We mentioned just over two weeks ago that the Arizona Fall League was getting under way in the Land of the Endless Strip Mall, and it's probably time to check in on the seven player contingent sent by the Cincinnati Reds to see how they've been performing for the Peoria Javelinas.
(A Javelina, by the way, is also known as a "skunk pig," according to Wikipedia. Wear that logo with pride, fellas!)
2013 1st round pick Phillip Ervin has had the most success of the Reds youth through the first seven games, though that's not exactly saying much, unfortunately. Phlerv owns a .200/.333/.280 line through his first 25 ABs, but he's 6 for 6 on stolen base attempts with that number leading all of the AFL. Chad Wallach has struggled so far, albeit in a measly 10 AB; he has a single, no walks, and 3 strikeouts to his name. 2014 1st rounder Alex Blandino has also gotten off to a rather slow start for Peoria, owning just a .095/.240/.190 line through 21 AB with a triple and 3 walks to show for it.
MLB Pipeline's Jonathan Mayo got a chance to catch up with Blandino recently, and the two spoke about the Stanford product's ability to play multiple infield positions. Most interesting in the conversation is the note that Blandino is focusing almost primarily on 2B while in Arizona and that "could very well be his permanent home moving forward." Given Eugenio Suarez's emergence as a viable SS and both Zack Cozart and Brandon Phillips being out of contract and/or team control after the 2017 season, it sure is easy to pencil in Blandino as the 2B of the Reds future down the road, especially if the .365 OBP he's produced in his first 173 MiLB games continues to be a calling card.
As for the Reds minor league arms in the AFL, both Nick Travieso and Stephen Johnson have had stellar starts. Travieso - the Reds 1st round pick from 2012 - has shaken off the wrist injury that shortened his 2015 season to post a 1.29 ERA and 0.86 through 7 IP, while Johnson - the fireballing reliever the Reds receieved from San Francisco in the Marlon Byrd trade - has yet to allow a run in 3 appearances, his 0.53 WHIP through 5.0 IP belying his odd 1/1 K/BB. Both Zack Weiss and Layne Somsen have been roughed up a bit, however, as they own ERAs of 7.36 and 7.71, respectively. It's worth noting that Weiss can lay claim to an impressive 7/0 K/BB in just 3.2 IP, though.
There are still some 20 games remaining on the AFL regular season slate, and we'll do our best to keep you updated on how many 3 dinger games Blandino puts together between now and mid November.