Kivel Has Another Solid Outing

Jeremy Kivel might not have been on many top-20 Cincinnati prospect lists coming into the season, but he was on a lot of radars to break into them in the future. Thus far in the Arizona League the 19 year-old right-hander is showing why by keeping a low-3 ERA and striking out more than one per inning.

The AZL Reds scored three runs in the twelfth inning in their 6-3 win over the AZL Giants. Cory Thompson was hit by a pitch when he led off the final frame. Logan Uxa followed him with a single and runs crossed the plate from an Argenis Aldazore double, a passed ball, and a groundout. In the sixth the Reds took the first lead when Uxa doubled, followed by a hit batsman, wild pitch and RBI-single by Shedric Long. They tied the game in the eighth from an error, bunt single by Long, and a groundout.

Uxa led the way offensively by going 4-4 with a walk and Long added two hits plus a walk. On the mound Jeremy Kivel got no decision from another strong outing, tossing five scoreless innings allowing only three hits and striking out seven while walking three. Soid Marquez ran into trouble when he relieved him in the sixth, but he was followed by four relievers that combined for five-plus scoreless innings. Ibrahin Redan threw one and two thirds of that for the win and Oswaldo Mieres finished with one shutout inning for the save.

If there were any doubts whether or not Kivel would be a starter or advance as a reliever he is answering them by showing that he belongs in the rotation right now. After ten appearances he's dropped his ERA to 3.35 with a K/BB ratio of 44/19 over forty innings. He's also been successful at keeping the ball on the ground with a ground/air out ratio over one. There's not much there to dislike; his walk rate is a little high, but that could be said of most all teenage pitchers in their first professional season. Coming into the season he was one young pitcher that appeared to have the kind of stuff that could really escalate him up the Cincinnati prospect list and thus far he's done nothing to disappoint.

The Reds knew he had a high upside when they went over slot to sign him after last year's draft even though an ACL injury robbed most of his senior high school season. That injury kept him off the mound last year but his work load this season is typical for starting pitchers in the Arizona League. The organization must be eager to see how their $500,000 investment in his signing bonus turns out as he advances up the system.

Kivel possesses a mid-90's fastball that could make him a top-rotation MLB pitcher one day. He mixes that with an advanced curve and he's working on a changeup for a third offering. His high school injury caused him to slip in the draft and Cincinnati got great value with his selection in the tenth round. The organization contains good pitching depth and there's no need to fast track him. That will likely cause him to wait until the short season to start out 2014 at Billings, but it would not be a surprise to see him reach the single A level as a 20 year-old.

He still has a lot to prove, but he's got the stuff to do it. Actually a pitcher with his overpowering velocity is a keeper even without the impressive stats at this level. His success on the mound suggests he's ready to advance early. Some analysts have already included him in top Reds prospects lists and he should be crashing the party on some more in the near future.

Other Organizational News:

The Reds had an off-day Thursday and will open a series against the Padres at Great American Ball Park this weekend.

Louisville allowed four runs in the fifth inning and went on to lose 9-3 at Columbus. Billy Hamilton had two of the Bats five hits, walked once, and scored twice. Chad Rogers took the loss from a rough outing, allowing six runs (four earned) in five-plus innings.

Pensacola crossed the plate six times in the second inning and held on for a 6-4 win over visiting Jacksonville. Mike Costanzo went 2-3 with a walk and three RBI while Travis Mattair and Ryan LaMarre also contributed a couple of hits each. Daniel Renken tossed five scoreless frames in his six-inning outing and got the win for allowing four runs on seven hits and striking out four without a walk. Trevor Bell struck out three in a scoreless ninth for the save and lowered his ERA to 1.57.

Bakersfield lost in a California League slugfest by a score of 13-10 at Stockton. Four Blaze hitters finished with two hits each: Junior Arias, Juan Silverio, Ryan Wright, and Kyle Waldrop. Waldrop hit a solo home run in the ninth and Juan Duran had a two-run homer in the fifth. James Allen avoided a loss after allowing nine runs (seven earned) in three-plus innings. Brooks Pinckard relieved him and allowed three runs that cost him the loss.

Dayton allowed three runs in the eighth in a 3-2 home loss to Lake County. Seth Mejias-Brean had three hits including a couple of doubles while Jesse Winker reached from two hits and a walk. The Dragons took an early lead off a solo homer by Sammy Diaz that led off the first inning. Ismael Guillon gave up only one hit which allowed him to shut out the Captains while walking five in five innings pitched. Tony Amezcua relieved him with two scoreless frames before Jesus Adames was victimized by a couple of unearned runs and took the loss for allowing three total.

Billings fell behind in the second inning and eventually lost 5-2 to visiting Great Falls. Jonathan Reynoso had three hits for the Mustangs while Avain Rachal and Ronald Bueno contributed two each including a solo homer by Rachal. Ben Lively took the loss for allowing two runs while pitching the first three innings. He allowed five hits/one walk, but limited damage by striking out five.

The DSL Reds scored a run in the eighth inning to win 3-2 over the DSL Padres. Miguel Mendez had two of the Reds three hits and also reached with a walk while scoring two runs. Jacob Constante allowed only one unearned run in the first three innings. Luis Gonzalez got the win for finishing the game with two-plus scoreless frames while striking out six of nine batters faced.

The DSL Rojos scored five runs in the eighth inning in their 7-4 win over the DSL Mets1. Four Rojos had two hits each: Olvis Jimenez, Daniel Jimenez, Maikel Lopez, and Carlos Mateo. Jean Lara got no decision from a quality start, allowing three runs off six hits/one walk in six innings with five strikeouts. Fabian Bohorquez allowed only one run over the final three innings for the win.

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