Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The Bats Come To Town
Hopefully they stay cute little bats and turn into Vampires after they leave town. Had to get that terrible joke out of my system.
Onto the preview.
Their roster is interesting, very interesting. I feel like starting with the arms, so I can finish up discussing one of the most exciting players in the Minors.
They have a collection of arms that have had varying levels of success in the Major Leagues.
Coming off 2 very solid years in the Reds bullpen, Jose Arredondo is now in the back of the Bats bullpen for some reason. At the end of March, Arredondo was outrighted to AAA and cleared waivers, so there must be something up there.
Armando Gallaraga will be starting game 1 on Thursday. He is, of course, most famous for being the victim of a blown call by Jim Joyce, which cost him a perfect game while with Detroit. So far in 2013, he boasts a 1.40 ERA in 19.1 IP.
Mike McDougal is another bullpen piece for the Bats that has had some success in the Majors. He saved 20 games for the Royals in 2009 and has had ups and downs (mostly downs) since in the bigs.
Mark Prior. I will pause so you can say "oh fuck, he's still pitching?" to yourself. OK. 2003 NL all-star and, at the time, future Hall-of-Famer. After throwing 25 innings for the PawSox in 2012, Prior signed with the Reds and has thrown 9.2 IP so far this season. He should be interesting to keep an eye on.
Chad Reineke pitched their last game, which means we should see Greg Reynolds, Pedro Villareal, and Daniel Corcino in the other 3 games of the series.
Greg Reynolds has a 3-0 record in the Majors from his work in 2011 for the Rockies. Let's forget about his 6.19 ERA and .303 batting average against. He has been effective in 29.1 IP this season with a 3.07 ERA.
Pedro Villareal made a cameo in 2012 throwing a perfect inning. He has a 4.23 ERA in 27.2 IP this season.
Daniel Corcino is the #4 prospect for the Reds according to John Sickels and Baseball America. He has the system's best slider if we are to take BA's word. He gets a Johnny Cueto comp from Sickels, but he doesn't think he should be quite that good. He should be interesting to watch.
With the exception of 2 hitters, the offense has looked, on paper, pretty weak. only 1B Neftali Soto and OF Felix Perez have an OPS above .800 and adding 1B Mike Hessman, only 3 have slugged .400 or better.
They have 3 notable prospects on the hitting side of things: Billy Hamilton, Neftali Soto, and Henry Rodriguez.
Henry Rodriguez is batting .223/.277/..287 and is a versatile defender, as he has played 2B, 3B, and SS the past few seasons. He doesn't walk very much and only hits for gap power, so his profile is that of a utility player.
Neftali Soto hit 31 HR in 2011 in 106 games across AA and AAA. He followed that up with a disappointing showing in AAA in 2012. He appears back on track a bit, hitting .318/.375/.485 so far this season. He has bounced around between 3B and 1B trying to find a long term home.
The cream of the crop here is Billy Hamilton, a switch hitting CF with blazing speed. Hamilton stole 155 bases last season across high A and AA and has swiped 15 so far this season. He is a dynamic player and should be very fun to watch this series.
Mike Hessman is their veteran 4A player, with 5 HR this season. He is always dangerous against Minor League pitching. Lucky for the Bisons, the arms are all crafty veteran types that should be able to handle him decently enough.
My prediction is a 3-1 series win for Buffalo, with the pitching holding downs their weak bats and the Herd smacking the ball around Coca-Cola Field.