Contreras Throws a Gem

Carlos Contreras is quietly becoming a more highly visible pitching prospect in the Cincinnati system. He started out as a teenager in the Dominican League and now the Reds have converted him back into a starter after an effective season closing last year. He responded with a performance at Bakersfield that rewarded him with a spot on the California League all-star team.

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos won by shutout over the visiting Mobile Bears by a score of 2-0. Carlos Contreras got the start and the win by tossing six shutout innings, allowing only one hit/two walks. He relied heavily on the defense behind him as he only struck out one hitter. Lee Hyde and Josh Ravin combined for two scoreless frames and Trevor Bell danced around a couple of hits allowed to finish a scoreless ninth for the save.

The fish took the early lead with an RBI-single by Tucker Barnhart in the first inning. That would be all they needed, but Travis Mattair added on with a solo homer in the eighth. Devin Lohman did his job leading off and stroked three hits while scoring the game's first run. New Wahoo Brandon Short played center field and added a single and double to their attack.

Contreras was moved into the rotation at the beginning of this season after an effective year closing for Dayton and Bakersfield in 2012. Even though the right-hander is still only 22 years old he's a veteran of six minor league seasons starting with the Dominican League in 2008 when he was only seventeen. Even though he's only 5'11"/205# the Reds moved him into the rotation to start this season.

Thus far that move has been successful and his 3.80 ERA at Bakersfield this season is the fifth lowest in the California league and earned him a spot on their all-star team. His outing last night lowered his AA ERA to 2.87 over three starts since his promotion to Pensacola. His strikeout rate has been lower since the move, but that should be expected to rise because he's averaged over one K per inning at every stop since moving stateside a couple of years ago. His walk rate is still high, which may cause a return to the bullpen one day, but right now he's effectively getting batters out which will provide more opportunity to lower it as a starter.

Contreras is an example of how difficult it can be to judge a foreign prospect because many of them are still very young. His stats in the Dominican League were unimpressive but the Reds elected to move him to Arizona anyway. Of course during his first season he was pitching at an age at which American kids are competing in high school. The confidence Cincinnati showed in his ability has paid off and now they're using a spot on their 40 man roster to protect him against the Rule 5 draft.

Of course he's now up to the AA level and getting closer to a position where his spot may be considered for an MLB call-up. After starting the season in single-A it's likely he'll spend the remainder of the season in the Southern League, but don't be surprised if his stat line improves by the move away from the Cali League closer to sea level. At his age he's now on a fast track despite the lackluster start as a teenager.

Other Organizational News:

The Reds took a day off after completing their west coast trip and will return home to host a big series against St. Louis.

Louisville was shut out in a 5-0 home loss to Syracuse. Billy Hamilton, Henry Rodriguez, and Nevin Ashley each had two of the eight Bats hits. Ryan Dennick took the loss for allowing five runs in four innings.

Bakersfield had the day off and will begin a home series against San Jose on Friday.

Dayton allowed four runs in the second inning in a 4-1 loss at Bowling Green. Beau Amaral and Jesse Winker led the Dragons with two hits apiece. Drew Cisco took the loss for allowing four runs off six hits in five innings pitched.

Billings game at Great Falls was postponed by rain.

The AZL Reds scored a run in their last at-bat to win 5-4 over the AZL Dodgers. Cory Thompson and Yonatan Suero both finished with three hits and an RBI, raising Thompson's average to .320. Kevin Garcia and Dalton Carter added two hits apiece. Nick Routt threw a scoreless first inning and Tyler Mahle relieved him with four frames over which he allowed only one unearned run. Ibrahim Redan allowed a run to blow a save and hung around to get the win. Oswaldo Mieres threw a scorless ninth for the save.

The DSL Reds lost 5-4 to the DSL Diamondbacks. Geraldo Valor, Erik Gabo, and Raul Wallace had two hits apiece for the Reds. Jacob Constante was victimized by errors and the three runs he allowed in five innings pitched cost him the loss even though they were all unearned.

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