When the 2022 baseball season began for Sal Stewart he was entering his senior year at Westminster Christian School in Miami, Florida. The 18-year-old then went out and put up a strong year that helped lead to the Cincinnati Reds selecting him 32nd overall in the draft.

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With the draft now taking place during the All-Star break it’s made the first taste of minor league baseball for draftees take place over the course of about a month instead of being early enough in the summer to get them an entire half of a season worth of playing time. For Sal Stewart it wasn’t even that long. He would make his professional debut on August 8th and he played his final game two-and-a-half weeks later on August 25th when the Arizona Complex League season came to an end. It was a good debut within that time frame as he hit .292/.393/.458 with four walks and five strikeouts.

For all 2022 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Sal Stewart Scouting Report

Position: Third Base | B/T: R/R

Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 215 lbs | Acquired: 1st Round, 2022 Draft

Born: December 7, 2003

Hitting | An average to above-average tool.

Power | Stewart shows above-average power with plus raw power.

Speed | He’s a well below-average runner.

Defense | He’s a slightly below-average defender.

Arm | Stewart shows above-average arm strength.

Sal Stewart was one of if not the highest rated bat in the 2022 draft from the high school ranks. Not only does he have a chance to be an above-average hitter with above-average or better power, his approach at the plate is also lauded by evaluators. His pitch recognition is very advanced for his age and that could help his already strong hitting tools play up. He can and does use the entire field.

Defensively is where there are some questions when it comes to his overall game. Right now he has the tools and ability to play third base, but scouts wonder if a move across the diamond to first base isn’t in his future. He’s going to need to stay on top of his conditioning if he’s going to remain at third base in the long run. His arm is plenty strong over there and he’s got good hands, but his size and quickness may limit his defensive value and ultimately could lead to a position change.

Sal Stewart Spray Chart

Interesting Stat on Sal Stewart

Tough to pull any real cool stats when a guy played in just eight games during the season, but Sal Stewart did have more extra-base hits during the season than he had singles. Of note, his spray chart above shows 4 singles and 4 doubles, but I opted to include the ACL Reds lone playoff game in the charts and he went 1-4 with a walk in that game with a single.

26 Responses

  1. James K

    Throws hard, runs slowly. Doesn’t that sound like someone who might think about learning to become a catcher? Especially in an organization that needs catchers more than infielders?

  2. AMDG

    I assume the MLB draft takes PLACE during the All-Star break, and does not take PLATE during the break? :)

  3. Matt

    Bigger guy, below average defender, plus raw power, sounds like a move from 3rd to 1st could happen in the future. Especially if some combination of EDLC, Marte, Arroyo, McLain, India, Collier, and Barrero are manning 2nd, 3rd, and SS.
    He also turns only 19 in 2 days, so he could still have some growth in him yet.

  4. MBS

    His bat is going to have to be very good with the rest of his tool set. DH probably, 1B maybe? Hopefully they move him off of 3B this year, and he and Collier can cover the corners in Daytona.

  5. DaveCT

    I’m excited to see what Stewart does now that he is a full time professional athlete. If he takes training seriously, it seems like he has some solid athleticism (hands, arm, instincts) to go with that hit tool and power.

  6. Old Big Ed

    You don’t really have to be fast to be a good third baseman. Brooks Robinson had 28 SBs in his 39-year major league career. Not that their gloves were anything special, but Wade Boggs had 24 SBs in 18 seasons, and Eddie Matthews was no Billy Hamilton. Scott Rolen was still an excellent defensive 3B, even after his foot speed had left him. And Mike Moustakas …

    Not that Stewart is going to be any of them, but there isn’t much point in relegating him to 1B/DH as a teenager. If he can hit, he will play.

    • DaveCT

      Totally agree. And, with no shift, he won’t have to cover shortstop or even 2B. And, with all due respect, that probably would have been tough for the guys you’ve mentioned.

  7. Bdh

    Chuckie Robinson and Solomon are both back on minor league deals. Glad to have them for depth at AAA while off the 40 man. I’m assuming the Louisville catching duo will be Robinson and Free?

  8. Redsvol

    Kind of disappointed when this pick happened. There were several athletic outfielders still available when Reds picked Sal. My concern isn’t that he isn’t a good players, its more with use of such a high pick on a player that probably won’t stick at third.

    All the articles mentioned the unathletic qualities Sal brings to the table. Those qualities don’t improve with age – regardless of how much one thinks. Metabolism slows, frames fill out, and speed begins to deteriorate for most players. Just felt like we should have been hunting for an outfielder at that point in the draft. Drafting 2nd and third basemen rarely works out. Drafting shortstops, outfielders and college pitchers is much safer at the top of the draft.

    • Doug Gray

      Draft history actually suggests that drafting third basement works out better than just about any other position.

    • AMDG

      If you are looking at great athletes who can’t hit vs. unathletic guys who can hit, I’m not sure drafting the athletes is the ‘safer’ route.

      The high ceiling / low floor types are actually the opposite of a ‘safe’ pick.

      • MBS

        @AMDG, well sure if you are picking guys who can’t hit vs can’t defend, but why would the 32nd overall pick have to be one or the other? At the 18th pick we got the 2nd coming according to many, but just 14 picks later we have to decide which …Half… of the game our next pick doesn’t have?

      • Old Big Ed

        Cam Collier isn’t really very fast or defensively accomplished, either. He and Stewart have some similarities, but Collier is deemed to be a more freakish hitter. Some said that Rafael Devers of the Red Sox was too roly-poly, too, but he’s gonna make about $15 million in his age 26 season.

        Only two guys who were picked #32 have accumulated more than 14 bWAR. They are Aaron Judge (37 and counting, rapidly) and Dave Magadan in 1983 at 21.1. The Reds got Jeter Downs with that pick in 2017.

        So, it isn’t like there are 8 future Hall of Famers to choose from every year at #32. If they could do everything, they wouldn’t be available at #10, much less #32.

      • MBS

        Cam is 50 run, and Stewart is 30 run according to MLB pipeline. That is a night and day difference going down the line to 1B. League average runner to a 40 year old catcher’s speed.

        These are just prospects, and no one is expecting to hit on all prospects. Our secondary picks we’re intentionally mediocre so we could afford to pay over slot value for Collier.

        Stewart was the 73rd rated prospect, and was taken at the 32nd pick. He is, but shouldn’t have been a 2nd rounder. I hope his bat carries him to the MLB.

      • DaveCT

        I really don’t get the rush to judgment, especially after so little time.

        Per Doug: “Right now he has the tools and ability to play third base”

        BA, midseason: “He has solid hands, instincts and arm strength for the position, but he’s a well below-average runner who will need to improve his footwork and get as much lateral mobility as he can to stick at the hot corner.”

        He’s slow. So what? Votto isn’t? Again, this will be his first year of full time professional sports, at 18 years old, with all of the training opportunities that come with it. So, let’s see what he actually does with this opportunity.

        Plus this — no more shift. He won’t have to be a 3B covering SS or 2B.

        One other thing. This kid doesn’t strike out, he takes a walk, and he hits the breaking ball.

        After listening to nonstop critiques of players with too many K’s, we get a guy who just hits and may not be more than a 3B/1B/DH, yet its just a lot of negativity.

        Sorry guys, let’s have this conversation in one year.

      • Redsvol

        My point in my post was to indicate that a supplemental first round pick is a valuable pick. Sal Stewart may very well become a major league player. I just would have much rather used the pick on a toolsy outfielder due to the # that were available at pick #32.

        Here are the outfielders chosen between pick #32 and our next pick (#73), their 2022 OPS and the level they reached.

        Jordan Beck – .909, A
        Dylan Beavers – .898, A+
        Ryan Cermack – .970, Rk
        Brock Jones – .936, A
        Jacob Melton – .819, A
        Henry Bolte – .545*, Rk (*39 plate appearances, high schooler)
        Jud Fabian – .1070, A+
        Clark Elliott – .500*, RK (*only 2 plate appearances)

        Sal Steward – .851, Rk (28 plate appearances, high schooler)

        So there were several toolsy outfielders taken after we took Sal Stewart that have had very good starts to their professional careers – with several college players already at high A and potential starting in double A in a few months. Thereby potentially impacting their major league clubs sooner at a much more premium position (outfield) than first base that is also a position of need in Cincinnati.

        This was my point. Not to say Sal couldn’t one day be a fine major leaguer one day. Just that there were some very good outfielders available at pick #32.

      • DaveCT

        Got it, RedsVol. I’m reacting to comments over the last day or two pigeon holing Stewart into a 1B/DH profile at this point of things.

        I’m not surprised we didn’t take an athletic toolsy guy with this pick, especially after Hendricks. It’d be ironic if Stewart ends up in LF.

  9. MBS

    @DaveCT, Everyone seems to get upset when we transition a player like Senzel late into there minor league career, or once they join the big club. “It’s too late, he hasn’t every played CF in the minors”. Ok fair point.

    Then the same people will say “why move prospect X off of his position, he’s only 18”. Ok fair point.

    So if you can’t transition a player late, or early, but you need to draft the best available players in the draft, you’re going to wind up with a bunch of misshapen rosters.

    Maybe a bit a judgment rushing is in order. I’m telling you Stewart is not going to play 3B for the Reds. 1B is his most likely path to the Reds for Stewart.

    3B: Marte, Collier are both big time prospects, as well as Steer and CES who are both solid prospect.

    SS / 2B: Barrero, EDLC, Marte, McLain, Arroyo and more

    1B: McGarry, CES, and nobody else.

    OF: Stewart is too slow for this

    C: I don’t know, maybe he profiles, but it’s got to be the hardest to transition to.

    • DaveCT

      I don’t mind transitioning a player when information determines it, or when he’s clearly blocked once he’s arrived at the upper levels. Votto is the best example of the info not backing him, drafted as a catcher, made a 3B, and quickly moved to 1B.

      I just think conventional wisdom is to sustain the highest level of value as an asset during the guy’s development. In this case, prepare him at 3B and, given Collier, at 1B and at DH. But he is more valuable to the team as a 3b/1B/DH guy versus simply a 1B/DH.

      While he may not play 3B for us, he may for someone else, and net us some positive value in return.

      There’s another way to look at it, rather than general player development: Think about being 18 and told your only future is 1B and DH. It’s better for the kid to have options wide open.

      This is less arbitrary than moving EDLC to the outfield but it’s the same principle, playing guys to their strengths, to their highest possible value as an asset. In this case, Stewart is a near elite if not elite HS hitter just starting out. I say, don’t add barriers. Let him go for it in pursuit of his dream.

      • MBS

        We’ll have to agree to disagree, I see this type of a move as removing barriers, not adding them.

        Per Doug: “Right now he has the tools and ability to play third base” Kinda cherry picked the part of the paragraph that supports your inclination.

        “Defensively is where there are some questions when it comes to his overall game. Right now he has the tools and ability to play third base, but scouts wonder if a move across the diamond to first base isn’t in his future”

        Time is more valuable than most people give it credit. Too long into the wrong direction will only make it harder to get where you’re going once you finally are going in the right direction.

      • DaveCT

        Cherry picking?

        Ok, let’s end for the night.

        But … Well, yeah, selecting the most recognized best opinion BA, and the second best, of course,, Doug, the best does it for me.

        Go pick a cherry

      • MBS

        You’re right that was a low blow, especially after I said we’ll have to agree to disagree. Sometimes I can’t stop arguing, character flaw, I guess.