Last night saw the Cincinnati Reds minor league system kick off the season with four games, one for each of the full season teams. Louisville and Dayton both started the season with a loss, while Daytona won in extra innings and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos won in the normal nine innings. Of course, while we all want the teams to win every game, we tend to focus more on the players here at than we do on the actual teams. While we are looking at just one game, I was able to get some scouting information on some of the pitchers from the games in the system.

Today we will have a few notes on Tanner Rainey, Nick Travieso, Jose Lopez (has not pitched yet) and Narciso Crook.

On Wednesday the Dayton Dragons held their annual media day where the team is introduced to the media and they have a workout on the field afterwards. I had a chance to talk with starting pitcher Jose Lopez and outfielder Narciso Crook about some things right before the season began.

Lopez enters the season as the Reds 19th best prospect (the link says 16, but the article was released before trades were made that altered the list). He’s coming off of a 2015 season where he returned from Tommy John surgery and he got out to a solid, but unspectacular start to the season in his first seven games. Over his final eight games though, the right hander went on an incredible run through the Pioneer League, posting a 2.13 ERA in 38.0 innings with seven walks and 50 strikeouts. I asked him a bit about what the difference was in the second half of the season versus the first half.

I asked him about the adjustments that he made during the season that really helped out with that second half.

We worked on my mechanics a little bit to help things for the future, but overall it was just getting back to my original mindset. I was just trying to do a little too much at first, giving a little too much credit to the hitters. Once we got things back to the basics it got pretty simple after that and just attacking with every pitch.

I also asked if he had an innings limit for the 2016 season and he mentioned that they haven’t discussed it this season, but at instructs last year they mentioned 120 to him. That’s enough to probably get him through the entire season this year, so maybe things will ramp down later in the year, but it appears that he’s expected to be able to handle a full season workload for A-ball.

Here’s some video from spring training that shows some of the mechanics and stuff that he’s been working on.

While in spring training I pegged Narciso Crook as a potential breakout prospect for the 2016 season. In the 2016 opener for the Dayton Dragons the 20-year-old got out to a nice start, going 2-4 with a double. On Wednesday in Dayton I spoke with him about some of the changes he had been making that helped him make progress last year, where his OPS rose over 200 points in the final two months compared to the first three months of the season.


There were some mental adjustments, but mostly it was just a matter of getting my foot down on time. I was getting my foot down real late, which wasn’t allowing me to see the ball. Getting my foot down early, working on my mental approach, that was pretty much my goal during the offseason.

Looking back at video from April 2015 and March 2016, he’s changed up what he’s doing with his front foot, though that change did take place last year. When the season began in 2015 he made a small lift with his front foot, then set it down. That’s changed now. While he still lifts his front foot, it’s no more than an inch off of the ground as he strides forward before setting it down, when it used to beĀ  a few inches higher (though it was never a high lift to begin with).

Nick Travieso had a fine Double-A debut last night for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, tossing five shutout innings with two walks and five strikeouts. The right hander showed strong control with his fastball on the night, as he usually does. He was able to work all four quadrants of the zone with the pitch, while working in the 92-94 MPH range and touching 97 MPH.

Tanner Rainey started for the Dayton Dragons in their opener last night. Things could have gone better, allowing two runs in three innings of work with a walk and four strikeouts in the loss to Bowling Green. What was good in the start for Rainey was his fastball velocity, which was sitting at 93-94 MPH for the game.