IL Preview: Louisville Bats
The Louisville Bats will have to move on without top prospects Billy Hamilton and Tony Cingrani this season, but they are locked and loaded for a solid campaign in 2014.
After finishing the 2013 campaign with a 69-75 record and third place in the West Division, the Bats are looking for a turnaround season in 2014.
Pitching : The pitching staff will have two proven Major League veterans in Chien-Ming Wang and Jeff Francis anchoring the staff. They will occupy spots in the rotation until top pitching prospect Robert Stephenson makes the jump to the Triple-A level. The 6- foot, 2-inch right—hander will likely start the year in Double-A, but can make the jump early in the season. With a mid 90’s fastball and devastating curveball, he has the tools to succeed at any level, but at 21-years old he will start at age appropriate Double-A level in 2014.
Daniel Corcino will return to Triple-A Louisville after a frustrating 2013 campaign. The No. 13 prospect in the Reds system according to Baseball America, went 7-14 with a 5.86 ERA in 28 games for the Bats. He allowed hitters to hit a career-high .279 against him and walked 73 batters. He has the stuff to excel at the Triple-A level with a low-90’s fastball, slider and a changeup. He lost his spot on the rotation last year, so he will have to fare better in 2014 to stay on the staff.
Infield: The offense will come from Donald Lutz and Neftali Soto. Lutz joins the Bats after spending last season with Double-A Pensacola and the Cincinnati Reds. In 99 combined games, he clubbed eight homers and drove in 38 runs. Lutz has power but was slowed down with a broken finger in 2013; he will be a force for Louisville until Cincinnati calls.
Soto will return to Louisville for his fourth straight year. In 244 games with the Bats, he has slugged 30 homers and driven in 124 runners. Last season, he hit .279 (125-for-461) with 15 homers and 61 RBI.
In addition to Soto and Lutz, top catching prospect Tucker Barnhart will spend his first season with the Bats. Last season, he hit .260 with three homers and 44 RBIs. In 2012, he earned the Rawlings Gold Glove for his work in the California League.
Outfield: Ryan LaMarre will man center field for the Bats. The No. 14 rated prospect in the Cincinnati organization, will play his first season at the Triple-A level. Last year, he hit .246 with 10 home runs and 22 stolen bases. He will be joined by Jason Borgeois. With six seasons of Major League experience, Bourgeois will be a great addition to the Bats. He is a career .291 hitter at the Triple-A level and last season he stole 22 bases for the Bulls.
Schedule: The G-Braves travel to Louisville on June 11 through 14 and the Bats come to Coolray Field from June 20 through 23.
Projected Depth Chart: