Bowe Stays Hot for Blaze

Theo Bowe was an oscure name among Reds outfield prospects before the start of this season. Since being promoted from Dayton the 21 year-old has taken advantage of slow starts by other outfielders and has earned regular action by hitting .409 with the Blaze. The speedster had three hits last night and tied the game by stealing home on a pick-off attempt to first.

Bakersfield scored three in the fifth to take a one run lead en route to a 10-4 win and a sweep at San Jose. It was the fifth victory in a row for the Blaze and pulled them to within a half game of the lead behind the Giants in the California League North Division. They will return home for their next six games starting Saturday.

The Blaze has used speed on the base paths all season long. Last night they scored the tying run on a double steal with Theo Bowe coming home on a pickoff throw before Billy Hamilton swiped second. Hamilton then stole third and scored the go-ahead run on a single by Bryson Smith. They took advantage of six walks in the last two innings and added five more runs to provide the final margin of victory. The bottom of the lineup provided much of their offense with 8/9 hitters James Ewing and Bowe both going 3-5 while Ewing drove in five. Leadoff hitter Hamilton went 2-3 with three walks. The Blaze lineup totaled nine walks for the game.

On the mound Chad Rogers turned in a quality start by allowing three earned runs (four total) over six innings and got his third win. He did not return the generosity received from Giants pitchers as he struck out eight without walking anyone. Michael Griffin and Brian Pearl combined for three innings of scoreless relief.

On May 11 Bowe was at Dayton while Kurtis Muller was seeing limited action as a backup at Bakersfield. Both were hitting below .200 when Bowe was promoted the next day and Muller was sent to the Dragons about one week later. It turned out to be a good move all around as both have hit over .400 for their new teams. Since arriving at Bakersfield Bowe has hit .409 with a .500 OB% and slugged .561 over 19 games.

Bowe came into the Cincinnati organization from a 21st round selection in the 2008 draft out of Milford(DE) high school. He saw his first action as a seventeen year-old in the Gulf Coast Rookie League. In 2009 he hit .287 with a .375 OB%. The next year he hit .300/.384 at Billings. That batting average dropped last year at Dayton, but now he's earned regular playing time in the Blaze outfield as a 21 year-old.

Bowe is listed at 5'9"/160# and bats left-handed. When analyzing his game the first thing that comes to attention is speed. It's difficult for any teammate of Billy Hamilton to get much attention as a bases-stealer, but thus far in 2012 he's successfully swiped 24 out of 32 attempts in 43 games between two teams. Or course speed is compromised when a hitter is unable to get on base, but thus far Bowe has managed a .350 career OB% in 877 plate appearances and that is expected to go higher since he's improving with experience. Thus far this season he's walking more frequently, getting a free pass once every 8.2 PA compared with 1/9.4 previously. Lifetime his OB% is almost 100' higher than his average.

Bowe began the season facing long odds for getting much attention as a Reds outfield prospect. It didn't start out well when he suffered a black eye when a pitch hit him in a spring training game. That injury did not turn out to be serious and now he's taken advantage of slow starts by Yorman Rodriguez and Juan Duran to become a key contributor in the Blaze outfield. As is the case with any late round selection, the only way to gain attention for an organization's future plans is to perform on the field. Bowe is one of the youngest players on the Blaze roster and if he continues to get on base that attention will eventually come.

In other Bakersfield news right-hander Andrew Brackman was assigned to the Blaze yesterday. The 6'10 Cincinnati native was a former first round selection of the Yankees. He started the season at Louisville before going on the DL with an ankle sprain on May 3. Also, cleanup hitter Donald Lutz has been out since taking a foul ball off his foot. He was placed on the seven day DL on May 26.

Other News from the Farm:

Louisville has now dropped eight of their last ten games with 3-1 defeat to visiting Durham. The Bats offense was held to six hits. Pedro Villarreal was charged with all three runs and took his second loss as a Bat. Their bullpen combined for 3+ scoreless innings.

Pensacola made up for their rain-out Thursday and was swept in a doubleheader at Jackson. The Generals four-hit them while winning 6-1 in the opener. Joel Guzman went 2-2 with a walk and scored the Wahoo's only run. Daniel Corcino was victimized by three unearned runs in the first and took the loss when he allowed six in three innings. Chris Manno and Wilkin De La Rosa combined for three innings of scoreless relief. De La Rosa now has an overall ERA of 1.16 in 22 games split between Bakersfield and Pensacola.

Minor league double header games are scheduled to go only seven innings, but Jackson came back to score both of their runs in the bottom of the tenth to win 2-1. The Wahoos only managed three hits with two them by Stephen Hunt. Mark Serrano started the game and threw five scoreless innings while allowing only three hits and striking out five. The Wahoo pen combined for four scoreless before Justin Freeman blew his third save and took the loss.

Billy Hamilton Theft Watch:

Hamilton added three more to his total last night. He led off the game with a single and swiped second before advancing to third on a wild pitch and scoring the game's first run. He led off the third with a walk and was caught stealing when he was picked off first. He got two in the fifth as noted above. He walked in the seventh and arrived at second on an error in a force attempt before the inning was ended with a double play. He now has 60 steals out of 73 attempts in 51 games.

Dayton fell behind 3-0 in the first and South Bend added on later to win 11-6 and avoid a sweep at Fifth Third Field. Yovan Gonzalez went 3-4 with two runs. The Dragon scoring was started by a solo homer by Junior Arias in the third. Stalin Gerson allowed two unearned runs in the first and four total before leaving after five innings in his fourth loss.

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