Kivel Returning from ACL Surgery

Jeremy Kivel is another example of early-round talent the Reds acquired with a later selection when they drafted him in the tenth round last year. After missing most of his final high school season with a torn ACL he's finally begun his professional career this year in Arizona.

The AZL Reds were shut out in a 6-0 loss to the AZL Giants on Tuesday. The Reds failed to dent the plate despite two hits from four different players: Aristides Aquino, Corey Thompson, Shedric Long, and Yonotan Suero. Aquino has gone 21-52(.404) over his last twelve games to raise his season average to .282.

On the mound Jeremy Kivel got the start and allowed three runs on six hits and two walks in three-plus innings for the loss. Soid Marquez relieved him with four innings over which he allowed two runs. Jakub Izold and Jesus Parra finished the eighth and ninth innings without allowing an earned run.

It was one of the worst outings of the season for Kivel who has made seven starts since debuting in the Arizona League at the start of the short season. He entered the organization out of Spring (TX) High School from a tenth round selection in last year's draft. Naturally both Kivel and the Reds would like to see him put up an impressive stat line at whatever level he plays and thus far he's kept his ERA under four and not allowed over three earned runs in any outing while his innings have been limited. However, regardless of what numbers he finishes with this season, this young man is a candidate to hang around for a while because he has one of the higher upsides on potential of all the pitching prospects in the Cincinnati system.

The Reds were fortunate to find Kivel still waiting when they selected the right-hander with the 322nd overall pick. A torn ACL that robbed most of his senior season at Spring (TX) High School caused him to slip down from earlier rounds. The Reds were aware of his high upside and went way over the slot recommended $125,000 with a $500,000 signing bonus to persuade him to turn pro instead of pursuing and opportunity to pitch for the University of Houston.

Kivel turned a lot of heads at the WWBA competition when he closed games with a mid-90's fastball for the Banditos. He'd also already developed confidence in his curve and is working on a changeup as a teenager. He was attending a high school that boasts Josh Beckett among its alumni where he was expected to anchor their pitching staff before the injury ended his season.

He's now in the Arizona League which a common starting place for high school draft picks. Whether he was considered a starter or reliever, the Reds have started him in their rotation which they are not bashful to do with any prospect with a heater like his. It's standard protocol to be cautious initially and limit pitches and Kivel has tossed twenty-eight innings after seven games into his professional career. He's struck out over one batter per inning and walked fourteen. That walk rate is high, but nothing to worry about at this time. Improving command is nearly always a given for young pitchers and time he missed recovering from his knee injury certainly didn't help his situation.

Kivel stands 6'1"/200# and is still only nineteen years old. He's a good athlete, timed at 6.6" in the 60 yard dash, and an accomplished competitor in mixed martial arts. Yes, he can throw inside with no fear should the hitter charge the mound. He's a classic high-risk/high-reward prospect, or as his high school coach once said: "He's a diamond in the rough waiting to be polished". The Reds will be happy to polish away because the potential is there to have a top-rotation MLB pitcher as an end product. He's already made a few top Cincinnati prospect lists even before he threw his first pitch this season and it's likely that his name will appear on more of them in the near future.

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The Reds continued rolling at San Francisco with a 9-2 win in the first game of a doubleheader. They took a lead in the second inning on an RBI-hit from Todd Frazier and continued scoring on long-balls after that. Devin Mesoraco followed Frazier with a three-run home run. Joey Votto led off the next inning with a homer and Zach Cozart added another one in the fifth. Cozart finished the game 4-4 and Mesoraco added three hits while Frazier singled twice and drove in two. Tony Cingrani got the start and the win for tossing six-plus innings while allowing one run on five hits and driving in a run with a single offensively.

The parent team was unsuccessful in their attempt to sweep however and lost 5-3 in what was a home game on the opponent's field, played to make up a rain-out in Cincinnati earlier. Greg Reynolds made his debut in a Reds uniform and gave up three runs in the first inning. He finished with the loss for allowing five runs in five innings pitched. J.J. Hoover, Curtis Partch and Manny Parra combined for four scoreless innings of relief. The Reds came up short in their comeback attempt that included a two-run double by Corky Miller in the third inning and an RBI double by Frazier in the fifth.

Louisville rallied for four runs in the ninth inning, but it was not enough and they lost 6-5 at Syracuse. Billy Hamilton had two hits and three RBI for the Bats. Jason Donald added two hits and a walk to the attack while Felix Perez stroked a double and a single. Chad Reineke took the loss from a nice start, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk over six innings while recording five strikeouts.

Pensacola trailed by five runs after three innings and went on to lose 8-3 at Mississippi. Tucker Barnhart led the Wahoos with two hits and two RBI while Yorman Rodriguez added a couple of singles. Starter Shaun Ellis took the loss for getting roughed up for nine hits and six runs (four earned) in three innings pitched.

Bakersfield allowed three runs over the first two innings in their 5-1 loss at Modesto. Kyle Wadrop had two doubles and scored the only Blaze run while Juans Silva and Duran both reached with a single plus a walk apiece. James Allen allowed only one earned run over six inning pitched but he took the loss for giving up three runs total on three hits and three walks with five strikeouts.

Dayton rallied for four runs in their last at-bat to win 10-9 over Wisconsin at Fifth Third Field. They started pulling themselves out of a seven-run deficit with an RBI-double by Joe Hudson in the second inning. Beau Amaral doubled home two more in the fourth before Seth Mejias-Brean drew a bases-loaded walk. The game-winning rally consisted of a walk, single, error, hit batsman sac fly, and wild pitch. Amaral, Mejias-Brean, Jesse Winker, and Adam Matthews each had two hits for the Dragons. Sal Romano had another rough outing and was lifted in the second inning and charged with eight runs. Tony Amezcua relieved him with three scoreless frames. Joel Bender allowed a run over three innings pitched and took the win before Wandy Peralta tossed a scoreless ninth for the save.

Billings never caught up after allowing four runs in the third inning and lost 6-3 to visiting Orem. Taylor Terrasas had two hits and Phil Erving provided the Mustang runs with a three-run homer. Pedro Diaz took the loss for allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits in five innings pitched.

The DSL Reds scored two in the seventh in their 3-1 win over the DSL Padres. Yoel Noel and Miguel Menendez had two hits each for the Reds. Starter Jose Veras got no decision for four innings pitched allowing one run on five hits. John Zapata relieved him with two scoreless frames before David Jones shut the Padres over the next two for the win. Jose Munoz tossed a scoreless ninth for the save.

The DSL Rojos blew a four-run lead when they allowed five in the third en route to an 11-6 loss to the DSL Braves. Francis Azcona had two hits for the Reds to raise his average to .345. Warlin Pena allowed five runs (four earned) in two-plus innings but got no decision. Alfred Mateo allowed five runs in two-plus frames for the loss.

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