Tyler Stephenson missed most of the 2016 season with a concussion injury in April that was followed up by a wrist injury that just wouldn’t heal. That wrist injury would require surgery. He would try to play through the injury several times during 2016, but wound up heading back to the disabled list in short order each time. In 39 games during last season with Dayton he would hit just .216/.278/.324. He was clearly not himself.

Entering the 2017 season healthy, Tyler Stephenson has looked like, and produced like a completely different player. Last night he racked up his third straight multi-hit game. In 17 games played this April, the 2015 1st round selection by the Cincinnati Reds is hitting .302/.397/.460. That comes with four doubles and two home runs. He has also walked eight times with 14 strikeouts in 73 plate appearances. Stephenson just looks so much better at the plate this year. The swing looks more fluid, he looks more confident in what he wants to swing at, and lay off of at the plate.

Other notes from around the Cincinnati Reds farm

Dilson Herrera started at second base last night for Louisville. It was the second straight night he played in the field. That’s the first time it has happened this season. He had been alternating between designated hitter and second base. It’s the third straight game at second, though there was an off-day between the 1st and 2nd start in that stretch.

Chris Okey could be turning things around for Daytona. From April 12th-22nd he went 0-26, but over the last three days he’s gone 5-11 with a double and a walk.

James Vasquez pitched yesterday for the Dayton Dragons. He’s a first baseman. His outing wasn’t great, but he did strike out two batters. Of course, he also gave up four hits, including a 2-run homer. He’s not a pitcher, so that doesn’t mean much. He joins Beau Amaral and Blake Butler as other Reds minor leaguers that are position players to pitch this season. Butler has the lead with a 0.00 ERA in his inning of work but Vasquez has the lead in strikeouts.

The Louisville Bats and Dayton Dragons have been getting on base. The Daytona Tortugas and Pensacola Blue Wahoos have not. The Bats as a team have a .332 on-base percentage with 70 walks and 129 strikeouts. That’s a heck of a strikeout-to-walk ratio for an entire team. Dayton’s on-base percentage is .322 with 74 walks and 162 strikeouts. For a team, that’s still pretty good. Pensacola has a .298 team on-base percentage with 73 walks and 179 strikeouts. That ratio is solid, but they are hitting .214, which drags down their OBP. Daytona has a .296 on-base percentage with a league worst (by far) 44 walks and 180 strikeouts. The ratio of strikeouts-to-walks is not good, at all. Hopefully that will improve as the season goes forward. As a sidenote that I saw while looking at this, the Tampa Yankees are hitting .201/.260/.281 as a team. They’ve scored 47 runs in 20 games.

17 Responses

  1. The Duke

    On a team filled with great athletes (Trammell, Friedl, Beltre, Siri, etc..) Stephenson may have been the most impressive one when I took in a Dragons game. He runs pretty well for a guy that big and he just looks so much more comfortable in just about everything he was doing over last year. Excited to see what he can do this year.

  2. MichaelD

    A lifelong Reds fan, with JB being my favorite. While we may never see a combination of skills that he maintained for a number of years, I am excited to follow catchers that have great upside. Besides a few clips, I had never really gotten to see Tyler play until I subscribed to the MilB package this season. One at bat I watched impressed me because of his quick bat and nice swing. I would say that his confidence is growing and I believe that he has gained some mental fortitude from his circumstances last season. Duke, your insight adds to my excitement from this young man. While the Reds themselves are not a joy to watch much of the time, it is a lot of fun to follow some of these young guys as they progress.

    I am still a Mez fan and I am rooting for him to continue his progression. Many have been critical of his play so far, but it is not an easy game and it will take time for him to get back to the level that we all want. To think the Reds would be better off without him, is silly and not helpful. I would guess that we won’t know until after mid-season, if he is capable of playing to his previous level of play. Being that the Reds are not going to compete (and that may be a good thing for the future), there is no harm in letting Devin work through the rust.

    Just my 2 cents.

  3. Wes

    Imo catching is the most important fielding position in NL and the easiest way to separate yourself from competition is having a catcher good enough to bat 2-6 and can play d vs a catcher w good d who bats 8th or in front of pitcher.

    That being said the re-immergence of Stephenson has to be the most significant development in farm this year. Real excited to see him back on track.

    • Doug Gray

      Writing a bit about this now. Hoping to get more information to go along with the stuff reported by Ben Badler.

    • Arnold Ziffle

      One thing about Robert, other than his swing, is he has nice size. He looks 22 or older, not 19. It would be a shame if the Reds can’t sign him.

    • Wes

      Those teams getting around to working him are out of the running imo. If you are kicking tires you aren’t gonna be willing to dish out 20 mil. Good piece

  4. kevin zook

    great to see from Stephenson so far early.. it would be huge for the reds if he turns out to be above average C.. Hope get luis Robert, but if not on par with Moncada hope don’t highly over pay for him..

  5. kevin zook

    OT- nice games from long Senzel also Lavalley today 14 runs so far

  6. Jonathan

    A catcher related question. Will Jake Turnbull start with the Billings Mustangs this year? How much farther behind in skills and experience is he from Tyler Stephenson? He’s also younger by a couple of years too. Right?

  7. MK

    if Stephenson is the most positive development, from what I have seen so far Cassidy Brown is the most disappointing. Coming off a great season at Billings I thought he should push Tyler but it has not happened offensively or defensively.

  8. Hingle McCringleberry

    I still wonder why the reds are playing a single A catcher on the mlb roster in turner, when we have so many catchers to use. We could have kept cabrera.

    • Greenfield Red

      In my opinion, there is a gap between the ML catchers and those in A ball. I’m not sure the catchers at AA or AAA are ever in the Reds ML plans. That’s why I think he is important.

      I have not looked into how Luis Torrens is doing with SD. Josh Van Meter seems to be off to a descent start with the Reds, but they have a ton of middle infielders in the minors. I would rather the Reds kept him. Pretty good hit tool.

    • Doug Gray

      Well, first off, he was a Double-A catcher last year – so let’s at least give him some credit there. And secondly, he’s played in six games. Cabrera was a well below-average defender. Teams generally don’t go with those types behind the plate unless they hit 20+ bombs. Cabrera is a slap hitter. He’s good to have around for depth in case of injuries. Cabrera, by the way, is the backup on his Triple-A team right now.