Josh VanMeter has been crushing the ball in Triple-A. With Matt Kemp’s release opening a spot on the 40-man roster, will the Cincinnati Reds call him up?
The Cincinnati Reds released veteran outfielder Matt Kemp on Saturday and also sent fellow outfielder Scott Schebler down to Triple-A Louisville. With a vacancy now on the 40-man roster, will the Reds take a chance on Josh VanMeter?
While all the attention of late surrounding the Reds’ minor leagues has centered around Nick Senzel, and rightfully so, the Louisville Bats have been home to the hottest player in the Reds’ farm system. Josh VanMeter has been on fire over the past few weeks.
VanMeter, who plays second base for Triple-A Louisville, is crushing the ball to the tune of a .346 batting average. His OPS is a ridiculous 1.189 and he’s recorded 37 hits in 29 games this season. That sounds like the type of player that this Cincinnati Reds’ offense sorely needs.
Over the last 10 games, VanMeter has been on a different level. He’s hitting .421 and has reached base safely in 8 of those 10 games. He’s got 8 homers and 16 RBIs during that 10-game stretch, including 3 games where he’s multiple round trippers.
Josh VanMeter can play all over the infield, though he’s played very little at first base until this season where he’s seen action in 7 games. Second base has been VanMeter’s primary position, but he’s started a few games at third base and spent some time in the outfield last season as well.
With Kemp no longer on the team, Schebler headed to Triple-A, and Cody Reed just having been called up to The Show, the Cincinnati Reds have only three bench players on their current roster. While Michael Lorenzen can fill in from time to time as a pinch runner, pinch hitter, and center fielder, it’s very likely that the Reds will make a move in the coming days.
While VanMeter might have trouble cracking into the lineup on an every day basis, the versatility of he, Derek Dietrich, and Kyle Farmer would allow David Bell to do what he likes to do best; play the matchups. VanMeter, like Dietrich is a left-handed hitter and while Schebler is in Louisville, Bell is likely to want another lefty off his bench.
Brian O’Grady is another option from Triple-A. O’Grady, like VanMeter is a left-handed bat who’s been putting up big numbers in Louisville. O’Grady doesn’t offer the same versatility as VanMeter, as he’s only played first base this season. However, the 8th round pick of the Reds in 2014 has also seen time in the outfield during his career.
Whether it’s Josh VanMeter, Brian O’Grady, or someone else, there’s no doubt that the Cincinnati Reds will make some sort of move in the coming days in order to shore up their bench. Here’s hoping Dick Williams and Nick Krall give VanMeter the opportunity. The Reds can always use more runs on the board, as we were made painfully aware of last night.