C.J. McElroy has been hitting the ball extremely well since the month of April ended. In the 33 games he’s played in since May began, the center fielder has hit .307/.377/.446 for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. He’s stolen eight bases and walked 10 times in 117 plate appearances over that time frame. On Wednesday night though, he left the game in Pensacola in the 1st inning after making an incredible catch. The outfielder caught the ball, but slammed into the wall – almost diving/falling into the wall as he caught it. After about four minutes he was able to get up after being checked on by the trainer and the entire team that was on the field. He walked off of the field under his own power.
Seth Varner is cruising for Pensacola on the mound
Last night saw left-handed pitcher Seth Varner get the start for the Blue Wahoos. He allowed a run in 6.2 innings with one walk and with nine strikeouts. That was more of the same for the Ohio native. He dropped his ERA on the year to 2.42 in 13 games. That’s been split between the bullpen and the rotation. He made one start in Daytona to begin the year, but his other 12 games have all come with Double-A Pensacola. The most recent four of those were starts.
The 26-year-old lefty has walked just nine batters all season, and one of those was intentional. He’s also struck out 46 this year between his two stops. Control and pounding the strikezone has long been the calling card for Seth Varner. In 2015 he set a record for best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the Reds organization going back at least 30 years when he had just 11 walks to go with 134 strikeouts.
Coming Stateside for rookie ball?
One of the most interesting things each June is seeing which players make the trip to the United States from the Dominican Summer League Reds, or even some guys who have never played before but are coming stateside to start their careers. While the rosters aren’t out for any of the three rookie league teams, some roster moves are being made – at least on paper, that give us a hint as to who could be in Goodyear.
There was one name on the roster transactions yesterday that jumped out. Claudio Finol was transferred from the AZL Reds to the Greeneville Reds. Now, that does not mean that he will be in Greeneville when their season begins next week. It also doesn’t mean that he won’t be. It’s just a move made on paper right now, perhaps for roster management purposes. But, after playing last season in the Dominican Summer League, he’s now having his spot on the rosters here in the US. And with how he performed last season as a 17-year-old, it’s not surprising that he would come over. He hit .300/.380/.405 with more walks, 23, than strikeouts, 19, in 232 plate appearances.
For now, that’s the only name that was in the Dominican Summer League last year. But, there are several notable players that have not been playing in the Dominican this year that did last season. It’s likely that they will be in Goodyear for when the AZL Reds season begins. Cristian Olivo, Debby Santana, Carlos Reina (who was in Goodyear for spring training), Jeison Rijo, Peterson Plaz, Jean Graterol, Carlos Carreno, Eduardo Salazar, Jose Tello (in Goodyear for spring training), and Jose Valenzuela. Some of these guys could be injured and just haven’t played yet. But I’d guess that many of them will be with the Reds out in Arizona next week.
Reds sign free agent Jerry D’Andrea
The Cincinnati Reds have signed left handed pitcher Jerry D’Andrea out of Ramapo College. As an undrafted college senior he was eligible to sign as a free agent and the Reds picked him up. He went to the same school as Cory Heitler, who was taken by the organization in the 34th round. The Reds also took PJ Cerreto out of Ramapo College in 2013.
Jerry D’Andrea spent all four years of his college career at Ramapo. The first two years mostly came out of the bullpen. The final two seasons were spent in the rotation. Perhaps the wildest stat he posted was that he allowed just one home run in 188.1 innings pitched.