When the Cincinnati Reds assigned Jose Siri to Dayton to begin the 2016 season it was a bit of a head scratcher. The outfielder managed a .246/.259/.444 line with three walks and 64 strikeouts for the AZL Reds the previous year. It’s a big jump from Arizona to Dayton and it showed rather quickly. The then 20-year-old went into a huge slump after having hits in the first two games. He played in 14 more games in April where he hit .156. He had hits in just three of those 14 games, walking just once and striking out 20 times.
Things got worse in May with the Dragons. After going 1-4 with a double on the 1st, Jose Siri went 2-27 with a walk and 13 strikeouts in the next nine games (.074). That would wrap up his time in Dayton as he was sent back to extended spring training. In 27 games in the Midwest League he hit .145/.163/.181 with two walks and 34 strikeouts.
Five weeks later the short season leagues began and Jose Siri joined the Billings Mustangs. Things could not have gotten out to much of a better start for the outfielder. In his first five games he went 10-18 (.556) with three walks, two doubles and two triples. Things slowed down in the final week of June as he went 3-21 (.143) with 10 strikeouts.
He just needed to see the calendar flip over. In the first week of June, Jose Siri went 14-25 (.560) with five extra-base hits and he OPS’d 1.520. The next week he would extend his hitting streak to 11 games. He racked up one hit in each game, but only had a .602 OPS over 22 plate appearances. The hit streak came to an end on the 16th, but the rest of the week went well for Siri, going 6-15 (.400) with a double and a home run. In the final seven games of the month the outfielder went 8-28 (.286) with two doubles, a triple and a home run. The month was an interesting one, Siri hit .363/.372/.604, showing off plenty of power, but he walked just once and had 21 strikeouts.
When August began, so did the Pioneer League All-Star break. When the season resumed on the 4th, Jose Siri carried a hot bat into the first four games. He went 3-8 in the first two tames, before then going 4-4 with three home runs and a walk on the 7th, in what may be the best game of any minor leaguer on the year for the Reds. He followed that up with a 1-5 effort, but that one was another home run. The next four games were a bit of a struggle, going 2-16 (.125). Things picked up the next week as he went 10-29 (.345) with three extra-base hits. The last week of August was another struggle as Siri went 6-31 (.194). In five games during September before the playoffs began he would hit .278/.350/.500 with a double and a home run. In the final five weeks of the season following the All-Star break he hit .279/.316/.541 with four walks and 30 strikeouts.
Strikezone control, strikezone control, strikezone control. That was the biggest thing that kept showing up throughout the season with Jose Siri. He struggled mightily in Dayton where he had a 17-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. After he went to Billings he hit well, posting a .320 average and slugging .560 in the hitter friendly Pioneer League. His time there was quite inconsistent, when he was hot, he was hotter than the sun. But when he was cold, he was as cold as ice. With the Mustangs he had eight walks and 66 strikeouts, which was an improvement over what he had in Dayton, but still a ratio that will need big time improvement.
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Jose Siri scouting report
Hitting | There’s some good and bad here. Siri’s raw hit tool is above-average, but his pitch recognition skills aren’t going to let him get the most from it.
Power | He’s got above-average raw power to tap into as he continues to mature.
Running | He’s an above-average to plus runner.
Arm | It’s an above-average arm that plays very well in center and would play well in right.
Defense | He’s got the speed to handle center field right now, but if he fills out a little bit he may lose a step and have to slide to right field. If he winds up in right his defense should be strong with good range and a strong arm.
When it comes to the all around package of tools, Jose Siri is a 5-tool guy that stacks up with anyone in the entire organization. The biggest problem right now is that he’s simply unable to use the tools that involve the bat against pitchers that have a plan of attack. His approach at the plate and pitch recognition skills are both in need of big improvement. He expands the zone very frequently and struggles to recognize offspeed pitches. In the last two seasons combined he has walked 14 times and struck out 165 times. The general “break even” mark for a strikeout-to-walk ratio is 3-to-1, where anything lower than that makes it very difficult for a hitter to be productive at the big league level. Siri’s over 10-to-1 in this time frame and that simply isn’t going to work. He’s got plenty of athleticism and when he’s right, he stands out. But he’s got a serious issue at the plate that he’s going to have to work through, in a big way, in order to get to the point where he’s likely to be productive. He’s perhaps the ultimate boom-or-bust prospect in the organization.