One of the more underreported on aspects of play – particularly in the minor leagues – is defense. There are a lot of reasons for it – not as much access to video, no defensive stats worth talking about or pointing to, far less ways to get and review highlights and games – but it’s not an unimportant part of the game. Last week there were two defensive plays, though, that deserve to be seen.

Jay Allen II is out to a great start in 2024. The 30th overall pick in the 2021 draft missed much of 2023 with injuries, but he’s back in Dayton this season and he’s been making up for lost time. If the season ended today he’s probably be a runaway pick for player of the year in the organization. Through 26 games he’s hitting .316/.430/.600 with nine stolen bases. He’s split time at all three position in the outfield for the Dragons, but on Sunday afternoon he was out in right field and made an incredible catch in foul territory.

That might be the best defensive play you’re going to see in the Reds farm system this year. Between the amount of ground covered and then the added danger factor of it happening in the bullpen area where there are mounds, players, benches, and a wall – just an insane play.

But Allen II wasn’t the only player on the farm flashing the leather on Sunday. The other player is one of the most unlikely candidates – a reliever. But that didn’t stop Zach Maxwell from making this play:

That play ended the inning and the day for Zach Maxwell, giving him a perfect frame with a strikeout. It was just a continuation of what he’s done all year – dominate. The big right-hander has now pitched in 14 games for Double-A Chattanooga and posted a 1.23 ERA. In his 14.2 innings he’s allowed just seven hits – no home runs – and he’s struck out 27 of the 58 batters he has faced (46.6%). The lone issue he has faced has been his walks. Maxwell has handed out nine free passes this season.

3 Responses

  1. DaveCT

    Yes, yes i can imagine Jay Allen II and that speed patrolling the outfield at GABP

      • DaveCT

        Allen II may well be, as Doug has said, making up for lost time. Not only did he play in just 31 games last year, he was a true three-sport kid in high school. So, until his first year of full season ball in 2022, he hadn’t focused on baseball full time.