Bakersfield tied their game against Inland Empire in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI double by Bryson Smith before losing 6-5 in ten innings at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Smith led the way offensively by going 3-5 with three RBI. He got the Blaze scoring started with a two run homer in the bottom of the first. Devin Lohman and Theo Bowe also added two hits each. Chad Rogers went 6+ innings while allowing four and Daniel Wolford pitched the tenth and allowed the game winner.
Smith came into the Cincinnati organization when they selected the outfielder out of the University of Florida in the 34th round of last year’s draft. In 2009 he was picked by Cleveland in the 30th round out of Young Harris Junior College, but opted to play for the Gators instead. After enrolling there a finger injury hampered his first year where most of his action was at third base. He came back for a senior season and hit .328 as an outfielder. That year was interrupted when he missed 19 games after a DUI arrest. He made the most of a second chance and came back in time to hit .439 in the college world series to help his team to a runner-up finish.
Since going to work for the Reds Smith has hit and hit well. Last year in a partial season in the rookie leagues he put up a slash line of .368 AVG/.470 OB%/ .611 SLG. That was good enough to give him a pass on low-A and he started this season at Bakersfield. Last night he raised his average to .347 after 41 games. He’s also slugging .500 with 5 HR. He’s got an overall OB% of .434 with has been helped, oddly enough, by his knack for getting hit by pitches. Thus far he’s been plunked 17 times in 65 games.
Defensively nearly all of his action has been in center field where he’s committed three errors in 64 minor league games and gunned down three runners. His range factor per game ((PO+A)/G) is 1.68, which is low for a centerfielder.
Smith is now 23 years old, listed at 6’1”/195#, and uses his right hand to bat and throw. He’s really been on a tear the past ten games going 16-35 with an OB% of .500. At the plate he doesn’t walk much, drawing 10 free passes in 159 plate appearances this season. However, walk frequency isn’t as important with players sporting such a gaudy batting average. He also makes good contact, fanning only once per every 7.6 plate appearances on average. The way he’s hit since turning pro hints that the Reds might have found a diamond in the rough with their late round pick. If he keeps it up, he’s going to play somewhere and that will likely be in the higher levels of the Reds organization.
Other News from the Farm:
Indianapolis hung up seven in the ninth to win 9-5 at Louisville. Neftali Soto led the Bats offensively by going 2-3 with a walk and his sixth home run. Chad Reineke had a fine outing and left the game with a lead after allowing only one run on five hits over seven innings. Travis Webb started the ninth and took his third loss.
Pensacola scored four in the eight to notch a comeback win by a score of 7-5 over visiting Mississippi. Andrew Means went 3-4 with a three-run homer to raise his average to .345 since his promotion from Bakersfield. One the mound Tim Crabbe has some control issues and was lifted in the third after allowing three runs on four hits and four walks. Mark Serrano pitched the top of the eighth to get his fourth win. Donnie Joseph struck out two in a scoreless ninth for his twelfth save.
Billy Hamilton Theft Watch:
Hamilton reached on an error in the first yesterday and proceeded to turn that into another double-steal inning by swiping second and then third before scoring on Smith’s homer. He walked in the fourth, but did not have an empty base in front of him. He singled in the ninth and was awarded second base from a balk before he was gunned down at the plate when the next batter singled.
Hamilton now has 49 steals in 46 games.
Dayton won their second in a row in their series at West Michigan by scoring all their runs in the last three innings to finish the game 6-3. Kyle Waldrop went 3-4 with a home run. Leadoff hitter Juan Perez was 3-5 with two RBI. Ryan Wright and Sean Buckley also added two hits each. Stalin Gerson put up a quality start by allowing three runs on nine hits over seven innings. He lasted long enough to get his third win and Carlos Contreras closed it down with his fourth save.