There are a lot of Cincinnati Reds prospects that are having a good start to the 2021 season. Among the position players perhaps none of them are as important to the near term success of the organization as Jose Garcia, though, who could fill a position of need at shortstop. Rated as the Reds top position prospect, Garcia was coming off of a season in which he jumped from then Advanced-A Daytona to the big leagues to play shortstop for the Reds and was simply over-matched at the plate as he hit .194/.206/.194 with one walk and 26 strikeouts in 68 plate appearances for Cincinnati last season.
His start to the 2021 season has to feel great after having struggled so much on the field in the big leagues last season. At a more developmentally appropriate Double-A level, Jose Garcia has played in 10 games for the Chattanooga Lookouts and has failed to record a hit only once. Last night was another multi-hit game as he went 2-4 with a double and an RBI. He has also had an RBI in every game except the one in which he also went hitless. Garcia’s currently hitting .325/.391/.700 on the season with four doubles, a triple, and three home runs with five walks and 11 strikeouts in 46 plate appearances.
Alejo Lopez climbs over .400
It’s not just Garcia that’s hitting well for Chattanooga. Alejo Lopez has hit in all 10 games for the Lookouts and last night went 3-5 with two doubles, two runs, and an RBI. That put the switch-hitting second baseman back over the .400 mark on the season. He’s now 17-42 with five doubles, six walks, and just three strikeouts in 48 plate appearances. That’s good for a .405/.479/.524 line on the year.
Stevie Branche might just have to strike everyone out
Last night in Daytona Stevie Branche entered the game having recorded all of his outs on the season via the strikeout (8). The first batter he faced grounded out, marking the first time his defense had turned a batted ball into an out. He would pitch another 2.1 innings after that and he struck out six batters – meaning only one other out he had in the game came via the defense behind him.
The right-handed reliever has faced 30 batters this year and he’s truck out 14 of them (47%) and walked five of them (17%). He’s also hit two batters. Of the 9 balls put in play five have gone for hits, two resulted in errors, and then there were two ground outs. Just a weird, wild, and crazy small sample sized start to the season.
The Dayton Dragons keep on winning
It wasn’t easy for the Dayton Dragons on Friday night against the Lansing Lugnuts. Holding a 3-0 lead in the top of the 9th inning the Dragons saw Lansing load the bases, then get on the board while loading the bases with just one out. Dayton turned to Eddy Demurias to come in and he stepped up to the task, getting a strike out and a ground out to pick up his 1st save of the year and move the Dragons to 7-3. That’s the best record in the High-A Central.
It’s been a full team effort for Dayton. They lead the league in average (.261), are second in on-base percentage (.357), first in slugging (.413), and first in OPS (.770). The Dragons are also 4th in the 12-team league in stolen bases with 20 of them. Brian Rey leads the league in average (.406), slugging (.938), and OPS (1.338).
Over on the pitching side of things the Dragons are 4th in the league with a 3.31 ERA, third in strikeouts (105), and 5th in WHIP (1.26). Lyon Richardson and Spencer Stockton have combined for 17.1 innings without allowing a run so far.