Prior to tonight’s game in Colorado against the Rockies, the Cincinnati Reds announced that they had called up outfielder Blake Dunn from Triple-A Louisville and optioned Nick Martini to the minors.

Dunn, the 2023 Reds Minor League Player of the Year, has not had the best start of the 2024 season. After hitting .332/.433/.556 in 77 games in Double-A Chattanooga last season (and having an .871 OPS in 47 games with Dayton earlier in the season), the Reds moved the outfielder up to Triple-A to begin 2024. He’s been inconsistent so far, posting a .223 average to go along with a .348 on-base percentage and a .378 slugging percentage. Dunn has been hitting better over the last two weeks, hitting .278/.447/.556 with five extra-base hits, 10 walks, and 14 strikeouts.

Adding Blake Dunn and sending Nick Martini out gives the Reds outfield group a little more balance offensively. They’ve got left-handed hitting options with TJ Friedl, Will Benson, Jacob Hurtubise, and Jake Fraley. They now have three right-handed hitting options with Spencer Steer, Stuart Fairchild, and Dunn. Steer plays every day, but sometimes he will get starts on the dirt. Friedl tends to play every day, too. Everyone else has been mixed-and-matched. That seems like it’s where Dunn could start out, too – getting a majority of his playing time when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. He could also come off the bench as a pinch runner or defensive replacement.

Dunn’s hit for plenty of power against left-handed pitchers this season, slugging .558 in 57 plate appearances. But he’s only hitting .250 against them and has just four walks, leading to a .298 on-base percentage. That’s something that’s really only been a thing in 2024. Last year he hit .359/.507/.706 against lefties. In 2022 he hit .367/.487/.567 against lefties. In 2021 he only had six plate appearances against lefties.

Cincinnati has a lot of options with Blake Dunn now on the club. A right-handed hitting outfielder that could platoon. He’s a guy who can bring good defense. He’ll add baserunning value to one of the better baserunning clubs in the game.

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5 Responses

  1. Optimist

    On a very good team this would be a very obvious good move. All indications are that he’s a fine 13th hitter/5th Ofer. For the Reds, it’s more of a necessarily good move, given the defensive and PH/PR skills, and L/R platoon. It’s clearly a big opportunity for Dunn, and very well deserved, and perhaps the FO/AAA staff realize the extent the pre-season injury hampered him, and that he’s just now coming into form.

    All of which is the optimistic take. The realistic take is that there is no loss in swapping spots with Martini, and worst case is no appreciable effect to the lineup.

    With Dunn and Hurtubise now up, Hinds is the remaining younger prospect available, so let’s hope Dunn and Hurtubise can perform well enough to keep Hinds in AAA until one of the 2 September spots is available, or he goes on such a tear he needs to be promoted as well.

  2. The Duke

    It’ll be easier to pinch hit and retain defensive value in the outfield when the other team goes to the bullpen and L->R or R->L

  3. RedsGettingBetter

    Doug I can understand you see the Reds get better replacing Martini with Dunn. I like the shot on Dunn despite he’s no been really good at triple-A as he was last year at A+ and AA. However, this move surprised much people.

  4. Max

    This is NOT a good move due to the fact he strikes out way to much,and us overwhelmed by the slider! GM needs to make a deal for true right handed OF. Dunn needs to return to Triple A to play against his talent level.