Rodriguez Settling in at Dayton

Outfielder Yorman Rodriguez has been a high profile prospect in the Cincinnati system since he was signed for $2.5 million as a sixteen year-old. A shoulder injury cut short his 2011 season and after a disappointing start he's now back at Dayton at age nineteen. Since his return he's starting to show skills the Reds had hoped to see when they signed him as a free agent out of Venezuela.

Dayton plated four in the first inning and held on for a 5-3 win over visiting Great Lakes Saturday. There was no shortage of fireworks in the first when Juan Perez led off the inning with a home run before Yorman Rodriguez and Ryan Wright added back-to-back shots. Rodriguez was 2-3 and reached on a catcher interference call. He had a home run, triple, and two RBI.

On the mound Jacob Johnson threw a quality start and got the win. He allowed three runs on six hits over six innings. El'Hajj Muhammad threw two shutout innings of relief before Ryan Kemp tossed a scoreless ninth for the save. Game two of the series is scheduled to be played at Fifth Third Field Sunday.

After struggling mightily at Bakersfield to start the season, Rodriguez's bat has been strong since his demotion to the Midwest League. After sixteen games with the Dragons he's batting .317 with three homers. He's also gone 16-38 (.421) over his last ten games. He's even improved defensively by making only one error in fourteen games thus far in the Dragon outfield.

At the time the Reds signed Rodriguez as a free agent it was a record bonus for a Venezuelan prospect. They have $2.5 million invested in him so he will be playing somewhere. It's also no shame returning for another tour with Dayton because at age 19 he's still one of the youngest players on the Dragon roster. He's certainly arriving under different circumstances this time around. His first trip was earned after torching Pioneer League pitchers for .339 average at Billings the previous season. This year he's back after hitting .156 at Bakersfield.

Rodriguez was the classic high risk/high reward prospect when he started playing in the Reds system at the age of sixteen. He's got tools that project him into a great all-around player and before last season was a consensus top-ten prospect in the Cincinnati organization. That status has since dropped, but he still has time to regain those lofty ratings.

One big question hanging over the youngster's head is his work ethic. That's a bad omen for someone needing so much development. Another question was his maturity at the plate and he did nothing to put that to rest at Bakersfield when he struck out in over one third of times he stepped into the box. Since his return to Dayton he's fanned a more respectable 14 times in 66 plate appearances (1K/4.71 PA).

Last year's Dayton experience was cut short when a shoulder injury ended his season in July. This year he'll be using his time from now on to salvage a disappointing season. It would be exciting indeed to see the demotion cause things to "click" for him. He's hit for average before and utilized his speed to swipe twenty bases in 79 games last year. He's even running down more than 2 PO/game in the corner outfield position. So far in fifteen games he's started to build a case that next year he'll be ready to resume his ascent up the ladder in the Reds organization.

Other News from the Farm:

Toledo shut out Louisville for the second game in a row in a 2-1 contest last night at Louisville Slugger Field. The Bats were limited to only three hits. Pedro Villarreal had a strong start but still took his sixth loss. He allowed only one run on four hits while striking out eight over six innings.

Pensacola scored three in the third and four in the sixth while cruising 8-2 over Mobile in the opener of a home series. Didi Gregorius and Beau Mills both had two hits for the Wahoos. Gregorius tripled and scored twice while Mills walked, homered, and drove in four. Tony Cingrani threw another gem for the win with six shutout innings allowing only two hits.

Bakersfield scored seven runs in the bottom of the ninth but still came up short in their comeback bid in a 9-8 loss to visiting Lake Elsinore. Theo Bowe replaced Billy Hamilton in the leadoff position and had three hits. Danny Vicioso added two hits and drove in two. He's now hitting .371 over 8 games with the Blaze. Starter Josh Smith allowed three runs in four innings and was charged with the loss.

Billy Hamilton Theft Watch:

Hamilton was not in the lineup last night and his next appearance will be in the Futures Game during the MLB All-Star festivities. He's expected to resume his season at Pensacola after that.

Billings allowed two in the bottom of the fourth to break a tie and that's the way the game ended in a 4-2 loss at Great Falls. The Mustangs offense had only three hits. Andrew Cisco go the start and was lifted in the third. While in the game he did most of his pitching from the stretch because he allowed six hits and two runs. Jose Amezcua allowed two runs in 4+ innings for the loss.

The AZL Reds were idle and they will host the AZL Dodgers on Sunday.

The DSL Reds were shut out at home in a 4-0 loss to the DSL Diamondbacks. All three of the runs allowed by starting pitcher Franderlin Romero were unearned and he was charged with the loss.

Cincy Hardball Top Stories