One of the top performers in the farm system, Sal Stewart, is being promoted from Single-A Daytona to High-A Dayton. The Cincinnati Reds selected Stewart, their #11 prospect, in the 1st round (32nd overall) in last year’s draft.
After spending a few weeks in Arizona with the complex league club in 2022 and playing in just eight games before the season came to an end, the Reds assigned Sal Stewart to Daytona to start the 2023 season. The third baseman got out to a slow start, hitting .216/.358/.266 in the first two months of the season. He walked 31 times and had just 25 strikeouts in 173 plate appearances during April and May, but he also had a ground ball rate of 61% during those months and it was limiting both his hits and his power.
But he began to make some changes and when June rolled around he began to hit the ball in the air and his ground ball rate since June 1st has been 40% and with fewer balls on the ground his numbers have skyrocketed. In 50 games with Daytona since the start of June, Stewart has hit .307/.421/.542 with 15 doubles, 9 home runs, 35 walks, and 34 strikeouts in 216 plate appearances.
While his batted ball profile has changed in a big way, his plate discipline hasn’t. He’s walking at an elite rate despite being just 19-years-old. He’s also making contact at a high rate – he’s striking out in just 15.7% of his plate appearances during this stretch (it was 14.5% in April and May).
The big time production over the last 10 weeks has boosted Sal Stewart’s line to .269/.395/.424 on the year. His OPS is 11th best in the league (and third on the Tortugas behind Carlos Jorge and Hector Rodriguez). Stewart’s on-base percentage is 5th in the league, as are his 66 walks.
At this point we do not know what the corresponding moves are to replace Stewart in Daytona or who is being moved in Dayton on their roster. But we do know that Stewart’s moving up and that he’s been on an absolute tear for the last 10 weeks in Daytona.