4th season for the Ohio native that shares a birthday with myself (though he is a few years older). The right hander made 26 starts for the Bats last season spread out over 151.2 innings with a 4.57 ERA. Fifth Starter - The Reds signed several minor league veterans with varying degrees of success over the years who are likely battling it out in the spring for the final rotation spot. Former #2 overall pick Greg Reynolds made 27 starts for the Rangers organization in Triple-A last year, though he struggled as he posted a 5.30 ERA (to be fair, the PCL is very hitter friendly). Jeff Marquez really struggled in 2012 at the Triple-A level, but has had success in the past as a minor leaguer. Yohan Pino had a good season in 2012 at the Double-A level and has had success in the past at the Triple-A level along with some struggles at other times. 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. 15 Responses DaveCT March 21, 2013 I am looking at the AAA Pawtucket RI schedule already. Julio March 21, 2013 Doug hi great site and I mean just fantastic Please project the relief guys at AAA I think its important The Duke March 21, 2013 Drew Hayes Mark Pyror Chris Manno JJ Hoover (should be in Cincy, but has options and most other guys don’t ) Nick Christiani Wilkin De La Rosa Josh Ravin MK March 21, 2013 Justin Freeman Nick Christiani Wilkin De La Rosa JJ Hoover Manny Parra Chris Manno Mark Prior Julio March 21, 2013 may I try after you Sandheel March 21, 2013 Jeff, I’m surprised Villarreal is not listed as a Louisville starter MK March 21, 2013 Yeah I think Pedro will be a starter. sultan of swaff March 21, 2013 Really hoping LaMarre puts together a big season so he can make Heisey expendable. LaMarre could be a more versatile 4th OF, especially late inning pinch running/defensive substitutions. I think it’s important to keep playing HRod at 2B to find out what his ceiling truly is. I suspect he’s probably a Skip Schumaker type–good stick, poor glove. That would be enough to make him an attractive trade candidate at least. Rooting really hard for Cingrani to stick as a starter. I love the chip on his shoulder he’s developed from people doubting his ability to stick. Seems like a bulldog. Stock March 21, 2013 Big News: Chapaman will be the Reds Closer and not the 5th SP. Beard March 21, 2013 Assuming this is true (and I saw Paul Doc is saying so), what does this do to the numbers crunch in the bullpen? Does this mean Hoover will be sent to AAA for sure? I would be interested to see everyones bullpen projections now. Doug Gray March 21, 2013 I am praying this is just step 1 of “The Kris Medlen plan” that Walt talked about all winter. Julio March 21, 2013 remember lefty righty issue is in play I think they will separate De La Rosa and Manno. But then again we had 3 lefties in the pen last year in AA. Hoover(should be in MLB) will be AAA along with Christiani Freemen Partch Maybe Serrano. but I think Manno or De la Rosa will not play together. Parra we paid $1,000,0000 dont think he is pitching in AAA . Julio March 21, 2013 Also remember Lotzkar will be in the pen , I think AA with Ravin and Pearl and lets not forget Hayes . Doug is correct this is difficult but good fun projecting Drew March 21, 2013 I’m praying Olivo makes it to AAA,i keep having this nighmare where Baker sends Mesoraco to AAA so he can play everyday. That’s bs he has nothing else to prove in the minors. I’m exicted to see LaMarre play 100% healthy this yr. Also want to see Cingrani and Corcino in person. If they don’t try Chapman as a starter at some point this yr i’m realy going to lose faith in this organization. It is a easy decision really,at least try it. Josh March 21, 2013 Rotation: Cingrani Corcino Villarreal Galarraga Reineke G Reynolds Bullpen: K Whelan Christiani W De La Rosa Prior Hensley R Dennick J Judy Partch K Texeria All are in the mix, not including guys like Hoover and Ondrusek. Hayes, Manno, Freeman, Lotzkar and Ravin prob will start in AA, due to the numbers game. D Robinson, Negron, Puckett, Phipps and Corky will be on the bench. LaMarre, Gilmartin and Chang are also in play for a roster spot.