Cincinnati Reds get glimpse into future with Arizona Fall League

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds’ fans get to see what the future may be like by watching the Peoria Javelinas.

That’s right, the best way for Cincinnati Reds’ fans to envision the future is to watch a team called the Javelinas.  It’s not really as bad as it sounds.  That’s the name of an Arizona Fall League team that has eight Reds’ minor leaguers on it.

Four of the players are pitchers – one starter, two swingmen, and one reliever.  The other four are infielders.  That’s eight Reds’ prospects on one team.  They might not be as highly rated as Amir Garrett, but they could get there.

The pitchers are in Peoria to get specific experience.  Nick Routt, for example is getting trained as a reliever in the minors and will see experience as a multiple inning reliever in Arizona.  Barrett Astin, on the other hand, is a swingman in the minors, but will also be getting trained as a multi-inning reliever in Arizona.

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Evan Mitchell, who has been viewed as a swingman by the Reds, is using the Fall League to transition completely to being a short reliever.  The Reds began this process during the season.  Seth Varner is a starter and will stay so in the Fall League.  These are the plans for the Reds’ pitchers going forward.

The offensive players have something to prove in Arizona to the Reds’ front office.

Perhaps no one has more in the line in the Fall League than Chad Wallach.  Wallach is a catcher who made himself a third baseman, then a first baseman and a slugger who made himself an on-base machine.  Wallach has to put his signature on his mediocre minor league career with the Reds.

In Arizona Wallach will be playing first base and starting most days.  Brian O’Grady plays back-up first base for this team too.  O’Grady bats left-handed and earns a high OBP in his own right.

The double play combination in Peoria is also a pair of Reds in Zach Vincej and Brandon Dixon.  Vincej projects as a defense first shortstop, but he hit a pair of home runs in the first two games for the Javelinas this fall.  Dixon plays second base and is the slugger of the two.  He projects to hit about 20 home runs at the MLB level.

If Peoria wanted to, it could run out an entirely Reds infield behind a Reds starting pitcher.  That would take little effort.  It might not be in the spirit of the Fall League.

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If the Reds fans want to see how Wallach is progressing since coming over in the Mat Latos deal, they should just watch the Peoria Javelinas.  They will get to see Cincinnati Reds’ minor leaguers playing roles that the Reds want to see them playing.  Plus, the baseball might just be better than what was in Cincinnati this year.