The Cincinnati Reds were eager to give Josh VanMeter a shot in the big leagues. Now, VanMeter finds himself making the most of limited playing time, however, a return to Triple-A Louisville would be best for his long-term development.
On May 5th, Josh VanMeter made his debut in a Cincinnati Reds uniform. Just two days prior, the Reds had called up their No. 1 prospect and VanMeter’s best friend, Nick Senzel. While VanMeter has not experienced near the success of Senzel, he’s made the most of the limited opportunities, but a lack of playing time warrants a return to the minors.
Josh VanMeter made an excellent showing in Triple-A to begin the season. In 30 games with the Louisville Bats, VanMeter saw 110 at-bats slashing .336/.431/.736 with a 1.167 OPS. Unbelievably, he hit an 5 doubles and 13 home runs in that short amount of time.
Given the porous offense of the Reds to begin the season and VanMeter’s success at Triple-A, Cincinnati made room on the 40-man roster to call up VanMeter and give him a chance in the big leagues. Even so, VanMeter has yet to see any regular playing time in Cincinnati, most often used as a left-handed bat off the bench.
More from Blog Red Machine
- Reds: 3 players who may lose their roster spot when Jesse Winker returns
- Reds: Joe Boyle has an absurd strikeout-rate after punching out 10 batters
- Reds vs. Pirates: Pitching preview, prediction, and more
- Reds appropriately designate reliever Brad Brach for assignment
- Reds: 3 reasons why Jonathan India will win NL Rookie of the Year
Josh VanMeter’s ability to play is not in question, but every position that VanMeter is capable of playing is held down by regular in the Reds’ lineup. An infielder by trade, VanMeter is listed as a second baseman on the Louisville Bats’ roster and we know there is not shortage of talent both offensively and defensively at that spot.
VanMeter has shown that, though it is not his usual position, he can play out in left field just fine and has so on a few occasions this season. But that position is well-covered by Jesse Winker, and occasionally Derek Dietrich, Jose Peraza, and even Michael Lorenzen will find time out there.
The 24-yer-old has not, however, let his limited playing time keep him from impressing and putting his best foot forward. Though he has only seen 25 at-bats in the month since he was called up to Cincinnati, Josh VanMeter is batting .200/.333/.240. He has 5 hits, 4 walks, 1 stolen base, and 3 RBIs.
Obviously he is not putting up the same numbers he was in Triple-A, but without consistent ABs, we’re unlikely to see the best that VanMeter has to offer. Several of VanMeter’s fly outs have backed defenders up to the warning track and come extremely close to going out of the park.
I believe that Josh VanMeter is right on the cusp of really showcasing his best work. Considering the discrepancy in the playing time he had in Louisville compared to Cincinnati, it’s more than fair to say that he has done the best he can with the opportunities he’s received.
In my opinion, even though he is major league ready, it might actually be better for VanMeter if he returns to Triple-A where he will be playing every day as opposed to sitting on the bench, pinch hitting, and getting the occasional start here and there with the Reds. This might just be what we see happen once Scooter Gennett is officially back from the injured list.
If he were seeing more playing time, I think we would be seeing a lot of the same talent he was displaying in Louisville. Regardless of where he spends the remainder of the 2019 season, it’s nice to know that if needed, the Cincinnati Reds have great depth in the farm system. Having a lot of talented players is certainly a good problem to have!