A Minors Obsession

Brandon Dixon is heating up in the AFL

It’s a big offseason for Brandon Dixon. The soon-to-be 25-year-old is eligible for the Rule 5 draft if he’s not placed on the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster before Friday evening. He’s coming off of a solid, but unspectacular regular season with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos where he hit .260/.315/.434 with 23 doubles and 16 home runs. On the downside of things, though, he walked 30 times with 137 strikeouts, a ratio of walks to strikeouts that doesn’t tend to work so well in the Major Leagues.

The Reds sent the infielder/outfielder to the Arizona Fall League to likely get one last look at him before having to make the decision on whether or not they would protect him. If the Cincinnati brass is looking for production out of Brandon Dixon to help weigh in their decision, the former Arizona Wildcat has done everything within his power to make up their minds. He’s currently hitting .340/.435/.556 with six doubles and two home runs to go along with nine walks. The walk rate is nice to see, as is the power and average, but his strikeout rate, 21 strikeouts in 62 plate appearances (34%) is very, very high.

Dixon isn’t the only Red that’s continued to crush the ball over the last week in Arizona. Zach Vincej, who’s been among the league leaders in several categories all AFL season continues to just hit the cover off of the ball. He’s currently hitting .379/.455/.776 with seven doubles, two triples and four home runs to go along with eight walks and 11 strikeouts in 64 plate appearances. Vincej leads the league in average, is second in on-base percentage, leads the league in slugging and OPS (by 109 points), leads in doubles (tied), is third in triples (tied) and is second in the league in home runs.

Like Brandon Dixon, Zach Vincej is eligible for the Rule 5 draft if left unprotected by Friday evening. The Reds have plenty of interesting choices to make when it comes to protecting players, and who to leave at risk for selection by other teams. Performances in the Arizona Fall League may be making some decisions tougher than initially expected. How the organization goes about selecting the players to protect in the next few days will be very interesting as the amount of room on the current 40-man roster and the number of players that some expect would be taken if left unprotected are very different numbers.

Redsfest

The Cincinnati Reds have announced some of the players that will be attending Redsfest this year (the list usually grows leading up to the event). I’m sure many of you guys go to the event because it’s awesome. If you are one who likes autographs, I’m offering some photos for sale of a majority of the minor league guys that will be there. You usually can’t find photos of most of them at the event like you can the big leaguers, so I thought I’d offer some up for people who are interested. They are only available for another 36 hours though, so I’ve got time to get them from the printer as well as mail them out to anyone who orders. To browse the entire selection, you can check out this link right here. Here are a few samples:

ariel-hernandex-14x11

Ariel Hernandez

shed-long-dayton-2-8x10

Shed Long

jesse-winker-bats-14x11

Jesse Winker

8 thoughts on “Brandon Dixon is heating up in the AFL

  1. Decisions, decisions. Big week ahead for the players and the Reds brass.
    Vincej seems to have earned a 40-man roster spot, and at a premium position. On the SS depth chart, he may be just behind Peraza at this time. Vincej most likely starts out at AAA since he is 25. Calten Daal, who had a short but very good 2016, is 2 years younger and probably starts out at AA. He missed a good bit of time in 2016 at AA.
    Vincej has a track record in the minors that mirrors his 2016 season. Steady. Nothing like he is doing in the AFL though. That is icing on the cake with a cherry on top.
    Brandon Dixon will be hard to put on the 40-man roster. I don’t think it would be much of a risk to leave him unprotected. AA is his highest point that he has ascended so far.
    But the Reds selected OF Jake Cave in last year’s Rule V draft, even though he had only 7 games above AA. So, it is a risk leaving Vincej, Daal, or Dixon off of the 40-man roster. But the Reds had to return Cave to the Yankees since he didn’t make the 25-man roster out of spring training. If the Reds 40th spot came down to choosing Dixon or Daal, I would take Daal.

  2. I’m really anxious to see the 40-man roster dispositions that DW makes. I don’t see any of the decisions as earth-shattering or critical, since the real decisions will invlove fringe players at best, but this represents a contiuation of his first real decisions with the reigns in his hands. DW’s actions, decisions and performance going forward is critical to any future Reds success.

    • Seems like it is taking forever for them to get around to making their 40 man moves. I’d guess they are waiting for things to wrap up in the AFL; but also hoping they get something done on Cozart and maybe Phillips in time to have an additional spot or two to work with.

  3. There are actually 4 players that DW sent to the AFL for final evaluation that have done nothing but enhance their prospect status heading toward the 40-man roster moves and the rule 5 draft. None of the 4 players were elite prospects compared to the prospects sent by other teams. In fact, none of the Reds prospects sent to the AFL were among the Reds top 30 prospects as ranked by MLB or the top 25 prospects as ranked by RML.

    Zach Vincej (SS, age 25) => .281/.329/.378/.708 in 121 games @ AA in 2015
    1.211 OPS => ranks 1st in the AFL
    0.754 SLG => ranks 1st in AFL
    0.457 OBP => ranks 2nd in AFL
    0.377 AVG => ranks 2nd in AFL

    Brandon Dixon (2B, age 24) => .260/.315/.434/.749 in 118 games @ AA in 2015
    1.002 OPS => ranks 4th in AFL
    0.566 SLG => ranks 4th in AFL
    0.435 OBP => ranks 3rd in AFL
    0.340 AVG => ranks 7th in AFL

    Barrett Astin (RHP, age 25) => 2.18 BB/9, 8.36 SO/9, 2.26 ERA in 103.1 IP @ AA in 2015

    1.42 ERA => ranks 6th in AFL
    1.18 WHIP => ranks 23rd in AFL
    4.26 BB/9 in AFL
    5.68 SO/9 in AFL

    Nick Routt (LHP, age 26) => 3.29 BB/9, 7.64 SO/9, in 68.1 IP @ AA/AAA in 2015
    3.27 ERA in AFL
    0.91 WHIP in AFL
    0.82 BB/9 in AFL
    9.00 SO/9 in AFL

  4. Quite a turn from last year when they for the most part sent high profile guys who stunk up the league.

    It should be noted perhaps that as a group this year’s guys are a year to two years older than last year’s and pretty much at the end of the road age wise as far as being considered “prospects”.

    I’d guess it has to be one of the toughest jobs in baseball to decide if high floor/ lower ceiling guys performing like this year’s AFL contingent have enough room left to grow to make them viable MLB candidates within a year or two at the most, given their ages.

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