When the Cincinnati Reds selected Jeter Downs with the 32nd overall pick in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft, one of the biggest things everyone talked about was his advanced approach at the plate. And after the draft it showed in Billings, where the Reds sent him for his first professional assignment. The then 18-year-old walked 27 times with just 32 strikeouts in 209 plate appearances.
It’s only been four games this season for Jeter Downs, but he’s racked up a hit in each game so far. On Sunday afternoon against Bowling Green, the middle infielder had three hits and he drove in a run. In the four game series (each team hosted two games at home to start the year), Downs has hit .375/.474/.500 with two doubles, two walks, and he was hit by a pitch. Oh, and he’s also stolen three bases in three attempts. At the plate, and on the bases, the now 19-year-old has gotten out to as strong as a start as you one could realistically expect.
Nick Longhi is also swinging a hot bat
Last July the Reds acquired Nick Longhi from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for international signing period cap space. The team didn’t send any money, but they did send the Red Sox the ability to spend a significant chunk of money that they wouldn’t have been allowed to otherwise spend. The Reds were realistically unable to spend that as a team in the penalty phase after spending over $15M (and another $15M in cash penalties paid to MLB as a result) the previous signing period.
The Reds brass sent Nick Longhi, then a 21-year-old, to Double-A Pensacola. It was a short stay, as he wound up tearing his UCL in his elbow after just seven games played and required Tommy John surgery. As a fielder, rather than a pitcher, the recovery time is a bit quicker. He returned to the playing field in under 10 months.
Nick Longhi ended spring training swinging the bat very well according to reports I had gotten. He’s kept that going in the first few games in Pensacola, too. In what seems like he’s making up for lost time, the now 22-year-old had racked up six hits and 11 at-bats. He’s hitting .545/.583/.636 with just one strikeout in three games played.