Reds surprisingly promote top prospect in hopes of boosting their performance vs. LHP

This was a bit of a shock.
Dayton outfielder Blake Dunn
Dayton outfielder Blake Dunn / Cody Scanlan/Holland Sentinel / USA

The Cincinnati Reds made a somewhat surprising roster decision on Tuesday afternoon by selecting the contract of Blake Dunn from Triple-A Louisville. Dunn was a 15th round selection of the Reds in 2021, but put up some phenomenal numbers in the minor leagues last season.

Dunn was slowed by an injury this spring, and was left off the Reds Opening Day roster. But many Reds fans had been expecting to see Dunn at some point — though his promotion seems rather premature. Dunn was hitting just .223/.348/.378 in 44 games with the Louisville Bats this season.

But over his last 10 games, Dunn is hitting .242/.405/.545 with five extra-base hits, including two home runs. Dunn has also handled left-handed pitching very well this season. The 25-year-old owns an .856 OPS against southpaws. The Reds 40-man roster was sitting at 39, but in order to make room on the active roster, Nick Martini was optioned to Triple-A Louisville.

Reds prospect Blake Dunn will likely platoon with Jacob Hurtubise, Will Benson, and Jake Fraley

Dunn is not an everyday player — not now anyway. The former Western Michigan standout has always been a tremendous athlete and will greatly improve the Reds' defensive alignment in the outfield. But Reds fans should expect to see Dunn as a platoon outfielder when a lefty is on the hill.

The Reds now boast one of the speediest outfields in the league with players like Will Benson, Stuart Fairchild, and Jake Fraley all among the 80th percentile or better in sprint speed. While Elly De La Cruz may be the fastest man on the team (30.0 ft/ sec), Fairchild (29.1 ft/ sec) isn't far behind.

The Reds roster is now much more balanced, and it gives manager David Bell and the Cincinnati coaching staff an opportunity to see how the lineup can be constructed before both Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Noelvi Marte return. Encarnacion-Strand is likely to begin a rehab assignment very soon, and Marte will be returning from suspension later this month.

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