In November of 2014 the Cincinnati Reds signed a recently turned 17-year-old out of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic named Mariel Bautista. At the time it was an unheralded signing that went under the radar. Today it’s looking like an outstanding pick up for the organization. His first season came in the Dominican Summer League in 2015 was solid, but unspectacular. He hit .259/.350/.388 while spending most of the time in center field. The next two years saw him take steps forward, hitting .333 and .320 at his respective stops along the way – with the final one coming in Arizona with the AZL Reds.
In 2018 the Reds placed the now 20-year-old Mariel Bautista in Billings to play for the Mustangs. It was a breakout season for the young outfielder. In 56 games played in the Pioneer League he would hit .330. That gave him three straight seasons of hitting .320 or higher. But it was the power output that really separated his 2018 from his past. Bautista had 12 doubles, 4 triples, and he added 8 home runs. That gave him 24 extra-base hits on the year. Along with that power, he walked 16 times and struck out just 29 times in 233 plate appearances. Read those last two sentences again – he had FIVE more strikeouts than extra-base hits on the season.
What helped Mariel Bautista earn the honors of Position Player of the Year wasn’t just what he did at the plate, though. The outfielder stole 16 bases and was caught just 3 times (84% success rate). And he did all of that while playing 40 of his 46 games in the field in center (he was the DH 8 times, too). It was the overall package of hitting for average, hitting for power, running the bases, defensive value that led to Bautista getting the nod for the award in a close call over several candidates.
Among Pioneer League leaders, Mariel Bautista ranked in the Top 10 in average, slugging, OPS and stolen bases. His offensive output got better as the season went along. In 14 during June he posted just a .677 OPS. During July that jumped up to .839. In August and September it jumped up to 1.124 after hitting .402/.461/.663 over the final 24 games of the year. The regular season ended with him riding a 25-game hitting streak and helping lead the Mustangs to the second half North Division title and playoff birth.
Mariel Bautista’s 2018 Stats