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.