Reds in All Star Games

This week marks the All Star Break not only for MLB but for the International and Southern Leagues. In addition to the three Reds participating in the big game in New York five Cincinnati prospects will represent their teams in minor league all-star games.

All the eyes of the baseball world will be on the All Star Game tonight which will feature Reds Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Aroldis Chapman. Votto and Phillips were elected and will be in the NL starting lineup while Giants manager Bruce Bochy opted to have Chapman's electric stuff available to him out of the bullpen. Votto is currently leading the league in on-base percentage and Phillips has benefitted from two teammates atop that list and is second in RBI. Meanwhile closer Chapman has struck out 40% of batters faced this season while chalking up 21 saves out of 24 opportunities (88.5%).

There were a few others that likely gained attention while the roster was finalized. Jay Bruce missed out on a third appearance while currently ranked fifth in the league in homers and Shin-soo Choo is right behind Votto in OB% and third in the NL in runs scored. On the mound Mike Leake has won eight games while keeping a sub-three ERA.

Louisville and Pensacola will also be taking breaks as the International and Southern Leagues enter their All-Star breaks. Billy Hamilton and Greg Reynolds will represent the Bats on the IL roster when they compete against the Pacific League. Tucker Barnhart and Tim Crabbe were chosen for the Southern League South Division team along with Chad Rogers who has since been promoted to Louisville and replaced by teammate Shaun Ellis.

Hamilton is one of the most recognized players in the minor leagues by virtue of his record-setting feats on the base paths. He's overcome a slow start after debuting in AAA at the beginning of the season and raised his average up to .243/.300 OB. Sustaining performance at the plate wasn't the only major concern with him coming into this season and defensively he's made nice progress using his speed to cover the range of his new position in center field.

The 27 year-old Reynolds is putting together the most impressive professional season of his career. Since the Rockies selected him with the second overall pick in 06 the big right-hander had struggled through some shoulder surgeries and was ineffective after they fast-tracked him to the MLB level. He came into the Cincinnati organization on a minor league free agent contract before his year and is now 10-2/2.54 ERA at Louisville.

Barnhart is the consensus top catching prospect in the Cincinnati system. He struggled offensively after a promotion to Pensacola in the second half of last season, but since returning this year the 22 year-old has once again regained his on-base skills, hitting .271/.344 OB. That performance at the plate is good for someone whose strength is behind it as he's once again throwing out one third of would-be base-stealers.

Crabbe is another one that is making the most of their second tour in AA. Southern League batters were started hitting him hard after midseason last year and he finished the campaign back at Bakersfield. Things have gone better for the 25 year-old this time around and he's sporting a mid-three ERA with a K/BB ratio close to three.

Prior to this season the only professional action for the 26 year-old Ellis had been seen was independent leagues since the Phillies drafted him with a late-round selection in 2006. He's been moved into the Blue Wahoo rotation and has kept a mid-three ernie over fifty innings pitched.

Rogers's promotion removed him from the festivities while he was putting together another solid season just like he's done every year since the Reds drafted him in with a late-round selection in 2010. He began his AAA career with a couple of quality starts before International League hitters roughed him up in his most recent outing. He'll continue his learning curve against the International League over the remainder of the season.

Last month nine other Cincinnati prospects participated in their respected all-star games. Carlos Contreras and El' Hajj Muhammad represented Bakersfield on the California League team. Dayton probably benefitted from being the host for the Midwest All-Star games and having some of their pitchers available for replacements. The end product was seven Dragons on the squad: Jesse Winker, Zach Vincej, Sal Romano, Ben Klimesh, Sean Lucas, Alejandro Chacin, and Robert Stephenson who was sidelined at the time with a hamstring ailment.

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Bakersfield rallied for four in the ninth, but it wasn't enough as they lost 7-5 at Rancho Cucamonga. Juan Duran had a couple of hits for the Blaze including a two-run homer. Shane Dyer labored through six-plus innings for the loss, allowing five runs on eleven hits.

Dayton did not cross the plate until the eighth inning, but rallied for five runs in that frame in their 5-1 win at Quad Cities. Seth Mejias-Brean had three hits including a triple and drove in a run. Jesse Winker reached safely a couple of times with a hit, walk, run scored, and RBI. Drew Cisco got no decision from a nice start, allowing only one run on four hits in six innings. Joel Bender entered in the seventh and finished without giving up a run for the win.

Billings overcame a five-run deficit in their 8-7 win at Orem. Gabriel Rosa gave the Mustangs a brief lead in the first when he led off the game with a home run. Nick Benedetto stroked three hits and drove in two. Jose Ortiz was also a frequent base-runner with two hits and a walk, raising his average up to .313. Daniel Paula and Ronald Bueno also contributed two hits to the attack. Starter Juan Guzman got knocked out in the second inning and allowed six runs on seven hits. Layne Somsen relieved him with two-plus scoreless innings for the win. Able De Los Santos struck out three without allowing a run in the final 1 2/3 innings for the save.

The AZL Reds took a one-run lead in the tenth inning, but lost 6-5 in eleven against the AZL Brewers. Aristides Aquino, Jose Fernandez, and Oviel Florentino each had two of the Reds eight hits. Juan Martinez got the start and was charged with three runs over two innings. Bernardo Moretta relieved him with three scoreless frames but eventually Jesus Parra entered in the final frame and allowed a run for the loss.

The DSL Reds cruised to a 10-1 win over the DSL Padres. Diohanky Mejia kept the path from home to first busy with a couple of hits and two walks. Jose Sin had a couple of hits and drove in two while Miguel Mendez also contributed a couple of hits. Junior Arias got the win from a nice start, allowing only one run in six innings.

The DSL Rojos fell behind by four after three innings en route to an 8-4 loss to the DSL Blue Jays. Luis Gonzalez, Olvis Jimenez, and Pabel Manzanero each had two of the nine Rojo hits. Starter Israel Cuevas allowed four runs in four innings for the loss.

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