Every so often teams will have to take top prospects and demote them. It’s not something that they like to do, but it’s not unheard of. One of the most famous ones in the Reds organization was when Joey Votto was demoted to Billings in the second half during the 2003 season after hitting .231/.348/.287. He rebounded well, hitting .317/.452/.488 with Billings, and the rest is history. For Michael Siani, the 2018 4th round pick for the Reds, things had gotten out to a rough start in Dayton in 2019. On May 22nd he had played in 38 games and was hitting .168/.279/.252 with 9 steals, 18 walks, and 38 strikeouts in 166 plate appearances. It was looking like being sent back to Greeneville or perhaps Billings may be in the cards given his struggles.
On May 23rd he went 1-4 and Michael Siani hasn’t looked back since. And on Tuesday night he put together one of the biggest games of his career, going 4-4 with a steal, a run scored, and he had an RBI. Over this stretch the center fielder has hit .403/.486/.565. He’s walked 7 times in that stretch and struck out just 11 times in 72 plate appearances. He’s also been outstanding on the bases, stealing 11 bags in 12 tries across this stretch.
Over this 17 game stretch he has raised his OPS on the year 157 points, going from .531 to .688 on the season. His walk rate has stayed similar. But he’s cut his strikeout rate from 23% to 15%. That’s a big part of where the improvements are coming from.
But there’s more to it than just making more contact. He’s also making better contact. His isolated power (SLG-AVG) up to May 22nd was just .084. It’s nearly doubled over the last 17 game stretch, sitting at .162. His BABIP has also made a big jump. At the end of the day on May 22nd it was just .214. Over the last 17 games it’s .469. That’s pushed his BABIP on the season to .296.
Changes for The Futures Game
Major League Baseball’s All-Star Weekend seems to have one thing that everyone agreed on: The Futures Game is awesome.
So what did they decide to do? Mess with it. The Futures Game will no longer be Team USA vs Team World. Instead it’s now going to be American League vs National League. The Futures Game used to be on in the afternoon. Now it will be on in the evening. The Futures Game used to be 9 innings. Now it will be 7 innings.
Shortening the game is beyond stupid. I don’t know what else to say about that. The Team USA vs Team World thing was fun. I enjoyed seeing that aspect of it from a player perspective with regards to the manager and coaches. That isn’t a big deal, though – just something I enjoyed.
What I do like, though, is the changing of the time of the game. It’s always been played on Sunday afternoon, directly up against nearly every game around Major League Baseball. As a “showcase” of future talent, it never made sense because most baseball fans are going to prefer watching their team than holding out hope that their teams 1 or 2 prospects are going to do something in that “Futures Game”. Now the game will be played at 7pm and if baseball fans want to watch baseball, this might be the only option they’ve got.
Mariel Bautista, who has been out with a shoulder injury since May 23rd is now in Goodyear and will begin getting live at-bats as he works his way back according to Dayton broadcaster Tom Nichols during last nights game. While no timetable was given for his return, assuming there are no set backs, I’d guess he won’t be out much longer.
Jared Solomon, who started the game for Dayton on Monday and threw just 2.0 innings, was placed on the 7-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation. He’s only expected to miss one start.
Ryan Hendrix, who has missed more than a month with a right-elbow injury for Double-A Chattanooga is getting healthier and should be back soon. When he went on the injured list at the end of April he had yet to allow an earned run in 10.1 innings and he had 15 strikeouts on the year.