Jeter Downs was the Reds collective balance 1st round pick in the 2017 draft. He went out to Billings in his first foray into professional baseball last season. Things went well for the teenager, hitting .267/.370/.424 with 27 walks and 32 strikeouts in 50 games.
This season the Reds sent Downs to Dayton for his first full-season. The 19-year-old had a solid month of April. In 20 games he hit .278/.367/.392. That came along with four doubles, a triple, and a home run. The power didn’t quite show up, but he showed a good average and an ability to get on base.
Things have gone quite a bit better in May. His average currently sits at .280. That’s not any different than April. His current on-base percentage is .343, which is actually down from where things were in April. It’s the power that has made the big difference in the month. In the 22 games played during the month, Downs is slugging .516. That’s thanks to five doubles, a triple, and five home runs.
His bat has currently looks quite strong, sitting at an .813 OPS on the season. The Midwest League average is just a .704 OPS on the 2018 season. Downs, despite being young for the level, is over 100 points better than that, and he’s trending upwards as the power keeps showing up more and more.
It’s not just what he’s doing at the plate, though. Downs has been outstanding on the bases, too. He currently has 14 stolen bases on the season in 16 attempts. Those 14 steals place him 3rd in the entire league, one behind second place and five behind the league leader.
Other news and notes from around the system
On Monday over at RedsMinorLeagues.com I took a look at which prospects have had their stock move up, and down, through the first seven weeks of the season from the pre-season Top 25 prospect list.
Tuesday night saw Michael Beltre’s on-base streak come to an end. He had reached base in every game he had played this season, and the final four games of the 2017 season. The streak reached 35 games before he went 0-3 in each game of the Dayton Dragons double header.
If you are into the draft at all, Kiley McDaniel had some very interesting stuff in his chat at Fangraphs on Tuesday afternoon. The biggest take away is that consensus #1 prospect Casey Mize may have some sketchy medical information out there and it’s causing the Tigers, who have the 1st overall pick, to consider taking other players. The draft is in less than two weeks and things are getting crazy now.
Yeah – most people I talk to, and from what I’ve seen, too, I’d say the odds are largely in favor of Downs eventually being only a second baseman. But right now he’s seeing time there because the other guy is also one of those shortstop types, and they want both of them getting time there.
I’d bet small amounts of money that if Singer and Mize are both at #5, the Reds would go Singer. If Mize falls it’s because of medical issues, so that would probably take him off of the Reds board, too.