Last night at the Futures Game Taylor Trammell was going for his second straight Most Valuable Player Award at the event. And the outfield prospect probably would have won it, and the game, had replay been available during the game. In a scoreless game, the Reds top prospect lined a soft single over the shortstops head to drive in the first run of the game. Later in the inning he was standing on third base with a left-handed pitcher on the mound. The pitcher was not keeping an eye on him at all, and he took off for the plate. He slid head first on a bang-bang play at the plate and the umpire called him out. Replay, though, showed that he was safe. Alas, there was no replay option in the game and the call went unchanged.

That run that wasn’t turned out to be quite important as it would have made it a 3-0 game for the National League. Instead the game remained 2-0, and it stayed there until there was only 1 out remaining in the game. That’s when the American League’s Sam Huff hit a game tying 2-run home run and sent the game into extra innings. And that 2-2 score is where the game ended after an inning of additional play.

Sal Romano back to starting, dominating early

This season hasn’t been what Sal Romano expected it to be. After spending the previous year-and-a-half in the Major Leagues as a starting pitcher, the Reds trades in the offseason pushed him out of the rotation and into competition for the bullpen. The right-handed pitcher lost out on a battle in spring training for one of the relief roles and headed to Triple-A. With the Bats he joined the bullpen, and he spent nearly the entire first half there.

Things hadn’t gone well as a reliever. Opponents hit .337/.405/.497 against him and his ERA was 5.95. He struck out 40 of the 200 batters he had faced, and walked 19 of them. His BABIP was an absurdly high .415, and that does explain a lot of the struggles.

When July began, Sal Romano moved into the rotation for Louisville. Things almost couldn’t have gone better. He threw 4.0 nearly perfect innings. The only runner that reached base got on via an error, and Romano struck out 5 batters. To wrap up the Bats first half yesterday, the righty threw 4.0 innings and once again allowed just one base runner. A single was all that he allowed, and he once again struck out 5 batters.

The sample size is incredibly small, just two starts and just 8.0 innings. But those 8.0 innings have been nearly perfect. And they’ve seen absolutely dominant pitching from Sal Romano – who is showing the same velocity that he had out of the bullpen this season.

Ibandel Isabel’s power continues to impress

In early June, Ibandel Isabel went on the injured list for the Chattanooga Lookouts. At the time he was leading the Southern League with 14 home runs. But he missed the next two-and-a-half weeks. When he returned he was still hanging on to the league lead in homers. But maybe he felt like making up for missed time. He’s played 17 games since his return and he’s gone off – hitting eight home runs over that span, including another one on Sunday. He’s slugging .657 since his return, and that’s helped push his slugging percentage up to .533 on the season.

Allan Cerda keeps going for Greeneville

In late June I made the trip to Greeneville to see the Reds play a handful of games and get some eyes on many players for the first time. One of the guys who stood out was Allan Cerda, who probably had the best four game stretch of his life while I was there. He hit four home runs and drove in 11 runs while hitting .467/.529/1.267 over 17 plate appearances.

It was early in the season – the Greeneville Reds are a short-season rookie level team and didn’t begin play until June 18th. Through the first 10 games, making up their entire June schedule, the 19-year-old outfielder hadn’t drawn a walk yet. The power was showing up in a big way, though.

That’s changed a bit in July. The average is down a bit, though he’s still hitting a solid .269. And the slugging is down a bit, too, but he’s still slugging an impressive .538. Where the big change has come is that he’s drawn a walk in six of the seven games played in the month, giving him a .406 on-base percentage through the first week of play during July.

There’s still some swing-and-miss, he’s struck out 11 times in 32 plate appearances during the month, and 25 times overall in just 72 trips to the plate this season. That’s a rate that will have to come down in the long run for Allan Cerda. But it seems like he’s starting to see the ball better and understand the strikezone a little bit better than he showed over the first two weeks of the year.

22 Responses

  1. MK

    Doug if a runnr reached base then it wasn’t perfect no matter how he reached.

  2. Matthew O'Neal

    I know he strikes out a bunch, but i kind of wanna see Ibandel promoted to AAA just to see what he does with the “juiced baseball”

  3. redwolf

    The point Doug is making I believe is that he is pitching a lot better his last 2 times out. I do not think we need to get into semantics. The fact that he has thrown 8 innings and only allowed 1 hit and no walks is a very good sign.

    • Doc

      What Doug said was exactly correct. Nearly perfect is almost, but not quite perfect. It’s not semantics; it’s plain English and a proper use of an adjective. If I run a 220 dash race and finish a nose behind, saying that I nearly won is perfectly accurate, and is not the same as saying I won.

  4. Cguy

    Congrats to Lucas Sims for being named the IL pitcher of the week 7/1-7/7. With Sims, Romano, & Alex Wood in the rotation maybe the Bats pitching won’t stink as bad this month.

  5. Bromleyjake

    And again I ask, what prevents Trammell from getting a shot in spring training and joining the Big League team next year ala Nick Senzel. Average is slumping but he is getting on base and mature at the plate. He would probably be just as good in Center as Nick, allowing Nick to replace Scooter. This guy is a star, and if his approach at the plate is developed enough, I say fast track him.

    • Doug Gray

      Nothing prevents it, but Nick Senzel was significantly better, more advanced, ready, than Taylor Trammell is at this point. First, Nick Senzel KILLED Double-A. And he had Triple-A experience before they moved to the MLB baseball where he also crushed it, before he got his chance in 2019 spring training.

      Trammell, on the other side, is having a solid, but very unspectacular season right now in Double-A. There’s nothing wrong with that. He’s a 21-year-old in Double-A and he’s more than holding his own. But there’s a reason he hasn’t been fast tracked: he’s still learning and figuring plenty of things out against Double-A pitchers. He’s just not ready yet.

      • Doug Gray

        It makes a huge difference. But the point was pretty simple: Nick was a lot better when he got his chance to compete for a job in the Majors than Taylor Trammell is right now, which is what the poster was positing.

        If the question is, and it was, why can’t Trammell do what Senzel did, that’s why. Or at least it appears to be why. Taylor’s the kind of athlete that if it clicks, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he was ready in an instant. But right now, it’s not there. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

      • Doug Gray

        There’s a lot to learn in Triple-A for players. Just because the ball travels further now doesn’t mean they know how to handle a guy who can locate two offspeed pitches where they want them. That’s usually only something you’re going to see in AAA and the Majors, at least on any sort of consistent basis. You’ll get premium velo in Double-A, and some guys can even locate it for the first time with consistency. Guys have better raw, pure stuff in Double-A. But guys in Triple-A know how to pitch better, and they can exploit weaknesses better. Very, very few players can skip Triple-A.

      • Billy

        Doug, I like the way you lay out the differences between pitching in AA, AAA, and the majors. Do players with advanced plate discipline skills (like Trammell) tend to handle the change to more advanced pitching better? In other words, would an elite prospect be more likely to skip AAA if strong discipline (vs. something else, like say, power) were among his strongest assets?

      • Doug Gray

        They would likely handle the promotion better, yes.

  6. Tyler Brackett

    Is Rece Hinds hurt or do they not want him playing

    • Doug Gray

      He’s injured, but they aren’t being very specific about what’s going on. I’m very surprised he hasn’t played recently because when I was in Greeneville at the end of June he was getting back into BP and some field work. It’s been more than a week since then and he still hasn’t played. It’s possible whatever was bothering him acted back up/was aggravated.

  7. Mike

    Off topic, but for those of you who understand defensive WAR values…how does Eric Davis have negative defensive value even during his prime? I’m so biased(my fav Red ever) I can’t look at this objectively

    • Doug Gray

      Here’s my take: Defensive WAR sucks. Defensive WAR from before they were using Revised Zone Rating (which I believe was 2002) REALLY SUCKS because it’s based on nothing other than play by play data and assumptions and it’s trash and I’m not even going to begin hearing any other opinions on it.

      Flat out, even today, at least publicly available data, defensive metrics are fringy at best and nowhere near as accurate as pitching or hitting metrics are.

      So, Mike, my advice: pay no attention to old defensive “value”. It sucks and it isn’t all too reliable in any sort of way. Even today, use it as a guide – and if the numbers don’t jive with what the scouts are rating guys as defensively, look deeper because there’s probably a reason why.

      • Mike

        So what do we do with someone like Kenny Lofton and the HOF, he was slightly above average with the bat but his defense puts him into the HOF discussion?

      • Oldtimer

        Hall of Famer (Bill) Mazeroski was noted for his defensive prowess and earned his first of eight Gold Glove Awards in 1958. He had a career .983 fielding percentage, led the National League in assists nine times, and holds the MLB record for double plays by a second baseman. Baseball analyst Bill James has written that, “Bill Mazeroski’s defensive statistics are probably the most impressive of any player at any position”. In 2015, Bill James updated his fielding metrics; Fox Sports said of his second basemen results: “Bill Mazeroski isn’t just atop the list of second basemen with at least 1,000 games at second base; he dominates the list.”

      • Doug Gray

        Kenny Lofton is a Hall of Famer in my book. It’s a dirty shame and embarrassment that he fell off of the ballot in one year because of stupid rules set forth by the Hall of Fame on how many players you are allowed to vote for.