Perez Leads Wahoos Over Suns

Donnie Joseph shot up the Reds ladder after he was drafted out of the University of Houston. He reached AA by the end of his second season and was named Cincinnati's minor league pitcher of the year. Last year he struggled pitching the entire season against more advanced hitters. This season he's found a solution for Southern League batters while emerging as a dominant AA closer.

Yordanys Perez had a three run homer in the eighth inning to build a 4-0 lead before Penascola won 4-1 at Jacksonville last night. Perez was the offensive leader for the Blue Wahoos going 3-4 with three RBI to raise his average to .232. He's now 6-8 over his last three games. Shortstop Didi Gregorius drove in the game's first run in the sixth.

On the mound Tim Crabbe threw two-hit ball for six innings and put up his second consecutive shutout start while striking out six and walking two. The 6'4" right-hander brought his ERA down to 3.69 and he's been at 0.50 over 18 innings in his three starts since getting roughed up against Jackson on May 4. Donnie Joseph threw a scoreless ninth to record his 10th save.

Much attention has rightfully been given to the effectiveness of the Reds bullpen this season. At the AA level Joseph has also been lights-out coming out of the Pensacola pen. Last night he lowered his ERA to 0.39 with 0.600 WHIP over 23+ innings pitched. His K/BB ratio is 34/5 and opponents are hitting .117 against him. So far this season he's allowed only one run in 20 appearances.

Joseph came into the Cincinnati organization out of the University of Houston from a third round selection in the 2009 draft. After starting his professional career he shot up through the system and made it all the way to AA by the end of his second season when he was named Cincinnati's minor league pitcher of the year. He hit a wall at Carolina last year when he struggled with control against more disciplined hitters. His K/BB ratio was almost cut in half last compared to 2010 while his BB/9 inn was reduced by almost one third. Thus far in 2012 the above numbers indicate that he's solved that problem and struggles against Southern League hitting are now a thing of the past.

Joseph's draft position was earlier than normal for a relief pitcher. Now that he is back on track it is oce again looking like a good investment. He goes to work with a low-90's fastball with good movement and mixes it with a sharp slider that is his "out pitch". Throwing those two pitches from a left hand will be enough to nail down a spot in a major league bullpen. Injuries in the Reds pen have revealed good depth thus far in the 2012 season. Still, room can always be made for a southpaw who can miss bats. Joseph is on a schedule to force such a decision in the not-so-distant future. It will be interesting to see how fast the 24 year-old is advances. If he gets significant AAA action he could have a chance to make a case for a roster expansion call-up as early as this season.

Other News from the Farm:
,br> Louisville scored five runs in the fifth to tie the score before losing at Lehigh Valley 7-6 in thirteen innings. Kristopher Negron, Bill Rhinehart, Neftali Soto, Chris Valaika, and Dioner Navarro all had multi-hit games while Negron and Daniel Dorn homered. Chad Reineke was lifted after allowing six runs in four innings. Travis Webb entered in the final inning and took the loss. Kanekoa Texeira pitched two scoreless innings and now has a 0.87 ERA in 20 2/3 innings pitched.

Bakersfield blew a 4-0 lead in the eighth and came back to put up two in the ninth to win at Visalia 6-4. Donald Lutz and Travis Mattair both had three hits and homered for the Blaze. Billy Hamilton, Juan Duran, Jaren Matthews, and Tucker Barnhart added two hits each. Chad Rogers tossed another shut-out start and limited the Rawhide to four hits over seven innings to bring his ERA down to 1.69. He's allowed three earned runs or less in all nine of his starts this season. Daniel Wolford coughed up the lead and hung around to pick up the win. Brian Pearl threw a scoreless ninth for his seventh save. He now has a 1.61 ERA in 22+ IP.

Billy Hamilton Theft Watch:

Hamilton reached base twice last night. He led the game off with a double and scored two batters later on a double by Lutz. He reached on an infield single in the second with two out before the inning was ended by the next batter. He now has 40 SB in 41 games.

Dayton scored three in the first and held on to win 7-6 over visiting Great Lakes. Kurtis Muller went 3-4 in his first game since coming over from Bakersfield. He scored the first run of the game on a solo home run. Ryan Wright, Kyle Waldrop, and Sean Buckley added two hits each. Wright raised his average over .300. Stalin Gerson picked up the win with a quality start. He allowed three runs on six hits over six innings while striking out five.

Cincy Hardball Top Stories