Prospect Watch: Nick Howard sets a career high in strikeouts Doug Gray August 28, 2014 4 Comments Tucker Barnhart continued his stretch of good hitting in a Louisville win last night as he went 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored. The catcher is now hitting .347 in the month of August and .314 going back to July 1st. The strong second half is a good turn around for Barnhart, who struggled in the first three months of the season, hitting .211 through June in Triple-A. Infielder Rey Navarro had a strong night for the Bats as well, going 3-5 with an RBI. It was his second straight three hit game and pushed his average with Louisville over the .300 mark. Since his promotion to Triple-A he’s hit .301/.353/.421 with 17 walks and 23 strikeouts in 61 games. Dayton remained on top of the wild card race despite a loss, but Nick Howard had his second straight start of 5.0 innings and just one run allowed. He set a new career high with five strikeouts in the game. On August 17th he allowed six earned runs over 5.0 innings, but has rebounded well with just two runs over the last 10.0 innings as he’s lowered his ERA to 4.08 on the year. Billings Mustangs starter Tyler Mahle had a second straight strong start as he tossed 6.2 shutout innings in a win. The 19-year-old right hander had six strikeouts without a walk as he pushed his season total up to 66 in 71.2 innings. Over his last six starts he’s posted a 2.38 ERA in 34.0 innings with just three walks and 31 strikeouts. Brennan Bernardino closed out the Mustangs win last night with a hitless inning, a walk and a strikeout as he continued one of the better debuts of a Reds draft pick in recent memory. The 26th rounder now has a 0.38 ERA on the season with seven saves, 23.2 innings pitched, just one earned run allowed, seven walks and 28 strikeouts. After an 0-10 start in his first five games, Miguel Mendez went 3-4 last night for the Arizona League Reds while scoring a run and driving in another. The infielder missed the first several months of the season, not making his 2014 debut until August 6th. With today being the last day of the season, it was good to see him get some hits on the board. From 2011-2013 he hit .327 between the Venezuelan and Dominican Summer Leagues. Arizona League Reds starter Mark Armstrong tossed 6.0 innings of one-run baseball in the win last night as he lowered his ERA to 4.23 on the season. It continued a good run over his last five starts where he’s posted an ERA of 2.77. In those 24.0 innings over that stretch he has walked just two batters and struck out 22. 4 Responses weigarp August 28, 2014 I enjoy following each year’s draft picks and how they start their minor league careers. Obviously, their performances vary significantly. How do you evaluate a young talent like catcher Mitch Trees (11th round high schooler) who has started out so poorly (2 for 32 with 12 passed balls)? Is this more a deer-in-the-headlights sort of thing or is he just that overmatched? MK August 28, 2014 When Devin Mesoraco was in Dayton there were times when his catchers mit more resembled a backboard than a utensil used for catching a ball. When you consider the amount of effort it takes to learn to catch pitchers with ungodly movement and calling the game at the pro level, the hitting will take a while as well. So basically probably too early to tell. Doug Gray August 28, 2014 I ask questions from those who have seen him in person. Having not watched him play, it’s tough to really know what it is that’s going on without asking someone who has watched him play. At this point in time, I haven’t talked with anyone who has watched him play yet. I will after all of the minor league seasons are over though. DaveCT August 29, 2014 Trees was considered to have very good defensive skills going into the draft but a bat that was not ready for professional ball.