Photo: Doug GrayReviewing the Reds in the AFL: Tyler Stephenson, Stuart Fairchild shine Doug Gray October 28, 2019 22 Comments The Arizona Fall League’s regular season came to an end on Friday. The championship game is being played this afternoon, but the Glendale Desert Dogs – the team with the Cincinnati Reds representatives – aren’t playing in it. For the Reds prospects, their season is over and now they can head back home to see their friends, family, pets (which are also, of course, family), and get some down time after a very long year of baseball. Let’s take a look at how each player performed in the league. The Position Players Cincinnati sent a group of eight players to the Arizona Fall League this year with four position players and four pitchers. The position players were all rated among the organizations Top 25 prospects in the most recent rankings by all reputable sources. Jonathan India The Reds top draft pick from the 2018 season had about as poor of a start to the Arizona Fall League as you could imagine. He began the season by going 1-32 with 13 strikeouts. He picked things up from there, going 7-28 (.250) with a triple, three homers, four walks and eight strikeouts. He last played on October 19th, though, as a wrist injury led to him being shut down. As first reported by Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati Enquirer, the injury isn’t serious. He saw some action at both second base and third base (read the link from Nightengale’s linked article for some more information on what manager Luis Bolivar had to say about India and others). After the slow start there was almost no way the numbers would recover given the short amount of time available in the season. He would finish with a .133 average, a .254 on-base percentage, and slug .333 in his 18 games played. Jose Garcia After a strong season with the Daytona Tortugas, Jose Garcia continued his year by joining the Desert Dogs. The shortstop played in 16 games for Glendale. Among the Reds players he was at the top with three stolen bases. He did struggle at the plate, though. He ran off a hitting streak of seven games between October 6th and October 20th, but finished the year with just a .213 average in his 61 at-bats. He walked five times, boosting his on-base percentage to .290, and his four extra-base hits gave him a .311 slugging percentage. Stuart Fairchild The player who saw the least amount of action among Reds prospects was Stuart Fairchild. But when he was on the field he took full advantage. He bookended his nine games with hitless games. But the middle seven games all saw hits, with four of them being multi-hit games. The outfielder only had 34 at-bats, but as noted, he made them count. He hit .353, going 12-34. He added in four doubles to account for all of his extra-base hits. His on-base percentage was .405 thanks to adding in three walks in his nine games played. And he slugged .471 while adding in a stolen base. Tyler Stephenson The Reds top catching prospect had a good season in Double-A Chattanooga in 2019. He played in 89 games for the Lookouts and then extended his year by heading out to the Arizona Fall League. He was also the only Cincinnati prospect that played in the Fall Stars game, hitting a 411-foot home run in the game. Over his 14 games played, Tyler Stephenson hit .353. That also came along with a .421 on-base percentage. He had eight extra-base hits, including his homer in the Fall Stars game, helping him slug .549 in his time out in Arizona. He also earned the Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award. The award is handed out to “the player who personifies the spirit of sportsmanship and plays the game the way it was meant to be played.” The Hitter’s Stats The Pitchers Unlike the position player group, the four pitchers that Cincinnati sent out to Arizona didn’t feature anyone that was in the most recent versions of the Reds top 25 prospect lists. But several of them were coming off quality seasons, and one was working his way back from injury. Cory Thompson The right-handed reliever split time in Advanced-A Daytona and Double-A Chattanooga during the regular season, posting a 3.34 ERA between the two stops with 18 walks and 52 strikeouts in 59.1 innings pitched. His season was extended by heading out to Arizona to join Glendale. The firs ttwo games were tough on Cory Thompson’s ERA, giving up four earned in 3.0 innings. But he clamped down from that point forward. In his next, and final seven appearances he allowed just two earned runs in 7.2 innings (2.35 ERA) with two walks and seven strikeouts. Those first two games made it tough to recover from an ERA standpoint, posting a 5.06 mark in his 10.2 total innings. He didn’t allow a home run in the league. Dauri Moreta During the regular season Dauri Moreta dominated out of the Daytona Tortugas bullpen where he had a 2.35 ERA with nine walks and 64 strikeouts in 57.1 innings pitched. He continued his season in the Arizona Fall League for the last six weeks. The right-handed reliever pitched in 10 games total. The first nine of them went well, throwing 10.0 innings with just two earned runs. But in his final game of the season he struggled – giving up three earned runs in 0.2 innings. It was that final outing that took his ERA from 1.80 to 4.22 as the final mark. Moreta gave up eight hits, including a home run, walked three, and he had nine strikeouts in his 10 appearances. Diomar Lopez Much like teammate Dauri Moreta, Diomar Lopez dominated out of the Daytona Tortugas bullpen this past season. He pitched in 28 games and threw 43.0 innings with a 2.72 ERA, just one homer allowed, walked just nine batters, and he struck out 53. Also like Moreta, he threw in 10 games for the Desert Dogs. Unlike his teammate, he struggled in his time out in Arizona. The right-handed reliever allowed runs in five of his 10 outings and posted a 9.53 ERA. In his 11.1 innings he allowed 19 hits, walked four batters, and he struck out 11. Jordan Johnson The regular season didn’t go as planned for Jordan Johnson. The right-handed starter missed most of it, making just nine starts in Double-A Chattanooga this season. He made another six rehab appearances towards the end of the year before the season came to a close. Johnson made four starts and one relief appearance for Glendale – and his relief appearance was an extended one, basically piggy-backing on the starter of that game. The first two starts saw him allow five earned runs and in his second start he walked five of the seven batters he handed out free passes to in his entire Arizona Fall League run. He rebounded well, giving up just two runs over the next three appearances and 12.0 innings. In total he posted a 3.32 ERA in his 19.0 innings with seven walks and 18 strikeouts. The Pitcher’s Stats Share this:FacebookTwitterRedditPocket 22 Responses jon October 28, 2019 Now we see why Reds had India in every pre-season trade. The Reds drafts have been very poor. The Cards and Dodgers (to name a few)draft way after the Reds and have better minor leagues year after year. Justin October 28, 2019 I was thinking about Tyler Stephenson last night and the possibility that he could be the catcher that is added this season (as opposed to someone like Grandal). I thought it was silly until I compared him and Nick Senzel. If Stephenson debuted in 2020 at the MLB level, he would be the same age as Senzel was. And, if we account for the percentage drop off between a position player and a catcher (the top 10 catchers in batting average in 2019 were 17.5% lower than the batting average of the top 10 position players in the MLB), Stephenson stats this year in AA were better than Senzel’s in most categories. If the reports about his defense are accurate (that he’s good) perhaps he could come up and pair with Barnhart or Casali and we could allocated that money elsewhere. Many of us assume that the Reds are front runners for an $18-20 million dollar per year salary for Grandal. If what I’m proposing is possible, it could really make it reasonable for us to go out and snag a top tier free agent like Rendon, or pull off a trade for a highly paid player that someone wants to get off their books (I’m looking at you Boston). Bill October 28, 2019 How the Reds view Stephenson’s progress could really shape their approach this offseason. If they opt against pursuing Grandal, there are several good values available: – Sign Moustakas to play 2B – Trade for Villar to play SS – Sign a LHP to round out the rotation or bullpen (if they believe his health issues are resolved Wood would be an excellent value in either role) – Sign Akiyama to backup CF and RF MK October 28, 2019 Even if he is not considered ready for 2020 he should be a factor in the number of years offered to a potential free agent. I personally would rather give him a shot and save the money. I though the Fall League was very positive for Johnson. His numbers were better here than they have been elsewhere in the past. I was surprised they thought enough of him to send him to Arizona but hopefully it paid off. Oldtimer October 28, 2019 I hope the Reds have success at signing FA but it would be newfound success, if so. Dave Parker (mid 1980s) remains the highest profile FA ever signed by Reds. He was hometown Cincinnati native. Reds GM Bob Howsam knew what he was doing then. Reds have had more success trading for their needs than signing FA. AirborneJayJay October 28, 2019 Stephenson and Fairchild had superb AFL seasons. India and Garcia, not at all. The pitching? Johnson did OK, but the others, well, yuk. A very non-impressive group of pitchers the Reds sent out there. TeJay Antone would have been a good choice to send out to pitch. It would have been nice to see what he could have done against this competition. Does Stephenson’s emergence tap the brakes on a long term deal for a C like Grandal this winter? Stock October 28, 2019 Fairchild had an extremely lucky month in AZ. His ISO was a Billy Hamilton like .118 His BABIP was .480. If he has a more typical BABIP his BA drops to about .225 and his OPS is around .625 which are not really quality numbers. It seems to me this was more sample size than performance. Oldtimer October 28, 2019 Baseball is not exclusively analysts. Otherwise every team would have FO like the Cubs do. Regardless of analysts, luck (good or bad) is still part of baseball. Oldtimer October 28, 2019 Correction. Analytics. Stock October 28, 2019 You are right in that luck is a part of baseball. But I would not bet my future on a player who had a BABIP in AZ of .480. When I think of teams that use the latest and greatest analytics I think of Tampa Bay, Oakland, St. Louis and Houston. Three of these are small market teams that consistently compete. The fourth has created the most dominate team in baseball right now. The Cubs are a team that uses money to create their roster not analytics. Not sure why you consider them a team that uses analytics when they make their moves. They are far from that. Oldtimer October 28, 2019 Cubs are all about numbers. They have $ yes, but do not use that approach (by itself) to selecting players. Nor should the Reds or any other MLB team rely solely on analytics. Stock October 28, 2019 How are the Cubs about analytics? Recent moves: Sign Jason Heyward – In spite of the fact that analytics say he is over rated. In St. Louis the year before his signing he had a 57% GB rated and a did not hit the ball hard. 29% hard hit rate vs. 22% soft hit rate. sure he is a good defensive RF but one with no power because he kills worms, destined for a low BA because he does not hit the ball hard and little value. Sure enough the analytics the Cubs ignored were proven right. Tyler Chatwood. Major control problems were obvious. Ignore his shiny stats. look at the analytics. He walked 4.69 per 9 IP his last year in Colorado. His first pitch K% was 53%. These analytics say the Cubs should run and run far. Instead the Cubs signed him to a huge contract. Analytic first teams do not even look at these two. You could also argue the Quintana trade was not a good analytic decision but he was pretty cheap so maybe worth the risk that he would regain control because 3 BB/9 IP does not bode well with someone who has a swinging K% of 8% Oldtimer October 28, 2019 Cubs have clueless wonders in FO. Cubs do have lots of $. Reds (lately) seem to have the former and some, but not enough of the latter. Walt Jocketty has won WS and multiple division championships as GM. Williams, not yet either. Dusty Baker has won multiple divine championships and NL pennant(s), I think. Bryan Price, not quite. Not even close. David Bell, too early to tell. Oldtimer October 28, 2019 https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/CHC/2019.shtml methinks the President and GM of Cubs will be on Hot Seat in 2020. Oldtimer October 28, 2019 https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/k/kimbrcr01.shtml Cubs WORST FA signing in 2019. Not Chatwood. Kimbrel. Brad October 28, 2019 Exciting to have 3 position players in Stephenson, Garcia and Siri, at premium positions, in the upper minors, who could make the MLB at anytime. I believe the 2020 Reds Minor Leagues will be dictated by the development of those 3. Can Siri be 2019 Aquino: far from perfect but showing tools at MLB level? Can Stephenson be an everyday players in 2021? Can Garcia be an everyday player in 2021? Excited to see what Johnson, Cotham and Boddy can do with pitching. Oldtimer October 28, 2019 #1 doubtful. His 2019 season was a step back. #2 maybe. Probably even. #3 doubtful. P/T INF more likely. If the Reds develop their own P it will be unusual in team history. Tom October 28, 2019 Giving India as much rope as R Stephenson and Ervin will pay dividends. Bring him up at 24 or 25 even. He’ll be a great player eventually. Really can’t take these AFL numbers as destiny. donny October 28, 2019 This is the thing though, when it comes to saving money and not picking up Grandal and waiting to take the chance until Stephenson arrives. We all, including i believe the Reds. Would rather get better through free agency as opposed to trades, Reds have 40 mill or so to spend. Dick Williams has said; they want to get much better offensively so they can contend and get better for a playoff run in 2020. The problem with that is that the free agent market isn’t that good this year when it comes to offensive production. Well, the best offensive production player out there is Grandal. On the flip side of that. I understand what most of you are thinking. It is looking more and more like there is a lot of teams interested in pursuing Grandal raising the bidding war not only in money but also in terms of how many years and we have Stephenson right around the corner . I was never in favor of getting Grandal in the first place until i learned he is the best offensive production in the free agent market . Then i had to think about it. There is a lot of teams who don’t have good production from the catcher spot including the two teams in the world series today, but they have good offensive production from other players. That is the difference. Where are the Reds going to get that offensive production ? It really don’t look that good in the free agent market on offense. Outside of Grandal and if he turns it around from injuries Didi Gregorius . So what does this mean ; I don’t know, i am tired of typing. You all figure it out. ”LOL” Leave a response. What i don’t want to see happen is the Reds trading Stephenson . Oldtimer October 28, 2019 In 1961 the Reds traded former All-Star C Ed Bailey because young C Johnny Edwards was nearly ready for MLB. In 1967 the Reds traded (3x All-Star) Edwards because his production had dropped and young C Johnny Bench was ready for MLB. Bench turned out to be much better (perhaps best C ever) than anyone expected in 1967. Two examples. There are others. If you have a young player (such as T Stephenson) almost ready for MLB, you don’t trade him. You trade the incumbent for a need. I will be pleased in Reds successfully land big time free agent(s). they have rarely done so in the 40+ years of MLB free agency. Wes October 28, 2019 Lindor to dodgers and Seager to reds. Reds will be all over that. Their parent organization dodgers need to throw em a bone anyway. Oldtimer October 29, 2019 Parent organization? LOL. Good one. We got John Franco from LAD for Rafael Landestoy in 1983. Pretty good bone (trade) there.