A Minors Obsession

Zach Vincej continues to hit in the AFL

Zach Vincej has never been known for his bat. He was named the top defensive shortstop in college before he was drafted and he won the Minor League Gold Glove for shortstops this season (they only give out one per position for all of the minor leagues). Outside of his first year in the hitter friendly confines that are the Pioneer League, the 2016 season was his first year in which he topped a .700 OPS (.708).

With his defensive abilities, the Reds sent him out to the Arizona Fall League following the regular season, perhaps to get one last look at him before deciding whether or not they wanted to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft and add him to the 40-man roster (which, if you want to read about who I would protect, you can see that at noon at RedsMinorLeagues.com). For Zach Vincej, it’s hard to imagine that things could have gone much better.

The 25-year-old out of Pepperdine has obliterated the ball in the 12 games that he’s played for Peoria. He’s gone 16-41 (.390) with five walks and just seven strikeouts. He’s also found power that he’s never shown before (warning – the ball does fly in Arizona) and currently has four doubles, a triple and three home runs. Vincej ranks 2nd in the league in average, 3rd in the league in on-base percentage and leads the league in both slugging (.756) and OPS (1.213 – which is a lead of 126 points over the guy in second). It’s only been a few weeks and just 12 games, but he’s on the best run of his professional life right now and for him, the timing couldn’t be better.

Alejandro Chacin has started seeing more work in the Venezuelan Winter League. The 23-year-old right hander has appeared in six games so far and has yet to allow a run in 5.2 innings pitched where he’s walked two batters an dhas three strikeouts for Tigres de Aragua.

Art Charles, the Baseball America Indy League Player of the Year in 2016 signed with the Reds a few weeks ago as we mentioned here at Redleg Nation. He’s currently playing winter ball in Mexico where he’s seeing mixed results. He’s getting on base (.344 OBP) and he’s hitting for power (11 extra-base hits in 23 games), but he’s struggling to hit for average (.222) and he’s struck out 29 times in 96 plate appearances.

6 thoughts on “Zach Vincej continues to hit in the AFL

  1. Sending him to the AFL may have been a bad idea. I doubt any real MLB team would be able to keep Vincej on the 40 man all year but the fact that he can play great defense at SS makes that a possibility. I bet that history would find that 2 types of guys that can stick are infield defenders and relievers.

    • From what I’ve read, position players with speed and defense; pitchers with world class stuff (especially heat) but control issues. So yeah, he might have a shot, especially in the AL (just another subtle way the DH is making the AL a better league over time despite the Cubbies pulling the WS out the back side).

      • I’m guessing that’s tongue in cheek, Jim. Since the adoption of the DH by the AL, they have won 23 of the past 42 WS. But only 2 of the last 7. Maybe the AL should do away with the DH?

        • Sure, if that’s your thing. But for most organizations, it’s about winning championships. And there is a lot of evidence that the DH hasn’t provided a competitive disadvantage when it comes to WS outcomes.

  2. This is really encouraging. With his glove, if the guy hits at all he can really help the Reds. I was on the fence about wanting him on the 40-man but am thinking that it may be a good idea now. While I think it would be a stretch for a team to carry him all year, I’m not sure I’d want to risk it.

    On another note, this makes me have a little more faith that Gonzales may end up being a better hitter than I ever thought he would be. I sort of dismissed Vincej as a glove-only SS and I have done the same with Gonzales. Hopefully, they will both prove me wrong.

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