Welcome to AAA

Both Juan Silverio and Steve Selsky debuted in AAA in a big way. Silverio went 5-5 in his first game after promotion and Selsky had a couple of hits including a triple when he joined him after an All-Star selection. Pensacola had four players promoted and will receive seven from Bakersfield who had the best first half record in the California League.

Louisville piled on double digit runs in both of the past couple of games in home wins over Durham, 10-5 & 12-8. Two prospects fresh off promotions from AA Pensacola have come out hot for the Bats and contributed to their offensive explosion. Juan Silverio couldn't ask for a better start at the new level Tuesday when he went 5-5 including two doubles off of MLB veteran Jeremy Hellickson. He didn't slow down much in his second game Wednesday when he went 3-5 with three runs scored.

Steve Selsky was delayed in joining him by participating on the Southern League All Star team, but when he did arrive yesterday he debuted by going 2-4 with a triple, two runs scored, and two RBI. Another player fresh up from the Wahoos, pitcher Justin Freeman has made two scoreless appearances out of the Bats bullpen and picked up the win Wednesday. Infielder Rey Navarro who made the trip with Selsky from the All-Star game to the Derby City saw action Wednesday but did not record an at-bat.

Silverio arrived from the White Sox organization in a trade for veteran farm hand Cody Puckett. He hit .286 with 19 home runs for high-A Bakersfield last season and earned the promotion this year from a .274 average with nine homers in the first half of the season. He's still only 23 years old even though he's in his seventh professional season since the White Sox signed him as a free agent with a then-reported $600,000 bonus. Through no fault of his own he would later be a central figure in a bonus skimming scandal.

In 2012 Silverio's batting average slipped .030" when he repeated the high-A level for the Palehose and perhaps skepticism over his earlier projections made him a candidate to wash out in the minors. The verdict was already in that he would not stick defensively at shortstop as was expected before he signed. Since coming into the Cincinnati organization he's hit well enough to advance while playing third base. He did dust off his shortstop glove for 24 appearances at Bakersfield last year. If he shows he can man the position on a backup basis while continuing to hit there isn't a lot of resistance for him to make a surprise jump to the Reds as a utility infielder.

Selsky started this season with a return visit to Pensacola. He was on the Wahoo roster opening day last year but went back to Bakersfield after a sub-.200 start. In Selsky's defense, he had fewer than 100 plate attempts and might have come around given more of a chance. He salvaged his season with a strong finish in the California League and didn't take any chances his second go-around with the Wahoos this season when he cracked the .300/.400 AVG/OBP levels before his All Star selection.

The Cincinnati system had a few prospects that were a bit of a surprise when they returned to the same level to open the season as where they finished 2013. That's broken loose for the second half as seven players that led Bakersfield to the top first half record in the California League will overhaul the Pensacola roster. Four Dayton Dragons punched their ticket to high-A to move up into openings.

Cincy Hardball Top Stories