Reds Tag 2-Way Threat in 5th Round

Cincinnati went back into the high school pool in the fifth round in an attempt to put another shortstop in the pipeline with Cory Thompson. He's an intriguing prospect that was also a successful pitcher with the athleticism and arm for a good projection. Now the Reds must convince him to forego an opportunity at the University of South Carolina in favor of starting his professional career.

In the fifth round of this year's draft Cincinnati gave attention to their middle infield pipeline and went back to the high school ranks to select Cory Thompson with the 165th overall pick. It was a bit of a surprise to see the Mauldin (SC) High School still waiting because some analysts felt he might go around one round earlier.

The Reds drafted him as a shortstop, but like their competitive balance selection, Michael Lorenzen, he's also a pitcher throwing a low 90's fastball, curve, and developing a changeup. He played in a strong high school program, but it wasn't strong enough to prevent him from cracking the starting lineup as a freshman. This season the two-way threat hit .424 and kept a 1.20 ERA.

His 5'11"/180# physique is a bit undersized compared to what MLB teams like to see for right-handers they run out to the mound. He's good athlete with sufficient speed for the position and not surprisingly, plenty of arm. He's still young and could use some development with the leather, which may ultimately move him to another position. Should he sign with the Reds they will likely give him an extended look at shortstop before considering him anywhere else.

The first thing they must do is sign him and they will be competing with a scholarship from South Carolina where he has the option of continuing as a two-way player. Cincinnati can probably go after him with an aggressive bonus since three of their five earlier picks are college players and expected to be sign-able without hitting their bonus pool hard. They've already inked top pick Phillip Ervin to a deal with deal for his recommended slot value. The Reds have been successful at signing all of the picks in the first ten rounds since 2008.

Not long ago the shortstop food chain was very deep for the Reds. Since last season Zach Cozart has been promoted, Didi Gregorius traded, and Billy Hamilton converted to center field therefore necessitating a re-stocking at the position. They drafted Tanner Rahier as a shortstop in the second round last year but for now it appears they are content to let him continue playing third base at Dayton.

Thompson is an interesting prospect with all the tools needed to project him as a solid shortstop. Also there's possible Plan B of using him as a reliever if he does not pan out there. Given the Reds recent success at signing draftees there's good reason to expect that Thompson could debut professionally in the Arizona League this year.

Other Organizational News:

The Reds showed up at Wrigley ready to hit last night and pounded the Cubs in a 12-2 win. Four of their players homered to combine for nine runs: Todd Frazier, Joey Votto, Xavier Paul, and Zach Cozart. Frazier got the party started with a solo shot in the second and Jay Bruce also added a two-run double amid a six-run rally in the sixth that blew the game open. Bruce led his team with three hits while Cozart, Votto, Paul, and Tony Cingrani added two apiece. On the mound Cingrani got his first start since being recalled from Louisville and went seven strong innings for the win, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out five. He's now 3-0 with a 3.15 ERA in six appearances with the Reds. Manny Parra and Curtis Partch relieved him with one scoreless inning each.

Louisville climbed out of a four-run deficit with a six runs in the fourth en route to an 8-5 win over visiting Durham. The rally was started by an RBI walk to Kristopher Negron and highlighted by a Neftali Soto grand slam. Negron came back to hit a solo home run in the sixth before Billy Hamilton manufactured a run "Hamilton style": a single followed by two stolen bases and a sac fly. Mike Hessman was the only Bat with two hits while Negron walked twice in addition to his homer and Jason Donald reached safely twice from a hit and a walk. Chad Reineke allowed four runs in five-plus innings and the offense made sure that was good enough for the win. Jose Diaz tossed a couple of scoreless innings of relief to bring his ERA down to 2.52.

Pensacola combined for six runs over their last two at-bats to come back for a 7-3 win at Mississippi. The Wahoos took an early lead off an RBI-single by Tucker Barnhart in the first. They would not score again until a run-scoring double by Barnhart in the eighth. That was followed by RBI-singles by Ray Chang and Devin Lohman before Theo Bowe drew a walk while the bases were loaded. They added some insurance the next inning with another run-scoring single by Chang and an RBI-walk to Bryson Smith. Barnhart, Chang, and Travis Mattair had two hits each for the fish with Mattair and Barnhart also reached with a walk. Bryson Smith and Ryan LaMarre both reached three times via a hit and two walks. Luis Durango entered as a pinch hitter and walked during both is plate appearances. On the mound Josh Smith got no decision from a quality start, allowing three runs (two earned) off six hits over six innings. Brian Pearl tossed a scoreless seventh inning for the win and Trevor Bell shut out the M-Braves for two innings to get the save.

Bakersfield allowed four in the seventh to blow open their game against visiting Visalia and eventually lost 9-3. Juan Duran drove in a couple of runs with a sac fly and RBI single. Chris Berset had three hits in the game while Yorman Rodriguez and Juan Perez had two each. Steve Selsky had a hit and reached two other times when he was hit by pitches. Marquez Smith had a single and drew a walk. Carlos Contreros allowed two runs off four hits in four innings and took the loss.

A four-run rally gave Dayton a brief lead before visiting Bowling Green racked up ten runs over four innings in a 14-5 Dragon loss. Their early rally came from a Hot Rod error followed by consecutive run-scoring hits from Brandon Dailey, Beau Amaral, and Zach Vincej. Vincej and Joe Terry had two hits apiece while Jeff Gelalich reached safely three times with a hit and two walks. Ismael Guillon got the start and allowed two runs (one earned) in two innings before he was lifted after a rain delay. Wes Mugarian allowed seven runs in two innings for the loss.


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