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De La Cruz leads Reds' Organization All-Stars

McClain among quartet of graduates helping turn the page in Cincy
November 2, 2023

Each offseason, goes position by position across each organization and honors the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in each farm system. Next up in our 2023 Organization All-Stars series are the Cincinnati Reds. 2023 organization summary: Triple-A Louisville: 75-73 Double-A

Each offseason, goes position by position across each organization and honors the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in each farm system. Next up in our 2023 Organization All-Stars series are the Cincinnati Reds.

2023 organization summary:
Triple-A Louisville: 75-73
Double-A Chattanooga: 70-67
High-A Dayton: 67-65
Single-A Daytona: 56-72
ACL Reds: 28-28
DSL Reds: 28-26
Overall record: 324-331 (15th among MLB organizations)
Midseason Farm System Rankings: 5

Reds 2023 Organization All-Stars

C: Alfredo Duno (CIN No. 13)
ROK: .303/.451/.493, 45 G, 36 R, 46 H, 6 HR, 41 RBI, 38 BB
Cincinnati’s system is light on backstops but it may have a gem in the Duno, who signed out of Venezuela for $3.1 million as the prize of the Reds' 2023 international class. The 17-year-old went right to work and did not disappoint in his first taste of pro ball. He finished the year ranked fourth among Reds Minor Leaguers in OBP, fifth in average and OPS and seventh in slugging.

1B: Christian Encarnacion-Strand
AAA: .331/.405/.637, 67 G, 65 R, 21 2B, 20 HR, 62 RBI, 33 BB
The Reds took several steps forward way ahead of schedule in 2023 thanks in enormous part to the large group of top prospects who graduated to the Majors and continued to excel at the highest level. Encarnacion-Strand was a big part of that, hitting 13 homers with a more-than-respectable 113 OPS+ in 63 games after his callup in mid-July. The 23-year-old earned that promotion by absolutely tearing up Triple-A Louisville, as he had every level before that. The former fourth-round pick can hit, and he’s going to call the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park home for a long time.

2B: Matt McLain
AAA: .340/.467/.688, 40 G, 12 HR, 40 RBI, 30 R, 30 BB, 10 SB
The middle-infield depth of the Reds system remains a marvel, with yet another top prospect in Noelvi Marte waiting in the wings after Elly De La Cruz and McLain reached the Majors this season. McLain is a natural shortstop and can play anywhere on the infield, handling himself well in 51 games at second between Triple-A and the Majors. He gets the nod here for roster reasons and because he produced everywhere he went, wherever he played.

3B: Sal Stewart (CIN No. 7)
A/A+: .251/.396/.415, 117 G, 117 H, 24 2B, 12 HR, 71 RBI, 84 BB, 15 SB
It was Stewart’s advanced bat that made the Reds grab him with the No. 32 overall pick in the 2022 Draft, and he showed it off in his first full season of pro ball, walking more than he struck out and reaching High-A as a 19-year-old. He led all Reds minor leaguers in walks and ranked fifth in RBIs, seventh in hits, eighth in runs and ninth in OBP.

SS: Elly De La Cruz
AAA: .298/.398/.633, 38 G, 38 R, 12 HR, 36 RBI, 11 SB, 16 BB
De La Cruz’s production faded down the stretch, but the 21-year-old phenom remains one of the game’s most exciting young players in a long time. To prospect-watchers, that was clear before he took Cincinnati by storm in early June with his electrifying combination of size, power, arm strength and speed. De La Cruz had been a nightly highlight reel for some time in the Minors and was especially for Louisville before his callup, accelerating his path to the big leagues by performing dazzling feats almost every night. Then he arrived in Cincinnati, and proved the hype was real.

“[De La Cruz] is the best runner I’ve ever seen, has the most power and strongest arm I’ve ever seen,” Reds legend Joey Votto said in June. “He has a chance to be something spectacular one day.”

OF: Blake Dunn (CIN No. 22)
AA/AAA: .312/.425/.522, 124 G, 107 R, 23 HR, 79 RBI, 54 SB, 62 BB
Dunn broke out in a big way in 2023. He was one of three players in the Minor Leagues to finish with a 20-50 season, and his 158 wRC+ trailed only top overall prospect Jackson Holliday among hitters with more than 500 plate appearances. The 25-year old was a 15th-round Draft pick out of Western Michigan in 2021 and was limited to 48 games over his first two professional seasons before bursting onto the scene in ‘23.

OF: Jacob Hurtubise
AA/AAA: .330/.479/.483, 119 G, 102 R, 113 H, 10 3B, 7 HR, 46 RBI, 45 SB, 77 BB
Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2020, Hurtubise displayed an intriguing combination of on-base skills and speed in his first two years in the Reds’ system. He added some pop this year and enjoyed one of the most impactful seasons of any player in the system. He led all Reds farmhands in on-base percentage and ranked second in average, third in OPS, eighth in slugging and ninth in hits.

OF: Rece Hinds (CIN No. 10)
AA: .269/.330/.536, 109 G, 63 R, 111 H, 29 2B, 23 HR, 98 RBI, 34 BB, 20 SB
After injuries limited Hinds in each of his first two pro seasons, he stayed on the field for the most part in 2023 and the production appeared. He tied Dunn for the system’s home run title, led the Reds' system in RBIs and finished second in slugging.

RHP: Julian Aguiar (CIN No. 21)
A+/AA: 8-5, 2.95 ERA, 25 GS, 125 IP, 138 SO, 37 BB, .216 AVG, 1.10 WHIP
Cincinnati’s 12th-round pick from the 2021 Draft has developed into one of the most dependable arms in its system. The 22-year-old Aguiar took a big step forward in ‘23, leading all qualified Reds full-season Minor Leaguers in ERA and innings pitched. He also ranked second in wins and starts, and fourth in strikeouts.

LHP: Andrew Abbott
AA/AAA: 4-0, 2.50 ERA, 10 G, 54 IP, 17 BB, 90 SO, 0.93 WHIP
Abbott arrived in Cincinnati in early June and immediately began establishing himself as one of the better young lefty starters in the Majors. Before that, he was even better in the Minors. Across 10 Minor League starts, Abbott held hitters to a .173 average and posted an otherworldly 15-2.8 K-BB%, easily the best in the Minors for pitchers who threw at least 50 innings.

RP: Zach Maxwell (CIN No. 30)
A/A+: 6-4, 4.11 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 2 SV, 34 G, 61 ⅓ IP, .210 AVG, 96 SO, 38 BB
The Reds’ only ranked prospect to make all his 2023 appearances out of the ‘pen, Maxwell watched his peripherals improve upon a mid-season promotion to High-A. He struck out 14.4 batters per nine innings at that level and 14.1 in ‘23 overall, though he struggled with walks at times. There is more than enough time for the 22-year-old fireballer to iron out those control issues and fine-tune his high-octane stuff.

Joe Trezza is an contributor for