Last spring training I tweeted out how I had just seen one of the best arms I’ve ever come across and that it came out of nowhere. That arm belonged to Ariel Hernandez. On Tuesday I saw another guy for the first time and while the shock value that was there for Hernandez wasn’t the same as Tuesday, one guy really jumped out. Mariel Bautista. He’s a 19-year-old outfielder who is in the United States for the first time after playing in the Dominican Summer League the last two seasons. There’s plenty more on him below.

The biggest news out of spring training from day one, however, is that right handed pitcher Ian Kahaloa is not there. The Reds confirmed that he is not in Goodyear for spring training. Don’t expect him to start the year with a team. This isn’t due to an injury – as he would be in camp if he were hurt.

As to what I was able to see in the three games that took place today, it was a good mixture. The Advanced-A and Low-A teams played in Goodyear today, but so did the extended spring group.

The Extended Spring Training notes

I watched most of this game since it was the only game going on at the time. The guys that are likely to be in extended spring training to start the year took on the Langley Blaze. They are an elite travel team out of Canada that is making their way around the various spring training complexes. Cristian Olivo didn’t do much within the game itself, but he’s got a grown mans body at just 18-years-old. He has definitely added size to his frame since he was signed for $1M in the 2015 signing period.

Two hitters stood out on the day: Mariel Bautista and Victor Ruiz. One of the things that everyone always asks me in the offseason is to pick a “breakout player”. I usually try to avoid answering the question because it’s so hard to know (even if I nailed my pick of Michael Beltre last year – #humblebrag). I didn’t know who it would be this season as I arrived in Arizona. Now, there’s no doubt about who I’m going with. It’s Mariel Bautista.

Last season he hit .333/.408/.473 for the DSL Rojos as an 18-year-old, so he didn’t come out of nowhere. He has a strong season under his belt. But this was the first time that I’ve had a chance to see him play and he just looks the part. He’s got size (he’s listed at 6′ 3″ and 170 lbs). His bat is very quick. I really liked what I saw from him today.

Victor Ruiz started behind the plate. The now 18-year-old hit the ball hard every time he came to the plate on the day. The Reds signed him out of Mexico last fall.

Manny Cruz absolutely crushed a long home run in the game. It was, as the sportscasters say, a no-doubter.

The Low-A Game

At this point in the spring, guys are still playing a level higher than they are likely to be assigned. That isn’t the case for everyone, but most guys fall into this category. Drew Storen started this game and threw an inning. I saw none of that. Tony Santillan came on after that, though and just overmatched the White Sox hitters with his fastball.

The Advanced-A Game

This is where most of the guys that will begin in Dayton seemed to be playing. Taylor Trammell, T.J. Friedl, Jose Siri, and Tyler Stephenson were all lined up in this game. Taylor Trammell looked faster than I expected. That’s saying something given that I know he’s a 70-runner, and I know what that guy looks like. Tyler Stephenson looked good at the plate. He was hitting the ball incredibly hard all day long. Very good to see given that he’s coming off of wrist surgery. Jose Siri…. the tools are there for a star. If he can hone in his plate discipline some, look out. He hit two absolute lasers while I was watching the game. One went down as a double and the other was caught by the left fielder.


29 Responses

  1. Brennan

    I am assuming that means Kahaloa will be back in Billings? Is that normal to have someone who has performed well each of their first two years stay down that low for a third year?

    • Doug Gray

      That’s not what it means. If that were the case he’d be in camp right now.

  2. cinvenfan

    Nice report Doug. It´s always better to hear it from people who actually watch these kids. Hopefully, Bautista and Siri pan out. Definitely the Reds need some elite corner OF prospects to go along with the INF.
    If not injury related, I guess what comes next with Kahaloa is a suspension, release or is he retiring?

  3. The Duke

    Some of Kahaloa’s social media postings came off as fairly immature last year, but I tended to right that off to him being 18 years old at the time. I hope that this is something more along the lines of dealing with a family issue and not something to do with attitude, character, or commitment. It’ll all come out in the end I suppose, and it’s fruitless to speculate before we know more.

    That Mariel Bautista report sounds a lot like a Younger Aristides Aquino, except Bautista has had far better production in the DSL Than Aquino ever did. Hopefully, that solid walk rate had more to do with his plays discipline and not just the notoriously poor control for pitching in the DSL. I look forward to tracking how he does in rookie ball this year. How did he look playing the outfield? Potential centerfielder, enough arm For RF if not, good instincts making reads off the bat, etc….?

    • Doug Gray

      I’ll try to pay more attention to that stuff the next time I see Bautista. Yesterday I was simply watching the pitchers and guys at the plate in that particular game.

  4. Norwood Nate

    Hopefully it’s not a home sick thing like the other Hawaiian the Reds picked back in the 2000’s.

  5. jim t

    I’m sure this should probably be posted elsewhere but a Ill put it here anyway. DiDi Gregorious is reportedly out 6 weeks for the Yankees because of shoulder issue. Could Cozart be a option? Yankees said they would not call up their SS of the future to fill the void.

    • HavaKlu

      I really don’t see the yankees being that interested in Cozart. They have Ruben Tejada in camp who should be able to fill in adequately.
      I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m going to be sad when Cozart goes. Not only is he a class act but is absolutely the smoothest fielding SS around.

      • Doug Gray

        For only six weeks, I don’t think they’d be willing to make the deal they would need to in order to acquire Cozart. If a team is going to trade for Cozart, it’s going to be a team that needs someone for a few months, in my opinion.

    • Norwood Nate

      I read they may shift Castro to SS and let our ol’ pal Ronald Torreyes play 2B.

  6. Nick Lauth

    So how long before Ian Kahaloa gets suspended for his SnapChat videos of him doing cocaine and having a lot of weed? Social Media gets these guys in trouble. Hopefully he gets some help with the drug problem.

    • The Duke

      If that’s true, whoa. His career may be over before it even really started.

      • Doug Gray

        I saw the videos last night before getting in bed. It’s not looking good.

    • RFM

      Wait, just to clarify, as I don’t have SnapChat… there IS such a video? And Doug confirms having seen it?


      • Doug Gray


        And while it was posted on snapchat, what I saw was someone else recording it from snapchat, and they posted it elsewhere.

    • Champ Summers

      Makes you look at that “mugging” story from a couple years back with a raised eyebrow. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Not sure how or why some humans are so self destructive?

      • Nick Lauth

        I don’t know if his career is totally over, maybe with the Reds. But someone would take a chance on him, Matt Bush got more chances. The Reds may stick with him. They stuck with Tanner Rahier after he hit someone with a giant rock.

      • Doug Gray

        That was the original story on Rahier, but it turns out that isn’t quite how everything went down.

      • Greenfield Red

        Hey Champ. What was the mugging story? Thanks

  7. Arnold Ziffle

    “Stupid is as Stupid does.”
    Kahaloa just killed his baseball career.
    Some of the best weed in the world comes out of Hawaii; Pineapple Express, Maui Wowie. So, he’ll probably find another job on the big island doing something else that he enjoys.
    Kahaloa is ranked #16 in DG’s top-25 prospects. It is still a hit to lose that talented a pitcher, though.
    The Reds have the pitching depth to fill the void. Calling Scott Moss.

    • Greenfield Red

      Won’t get Torres, but may get Rutherford and a lesser known prospect. That would be tremendous.

      • John

        I have a feeling you’re both going to be extremely disappointed by the return if he’s traded…

      • Cguy

        The Yankees might engineer themselves a pretty good deal here. They have a lot of prospects. Cozart & in 6-8 weeks Didi may both have high market value by the trading deadline. Who would have thought the Chapman trades & re-signing could have benefited the Yankees as much as it did.

  8. rhayex

    Doug, correct me if I’m wrong, but Ian Kahaloa would only be suspended fifty games for his first offense, right? The Reds will hopefully have a talk with him about where his head needs to be and he can hopefully move past this and mature.

    It’s a serious issue that needs to be addressed, but I don’t think it’s the career killer some on here are making it out to be.

  9. terry m

    Cozart for Torres was meant as a joke not a good one I guess

  10. Brandon

    Good stuff, Doug. I’m highly intrigued by Mariel Bautista now.