Photo: Doug GrayReds prospect Mitch Nay has a big night in Louisville Doug Gray August 14, 2019 22 Comments Mitch Nay had an outstanding first 3.5 months of the season with Chattanooga. While with the Lookouts he was among the league leaders in many offensive stats while hitting .304/.366/.561 in 82 games in the Double-A Southern League. That earned the corner infielder a promotion to Triple-A Louisville near the end of July. He got out to a slow start, but has been turning things on of late and had his biggest game since being promoted on Tuesday night. Taking on Lehigh Valley, Mitch Nay reached base three times in four trips to the plate, going 2-3 with a walk. His two hits both went for extra-bases. He first doubled, driving in Nick Longhi from first base. Then later in the night he crushed an opposite field home run to right-center onto the patio deck to bring in Chadwick Tromp. He finished with three runs batted in and three runs scored. Nay? We vote YAY! ? pic.twitter.com/ZYfsW8Oaax — Louisville Bats (@LouisvilleBats) August 14, 2019 The big night gave Mitch Nay a line of .306/.375/.472 in his last 10 games. Between his two stops this season he’s hit .297/.360/.541 over 97 games played. There are three week remaining in the Triple-A season. Those weeks could be big for both Nay and the Reds, who have to make a choice whether or not to add him to the 40-man roster or allow him to become a free agent. Tyler Stephenson remains hot It’s been a heck of a month for Tyler Stephenson. The catcher has been beating up on Southern League pitching for the Chattanooga Lookouts and that just kept on going on Tuesday night. Well, sort of. Stephenson only had one hit in the game, but that’s because he walked three times, too. Dating back to July 12th he’s hitting .387/.519/.532 with 13 walks and just 10 strikeouts across 79 plate appearances with seven extra-base hits. That stretch has improved the line for Tyler Stephenson on the year to .288/.384/.408. The average line for the Southern League this season is .241/.317/.363. Stephenson’s outpacing all of those rather easily. Not bad for a 22-year-old catcher. Share this:FacebookTwitterRedditPocket 22 Responses Shawn August 14, 2019 What would you do with the Stephenson the rest of this year? I would like to see him promoted to Louisville. I know the catching position is loaded up there but Stephenson is the future at that position. You need to make room. RojoBenjy August 14, 2019 That would be interesting. Especially to see if his power numbers jump with the MLB baseball there. The flip side is that if he’s in a groove right now, to let him continue building confidence in AA through the rest of the season, then start 2020 in AAA. Shawn August 14, 2019 I can’t see there being any question on adding Mitch Nay to the 40 man roster. He has earned it! Oldtimer August 14, 2019 I saw him play parts of two games in the first week of ST this year. He looked good. ST results don’t count or mean anything but Nay looked like MLB player. Bill August 14, 2019 The problem is that the 40-man roster is going to be really tight this offseason. I think there are 6 easy drops: 3 free agents (Wood, Hughes, J. Iglesias) and 3 that don’t have the performance to warrant being in the 2020 plan (Schebler, Graterol, and Jackson Stephens). Mella, Reed, Romano, Sims and Stephenson are all out of options next year so it will be incumbent on each of them to demonstrate they belong in the 2020 plan. Mella looks particularly vulnerable. Reed has looked good this year, but has missed time with a knee injury. I think he has to be in the plan for 2020. Next category is minor leaguers with options remaining per Roster Resource. We haven’t seen R.J. Alaniz in Cincinnati, but he has done well at Louisville has another option remaining for next year–he could be vulnerable. Matt Bowman also has an option remaining and I think he’s pitched well enough to be safe. Jose Siri has underwhelmed, but his overall talent probably keeps him safe. Dietrich, Gausman, Galvis and Peraza are potential non-tender candidates. Like the out of options players they’ll need to show they belong in the 2020 plan to stick around. Dietrich has really tailed off since May and I don’t see the Reds paying $3M to Peraza for his 64 OPS+. Gausman and Galvis are more likely to stick around given the Reds just claimed them off waivers in all likelihood with 2020 in mind. End result: 6 to 10 spots will open on the 40-man roster. Cguy August 14, 2019 Reds have a $3MM salary option on Hughes for 2020, or they can pay him $250K & let him walk. Reds have a $5.5MM salary option on Galvis, or pay him $1MM & let him walk. Bill August 14, 2019 Next who needs to be protected from the Rule 5 draft? Essentially, high school players drafted or international free agents signed in 2015 or college players drafted in 2016 will need to be protected. I apologize up front, if I missed a player. The Reds have 11 players at AA or AAA, most of whom have realistic potential to contribute in 2020, that will likely get consideration for being added to the 40-man roster. RHP Santillan and catcher Tyler Stephenson are locks. OF Friedl and RHPs Kuhnel and Hendrix are also pretty likely adds. The next group consist of LHPs Finnegan and Tyler Jay (both meet a need for LH relievers) along with1B/3B Mitch Nay, OF Crook and 1B/OF Longhi. The latter 3 are all right handed and have other depth players in front of them–even with strong AAA performance, it will be hard to protect these players. Lastly, currently at Chattanooga, is 1B masher Isabel; will be hard to protect, even with his big-time power. The Reds also have the following players on at least one Top 30 list (i.e., RML, MLB.com, Baseball America or Fangraphs) that have spent at least part of the year below AA: OFs Bautista, Sugilio, and Beltre, and catcher Clementina. Outside the Top 30 prospects, catchers Chris Okey and Chadwick Tromp could also be attractive to teams with rosters expanding to 26 players in 2020. The Reds can send some of these players to the AFL for additional evaluation or look to trade some of them for lower level talent (the Yankees have a track record of doing this). If the Reds bring free agents in or extend a pending free agent, they will need a 40-man roster spot to do so. The bottom line is that the 40-man will be tight this off-season. With the Reds pushing for contention, the emphasis may shift somewhat from protecting prospects to protecting depth for the big league roster. AirborneJayJay August 15, 2019 The Reds could pull a Yankees move this winter. By that I mean they could start to trade some of these players who are running out of options for players that are younger but with some high upside to them. And with the Rule V players needing to be protected, trade a few of them for the same. Or maybe trade some of them for some more IFA slot money. This winter is going to be very, very interesting at the ML level and with the minors, too. RojoBenjy August 14, 2019 I’m really happy to see Nay make a case for himself. The guy has worked really hard to overcome health issues. I’m also grumpy today, mainly about the new wisdom from the Reds saying they are going to play Galvis primarily at 2B. The analytics don’t support playing him in front of Van Meter—so that baffles me. So I want to say this—if the current Reds management can’t even see what they have in Josh Van Meter, what good will it do the team to have another red-hot player in Louisville? It’s like they are children who are given fine pearls and go outside and play marbles with them in the mud. Really frustrating. (End rant.) RojoBenjy August 14, 2019 Doug— Thanks for taking this rant to the Big Time over at RLN. I was beginning to feel like I was over reacting. Not no more. Cguy August 14, 2019 In defense of the Reds I can only say that Van Meter has been a regular fixture in the lineup recently, batting 4th or 5th. This is not where you place a part time player in your batting order. I think the Reds know what they have in Van Meter, have determined what they got in Peraza, & want to know if Galvis could be an improvement. RojoBenjy August 14, 2019 That’s fair to say, as long as you as an organization haven’t stated publicly that you’re still trying to make the playoffs. A team that is fighting for the playoffs would play Galvis and Iglesias at SS, Van Meter every day 2B, and send Peraza to the land of bourbon, wouldn’t they? Not trying to start an argument, just trying to make sense of a very puzzling season. GaryinBham August 15, 2019 Here’s a logical comment as it relates to Galvis/Van Meter. This is a good thing; they are collecting pieces for 2020! Alex Reds August 14, 2019 I think Tyler Stephenson hasn’t been on the top 100 prospects list due to his injuries and lack of production. These great numbers so far would suggest to me that he would be back in the top 100 prospects. Doug Gray August 14, 2019 Fangraphs has him at #76 on their midseason list. Bromleyjake August 14, 2019 Doug , How do you think Tyker projects compared to Yasmani? Could he ideally put up similar offensive numbers? I’m seeing Yasmani as a career .245/.345/.445 hitter with 20+ HRs. kevinz August 14, 2019 well the Nats showing us our Reds not yet ready for the Big Boys. Work surely not done yet got my Hopes up after had a Nice stretch . Playing these good teams could be good for our young Players. Playing vs the best not VS the Marlins and Balt so that the Positive getting this experience. RojoBenjy August 14, 2019 You’re right, Kevin. A nice dose of reality may wake everyone up in the front office. …maybe kevinz August 14, 2019 Crazy how things have flipped. Stink on offense in the first Half. Pitched really well. 2nd half one of the Better hitting teams. Lousy pitching by the Numbers one of the worse. Offense left a lot of W in the 1st half when Pitching was lights Out. redsvol August 14, 2019 I think Nay could be an interesting bench player in the mold of Dietrich this year. Obviously he plays different positions but he does give you some flexibility. Other than this year though, he doesn’t have much of a track record for power. I hope they give him a look but I think it will be fairly easy to get a veteran to fill the role. AirborneJayJay August 15, 2019 Interesting to see Jose Iglesias talk publicly with Sheldon that he would like to remain in Cincinnati after this season. After the Reds pick up Freddy Galvis. Iglesias has been rather silent on the matter until now. Scooter said the same things but things didn’t seem to get traction there. And now Scooter is gone. Iglesias has to continue to hit at a .292 clip to keep the Reds interested. Galvis has certainly made an incredible start to his tenure with the Reds. Questions to ponder. How can the Reds get better defensively without hurting the offense, or maybe even improving the offense too? Would the Reds be better defensively in the infield if they moved Suarez to LF or RF and then moved Senzel back to 3B? Can Galvis play CF? If not, can Winker and Ervin platoon in CF rather than in LF if Suarez were to move to the OF? Is Peraza a duster? I believe his spot on the Reds 25 man roster in 2020 is as dead as 4:00 AM. It is kind of weird to see what the Reds best starting 8 would be offensively and then see what the best starting 8 would be defensively. They don’t match up all that well. The Reds need to work on that part of the roster construction this winter. Good offense and good defense type of players should make up the majority of the starting 8. It doesn’t work out that way with the 2019 Reds. It seems that with David Bell’s constant tinkering with the lineup that he either handicaps the offense or the defense with his Baskin Robins lineups. A different flavor everyday. A 162 games and a 162 different lineups used this year. One thing Dick Williams MUST do this winter is to David Bell-proof the 25 man roster to keep Bell from snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as Bell has done sooooo often this year. Personally, I like to see David Bell fired on September 30, the day after the last day of the season. But that won’t happen unfortunately. Bell’s behavior this season has been such an embarrassment to the organization, too. You don’t see Rocco Baldelli acting this way on the Twins. The Reds interviewed Baldelli twice and still hired Bell over him. What were they thinking? Oh yeah, I forgot, family ties. The Nepotism Reds. We are family. Jefferson Green August 15, 2019 I agree that it is interesting to hear Iglesias speak of his desire to stay in Cincinnati after Galvis gets added. The main reason that Galvis made sense as an add to this team is that the Reds do not believe that they have an answer in Peraza and that Iglesias was likely to leave after this season, otherwise, they are pretty redundant. I would be surprised to see both on the roster next year, as they are both good as backup options, but neither projects as even an average overall performer as a starter at SS (and both are past normal peak age of development and could/will begin regressing in some areas in the next season or two). As for nepotism, it has certainly existed, but the Bell hire made me happy (even though Baldelli was most interesting to me). I think the fact that we have not seen Bob C’s hand in this season’s moves may be in part due to his trust of the Bells, and I think that bodes very well for suture moves and getting this franchise back above average sooner rather than later. And as for DB’s mistakes, all new leaders need a learning curve and time to develop, and baseball is difficult in that there is less transitioning and learning that manager can do before he actually sits in the big seat. Most leadership positions have more ways to prepare their next occupant than baseball does.