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The AFL Triple Crown leader: Zach Vincej?

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Cincinnati Reds middle infield prospect Zach Vincej is raking in the desert. Combined with his Gold Glove winning defense, it's time to give Vincej some recognition.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

25 year old Zach Vincej is on fire out in the Arizona Fall League. While he is not a big name prospect, he seems like he could be another decent middle infield find for the Cincinnati Reds.

Vincej was a 37th round draft pick back in the 2012 MLB Draft. While at Pepperdine, Vincej became known for his defense more than his average bat, taking home the 2012 Brooks Wallace Award, given to the best collegiate shortstop, as well as the West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year and Gold Glove. Not to sell his bat short, he did hit .339 on the season, leading the WCC in doubles with 18, but if you were looking for a power hitter you had to look elsewhere.

He had a solid half season pro debut after being drafted, playing in the Pioneer League. He slashed .336/.393/.434, highlighted by 11 doubles. The next few seasons would show some highs and lows, especially in the strikeout and walk rates, which seem to be sometimes elite and other times average at best.

This season, his second in Double-A Pensacola was the Vincej's best in his career. It won’t bump him up any top prospect charts, but it certainly has him on the radar, especially after taking home the 2016 Rawlings Gold Glove while committing just four errors in 423 total chances while turning 54 double plays. His .991 fielding percentage led all shortstops by a wide margin.

His bat caught fire at the end of the season. Over his last ten games of September, which included four games of the playoffs with Mississippi, VIncej went 18-for-43 (.419). He again struck out way more than he walked (11-to-2), but the bat definitely came alive. It has carried over into the AFL.

Playing for Peoria, Vincej is fifth in the AFL in batting average, sitting at .361. Most surprisingly, he is tied atop the leaderboard in home runs, blasting three in his 33 at bats, matching his 2016 total in 121 games at Pensacola. The right handed hitting shortstop has been particularly impressive with runners on hitting .350 with two of his home runs, driving in 11 of his AFL best 12 RBIs.

While Vincej won’t even likely merit a nod as a top 20 Reds prospect heading into 2017, it’s time to take notice. That glove alone will see him as a utility infielder of the Brendan Ryan mold for a few years at the very least. If September and his run in the desert are a sign that he’s turning the corner with the bat, he could see some time in 2017 in the bigs.