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The Red Report 2020 - Josh VanMeter

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A seemingly out-of-nowhere surprise from 2019.

2020 Cincinnati Reds Photo Day Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Fast Facts

  • Born March 10, 1995 in Ossian, Indiana.
  • Look, I’m from Indiana, and have traveled it a lot for work. I had to look up Ossian, Indiana, because it seemed like a made up place. And I know where Dale, Indiana is.
  • Anyway, it’s near Fort Wayne.
  • Attended Norwell High School in Ossian, Indiana.
  • Jarrod Parker was drafted in the first round (pick 9) out of Norwell High School, by the Diamondbacks. He was on his way to a really good career with the Athletics, starting several postseason games before succumbing to a second Tommy John surgery and a few fractured elbows.
  • Throws: Right Bats: Left

Organizational History

  • Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the fifth round of the 2013 amateur draft.
  • The Reds drafted Luis Torrens from the Yankees in the 2016 Rule 5 draft, but immediately traded him to the San Diego Padres for a player to be named later. Josh VanMeter was the player named later, on December 9, 2016.
  • Made MLB debut for the Reds on May 5, 2019.

Career Stats

Scouting Report

Source: FanGraphs

Source: FanGraphs

Josh Van-Beat’em




Josh VanMeter came out of nowhere in 2019.

I went back and looked at our infallible Red Reporter Community Prospect Rankings for both 2019 and 2018 and, well, Josh VanMeter didn’t register. Of course everyone reading this piece and everyone voting in two years worth of rankings are very smart, so we couldn’t have been missing anything (despite, you know, not actually scouting a single one of these players).

Regardless, Josh VanMeter beat the absolute brakes off the International League in 2019. By the time he was called up to the Reds for good, he’d mashed .348/.429/.669 with 14 HR in 211 PA. He’d never had an OPS over .791 in any full season minor league season.

Obviously, he didn’t do that when he came up to the Reds, but he was plenty good in streaks. He mashed everyone’s face off in July. It’s selective endpoints, and SSS, and blah blah blah I don’t give a shit. In 15 games and 42 Major League plate appearances, VanMeter hit .417/.500/.833. It’s not a prediction of what will happen next, but damn that’s a line.

Still, VanMeter did fall off pretty significantly after having to fill in full time for both Jesse Winker and Derek Dietrich due to injuries. Over the last two months, VanMeter received 169 PA good for only a .199/.278/.344 line. Not great.

The saving grace for VanMeter will be his versatility, though, especially in a season as weird as 2020. Even in his “full time” work, he played LF, 2B, and 1B. Oh, and he can fill in at 3B. And RF. And...

I have no idea if Josh VanMeter is going to be a very good Major League Baseball player over the long haul. I know that I don’t know what he is after the 2019 season. But, 2020 is going to be a really odd season, of course and, well... I just showed you how VanMeter can go off over the course of a short period of time. He’ll make the team due to his ability to play different positions on any given day. He’ll make the team because he can mash at any given point.

He could make a difference in 2020 by mashing for a few week at a time.