Friend of Penn League Report, Will Privette, covers the Reds system independently and has been doing so for a number of years. So, it's my pleasure to once again post an article of his (with his consent) on PLR. Every word below is courtesy of Will.
The Cincinnati Reds have maxed-out their 40-man roster by purchasing the contract of six on the final day teams could protect players from the Rule V Draft next month. The Reds purchased the contract of pitchers Kyle Lotzkar, Pedro Villarreal, first baseman Naftali Soto, and infielders Didi Gregorius, Donald Lutz and Henry Rodriguez.
Lotzkar, a former 2007 first rounder, went through another injury-plagued season. He spent 2011 in Low-A Dayton and went 3-2 with a 4.32 ERA in only 14 starts. He has had an injured-filled career, with arm and hamstring problems, but when healthy has arguably the best potential out of any Reds pitchers.
Villarreal split the season between High-A Bakersfield and Double-A Carolina. Between the two levels, the Texas native went a combined 11-7 with a 4.39 ERA in 27 starts.
Soto began the 2011 season in Double-A but was injured in the first week of the season and missed over a month. Once the Puerto Rican returned he never looked back. Soto hit .272 with 30 homeruns in only 102 games for the Mudcats before being promoted to Triple-A Louisville for the final week of the season.
Gregorius, a shortstop, was hurt for a good chunk of the 2011 season but once he was healthy, he joined Bakersfield. He .303 in only 46 Single-A games before being promoted to Carolina. The slick-fielding shortstop hit .270 in 38 games for the Mudcats.
Lutz spent the whole season in Low-A Dayton but had a great year for the talent-filled Dragons. Lutz hit .301 with 20 homeruns in the middle of a lineup that was setup by middle infielders Billy Hamilton and Ronald Torreyes.
Rodriguez, a primary second baseman, played shortstop and third base as well this season. A switch hitter, the Venezuela native had a great year with the bat and good defense. He hit .340 for the Blaze in 58 games before a mid-season promotion to Carolina. He didn't slow down there though, as he hit .302 for David Bell's Mudcats and was a catalyst in the top of the Mudcats' lineup. Rodriguez did suffer a bad ankle injury in late August from sliding and missed the final few weeks. However he is back, currently playing in the Venezuela Winter League.