When the 2018 season was over it was tough to see how Alex Powers would top it the following year. He was coming off of a year in which he dominated in Double-A, posting a 2.34 ERA out of the bullpen for Pensacola. And yet the right-handed reliever did just that and it’s earned him the 2019 Cincinnati Reds Reliever of the Year Award.

Despite his dominance in 2018 with the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the Reds sent Alex Powers back to Double-A to begin his 2019 season. It went better than the previous year. Through 17 games and 22.0 innings he had allowed all of three runs, good for a 1.23 ERA. He also racked up 33 strikeouts. That performance earned the 27-year-old reliever a promotion to Triple-A.

When he joined the Louisville Bats he barely missed a beat. There was some time spent on the injured list when he was in Triple-A, but he made 23 appearances with the Bats to finish out the season. And in those games he allowed six runs in 27.1 innings. That was good for a 1.98 ERA. He would also pick up another 33 strikeouts.


Between his two stops on the season he combined for a 1.64 ERA in 40 games and 49.1 innings pitched. He allowed just 34 hits, picked up 8 saves, walked 18 batters, gave up 3 home runs, and he struck out 66 batters. Among relievers his ERA was the best in the organization by a wide margin. Only Andy Fisher also found his ERA under 2.00 on the season within the organization.

What separated Alex Powers from the others?

There were quite a few players in consideration here. Aside from Alex Powers you had very strong seasons by Connor Bennett, Andy Fisher, Joel Kuhnel, Matt Pidich, and Dauri Moreta. A guy like Tanner Cooper or Alec Byrd from the short-season leagues deserve a mention here, too.

So what was it that got Alex Powers the nod? Well, a big part of it was that he pitched in the upper levels of the minor leagues. That carried some weight over the guys who pitched in A-ball. But he also had the best ERA in the organization and it wasn’t really that close. Among the contenders for the award, only Connor Bennett had a better strikeout rate than Powers’ 33% (Bennett was at 36.2%). He kept the ball in the park, too – which is rather impressive given that he pitched in Triple-A for more than half of his season and that baseball was flying out like they were playing in little league stadiums.

It was a strong season for a lot of the guys mentioned as being contenders for this one. In most years you could argue for just about any of them to get the nod. But this year a 1.64 ERA is going to get it done when everything else that comes with it looks really good too. And that’s what Alex Powers brought to the table in 2019.

About The Author

Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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13 Responses

  1. JNort

    Great choice and excellent piece. I still do not understand the Reds decision not to call him up.

    • Mac624

      I think get caught up in “high ceiling prospects “. Thus why they were enamored with Moniak who hasn’t done a ton. Powers gets you outs, but he’s a low prospect because he isn’t flashy. Moves like this frustrate me about this franchise. They look right over a guy that could help and instead go with guys whose eras are triple the going fuel rate. Common sense is just something this club doesn’t grasp.

  2. RedsKoolAidDrinker

    Simply baffling he’s not pitching right now in the majors considering the Reds are out of the race. Have any reporters questioned the front office on this?

    Doug, can you site some reasons why the front office wouldn’t want Powers up right now?

  3. Norwood Nate

    I also was hoping he’d get an audition with the Reds in September. Didn’t they open a roster space by letting Wandy go?

      • victor vollhardt

        The implication of the story on the day that Graterol was put on the active roster was that Peralta was put on waivers to clear roster space. They were both on the 40 man and it was after 9/1 so no space needed to be cleared. The Reds will finish the season with only one lefthander in the pen .Peralta was picked up by another team—so all the Reds got was the waiver price. On the surface this seems like an odd transaction, which if handled a different way would have kept the player in the organization and still allowed the Graterol on the roster. Was it a player “dump” (money was not an issue) ?? On a another lefthander note— Listen to the Jim Day Podcast with Garrett as he explains his thoughts on how he should (and wants to) pitch and then look at his last two or three outings. He gives the impression of a player that does not take to coaching very well. I hope the attitude changes as he is very talented and his views have cost the Reds some games.

  4. wes

    MLB top 20 free agents-

    Grandal- 3 for 45/50 mil makes a ton of sense to me. Nice catcher combo in Grandal/Tucker and reds will have a trade piece between those two and TySteve.

    I really liked Puig in cincy and it seemed like he enjoyed cincy as well. An OF that consists of him, Aquino, Senzel and winker makes a lot of sense with Ervin as the 5th piece and winker and senzel can play infield as well.

    Honorable mention I really like Dellin Betances. Add a flame thrower with a track record coming off a down year….

    Not a fan of signing Didi Gregorius. He’s not that much of an upgrade and there are better targets that can be acquired via trade.

    • MK

      I am at the point where I am no longer sure they can count on either Winker or Senzel for a whole season.This is second year in a row Winker has missed all of September and Senzel has missed significant time three years in a row and if he needs labrum surgery, the outfield might be impossible in 2020.

    • Bill

      I think Grandal is the best position player upgrade available. FWIW, I don’t think Winker has logged even one inning in the infield as a pro … as much as the Reds have moved players around, he may not be viable defensively on the infield.

      • Wes

        Winker needs to take some of vottos at bats next year. Just keeping it real…

    • Bill

      My offseason FA targets are:
      1. Grandal to start at C
      2. Keuchel to slot in at #3 SP
      3. Moustakas to play 2B

      LF: Winker & Ervin platoon
      CF: Senzel
      RF: Aquino
      1B: Votto
      2B: Moustakas
      SS: Galvis
      3B: Suarez

      Barnhart, J. Iglesias, VanMeter, Farmer are the backups.

      Castillo, Gray, Keuchel, Bauer, Desclafani are starters

      R. Iglesias, Lorenzen, Garrett, Stephenson, Sims, Gausman, Reed plus one more in the pen.

      I agree on resting Votto more often than this year, but not in a pure platoon just yet.

      Save trading prospects for the deadline…that is when to target the bullpen upgrade.

      • Wes

        I like Trevor story a lot as possible trade candidate. Lots of good names out there ! Should be a fun offseason