When the Cincinnati Reds selected Jeter Downs with the 32nd overall pick in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft, one of the biggest things everyone talked about was his advanced approach at the plate. And after the draft it showed in Billings, where the Reds sent him for his first professional assignment. The then 18-year-old walked 27 times with just 32 strikeouts in 209 plate appearances.

It’s only been four games this season for Jeter Downs, but he’s racked up a hit in each game so far. On Sunday afternoon against Bowling Green, the middle infielder had three hits and he drove in a run. In the four game series (each team hosted two games at home to start the year), Downs has hit .375/.474/.500 with two doubles, two walks, and he was hit by a pitch. Oh, and he’s also stolen three bases in three attempts. At the plate, and on the bases, the now 19-year-old has gotten out to as strong as a start as you one could realistically expect.

Nick Longhi is also swinging a hot bat

Last July the Reds acquired Nick Longhi from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for international signing period cap space. The team didn’t send any money, but they did send the Red Sox the ability to spend a significant chunk of money that they wouldn’t have been allowed to otherwise spend. The Reds were realistically unable to spend that as a team in the penalty phase after spending over $15M (and another $15M in cash penalties paid to MLB as a result) the previous signing period.

The Reds brass sent Nick Longhi, then a 21-year-old, to Double-A Pensacola. It was a short stay, as he wound up tearing his UCL in his elbow after just seven games played and required Tommy John surgery. As a fielder, rather than a pitcher, the recovery time is a bit quicker. He returned to the playing field in under 10 months.

Nick Longhi ended spring training swinging the bat very well according to reports I had gotten. He’s kept that going in the first few games in Pensacola, too. In what seems like he’s making up for lost time, the now 22-year-old had racked up six hits and 11 at-bats. He’s hitting .545/.583/.636 with just one strikeout in three games played.

23 Responses

  1. WVRon

    We should have a pool…

    When will someone put a ball in play off Tanner Rainey?

    • The Duke

      It’s already happened. He’s recorded 6 outs, 5 of them by strikeout. The other ball was put in play for the 6th out.

  2. The Duke

    Great to see Downs get out to a hot start with the bat. On the flip side, in 2 games playing SS (DH’d one, 2B for one) he has 3 errors, 2 fielding and 1 throwing. I haven’t been able to see him live yet to speak on the range and athleticism, and he is still young (plenty of great SS racked up high error counts in A ball). 3 E’s in 2 games is still an iffy defensive start thought.

      • MK

        He played 2B yesterday. Think he and Jose Garcia are going to go back and forth.

      • Doug Gray

        That’s what I was told that the plan would be: get both guys time at both spots.

  3. kevin z

    Just a tad early lol but great to see jeter off to a good start I have high hopes for him. I’m thinking his D will improve just not sure he will be a SS long term though.

    • Doug Gray

      It’s never too early. I almost wrote about someone being on fire after starting the season with a hit in their first at bat.

      Ok, no, I didn’t.

      • kevin z

        lol Funny Doug I just have a tendency to over react early don’t want get to excited to early

  4. Krozley

    I would think the cold weather in the midwest games so far during the season has been a factor for some. That might explain the early fielding woes for Downs and Garcia. Castillo has probably never pitched in cold weather before, so I’m not yet worried about him as that is certainly an adjustment for players who have previously played in warm weather their entire life. It is also why I won’t be too concerned if Greene struggles tonight.

  5. kevin z

    Crazy Idea Lineup need more contact in 4 hole IMO to many runs left out there so far. Our Defense up the Middle at SS 2nd base been Horrible as well. Figured wouldn’t Bench Peraza Yet so Have Scooter move to RF so his D at 2nd gets upgraded at 2nd base with Blandino’s Glove.. This was just a fun thing not right or wrong lol.
    1 Scooter RF
    2Blandino 2nd
    3Votto 1st
    4 Winker LF
    5 Ervin CF
    6 Gosselin 3rd
    7 Peraza SS
    8 Tucker only so someone on for Scooter more Often

    • ron A.

      don’t understand the fascination with Ervin. Hasn’t been much of a minor league hitter

      • Doug Gray

        Because you’re confusing hitting with ability to produce offensively. Maybe Ervin can’t do that, but he gets on base at a solid clip, there’s a little pop in his bat, and he’s got 30 steal ability. If he can handle center field – that’s probably a starting caliber player. I think at this point, you know what Billy Hamilton is. So, people want to see what the other options look like.

      • asinghoff

        Might not hit for high average, but he gets on base. OBP > AVG is the reason people like Ervin.

  6. Cinvenfan

    In some more important news, happy birthday Doug.

    • Doug Gray

      Thank you. I get to spend it with about 7000 of my best friends.

      • MK

        Tom says they have press come from all around and press box is going to be packed. Hope we have regulars sitting around us tonight so all the one time experts aren’t there making stupid comments all night.

      • Doug Gray

        I’m going to come sit down next to you and make THE WORST comments ever.

      • redleggingfordayz

        Happy Birthday Doug, keep up the great work!

      • Doug Gray

        Thanks. I’ll do my best to keep on grinding away and doing this as long as I can keep paying the bills doing it.

  7. BurgRed

    Happy Birthday ??? Mr Dirt! That breeze your feeling is coming off of Erwin’s bat in Philadelphia tonight….or the swing and misses from Greene’s fastball! Either way Weather channel has alerts for both up on screen lol

  8. Mike from Ottawa

    I think with these injuries, they might be wasting Mesoraco. He played some OF a few years ago. Might be nice to get his bat involved, plus he would still be available to jump in to catch if needed.