There are going to be a whole lot of roster moves made in the next 24 hours in the Cincinnati Reds system. None of them are official yet, but I’d expect several big name prospects to be moving up. We are likely getting our first hint of that this afternoon from top prospect Nick Senzel. Daytona played a morning game today and Senzel wasn’t in the lineup. He just tweeted out that he’s excited to be back in Tennessee.
Excited to be back in the home state!!!
— Nick Senzel (@LilSenzii) June 21, 2017
Daytona is in the Florida State League. As you can guess by the name, they don’t play games in Tennessee. However, the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos do. And they begin a series in Chattanooga on Thursday night. I’m not saying that Nick Senzel hasn’t been promoted to Double-A…. but I’m not NOT saying it either. I would expect him to be joined by at least two of his Tortuga infielders, too. Gavin LaValley and Shed Long both have done nothing to suggest they need to remain in the Florida State League to terrorize opposing pitchers in the middle of that lineup.
For Nick Senzel, he’s getting moved up at a time in which he just keeps getting better. He started out a tad slow in the month of April, hitting a solid, but unspectacular .278/.333/.402 with nine doubles and a home run. It was above-average for the very pitcher friendly Florida State League, but didn’t stand out.
In May he stepped things up in a big way. Over 111 plate appearances he hit .317/.378/.505 with 11 more doubles, a triple and two home runs. Things just kept improving when the calendar flipped over to June. The third baseman has hit .333/.429/.563 in 56 plate appearances. That comes with six more doubles, another triple and another home run. It’s pushed his season line to .305/.371/.476 with 26 doubles, two triples and four home runs. It’s also come with 23 walks and 56 strikeouts in 272 plate appearances.
As noted above, this isn’t the only move that’s going to be made. None are official yet, but I would expect to see 15 or so players moved up/down/added to rosters in the next 24 hours throughout the system as the midseason promotions take place.
It appears that Shed Long has also been promoted to Double-A, according to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Like Senzel, Shed Long has improved as the season has progressed. In April he hit .278/.323/.478 with four doubles, a triple and four home runs over 22 games played. Things got much, much better in May. The second baseman saw 117 plate appearances and he hit an insane .359/.427/.573 in that span. It came along with seven more doubles and five more home runs.
June has watched him play in 13 games, including one earlier this afternoon. In those 63 plate appearances since the calendar flipped, Shed Long has hit .278/.381/.593 with nine walks, five doubles and four more home runs. Through 62 games played with Daytona he hit .312/.380/.543. He’s second in the league in OPS, third in average, third in slugging and third in home runs in the Florida State League.
As expected, Gavin LaValley is also moving up to Double-A to join two of his fellow, now former Daytona Tortugas infielders. Chris Boyle of the Daytona News-Journal had the story about the promotions earlier this afternoon.
It’s been a bit of a breakout season for Gavin LaValley. The 22-year-old has already obliterated his season high in home runs hit despite just 61 games played. His 15 home runs are second in the Florida State League, and his .538 slugging percentage ranks fourth.
For the season he’s hitting .288/.332/.538 with 14 doubles and 15 home runs. He’s walked 15 times and struck out 49 times in 259 plate appearances. He’s taken a big step forward with his power this season. Getting out of the pitcher friendly Florida State League could see another step forward in home run production for the Oklahoma native.
Reliever Jake Ehret will also see a promotion to Double-A, returning there after a demotion just over a month ago. Over the course of nine appearances with Daytona he posted a 1.64 ERA in 11.0 innings with three walks (one intentional) and he struck out nine batters.
Joining the Tortugas from Dayton will be Brantley Bell, Luis Gonzalez and James Vasquez. There will be at least one more, a pitcher, that will join the team.
Brantley Bell got out to a nice start this season, but June has been a struggle for the right handed hitting infidler. Over his last 15 games he’s slumped, hitting .118/.207/.137 for Dayton. On the year that slump pushed his line down to .240/.309/.332 with 15 stolen bases, 13 doubles, a triple and two home runs.
Luis Gonzalez hasn’t played every day, but has been getting somewhat regular time in Dayton. In 40 games played he’s having the best year of his career at the plate, hitting .276/.310/.398 with strong defense around the infield. He’s cut his strikeout rate in half this season versus where it was last year and it’s really paid off for him offensively. He’s also shown more pop this season than ever before.
James Vasquez looks like he’ll take over at first base for the departing LaValley. In 46 games played he’s hit .236/.308/.391 with 10 doubles and five home runs. He’s really cut down on his strikeouts this season as well, going from 17.4% to 12.6% this season. However, his batting average on balls in play is just .243 this season (and it was just .247 last season) and that’s really held down his average. He shows a good approach at the plate, and there’s power in there when he gets into a pitch.