AZL Sluggers

Tromp and LaValley Leading AZL Reds

The AZL Reds have struggled out of the gate this season, but a couple of their hitters, Chadwick Tromp and Gavin LaValley, have been swinging hot bats. Tromp is a free agent out of Aruba while LaValley came to the Reds in the fourth round of this year’s draft.

The AZL Reds blew a two-run lead Friday and eventually lost 10-9 to the visiting AZL Mariners. The loss dropped the Reds to 11-17 thus far in the short season. They fell behind early, but answered a four-run deficit with a five run rally in the bottom of the first when the first four batters reached on three walks and a hit batsman. After that a couple of sac flies were sandwiched between singles by Dalton Carter and Shane Madirosian to give the Reds the lead. Both teams swapped single runs over the next couple of frames with the Reds scoring on a single by Gavin LaValley and solo homer from Chadwick Tromp. Tromp was given a reprieve in the fifth when the Mariner catcher dropped his foul ball and he responded with his second homer of the game. LaValley doubled in the Reds final run in the sixth, but it would not be enough to withstand the Mariner comeback.

Tromp and LaValley led their team with three hits and three RBI apiece. Hector Vargas did his job leading off by stroking a couple of hits, walking three times, and scoring thrice. Mardirosian also turned in a multi-hit game with a couple of singles and a walk.

Jacob Constante got the start, but failed to finish the second inning while allowing five runs for no decision. Ty Boyles relieved him and allowed two unearned runs on three hits/two walks while striking out five in four-plus innings. Tyler Parmenter was the sixth Reds pitcher in the game and allowed the winning run in the tenth for the loss.

Want a candidate to crash some top Reds prospects lists? You might want to check out Tromp who is now hitting .351 with a .561 slugging percentage in his first fourteen games this season. He came into the Reds organization out of Aruba when the signed him to a free agent contract in May of 2013. He didn’t really make much of an impression in a handful of games in the Arizona League last season, but the nineteen year-old is writing a different story this time around.

Tromp is a 5’9”/180# catcher who bats right-handed. His size doesn’t project much power, but according to his stats, right now his bat is. He’s made three errors in 23 games since turning professionals and this season he’s gunned down one third of opposing base-stealers.

LaValley came to the Reds from their fourth round selection in this year’s draft. He was their first high school player selected this year after finishing a high school career that will be legendary in Oklahoma high school baseball history, hitting 54 homers in 121 games and leading his team to three state championships. His bat hasn’t slowed down since turning pro as he’s hitting over .300 with a .400 AVG/.475 SLG/3 HR. His glove has been rough at the hot corner thus far and he’s seen some action at DH.

The nineteen year-old LaValley stands 6’3”/235# and bats/throws right handed. It’s far from a given that he’ll stick at third base and there will be a lot of competition there as he ascends up the pipeline. If he keeps hitting like he’s started he will be playing somewhere. His bat has good speed and projects power to all fields.

Though the AZL Reds might not challenge for the league’s best record they do have a couple of prospects that could cause a lot of excitement in the future. They certainly seem to be on schedule for Billings next season if not sooner.

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