Reds’ Blake Dunn Shines Early At High-A

Injuries kept 24-year-old outfielder Blake Dunn off the field for much of his first two pro seasons.

Drafted in the 15th round in 2021 out of Western Michigan, Dunn was hit in the face with a ball in just his 10th pro game with Low-A Daytona. He played only one game the rest of the season.

In 2022 he missed the first month of the season, then missed two and a half months after a collision and played in just 33 non-rehab games all year.

Healthy to start this season, Dunn started hot for High-A Dayton and has stood out in just about all aspects of the game. Through 19 games he hit .386/.539/.702 with five home runs and 11 stolen bases.

“He has high energy,” Reds vice president of player development Shawn Pender said. “He’s aggressive. He’s smart on the bases.”

Dunn has swiped 36 bases in 38 tries in his pro career, using his plus speed and smarts to be highly successful on the basepaths.

“He’s picked up on reading spin better,” Pender said. “He has good pitch recognition, better strike-zone awareness. Being more selective has allowed him to put better swings on quality stuff.”

Being more selective led to Dunn walking 12 times against 13 strikeouts at High-A. And it’s also allowed the righthanded hitter to make plenty of quality contact and strike out less often.

Dunn impacted the ball in April but was also impressive on defense while playing all three outfield spots.

“He’s played a very good outfield wherever we’ve played him. “

Dunn has spent more time in the corners but can handle center.

Health has limited Dunn’s exposure, but his well-rounded game was noticeable in the early stages of 2023.

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