There’s a lot to cover in today’s Cincinnati Reds minor league notebook. We’ve got home runs, big time throws, more gushing over Andrew Abbott’s start to the year, roster moves, and some video.

Cam Collier homers again

Entering this past weekend Cam Collier had not homered this season. The Florida State League is notorious for suppressing power, so it’s not exactly shocking that some guys aren’t hitting a bunch of home runs out of the gate. Toss in that Collier was limited in his playing time over the first two weeks of the season and it’s really not surprising that he hadn’t hit a ball over the fence yet. That ended on Sunday in Daytona’s doubleheader when he crushed a ball the other way in Jackie Robinson Ballpark and kept it just fair down the left field line. He’d follow that up with a game winning, walk-off hit in game two of the doubleheader.

With the Tortugas on the road this week in Fort Myers, the 18-year-old didn’t waste much time picking up his first road home run of the season. With two men on in the 1st inning he turned on an 87 MPH change up and launched the ball 373 feet over the wall in right field.

The home run was Cam Collier’s 4th of his career. He hit two of them last season in nine games with the Arizona Complex League Reds. Both of those home runs were hit to center field. His first homer of 2023 was an opposite field shot. He’s now completed the trifecta by hitting one to his pull side.

One of the stranger things from his debut as a professional last year was that he didn’t have a batted ball to right field. The sample size was small, but of the 24 batted balls that Collier had in 2022, none of them made it to the outfield to his pull side. This season that hasn’t been the case. He’s still using the entire field, but batted balls are getting into right field this season.

What’s gotten into Hector Rodriguez?

When the Cincinnati Reds acquired Hector Rodriguez last summer the scouting reports on him were interesting. But most of them focused on his speed and his contact ability, both of which were considered above-average to plus. He’s still fast, but he hasn’t been quite as fast as he was last season. That could be understandable given that his season ended last year with a bad leg injury and he’s back on the field sooner than it seemed anyone expected him to be.

Rodriguez isn’t making nearly as much contact as he has in the past, either. Now it is worth noting that in the past he’s mostly been in rookie ball. He played in just 15 games in Single-A between his time with the Mets and Reds last year and he struck out 10 times in 55 plate appearances. That was a solid, but unspectacular strikeout rate. This season he’s struck out 14 times in 66 plate appearances. Again, that’s a solid but unspectacular strikeout rate.

What’s been interesting to see, though, has been his power output. In both 2021 and in 2022, Rodriguez hit three home runs. On Tuesday evening he hit his 4th home run of the season for Daytona. The 19-year-old already set a new career high for home runs and he did it in just 17 games.

He hit that ball at 104.8 MPH and it went 364 feet. That wasn’t the most impressive thing he did on the day. In the 6th inning he made a throw to the plate on a sacrifice fly that registered 98.4 MPH. That’s the second fastest throw in the league this season from a fielder.

Big time home runs. Laser, rocket arm. While Rodriguez hasn’t quite been doing what the scouting reports may have suggested last year, he’s doing impressive things in other areas right now. Development isn’t linear, as they say.

Andrew Abbott throws another gem

Left-handed pitcher Andrew Abbott was back on the mound on Tuesday. It was his second start in Triple-A with Louisville. The Bats hit the road this week to take on Omaha and Abbott had them chasing pitches instead of storms (they are the Omaha Storm Chasers…. this joke works better if you knew that)

Abbott would fire off 5.0 shutout innings on the day. He gave up just two hits and he walked two batters while striking out eight. It’s tough to say why he was pulled after just five frames given that he had thrown just 79 pitches – the fewest he’d thrown all year – but if one had to guess it may have been related to the fact that by the time the top of the 6th inning was completed it was 10-0 and there had been 29 minutes since the bottom of the 5th came to an end.

Through five starts this season – three with Chattanooga and two with Louisville – Andrew Abbott now has 51 strikeouts and just eight walks in 25.2 innings pitched. He’s allowed 11 hits and just four earned runs. Of course one of those hits and two of those runs shouldn’t count because an outfielder lost the ball in the lights while camped under the ball, only to have it land a few feet behind him in shallow right-center. Scorekeeping rules can be stupid at times but because they are the way that they are that goes down as a hit instead of an error. That would have been the third out of the inning, but instead it’s a hit and two runs scored on the play, which go down as earned.

With each time out for Luke Weaver and Luis Cessa it seems that Andrew Abbott gets closer and closer to getting the call to the big leagues. At some point the move is going to have to be made if he continues pitching well (and no, I don’t mean as well as he has to this point).

Returning to the field

Sal Stewart went 0-2 with three walks on Tuesday, April 25th. Then he didn’t play the rest of the week. He returned to the lineup with Daytona yesterday and started the game at third base.

The Dayton Dragons were rained out on Tuesday night. But earlier in the day they added right-handed pitcher Chase Petty, activating him from the injured list. The Reds 9th rated prospect has been on the injured list up to this point with an elbow issue that had the organization bringing him along slowly this spring. While he was activated on Tuesday he wasn’t scheduled to start. When he’ll make his season debut has not yet been announced.

11 Responses

  1. Matt

    “With each time out for Luke Weaver and Luis Cessa it seems that Andrew Abbott gets closer and closer to getting the call to the big leagues.” – Pretty much my exact comment on the game review article. I don’t think it’s going to take Abbott many more starts to get the call.

  2. Doc

    A ball lost in the sun or the lights has been a hit since time immemorial. Abbott is not the first, nor will he be the last to be charged with earned runs because of it, yet you mention it seemingly every time you mention Abbott. Get over it.

    • Doug Gray

      Calm down there big fella. Just because something has always been doesn’t mean it’s not ridiculously stupid. And this is a ridiculously stupid rule. A routine play should have been made. But it wasn’t.

      • Jay (mortchristenson)

        It’s actually a bit of both of you being right. And wrong I guess.

        An error is a play that the fielder should have made. The ball being hit in a way and place that is normally a routine play screams error.

        A hit is a play a fielder would not reasonably have made. A ball the fielder couldn’t see and could not reasonably make screams hit.

        It’s actually unfair to give an error to the fielder and it’s unfair to charge Abbott with earned runs. Just one of those odd situations that the rules have to be unfair to one or the other.

      • DW

        I actually appreciate you mentioning it Doug. It brings a little more perspective to just how good he has been.

    • Stock

      There is no way this should have been an error.

      A batter hits a well placed IFFB and because of the shift the ball is not caught, hits the chalk and falls in for a base hit. No chance this would be considered anything but a hit. The pitcher did a great job getting him to pop it up but any runs that score because of this are earned. Those are the rules and the rules are fair and consistent.

      A batter hits a soft fly ball and the CF needs to step in 3 feet to make the catch. But the ball is hit perfectly right into the sun and the player can’t see it. It falls to the ground untouched. Again a hit. Again any runs resulting from this are earned.

      A well placed batted ball, whatever the reason is a hit. It doesn’t matter if it matches the two situations above, a check swing, a Texas leaguer, or a swinging bunt. These things happen.

      I see Doc’s point. Doug has mentioned this at least 3-4 times. I see Doug’s point. He wants to make sure the not so regular readers understand that Abbott is pitching better than his already amazing ERA indicates.

      • marc A slemp

        I’m sorry gang but I respectively totally disagree when a player. Does not make what is. Supposed to be a regular play .OK if that would have been a grounder OK and he misplayed it odds are he would have been given an error most of the time correct but because it was a fly ball. He was not given what he should been. The fact is he failed to make the play on a routine play HENCE I say. ERROR PLAIN AND simple

    • Chris

      You may be missing the point. Were it not for a shallow fly which is usually an out, his numbers would look even better. With a small sample size, that sun-fly and run caused by it, make his numbers look so much worse than they really are. So yes, it’s a valid point when arguing the crazy success of Abbott’s season thus far.

  3. MBS

    Very happy that Petty is back. He was my favorite pitching prospect we had coming into 23, but clearly Abbott has displaced him as my #1. Abbott is killing it! I wonder who get the 1st call up between CES, Abbott, and McLain.


    Doug, do you have a email that I could send some pics to?
    I just finished my 2024 Semi with a lot of Reds mural’s. All the way around the truck is baseball stitching. Every year they was world Champs and my personal favorite Mr Red Baseball with GO REDS.
    All the money I saved when I quit attending games went into it lol.
    Hope I’m good on any copy rights.
    Like to share a picture with other REDS Fans.
    You have my email thru this posting or Patreon.