Rece Hinds has bad about as bad of luck as one could imagine since he was drafted in the 2nd round by the Cincinnati Reds back in 2019. He played three games for Greeneville after the draft before an injury cost him the remainder of the 2019 season. In 2020 the season was cancelled, though Hinds was one of a few prospects that did spend time at the alternate site to get development time in. Then in 2021 he played the first month of the season in Low-A Daytona before he tore his meniscus in his knee and then missed two-and-a-half months before returning to Daytona for the final month of the season.
Playing time matters, particularly in development. It’s tougher to “figure things out” when you can’t be on the field and for Hinds, he’s lost a ton of playing time due to injuries. As we sit here on June 1st, the first two months of the season is the longest stretch Rece Hinds has had where he has stayed on the field without some interruption. The consistency of staying on the field may have helped him this past month.
Cincinnati sent Hinds to High-A Dayton to begin the 2022 season and they not only challenged him at the plate with the promotion, but they also challenged him by having him move from third base to right field after testing out a position change during spring training.
April did not go the way that Hinds would have liked in just about any aspect. He began the month by picking up two hits in his first two games. He then had the exact same number of hits, four, in the next 14 games to end the month. When things were all said and done, Hinds hit .138/.242/.276 with six walks and 33 strikeouts in 66 plate appearances. He struck out in half of his plate appearances during the month and as you would imagine, that’s really going to keep you from being any sort of productive.
Things seemed to change when the calendar flipped to May, though. Hinds went 1-5 on the first of the month, and then in a doubleheader on the following gameday he went 5-6 with two home runs. That day seemed to set the tone for the month and he didn’t look back. In 20 games during the month he hit .388/.474/.672 with 10 walks and 23 strikeouts in 78 plate appearances.
The difference is night-and-day. Hinds made enormous strides in how much contact he made, going from a strikeout rate that would never, ever work, to a strikeout rate that while high is acceptable and can work so long as he draws walks and hits for power. And did he ever do that.
His BABIP during May was an absurdly high and unsustainable .550. Of course no one is expecting him, or anyone else for that matter, to hit .388 either. So while his BABIP will normalize some moving forward and his average (and thus the on-base percentage and slugging percentage) will drop off some from that baseline, the underlying rates of walks, contact, and power he showed during the month were big steps in the right direction and are quite sustainable numbers that could lead to quality production if they can remain where they were.