Yesterday the Daytona Tortugas played a doubleheader after being rained out on Wednesday. In the first game of the doubleheader Yerlin Confidan hit two home runs, singled, and he drove in five runs. He did not play in the second game of the day – but maybe he should have as Daytona fell 1-0 in that game.

Let’s roll that beautiful home run footage.

Back in 2021 the Reds pushed Confidan to the Arizona Complex League Reds to make his professional debut at age 18. The outfielder crushed the ball, winning the league’s Most Valuable Player award by hitting .315/.359/.573 with nine doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, and seven stolen bases.

Since then, things haven’t gone all that well. In 2022 he missed much of the season and played in just 22 non-rehab games and had a .725 OPS in Daytona. In 2023 he played in 74 games with Daytona and struggled, hitting just .197/.273/.339. This season he is back in Daytona and got out to a slow start in April, hitting .175/.277/.298.

Everything seems to be going right for Confidan in May, though. He’s hitting .317/.396/.610 through 11 games. Is it a hot streak? Almost certainly – most players aren’t 1.000+ OPS kinds of players. But when he’s really standing out in the walk and strikeout columns. He’s walked five times and struck out just six times in his 48 plate appearances. In April he struck out 20 times in 65 plate appearances. His strikeouts have come way down this month.

That is important for a lot of reasons. Obviously, the more contact you make, the better that tends to be. There are some exceptions to that rule, but generally speaking more contact tends to work out for hitters.

But very specifically with Yerlin Confidan it could be a game changer if he can continue to make contact at a high rate like he has in May. Very few players in baseball can hit the ball as hard as he can. Since he’s playing in the Florida State League we get exit velocity data on him for all of his road games (since Daytona’s the only non-spring training ballpark in the league and they don’t have Hawkeye set up and their Trackman system does not push data public like the Hawkeye system does), we can use actual data to see how hard he’s hitting the ball and it sticks out. Even while missing out on all of his home games, he’s have multiple balls hit at 110+ MPH this season, topping out at 113.7 MPH.

There have been a few times in the past that Confidan has cut down on his strikeout rate over small sample sizes like he’s doing right now. Here’s a 10-game rolling strikeout and walk percentage chart from the start of his career through today:

It’s never been quite as low on the strikeouts as it is right now, but it’s been real close a few times. And each time it ramped back up. We’ll have to wait and see what happens this time around, too. But right now he seems to be seeing the ball very well and he’s crushing it.

Sammy Stafura’s Hot Start

Last night out in Arizona Sammy Stafura went 1-3 with two walks, a stolen base, a run scored, and he drove in two runs. He’s played in eight games for the ACL Reds so far this season and he’s hitting .394/.487/.545 with six walks, eight strikeouts, and three stolen bases. Two of those steals are of home on double steals – including last night.

Stafura has been on base in seven of the eight games he’s played in. He’s had hits in six of those seven games, too. It’s a big difference from his debut last year where nothing seemed to really go right for the young infielder. With the late date of the draft now, Stafura was only able to play in 12 games last season, but he went 3-42 with 23 strikeouts. For as tough as that start to his career was, he’s seemingly made some big adjustments this year and is on a tear this time around.

6 Responses

  1. The Duke

    I wonder if Confidan is the complimentary move to Dayton for when Jay Allen moves to Chattanooga. I don’t think either one happens before the first half of the minor league season, but it does track. That would give each of Allen and Confidan a little more time to hopefully continue with their success at their respective levels and show a little consistency before challenging them a little more as both are approaching 22 years old now.

  2. Laredo Slider

    Glad to see this. I’ve lamented about the lack of Reds young OF development, maybe the light’s coming on for Confidan. He, Almonte, et al will be fun to follow the rest of the summer.

  3. RedsGettingBetter

    It seems to me Yerlin Confidan physically looks like Elly a little bit… He can hit hard, has power and speed. IDK how his defense and arm are considered.

    • Doug Gray

      He’s not slow, but he’s not a burner, either. Slightly above-average.

      I’d like to see more of his arm in person. Even with some of the metrics being available in Daytona and him being there for parts of three years, there’s hardly anything with regards to his arm strength from the outfield.

  4. DaveCT

    Malvin Valdez put a really nice swing on a pitch today with Daytona and ripped a double to the gap in left center.

    Last year at Daytona, I was relieved when they sent him back to the complex team in AZ, as he looked absolutely lost.

    I did a quick check on his time back in Lo-A just now, and in the last 7 games Valdez is slashing .286/.444/.286 (OPS .730). That slugging % is concerning, but how great would it be if Valdez joins Almonte and Confidan in perhaps putting some things together? Valdez is the most athletic of the three, I believe, with CF ability.

  5. DaveCT

    Jackson Miller’s brother playing vs. the Tortugas today. Nice swing, really athletic.