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.

11 Responses

  1. Kap

    Trade bait. Long is best utilized as a side in a deal for a starting pitcher. No way he jumps scooter, senzel, or even india

    • Norwood Nate

      He does seem like one of our more trade-able prospects. Along with India, who’s mainly blocked at the moment, those two should come up early and often in trade conversations for pitching.

    • CP

      I see a path depending on what they do with Scooter. If Gennett isn’t signed to a multiyear extension then there is a path. Senzel has much more position flexibility than Shed Long and that would allow them both to play in the future. I could see if the pitching additions this year don’t succeed as we hope, that they FO may be more inclined to continue to spend their $$ on another FA SP instead of extending Scooter. Scooter could also regress this year and make extending him less attractive. In either scenario there becomes a path for Shed Long to be a part of this team in the future.

      • Doug Gray

        Yeah, let’s play this out. Reds let Scooter walk, and Senzel can play center field. Play Senzel in center, second base is open for Long/India/Blandino in the near future. May not work out that way, but the path is there and doesn’t seem unreasonable.

  2. MK

    To go back in history a little, Sparky Anderson always said you build a Championship team with strong defense up the middle whether it was Bench, Concepcion, Morgan and Geronimo or Parrish, Trammel, Whitaker and Lemon it seemed like a solid strategy. The current Reds are halfway there with Barnhart and Hamilton but are not close in the middle infield. They are not going to get there with Gennett or Long and could be much closer with Senzel. I still hold hope that Peraza will improve.

    • Oldtimer

      Bench was best C ever (at least in modern era). Morgan best 2B ever. Concepcion best SS in NL during 1970s. And Geronimo best defensive CF of the 1970s or close to it.

      No comparison whatsoever to C Barnhart, CF Hamilton, and whomever the Reds put at 2B and SS.

      • MK

        Don’t compare with C Parrish and CF Lemon either but the the key is he believed in strong defense up the middle which I know Hamilton and Barnhart provide and Gennett or Long(at this point) do not.

    • CP

      While I completely agree that strong defense up the middle is very helpful, I also believe there is more than one way to build a championship team. Whatever is going to put the most competitive team on the field for the Reds is what I am for. That may mean playing Senzel at SS and sacrificing some defense, or maybe it means trading away Senzel for a TOR arm that puts them over the top. Now I don’t want to do that, but what I mean is just cause its the conventional way doesn’t mean it has to be the next great Reds team way. We are going to have to work with a lot of the cards our minor league system deals us, and right now that is NOT a lot of great defense at 2B and SS. Decent, but not top of the line. But what we may have is above average offense at those positions, if we play our cards right and certain guys keep developing.

      2B-Gennett/Long
      SS- Pereza/Senzel
      CF- Senzel/Siri*/Trammell
      C- Barnhart*

      *These guys are the exceptions and would probably be excellent defensively.

      Most of the known possible scenarios are going to provide a shot at better than average offense, but only average or so defense. Hopefully the better offense will outweigh the less than great defense…

  3. Redsvol

    I was hoping for much more offensively from Long this year. Although he is very good his development really seemed to stall this year. He’s put in so much work in to become good the last couple years I wonder if maybe he was just mentally exhausted last year. This year is make or break in my opinion. He also needs to show that he can play more positions to become more valuable because I agree, he isn’t displacing Gennett or Senzel – and Blandino is more valuable to a team once he is healthy.

    • Doug Gray

      While it doesn’t show up in the home/road splits much, it’s absolutely worth noting that Pensacola crushes power to right field (his pull side), and doesn’t do much to help power to left field anymore, either (they moved the fence back and it’s now 342 feet down the line). That ballpark is built as about the worst possible place for a guy like Shed Long who doesn’t have moonshot home run power, but a lot of that mid-range pop to left and right.

      • CP

        Doug do you see Long repeating AA some or does he have a shot at starting the year in AAA?