The Cincinnati Reds are calling up Josh VanMeter according to Jon Heyman. On Saturday he played in Indianapolis for the Louisville Bats, going 0-3 with 2 walks and a run scored. Now it looks like he’ll be giving the rest of the International League some time to try and catch up.

Through 30 games with the Louisville Bats this season Josh VanMeter has hit .336/.431/.736 with 5 doubles and 13 home runs. He’s also drive in 31 runs, scored 27 runes, stolen 5 bases, walked 17 times, and struck out just 23 times. He’s among the league leaders in nearly every offensive category.

When I spoke with Josh VanMeter in late April he spoke about changes he had made in the second half of last season. While this season has been at a different level, the changes started to really show up last season. Dating back to August 1st of 2018, VanMeter has racked up 258 plate appearances for Triple-A Louisville. In that stretch he’s hit .332/.412/.686. That includes 19 doubles, 3 triples, and 18 home runs. He’s also walked 30 times with just 43 strikeouts in that stretch. This isn’t a hot streak. This is half of a season worth of playing time where he’s OPS’d nearly 1.100 in Triple-A as a 23/24-year-old.

The Cincinnati Reds don’t exactly have a starting spot to put Josh VanMeter into right now. But they may not need to. Since joining the Reds in December of 2016 they have played him first base, second base, shortstop, third base, left field, and right field. His time in right field has been limited to just 16.0 innings. But he’s got experience almost everywhere on the field.

It will be interesting to see how and where the Reds use him. Much like Derek Dietrich, he can play a few positions and that gives David Bell options to work with. While the offense has picked up the last two nights in Cincinnati, it never hurts to add another bat to work with. And with Josh VanMeter, he’s bringing one with him from Triple-A that has shown a good control over the strike zone and a whole heck of a lot of power.

Older scouting reports aren’t going to be too valuable at this point. Josh VanMeter is a very different hitter today than he was a year ago today. Emphasis on getting the ball in the air has helped turn things around in a big way for the now 24-year-old.

54 Responses

  1. donny

    Josh- Van -Meter thump thump,thump thump thump

    Josh- Van -Meter thump thump,thump thump thump

    Nice to see the Reds office make the move and awarding Josh the look.

  2. donny

    I like seeing the front office taking action. Instead of sitting around and waiting for ever. It’s nice to see.

  3. Simon Cowell

    Over/Under on Joey Votto heading to the DL with a slipped disc in his back? He’ll be seeing time at First at least until Joey Votto finds his wallet and discovers how to handle a fastball. He can spell anyone in the outfield as well. So hopefully that equates to 3 games a week for the young man.

  4. Seadog

    You win the Kentucky Derby—But, you don’t. You win the MVP—But, you don’t. Think about those two things. VanMeter is the real thing.

  5. jon

    nice young future OF. Josh-rf senzel -cf and winker-lf. Let’s hopr Puig picks it up so the reds can get something of value for him at the trade deadline.

    • Simon Cowell

      As odd as it may sound I didn’t even think of this scenario. I had always assumed the Reds would resign Puig. You might be on to something. Where does that leave Trammel? Our other “can’t miss star outfielder?”

    • MK

      Puig is selling more tickets, jerseys, t-shirts, there is a July Puig bobblehead and a Puig t-shirt promotion every home game Friday through the end of September. I really don’t think there are plans for him to go anywhere.

  6. Jim t

    My thought after Reed gave them 2 and a 1/3 last night he may be sent out to make room for VanMeter.

    • MK

      They do need to get rid of a pitcher. A 14 man staff is over the line. But in my eyes confidence has always been an issue with Reed. To send him back after that great performance might be as bad for his confidence as getting shelled last night. It comes down to Wandy or Duke to me.

      No way I take Puig out of the line-up. He is starting to come around at plate and he is a presence in the line-up the opposing manager has to plan around. That used to be Votto but no more. I also don’t think they will re-sign him after his comments post Machado/Harper signings.We always heard what a clubhouse cancer he is, but that does not seem to be the case.

      Just hope VanMeter can get off to a good start. Scooter is going to need a roster spot in about a month. It could be Josh if he struggles.

      Never thought I would become so satisfied with a Votto at bat ending in a walk.

      • Jim t

        MK they may DFA Duke but Reed will need a couple of days rest after his outing Saturday. He won’t be available until probably Tuesday. With pitchers only going 5 or 6 innings in today’s game a bigger more felxible staff is a necessity. I must say I am pleasantly surprised in how proactive the FO seems to be under the direction of Williams. They ate Kemp’s contract, got the year of control of Senzel going forward and the pick ups of DD and Iglesias have been great moves. The use of Lorenzen is another example of the Reds moving into the 20th century in their approach to the game. I do think they have some issues to resolve Votto’s declining production, figuring out their middle infield and deciding on whether to resign Puig.

      • RojoBenjy

        Could be they move The Pride of Stanford Cardinal Baseball to the 60-day list.

      • Ryan

        I think MK is right about Reed. I think the mental aspect has always been his roadblock. Reed and O’Grady>>>Wandy andDuke all day every day. 3 lefties are a luxury and it only helps if managed well. Reed can be used either as a Loogy or an is a decent option for 6th/7th inning duty, or can do what he did last night a couple times a week. O’Grady is a bit older so maybe it doesn’t matter as much if gets sporadic(ish) pt. Really good bench overall.

  7. Shamrock

    Good for Josh.
    Good luck in all of your future endeavors Mr. Kemp.
    How many fans can honestly say that they didn’t like the Dodgers trade when it happened last winter?
    Who now believes that the Reds would have been better off just keeping Homer and the prospects??

    • Wes

      My only quarrel w it is – if u are acquiring a pitcher via trade and even though it’s the offseason- how does he not throw 30 pitches in his physical ?? That’s all it would have took to realize wood ain’t ready and then there’s no way you trade bc he was solid centerpiece. Or if u do- they only get jeter in return.

      Outside of that- Kemp and homer were both cut players anyway. Kudos to reds for pulling the trigger on kemp. Thought he was gonna be in the way all year like homer was last season.

      Yuge win last night w Roark and Reed covering the full game! Fresh week/fresh pen. Put these bad losses behind ya and start steaming ahead w new look!

    • Doc

      People who look backwards and use hindsight as though it were data available at the time the decision had to be made. As long as hindsight is a valid tool, let’s wait 3-5 years and see where Downs and Gray are then before asking people to evaluate the trade, and where Puig is.

      The Reds saved, what, $9-14 million over what they would have had to pay Bailey. That will cover Senzel’s extra year of arbitration. If Puig is a Red for the next 3-5 years and puts up his back of card numbers, it will have been a good trade. Remember that Farmer came in that trade also. Puig and Farmer account for nine HR so far, pretty good production in 33 games.

      • Wes

        Yeah I’m shocked at all the negative press it gets. Guess on a minor league website everyone loves their prospects but dang You got 3-4 solid major leaguers that filled a need or where a clear up grade and saved money while giving up 1 pitcher who’s in low A ball and a second basemen which grow on trees

      • Rich H

        I completely agree with that statement Doc. Now I only wish calling Nick Senzel looked like a good move. If only he was looking stellar at the plate and the best center fielder we have, Doug and every other evaluator would look pretty smart right now…

      • Ryan

        Playing Devils advocate, Puig is a known slow starter and you have to think the plan all along was to bring up Senzel about this time anyways. You know Votto is a crap shoot early on and Schebler ended the season pretty badly. You could argue maybe a slow starter was not a clean fit.

        Alex Wood has always dealt with injury issues and that was a red flag at the time.

        I was in favor of the move at the time and once again, just playing Devils Advocate. Hard not to be at least a little disappointed in the eary returns.

      • AirborneJayJay

        How did the Reds save $9MM to $14MM in that Dodgers trade??
        The Reds took on Alex Woods $10MM and Puig’s $10MM salaries. They took on Kemps’ $21MM, minus $7MM from the Dodgers. They are paying Farmer the ML minimum $550,000. So that would be $10MM + $10MM + $14MM + 0.5MM for $34.5MM total that the Dodger additions for 2019 season costs the Reds. Bailey had a $23MM salary for 2019 with a $5MM buyout for 2020, or a total of $28MM.
        It looks like the Reds came out on the short end by at least $6.5MM. That didn’t save the Reds $9mm to $14MM as you suggest, it cost them money. $6.5MM and 2 top-12 prospects.
        The trade with the Dodgers was a colossal failure that backfired in the faces of the Reds front office. Farmer is the only redeeming value the Reds got from that trade. Now if Alex Wood had been healthy all season it might have been a decent trade. Puig is terribly overrated. No extension for Puig!!!!!!!!!!!!! He’ll be traded by the trade deadline, or sooner I hope. And the Reds won’t get anything near what they paid in prospects for him. A mitigated disaster is what that trade was. The trade has failed miserably at meeting expectations.

        Let’s leave the politicians/political references out of the comments section.

  8. Norwood Nate

    Congrats to VanMeter on all the hard work he’s put in to get here, and now rewarded. Hope he gets in some games and shows what he can do.

  9. Jim t

    Something I have tried to pay a little attention to this year is the reds defense. A couple things of note.

    1. Iglesias defense at short has directly impacted at least 5 games so far this year. Having his defense in the middle of the diamond has been a boom for the team. His bat has been a bonus.

    2. Will be interesting to see how much if any Senzel improves our outfield defense. To this point in the season it has been below average.

    3. While Votto has been prone to some slow starts it will be interesting to see how much he can rebound when the weather heats up.

    4. After a month of the season and the proactive approach the FO is taking I feel much more comfortable able our direction. The team has developed some options and doesn’t seem satisfied with the results we have had in the last few years.

    5. Castillo is the real deal.

  10. bobby

    like to see Vanmeter get the call , killing AAA , multi positions , but NOT on 40 man roster

    • Stock

      Didn’t they create a spot on the 40 man roster when the cut Kemp?

      I don’t see this as a problem. I send Wandy down for now but Duke is on a very short leash.

      I think Sal Romano is about 1 month from figuring out how to be a RP.

      • Oldtimer

        Senzel replaced Gennett (60 day IL now) on 40 man roster. Spot is open there. No spots on 25 man roster yet.

  11. Norwood Nate

    Obviously Votto isn’t off to a great start. It’s not been as bad as some of the other Reds we’re hoping will hit as well, but it’s not been great. Father Time is undefeated and eventually Votto will also be on the losing end of that battle. With that said, I’m still not ready to write him off just yet. Looking back over the past few years, where he was on May 4th of that year, and where he’s ended the year his numbers improve with rare exception.

    May 4th 2016: 227/330/340/671
    2016 end of year: 326/434/550/985
    May 4th 2017: 270/375/610/985
    2017 end of year: 320/454/578/1.032
    *finished 2nd in MVP voting, SLG and OPS went down from May 4th.*
    May 4th 2018: 259/391/393/784
    2018 end of year: 284/417/419/837

    This season is fairly similar to where he was in 2016. AVG is down, OBP slightly down, but SLG and OPS is up from May 4th 2016. He’s shown his numbers generally bounce back after a slower start. He’s shown over his career you can easily pencil him in for an OBP over .400 and he’ll improve his BA over the course of the season. I have faith he’ll figure out ways to continue to contribute.

    • Scott C

      I didn’t take time to look up the stats from the past but that has been what I remember. It is May 4. May the the Fourth Be With you.

    • Big Ed

      Well, obviously, he is also three years farther down the aging curve than he was in 2016.

    • Oldtimer

      I can only compare Votto to Pete Rose or Frank Robinson (the two other best Reds hitters of my lifetime, born 1951).

      Rose continued to hit to the level of his standards from age 35 to 40 but lost his power (such as it was) after that. His cumulative numbers from age 35 (1975) to age 40 (1981) were above his career averages.

      Robinson continued to hit (with power) to the level of his standards until age 37 but dropped off after that.

      I don’t know what may happen with Votto. Hitting leadoff may be a factor. He is not a prototypical leadoff batter. Rose was (for example).

      • MK

        I am not sure Votto realizes he has lost a step of foot speed and he had little to lose. He is trying to go first to third and 2nd to home the way he did a few years ago and now he is getting thrown out. I would say he has turned into the proto-typical #2 hitter. If he can adjust to being Votto 2019 rather than Votto MVP he can be a plus to the team. Right now there isn’t one part of his game above average. And I wish he would stop whining on every third strike. It is setting a bad example for guys like Winker who has started the same whining.

      • Oldtimer

        #2 spot fits better than leadoff for him. #3 spot is typically for your best hitter. #4 spot is often your best power hitter. #5 runner-up to #4.

        LF Winker 1B Votto CF Senzel 3B Suarez RF Puig 2B Peraza C Barnhart/Casali SS Iglesias maybe as the year progresses. 2B Gennett when healthy.

        I am no baseball expert; above is just fan opinion. Nothing more.

    • AP

      To the 2016 reference, his second half was extraordinary. Not being pessimistic, I Just don’t see how this is repeatable –

      408/490/668

  12. kevinz

    Congrats Josh on getting the call. Hope you play a good amount. Hate let that Bat get Cold.

  13. kevinz

    I wish Meter would of replaced Duke instead of Reed.

  14. Oldtimer

    Van Metter had 1 hit in 13 AB in Arizona ST in 2019. ST means little (or less) but he wasn’t very good in March 2019.

  15. Chris

    Joey and that asinine contract we gave him looks dumber every month of every baseball season. The fact that a few on here think he’s the greatest Reds Hitter of all time is the only thing more asinine than a small market team signing a guy to a 10 year deal.

  16. Michael B. Green

    Congrats Josh! A reminder to everyone that even a 10-day call up pays almost 3 times more than the typical AAA contract for the whole season. This is a nice financial bonus to players that grind for 4-6 years or longer and their families.

    Excited to see VanMeter at the MLB level. Keep it going!