Vidal on the Rise at Pensacola

David Vidal entered the Cincinnati organization from a top-10 round pick in 2008 and has hit well in the lower levels of the Reds system since. He started out well at Bakersfield this season until he started facing higher level pitching after a promotion to AA. He went 5-7 in a doubleheader Friday to raise his average to .255 and had two homers raise his total to sixteen on the year overall.

Pensacola made up for a rainout on Thursday by splitting a doubleheader at Mobile yesterday. The Wahoos did not score after the first inning in a 4-1 loss in the first game. Donald Lutz and David Vidal had two hits each for the fish. Kyle Lotzkar got the start and allowed three runs on two hits and two walks in four innings for the loss.

They came back in the second game to take an early lead and cruise to a 10-2 win. Vidal and Lutz led the way again along with Beau Mills. All three had three hits and Brodie Greene added two. The Wahoos broke the game open on a three run home run by Vidal in the third to open a 7-0 lead. They added on the next inning from a two-run homer by Mills. Vidal then came back with a second long ball and capped off the Wahoo scoring with a solo shot in the seventh. Mark Serrano pitched 5+ innings of the DH-shortened game and allowed only one run on five hits while striking out seven to notch the win.

It was a very productive day for Vidal who went 5-7 with two home runs and four RBI. He started off this season strong at Bakersfield by hitting .281/.358 OB% with seven home runs and 21 RBI which earned him a promotion to Pensacola after 35 games. Upon arriving in the Southern League there were some challenges with higher-level pitching, but now he's back on track and up to .255 with nine homers in 82 AA games.

There were some analysts that rated Vidal in their top 20 list of Reds prospects before this season. He came into the Cincinnati organization from an eighth round selection in the 2008 draft out of Miami Dade South Community College. He had to forego extending his collegiate career at Florida International to sign a contract with the Reds. Since then he's hit at every stop. Most of his 2010 season was in Arizona where he batted .297 before short appearances at Billings and Dayton. He started out last year at Dayton and hit .280 with 20HR/85 RBI. He passed the test at Bakersfield this year and things are getting better at Pensacola.

Vidal stands 5'11"/185# and bats/throws right-handed. While in junior college he had some action behind the plate, but has been used almost exclusively at third base in the minor leagues. He's developed a reputation as a good defender and has a fielding percentage of .983 while maintaining a range factor over 2.1.

Vidal will turn 23 years old in October. Before this season there were some concerns over his plate discipline. His career walk rate is not too bad, around 8%. However last year at Dayton he struck out in 111 of 514 plate appearances (22%). That rate has stayed the same in 2012 and remains an area for improvement. He did have a slugging percentage last season and at high-A this year around .500 to help justify the K frequency. At Pensacola thus far it's at .424 and hopefully on the rise.

Historically the hot corner has frequently been a problem for the Reds. Even in their heyday of the Big Red Machine, Pete Rose did not take over the position until midseason 1975 and left after 1978. More recently Edwin Encarnacion had a few good offensive years, but his glove eventually moved him across the diamond to first base with Toronto and he frequently plays in his natural position of DH. Todd Frazier is making a case for himself for NL Rookie of the Year and will likely settle in there after playing multiple positions this season. Meanwhile a reduction in strikeouts would really add to Vidal's case for a shot at the hot corner somewhere, someday.

Other News from the Farm:

Louisville was shut out 2-0 at Charlotte. Neftali Soto had three of the Bats' seven hits. Kanekoa Texeira had his second start of the season and threw five shutout innings allowing only one hit and two walks. Will Ohman allowed a run in the sixth inning and took the loss.

Billy Hamilton Theft Watch:

In Pensacola's first game Hamilton singled in the second inning and stole second. He led off the second game with a bunt single and took second on an errant pickoff attempt. He's now within three of the minor league record with 142 steals in 117 games.

Bakersfield fell behind by six and came up short in their comeback attempt in an 11-10 Cali League slugfest. Steve Selsky went 4-4 with four RBI and a two-run homer in the first inning to raise his average to .351 since his promotion. Travis Mattair had three hits while Theo Bowe, Devin Lohman, and Chris Berset added two each. Daniel Renken did not make it out of the third inning and was charged with nine runs (eight earned) for the loss.

Dayton scored three in the seventh to cut their deficit to one before Lake County won 5-3 at Fifth Third Field. The Dragons were held to four hits on the evening. Robert Stephenson got the start and allowed only one run on two hits in five innings, but that was enough to charge him with the loss.

Billings lost their shutout against visiting Ogden when they allowed five in the sixth and eventually lost the game 11-3. Carlos Sanchez had three hits for the Mustangs and Zachary Vincej added two to raise his average to .424 in nineteen games. Amir Garret got his second start with Billings and threw three shutout innings allowing only one hit and one walk with three strikeouts. Joel Bender relieved him with four runs in 2+ innings for the loss.

The AZL Reds were idle and will travel to the AZL Diamondbacks Saturday.

The DSL Reds scored five in the third inning in a 6-4 home win over the DSL Padres. Kevin Garcia had two hits and two RBI for the Reds. Yonatan Suero also had two hits and score twice. Jairo Martinez entered in the fourth and threw three shutout innings for the loss. Carlos Patino did not allow a run over the last 3+ innings for the save.

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