With the minor league season being long over, the Reds Organizational All-Stars have been announced by MiLB.com. As you might expect, Billy Hamilton was the main focus. All he did was steal a record 155 bases this season and give Reds fans hope of a true leadoff man which they have lacked for so many years now.
Now, unless you followed closely, what you might not have expected is that almost the entire roster of the organization's best minor league players this past year was comprised of Hamilton's teammates from Bakersfield. Only the designated hitter/utility player role was filled by a player who didn't appear for the Blaze at some point this season.
Below you will find the list of players. I've included a couple of the blurbs written by Danny Wild of MLB.com below. To read the full article and find a short summary of each player's season accompanied by a quick evaluation of each player by Reds Senior Director of Scouting, Chris Buckley, visit the link here. You'll also see the honorable mentions at each position.
C Tucker Barnhart, Pensacola (41 games), Bakersfield (59 games)
1B Donald Lutz, Pensacola (40 games), Bakersfield (63 game), AZL Reds (4 games)
The 23-year-old Cal League All-Star led the Reds' system with 22 homers and ranked third with 71 RBIs while hitting .269. It was also his second straight year with at least 20 homers and 70 RBIs.2B Devin Lohman, Bakersfield (130 games)
"Everybody talks about his age, but he was a soccer player in Germany for some time, so whatever it says on his birthday, take about three off that," said Buckley, stressing Lutz's development. "He's getting better and better. He's on the 40-man roster, so we'll get him going. He'll wind up in Louisville by the end of next year."
SS Billy Hamilton, Pensacola (50 games), Bakersfield (82 games)
3B Travis Mattair, Bakersfield (126 games)
"A second-round pick by the Phillies in 2007, this summer proved to be a breakout season for the 6-foot-5 23-year-old. Mattair hit .274, led the Reds' system with 82 RBIs and ranked second with 19 home runs -- he hit more homers in 2012 than he did in his previous four seasons combined.OF Steve Selsky, Bakersfield (69 games), Dayton (59 games)
"We're feeling pretty good about him, he had a good season, he's a hard-working guy," Buckley said. "A very good athlete for a big guy. Hopefully he'll go to Double-A and do the same things. We're pretty good at that position."
OF Theo Bowe, Bakersfield (96 games), Dayton (24 games)
OF Bryson Smith, Pensacola (50 games), Bakersfield (57 games)
Smith, a 34th-rounder out of Florida last year, hit .310 with six homers, 69 RBIs, a dozen steals and 113 hits in 107 games while reaching Double-A. The righty hit .368 in his first season and ranked fifth in the Reds' system in RBIs and sixth in batting.DH/Util Jesse Winker, Billings (62 games)
"He's a solid guy," Buckley said. "Our scouts did a good job, we have some smart hitters, and Bryson Smith is a guy who got to Double-A one year out of the Draft."
RH SP Chad Rogers, Bakersfield (21 games), Pensacola (6 games)
LH SP Tony Cingrani, Bakersfield (10 game), Pensacola (16 games), Cincinnati (3 games)
Few pitchers dominated in 2012 like Cingrani, a 23-year-old out of Rice who went 10-4 with a 1.73 ERA and struck out 172 batters in 146 innings while moving up two levels. The Reds' top lefty prospect earned a late-season trip to Cincinnati and pitched in three games, and the Reds think he has a chance of making the team next Spring. A Cal League All-Star, Cingrani held batters to a .191 average. Even in the Majors, he struck out nine in five innings.RP Carlos Contreras, Dayton (40 games), Bakersfield (9 games)
"Absolutely phenomenal, what he's done, he's surprised us all," Buckley said. "He was kind of an enigma in college baseball -- I think our guys saw him pitch well, and we were lucky we saw him pitch -- he was kind of starting to get it. He has a real good fastball and a lot of deception in his delivery. He's 90-95, very deceptive, a plus change-up. He was a college senior one year after the Draft and he's in the big leagues already."
One thing you might notice if you were to compare this list to a list of the Reds top 20 prospects as noted by MLB.com is that while there are a few of those top 20 players on here, there are even more who do not currently find a spot on that list. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Perhaps that is indicative of how thin the farm system is or maybe it means that there really is some solid talent to be found. It's just a little further down the line. Of course in reality, all it might mean is that these guys below just had slightly better years and thus were deserving of the honor.