That picture up on the shoulders of these particular words contains one Dilson Herrera, the same one who had his contract purchased by the Cincinnati Reds on Friday for a long-awaited return to the big leagues. In said picture, Herrera’s slappin’ high-fives with Eloy Jimenez, who still has yet to make his big league debut as a member of any of the franchises with whom he has plied his professional baseball trade.
We’ll get to the news about the 2018 Futures Game here in a sec. Right now, this is just a long-con to remind you of exactly how young - and how promising - Dilson Herrera still is to the Reds. He’s still just 24 years old, barely a month older than the red-hot Jose Peraza, and carries a wealth of promise despite his scattered, covered, and smothered career history to date. Called up to the big leagues at the ripe age of just 20 back in 2014, it’s somewhat hilarious to see the names against whom he played while with the New York Mets. In fact, the Philadelphia Phillies lineup against whom he played in his August 29, 2014 debut reads like a who’s who of a generation past in Major League Baseball:
Ben Revere. Jimmy Rollins. Grady Sizemore, Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, Domonic Brown, and Cody Asche. Marlon freaking Byrd.
Safe to say, it’s been quite the journey back to the bigs for Dilson, who came to the Reds with pitching prospect Max Wotell in exchange for Jay Bruce a pair of years ago. And, just to keep the funny timeline of things fresh, Dilson made it back to the big leagues just a day after the oft-injured Wotell was released from the Cincinnati organization altogether.
Where the heck Dilson Herrera gets playing time while with the Reds, I do not know at the moment. There’s a quick 3-game series against Cleveland on the upcoming road trip that will allow the Reds to use a DH, and given his rippin’ .297/.365/.454 output in AAA so far this year, I’d wager he’ll get a shot to play somewhere in those games. Of course, while that .832 OPS in 208 AAA PAs as a 24 year old sure does look promising for a 2B/3B prospect, the same sure could’ve been said about the .834 OPS in 237 PAs Alex Blandino posted as a 24 year old in AAA last year, and Blandino has barely had a sniff of playing time in the bigs in 2018 thanks to the awesome play of both Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez.
Perhaps this foreshadows an eventual trade of Scooter that’s in the works, as our Chuck Scrabbleson surmised earlier today. Perhaps this is just a case of the Reds wanting the best bat they’ve got in the minors on their roster even if it isn’t a perfect fit. One thing’s for sure, though - Dilson’s out of options, meaning the Reds can’t simply just ship him back to AAA when they feel fit to do so, so he’s up and in the bigs for good or for bust now. That’s both a damn promising revelation, but also one that sure makes how this whole thing is going to shake out that much more of a pertinent question.
In other news, the 2018 edition of the All-Star Futures Game is just over a week down the road, and when the rosters were revealed earlier today, both Hunter Greene and Taylor Trammell saw their names included.
Greene has been on an absolute tear as an 18 year old with Class A Dayton, mowing down batters a handful of years older than himself for over six weeks now. In his last 8 GS, he owns a 1.87 ERA and has held opponents to just a .576 OPS against him, striking out 51 against just 9 walks in 43.1 IP. That’s precisely the kind of precision dominance the Reds were hoping they’d see when they took Greene #2 overall in the 2017 MLB Draft, and it’s sure as hell a beauty to see.
Meanwhile, Trammell has been just as excellent on the other side of the ball at Class A+ Daytona. The 20 year old has hit .311/.407/.449 for the Tortugas this year, with 6 dingers, 4 triples, 12 stolen bases, and the ability to competently cover all three OF positions. It’s been the kind of electric season that’s seen him jump all the way up to #28 on Baseball America’s most recent Top 100 overall prospect list, which is the kind of respect that’s only reserved for the most elite of prospects across the game. I’d wager he’ll get his time in the spotlight at the Futures Game and then mosey on up to AA Pensacola afterwards, where he’ll rejoin T.J. Friedl and Jose Siri in one of the most talented MiLB outfields I’ve laid eyes on in quite some time.