Saugus baseball product gets first MLB start

Saugus baseball product Zach Vincej made his first Major League Baseball start on Sunday with the Cincinnati Reds.

The 2009 Centurion grad went 2-for-4 at the plate and added one run, which was scored on a Tucker Barnhart triple, in the Reds’ 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Vincej, 26, was called up from the Louisville Bats on Sept. 1 after logging 38 RBIs, 36 runs and a .270 batting average. He also showed a lot of promise as a shortstop.

“(Vincej was) giving very competitive at-bats and being a very solid guy,” Reds manager Bryan Price told cincinnati.com. “He doesn’t strike out much, he puts the ball in play. He can do a lot of things with the bat as far as situation play. He’s a very, very steady shortstop.

“It’s a nice September addition. It gives us a chance to see what we’ve got moving forward.”

Before getting drafted in the 37th round to the Reds in 2012, Vincej impressed on defense at Pepperdine University. He was the recipient of the Brooks Wallace Award, which is given to the nation’s top college shortstop.

In 2016, he won the Rawlings Gold Glove award for his play at shortstop for the Double-A Blue Wahoos. He recorded a .991 fielding percentage in 105 games, the only player at his position with a field percentage above .985.

Cincinnati next plays at home against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday at 4:10 p.m.

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