Why the Reds are enamored with this pair of shortstop prospects

June 2nd, 2024

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CINCINNATI -- There is already upward movement in the Reds' system for two of their 2023 Draft picks.

On May 21, shortstop Dominic Pitelli jumped two levels -- from Single-A Daytona to Double-A Chattanooga -- while skipping High-A Dayton. Another shortstop, , was promoted from the Arizona Complex League to Daytona.

"We're looking to get both everyday reps at shortstop," Reds player development director Jeremy Farrell said. "Both have stood out for similar reasons with the steady defense they have played and the quality of their at-bats. They go about it in different ways: Stafura’s youthful energy and Pitelli’s calm, confident demeanor."

The Reds already had a shortstop in No. 19 prospect Leo Balcazar stationed at Dayton. Chattanooga has also been without one of the organization's top prospects, Edwin Arroyo. MLB Pipeline's No. 3 prospect in the organization and No. 52 overall, is out for the year after having left shoulder surgery.

Pitelli, 22, was Cincinnati's seventh-round selection last summer out of the University of Miami in Florida. In 34 games for Daytona, he batted .290 with an .868 OPS and three homers. There has been little dropoff since moving up to Chattanooga, where he's batting .265 with a .741 OPS in nine games. It has included a pair of two-hit games.

Stafura, 19, is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Reds' No. 15 prospect. A second-round pick out of Panas High School in suburban New York, he batted .346 with a 1.031 OPS and two homers in 15 games with the ACL Reds. In his fourth game with Daytona on Saturday, he hit his first homer.

"Both are very driven in their own ways," Farrell said. "We felt like the consistency they showed not only in their performance but in their habits and routines warranted a challenge at a higher level."

Here is a look at other things happening with the Reds' Minor League system:

Triple-A Louisville

After a slow start and an elbow injury during Spring Training, outfielder is showing signs of heating up offensively. Dunn, who is ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the organization, went 2-for-4 with a homer, a double, two RBIs and two runs during Tuesday's 3-2 win over Iowa. That performance came after he hit a homer on May 25 against Toledo.

In his last 10 games, Dunn is batting .281 with a 1.059 OPS.

Double-A Chattanooga

The organization's No. 17 prospect, right-handed starting pitcher , is 1-2 with a 2.98 ERA through 10 starts. In four starts from May 7-24, Aguiar had a 1.50 ERA with four walks and 17 strikeouts over 24 innings. On Thursday, he allowed three earned runs and seven hits over five innings during a 5-1 loss to Tennessee.

Cincinnati's first pick of 2023, starting pitcher Rhett Lowder (No. 1 in the organization, No. 23 overall), has not had much success since moving up from Dayton. In four Double-A starts, Lowder is 0-3 with a 9.39 ERA.

High-A Dayton

Outfielder Jay Allen II is batting .304 with a .969 OPS and seven homers in 33 games this season entering Sunday for the Dragons. The No. 25 prospect, Allen was limited to 25 games for Dayton in 2023 because of a left thumb injury and then a hand injury. In his first three Minor League seasons from 2021-23 after being the 30th overall pick in '21, Allen was batting .225 with eight homers.

Single-A Daytona

Third baseman (No. 9) entered Sunday batting .286/.366/.478 in 43 games this season. On May 23 vs. Fort Myers, he went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Two days later, also against Fort Myers, the 19-year-old Cabrera was 2-for-5 with a three-run homer that put the Tortugas ahead during a 9-8 victory. Like Stafura on Saturday, he hit another homer in Daytona's 13-1 win.