When the 2019 season began, Jose Acosta wasn’t on the mind of even the absolute die-hard Cincinnati Reds prospect followers. That includes me. In his first taste of professional baseball he played in 39 games for the Dominican Summer League Reds in 2018 and hit .199/.321/.284. He walked nearly as often as he struck out, but the hits simply didn’t follow despite a good rate of contact and a good walk rate. By the time the 2019 season ended, he had made a name for himself.

The Dominican Summer League season began on June 1st, and Jose Acosta got out to a good start to the season. Against the Orioles he went 3-5 with a double. But things slowed down a little bit over the next five days as he went just 1-9 in four games. When the infielder returned to the lineup on the 11th he ran off a 9-game hitting streak before it ended in the final game of the month. The hit streak really helped carry the month for Acosta, who hit .417/.492/.563 in 15 games played where he walked more times than he struck out (nine walks, seven strikeouts).

With the hit streak ending in the final game of June, Jose Acosta decided that the first game of July would be a great spot to start another one, going 1-4 with a triple and a walk against the Padres. From that point until July 18th he would rack up hits in 12 straight games, hitting .449 in that stretch with 10 walks and his first home run of the season. The final seven games of the month were strong, but not quite up to the first three weeks of the month as he hit .280 with a .920 OPS to cap off the month.

August started out in a strange manner for Jose Acosta, who made his first appearance of the month on the 3rd as a pinch hitter – but then he remained in the game as the right fielder after drawing a walk. It was the first time in his career that he had played in the outfield. Over the next eight games he went out and hit .407/.529/.667 with six walks and just two strikeouts. That raised his line on the season to .403/.503/.611 through 43 games with the Dominican Summer League Reds. It was also his final line, there, as he was promoted for the final two weeks of the year to Arizona where he joined the Arizona League Reds in Goodyear. Even with the step up in competition the switch-hitting Acosta didn’t skip a beat. There were only 10 games remaining in the year, but he racked up multiple hits in eight of them, and had a hit in the other two – going 17-46 (.370) before the season came to an end. He finished August with a .384/.458/.548 line with eight walks and 11 strikeouts in 19 games played.

For all 2019 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Jose Acosta Spray Chart

It’s worth noting here that Jose Acosta is a switch hitter, but I didn’t break down his spray chart by each side of the plate. He only had 46 balls in play as a right-handed hitter, so it just didn’t seem like the data was telling too much.

Jose Acosta Scouting Report

Position: 2B/3B | B/T: S/R

Height: 5′ 10″ | Weight: 170 lb | Acquired: International FA, July 2017

Born: March 20, 2000

Hitting | He has a slightly above-average hit tool.

Power | His power is slightly below-average.

Speed | He’s a plus runner.

Defense | He’s played both second and third base in the minors. He’s a solid defender, though second base is more likely his future position.

Arm | His arm is a little below-average.

Jose Acosta fell one hit short of hitting .400 this past season. If one out had turned into a hit, he’d have been the first Reds minor leaguer to hit .400 since 1978 when Gary Redus accomplished the feat for the Billings Mustangs when he hit an absurd .462.

What’s interesting is that despite hitting .395 in 2019 he’s described as being a bit raw at the plate. The switch hitter had a .349/.451/.514 line as a left-handed hitter. From the right side of the plate he hit .531/.571/.776 in 56 trips to the plate with six walks and three strikeouts.

There weren’t many people to speak to who had a chance to see Jose Acosta play – that’s just how it works for me when it comes to guys who play in the DSL where I’ve never been. A very limited amount of time in Goodyear doesn’t expand things much because of the few games he played, and by comparison – a lack of scouting of the league as a whole compared to other leagues. But the ones that I did speak with were the highest on the hitting and speed, but one did note that there was surprising pop in the bat for his size, too.

We haven’t seen a season like this from a hitter in the Reds organization in quite some time. But it came at the lowest level of the organization, too. 2020 will be interesting to follow for Jose Acosta. He has some tools to work with, but he’ll also be 20-years-old and realistically entering his first full year stateside.

Longest Home Run of the Year

411 Feet on August 6th

Interesting Stat on Jose Acosta

It was mentioned above, but he hit .531 against left-handed pitching during the 2019 season. Five. Thirty. One.

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17 Responses

  1. DocRed

    Is he a Top 20 Red’s prospect for 2020 Doug? If not where does he fall. TIA

  2. James K

    Doug, sometimes these prospect reviews get a fair number of comments, and sometimes not. I hope you don’t interpret a lack of comments as a lack of interest. I treasure all these prospect reviews, especially when I don’t know much about the player, and in those cases of course there is little basis for making a comment.

    • RedsKoolAidDrinker

      Agreed. Great comment, James! And thanks Doug!

  3. Billy

    Acosta’s performance was certainly eye-opening, so I’m surprised that his talent grades out so low. (I guess I shouldn’t be, since he’s not a top prospect.) My question is, did he exhibit any particularly significant change in talent over the course of the season? Did he just get lucky performance-wise, or did he progress from even lower grades at the start of the year.

    • Doug Gray

      I’m not sure he grades out so low at all. He’s got two above-average offensive tools and he’s a guy who can probably play second base. There are a lot of profiles a lot worse than that.

      And of course he got lucky, performance wise. No one is a true-talent .400 hitter unless they are just completely and utterly better than the guys on the other side. Mike Trout could go hit .400 in the DSL, sure. But guys that actually play there? No – they aren’t truly .400 caliber hitters. He’s not going to repeat what he did in 2019 in 2020. No one ever does when they have that kind of season. The question is: Can they still perform well?

  4. Oldtimer

    Redus had a monster year in 1978. Got late season call-up in 1982 and was Reds OF in 1983.

    Hoping similar for Acosta. Reds INF in 2023 maybe.

    • Optimist

      I followed that Redus season closely, and have commented on it before. Check out the team stats on BRef. Many, many future MLBers, as well as many several years older than league average – i.e. 21/22 vs. 18-19 year olds. I don’t remember why the Reds stacked Billings that year, but there are several hilarious stat lines.

      Still, several players who had very productive MLB careers, so no real one year wonders.

    • Optimist

      Acosta’s line looks a bit like Torreyes when he first hit the low minors. Would be fine if he could follow that path.

  5. My Beloved Reds

    Wow!! Low level of competition or not, those are eye-popping #s!!! Doug, can you tell us what the league averages were in the DSL and AFL?

  6. Tim Erwin

    Hey Doug,I have a question how accurate are the top prospects list anyway always seems like to me most of it has to do where they where drafted