The first thing you need to know about The Fish Watch is that it’s not a list of sleepers. It is instead a list of players at various points in their respective minor league journeys that for one reason or another have piqued my interest enough that I am watching their development more closely than the bulk of prospects out there. To read more about this project, check out the introduction and master list.
Obviously since the season is over and some teams have had two updates, some have only had one and the NL West teams have had zero coverage thus far, this project did not work out as I had planned on many levels. Undeterred I’m going to sally forth and finish off this round of updates and call it good. Next season if I attempt this again I’m going to have to make some major changes to the structure, plan and concept of this series.
Feel free to check out the category archive to read previous installments of the series.
Cincinnati Reds (S2S 2012 Reds Team Prospect List)
3B – David Vidal (22) – Reds 2010 8th Round Pick
2011 – Dayton (A): 0.280/.350/.498, 37 2B, 1 3B, 20 HR, 3 SB, 44 BB and 111 SO in 514 PA
2012 – Bakersfield (A+): 0.281/.358/.512, 7 2B, 0 3B, 7 HR, 3 SB, 13 BB and 26 SO in 137 PA
2012 – Pensacola (AA): 0.230/.294/.397, 21 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 0 SB, 28 BB and 90 SO in 377 PA
Vidal’s time in Bakersfield to start the season was nearly a mirror image to what he did with Dayton in the 2011 with the added bonus that he shaved 2.6% off his strikeout rate and added 0.9% to his walk rate. Obviously the move to the Cal league facilitated his ability to hold serve in terms of his slash stats but regardless he handled the step up with aplomb.
The jump to the Southern League in mid-May proved to be a much stiffer challenge however. Vidal failed to match his Bakersfield slash stats in any single month topping out with a 0.275/.327/.407 line during the month of June. The rest of his time with Pensacola he hit below 0.240 and closed the year in a 3-44 slide. His walk (7.4%) and strikeout (23.9%) rates both regressed past where they were with Daytona but that’s more of a setback than a red flag. One thing Vidal did show off in Double-A was his above-average to plus defensive ability.
LHP – Tony Cingrani (23) – Reds 2011 3rd Round Pick
2011 – Billings (Rk): 1.75 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 35 H, 6 BB and 80 SO in 51.1 IP
2012 – Bakersfield (A+): 1.11 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 39 H, 13 BB and 71 SO in 56.2 IP
2012 – Pensacola (AA): 2.12 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 59 H, 39 BB and 101 SO in 89.1 IP
2012 – Cincinnati (MLB): 3.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 1 H, 0 BB and 5 SO in 3.0 IP
Cingrani captured a lot of attention with his standout performance in the Pioneer League last year, but most rightfully viewed his future with a healthy dose of skepticism. There was plenty of concern that he wouldn’t be able to hold up against more advanced competition but Cingrani blew those concerns out of the water by cutting a swath through the ranks of Cal League hitters. Only once in his 10 starts with Bakersfield did he allow more than one earned run and in that particular 5.1 inning outing he gave up just two.
Obviously not challenged enough by what was already an aggressive assignment, the Reds moved him up to Pensacola where his BB/9 jumped to 3.9 but he continued to strike out more than 10 hitters per nine. More impressively he dropped his hit rate from 6.2 in High-A to a 5.9 H/9 with Double-A.
In the end his fantastic minor league season landed him in the Reds bullpen and on September 9th, just 15 months after being drafted out of Rice University, Cingrani made his major league debut. He allowed an earned run in his 3.0 innings of work with Cincinnati but struck out five and allowed just one hit. It was par for the course for the young lefty who turned in a season to remember while making his meteoric rise from rookie ball to the bigs. Oh, and those skeptics? I’d venture to guess they will be much tougher to find heading into 2013.
RHP – James Allen (22) – Reds 2011 7th Round Pick
2011 – Billings (Rk): 1.26 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 21 H, 5 BB and 39 SO in 28.2 IP
2012 – Dayton (A): 3.72 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 99 H, 32 BB and 95 SO in 113.2 IP
2012 – Louisville (AAA): 12.00 ERA, 3.67 WHIP, 8 H, 3 BB and 1 SO in 3.0 IP
Cingrani wasn’t the only standout pitcher last season with the Billings Mustangs. Reliever James Allen was right there with him finishing last season with a fantastic 7.80 SO/BB in 22 appearances. This season, Allen wasn’t pushed quite as aggressively nor did he generate the fantastic results that his former teammate did. However he did pitch to a 3.40 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in his first 50.1 innings on the season in a relief role.
On July 3rd, Allen made the first of 11 starts with the Dragons and remained in that role until he made his one relief appearance with Louisville at the end of the year. As a member of the Dayton rotation he had a 3.98 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9 and 7.7 SO/9. While his ERA was slightly more than a half run higher, the rest of his numbers took a positive turn. That improvement comes as a mild surprise as Allen has survived primarily on a fastball-slider combo in a relief role since his days at Kansas State.
It will be interesting to see if the organization decides to keep Allen in the rotation beyond this year, but it wouldn’t be the first time they successfully converted a college closer into a starter. Cingrani himself was a closer in his college days.
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