Joey Votto returns to the dugout after being retired on a routine fly ball to CF. Everyone gives him a fistbump anyway, just out of habit. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
Mike Leake is your Red o' the Week for week seven. In a hotly contested vote, Leake emerged the victor with 43% of the vote. SOMEBODY GET THIS GUY A COMMEMORATIVE T-SHIRT LAWLZZZZZZZZZ!!!!
We've done seven of these so far, so I figure that's a perfectly arbitrary amount upon which to reflect. Here's your list of winners, starting with week one: Zack Cozart, Aroldis Chapman, Johnny Cueto, Jay Bruce, Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, and Mike Leake. I think it's interesting that though Votto, Chapman, and Cueto have been far and away the best players on the team thus far, they've each won the Red o' the Week only once. That's kinda the point of this here little exercise, as we are looking at short stretches of dominance more than long stretches of greatness, but yeah. Interesting.
This week, we again have three first-time nominees on the ballot. This is a good sign, as it shows that some players who began the season slow are beginning to heat up. This team isn't just Joey Votto, Aroldis Chapman, and some other guys. But those two are on the ballot, too. Natch.
The BeePapotamus had a huge week, raising his season OPS 89 points. That is an incredible feat this far into the season. For the week, he OPS'd 1.247 with four extra-base hits and, most impressively, six walks to only two strikeouts. This is exactly the kind of production the Reds need following Joey Votto in the lineup, but also, this is exactly the kind of production the Reds need preceding Joey Votto in the lineup.
Some folks have been baggin' on my man Olive Garden all year, mostly because first impressions can be indelible. He gave up two earnies in his one-inning debut as a Red, but since then he's given up two earnies in 19.2 innings. That's doin' work. He earns a nom this week for some exceptional mop-up work, rescuing starters by throwing five innings, striking out five, and allowing only four baserunners.
Much respect to the Toddfather, who has filled in admirably for the decrepit Scott Rolen. He's hit very well since coming up, and earns his first nom this week for clubbing four extra-base hits and OPSing 1.165. It has me thinking: if Zack Cozart and Drew Stubbs continue to get on base at a sub-.300 clip, could a dramatic lineup shuffle be in order? BP could go back to leading off, Hanigan could hit 2nd, and Frazier could be the clean-up 3B we thought we had in Rolen. I dunno.
Aroldis Chapman still hasn't given up an earned run on the year, earning him yet another nom this week. He threw 3.2 innings, struck out five and walked only one, while also earning two saves. I'm stubborn enough to still qualify the coming statement with the caveat that he should be starting, but the five-out save he recorded against the Rockies on Sunday was a thing of beauty. With runners on the corners and one out in the eighth, he came in to retire the Rocks' vaunted duo of Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki to shut down the rally. That's how a true bullpen fireman should be used, and as much credit goes to Dusty for the decision as to Chapman for the work.
In case you didn't notice, Votto leads the NL in bWAR now. He's second in fWAR. In case you didn't notice, we have one of the best players in baseball on our favorite baseball team. And he's ours forever. This week, five extra-base hits (he's leading the league in doubles), three walks (leading the league in that, too), and a steal. He OPS'd 1.220 with a batting average of .440.
Red o' the Week for week eight:
Brandon Phillips (72 votes)
Alfredo Simon (8 votes)
Todd Frazier (46 votes)
Aroldis Chapman (45 votes)
Joey Votto (104 votes)
275 total votes