Last night the Arizona Fall League season came to an end. The Surprise Saguaros held on for a 6-5 win after giving up four runs in the top of the 9th inning. The Saguaros club was the one that featured the Cincinnati Reds prospects, and several of them played a role in their win on Saturday night, as well as helping get them to the championship game. And one of them took home an award for the season.

Only one of the Reds three position players in the league was on the field for the championship game. Outfielder Jacob Hurtubise started the game in center, then later moved to left field. Hurtubise, Cincinnati’s #24 prospect, had a breakout year in 2023 where he hit .330/.479/.483 between Double-A and Triple-A with more walks than strikeouts, has been a staple in the Surprise lineup all year. He kept doing what he’s been doing all season on Saturday night, going 1-2 with two walks.

Two Cincinnati relievers also took the mound in the game. Zach Maxwell took over in the 7th inning and he allowed a hit and a walk in a shutout inning while also picking up a strikeout. He was followed by teammate Andrew Moore in the 8th. Like Maxwell, he gave up a hit and a walk in a shutout inning of work, but Moore picked up three strikeouts in his inning.

During the game it was announced that Michael Trautwein was named as the 2023 Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award winner. Stenson, if you are unaware, was a Reds prospect who was in the Arizona Fall League in 2003 when he was murdered. The following year the award was created in his honor.

Trautwein is the second player from the Reds organization to win the award. Tyler Stephenson also won the award back in 2019. Trautwein, like Stephenson, is also a catcher. Since he was not playing in the game on the day, he was able to join the broadcast and talk about some of his work.

Final Arizona Fall League Stats

The Hitters

Austin Callahan 52 1 1 2 1 17 0 .160 .173 .340
Jacob Hurtubise 109 4 0 0 16 23 11 .267 .380 .311
Michael Trautwein 54 1 0 3 7 18 1 .217 .333 .435

The Pitchers

Bryce Hubbart 4.91 14.2 9 3 8 16 .176
Zach Maxwell 2.19 12.1 9 0 9 22 .205
Andrew Moore 4.91 7.1 8 1 4 7 .296
Carson Spiers 3.00 18.0 18 1 1 20 .250

*Jayvien Sandridge was originally on the Surprise roster and he pitched well (1.42 ERA, 2 walks, 13 strikeouts in 6.1 innings) but the Reds opted to let him become a free agent instead of adding him to the 40-man roster.

23 Responses

  1. Redsvol

    Any reason why trautwein didn’t even get an at bat last night? Seems odd.

    Nice job by hurtibise, maxwell and moore. I’m hopeful maxwell and moore will be fast moving up the minor league ladder next year.

    I feel hurtibise has a role but he is undervalued. Even last night the manager put him in 9th spot even though his afl stats suggest he should have led off or at least 2nd. Exit velocity be darned. Guy deserves a shot to see what he can do against mlb pitching.

    • RedBB

      He led off most of the season. That being said his OPS was well under league average at .691and tailed off in the second half.

    • MK

      By watching and following the AFL every day it was pretty obvious that Trautwein and Hurtubise ran by out of gas the last couple weeks. Hurtubise went from close to .390 to .267 and Trautwein from .290ish to .217. Last I checked Jacob H played more than any player in the league. His body must be shot when you think of how many times his body has hit the ground with stolen base slides, pick off attempts a sliding in general.

      They mentioned on broadcast how hard Michael worked on his catching defense. Being a U of Northwestern guy he is no dummy and could develop into an outstanding catcher. Brains, Braun and work ethic.

  2. RedBB

    Spiers 18SO to 1BB really stands out to me. He did give up 18 hits though. Tells me there is a concerted effort to throw strikes.

    • RedBB

      Also keep in mind this was a VERY hitter friendly league. League ERA was 5.14

    • MBS

      Spires carried a 1.05 WHIP, and that’s pretty darn good. I agree with your assertion that he made a concerted effort to throw strikes.

      He’s poised to play a big role on the 24 Reds.

  3. Greenfield Red

    A little off topic, but a question to ask:

    With the Reds needing a quality starting pitcher to stabilize the group of young talent they have, there is talk of a trade as well as free agency. One name that has popped up, at least in a potential Dylan Cease trade is Spencer Steer. I would not trade 5 years of a potential all-star for two years of another potential star, albeit a position of need. If it were 5 years for 5 years maybe.

    Let’s look at it another way and here is the question: Hypothetically, would you trade Spencer Steer for Hunter Greene? Steer feels like more of a sure thing. Greene seems really good and has the potential to be the very best in the game.

    I don’t think I would do it. Thoughts?

    • Laredo Slider

      Trading any of Steer, CES, MM, EDLC would be dumb.

      • MFG

        Agree , Laredo.
        The future is way too bright for those players, especially Steer!

    • west larry

      Looking at the top free agent starters – Otani, Snell, Nola, S Gray and Mongomery are sought after by many wealthy teams – meaning the. are any of these are out of the reds price range. That leaves maybe Michael Wacka, Clevenger or Sean Manaco
      Are any of these three worth the money they will request?

      • MBS

        @West, we have a $30M payroll, no one is out of our price range.

    • greenmtred

      I absolutely wouldn’t do it. Steer may well turn out to be the most dependable of all of the talented young players. Pitching is critically important, of course, but pitchers bring with them a high risk of injury.

  4. mac624

    Pretty predictable stat lines for all players in my mind. Spiers probably helped himself the most with an impressive 18/1 strikeout to walk ratio. Still think Hurtubise has a place in the majors. His speed and plate discipline will play even with limited power numbers. His BA wasn’t quite up to par as in the past, but otherwise, you know what you are getting with him every day. If Maxwell can find just a little more consistency, he’s an MLB bullpen piece for sure. All in all, a good showing for the Reds in the AFL this season.

  5. MK

    I would rather see them spend the Votto/Moustakas money on extensions for the young guys. I’m not for spending big money on a big dollar starting pitcher(s). How did that work for the Mets? The young rotation got the team to the brink last year and with a year under their belt they should be better. I’m going with a rotation of Abbott, Ashcraft, Lodolo, Greene, and Williamson in that order with Phillips, Richardson. and Stoudt in reserve. I’d rather spend some money on a quality right-handed DH, relief pitching and the extensions.

    • Greenfield Red

      I think they should be able to commit about $50 mil a year, above current payroll commitments, for the next 3 to 4 years without much trouble financially. I think 1 starter 3/50 or 4/60, 2 relievers (2/15 each) is not much of a stretch. That should bring in quality pitchers and all the guys you mention blend in the give the Reds incredible talent and depth as a pitching staff. That still leaves room for extensions or a right handed bat.

      Granted, it’s not my money. But they have to know much of the fan base is highly skeptical of the decisions that have been made. There is a small percentage of us who see a plan, or think we see a plan. If they do not supplement this roster substantially this Winter, they will lose the few of us who still believe in them.

    • BK

      The Reds are in a position where they can absorb some high AAV contracts for the next two seasons. As I’ve stated previously, I would target Yamamoto–It’s a rare opportunity to buy a front-end starter at age 25. The Reds can use their flexibility over the next two seasons to absorb a lot of the risk from that contract early in the contract by front-loading the contract or setting aside cash to cover it in the out years.

      The other option is to trade a player like India for a starter that finished 2023 at AAA and add depth to the rotation. Abbott, Ashcraft, Lodolo, Greene, and Williamson look promising, but not one has made it through an entire MLB season healthy. Banking on them in 2024 is a risky proposition.

      Lastly, Stoudt was moved to the pen at AAA. That he wasn’t recalled down the stretch speaks volumes about how the Reds perceive him. Spiers is now ahead of him. Phillips, Richardson, and Spiers were inconsistent in their debuts, too. The Reds must address this area if they want to contend for the division.

      • MK

        He is a AAA pitcher. Would rather have our AAA guys.

  6. Votto4life

    I like the optimism you find here. But I find it hard to imagine the Reds increasing payroll extensively.

    They have never been super aggressive in Free Agency. The one time they were aggressive signing players, they were equally aggressive, a year later, slashing payroll.

    I also don’t see the Reds trading prospects or their excess infielders for pitching. Nick Krall was unwilling to do that three months ago, so I doubt it is about to change.

    Maybe they will spend $10-12 million on Wacha who is unlikely to move the needle or they will trade Senzel or Fraley for a below bullpen arm. I doubt they will trade India unless it is to dump his salary. Perhaps acquire a B pitching prospect in return.

    Otherwise, I think the Reds will stick with what they have now.

    2023 was a dream season for this ownership group. A roster full of young, controllable players who are all earning league minimum. A team that will draw large crowds as long as they play well. The team will likely never win a championship, but I don’t think that matters all that much to Bob and Phil.

    Previously, I suggested the Reds 2024 opening day payroll would be somewhere between $75-85 Million dollars. I am afraid that prediction was overly optimistic. I now feel it will land between $55-65 million.

    I know Lou of you don’t like me here, but I also suspect if many of you had to wager money on whether the Castellinis will step up and spend the money necessarily to make the Reds favorites in the NL Central in 2024, you would be hesitant to do so.

    By the way, I don’t hate the Reds. Nothing would make me happier, than to see the Reds win the division next year. I just don’t think the owner is committed to winning. But, I hope I am wrong.

    • Greenfield Red

      I get it V4L and respect other opinions. But, I think they have to spend this Winter. Because of all the trades for high end youngsters and payroll slashing, they have the opportunity of a lifetime to win the WS starting now and for the next several years. It is what I have wanted them to do for at least two years. I guess we’ll know in the next few months how it will go.

      • Votto4life

        I will be very happy if you are right Greenfield

    • BK

      First, I like you and appreciate your perspective. I always read your posts. That said, Castellini has vacillated in the strategic direction he has taken, but the available evidence shows he’s run the team on a break even basis, content to cash in on his investment when it’s sold. Also, he’s not a young man and likely highly motivated to win. BTW, over the next couple of years, I am far more interested in seeing needs addressed than total payroll.

      • Votto4life

        Thank you BK , I hope you are right. For once, the Reds were able to get the rebuild right. It would be a shame if the owners failed to follow up.