Alex Blandino was kind of forgotten around these parts due to his injury and sub-par season in 2016. I think we can both take some blame for that one. 2017 looks to be a make or break season for the young infielder from Stanford. Can he impress with the bat and push himself back up the prospect lists for next season? We'll just have to wait and see.
Keury Mella, 23, RHP
Rookie Davis, 23, RHP
Blake Trahan, SS
Zach Vincej, SS
Gavin LaValley, 22, 1B/3B
Highest 2016 Level: Daytona (A+)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 195 ISO, .334 OBP
Most Worrisome Fact: Can he play 3B? It sounds like it's a no.
Alias(es): Deep in LaValley, LaValley of Death, Big Boomer Sooner
Gavin LaValley has now been with the Reds since 2014 when he was drafted as a 1B that they thought had a chance to stick at 3B. He was a very big kid that lost a ton of weight to get ready for pro baseball. In all reality, he would have been a higher pick but concerns about his college commitment and his weight pushed him down to the 4th round of the draft. The Reds continued to be interested despite those concerns because scouts raved about his tremendous bat speed. Gavin is/was strong.
The strength and power had not shown up previously to this year, but he had shown a rather advanced approach to hitting for such a young player. The ball wasn't flying over the fence or into the gaps with any kind of regularity but he was still finding himself on base. After an injury slowed his start to 2017, LaValley showed he has some of that pop scouts fawned over. He kept rather similar walk and strikeout rates, but his ISO rates spiked up about 100 points from his career average. His final batting line for the season was .275/.334/.470. He hit 11 dingers, 29 doubles, and 2 triples in 374 plate appearances. The downside is he played 2/3rds of his games at 3B. Gavin should start the 2017 season in AA.