We came up with the idea here at RR to get involved with our other local blogs that help cover the team. The Reds blog family has evolved over the years, so it's important for us to showcase all of the great stuff out there.
Every week, we'll pose a question out and give all of our various blogger friends a chance to respond to it. This week's question:
How important has the acquisition of Shin-Soo Choo been to the early success of the Reds offense, and will he be able to sustain it over the course of a full season?
Charlie Scrabbles, Red Reporter: Choo has scored 14 runs (leading the team) so far as the Reds' new leadoff hitter and he's been on base in every game he has played. He is currently fifth in the league in OBP. To say that he is exactly what this team needed at the top of the order is understating the point a bit.
Of course, the Reds are second in the National League in runs scored, and Choo is not doing that on his own. Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Todd Frazier are hitting well too, and even though Jay Bruce has yet to hit a home run, he's still getting on base. In fact, six Reds have scored ten runs or more. It's been a team effort thus far, but yeah, Choo's been great.
I've been a huge fan of Choo for a number of years, but even I think it's going to be really difficult for him to maintain a .450 wOBA throughout the season. That's Joey Votto-level crushing it, holmes, and I don't think he has it in him. The major cool part though is that he can likely keep up a performance level about a notch or two below this, meaning he can still be one of the best CFs in the game. Some are still skeptical of his defensive prowess out there, but if he can keep getting on base, that won't matter at all.
Amanda, Red Hot Mama: Shin-Soo Choo has been central to the Reds' early success. With his .523 OBP, every time you turn around, it's all...
"Choo's on first?"
"I mean the fellow's name."
"The guy on first."
And so on. This tends to go on for a while, so if that's an indication then, yeah, I think his contribution will continue to be essential for a while yet.
Dan, OMGReds: Obviously, Choo's hot start has been a wonderful thing so far this season. Even through some offensively enimic games from the Reds, Choo has been able to maintain an OBP around .500. Outstanding. Having a table-setter like that day in and day out will put the Reds in a good position to win each game. Sustainable? Likely not. As the Reds begin their second lap around the league pitchers will have figure him out a bit and numbers will fall... but hopefully not by much, right? After years of lack-luster leadoff hitters, the Reds finally have their man. If anything, he gives this team the confidence that it has all the pieces they need to win any given ballgame. Can't ask for much more than that. Oh, and +1 for the high socks, Choo! We see you!
BK, Red Reporter: As everyone knows, the leadoff spot last year was a black hole of suck. Acquiring Choo and his prolific OBP skills have helped the entire offense score more runs. After 19 games this year, the team is sitting at a .348 OBP, good for 2nd in the NL. At this point last year, they were at .305, which puts them in Pirates territory. It doesn't sound like that much of a difference, but that 2012 team had 72 runs up to this point, where this 2013 team has 106 so far. 34 runs is a huge difference. I'm not sure if he'll be able to sustain it through a full season, but he has a few factors in his favor. He's in the middle of a contract year, which means the better he is, the more he makes in his next contract. Baseball is a business, and Choo's getting his business done on the field.
Steve Engbloom, Blog Red Machine: No telling where the Reds would be without Choo's (and BP's) contribution. I believe it's unrealistic to expect him to keep up his current insane OBP rate of .523. Same should be said of his batting average (.382). For a guy in his first year wearing a Reds uni, there is little doubt that the enthusiasm he has injected into this fanatical fanbase is unrivaled.
John Rentz, Blog Red Machine: Without a doubt, Shin-Soo Choo has been absolutely critical to the success of the Reds production in the early going of 2013. He's reaching base with amazing consistency, ranking among the best in all of baseball with what he is accomplishing. In no way would this team be what it is without his presence in that lineup. Will he be able to sustain it? That obviously remains to be seen, as I expect there will be bumps and slumps along the way. However, he is showing the kind of plate discipline that I could have only ever hoped to see from Drew Stubbs in all the years he was here. I think we'll continue to see Choo be extremely productive in that leadoff spot, even if he trails off some to get closer to his career norm. He will still be the tablesetter that was sorely needed.