Tony Cingrani Jumps On Fast Track With Excellent '12

BEST PLAYER: All talk about Billy Hamilton begins with his stolen bases. After all, he swiped 155 bags this season, setting a new minor league record. But Hamilton also made strides offensively. He hit .323/.413/.439 in 337 at-bats for high Class A Bakersfield before batting .286/.406/.383 following a promotion to Double-A Pensacola.

Hamilton, 21, came far enough that the Reds considered calling him up in September, though they decided he needed a break.

The Reds have been guarded about where Hamilton will end up defensively. He played shortstop all season, but general manager Walt Jocketty said Hamilton will possibly play outfield in the Arizona Fall League.

BEST PITCHER: Tony Cingrani, a 23-year-old lefthander, got a September callup at the end of his first year in professional ball. That indicates what kind of fast track he is on.

Cingrani was the club's third-round pick out of Rice in 2011. He started this year at Bakersfield, going 5-1, 1.11 with 71 strikeouts and 13 walks in 57 innings over 10 starts. He was promoted to Pensacola, where he went 5-3, 2.12 with 101 strikeouts and 39 walks in 89 innings.

Cingrani was a closer his senior year at Rice, but the Reds moved him back to starting in 2011 at Rookie-level Billings, where he went 3-2, 1.75 in 13 starts.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Righthander Dan Langfield was a third-round pick out of  Memphis in June who  made a quick impression at Rookie-level Billings, going 3-0, 2.68 with 54 strikeouts and 17 walks in 37 innings. Langfield is a New England native with a fastball that can touch 97 mph, and most scouts think he'll end up as a reliever. But his three-pitch repertoire will prompt the Reds to give him an opportunity to start.


• Cingrani made quite a big league debut. Pitching in relief, he struck out five in three innings and became the second reliever in Reds' history to strike out five or more in his debut.

• Bakersfield was the only Reds minor league club to earn a playoff spot.