Crabbe Bucking for Promotion

There has been some transition in the rotation atop the Reds development system. One AA pitcher has already been promoted to Louisville and Tim Crabbe's shutout performance Thursday made a strong statement that it's time for another one.

No one crossed the plate in regulation in Pensacola's 1-0 ten-inning loss at Mississippi on Thursday. Devin Lohman and Travis Mattair each had two of the seven Wahoo hits while Ray Chang reached safely from a hit and a walk. After a slow start to the season Mattair is now hitting .243 after going 20-45 (.444) over his last twelve games.

On the mound Tim Crabbe got no decision from a brilliant outing, allowing only five hits and a walk while tossing nine shutout innings. Jamie Walczak entered in the tenth and allowed the game's only run while recording only one out for the loss.

Nine innings is an extremely long outing for a minor league pitcher, but Crabbe took care of business, pitched to contact and finished regulation play throwing less than 100 pitches. 69 of his 98 total pitches went for strikes and he fanned three.

Crabbe lowered his ERA to 3.33 on the season and the 25 year-old might be moving onto the radar for a promotion to AAA. He's definitely made strides since one year ago when some rough outings prompted him to move from Pensacola back to high-A Bakersfield. Since then he finished strong in the California League and got a win in the Arizona Fall League championship game before starting this season.

The Reds have been high on the right-hander since selecting him the fourteenth round in 2009. The main reason is his polished slider that he uses to compliment a mid-90's fastball. Earlier in his career he had to work through some control issues, but it appears he's made the turn on that phase of his development. Even though his strikeout rate has decreased, he's kept his walks down to 2.1 per nine innings this year while maintaining a K/BB ratio over three. Perhaps that is a sign that he's maturing into a pitcher instead of a "thrower".

The next thing he needs is an opening in the Louisville rotation to follow recently-promoted teammate Chad Rogers. MLB veteran Armando Galarraga was traded soon after Rogers's promotion. Tony Cingrani is at Arizona in a move that utilized the extra doubleheader player allowance resulting in Greg Reynolds still on the active roster. Cingrani is expected to return in time for his next start on Sunday and Reynolds is out of options so he would have to clear waivers to return. He's been impressive in the International League and doesn't figure to crack the Reds rotation much in the future, especially after the return of Johnny Cueto from the DL, so his future in the Cincinnati organization now has some doubts. Yohan Pino had an impressive outing last night and has done a great job after starting off the season in the bullpen, but the 29 year-old journeyman's spot may be available if a younger prospect is ready.

Fourteenth rounder or not, Cincinnati has felt that Crabbe has MLB talent since he first entered the organization. His performance in the future will heavily influence his projections as mid-rotation or back-end. Both jobs normally take the ball every fifth turn and impact the overall team success about the same during the regular season. The Reds are blessed with good organizational rotation depth and it's no surprise that Crabbe is in a position to force his name into that mix in 2014.

Other Organizational News:

The Reds must feel good about they start they've had on their west coast trip after winning three of four in San Francisco and opening a series in Los Angeles last night by cooling the jets of the red-hot Dodgers with a 5-2 win. Mat Latos was solid on the mound, allowing only two runs (one earned) on eight hits over seven plus innings for the win. Aroldis Chapman allowed a couple of runners on base in the ninth, but none crossed the plate and he picked up the save. Offensively the Reds struck early with a solo home run by Xavier Paul in the first inning. They added on in the next frame when Todd Frazier doubled and scored on a Cesar Izturis single. Jay Bruce later pushed the lead up to three with a two-run homer in the sixth and Shin-soo Choo added more insurance with an RBI-single in the ninth. Choo, Frazier, and Joey Votto finished with two hits each while Paul reached with a walk in addition to his long-ball.

Louisville won 1-0 at Syracuse on a two-hit complete game shutout by Yohan Pino. The win lifted his record to 3-5 and lowered his ERA under three. Henry Rodriguez finished with two hits and drove in the only run of the game in the third inning. Emmanuel Burriss and Kristopher Negron also added two singles apiece to the Bats offensive effort.

Bakersfield overcame a two-run, first inning deficit to win 4-2 at Modesto. Steve Selsky got their scoring started by leading off the second inning with a double and scoring on a hit by Ryan Wright. The Blaze took the lead off a two-run single by Juan Perez in the fourth and added on another run in the eighth inning without a hit. Selsky had two hits and a walk for the winning team. Shane Dyer got the win for allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks in six-plus innings that included eight strikeouts. Kyle McMyne and Pat Doyle combined for two-plus scoreless innings with Doyle finishing for the save.

Dayton scored early and often as they cruised to an 8-0 win at Lansing. Nick Travieso was in control and got the win from allowing only three hits and a walk over six shutout innings with five strikeouts. Three Dragon relievers finished the game by throwing one scoreless inning apiece. Jesse Winker put his team in front with an RBI single in the first and Seth Mejias-Brean extended the lead with a two-run homer in the third. The Dragons blew the game open in the fourth from a run-scoring single by Beau Amaral and two-RBI sac fly off the bat of Sammy Diaz. They weren't finished then because Joe Hudson plated two with a double in the next frame. Amaral and Tanner Rahier both had two hits for Dayton.

Billings showed up ready to hit and outslugged host Helena in a 12-11 win. They jumped out to a five-run lead in the first which included a three-run homer by Gabriel Rosa. Phil Ervin had a banner day, going 4-4 with two homers, four runs scored, and three RBI. Ty Washington also had four hits which raised his average to .360. Jose Ortiz and Ronald Bueno both stroked a single and double apiece. Starter Austin Salter exited after three innings without a decision for allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits. Scott Brattvelt relieved him with three innings over which he allowed one run for the win. Joe Mantoni entered in the eighth, finished the game, and did not allow a run for the save.

The AZL Reds were idle and will resume their schedule against the ASL Indians Friday.

The DSL Reds were limited to only three hits in their 8-0 shutout loss to the DSL Orioles1. Junior Arias got the loss for allowing two runs on five hits in five innings pitched.

The DSL Rojos allowed runs in every inning save the unnecessary bottom of the ninth in their 15-9 loss to the DSL Yankees1. Olvis Jimenez went 3-3 for the Rojos with two doubles, two runs, and two walks. Luis Gonzalez, Daniel Jimenez, and Jose Monegro each contributed two hits to their team's losing effort. Jose Salas was roughed up for six runs (five earned) over the first three innings for the loss.

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