We've reached the All Star break and your Cincinnati Reds are one game behind the Pirates for first place in the NL Central. All things considered, the Reds are playing well. Individually, several players have carried this team through the first half, most notably Joey Votto. Red o' the Week honors have been handed out to 7 different players. Votto leads the pack, having been voted RotW 5 times. Johnny Cueto and Jay Bruce have each won the weekly award twice. Latos, Leake, Cozart and Chapman have all been named Red o' the Week once. Surprisingly, Brandon Phillips and Todd Frazier are still waiting for their first weekly honor. Let the voting begin... The Red o' the First Half of the season is...
Votto has been the best hitter in baseball for 2+ years, and the first half of 2012 has been no different. Votto leads all MLB hitters in OBP (.471!), OPS (1.087), doubles (35), and WAR (5.0). The man is simply amazing. It's no surprise that Votto is the run away leader in RotW honors with 5. As Votto goes, so goes the Reds' offense. When you have a great hitter like Votto, the many flaws of your offense become easier to swallow.
Not only does Johnny Cueto deserve to be an All Star, you could make a strong case that he should be starting the game for the NL squad. He ranks in the top 5 among NL starting pitchers in ERA and WAR. He ranks 2nd in innings pitched, trailing only Clayton Kershaw. His numbers become even more impressive when you consider half of his games are played in Great American Ballpark. For the season, he is only allowing 0.37 HR per 9 innings, second best in the National League. Cueto has anchored a strong pitching rotation, which is largely responsible for the Reds' success this year.
Let's be honest, no other Reds' player deserves consideration. Sure, Jay Bruce has played well at times and he leads the team in RBI. Todd Frazier has provided much needed production in Scott Rolen's absence. Brandon Phillips has been his reliable self, providing a solid bat and terrific defense. Mike Leake, Bronson Arroyo, Mat Latos and Homer Bailey have all pitched well. Aroldis Chapman has been the most dominant pitcher in baseball for much of the season. However, this team is the Joey & Johnny show.
Who is the Red o' the First Half? Is it the MVP-caliber, record-setting stud first-baseman, or is it the dominant, reliable ace?