Position: OutfielderMariel Bautista was signed by the Cincinnati Reds as an international free agent (Dominican Republic) prior to the 2015 season.
Mariel Bautista was signed by the Cincinnati Reds as an international free agent (Dominican Republic) prior to the 2015 season.
2019 Season with the Dragons: Coming off a huge year in 2018 at Billings, Bautista spent the entire 2019 campaign with the Dragons and battled through some injuries while gaining experience for the first time at the full-season level. After four years in the Reds system at lower levels, Bautista played in 103 games and logged 433 plate appearances with the Dragons, both career highs. He entered the season with high hopes after batting .320 or higher in each of the three previous seasons and connecting on a career-high eight home runs with a .541 slugging percentage at Billings in 2018. A shoulder injury put his season with the Dragons on hold on May 22, and he did not return to action in Dayton for more than a month. He finished the year batting .233 with eight home runs and 19 stolen bases. Bautista showed multiple skills throughout the year, demonstrating outstanding speed, power potential, and the ability to play all three outfield spots. He is an excellent athlete for his size at 6'3", 195 lbs.
Outlook: Bautista will be 22 years old for the 2020 season. It remains to be seen whether the Reds will return Bautista to the Dragons to build on his 2019 season, or move him on to Daytona. Bautista began the 2019 season as the Reds #16 prospect in the Baseball America rankings and he has the ability to improve as he gains more experience. Bautista's impressive baseball tools show some similarities to those of former Dragon Jose Siri, who struggled in Dayton in 2016 and then returned in 2017 to become one of the best players in franchise history.
Fun Facts: One person who was impressed by Bautista's combination of size, strength, and athleticism in 2019 with the Dragons was former Reds all-star Eric Davis, now a Reds Special Assistant. During one of Davis' visits to Dayton, he was asked what impressed him about Bautista. "Everything," said Davis.