Yesterday I wrote about how May has been going very well for Taylor Trammell, so if you missed that, check it out. This afternoon, though, I want to talk about some other players that are performing well of late.

Alfredo Rodriguez has been struggling so far this year. Through the first 30 games of the year for the Daytona Tortugas he was hitting just .214/.264/.239 with seven walks and 21 strikeouts. That came in 125 plate appearances. That’s a 16.8% strikeout rate and 5.6% walk rate. The strikeout rate is solid, but the walk rate was a little low. The complete lack of power isn’t surprising. He’s never hit for power in the past, and he’s now in the toughest league in minor league baseball to hit for power in.

Manager Eli Marrero decided to switch things up for Alfredo Rodriguez on May 9th and put him in the leadoff spot despite his struggles. It’s been going well. In the five games he’s going 9-20 (.450) with two walks and two strikeouts. He’s also stolen three bases in that span. The one thing to watch as the season moves forward, is the breakdown of his batted ball type. Right now, Rodriguez is hitting the ball on the ground 60% of the time, which is extremely high.

Another Tortuga having a strong run is right handed reliever Robert Stock. At 27-years-old and still in Advanced-A ball, you would generally write him off as a prospect. Stock, however, isn’t your typical player. He was drafted as a catcher out of USC and played as a position player for several years before making the transition to pitcher. The switch isn’t recent, and he’s gone through two organizations as a pitcher before signing with the Cincinnati Reds. Ht also spent a year pitching in the Canadian-American Association.

Stock has historically struggled with his walk rate. He’s walked 147 batters with 181 strikeouts in 209.0 minor league innings. This season the walks are way down from his career rate. In 20.0 innings out of the Tortugas bullpen he’s walked just eight batters and one of those was intentional. He’s also struck out 20 of the 77 hitters he has faced to go along with a 2.25 ERA. The right hander throws hard, sitting in the mid-90’s and touching the upper 90’s with his fastball. Another bright spot of his season is that he’s been a huge ground ball pitcher, getting grounders at a 61% clip this year. The Reds have had some success taking chances on big arms in the minor leagues with histories of struggles throwing strikes and getting something in return. Perhaps this is the start of another turn around.

In Pensacola starting pitcher Austin Ross took the mound on Sunday afternoon for the seventh time to start the year. Things went much like they have in the previous six – he pitched extremely well. The right hander threw 6.2 innings with just two earned runs, a walk and five strikeouts. That outing bumped his ERA up to 1.13 on the season. He’s pitched at least 6.0 innings in all seven of his outings, totaling 48.0 innings on the year. Ross has walked 16 batters (two intentional) and he’s struck out 36 batters. He’s been a big time ground ball pitcher this year, generating grounders at a rate of 58%.

7 Responses

  1. The Duke

    When the Reds think Vlad Gutierrez is ready for AA, I could see Ross moved up to AAA to help stabilize that rotation if the Reds didn’t want to move up Mahle or Castillo yet. I could also see a mass of promotions after the all star break where Pensacola is reinforced with Senzel, Long, Gutierrez, Lavalley, Rainey and they make a push to win in the AA playoffs. What difference is a handful of at bats whether they be in AA or AAA towards the end of the season vs letting them compete for a championship in a competitive environment? Outside of maybe some of the relievers, few of any of them are likely to start 2018 in Cincinnati. They still get the experience, and they still get to open 2018 in AAA getting reps against minor league veterans before they get the call up.

  2. Cguy

    Doug, I’m optimistic about Reds waiver wire & Rule 5 pickups since last year. In particular Wahoos regulars Tyler Goeddel, Josh Van Meter, & Gabby Guererro. Any chance any of these 3 players make your top 25 prospects list this midseason?

    • Doug Gray

      It’s possible if one of them really starts to go off, but as things stand right now, I don’t think I’d include any of the three.

  3. James K

    Speaking of top-25 prospects list, isn’t Robert Stephenson about to graduate off the prospects list? I believe he has logged close to 45 days in the majors, right?

    • The Duke

      He’s off, he as 50 IP in the bigs. Doug just doesn’t remove them until he does an update I believe. MLB Pipeline is the only one I’m aware of who does graduation updates for team and top 100.

      • Doug Gray

        Correct. And even when MLB “updates” their list, they aren’t actually updating it. They simply remove one guy and move everyone else up a spot. They aren’t redoing the entire list like a normal update. For me, that just seems useless. If I’m adding someone to the list, they need to go where they actually belong on the list when they were added. That would require re-ranking everyone.

  4. Steve

    Nice write up on some of the newer faces to the organization. Would’ve liked to have seen Asher Wojciechowski also get some press for what he’s done so far this season. Doug, do you plan to do a prospect update soon? Do you feel that suspended and long term DL players should maintain their positions in the rankings even though they haven’t played a game yet this season?