While the Cincinnati Reds have been quiet on all fronts, and it’s not listed on their transactions page on Reds.com, the Louisville Bats announced that Seth Mejias-Brean has been traded to the Seattle Mariners. The move is listed on the Louisville Bats transactions page (though it says he’s been traded to the Tacoma Rainiers – the Mariners Triple-A team). The return for the trade has not been announced, though I’m guessing it’s likely our old friend “cash”.
The Reds selected Seth Mejias-Brean in the 8th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft. He spent three years at Arizona where he hit .329/.381/.421. With the Wildcats he managed just two home runs, one as a freshman and one as a junior. The ballpark there plays very pitcher friendly, but he didn’t show the power on the road in college either.
His first two seasons as a pro went about as well as could be expected. In 2012 with the Billings Mustangs he hit .313/.389/.536 with eight home runs, 12 doubles and two triples. The next year was mostly spent in Dayton where he hit .305/.381/.453 with 35 doubles, three triples and 10 home runs. In three games in Bakersfield to end the year he added one more double and another home run. He was beginning to tap into that power potential he showed in batting practice in college, but wasn’t showing up in games.
Once Seth Mejias-Brean reached Double-A, the power he had shown at the lower levels began to disappear. In Double-A his slugging percentage fell off to just .347 and in Triple-A it fell even further, down to .310. Part of that is due to a much lower batting average, but the isolated power drop off was significant.
Triple-A has been a bit more of a struggle when it comes to plate discipline for Seth Mejias-Brean. He’s watched his strikeout-to-walk ratio from rookie ball to Double-A go from 1.43, a strong ratio, to 2.94 in Triple-A. The strikeout rate hasn’t gone backwards much, but his walk rate has really fallen off. He’s gone from a double-digit walk rate at each level to a walk rate just over 6% in Triple-A.
One thing that I have noticed with Seth Mejias-Brean over his career is that he’s a guy who goes to the opposite field quite a bit. In fact, only in 2012 as a professional did he hit the ball to left field more than he hit the ball to right field. When he’s pulled the ball as a professional he’s hit the ball very well. Let’s take a look at his year-by-year difference in average and isolated power:
It’s not too surprising that a player hits for a better average and has more power to his pull side. It’s quite rare when a player doesn’t show that. With Seth Mejias-Brean, he’s always shown good power when he pulls the ball, and he’s hit nearly .800 when hitting the ball to left field for his career. Despite that, he’s hit the ball to right field more frequently. Let’s look at his career rates in terms of how often he goes to left versus right field:
Every year of his career he pulled the ball less than the year before. After his season in Billings in 2012, his opposite field power was never a strong point. I’ve long wondered what would happen if someone talked him into going full on Jose Bautista and just told him to pull everything. The power has certainly been there when he’s pulled the ball in the past. And so has the average. Speaking with scouts over the years I’ve always mentioned this and it’s been noted by more than a few that you can really see the raw power in batting practice when he does pull the ball. Maybe the Mariners can help him tap into something here that the Reds weren’t able to.
Or maybe I’m just talking out loud to the internet. Either way, it’s something that I’d love to see him give a shot at this point in his career and see what can happen.