Pensacola opened up a three run lead in the fifth inning and held on for a 4-2 win at Montgomery. Tim Crabbe got the win from a solid outing, allowing only one run on two hits and two walks in six innings while striking out seven. Loek Van Mil entered in the ninth and retired the side in order for the save.
The game was the AA debut for prospect Yorman Rodriguez and he celebrated with three hits, two of them for extra bases. He drove in the first run of the game in the third inning with a triple and scored on a groundout. In the other Wahoo rally he stroked a single that plated a run with the aid of a throwing error and scored the final run of the game on a double from his Bakersfield teammate Marquez Smith. Luis Durango also reached safely three times with two singles plus a walk and scored twice. Tucker Barnhart reached with a double and a walk.
Rodriguez has been a major project in the Cincinnati system since they signed him out of Venezuela with a $2.5 million bonus way back in 2009 when he was sixteen years old and even though he's in his fifth professional season he's still only twenty. He's now the youngest player on the Pensacola roster, a distinction that he had at Bakersfield before the promotion. Investing so much money on a raw-skilled player was gamble by the Reds now he's at their second highest development level at the same age as many American college players.
Also, the signs are there that the skills are now more polished. He still needs to improve his contact, but this season his walk frequency has increased to 8% of his plate appearances suggesting progress on his discipline in the box. He was in right field last night, but previously had been moved back to center before the promotion where his range was a little low for the middle position, but not by much.
Whatever player Rodriguez turns out to be it is evident that the Reds want to see him do so while he's still their employee. He's on the 40-man roster to protect against the Rule 5 draft and they've not been bashful at advancing him to higher level despite his age. He took his lumps after getting his first taste of competition in the lower levels and despite his impressive first game it's likely in the cards for him in the Southern League this year. He's also needed to undergo some emotional maturity that is typical of, well, most teenagers. Throughout the ups and downs Cincinnati has shown an unwavering belief in his skill set and that's going to continue.
A team should not invest $2.5 million on a teenager and without being prepared to be patient. The Reds believe the payoff that Rodriguez can provide some day is worth it. He's no stranger to top Reds prospects lists and has appeared all over them from top to bottom since coming into the organization. 2103 could be the year he makes the trip back upward as he cuts his teeth against AA pitching.
Other Organizational News:
The Reds needed thirteen innings to get a 2-1 win over the Pirates in the third game of their series at Great American Ball Park. They didn't cross the plate until a solo home run by Jay Bruce tied the contest in the ninth inning. The game-winner was plated by a walk-off single by Brandon Phillips. Shin-soo Choo, Todd Frazier, and Ryan Hanigan each had two of their team's ten hits while Derrick Robinson reached with a hit and two walks. Phillips and Joey Votto both reached twice with a hit and a walk. Bronson Arroyo got no decision from a strong start, yielding only one unearned run while scattering six hits and three walks over seven innings to lower his ERA to 3.04. Five Reds pitchers combined for six scoreless inning of relief with Manny Parra throwing the last one for the win.
Louisville came up short in their comeback attempt in a 3-2 loss at Durham. Kristopher Negron and Neftali Soto led off the eighth inning with a single and double and scored on an RBI-hit from Henry Rodriguez and a run-scoring groundout to provide the Louisville runs. Soto and Chris Heisey both had two of the eight Bat hits with the rehabbing Heisey also reaching via a walk. Denis Phipps reached twice with a hit and walk. Daniel Corcino took the loss while continuing to struggle with control issues. He allowed three runs on four hits and five walks in four-plus innings. Lee Hyde and Kevin Whelan combined for three-plus innings of scoreless relief.
Bakersfield will resume the second half of their season when they host High Desert on Thursday. Dayton will open up their second half against visiting Lake County.
Billings will open up their short season schedule Thursday in a home game against Great Falls. Amir Garrett is scheduled to take the start for the Mustangs.
The AZL Reds will open their season with a home game at the AZL Indians.
The DSL Reds allowed two runs in the ninth and lost 6-4 at home to the DSL Giants. The eight Reds hits were contributed by eight different hitters. Raynar Guerrero and Hector Vargas both reached safely twice via hit and a walk. Starter Jose Veras got no decision after allowing four runs in five innings and Adolfi Telleria tossed three scoreless frames before two unearned runs hung the loss on Luis Gonzalez who pitched the ninth.
Rodriguez Debuts at AA
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