The Arizona League Reds season isn’t even three full weeks old yet and they have played just 14 games, but even in a limited sample size there are some players that have performed very well. One of those players is right handed pitcher Wendolyn Bautista.

The Cincinnati Reds signed Bautista in December of 2012 as a 19-year-old free agent out of the Dominican Republic. His first exposure to professional baseball didn’t go as well as he had hoped, posting a 1-10 record with a 5.63 ERA in the Dominican Summer League in 2013 over 56.0 innings with 33 walks and 57 strikeouts. He followed that up with a much better season in 2014.  The then 21-year-old lowered his ERA to 3.22 on the season in 72.2 innings while walking just 16 batters and he struck out 53.

The walk rate plummeted, going from 5.3 walks per 9 innings pitched down to just 2.0 walks per 9 innings pitched. His strikeout rate also took a big turn in the downward direction, dropping from 9.2 strikeouts per 9 innings to 6.6 strikeouts per 9 innings. The trade off seemed to work out well though.

Bautista must have impressed the Reds brass and they brought him to the US to pitch for the Arizona League Reds in the 2015 season and he’s gotten out to a great start. He’s now made four appearances, all out of the bullpen, but they’ve all been multiple inning stints. The right hander has thrown 17.2 innings for the Reds and allowed just two earned runs (1.02 ERA). He’s once again cut his walk rate down, walking just three batters (1.5 walks per 9 innings). The biggest step though has been that he’s picked up his strikeout rate in a big way so far in 2015. 23 of the 73 batters he’s faced this season have walked back to the dugout with their bat in their hands, good for a strikeout rate of 32%. That also puts his strikeouts per 9 innings rate at 11.7, easily the best of his career.

It’s early and the sample size is small, but Wendolyn Bautista has put up outstanding numbers so far out in Arizona for the Reds. He’s leading the league in strikeouts, has an ERA just over 1.00 and isn’t walking hitters. At this point in time I don’t have the slightest clue what his stuff is like, but I plan on finding out very soon. Regardless of how well he projects, his 2015 couldn’t have gotten off to a better start than it has.

8 Responses

  1. Jeff

    Doug, your thoughts on Connor Bennett getting $250K for a 34th round pick?

    • Doug Gray

      He looks like a future reliever, but he’s got big time arm strength and they had the money to get him into the organization. Seems like a good signing to me.

      • Jeff

        Have you heard what the hold up is with Miles Gordon?

  2. The Duke

    22 years old in the AZL with no idea about his stuff is little difficult to get excited about. If he was throwing big heat and something just clicked, then maybe.

    • Doug Gray

      I understand – and I plan on talking to someone about him soon, but the numbers are fantastic and I wanted to point it out. Usually I wake up around 10 and write something up for 11 or noon, but today I had to babysit my 2 month old nephew and my year-and-a-half old nephew at 10am, so I needed something to write about last night that was quick and easy. While going through the box score for the AZL Reds, he pitched and it just made sense to give him the recognition for his season thus far, but also left me no time to really check into his stuff.

      • Ryan

        I’ll take notice when he performs like that in a dragons uni.

    • TCevad

      Only 120 professional innings, though, until this year. A few years back, you’d hear about a lot of the Dominican kids have relatively few miles on their arms especially when compared to the Americans who did. I suspect that has changed some, but it still would be hard to do a wholesale change in the Dominican practice in a short time.

      The larger question for me is why are we bringing so many first year signees to AZ this year? Seems like a ginormous number.

      • Doug Gray

        There really were a lot of international guys brought to the AZL this year from the DSL teams, but not a ton of first year guys. The group that are the 1st year guys are the non-Latin American international signings, which we see every year. The Reds don’t send the European or Australian guys to the DSL.