In November of 2014 the Cincinnati Reds signed a recently turned 17-year-old out of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic named Mariel Bautista. At the time it was an unheralded signing that went under the radar. Today it’s looking like an outstanding pick up for the organization. His first season came in the Dominican Summer League in 2015 was solid, but unspectacular. He hit .259/.350/.388 while spending most of the time in center field. The next two years saw him take steps forward, hitting .333 and .320 at his respective stops along the way – with the final one coming in Arizona with the AZL Reds.

In 2018 the Reds placed the now 20-year-old Mariel Bautista in Billings to play for the Mustangs. It was a breakout season for the young outfielder. In 56 games played in the Pioneer League he would hit .330. That gave him three straight seasons of hitting .320 or higher. But it was the power output that really separated his 2018 from his past. Bautista had 12 doubles, 4 triples, and he added 8 home runs. That gave him 24 extra-base hits on the year. Along with that power, he walked 16 times and struck out just 29 times in 233 plate appearances. Read those last two sentences again – he had FIVE more strikeouts than extra-base hits on the season.

What helped Mariel Bautista earn the honors of Position Player of the Year wasn’t just what he did at the plate, though. The outfielder stole 16 bases and was caught just 3 times (84% success rate). And he did all of that while playing 40 of his 46 games in the field in center (he was the DH 8 times, too). It was the overall package of hitting for average, hitting for power, running the bases, defensive value that led to Bautista getting the nod for the award in a close call over several candidates.

Among Pioneer League leaders, Mariel Bautista ranked in the Top 10 in average, slugging, OPS and stolen bases. His offensive output got better as the season went along. In 14 during June he posted just a .677 OPS. During July that jumped up to .839. In August and September it jumped up to 1.124 after hitting .402/.461/.663 over the final 24 games of the year. The regular season ended with him riding a 25-game hitting streak and helping lead the Mustangs to the second half North Division title and playoff birth.

Mariel Bautista’s 2018 Stats

Player of the Year goes to Tony Santillan.

Reliever of the Year goes to Ryan Hendrix.

Starter of the Year: Seth Varner

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16 Responses

  1. Joe

    I really really like Bautista that’s amazing hand eye coord. And power combination. Hope it’s carries to next level we need some of our international signings to start stepping so we can catch up with rest of league in that department

    • Doug Gray

      Not necessarily, no. The other guy I was really considering here was Ibandel Isabel. I could have gone with him and felt fine. But this award is for pure performance. Had a non-prospect put up a huge season, like say a Marquez Smith did like 5 years ago, someone like that would have been given the award. This isn’t only for “prospects”. It just happens to be that it was the prospects that had the bigger seasons this year.

  2. The Duke

    I’m always a little wary of great stats in Billings. The most promising thing in all his numbers is probably the low K rate. 12.4% is fantastic no matter where you are playing.

    Considering Santillan was player of the year, shouldn’t he be pitcher of the year by default? Or are you switching it up by making him ineligible for that distinction since he got the top prize?

  3. SultanofSwaff

    Trammell. His Futures Game performance couple with his consistently high output at a much higher level is a no brainer for me.

  4. Krozley

    I know it is not the Reds way, but I would consider jumping Bautista to Daytona to start the year. He has already had 4 years in the minors and there are other guys from last year’s draft that can man the Dayton outfield. A Daytona outfield of Bautista, Fairchild, and Sugilio would be quite good. Starting at Dayton would probably also bring cold weather struggles that we typically see from players experiencing it for the first time. I just would like to see some of these 21 year olds pushed a little bit, especially as Rule 5 protection and minor league free agency start to loom.

  5. AirborneJayJay

    Never fear, when Bautista gets to AA Pensacola, he will become a .250 hitter like the rest. Pensacola will chew him up and spit him out like most of the other Reds minor leaguers who have gone through there.
    Shed Long in AA, 593 AB, 150 H, .253 BA.
    Aristides Aquino in AA, 863 AB, 196 H, .227 BA.
    Jose Siri in AA, 253 AB, 58 H, .229 BA.
    TJ Friedl in AA, 261 AB, 72 H, .276 BA.
    Gavin LaValley in AA, 640 AB, 144 H, .225 BA.
    Phillip Ervin in AA, 470 AB, 112 H, .238 BA.
    Alex Blandino in AA, 713 AB, 171 H, .240 BA.
    Senzel and Winker are about the only ones to go through AA with some success. And Winker struggled at first there.

    • RedsinWashst

      And then there was Nick Senzel. At 2A Ave-340, OBP-413, HRS-10 doesn’t fit your mold.

      • AirborneJayJay

        Doesn’t the last sentence cover Senzel? Geez. The mold, may be in your eyes. Go get some coffee before you miss your meeting.

        Keep the political-like stuff out of the posts.

      • RedsinWashst

        You’re right Jay jay I missed it you are simply a genius. I have gotten the mold out and I don’t like what I see.

    • Michael Smith

      Wouldnt you say the guy who is at 276 doesnt belong on your list?

  6. Cguy

    Offensively, I get it. It’s hard to argue with .330/.386/.927. On the other hand, Bautista left a lot to be desired defensively. He did man cf 90+% of the time he was playing, but 7 errors & only 1 assist over a mere 89 total chances isn’t good. For comparison Sugilio had 14 assists & only 3 errors in 191 total chances. Friedl also had 3 errors and 6 assists in 246 total chances, at 2 levels. Sugilio & Friedl only played cf about 20% of their chances, but whether it’s more difficult to defend cf almost all of the time, or man all 3 outfield positions regularly, I’m not sure. I’d make Trammel/Friedl my overall co-position players of 2018, with Sugilio my 2nd half of the season position player of 2018.