The Arizona Fall League’s marquee event was on Saturday night. The Fall Stars game, which isn’t quite an “All-Star” game – it’s more of a showcase of the top prospects in the league than a “who has performed the best” in the first few weeks. Tyler Stephenson was the Cincinnati Reds lone selection for the team. He announced his presence with authority in the top of the 4th inning with a solo home run to dead center field.

That would be the second, and final at-bat for Tyler Stephenson in the game. The catcher, if we add in the stats from Saturday night, is how hitting .400/.462/.657 through 10 games and 35 total at-bats. The 23-year-old has struck out just three times out in Arizona. It’s also come along with three walks, and he’s been hit by a pitch.

The catcher with tons of raw power waiting to come out of the bat hit it 411-feet. According to Emily Waldon of The Athletic, it had an exit velocity of 105 MPH. That would be the second longest home run of 2019 for Tyler Stephenson. In April he hit one 428-feet for Chattanooga. Only two other home runs he hit before Saturday night had gone at least 400 feet this season.

9 Responses

  1. MK

    Tyler looks to be ready to compete for a big league job. I was most impressed with how he has matured physically. He has really thickened up,through the butt and thighs, which many catchers do,but has maintained his defensive flexibility. That maturity will help generate more offensive power going forward. It allowed him the ability to give the low target and attempt to frame the low pitch but also come up and shift his feet quickly for a throw.

    I thought the comments of one of the interviewed pitchers about the electronic strike zone was interesting in that he prefers a human calling balls and strikes. One reason was that it eliminated the catchers framing skills

  2. Norwood Nate

    Not to take away from catcher’s who have developed the skill/ability to deceive human umpires to gain extra strikes for their team, but it’s sort of like players who flop in basketball to gain a charge call instead of a blocking foul. A pitch is either a strike or a ball. Basketball has tried to crack down on flopping. I’d like to see baseball do similarly and get rid of the need for pitch framing by going to a computerized strike zone.

    • Doc

      Agree whole heartedly. To me, pitch framing to get an actual ball called strike is cheating.

  3. DaveCT

    Given the potential for accuracy in electronic pitch calling, perhaps a feature could be the amount the catcher’s mitt moved once catching the ball. Return the skill to be remaining more quiet behind the plate. I’d guess, like current replay practice, we’d have a lot less arguing balls and strikes. The players and managers might have to create new ways to get thrown out, but the game must progress.
    Where have you gone Earl Weaver and Billy Martin?

  4. Jim t

    With Stephenson and Garcia taking nice steps forward this year I really can’t see the reds going out and spending money on a FA SS or Catcher. Both could be regulars in line up in 2021. If I’m them I look for a CF’er and move Senzel back to the dirt at 2B. I think that gives them best bang for the buck.

  5. doofus

    Doug,

    Do you see Stephenson capable of being a quality big league catcher? Is his overall defense good enough? Can he throw out runners well enough?

    Thank you!

    • Jim t

      Not Doug but Tyler was a first round selection who after overcoming some injuries early in his minor league career is progressing very well both offensively and defensively. I feel confident enough in his development to say that I wouldn’t be in a rush to sign a catcher to a big dollar multi year deal with him going to AAA this year and possibly being in the majors in 2021 or sooner.

      • Oldtimer

        Along the lines of Johnny Bench – late call-up in 1967, starting C in 1968.

        Stephenson is not another Bench. No one is. But late call-up in 2020 and starting C in 2021 is a definite possibility.

    • MK

      I sat directly behind Tyler, 2nd row, for a couple years in Dayton. Never understood the consternation over his defense. Other than Tucker he is the best defensive catcher who came through. The worst in Dayton who ended up getting to big leagues was Mesoraco who more closely resembled a basketball backboard than a catcher. Mitch Trees, who was released was by far the worst of the Dragons catchers. He picked up so many balls at the backstop that you could carry on a conversation with him.