The Arizona Fall League ended over the weekend after nearly six weeks of play. The Reds sent seven players to the league and there wound up being a mixed bag of results. Let’s take a look at how each of the players performed.
Alex Blandino – Second Base
The most interesting part about the Arizona Fall League season for Blandino was that he spent his entire time out west playing second base, a position that many see as his future home, but one he hasn’t spent much time playing to this point in his career. He made it into 19 games in total. The former first round pick (2014 – as compensation for losing out on Shin-Soo Choo) struggled at the plate, hitting just .175/.246/.270 in 69 plate appearances. The biggest issue was his high strikeout rate, where he had 19 strikeouts (28%), but he also didn’t show much power. The Good: He got experience at what is likely his future defensive position. The not-so good: He didn’t hit much and seemed to struggle against some more advanced pitching.
Phillip Ervin – Outfield
Taken in the first round the year prior to Blandino, Ervin has an extra year of experience on his side. He hit a little bit better, but the over results weren’t strong. His final line of .209/.299/.313 gave him nearly a 100 point OPS advantage, but a slump down the stretch really crushed his line in the small sample size of just 77 plate appearances. Like Blandino, he didn’t show much power in the league. Unlike Blandino, Ervin showed good plate discipline as he drew seven walks with just 11 strikeouts (14%). He would also steal eight bases in nine attempts. The Good: He showed off good plate discipline against advanced pitching, was very successful on the bases and got more experience in both center and left field. The not-so-good: The power didn’t show up and his average was rather low despite making plenty of contact.
Chad Wallach – Catcher
Wallach was on the “taxi squad”, which in only active two days a week, and thus he only appeared in nine games for Peoria. It was a return to the Arizona Fall League for Wallach, but it didn’t go any better the second time around as he struggled mightily. In 33 plate appearances he posted a .133/.212/.167 line with a walk and seven strikeouts (21%). The Good: He was able to get some extra reps behind the plate. The not-so-good: He didn’t hit at all in limited action.
Stephen Johnson – RHP
A late season pick up in the Marlon Byrd trade, the Reds sent Johnson to the Arizona Fall League after appearing in just a few games with the organization to end the season. The right hander had a lot of success with Peoria, posting a 0.73 ERA in eight appearances. In his 12.1 innings pitched he allowed just one run on four hits and two walks, good for a 0.49 WHIP. He would strike out eight batters as well. The Good: He was strong across the board. His walk rate was low, he had a solid strikeout rate, he didn’t allow runs or base runners. The not-so good: It’s a stretch, but he threw two wild pitches.
Layne Somsen – RHP
Two of the first three outings in Arizona by Somsen resulted in two earned runs each, leaving his ERA after three outings at 9.81. He didn’t allow another earned run the rest of the way. In total he would post a 3.38 ERA over his nine outings, all in relief. He did walk four batters in 10.2 innings, but countered that with 13 strikeouts, including four different multi-strikeout appearances. The Good: He rebounded well after a rough start and he missed a lot of bats. The not-so good: Four walks in 10.2 innings isn’t great. It’s not bad, but if we’ve got to look for something to put here, that would be it.
Nick Travieso – RHP
The lone starting pitcher that the organization sent to Arizona, Nick Travieso performed very well. He would make four starts and one relief appearance (in which he threw 5.0 innings). The righty would post a 2.05 ERA in 22.0 innings for Peoria with just three walks to go with 20 strikeouts. His WHIP was 1.00 and he allowed just one home run in the hitter friendly league. The Good: He showed the ability to throw all of his pitches for strikes, good control and keep runs off of the board against more advanced hitters than he’s faced to this point in his career. The not-so good: If we have to stretch to add something here, he hit two batters and had four wild pitches.
Zack Weiss – RHP
The top relief prospect in the system had some struggles. Sort of. His ERA was high, coming in at 6.00 over the course of 9.0 innings. His peripherals were strong though, as he didn’t allow a home run, walked just one batter and had 11 strikeouts. The Good: He posted an 11-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and didn’t give up a home run. The not-so good: His ERA was high in a very small sample size.
Overall, it was a mixed bag. The three offensive guys all struggles for Peoria, with Phillip Ervin’s .612 OPS being the best of the bunch and by a wide margin. Nick Travieso and Stephen Johnson were both quite dominant on the mound. Layne Somsen was pretty good in his own right and while Zack Weiss had a high ERA, he showed the things you want to see from a pitcher.
In other news
I’ve begun to unveil the season review and scouting reports for the Cincinnati Reds Top Prospect List over at my site. Throughout the offseason there will be one released every day and I’ve already covered Nick Travieso, Phillip Ervin and Alex Blandino. So be sure to go check those out if it’s something you’re interested in.