After a strong first half in 2017 with Daytona, Shed Long headed to Double-A Pensacola for the second half. Things didn’t go as well as he would have hoped, as his production fell off and he missed nearly a month with an injury. With his health back, the Cincinnati Reds sent him back to join the Blue Wahoos to begin his 2018 season.
The first week of the season wasn’t how Shed Long was likely hoping it would go. He hit just .238, but four of his five hits were doubles. The following week was about the exact opposite. The second baseman hit .391, but only one of his nine hits was for extra-bases. That carried forward for the final 11 days of the month for Long, who hit .394 over the last nine games of the month. April would finish out with him hitting .351/.432/.468 with 11 walks and 17 strikeouts in 89 plate appearances.
Shed Long’s strong finish in April didn’t carry over into May. He hit just .196 in the first two weeks. He did show off plenty of pop along the way, with seven extra-base hits – including four homers – but also had just three walks and posted a .237 on-base percentage. The third week of May went well as he posted a 1.009 OPS, but he would go into a big slump the final week of the month. In the final six games he went 3-20 (.150). The power played well int he month as he hit six home runs, but his line was just .219/.286/.469 with nine walks and 27 strikeouts in 105 plate appearances.
The slump that ended May carried into June. In the first week of the month, Shed Long went 1-19 with a walk. Things turned around from there, at least for a week. He hit .400 with four doubles in his next seven games for Pensacola. The rest of the month was solid, as he hit .270 with 11 walks in the final 12 games of June. The tough first week pulled down the line for the month to .259/.390/.358 with 13 walks and 29 strikeouts in 103 plate appearances. The strikeout remained high for the second straight month. Long did add five steals to push his season total to 14.
Like the previous month, July got out to a tough start. Shed Long went 4-21 (.190) in the first six games of the month. The power showed up a bit in the second week, but he again went 4-21 that week. Things picked up for the infielder from July 15th through the 25th as he went 10-32 (.313) with four walks. Unfortunately he would go into a big slump over the final six games, going just 1-22 (.045). It was easily the worst month of the season as he hit .198/.287/.323 with 11 walks and 28 strikeouts in 108 plate appearances.
For as tough as July was, August got out to as big of a start as could be imagined. In five games over the first week of the month, Shed Long went 9-20 with two doubles – posting an OPS of 1.072. The second week wasn’t quite as good, but he still hit .294 with as many walks as strikeouts. Over the final three weeks of the season things slowed down a little bit. In 18 games he hit .246/.329/.415. Down the stretch he would hit .294/.385/.441 with 13 walks and 22 strikeouts in 117 plate appearances. He would also steal six bases in as many attempts.
For all 2018 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Shed Long Spray Chart
Shed Long Scouting Report
Hitting | Shed Long has a lot of the things you want to see in a guy with a good hit tool: He uses the entire field. He can and does hit the ball hard to all parts of the field. And he’s got some speed to help him beat out some infield hits. With all of that said, there’s some concern about his swing among some scouts. I’d grade his hit tool as average, but have spoken to some scouts who have him as a below-average to slightly below-average hit tool guy.
Power | He has average power that plays to both left and right field.
Speed | He’s got above-average speed.
Defense | He’s a fringe-average fielder right now, but could turn to an average to slightly above-average fielder in the future at second base as he continues to get more reps.
Arm | His arm is fringe-average. It plays fine at second base but would probably be stretched elsewhere on the dirt.
Offense is what sets Shed Long apart from most second base prospects. He projects to hit for average and for power, while also being a solid defender. If he turns into the guy that his scouting report says he could, you’re looking at a quality starting second baseman in the Major Leagues who could hit .270 with 20 homers, 15 steals and solid defense. The power may even play up a little bit from there at his peak.
There are some concerns about his swing, though. As noted, some scouts are a little lower on the hit tool than others. The uppercut in his swing is usually brought up as something that will help the power play, but also keep the hit tool from playing. Most still believe he can start in that scenario, though.
For Shed Long the biggest question about his future revolves around where he will play. At second base he is seemingly blocked right now by Scooter Gennett and Nick Senzel. That can be both good or bad. It does mean there won’t be any need to rush him before he’s ready and should allow him to fully develop his game. But it also means he could still be in the minor leagues if and when he’s ready because he could have nowhere to play.
Longest Home Run of the Year
419 Feet on May 17th.
Interesting Stat on Shed Long
Against left handed pitchers he walked 18 times and struck out just 19 times. He didn’t hit for much average, just .239 against same-handed pitchers, but his approach led to a .377 on-base percentage against them.