The Arizona Fall League is in the middle of the third week of their season. On Friday night Tyler Stephenson continued to do what he’s been doing since September 18th when the fall league began: Rack up doubles and rack up hits.

The recently turned 23-year-old catcher got the start for Glendale as the Desert Dogs designated hitter. After starting the game 0-2, he singled in the 6th inning to pick up his first hit. Bu tit was his hit in the top of the 11th that helped change the game and lead Glendale to the victory. With the game tied he doubled in Gavin Sheets to give the Desert Dogs the 6-5 lead. It was his 4th double of the year in just his 7th game played. He would later score on a Jonathan India sacrifice fly to extend the lead. India finished the game 1-3 with 3 RBI.

For Tyler Stephenson his multi-hit night pushed his line to .375/.464/.542 with 3 walks, 3 strikeouts, 4 doubles, 5 runs, and 2 RBI. It’s just a continuation of what he did in the regular season with Chattanooga. His OPS of .782 in Double-A was 100 points higher than the league average, and he did that with a 10.2% walk rate to go along with a 16.5% strikeout rate – both above-average rates.

Jonathan India got out to a rather slow start to the AFL season. But after last night’s performance he’s crushing the ball today for Glendale in an afternoon contest. As I type this he’s 2-2 with his 1st home run of the season.

When the other winter leagues begin

The Dominican Winter League gets underway a week from today. Saturday October 12th will kick off the start of the league with a full slate of games. There should be some Reds players participating in the league during the season. Last year saw Jose Siri as the only position player to get significant time. But with his break out year this season don’t be surprised to see Aristides Aquino get a lot of playing time if he chooses to play (he played in 8 games last year). Brian O’Grady spent time in both Mexico and in the Dominican Republic last offseason playing. Like Aquino, if he chooses to play there’s a chance he could get plenty of time on the field.

As far as I’ve seen, the Venezuelan Winter League will not have any affiliated players participating in it. Jeff Passan reported in late August that Major League Baseball has banned players from playing in the league this winter as a result of an executive order by the United States of America as an embargo against Venezuela.

Things get started in the Mexican Winter League on Friday October 11th. It’s not a full slate of games, but there are two of them. Last season there were only two Reds players who got time in the league. Brian O’Grady played in nine games before heading to the Dominican Republic. And Adrian Rodriguez pitched in 7 games.

Australia will being play on Thursday November 21st. Last season no Reds players took part in the league. In 2017 it was only Jake Turnbull, a native Australian, who played in the league. It used to be a league that some non-Australian prospects would play in, but it feels that hasn’t happened as much in recent years. Perhaps with Venezuela being off of the table it could lead to a few more guys finding their way there. We’ll have to wait and see on that one.

The Puerto Rican Winter League strangely doesn’t seem to have a schedule posted anywhere for their 2019 season. But in a story recently published about how to watch one of the teams games it notes that starting on November 15th you can tune into a local channel to do so. So I guess for now, that’s the date I’m going with.

17 Responses

  1. Hoyce

    Doug. What is best case scenario for Stephenson. As far as a timeline to start in cincy?

    • jim walker

      Thinking along the same lines and wondering if the Reds are still committed to bringing T.Stephenson through as strictly a catcher or if they might consider pulling a “Schwarber” with him at least on a short run basis.

    • Doug Gray

      I mean, best case scenario is he goes to Goodyear in February and hits .700 and takes the job. Realistic best case scenario is the second half of 2020 after a big first half in Triple-A.

      • rhayex

        Would you say realistic case is likely sometime in 2021 though? Unless he puts up a massive year in triple-a, I think that the Reds continue to take his development slow.

      • Oldtimer

        Different circumstances but Johnny Bench played 1/2 MiLB season in 1965, full MiLB seasons in 1966 and 1967 (called up at end of season), and started for Reds in 1968.

        Stephenson may get called up late in 2020 and makes the Reds roster in 2021.

        Only what I think.

  2. DaveCT

    Strength up the middle. Stephenson, C, Garcia, SS, India, 2B, and Senzel, CF.

    Who knows, maybe VanMeter grabs 2B like Gennett did, though with much, much better defense. And perhaps Senzel ends up there with a CF replacing him.

    Seems pretty clear the corners are the concern. Suárez is solid. Votto is Votto. Aquino, we’ll see if he can sustain. Winker, Ervin, O’Grady are who they are. I’d not be surprised to see trades targeting the OF corners.

  3. DanD

    Would not surprise me if Marcel Ozuna is signed to be the Reds leftfielder. If a trade is going to happen I see the Reds trading for a centerfielder I just don’t know who is available. Maybe Wil Meyers if cash comes with him. I do not think there are any free agent CF’s that would be worth signing. Would love to see Whit Merrifield play CF here.

    DaveCT, any thoughts?

    • DaveCT

      Ozuna would be ice cream, whip cream, and sprinkles. He might prefer LF vs. the responsibility of CF. I think Merrifield would not be the fit needed, hitting as opposed to
      power.

      If may take until the year of his free agency, 2022, but, Mookie Betts would be like re-acquiring Frank Robinson. His talent is that big.

  4. Hoyce

    Cubs are saying they will listen on “anyone”. They need to cut some payroll. Talking maybe Bryant or Báez are available. And quite a few others. I’d like to see what Albert almora would cost. It wouldn’t be much imo. And I think he has real talent
    Also would love to pry Contreras from them. He would be super pricy and it would take some creativity.

    • KyWilson1

      If they are interested in trading Baez or Contreras, you definitely kick those tires, they are huge upgrades at premium positions. The Reds would have to destroy their system to get them or Bryant. I could see Miami being a player for all of the Cubs Hispanic players and I think you see Kris Bryant on a west coast team sooner than later.

    • Cbus

      Almora would be a great trade target. Would improve 2 positions with Senzel moving back to 2B and wouldn’t cost the farm. I’ve also loved what I’ve seen from him when he plays. Reds could then sign 1 big free agent for LF, SS or C and call it a day.

      • Oldtimer

        Reds biggest FA signing ever was Dave Parker in 1984. (My opinion, yours may be different) He was among the best players in MLB then. Had several very good years as Red and eventually was traded for Jose Rijo (not bad return).

      • KyWilson1

        Almora was worth -1.0 war this year. October 2018, I would have said absolutely go get him. October 2019, he doesn’t seem to be more than a replacement level guy. Low walk rate, Low obp, low slugging %, 4 steals on his career, with average defense a best. Doesn’t really sound like a guy that going to move the needle

  5. Gaffer

    Stephenson being an above average C is probably the number 1 most important Reds development goal this year.

    • KyWilson1

      Jose Garcia’s continued progression, getting Hunter Greene healthy and on track, and Tony Santillan rebounding are more important in my view. But I do agree that his development is going to be very important to the Reds.

  6. Oldtimer

    India had a nice weekend. Four hits (I think) including first HR in AFL and several RBI.