Matthews on a Tear

Jon Matthews is in his third professional season and did not enter it on anyone's radar after results in his first two left him remaining in the rookie leagues. His bat has come alive recently and he's starting to make a case for a promotion to single A.

Billings jumped out to a four run lead in the first inning and cruised to a 7-4 home win over Great Falls. Jon Matthews once again did the job leading off with three hits including a single to lead off the game and he later scored the first run in an inning that included a couple of errors and a two-run single by Avain Rachal. The Mustangs added on in the sixth when Matthews doubled and advanced on Jonathan Reynoso's bunt single before those two scored on an RBI-groundout and single from Phil Ervin. Rachal had his hand in a run that crossed the next inning when he doubled and scored on a single by Daniel Paula.

On the mound Luke Moran narrowly missed getting the decision when he tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits/one walk while striking out five. Larry Somsen got the win for retiring all seven batters he faced including three strikeouts. Joe Mantoni allowed only one walk and retired five of six batters faced to end the game with a save.

This is the third season in the Cincinnati organization since the Reds selected Matthews out of St. Petersburg Junior College in the eighth round in 2011 and he's never been on a tear at the plate like this one. He's stroked seven hits in the past two games and has gone 16-36 (.444/.500 OB) over his last ten appearances to raise his average to .286 and his on-base percentage to .397 on the season.

Prior to that Matthews career stats have been somewhat forgettable and he didn't hit much more than .200 in over 100 games, all in the rookie leagues. He does walk enough to have a nice AVG/OB differential and is reaching safely in .322 of his plate appearances. He's also stroked a few home runs this season to bump his slugging percentage over .400.

Matthews stands 6'1"/195# and bats/throws right-handed. In the field his action has been in the outfield more frequent appearances in right. He made eleven errors in his first 100 games, but has been charged with only one thus far this season. Overall his range is a bit low, but he's stolen over 50 bases with an 80% success rate over that time so there's reason to believe he possess the speed to patrol the territory.

Not many prospects spend a third season in the rookie leagues and at the age of 22 Matthews is one of the oldest players on the Billings roster. He needs to prove he can sustain his success at the plate against higher level pitching and the way he's swinging the bat now should provide that opportunity. The outfield at Dayton currently has a couple of the higher rated prospects in the Cincinnati organization, but they're putting together good seasons and there might be some room from a promotion. In the meantime Matthews will have to continue to make his case by producing offensively against younger competition.

Other Organizational News:

The Reds allowed two runs in the ninth and lost their fourth in a row in a 2-1 decision to open their series at San Diego. Mike Leake got no decision from another strong start, allowing four hits/two walks over seven shutout innings. Aroldis Chapman blew the save and took the loss for allowing two runs in the ninth. Derrick Robinson crossed the plate with the Reds only run on a groundout following his triple. He, Joey Votto, and Jay Bruce had two hits apiece in the contest.

Louisville took a four-run lead after four innings and held on for a 5-3 win over visiting Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Ryan Ludwick made a rehab appearance and plated the first run with a groundout in the third before Felix Perez drove in another one with a single. Billy Hamilton had two hits, an RBI, and stole two bases to raise his season total to 61. Mike Hessman also had two hits and scored a run after leading off the second with a double. Chad Rogers got the win for allowing only one unearned run over five plus innings while allowing six hits/one walk and striking out four. Pedro Diaz ended the game by pitching one-plus innings and allowing a run, but that was good enough for the save.

Pensacola scored a run in both of the first two innings and shut out Mobile for a 2-0 home win. Daniel Renken tossed a nice game for the victory, allowing only three hits/one walk over six shutout innings which included six strikeouts. Lee Hyde relieved him with two scoreless frames before Trevor Bell finished the shutout by pitching the ninth and picking up the save. Theo Bowe and Yorman Rodriguez had two hits apiece including a solo homer by Rodriguez that plated his team's first run. Ray Chang also stroked a couple of hits and drove in the other Wahoo run.

Bakersfield fell behind early and never really threatened in a 7-3 home loss to Modesto. Juan Silverio followed up his five-hit performance with a couple of singles and Steve Selsky had two hits and an RBI. Robert Stephenson had a short outing and took the loss for allowing five runs (four earned) in less than three innings pitched.

Dayton took the lead with two runs in the sixth inning and held on for a 3-2 home win over Fort Wayne. Joe Hudson doubled to lead off the inning of the go-ahead rally which also included RBI singles by Beau Amaral and Jesse Winker. Hudson struck again the next frame to add some needed insurance by following a Daniel Piggott double with an RBI-single. Amaral finished with three hits while Winker, Piggott, and Hudson added two apiece. Jeff Gelalich reached safely three times from a hit and a couple of walks, one of them intentional. Ismael Guillon got no decision for tossing five-plus innings and allowing one run off three hits/three walks and ringing up eight strikeouts. Wandy Peralta threw two-plus innings of relief over which he allowed one run and picked up the win. Michael Lorenzen tossed a scoreless ninth for the save.

The AZL Reds held on for a 4-3 win over the AZL Brewers. Kevin Garcia continued swinging a hot bat and finished with three hits and a run scored. Corey Thompson finished with a triple and a single and scored one run while Jose Fernandez stroked two triples and crossed the plate twice. Jeremy Kivel lowered his ERA to 3.38 by allowing one hit and three walks over four shutout innings with three strikeouts. Soid Marque relieved him with three innings over which he allowed two runs, but his timing was right to pick up the win. Oswaldo Mieres finished the game by retiring all four batters faced for the save.

The DSL Reds fell behind early and allowed three more runs in the fourth en route to a 9-2 loss to the DSL Orioles1. Geraldo Valor and Miguel Mendez both had two hits for the Reds. Starter Jose Veras took the loss for allowing six runs (four earned) in three-plus innings.

The DSL Rojos lost again by a score of 12-1 to the DSL Cardinals. Jose Monegro had three of the five Rojo hits. Starter Isaac Moncion was lifted in the second inning and allowed two runs which were enough to pin the loss on him.

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