Thanks to a lack of sleep, and google maps lying to me a little bit, I was able to arrive in Goodyear about 7 hours earlier than I had been planning. And that means that I was able to get in nearly a full extra day of spring training. What it also meant is that I was a little bit unprepared in terms of cameras being charged and ready to go. There, however, was some stuff that I was able to find out that was useful.
Jose Siri injury update
During the first game of Major League spring training Jose Siri left the game after a collision with the center field wall. It was not what anyone wanted to see. Initial reports were unclear on how much time the Reds Hitter of the Year would miss while recovering from the injury to his thumb. Bryan Price would eventually note that it wouldn’t be anytime soon, and that they wouldn’t see him again this spring. What wasn’t clear was whether that meant with the big league club or whether it was “he’s not playing at all this spring”.
Well, I was able to get the answer today. Jose Siri is going to miss the rest of the spring. He will not be ready to begin the 2018 regular season on time. The timetable is still a little uncertain, but a source said that it’s a possibility that he could miss all of April before beginning his season.
Tyler Stephenson had a big day on Saturday
This one comes from Jamie Ramsey:
Tyler Stephenson (@Tyler_Step22) belted 2 home runs and drove in 5 in yesterday’s Pensacola game. Jeter Downs (@jeter2downs) homered for Daytona. Patrick Kivlehan (@PatrickKivlehan) went deep for Louisville. #RedsFarm
— Jamie Ramsey (@Jamieblog) March 18, 2018
The power has been a big selling card for Tyler Stephenson ever since he was drafted. It hasn’t shown up too frequently in the games since he turned pro, though. In 178 games he’s hit 11 home runs – including six last season in 80 games with Dayton. Injuries probably play a role in that – he’s missed half of a season, or more, each of the previous two years.
Last season he took a big step forward in terms of his plate approach. In 2016 he walked 14 times with 52 strikeouts in 176 plate appearances. In 2017 he walked 44 times and struck out just 58 times in 348 plate appearances. Unsurprisingly everything at the plate improved with that. If he’s able to take that next step forward with his power output (and to be fair, he’s heading to the Florida State League where power is tough to come by), it could be huge for both himself and the Reds farm system.
Early first looks
The Double-A and Triple-A teams, as earlier noted, were playing their games at home in Goodyear on Sunday. While those games were happening, some of the rookie level guys were over on another field having practice. I ventured over there at times and got a chance to see some of the young guys for the first time in person. I don’t want to get too detailed here, because it was just a few rounds of batting practice, and I didn’t see each group all of the way through, but some things stood out.
Miguel Hernandez, the second biggest prospect at the time that the Cincinnati Reds signed in the 2015 International Signing period, was one of the guys I saw for the first time. Last year he split the season between the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona League Reds as an 18-year-old. He showed a smooth swing with some bat speed. He is a bit thinner than I expected him to be. Now, he’s just 19-years-old, but he looks a bit thinner than his listed size. I’m hoping to get to see him in the field while I’m out here. The reports I’ve gotten are very good.
I was able to see Reniel Ozuna in spring training last season in very limited action. So, technically this isn’t my first time seeing him in action. He hit .288/.351/.398 with the AZL Reds last season as an 18-year-old. He definitely stood out among the guys I did see among this group on Sunday afternoon. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see him in some game action while I’m out here and don’t have to wait until the mid-summer to see him in Greeneville or Billings.
Leonardo Seminati, a 19-year-old first baseman out of Italy, was also among one of the guys I was seeing in person for the first time. Physically, he really stood out. While he’s young, he’s a listed 6′ 2″ and 210 lbs. And he looked every bit of it.
Brandon Dixon and Alex Blandino keep on hitting
Brandon Dixon hit his 4th home run of the spring on Sunday afternoon, going 1-1 on the day. He’s been impressive all spring long, hitting .351/.385/.703 for the Reds in 37 at-bats. Of his 13 hits, five of them have been for extra-bases. He has really caught fire over the last three games, going 4-5 in that stretch.
Alex Blandino hasn’t shown quite the same power that Dixon has, but he’s hit nearly as well. On Sunday afternoon he went 2-3 with a triple. That pushed his spring line to .387/.424/.484. The triple was only his second extra-base hit – he had a double previously. He’s only struck out four times in 31 at-bats with the big league club.
Both players are likely competing for the same spot on the roster as a backup/super-sub/utility player, or whatever you want to call it. Both guys are capable of playing multiple positions. Where Alex Blandino has the edge is that he’s a bit of a stronger defender on the infield, and he’s capable of backing up at shortstop. Where Brandon Dixon has the edge is that he’s got experience in the outfield on top of his ability to play first, second, and third base.
Have you checked out Patreon yet?
If you will indulge me for a second, I’d like to just sell you on the idea of checking out supporting the work done here at RedsMinorLeagues.com over on Patreon. It’s the support over there that really does help me travel around the country and bring you the coverage here at the site. You can contribute as little or as much per month as you’d like. If you can’t afford to contribute, I understand. There’s only so much money to go around. But, if you have a few bucks in your budget a month and appreciate the work that goes into this site, I’d greatly appreciate your consideration to help out.
There are some perks for contributing. While eventually all of the work does make it to these pages, some of it does wind up on Patreon first. They also get a daily email during the season recapping all of the action from the night before with notes on some of the players. The monthly mailbags are usually made up of questions that Patreon supporters get to ask. That’s the end of my sales pitch. Thanks for indulging me.