Nine Prospects Selected as All Stars

Winker Led Team to HR Derby Win

The All-Star season is starting in the minor leagues and Cincinnati had seven single A players selected for to represent the Midwest and California Leagues. Dayton hosted the Midwest League event and had five players selected on the East squad. Bakersfield had two pitchers named to the Cali League team.

Dayton's Fifth Third Field was the site of the Midwest League All Star Game last night. Seven Dayton Dragons were selected to play on the East team which got a walk-off single in the ninth inning to win 6-5. Prior to the contest Dragon Jesse Winker led the East team to a win in the home run derby. Winker and Zack Vincej were in the starting lineup for the East and five Dayton pitchers were selected as well: Robert Stephenson, Alejandro Chacin, Ben Klimesh, Sean Lucas, and Sal Romano. All players participated except for Stephenson who is on DL with a strained hamstring. The East squad was coached by the Dayton staff.

After a slow start in his first full professional season Vincej's bat was red hot coming into the break, stroking fourteen hits in his last 33 at-bats (.424) and getting on base at a .548 clip in his last ten games. His overall stats for the season are .254 AVG/.331 OB%/.245 SLG% with one home run in 63 games. Last year he torched Pioneer League pitching in his debut at Billings, hitting .336/.393 OB. He's 22 years old and so far it appears that Cincinnati was fortunate to find the former Pepperdine Wave still waiting when they made their selection in the 37th round of last year's draft.

Winker impressed at Billings fresh out of high school last year when he slashed .338 AVG/.443 OB%/.500 SLG% with five homers and 35 RBI in 62 games. He's still working on developing his range in left field, but his bat has been up to the task against single-A pitching this season, hitting .292/.395 OB% and he's increased his home run output to nine in 60 games which is more impressive when considering his move closer to sea level.

Stephenson was on a roll before going on the DL and has allowed only four earned runs in his last 38 2/3 innings including three scoreless appearances in his last six starts to lower his ERA under three this season. He acquitted himself well after arriving in Dayton late last season after a strong professional debut at Billings. His injury is not considered serious and now at the age of twenty he's bucking for a ticked to Pensacola.

Romano tossed a scoreless inning in the game and has a 5.27 ERA after a dozen starts for the Dragons this season. Cincinnati supplemented the talent in their draft last year by selecting him in the 23rd round and reaching into their pockets deep enough for a signing bonus that persuaded him to change his career plans of pitching for the University of Tennessee. The big right-hander has yet to turn twenty years old and is one of the higher visibility pitching prospects in the Reds system.

Chacin has been solid out of the Dayton bullpen this season, posting a 2.70 ERA/1.01 WHIP in 21 appearances with a 39/18 K/BB ratio in 36 2/3 innings. He's been pitching for the Reds since he started in the Venezuelan League in 2010, then at the age of seventeen. Now twenty, he's got a career ERA of 2.27 over 85 minor league appearances, all in relief.

Cincinnati picked up Klimesh in the fifteenth round of last year's draft out of Trinity Univerity in San Antonio. The big right-hander began his first full professional season at Dayton this year after only four rookie league appearances. Now at the age of 23 he's a candidate for further fast track and his 3.07 ERA in 20 relief appearances this season suggest he's ready for it.

Lucas was picked by the Reds in the 25th round of the 2012 draft out of the University at Albany (NY) and was Stephenson's replacement on the all-star roster. He debuted at Billings last year and made it to Dayton for five games before the end of the season. Thus far the southpaw has kept a sub-three career minor league ernie and is at 3.20 over 33 single A appearances.

The California League is also in their midseason break and their All Star team was pounded by the Carolina League All Stars in a 12-2 loss. Two Bakersfield pitchers were selected on the team, Carlos Contreras and El' Hajj Muhammad, but neither participated in the game.

Contreras is making the conversion into a starter after a successful season closing which was split between Dayton and Bakersfield last year. His 3.65 ERA this year is the seventh lowest among all qualifiers in the Cali League. The right-hander started pitching professionally in the Dominican League in 2008 when he was seventeen years old. Cincinnati must have seen something in him that was not reflected in his stats because they promoted him stateside without much success on the mound. Whatever it was materialized last season when he kept a low-three ERA with twenty saves, prompting them to use a spot on their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.

Muhammad is a late-rounder with staying power. He didn't hear his name called in the 2010 draft until the Reds selected him in the 49th round out of the County College of Morris (NJ). That didn't stop him from putting up a 1.38 ERA in the Arizona League that season. He didn't really impress with a 4.70 ERA at Billings the next year, but did well in his shot against single A pitchers at Dayton last season and kept a 3.23 ERA in 38 appearances. Now at the age of 21 the right-hander is making the most of his return to high-altitude venues by posting a 1.82 ERA /1.18 WHIP in 22 appearances with the Blaze this season.

The Southern League All-Star game is scheduled for July 17 in Jacksonville which is the same day the International League All-Stars will take on the Pacific Coast League in Reno.

Other Organizational News:

The Reds were shut out in the second game of their home series against the Pirates and lost 4-0. Joey Votto finished with two of his team's four hits and Pittsburgh pitchers did not issue a walk. Mat Latos was charged with his first loss of the year after allowing three runs on three hits and three walks in five innings while ringing up nine strikeouts. Manny Parra and J.J. Hoover both tossed a scoreless inning of relief.

Louisville rallied for three runs in the sixth inning in a 5-2 win at Durham. The Bats tied the score in the fourth off RBI-hits from Denis Phipps and Nevin Ashley. The go-ahead runs were plated by a two-run homer from Neftali Soto and Jason Donald added on with a run-scoring hit. Soto and Emmanuel Burriss both had three hits while Ashley had two hits and a walk. Denis Phipps also added two hits in the game. Yohan Pino took the mound for his third start for the Bats this season and made it a good one to pick up the win. He allowed two runs off seven hits in six-plus innings. Zack Duke entered in the seventh and did not allow a base-runner while finishing the game for the save.

Penascola had a day off and will open a series at Montgomery on Wednesday.

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