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Checking in on the Reds at the Arizona Fall League

A glance into small samples out in the desert

2021 Arizona Fall League Headshots Photo by Michael Gonzales/MLB Photos via Getty Images

We’re just a little over halfway through the Arizona Fall League at this point, so it’s probably as good of a time as any to take a look at how the Reds representatives are handling themselves out in the desert.

The Reds are playing for the Surprise Saguaros, along with their prospect counterparts from the Nationals, Rangers, Royals, and Yankees organizations. The team currently has the best record in the League, and leads the West division, in front of Glendale (10-8) and Peoria (8-9).

The East division is being led by Mesa (9-8), but is clearly the inferior division at this point in the schedule, as Scottsdale (7-12) and Salt River (6-11) are both under .500.

A quick look around the league shows Nelson Velazquez (Mesa, Cubs no. 29 prospect) leading in overall OPS (1.212) and tied for first in home runs (6) with Seuly Matias (Surprise, Royals prospect), while Lars Nootbaar (Glendale, Cardinals prospect, bad ass name haver) leads everyone in slugging percentage at .750.

Elijah Dunham (Surprise, Yankees no. 24 prospect) leads everyone in on base percentage (clocking in 3rd overall in OPS), while Spencer Horwitz’s (Mesa, Blue Jays prospect) .408 batting average paces the field.

On the pitching side, Owen White (Surprise, Ranger no. 29 prospect) leads the league in innings pitched (19.1) and is tied with three other players for games started, but has been the best of those, too, with a 1.40 ERA, striking out 19 and walking only 9. The ERA is good enough for 16th among all pitchers, starters and relievers alike.

Now, the Reds

Reds batters

OF Michael Siani - 12 GP, 33 AB, 11 H, 11 R, 1 HR, 3 2B, 6 RBI, 10 SB, .333/.488/.515

I imagine this is the headliner of the group. Siani has been in the Reds system for a little while now, drafted in the 4th round out of high school in 2018. That’s the better part of three seasons in the minors (what with 2020 being wiped out). He’s not really hit all that well during this time, having had a .247/.332/.343 line in those three season (1144 PA). He is stellar on defense, though an elbow injury has limited his time out there in the most recent season.

As you can see from above, though, it appears all systems go for Siani in Arizona. I found it interesting that he’s got 10 stolen bases in 12 games, being caught stealing only once. Siani leads everyone in that category by three, with Dunham coming in second with only seven (both on the Surprise team, so maybe it’s a team philosophy?)

Siani making the leap would go along way for the Reds minor league system, as many of their top prospect position players still feel like a million years away. Siani should sniff Double A pretty quickly in 2022.

IF Ivan Johnson - 12 GP, 41 AB, 9 H, 9 R, 4 HR, 2 2B, 8 RBI, 21 K, .220/.340/.561

Johnson is also playing pretty well in Arizona. He’s tied for third in dingers with three other players. Notably, former Reds prospect Jeter Downs ranks right ahead on the list.

Johnson was the fourth round pick by the Reds the year after they took Siani in the same round, which means nothing but I found mildly interesting. He missed some time on the injured list this season, but played in both A and A+ and hit pretty well, with 10 home runs across a .264/.367/.451 slash line. Of course, you may notice the 21 strikeouts listed up there... he had 100 of them during the 2021 season.

OF Drew Mount - 5 GP, 20 AB, 4 H, 4 R, 0 HR, 1 2B, 0 RBI, .200/.304/.250

Reds pitchers

RHP James Marinan - 3 G, 2 GS, 9.2 IP, 3.27 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 11 K, 5 BB

Keeping with the 4th round draftee approach, Marinan was selected there by the Dodgers in 2017. He came over to the Reds in the infamous Dylan Floro trade. He’s the only pitcher that has made starts for the Reds, and as you can see, he’s done quite well thus far.

RHP Eddy Demurias - 6 G, 0 GS, 5.1 IP, 8.44 ERA, 2.63 WHIP, 4 K, 7 BB

Not much to see here.

RHP Michael Byrne - 3 G, 0 GS, 4 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 4 K, 0 BB

LHP Jacque Pucheu - 5 G, 0 GS, 8.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 7 K, 3 BB

And here are a couple Reds with 0 runs allowed, with Jacque’s line being a little more impressive as he’s pitched twice as many innings as Byrne. Pucheu (who is pictured above, for what it’s worth). Honestly don’t feel like I’ve heard this person’s name before, but he pitched fairly well in the organization in 2021, having appeared at three levels. Admittedly, he only pitched 1 inning for Louisville and got roughed up, but otherwise had 77 innings pitched with a 3.86 ERA and nearly 10 strikeouts per nine.