Stuart Fairchild was selected in the 2nd round of the 2017 Major League Baseball draft by the Cincinnati Reds. He went 38th overall and the reports coming out of Wake Forest were strong. One rival executive referred to him as a potential future All-Star after the draft.

Like last years early picks out of college, Stuart Fairchild got out to a slow start in June once he was assigned to the Billings Mustangs. It was only six games in the month before it was over, but he hit .192/.250/.308 in those 28 plate appearances. Things picked up once the calendar flipped to July. In the first nine games of July the center fielder hit .294.

Over the last eight games things have really picked up. The Mustangs outfielder has gone 15 for 27 with two walks, two strikeouts and he’s been hit by two pitches, too. In that span he’s hit .556/.613/.778 – good for an OPS of 1.391 in that span. That stretch has boosted his line for July to .410/.486/.525 with four walks and seven strikeouts over 70 plate appearances.

The plate discipline that he’s shown, at least statistically, has been very impressive so far this year. In 98 total trips to the plate he has only struck out eight times. That’s a strikeout rate of just 8.2%. While it’s clearly a long way from the Major Leagues, to put in perspective just how low that strikeout rate is, Mookie Betts has the lowest strikeout rate in the Majors this season at 8.8%. Dustin Pedroia is the only other qualified hitter under 10.2% in the league.

Through 23 games he’s now hitting an impressive .345/.418/.460 with nine stolen bases this season for the Mustangs. It’s been a real nice run after a bit of a slow start for the second round pick.

Dilson Herrera likely done for the year

Yesterday we found out that Dilson Herrera’s shoulder was giving him problems again. Last night after the Louisville Bats game we found out that it’s probably going to cost him the rest of the season.

Jason Linden was working the Bats game on Saturday night and later in the evening had some more stuff from Delino DeShields, including quotes on Tyler Mahle, Rookie Davis, Cody Reed, and Amir Garrett. Here’s what he had to say on Mahle:

I asked him what he’s seen from Tyler Mahle since his AAA call-up. He said, “Mahle, I think, has the best command of all the guys here.” He said he didn’t think Mahle was ready for the big leagues yet, but “I like what I see. He puts his fastball where he wants.”

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2004 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, contact him via email here or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

22 Responses

  1. Steve

    I wish they’d interview pitching coach Jeff Fassero about the pitchers. To me, his assessment on all the pitchers would be much more detailed and informative. I’m hoping that he gets a chance with the Reds at some point this season. Reed, Garrett and Davis are all struggling.

    • Doug Gray

      Well, after the game the manager is available for about 5 minutes to the media – the coaches usually aren’t. That’s something you tend to do before games with coaches.

      • Steve

        It doesn’t matter when the coach is talked to, I would just rather read something that the pitching coach has to say about pitchers.

      • Doug Gray

        Sure. I was simply explaining why Jason had quotes from DeShields – he was covering the game that day and maybe he didn’t get to the ballpark before 4:30pm to talk to the pitching coach.

    • Hingle McCringleberry

      Wow. When the managers word isn’t good enough.

      • Doug Gray

        To be fair, and I think that the manager would tell you this, too, the pitching coach probably is going to be a little better detailed on the pitchers than the manager is. While they certainly talk about what’s going on, the pitching coach is going to *usually* have a slightly more firm grasp on the pitching than the manager.

  2. Greenfield Red

    Funny he mentions Mahle’s fastball command. I was listening to the Reds last night. Jeff Brantley was talking about Robert Stephenson’s outing.

    JB said that his breaking stuff was better since last time he was up… but that his fastball although pitching for strikes was up too high. He went on to say that “fastball command is pitching 101. It needs to be worked on from the time you’re 15 years old”.

    That being the quote, and I trust JB to be correct, it’s encouraging with regard to Tyler Mahle.

    • Hoosierbadger

      I feel casual fans are giving up on Bob Steve way too early. (Not saying you are in that category Greenfield). Homer Bailey required patience but ultimately turned out to be a solid starter when healthy. I think Stephenson is going to be a piece of the rotation puzzle going forward. Baseball is hard; the Reds can afford to be patient.

      The rebuild IMO is set back a year — barring some type of trade to acquire a frontline starter, looking like 2019 is a more realistic projection for competitiveness.

      • Greenfield Red

        I’ve not given up on Stephenson, Reed, Davis, Romano, or any of the others. There are things I don’t understand, but the people in charge know a lot more than I do, and for the most part I think they are making investment in building a winner (even though my untrained eye doesn’t agree with some of the moves being made).

        I’m not sure I agree that the rebuild has been set back a year. It appears that sometimes rebuilds don’t work in a straight and steady line, but in fits and starts. That could be what we are seeing here.

        However, if the deal could be made right now that the Reds would be very competitive in 2019 (and I mean an actual threat to win it all), but would be awful the rest of this year and all of next year, I’d take it without a second thought.

      • Paul Nyhart

        It’s been awhile, but I recall Homer Bailey’s AAA numbers and overall minor league career being much better than Stevenson. He had a Josh Beckett like run leading to his call-up and although their stuff is comparable at probably similar stages, Stevenson is yet to show remotely that consistency.

  3. Jim Delaney

    Stephenson after the game said he was yited.and the hot weather played a part. I was watching the game, thought for sure Price would pull him after 5 innings, let him build a little confidence and pinch hit for him. No, that doesn’t happen Price sends him back out to face Bour,, and Realmuto, I couldn’t believe it.. of course Realmuto,, smoked another 2 run homer, Steoehenson gets pulled, the outimg turns out to be a negative instead of a potential boost.. Then Price brings Lorenzen in two get out of the inning.. Unreal….. the next manager needs to have a grasp on handling young players and how to build confidence…. is there another AJ Hinch,, sitting around….Reds were playing solid baseball going into the All Star break,, they have been awful out of the Break, losing already 8 out of 9 at home…. there doesn’t seem to be any energy or life in the team.. hopefully the front office and ownership are taking note!!!!

    • RFM

      Stephenson had under 100 pitches, was pitching well, and was on a roll. I definitely had no objection to sending him out for a 6th inning. Generally I wouldn’t consider ~10 HR/year JT Realmuto to be a big threat, although every pitcher has some hitter(s) who just have their number, and now it looks like Realmuto is one of those for Stephenson.

      Pulling the young pitcher early with a low pitch count because of JT Realmuto sure isn’t some perfect way to build pitcher confidence, especially when everyone everywhere knows the Reds need every inning they can get out of their rotation. Ditching someone who’s pitching well early because you’re scared of a JT Realmuto matchup is no solution.

      The next manager should make something like 90-99% of the same decisions as Bryan Price.

      Price’s bad decision tonight was starting platoon hitter Scooter Gennett against a LHP, with Peraza sitting on the bench. Ages aside, one of them hits LHPs relatively well and the other hits LHPs very poorly. It was a perfect time to start Kivlehan (if there ever is one), and a terrible time to start Scooter. As platoon hitters they shouldn’t be in the same lineup.

      • Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McClish

        Peraza has had 350 plate appearances, walked 6 times and struck out 51. He has no power. His approach simply won’t work. He needs to sit until they trade Cozart. Maybe a little time on the bench will help him figure it out.

      • Doug Gray

        JT Realmuto plays in an enormous ballpark in Miami. He’s obliterating the baseball on the road this year, hitting .369/.418/.577 – basically, he’s Joey Votto on the road. Last year it was more of that, though not quite as good – but he was about 200 points of OPS better on the road than at home.

        Now, not saying pulling someone because of Realmuto is the right move – but he’s probably a lot better of a hitter than your initial comment suggests.

      • Kevin

        Adding to the comment that the “Reds need every inning they can get out of their rotation”, they are playing 17 straight days and 37 of 38 days. They ndot only need every inning, they need every out that the rotation can give them.

    • sixpacktwo

      We have the ‘D’, relief pitching (could be better) and Hitting(could be better) I ask, where would we be be with two sub 4:00 starting pitchers in addition to what we have. Better that 500 is my vote.

  4. Michael B. Green

    CIN SP’s are dead last (again) in HR/9, HR/FB and HR. They also have the 2nd lowest first-pitch strikes in the league. At the same time, they have the second highest in-the-zone swing rate and the third lowest outside-the-zone swing rate.

    This shows that CIN SP’s do not get strike one, and then groove pitches. When opposing hitters are ahead, they just don’t expand the zone with Reds starters.

    Interestingly, the Reds SP’s have the second-best downward movement on fastballs and the best downward movement on curveballs. They also have the third best horizontal movement on curveballs. This is easier promising or perhaps explains better launch angles for opposing hitters.

    With nothing to lose, it would be nice to see a concentrated effort to emphasize first pitch strikes with 3 or more pitches.

    • Doug Gray

      It doesn’t matter if the Reds are ahead or not in the count. They are literally below-average in OPS against in every single possible count. There’s not one count where they are even remotely close to average. Not one. It’s crazy.

      Here’s where that stat gets REAL crazy though: In 2-0, 3-0, 2-1 and 3-1 counts, the Reds pitching staff is at least 100 points of OPS against WORSE than league average in same counts.

      I really wonder if the league simply doesn’t know what they are throwing most of the time. Is there something in the pitch calling that is ridiculously obvious to other teams? Or are all of the Reds pitchers just absolutely incapable of executing a pitch?

      • cinvenfan

        I have been saying it for 3-4 years now, but they have to be the team with most 0-for-2 hits against and 99% of the time throwing fastballs. Amazing.

        Even worst. On offense, they swing at everything making opposing pitchers very easy to do their job.
        All in all, I certainly question the players’ – and staff- baseball IQ.

      • Doug Gray

        I don’t necessarily think it’s a baseball IQ thing. IF you have problems with pitch recogntion as a hitter, and I think many of the Reds hitters do, it’s not that they are purposefully choosing to swing at everything – it’s that they’ve started swinging at what they believe is a strike, but they read fastball instead of slider, and by the time it’s there, it’s not a strike anymore. That’s not an IQ thing – it’s an eyesight thing.

  5. Chi Reds Fan

    any perspectives on Jose Lopez, nice SO rate, BB rate decent and seems to be gaining consistency in AA at age 23?