Gregorius Heats Up at Pensacola

Pensacola won 6-1 at Mobile last night giving starter J.C. Sulbaran his first victory of the season. The Blue Wahoo offense included three hits by shortstop Didi Gregorius. After a slow start to the season the Netherlands import has eight hits in his last ten at-bats to lift his average to .333.

The 22 year-old is coming off a spring where he hit .300 while playing error-free defense in Arizona and is a consensus top ten Reds prospect.

Mariekson Julius Gregorius entered the Reds organization in 2008 as an eighteen year-old. He started his ascent through the minors when he hit .314 for Billings and was named to the 2009 Pioneer All Star team. Most of his 2010 season was at Dayton where he batted .273. Last season began with a kidney infection. Once healthy he managed to hit .289 while splitting the year between high-A Bakersfield and AA Carolina.

At the plate he is a free-swinger, walking on average once every 17.5 plate appearances over his first four minor league seasons. Despite his aggressiveness he still made good contact with one strikeout every 8.3 PA. In the field he has shown the ability to be a slick-fielding shortstop, but committed 91 errors in 316 minor league games. Still, his arm strength makes the Reds want to keep him at the position. On the base paths he's stolen 37 while getting caught 25 times. Experts agree that his speed will increase that rate of success as he develops.

Gregorius's athleticism earned a spot on the Reds 40-man roster. Though he started out in AA, he's still on a fast track when considering his age. He's handled the challenge after each promotion and should wind up at Louisville by the end of this season. He's shown the ability to go deep in the hole and make a strong throw to first. Improved plate discipline, consistency with the glove, and success against southpaws are the final hurdles before he becomes a solid shortstop in the big leagues. The Reds have seen high turnover since the retirement of Hall-of-Famer Barry Larkin. Rookie Zach Cozart, Gregorius and top prospect Billy Hamilton give good reason to hope those days are coming to an end.

Other News from the Reds Farm Last Night:

After an impressive season debut Andrew Brackman failed to make it out of the first inning when Louisville lost to Columbus 6-4.

Billy Hamilton and David Vidal had three hits each as Bakersfield picked up a 6-4 home victory over San Jose. The Game featured Vidal's second HR of the season and Hamilton's seventh stolen base. Both are hitting over .300 for the Blaze.

Dayton got a third consecutive strong outing from its rotation as the Dragons shut out host South Bend 6-0. Right hander Stalin Gerson allowed two hits and two walks in six innings pitched.

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