The Cincinnati Reds sent outfield Phillip Ervin, infielder Alex Blandino and catcher Chad Wallach to the Arizona Fall League for the 2015 season.
Things certainly could have gone better to start the season for the three hitters for the Peoria Javelinas. Phillip Ervin has gotten out to the best start of the three and after the game on Thursday night he is now just 5-28 (.179 average). He has drawn four walks and struck out just six times while also stealing six bases in as many attempts, but his .574 OPS isn’t the results you’d like to see early on.
Alex Blandino didn’t play on Thursday night, but the second baseman (where he’s started all eight of his games in Arizona) is just 3-24 on the season with three walks and eight strikeouts. His line so far through the eight games is just .125/.250/.250, good for a .500 OPS. Much like with Phillip Ervin, the early results haven’t been what was expected.
In his return to the Arizona Fall League, Chad Wallach hasn’t done much to put a poor 2014 AFL behind him. He is 1-16 on the season with a walk and four strikeouts. That’s good for a line of .063/.118/.063 and an OPS of .181.
It’s still early and the sample size for all three hitters is small, with at-bat totals of 16, 24 and 28 for the the Reds group. All three are suffering from a low batting average on balls in play. Phillip Ervin currently has a .227 BABIP, Alex Blandino has a BABIP of .188 and Chad Wallach is sitting with a BABIP of .083.
Those kinds of things will happen in small sample sizes where numbers can and will fluctuate to the extremes. While the Arizona Fall League is considered a finishing league for prospects, success or a lack of success doesn’t really necessarily tell us much. In 2011 a young outfielder hit .245/.279/.321 with five walks and 33 strikeouts in 106 at bats out in Arizona. The next season he should have won the American League MVP Award, but Mike Trout had to settle for runner up and a Rookie of the Year Award.
Of course, last season in Arizona a third baseman hit .364/.457/.727 and came out this season and helped lead the Cubs into the playoffs. Kris Bryant ran through the Arizona Fall League and while he didn’t quite do the same thing to the National League this year, he is probably going to finish in the top 10 of the NL MVP voting this season. It’s obvious that you want the Reds players to have success instead of having struggles, but it may not be too predicative of the future regardless of how they perform.