Up to the Minors: Vol. 2

It’s been a quick minute since I introduced myself in volume 1. Since then, the Wahoos have won the Southern League South division first half title, the Wahoos players DOMINATED the All-star game in Pearl, Mississippi, all-star break transactions have been made (you can find all of those at bluewahoos.com), and my internship is almost at the halfway point. Therefore, this post is going to be a rundown of what all I have been doing thus far as a media relations intern.

As you may have noticed, one thing that I have been working on about every week or so is checking on former Wahoos that have made appearances in the majors and putting that in a list on this very blog. It is definitely something I love doing because I am a stats guy. I feel like stats can do a great job of telling how well something is going, in this case, how well a player is doing in his baseball career before, during and after his major league debut.

I am switching gears, now. One cool thing that I love about working for the Blue Wahoos is that they pride themselves on hard working employees that go above and beyond. They recognize those exemplary employees during each game on top of one of the dugouts, and each person’s name is read aloud on the PA system. I was honored to be one of those on June 11, and it is something that will be a highlight of my time here in Pensacola. I think that recognizing hard work and making sure that it does not go unnoticed is something that makes many people, myself included, work even harder. It is like a bar has been set and you are expected to do just as well and even surpass that mark.

During the back-to-back home stands, which was 11 games in just 10 days, rain was in the forecast for the first nine or so of those days, which meant we all got a good workout just about every day by pulling the tarp on and off the field—sometimes more than once a day. Rolling out the tarp is not as much of a workout as rolling it back up to get the field ready for play is, I would say. I will not hesitate to say that it is definitely not one of the more glamorous jobs, but it must be done to protect our field that is cared for so well by award-winning groundskeeper Ray Sayre and his crew.

Another cool thing I have gotten to do since my last post is help out with a couple of camps here at Blue Wahoos Stadium. I helped out with a youth baseball/softball clinic on June 11 and 12, which was neat to watch the players pass along some things they learned that have helped them get to where they are today. The other camp I helped with was Charlie Ward’s Mentor Leadership Camp on June 18—the day before Father’s Day. In case you may not know who he is, Charlie was the 1993 Heisman Trophy winner as a quarterback at Florida State. He was also a basketball player for the Seminoles and went on to play in the NBA after being selected 26th overall by the New York Knicks. He spent about nine and a half seasons in the Big Apple before moving down to San Antonio to play for the Spurs. His final season in the NBA was spent, still in Texas, but with the Houston Rockets. Back to the camp: it was much different than most football camps you have ever seen. It was mainly focused around leadership and was attended mostly by fathers and sons. However, Ward would use different stations that had different tasks that required teamwork. There were a couple of stations that were football-oriented, but others were mainly team-building exercises. Everyone would go through each station, and after a certain amount of time at each station, the facilitators would explain how what that exercise meant from a leadership/mentorship standpoint.

That’s all for this edition of “Up to the Minors!” Until next time, catch you on the flippity-flip!

  • Caleb Garner/Media Relations Intern

WATCH OUT FOR THIS WAHOO

Pensacola placed eight players on the Southern League All-Star team this season.  Three of those players, Nick Rout, Tony Renda and Amir Garrett have since been called up to Louisville (AAA).  Routt and Garrett both made their debuts already this week with Renda’s sure to come soon–who wouldn’t want him on the field ASAP the way he tore up Double-A.  It will be fun to follow and track their progress throughout the second half, as with the other Hoos who were called up like Donald Lutz and Daniel Wright.  Enough about those guys for now.  Let’s talk about one Wahoo to watch in the second half: Zach Vincej.

Vincej has throughout his career been known for his defense.  Heck, while playing at Pepperdine University in 2012 he won the Brooks Wallace Award given to the nation’s top collegiate shortstop.  This season was no different, at least to start.  Vincej got on the field because of his slick defense up the middle.  May was one of the worst months he has had offensively in his career, batting .196.  Really throughout the first two months, Vincej just struggled to make contact on get on base. Period.

In June, something clicked.  Zach Vincej is one of those guy who is always hanging around the cage and getting extra BP reps.  His adjustments paid off big time in June.  Vincej hit an eye-popping .365 with six doubles and six multi-hit games.  At the start of half number two, his average is .258.  If he stays anywhere close to this consistency in the second half, Vincej could be looking at another .270 season like he had at Bakersfield in 2014.  Watch out Southern League.

 

Written by Matt Schumacker, Media Relations/Radio Trainee

Cody Reed Makes Reds Debut

MLB: Cincinnati Reds-Media Day
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Left-hander Cody Reed made his debut for the Cincinnati Reds Saturday and struck out nine Houston Astros batters in seven innings.

In his seven inning outing, Reed gave up four runs on six hits and three walks. Two of those hits were two-run homers. Reed, ranked the No. 2 Reds prospect by Baseball America, is the 10th Reds player to make his debut in the 2016 season.

Last season, Reed was acquired by Cincinnati from the Kansas City Royals for pitcher Johnny Cueto. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound starter was sent to the Double-A Blue Wahoos where he made eight starts. A second round selection by Kansas City in 2013, Reed finished 6-2 with a 2.17 earned-run average and struck out 60 in 49.2 innings for Pensacola.

In the bottom of the first inning, Astros Marwin Gonzalez hit his fifth home run of the year to give Houston a 2-0 lead.

Cincinnati came back to tie it, 2-2, with a run in the fifth by Eugenio Suarez and another run in the sixth on a solo homer by Zack Cozart.

In the bottom of the seventh, Reed gave up a second two-run homer to the Astros’ Evan Gattis to left field in the bottom of the seventh, going up 4-2. He threw 92 pitches including 62 for strikes.

Reed was let off the hook for the loss when Adam Duvall hit his 20th homer, a two-out, two-run shot for the Reds that knotted the game, 4-4, and sent it into extra innings.

-by Duwayne Escobedo

Former Wahoos Update (6/17)

Major League Baseball

  • SS Didi Gregorius is currently hitting .271 (third among Yankees regulars) with five home runs and 24 RBI in 60 games for the New York Yankees.
  • LHP Tony Cingrani recently notched his team-high seventh save of the season for the Cincinnati Reds as one of the team’s closers. He has struck out 25 batters in 29 2/3 innings this season.
  • OF Billy Hamilton was removed from the 7-day concussion disabled list on Friday. His 16 stolen bases on the year is among the best in the majors. Through 52 games for the Cincinnati Reds this season, he has collected 12 doubles.
  • C Tucker Barnhart is hitting at a .247 clip in 45 games for Cincinnati this season. The switch-hitter has also knocked out a pair of homers along with 10 RBIs on the year.
  • INF Miguel Rojas has appeared in 51 games for the Miami Marlins, batting .247 with eight RBI. In the field, he has only committed two errors all season for a .984 fielding percentage, playing at least five games at all four infield positions.
  • OF Yorman Rodriguez is on the 60-day disabled list for the Cincinnati Reds. He has not appeared in a game this season for the Reds. He last saw action in 2015 for Louisville (AAA-Reds), hitting .269 and 10 HR.
  • RHP Michael Lorenzen is back in action after serving a stint on the 60-day DL. He has appeared twice for Triple-A Louisville (Cincinnati) on a rehab assignment as a reliever, most recently getting a save on June 15 for the Bats.
  • RHP Josh Smith has appeared in six games for the Reds, holding a 2.70 ERA and striking out eight batters in 6.2 IP.
  • RHP Keyvius Sampson has appeared in limited action for the Reds, striking out six in 7.0 innings in his four appearances out of the bullpen. He is now a part of the pitching staff in Triple-A Louisville, starting in seven of his 12 appearances on the mound this season. For the Bats, he holds a 2-2 record with a 1.83 ERA and striking out 46 in 44.1 innings.
  • After hitting .247 with four homers and 17 RBI in Triple-A Louisville, OF/1B Kyle Waldrop recorded his first career RBI on June 13 at Atlanta, and the very next day earned his first major league start in a 3-1 against the Braves. In that game, he went 1 for 3 with a double—also a career first—and is now hitting at a .444 clip.
  • RHP Tim Adleman is currently on the 15-day DL for the Cincinnati Reds. In four starts for the Reds, he is 1-1 with a 3.72 ERA and 16 Ks in 19.1 IP.
  • OF Steve Selsky collected his first career hit—a pinch-hit double—on June 8 against St. Louis and has made eight appearances for the Reds. He earned his first career start on June 12 against Oakland and was 1 for 3. In his eight games, he has hit .375 (3 for 8) with a double.
  • RHP Daniel Wright made his second career start on June 13 in Atlanta and earned no decision. He is currently 0-2 with a 7.62 ERA and has struck out six in 13 innings.
  • LHP Cody Reed is slated to make his major league debut for Cincinnati on 6/18 in Houston against the Astros. In 11 starts for Triple-A Louisville, Reed was 6-3 with a 3.20 ERA. He struck out 63 and walked just 17 in 64.2 IP.

 Triple-A

  • RHP Pedro Villareal has appeared in four games this season for Triple-A Louisville, pitching 6.2 innings and compiling a 4.05 ERA.
  • RHP Curtis Partch has appeared in 21 games so far this season for the Indianapolis Indians (AAA-Pittsburgh), notching three saves and a 2-0 record with a 1.36 ERA. Partch has also struck out 37 batters and walked nine in 33 IP.
  • INF Rey Navarro has hit .229 with 12 RBI so far this season in 38 games for the Salt Lake Bees (AAA, Los Angeles Angels). He is currently on the 7-day disabled list.
  • RHP Jon Moscot started five games for the Reds, striking out 10 and walking 10 batters in 21.1 IP. He was sent down to Triple-A Louisville on June 6. In seven starts for the Bats, he holds 2-3 record with a 5.97 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 34.2 IP.
  • After making his MLB debut with Cincinnati in 2015, OF Ryan LaMarre was picked up in free agency by the Red Sox, who signed him to a minor league contract. He is currently with AAA Pawtucket, where he is hitting .314 with 5 HR and 17 RBI in 43 games.
  • RHP Robert Stephenson, in two starts for Cincinnati, was 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA. He struck out four batters in 12.0 innings for the Reds. Stephenson was sent back down to Louisville on April 20 and holds a 4-3 record with a 3.29 ERA in 11 starts for the Bats.
  • RHP Drew Hayes made his MLB debut on April 21 vs the Chicago Cubs. In six appearances for Cincinnati, he tossed 9.2 innings, striking out eight batters and walking six with a 8.38 ERA. Hayes is now with Triple-A Louisville and holds a 2-1 record with an ERA of 3.79 in 19.0 innings for the Bats in 14 appearances.
  • RHP Layne Somsen made his MLB debut with the Reds on May 14. After two appearances with Cincinnati, he was sent back down to Louisville before being picked up by the Yankees on waivers. The Yankees sent Somsen to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders, where he is currently 1-0 in four appearances out of the bullpen. In six innings of work, he has not allowed a run and has struck out eight batters.

Double-A

  • RHP Daniel Corcino has appeared in two games thus far this season in limited action for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Advanced-A, LA Dodgers) in the California League, striking out a pair of batters and not allowing a run. He was promoted to Tulsa (AA-LAD) on June 10 and has continued his scoreless innings streak. In two appearances, he has pitched 4.0 hitless innings, striking out three.

 Independent League

  • LHP Donnie Joseph has pitched in 10 games for Independent team Rockland of the Canadian-American League and has recorded a pair of saves in 8.2 innings this season.

 Mexican League

  • INF Henry Rodriguez is currently playing for Delfines de Ciudad del Carmen in the Mexican League. The former Wahoo is hitting .281 with eight doubles and 27 RBI so far this season.

 Korean Baseball Organization

  • RHP Yohan Pino is now pitching for the KT Wiz of the Korean Baseball Organization. For KT, he holds a 2-1 record in six appearances (three starts) with a 5.11 ERA. In 2015, he made it back up to the Majors with the Kansas City Royals, pitching 19.1 innings with a 3.26 ERA and a 13/3 K/BB ratio.
  • Caleb Garner/Media Relations Intern

Former Wahoos (6/9 update)

 

Major League Baseball

  • SS Didi Gregorius is currently hitting .267 with four home runs and 19 RBI in 55 games for the New York Yankees.
  • LHP Tony Cingrani picked up his fifth save of the season for the Cincinnati Reds as the team’s closer. He has struck out 24 batters in 25 2/3 innings this season.
  • OF Billy Hamilton currently sits fourth in Major League Baseball with 16 stolen bases on the year. Through 52 games for the Cincinnati Reds this season, he has collected 12 doubles.
  • C Tucker Barnhart is hitting at a .259 clip in 41 games for Cincinnati this season. The switch-hitter has also knocked out a pair of homers along with 10 RBIs on the year.
  • INF Miguel Rojas has appeared in 45 games for the Miami Marlins, batting .269. In the field, he has only committed two errors all season for a .981 fielding percentage, playing at least four games at all four infield positions.
  • OF Yorman Rodriguez is on the 60-day disabled list for the Cincinnati Reds. He has not appeared in a game this season for the Reds. He last saw action in 2015 for Louisville (AAA-Reds), hitting .269 and 10 HR.
  • RHP Michael Lorenzen is serving a stint on the 60-day DL for Cincinnati and has not appeared in a game this season.
  • RHP Josh Smith has appeared in five games for the Reds, holding a 3.86 ERA and striking out five batters in 4.2 IP.
  • RHP Keyvius Sampson has appeared in limited action for the Reds, striking out six in 7.0 innings in his four appearances out of the bullpen.
  • OF/1B Kyle Waldrop is hitting .250 in limited action—four ABs—for the Reds after being called up from Louisville, where he hit .247 with four homers and 17 RBI.
  • RHP Tim Adleman is currently on the 15-day DL for the Cincinnati Reds. In four starts for the Reds, he is 1-1 with a 3.72 ERA and 16 Ks in 19.1 IP.
  • OF Steve Selsky collected his first career hit—a pinch-hit double—on June 8 against St. Louis. He has appeared in two games for the Reds so far this season.
  • RHP Daniel Wright made his MLB debut with Cincinnati on May 24, earning the starting nod. Wright is currently 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA in 10.0 innings. He has struck out six batters while walking just one in his three appearances (one start).

 Triple-A

  • RHP Pedro Villareal has appeared in four games this season for Triple-A Louisville, pitching 6.2 innings and compiling a 4.05 ERA.
  • RHP Curtis Partch has appeared in 18 games so far this season for the Indianapolis Indians (AAA-Pittsburgh), notching three saves and a 1-0 record with a 1.30 ERA. Partch has also struck out 32 batters and walked nine in 27.2 IP.
  • INF Rey Navarro has hit .229 with 12 RBI so far this season in 38 games for the Salt Lake Bees (AAA, LA Angels of Anaheim). He is currently on the 7-day disabled list.
  • RHP Jon Moscot started five games for the Reds, striking out 10 and walking 10 batters in 21.1 IP. He was sent down to Triple-A Louisville on June 6.
  • After making his MLB debut with Cincinnati in 2015, OF Ryan LaMarre was picked up in free agency by the Red Sox, who signed him to a minor league contract. He is currently with AAA Pawtucket, where he is hitting .316 with 5 HR and 17 RBI in 37 games.
  • RHP Robert Stephenson, in two starts for Cincinnati, was 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA. He struck out four batters in 12.0 innings for the Reds. Stephenson was sent back down to Louisville on April 20 and holds a 3-3 record with a 3.47 ERA in 10 starts for the Bats.
  • RHP Drew Hayes made his MLB debut on April 21 vs the Chicago Cubs. In six appearances for Cincinnati, he tossed 9.2 innings, striking out eight batters and walking six with a 8.38 ERA. Hayes is now with Triple-A Louisville and holds a 2-1 record with an ERA of 4.50 in 16.0 innings for the Bats in 12 appearances.
  • RHP Layne Somsen made his MLB debut with the Reds on May 14. After two appearances with Cincinnati, he was sent back down to Louisville before being picked up by the Yankees on waivers. The Yankees sent Somsen to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders, where he is currently 1-0 in three appearances out of the bullpen. In five innings of work, he has not allowed a run and has struck out eight batters.

 Advanced-A

  • RHP Daniel Corcino has appeared in two games thus far this season in limited action for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Advanced-A, LA Dodgers) in the California League, striking out a pair of batters. He has not allowed a run.

 Independent League

  • LHP Donnie Joseph has pitched in eight games for Independent team Rockland of the Canadian-American League and has recorded a pair of saves in 7.1 innings this season.

 Mexican League

  • INF Henry Rodriguez is currently playing for Delfines de Ciudad del Carmen in the Mexican League. The former Wahoo is hitting .280 with eight doubles and 25 RBI so far this season.

 Korean Baseball Organization

  • RHP Yohan Pino is now pitching for the KT Wiz of the Korean Baseball Organization. In 2015, he made it back up to the Majors with the Kansas City Royals, pitching 19.1 innings with a 3.26 ERA and a 13/3 K/BB ratio.

 

  • Caleb Garner/Media Relations Intern

Quiet Consistency: Tony Renda

Wahoos do-it-all defenseman and leadoff man Tony Renda hasn’t been the topic of headlines this season like teammates Brandon Dixon or Phillip Ervin, who both earned Southern league Player of the Week honors.  But, he has been equally as impressive, if not more so.  A big part of it is his consistency in every aspect of the game regardless of the situation.

Renda has played four different positions this season (third base, second base, left field and right field).  In addition he has hit in six different spots in the order, from as high as first to as low as sixth.  Regardless of where you play him or bat him, Renda produces.  Day after day.

“There isn’t a position on the field that Tony won’t play,” Manager Pat Kelly joked.  “You ask him if he can play catcher and he’d say ‘yeah I did once in high school, I can play.’ He just wants to be on the field.”

No task is too tall for the five-foot-eight spark plug.  Going into Tuesday night’s game with Jackson, Renda rides an eight-game hit streak.  He has also tallied hit streaks of seven games (5/7-5/12) and five games (5/20-5/25).  He leads the team with 18 multi-hit performances.  On Monday night, he went 2-3 with a double and an RBI making him the first player in the league to tally 20 RBI and 20 doubles on the year.

Renda is top five in the Southern League in hits, average and doubles.  Yet, he continues to fly under the radar, just as he has since he was traded to Cincinnati from the Yankees.  It was a deal that sent Aroldis Chapman to New York in exchange for Renda along with Caleb Cotham and Wahoos Rookie Davis and Eric Jagielo.  When the trade was first announced, Renda was considered by some writers as a “filler” or add-on to the deal.

“He was a name that not many people really talked about in that trade,” Reds GM Dick Williams said.  “But he is doing exactly what (the Reds) are wanting to do at the Major League level which is get back to contact hitting.  Renda is the sort of guy that can turnover a lineup because he is such a tough out,” Williams added.

Even when Renda doesn’t get on base, he is making productive outs.  He has become one of the toughest strikeouts in the league, going down swinging just 16 times in 203 at bats or once in every 12.6 at bats.  He has either gotten on base or put the ball in play 92.2 % of the time this season.  Those writers were right in one respect.  Renda is a filler; he fills the stat sheet and the Southern League leaderboard night after night.

  • Matt Schumacker/Media Relations and Radio Trainee

Up to the Minors: Volume 1

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be an intern/work for a professional baseball team? I did, and I got my chance with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos this summer. My name is Caleb Garner, and I am an intern in the media relations department. I am a student at Mississippi State University, and I help out in the athletic media relations office there as well. I helped out with various roles for several different sports, particularly with the baseball team (that just wrapped up a Southeastern Conference regular season championship). I hope to eventually work my way up the ladder in a sports organization, be it in the college or professional ranks.

I realized quickly that, just like in college sports, each day is different from another, which is why I love working in sports.

My first day with the team was on May 23—two days before a series with the Birmingham Barons. I was given a tour of the facility by Maryjane Gardner, who is the media relations manager for the Blue Wahoos. She showed me the different places that I needed to know the locations of, as well as introducing me to people who will be seeing me around the stadium for the summer. I was also told some of the things that I will be working on this summer, such as the Stall Stories, which contain things about different promotions during the series, fun facts about a current player, and much more.

Day two found me following around a local news team as they found out what it is like to be a Blue Wahoos ballplayer. I got to watch them go through some stretches with strength coach Nate Tamargo, as well as take some swings in the batting tunnel with hitting coach Alex Pelaez and home clubhouse manager Gage Roth. Day three brought with it my first Wahoos game, which was great one that ended in a 5-1 win.

You also may ask what I do before a game. A lot of what I do is run back and forth between the press box and the copier in the main office getting copies of games notes for both teams, along with rosters if there was a change and lineup cards. Then, I will distribute those to each clubhouse, as well as to the Wahoos Lounge, before bringing the rest back up to the press box.

Stay tuned throughout the summer for some insights on what it is like to be an intern for the Blue Wahoos and other fun stuff!

  • Caleb Garner/Media Relations Intern

Daniel Wright Debut

Wright photo 5-24

Daniel Wright left the Cincinnati Reds Spring Training to pitch in the Pensacola Blue Wahoos bullpen, after starting 27 games with the Double-A affiliate the year before.

But Wright, a 10th round selection in 2013, stayed positive. All he did was give up one run in 20 innings, including pitching 16.2 scoreless innings before getting called up to the Triple-A Louisville Bats. His scoreless inning streak for the Blue Wahoos included two spot starts in which Wright gave up no runs and just three hits over 11 innings.

On Tuesday, May 24 — 20 days after he last pitched for Pensacola — Wright found himself making his Major League debut in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. Wright, a former Memphis high school and Arkansas State standout, threw 87 pitches in 5.1 innings, allowing seven hits, four runs, three earned, one walk and he struck out four.

“In spring training, on the minor-league side of things they told me there were going to be opportunities,” Wright said. “We just needed to take advantage of them. That’s what’s my mindset’s been.”

Cincinnati manager Bryan Price reviewed Wright’s first big league start this way: “He seems to have some polish. His numbers in the minor leagues are off the charts as far as batting average against, on-base percentage and slugging. I hope that it translates here.”

Meanwhile, pitching in front of his wife, sister and parents, Wright started the game by giving up three consecutive singles to Chase Utley, Corey Seager and Justin Turner and the Dodgers took a 1-0 lead. However, Wright settled down and retired nine of the following 10 hitters, including a strikeout of Dodgers slugger Adrian Gonzalez to start the stretch. The Dodgers were ahead, 3-2, when Wright departed the game.

“Overall, I battled,” Wright said about his debut. “Got through five, wish I could have gone a little bit longer. It’s good to get my feet wet.”

5/6/16 Matchup

The Blue Wahoos are 2-0 this homestand against the Shuckers, but tonight is the game everyone should come and watch.

Taking the mound is a pair of top prospects in each of their respective farm systems. RHP Rookie Davis (2-1, 0.78 ERA) is the Reds No. 12 prospect while LHP Josh Hader (0-0, 0.78) is the Brewers No. 4 prospect.

Davis leads the Southern League in WHIP and sits in second in ERA (tied with Hader). The righty allowed one run on four hits and five strikeouts in seven innings of work against Biloxi earlier this season.

Hader has allowed just two earned runs in 23 IP this year. In his only appearance against the Blue Wahoos this season, Hader tossed four hitless innings while striking out seven.

Tickets are still available for this matchup and can be purchased at BlueWahoos.com or by calling the box office at 934-8444.

  • Maryjane Gardner/Media and Public Relations Manager

Billy Hamilton

hamilton steal

Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton jammed his left thumb and missed Wednesday’s game. The recurring thumb injury on his non-throwing hand was first injured when he made his first career home run-robbing catch against St. Louis slugger Matt Carpenter in an April 15 game. Hamilton used the wall to elevate and steal the homer.

The thumb injury comes at a bad time for Hamilton, who was just getting hot at the plate. In the last six games, he was 6-19 (.316) with two doubles, one RBI and a stolen base. In 23 games this season, the 25-year-old speedster is hitting .215 with one homer, five RBIs and five stolen bases.

In his first two full seasons with the Reds, Hamilton stole 56 bases in 2014 in 152 games and stole 57 bases last year in 114 games. The former Blue Wahoos player owns the professional baseball single-season record with 155 stolen bases in 2012.

  • Duwayne Escobedo/BlueWahoos.com
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