When the Reds traded Todd Frazier to the Chicago White Sox in the offseason and got back three players from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three team deal, the afterthought of the deal was infielder Brandon Dixon. He was the forgotten man behind Jose Peraza who led the deal and Scott Schebler who was close to the Majors.

He’s a 24-year-old infielder who’s spent a majority of his time at second base this season with the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos. He has also spent a small amount of time in the outfield this season.

Dixon got out to a bit of a slow start to the season. Over the first two weeks of the year he hit just .205/.256/.231 with just one double, three walks and 13 strikeouts. After an off day on April 22nd, something changed and the former Dodgers prospect went on an absolute tear.

In the six weeks since he’s hit an incredible .364/.413/.755 with 10 doubles and 11 home runs in 121 plate appearances. The 3rd round pick from 2013 has drawn nine walks in that span, which is a little lower than you’d like to see , but it’s an improvement on his career rate. His strikeout rate in that span is also an improvement from his career rate.

Of course, the biggest thing going on here is the power output in this span. He’s smacked 21 extra-base hits in just 31 games. Coming into the season we knew that power potential was the biggest thing going for Brandon Dixon, though he hadn’t been able to show it consistently in his career.

Most of his power has been to the pull side this year. Ten of his 11 home runs have been hit to left or left center with just one home run going to right field. He’s spread out his doubles a little bit more, hitting five to the pull side and three each to center and right field.

We are looking at a relatively small sample size in 2016 with what Brandon Dixon has done, just 168 total plate appearances this season. There are some good signs of improvement showing up though. As noted above, his walk rate, particularly over the last six weeks, is up from his career rate. He’s already walked as many times this season, 12, as he did in 349 plate appearances last season in Double-A while with the Dodgers. His strikeout rate is down a little bit as well, though it’s still a little bit high. Then of course is the power output, where he’s slugging .617 on the season.

His strikeout to walk ratio is the best of his career, but it’s still at a rate that will need to improve. The power would appear to have taken a big step forward, and while it’s probably that he won’t continue to slug .617 and he’s certainly riding a hot streak, he’s certainly doing something different than he’s done in the past and it’s paying off. He’s showing more patience and the ball is flying off of his bat. Those are both good signs.

34 Responses

  1. james garrett

    Lets see what he’s got.Bring him up after the break and lets see what he can do.

  2. cfd3000

    I like hearing this kind of report. Duh. Of course I do. But the Reds seem to have so many arms and so few bats this is very welcome news. I like Cozart at short and at the plate right now. I like the potential I see from Suarez especially at the plate. And I’m hearing good things about Peraza. But they won’t all be in Cincinnati forever and they won’t all be healthy every day so a few options coming up through the minors would be really nice. Here’s hoping the real Brandon Dixon is closer to what he’s done lately and he continues to give the Reds ideas about future infielders. Thanks Doug.

  3. IndyRedMan

    8 HRs/18 Rbis in 6 games is insane!! It might be time to send Brandon and Amir Garrett to Lville when WInker/Reed/Bob Steve come up to the Reds.

    • The Duke

      The Southern League all star game in June 21, I doubt we see anyone promoted before then. That’s about the time we should be safely past the Super 2 date so I could see Robert Stephenson heading to the bigs after then, with Amir Garrett taking his place in AAA. The idea of a Bailey/Disco/Straily/Finnegan/Stephenson rotation is pretty enticing for the later part of the year after the mess the Reds threw up there in April

      With Juan Perez and Carlos Triunfel getting the starts at 2B in AAA while Peraza is mostly at SS I could see Dixon getting bumped up at the same time, but it’s good experience for players finding their first big success in pro ball getting to play in something like an all star game. However, there may not be too much of a rush if he has nowhere to play at the big league level until 2018 if Brandon Phillips steadfastly refuses all trades unless he gets paid more.

      Neither Peraza or Winker is likely to be up in the bigs until a trade opens up a spot for them, so that may be another 6 weeks or so. Which is fine really, as both still have aspects of their game that could use some refining. Cozart and Bruce are producing right now so I’d like to see them moved before a cold streak hits and the value they’ve been building starts to dissipate.

    • Gregg in NJ

      Not just 8 HR in 6 games. He also went 12-24 during those 6 games.

      As a scout, how do you evaluate something like this? He was have a decent year before last week hitting .260 with 3 HR. Now he’s a league leader in multiple categories.

      • Doug Gray

        You’ve got to watch and see. Obviously a run like this doesn’t take the guy and turn him into a Top 10 prospect in the system – no one had him as a Top 30 guy coming into the year. But, is he adjusting? Is the power real? How’s the swing?

        I had a report from someone who talked with a scout about him the other day and he (the scout) certainly sounded like he liked what he saw. But, it does need to be pointed out that scouts don’t always agree on what they see. I’ve had discussions during games with scouts, all of us watching the same guy from two feet apart, and we all had very different opinions on what we were seeing. That happens more frequently than you’d think.

  4. IndyRedMan

    Tony Renda is going nuts at AA too! He’s a little older at 25 but he’s 20-43 (.465) with no Ks during that stretch! Seems like another Holt type which is def not a bad thing!

  5. wizeman

    Great article. Love reading this stuff.
    How about Stevenson and Garrett last night.
    Hope springs eternal

    • ohiojimw

      I believe I recall you owning up to being about as old as me 🙂

      Back in the day so to speak, the Reds wouldn’t be waiting around for the likes player control and Super2 deadlines to be reached before seeing brining up the likes of these two. By now we most likely would have seen these two and also (at least) also Cody Reed, if not in the rotation, then in the pen getting their feet wet at the MLB level.

      But things are what they are; and, all in all I think I’m very happy to be living now versus in the past.

      • wizeman

        It’s not the years… it’s the mileage.
        Still don’t understand intricacies of Super 2 to be totally honest. Know that is why I don’t see Stephenson and Reed.
        Am looking forward to it not to far down the road. No room at the inn for peraza and winker so will wait patiently on those two.
        Raise your hands if you actually thought our most proficient offensive players would be bruce, cozart and duvall. Then I’ll call b___s__t on you.
        Still watching. Coming to my town next week.

      • reaganspad

        I have been in on Bruce for a year, so my hand is raised there. I have been saying that he has a 40 HR season in him. I thought Zack would be good and I have enjoyed watching him this year.

        I do not think injury always diminishes your play, and sometimes depending on the athlete and they way they attack rehab they may be at or greater. Zack has always been interesting, we saw this kind of play early in his career and then he was not able to adjust in forever. Fun to see him do it now

        I had no idea what to expect from Duvall

  6. Eric The Red

    I hope he hits like this forever, so the Frazier trade won’t continue to make me feel like we got fleeced.

    • wizeman

      Frazier… who historically has great first halfs and then craters after thne break is at .219/.315.
      Not quite sure you should be laying awake at night worrying about this one.
      peraza a keeper.

      • Eric The Red

        I’m afraid Frazier’s first halfs may provide more value than a whole year of Peraza. But I definitely hope you’re right and this trade will be a clear win for the Reds.

  7. Patrick Jeter

    Nice write-up, Doug. I’m glad you do these. I haven’t been paying any attention to AA this year beyond Garrett.

    Dixon has a career .323 BABIP in over 1400 minor league plate appearances, so there’s something he’s doing, either via line drives or hitting the ball hard, most likely, that is letting him run an above average BABIP.

    His BABIP this season, though, is .374, which means it’s probably well north of .400 during his hot streak here.

    If he can walk near the rates he’s shown this season and last season in A+ (7.3% and 8.3%, respectively) then I can get excited! If he’s really a 5% BB, 25%+ K guy against AA and lower competition, though, it’s hard to get excited. I don’t think guys with those kinds of numbers at AA pan out very often.

    Fun Stat Not Related to Dixon:
    Amir Garret, from 2014 to now, has given up 1 HR every 22.24 innings. This is a span of 334 total innings. In the major leagues, the starting pitcher with the lowest figure (min 350 IP) is at 1 HR every 16.98 innings. His name in Clayton Kershaw.

    In HR/9, it looks like this:
    Garrett: 0.40 HR/9
    Kershaw: 0.53 HR/9

    Sure, it’s A-ball and AA, but still! Home run suppression is a skill. Perhaps Garret has it?

    • wizeman

      Really looking forward to seeing Garrett move up.
      Have an affinity for basketball players and saw him play while at St. Johns. Playing two sports kept some miles off of his arm.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Patrick, you should visit Doug’s site a little more often to catch up on the minor league guys. Plus it’s a great site with fun discussion. A few guys at AA putting together nice seasons.

      Renda has a .320/.364/.463/.827 slash line with 16 K’s compared to 12 BBs on the season. I feel like he has a Zobrist-lite quality to him in that he can play all over the field and a well-balanced bat. He was a 2nd round pick so some scouts saw some projection/upside with him.

      Phillip Ervin has a .233/.351/.405/.755 slash line while getting a good chunk of playing time in CF. The BA needs to come up, but he’s showing great plate discipline and is crushing the ball when he does make contact. He’s also stolen 20 of 22 bases he’s attempted.

      Daal (.394 OBP/.766 OPS) and Elizalde (.345 OBP/.802 OPS) are off to good starts as well though in smaller sample sizes. And before he was hurt, Rooke Davis was pitching very well (.89 WHIP with a 2:1 K/BB).

      • Patrick Jeter

        I certainly do need to go more! I visit his site, say, semi-frequently, but mostly to catch up on Doug’s thoughts about Garrett, Winker, Peraza, etc. 😉

  8. WVRedlegs

    Has this Brandon Dixon surge maybe have the Reds re-thinking their rumored pick at
    #2 in the draft Thursday night?? Why draft Senzel if he isn’t going to stick at 3B and will probably move to 2B?? There seems to be a heavy logjam at 2B in the minors now. Peraza, Blandino, Renda, Dixon, among others.
    This opens the draft up to Mercer OF Kyle Lewis getting selected at #2. A sleeper pick could be Moniac, the natural CF. Also a quiet, but quick, riser at the top is high school LHP Braxton Garrett. If the Reds select a P at #2, hopefully it is Garrett or Riley Pint, and not Puk or Groome.

    • wizeman

      I have a friend who has seen Moniak at least a dozen times. Says he is something to behold.

    • IndyRedMan

      Would Senzel be as bad as Suarez? I was thinking the Reds might move Eugenio to 2B at some point too? Just to lessen the damage

      • reaganspad

        If you can’t play 3rd well, how do you play 2nd? isnt that more demanding?

      • IndyRedMan

        Well I guess it depends? Obv 3b is a longer throw and with the majority of hitters being right-handed it would seem like 3b gets more action? 2B obv involves more footwork which seems like that might apply more to Suarez’s issues?

    • Patrick Jeter

      Regarding the log jam, or perceived log jam…

      I don’t think as a team you can really make decisions based on that kind of stuff. More than likely, only 1 (or zero) of the Peraza, Blandino, Renda, Dixon, etc will be a good major leaguer. Maybe more than 1, but unlikely.

      You just have to get talent when it is available and hope for the best.

      Perhaps the only thing you should avoid is drafting, say, a first baseman when you’re franchise first baseman is signed through 2073.

      • Patrick Jeter

        And I did it… “your.” Doh!

  9. ohiojimw

    Pirates have called up RHP Jameson Taillon, their No. 2 pick in 2010 to make the start and his MLB debut tonight. If he stays up that’s probably a clear indication that the Pirates number crunchers think the all clear for Super2 eligibility has sounded.

  10. Chuck Schick

    How could this be? Many ” expert” fans view the trade of the .215 hitting Todd Frazier as the most one sided fleecing in history. There is no way the Reds know more than people who post on blogs…no possible way.

    • CP

      I never really got that impression. Most people were just pretty meh on it. I’m still pretty meh on it, considering Todd still has a 117 wRC+.

    • lwblogger2

      I’m still not happy about it. Of course the Reds know more than I do but I still don’t think that Peraza was the guy to go for there. Why? Because I think Peraza will bust. Now, if one of the other guys really works out, or if Peraza becomes a pretty solid MLB starting player, then I’ll feel a lot better about the trade. The jury is still out and I hope that I’m wrong on Peraza and that the Reds made an excellent move.

  11. Playtowin

    Taillon could be sent down after the game unless he pitches a gem. He is pitching in a makeup doubleheader game. Hopefully Dixon is good because it appears Blandino is not.

  12. Carl Sayre

    I read the comment on Suarez at third and I have held a negative opinion about him since he came over, this years bat has kinda of told the tale. I am now of the opinion struggling with the glove and worrying is probably about 30 points on his BA. I would love to see him go out and just play ball without that scared (censored) look on his face. He rebounds to a 290 hitter maybe a little overly optimistic we can overlook the glove. The player now is scared to death to be in the majors but he has a better stick than he has shown so far this year!

  13. james garrett

    Suarez is learning at the major league level to play third base.If he indeed stays there and works on it then he will get better.The opposite is how well Duvall has played left field so you can’t really tell how people will do.Suarez is young and probably will have many highs and lows this season but hopefully he will become more consistent.

  14. AndyW10

    I was just looking at his stats the other day (instead of paying attention in my Algebra II class on the last week of school) and I thought he seemed promising, and I was surprised he was so overlooked in that trade. I’ll be interested to see how a team with him, Alex Blandino, Peraza, Ervin, Winker, Cody Reed, Stephenson, Rookie Davis and Amir Garrett headlining does in the future.