The Cincinnati Reds are calling up Josh VanMeter according to Jon Heyman. On Saturday he played in Indianapolis for the Louisville Bats, going 0-3 with 2 walks and a run scored. Now it looks like he’ll be giving the rest of the International League some time to try and catch up.
Through 30 games with the Louisville Bats this season Josh VanMeter has hit .336/.431/.736 with 5 doubles and 13 home runs. He’s also drive in 31 runs, scored 27 runes, stolen 5 bases, walked 17 times, and struck out just 23 times. He’s among the league leaders in nearly every offensive category.
When I spoke with Josh VanMeter in late April he spoke about changes he had made in the second half of last season. While this season has been at a different level, the changes started to really show up last season. Dating back to August 1st of 2018, VanMeter has racked up 258 plate appearances for Triple-A Louisville. In that stretch he’s hit .332/.412/.686. That includes 19 doubles, 3 triples, and 18 home runs. He’s also walked 30 times with just 43 strikeouts in that stretch. This isn’t a hot streak. This is half of a season worth of playing time where he’s OPS’d nearly 1.100 in Triple-A as a 23/24-year-old.
The Cincinnati Reds don’t exactly have a starting spot to put Josh VanMeter into right now. But they may not need to. Since joining the Reds in December of 2016 they have played him first base, second base, shortstop, third base, left field, and right field. His time in right field has been limited to just 16.0 innings. But he’s got experience almost everywhere on the field.
It will be interesting to see how and where the Reds use him. Much like Derek Dietrich, he can play a few positions and that gives David Bell options to work with. While the offense has picked up the last two nights in Cincinnati, it never hurts to add another bat to work with. And with Josh VanMeter, he’s bringing one with him from Triple-A that has shown a good control over the strike zone and a whole heck of a lot of power.
Older scouting reports aren’t going to be too valuable at this point. Josh VanMeter is a very different hitter today than he was a year ago today. Emphasis on getting the ball in the air has helped turn things around in a big way for the now 24-year-old.