Blake Dunn, Cincinnati Reds outfield prospect, makes his Major League Baseball debut

Cincinnati Reds outfield prospect Blake Dunn, named the team's Minor League Player of the Year last year, made his Major League Baseball debut Tuesday night at Denver's Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies.

Dunn was among several minor-leaguers invited in January to Major League spring training camp.

Dunn started this season at Triple-A Louisville, and collected his first-ever hit for the Bats during a 9-8 win against Indianapolis.

Reds minor-leaguer Blake Dunn with president of baseball operations Nick Krall
Reds minor-leaguer Blake Dunn with president of baseball operations Nick Krall

The Reds promoted Dunn from High-A Dayton to Double-A Chattanooga last June.

In 357 plate appearances with the Lookouts, Dunn hit .332 with 15 home runs, 52 RBIs, 35 stolen bases and an OPS of .989, earning him the 2023 Southern League batting title.

Add his stats with the Dragons earlier in the season, which included eight homers and 19 stolen bases, and he's in rare company with 23 HRs and 54 SBs.

He's one of only five players in the past 30 years with 20-50 seasons in the minors. Andruw Jones achieved the feat in 1995 and '96; Anthony Volpe in 2022; and Dunn, Ryan Bliss and Jonatan Clase last season.

Dunn was named the Southern League Player of the Month for July, and continued to impress at Chattanooga in August and September, including a stretch with four homers in three games.

Five things to know about Dunn:

Dunn's monthly player-of-the-league award was his second of last season.

Dunn also earned Midwest League Player of the Month honors for April with the Dragons. He led the league in OPS (1.240), on-base percentage (.538), and runs (17); was second in batting average (.386), slugging percentage (.702), and stolen bases (11); and tied for second in homers (five) and RBIs (18).

In July with the Lookouts, Dunn batted .446/.528/.699 and led the league in average (.446), runs (25), hits (37), stolen bases (17) and on-base percentage (.528). He was second in RBIs (24), total bases (58) and OPS (1.227) and was third in triples (two) and fifth in slugging percentage (.699). He recorded 10 multi-hit games, and had a five-hit game July 23 at Birmingham.

The Reds selected Dunn in the 15th round (450th overall) of the 2021 draft.

Dunn has been a pleasant surprise in a 2021 draft class for the Reds that included Matt McLain and Andrew Abbott.

In four seasons at Western Michigan, Dunn hit .331 with 11 homers and 50 stolen bases. Multiple teams expressed interest in Dunn after the five-round 2020 draft, but didn't offer enough money for him to leave WMU early.

The Reds drafted Dunn's Western Michigan teammate, pitcher Easton Sikorski, in the 17th round one year later. Sikorski has posted a 3.41 ERA in 17 appearances this season at Low-A Daytona.

Dunn's first professional homer came August 15, 2021, for the Tortugas. It was a 434-foot grand slam to straightaway center.

Dunn was a four-sport standout at Saugatuck High School.

In addition to batting .573 with 34 RBIs and posting a 0.61 ERA in 11 pitching appearances as a junior, Dunn played four years of football, four years of basketball and was a three-time state champion who set MHSAA Div. IV records in the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles.

In football, Dunn finished second in career scoring (824) in Michigan High School football history. In 2016, he played quarterback, defensive back, kicker, punter and returner. He was 36-of-55 for 654 yards, with 10 touchdowns and one interception, while rushing for 1,689 yards on 108 carries with 31 TDs on the ground. He averaged more than 50 yards per kick return and 34 yards per punt return. He also had 49 tackles and six INTs.

In basketball, Dunn broke the Saugatuck Public Schools record for most points scored in a HS career (1,541).

Dunn's father, Bill, was his football coach, and Saugatuck's athletic director.

In addition, Blake's younger brother, Brad, was one of Blake's receivers. Brad, also a four-sport star at Saugatuck, played baseball at Grand Rapids Community College and in a pair of summer leagues.

Blake told Prep Baseball Report's Dave Sontag in 2016 about competing in track and baseball on the same day as a freshman:

Blake said that day at Bloomingdale was the most memorable he has had during his high school career.

Dunn turned 25 last year, on Sept. 5.

Dunn shares a birthday with Reds on Radio color analyst Jeff Brantley, and National Baseball Hall of Famers Bill Mazeroski and Nap Lajoie.

Dunn ranks 22nd among MLB Pipeline's top Reds prospects, but his profile points out that he suffered a broken nose in 2021, followed by a forearm strain and shoulder injury in 2022. So don't be surprised if he moves quickly toward the top of that prospect list.

An excerpt from the profile:

At his best, Dunn can impact the game in a number of ways. A state hurdle champion who has recorded plus run times in the 60-yard dash, he's an aggressive runner who likes to steal bases. The right-handed hitter is aggressive at the plate but has good plate coverage and has shown a willingness to draw walks. Better timing at the plate than in his college days combined with that refined approach has allowed him to tap into his raw power more successfully this season.

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This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Blake Dunn named Cincinnati Reds' Minor League Player of the Year