On Friday night Connor Phillips took the mound in Fort Wayne and put together one of the best starts of his career and certainly the best one since he joined the Cincinnati Reds organization just before the start of the 2022 season. The 20-year-old threw 6.0 shutout innings while allowing just three hits. Phillips didn’t walk a single batter and he struck out 10 batters, including 8 of the final 11 hitters he faced in the game.

Phillips was working at the top end of his velocity on the night. In the first five innings of the game he was sitting 96-98 MPH with the pitch. In the final inning for the righty his velocity did dip a little bit, sitting more in the 95-96 range, though he hit 97 a few times. His slider kept hitters guessing all night, and they guessed wrong a lot. He threw 91 pitches in the game with 19 swinging strikes – a season high. Phillips ERA dropped to 3.60 through his 20.0 innings this season. He’s given up just 11 hits, but has walked 12 batters while striking out 31 of the 80 that he’s faced this year.

TJ Hopkins keeps on hitting

No one in the organization has gotten out to a better start at the plate than TJ Hopkins. The outfielder is back in Double-A Chattanooga after playing in 74 games with the Lookouts last year and he’s playing like he wants to get out of Tennessee in a hurry. Last night he hit his 5th home run of the season and drove in four runs. That has boosted his line to .312/.421/.639 with 5 doubles, 5 home runs, 5 steals, and 19 RBI in 17 games to start the year.

Injury Updates

A few guys are missing in action that were expected to be in full-season ball when the season began. Christian Roa, the Reds 10th rated prospect, is getting close to returning. He’s been throwing out in Arizona and is expected to be back in a mid-to-late May. Tyler Callihan, the 15th rated prospect injured his hand at the end of spring training. He’s been swinging the bat, but isn’t quite ready yet for games. Ivan Johnson, the team’s 22nd rated prospect, had a hamate injury. He’s expected to be back in a couple of weeks. Jackson Miller, the team’s 2nd round pick from the 2020 draft, is recovering from hernia surgery. He’s struggled to stay healthy since signing, having played in just three games in 2021. It’s not expected for him to see the field until later in the summer

14 Responses

  1. Shawn

    Glad to see some of these guys are about to be back on the field. Any news on Yerlin Confidan or Jose Torres? Torres was back for one game but out again today

    • Doug Gray

      Confidan tweaked something in his leg the other day. Not enough to make a move and he’s been going through pre-game stuff. Torres tweaked something the other day. Nothing serious – he played last night. Can’t say for sure why he’s not in the lineup today, but I asked about him yesterday and that’s what I was told.

  2. MK

    Jackson Miller was assigned to Daytona two days ago, but still on disabled list

  3. Bdh

    Thompson has hit the ground running after his promotion to Dayton. The lineup they can throw at teams in A+ ball just isn’t fair.

    CF – Thompson
    2B – Torres
    SS – De La Cruz
    1B – McGary
    RF – Cerda
    DH – Hinds
    C – Nelson
    3B – Martinez/Quintana
    LF – Creal

    Then a rotation with
    Abbott
    Phillips
    Boyle
    Bonnin

    Then who else gets assigned there when healthy? Any of Johnson, Vellojin, Callihan or Roa?Good lord!

  4. DaveCT

    Wow, Randy Wynn had himself a nice game today with Louisville. I must admit, when it was speculated he might take a ML rotation spot filling in soon, i hedged. But if the guy is currently throwing well, why not?

  5. DaveCT

    JT (Justice) Thompson has moved into my sleeper list, though as a 6th round pick from North Carolina and rated #96 in the 2021 draft he really shouldn’t be. He is listed at BA as 6’4″ 205, with plus plus speed and plus defense in CF. His report cited his height and long arms as being of swing and miss concern, but yet another exciting athlete in the system. He sounds like Drew Stubbs to me, which isn’t bad value in the 6th round of the draft.

  6. Rhaye

    I just got back from the Dayton/Fort Wayne game. Incredibly impressed with some of the young guys on the team.

    1. Elly de la Cruz is a DUDE. His bat speed is insane, every time he made solid contact it was just different. Unfortunately, I absolutely can see the issues he has with pitch selection and chasing. He’s going to get punished at higher levels if he doesn’t improve his selection/eye, and some of the more advanced single-a guys are even starting to do it.

    2. Justice Thompson is legit. 3/4, absolutely dominated the opposing pitchers. The Tincaps starter was a lefty sitting 89-91 and he just couldn’t get Thompson out. He struck him out on a questionable 3rd strike call in the first, but Thompson adjusted to the zone and absolutely raked the rest of the game. He did get into it a bit with the ump after his strikeout, and he was hit by a pitch later in the game that had me worried for a second that he was going to charge the mound, but it looked like he just turned that irritation/frustration/anger into drive. He also made some good plays in the outfield.

    3. McGarry is a guy that I think is going to be rated by prospect sites next year/midseason. He made solid contact, laid off bad pitches, had great bat control and bat speed. Former UDFA from 2020. I think he hit a ball that almost left the stadium at one point (forget if it was foul or not). I’m not sure if that’s normal for him or not, but he’s a guy that I think has a shot for sure. I was worried that he wouldn’t be able to handle pitchers that could throw harder, but the Tincaps brought in a dude who was throwing heat (think it was 93-96) and he didn’t seem like he was struggling to pick the ball up or time it. Also had a couple good picks at first from underthrown balls.

    4. Cerda was good. He made solid contact the entire game and drove the ball. Only went 1/3 with a walk but I never felt like he was overmatched.

    5. Starting catcher Garrett Wolforth’s first few innings made me go, “Who is this guy???” He put together some really solid at-bats and threw a runner out. Unfortunately, once he started hitting from the left side (he’s a switch hitter and the starter was a lefty), his swings looked a lot worse. It looked like he was swinging for the fences from that side every at-bat, which led to some bad misses on pitches he had timed. Seemed like a good dude though, was interacting with the kids and had teammates talking to him all game.

    6. Starting pitcher James Marinan was… interesting. He’s definitely got some good stuff, with a fastball that hit 96 but sat 91-94 most of the game. He had 2 breaking pitches and a changeup it looked like? The breaking ball that was around 78-80 looked like his best one, it got a lot of dudes chasing. He had some issues with control and was pretty consistently into bad counts/full counts. I wonder if he can be converted to a fastball/breaking ball reliever and rushed through the minors if the Reds think he can’t start?

    7. Robert Hassell III from the Tincaps was the best player on the field. He has insane bat control, a phenomenal eye, and a ton of power. Fangraphs has him at a 50 FV right now, but I think he’s a future star based off this game. It’s not just the outcome of his at-bats, it was how he approached each one. He clearly had a plan going into them and was able to execute on it. If I were the Reds and trading Luis Castillo to the Padres, I’d demand him in the trade no matter what.

    8. Josh Mears was interesting. He was good in CF defensively, and clearly had a ton of power (he hit two foul balls that were home runs if they were fair). With that said, he struck out 3 times with no hits. He timed the ball well consistently throughout the game but kept swinging just under it and fouling it back. I’m not sure what to think about him. On one hand, if he was an inch higher on any of the pitches he had timed and swung under they would’ve left the park; on the other… he wasn’t an inch higher. Feels like a guy I’d need to see more of to get a feel on.

    Overall, had a ton of fun. The Dragons players were talking to the kids in the stands before the game, even tho they were from the away team. I didn’t see any of the Tincaps do that, which seemed odd (but there was a rain delay that caused them to redo their stretches in the outfield prior to the game, so they may have just been more focused on that).

    • Shawn

      I talked with Kyle Boddy on Twitter. I asked about Nelson and Vellojin but he spent most of his time talking about Wolforth. Said he was one of the best defensive catchers in the system and was great with the pitchers. Said he begged management to keep him behind the plate. Said he was a lot higher in him than management was tho. Christian Roa liked his tweet so he seemed to agree.