Minor League Baseball had their first ever “MiLB Awards” show this week. It aired on MLB Network and there were a whole lot of awards that were handed out for the 2023 season. While no Reds farm teams or players were nominated or won any of the specific awards, Minor League Baseball did select a 1st and 2nd “All MiLB Team” for player performance. It was not the first year for this – they’ve done it since 2015. But the teams were announced during the Awards show. The Reds did have a player on the 1st team as outfielder Blake Dunn was honored for his big season.
It was a big, breakout season for Blake Dunn. It’s possible he could have broken out sooner had he had the opportunity, but injuries had kept him off of the field for much of the first two seasons after he was drafted in 2021 out of Western Michigan. While on the field prior to 2021 he had performed well, he just had limited action on the field. In 2023 the outfielder stayed on the field and he put up big numbers. He began the year in High-A Dayton before being promoted to Double-A after 44 games. Dunn would spend the rest of the season there.
In all, he would play 124 games in the regular season after having just 48 games under his belt in 2021 and 2022 combined. Dunn made up for lost time as he hit .312/.425/.522 in his 559 plate appearances. He put up that slash line while hitting 17 doubles, 5 triples, and 23 home runs. Dunn also stole 54 bases. He was only the second player since 1960 in the Reds farm system (which is as far back as we have full records) to hit 20 home runs and steal 50 bases in the same season. Dunn joined Gary Redus, who accomplished the feat back in 1982 with Indianapolis.
Arizona Fall League debuts
Last night the Arizona Fall League kicked off their season. Two Cincinnati Reds prospects got into the game. Jacob Hurtubise started the game in left field and hit leadoff. He would walk to lead off the 1st inning and in the 5th inning he would pick up an infield hit. He would finish the game 1-4 with a walk and a strikeout.
Zach Maxwell pitched the 8th inning for Surprise. He’d give up two singles, two steals, and a run to go along with two strikeouts in his inning of work.
Leo Balcazar Update
After a strong start to the 2023 season, shortstop Leo Balcazar tore his ACL after scoring the winning run in a walk-off win in late April. He’s been out in Arizona at the Reds complex doing his rehab work. Yesterday he posted on instagram some video of him hitting off of a tee and doing some glove work on the field. It’s possible that I missed video of that previously, but I believe that’s the first time he’s shared video of either. Both are good signs as he’s still less than six months out from having surgery.