Many list-makers want an "off the radar" entry, so this one starts with shortstop Zachary Vincej. …
Vincej Over .400 at Billings
The Mustangs took the lead in the first when Beau Amaral scored on a groundout and added on in the fourth off a solo home run by Robert Maddox. They struck again in the seventh on doubles by Zachary Vincej and Wagner Gomez. Finally they broke the game open in the eighth on a two run double by Daniel Pigott. Vincej and Carlos Gomez had two hits each for the offense. Pigott had a double and three RBI.
Vincej had to wait a long time before Cincinnati finally selected him in the 37th round in this year's draft out of Pepperdine. When he finally was picked he joined college teammate Jon Moscot, a pitcher the Reds selected in the fourth round. Upon making it to Billings the shortstop did not wait to start hitting and is now up to .419 after twenty-one games. His on-base percentage is .465 and the gaudy average has boosted his slugging percentage to .554.
While with the Waves he lettered three years and was on the WCC All-Freshman team before struggling his sophomore season and finishing with an average below .200. He got on the right track his junior season and hit .339 while winning the Brooks Wallace award which recognizes the top shortstop in college baseball. He was also named the WCC defensive player of the year.
Vincej stands at 5'11"/165# and bats/throws right-handed. Previous to Pepperdine he played at Saugus (CA) H.S. While in college he also played in the Alaska and Cape Cod summer leagues. Since he finished a third collegiate season he turned 21 years old before playing his first professional game. He skipped the Arizona Rookie League and the way he's hitting suggests he won't spend long in the Pioneer League.
It is kind of surprising that a player with that much on their college resume would have to wait so long to hear his name called in the draft which ends after 40 rounds. It might be easy to overlook a 37th rounder, but a .400 hitter will get attention. After years of non-productivity at shortstop the Reds finally made a splash this season with Zach Cozart. Behind him are highly rated prospects Didi Gregorius and Billy Hamilton. Vincej is off to a great start at putting his name next to continue that lineage.
As of right now, the Reds must feel very happy to have found Vincej with such a late pick. Whatever reason(s) made them wait so long to pick him must have been shared by the other franchises because there were over 1,100 players picked before him. Perhaps the feeling was that he would not stick at shortstop. He has already made three errors since his debut. His fielding percentage is .963 with a range factor over four. He's only been in the rookie leagues for a few weeks and there will be plenty of time to work on the leather as he advances, which is what .400 hitters tend to do.
Other News from the Farm:
Louisville scored four in the first and four more in the fifth and then held on to beat Columbus 9-8 at Louisville Slugger Field. Dennis Phipps led the way with six RBI on three hits including two home runs. Chris Valaika also had three hits and Didi Gregorius added two. Sean Gallagher allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits in five innings which was good enough for the win. Bill Bray was roughed up for three runs in less than an inning. J.J. Hoover did his thing and threw a scoreless ninth for the save.
Pensacola erupted for six in the eighth inning in a 9-2 home win over Montgomery. Billy Hamilton and Josh Fellhauer had two hits apiece while Beau Mills and David Vidal both homered in the rally. Wirfin Obispo got no decision from five innings of one-run pitching with three hits and seven strikeouts. Wilken De La Rosa threw 1+ innings in relief for the win.
Billy Hamilton Theft Watch:
Hamilton walked in the third and was picked off first base. He singled in the fifth and never had an open base in front of him. He tripled in the seventh and was left on third. Finally, he reached base again in the eighth and again never had an open base in front of him. He's still at 143 steals and has now been caught 33 times in 119 games.
Bakersfield took a three-run lead when they scored four in the third and held on to win 6-5 over High Desert at Sam Lynn Field. Dominc D'Anna had three hits for the Blaze. Ryan Wright had two hits including a solo homer in the first to start to tie the score at one. Stephen Hunt and Devin Lohman added two hits each. Tim Crabbe threw seven innings allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits and one walk while striking out eight for the win. Carlos Contreras allowed two in 1+ innings, but still qualified for the save.
Dayton took a two-run lead in the first and added on three in the seventh in a win 5-1 at Fort Wayne. Kyle Waldrop had two hits including a home run. Juan Silva had two doubles. Ismael Guillon made his single A debut a good one by allowing only three hits and two walks in six shutout innings with five strikeouts for the win.
The AZL Reds were the only losers in the Cincinnati organization yesterday. They allowed six in the first at the AZL Brewers and came up short, 14-8. Adam Matthews had three hits and two RBI to raise his average to .347. Jonathan Reynoso also had three hits and he's now batting .327. Humberto Valor and Jose Valdelamar added two hits each. Pedro Diaz got the start and failed to make it out of the first inning. He was charged with six runs on five hits and three walks for the loss.
The DSL Reds were idle and will host the DSL Orioles today.
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