Brand new Cincinnati Reds prospect Gavin LaValley is making his presence known in the Rookie Arizona League. The 19-year-old fourth-round draft pick (128 overall) in the 2014 amateur draft was the first non-collegiate player selected by the Reds. If his high school career was any indication, LaValley projects to launch a boat load of round trippers.
The AZL Reds have LaValley batting cleanup and playing third base. He is slashing .289/467/.851 with two home runs in his first 12 games. Good numbers, especially taking into account a 3-for-20 start in his first six games. He’s hit safely in his last six games, going 9-for-25 with two home runs and six RBIs.
During his scholastic career, LaValley led Carl Albert High School to three-consecutive five-A Oklahoma state championships. He absolutely crushed opposing pitchers while at Albert. Over a 121-game career, he batted .516 with 54 jacks and 202 RBIs. He got beefy during the fall and played center for Albert’s football team. Weighing around 260 during football season, he showed quite a bit of discipline by slimming down to 230 for his senior baseball season.
He’s 6-foot-3 with tremendous bat speed. Now under professional trainers, LaValley could easily bulk another 10 pounds of muscle. His large build lends well for power to all parts of the yard. Agile enough to play third in the future, he is probably best suited for first base. Regardless, he’s not going to be one of those dreaded 10 home-run-per-season corner position guys.
Expect to see LaValley’s name somewhere around No. 20 on the list of Reds prospects in the 2015 edition of the Baseball America Prospect Handbook.