Moscot Debuts in AAA

Donald Lutz recently returned from the Reds and brought his bat with him. This time around he’s hitting AAA pitching better than he had before. Meanwhile Jon Moscot, a pitching prospect with a hard luck record made his debut at Louisville where he’ll make a case for an AAA rotation spot in 2015.

Louisville won their second game in a row at Indianapolis and evened up their five game series at two each with Tuesday’s finale pending. The teams swapped a two runs each throughout regulation with the Bats scoring a couple off the bat of Donald Lutz. He tripled home one in the second to tie the score and got an RBI from a bases-loaded groundout in the sixth to give his team a brief lead. In the final frame Felix Perez started a rally by leading off with single and advanced to third when the next hitter, Steve Selsky reached second on an error. Lutz struck again with a two-RBI single and eventually scored himself on a wild pitch. The Bats weren’t done however until after a two-run single by Jason Bourgeios to make the score 7-2 which was how the game ended.

Lutz and Bourgeios led the Bats with two hits apiece. On the mound Jon Moscot made his AAA debut by allowing two runs off four hits/two walks in five plus innings for no decision. Four Bats relievers shut down the Indians the rest of the way including two-plus scoreless frames by Chad Rogers who navigated around five walks without allowing a hit to get the win. With a five-run lead infielder Hernan Irrabarren took the mound to toss a scoreless eleventh to close the game.

Lutz is now hitting .250 AVG/.319 OB for the Bats with five home runs in 40 games to lift his slugging percentage over .400. Since returning from his latest stint with the Reds he’s gone 12-37 (.324) with a .375 OB percentage in eight games. It was his second trip to Cincinnati this season where he has hit .219 in 33 AB while filling in in left field and first base.

He’s actually been racking up some frequent flyer miles after starting off hot at Pensacola where he earned a promotion by batting .360 with six homers in his first 23 games. Now the German prospect is showing that he’s mastering the highest development level and should be ready for another tour with the parent team after roster expansion.

Lutz has always projected good power while working on a raw skill set. This is now his seventh season in the organization so he’s been polishing said skills for quite some time now. He’s playied at both corner outfield positions despite his 6’5”/250# frame as well as first base. In the outfield his range is still a bit low, but he’s spent about half of his action in left to avoid a possible Votto block when his bat was ready for MLB action. He was unable to take ownership of first base with the Reds while Votto was injured this season, but in his defense he didn’t get many plate appearances. Now that his bat is showing readiness it might be a different story when he returns. The Reds followed up a rough trip Colorado by losing in extra innings in their first game at St. Louis. Should they keep playing their way out of postseason contention it could trigger more September duty for Lutz and other prospects making the jump.

Moscot is a prime example of how a pitcher’s won/loss record is often not a good indicator of his effectiveness. When considering all of the elements that influence a decision-offensive support, timing of runs scored, defense, and bullpen success-a case could be made that there is about as many factors outside of a pitcher’s control as there are in it. Moscot comes to Louisville with a nice 3.13 AA ERA despite a record of 7-10. Last year he put up a mid-four ernie which wasn’t bad for the California League that earned him a promotion to AA where he did well despite closing out the year with at 2-14. Actually, he’s likely the top pitching prospect in the minor leagues that has a win percentage under 30% (11-27 in three seasons).

Moscot just turned 23 years old last Friday which makes him young for the level and he’s a right-handed finesse pitcher with good command despite his age. He’s got a big physique (6’4”/205#) which projects that he can stay in the rotation and perhaps even add a couple of ticks to his fastball that he runs up into the low 90’s. He’s probably on the border when considering where he starts out in 2015 but a few strong outings with Louisville now may pay dividends when the Reds decide how many AAA spots to give to veteran pitchers for organizational depth next year. He has made a strong case that he’s mastered the Southern League so if he’s not on the Bats roster opening day he can be expected to join it soon after.

As the Reds slip under .500 in mid-August there’s good reason for these two prospects to be excited over the remainder of the season. Lutz should make his fourth trip to the “show” while Moscot can make sure he gets an invitation to spring training. As players advance in the organization promotions get bigger and have to be earned against tougher competition. These two prospects along with some others in the Cincinnati organization will be working hard over the next couple of weeks in an attempt to improve their situation when they begin next year.

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