There are three pitchers in high A-Bakersfield worth looking at thus far.
|Name ||GS ||IP ||ERA ||W-L ||H ||BB ||K ||HR ||WHIP
|Daniel Renken ||2 ||10.1 ||3.48 ||1-0 ||11 ||5 ||8 ||0 ||1.55
|Tony Cingrani ||1 ||6 ||0.00 ||1-0 ||1 ||1 ||5 ||0 ||0.30
|Kyle Lotzkar ||1 ||6 ||3.00 ||1-0 ||6 ||0 ||8 ||1 ||1.00
Daniel Renken might be the most overlooked pitcher in the Reds' system. Last season Renken made 26 starts going 8-8 with a 3.52 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 165 strikeouts in 143.1 innings.
This year Renken has picked up right where he left off. Renken should see time at AA-Pensacola sometime this season.
Cingrani pitched in the Pioneer League last year and was outstanding. He made 13 starts, went 3-2 with a 1.75 ERA, .80 WHIP and 80 strikeouts in 51.1 innings. His ratios were even more impressive. Cingrani had a 13.3 SO/BB ratio and a K/9 ratio of 14.11.
Those numbers were good enough for him to completely bypass low A Dayton. The 22-year-old is proving well worth the 2011 third-round selection spent on him, and he will be in AA by season's end.
Kyle Lotzkar, another 22-year-old, had a rough year in Dayton last year. However, it wasn't rough enough to keep him from getting promoted to Bakersfield. Lotzkar has shown the ability to keep guys off base, strike batters out at a high rate and keep his team in ball games.
Providing a return to the success he saw in the 2010 season, Lotzkar will join Renken and Cingrani in AA by the end of the 2012 season.
Tucker Barnhart and David Vial are worth a look in Bakersfield. In addition, I'll include super-prospect Billy Hamilton since everyone always wants to know what's going on with him.
|Name ||Games ||AB ||H ||R ||SB ||2B ||HR ||RBI ||AVG. ||OBP. ||SLG.
|Tucker Barnhart ||5 ||15 ||4 ||2 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||2 ||.267 ||.389 ||.267
|David Vidal ||6 ||22 ||6 ||4 ||0 ||2 ||1 ||5 ||.273 ||.333 ||.500
|Billy Hamilton ||6 ||23 ||5 ||6 ||5 ||3 ||1 ||6 ||.217 ||.333 ||.478
Hamilton's average is down to start the year, but it won't stay there long. He's quickly gotten off to a hot start in every other area logging five stolen bases, three doubles, six RBI, a home run and three doubles in the team's first six games.
Switch hitters in the middle infield are incredibly valuable, but I'm a firm believer that Hamilton will become an outfielder before he reaches the bigs.
He's still going to spend a few years in the minors, but at 21, that shouldn't be an issue.
Barnhart, another 21-year-old switch hitter, fits a similar mold to former prospect Yasmani Grandal (with less pop). Barnhart will hit for a good average, call a good game behind the plate and provide solid defense. However, he will never provide the power that Devin Mesoraco does.
Barnhart, if he reaches the majors with the Reds, will likely play a role similar to the one Ryan Hanigan does.
David Vidal is likely the reason the Reds were so quick to give up Juan Francisco (outside of the fact that Francisco was fat, lazy and out of shape). Vidal is a better fielder than Francisco and his offensive game is progressing well. Last year Vidal hit .280/.350/.498 with 20 HR, 85 RBI and 85 runs.
If he continues at that level, he'll shoot through the organization quick this year and could challenge Todd Frazier for the right to replace Scott Rolen in 2013 or 2014.