The Cincinnati Reds are two games under .500, but they’re not the kind of “under .500” team we’ve seen them be in years prior. They’re not aging, they’re not expensive, and they’re not chock full of players who get to wake up everyday wondering if they’ve been traded.
They’re young. They’re dynamic. And aside from Joey Votto, they’re a group that was inexperienced enough to not carry the burden of great expectations into 2017, and perhaps that was just the scenario they needed to truly have a chance to blossom.
Blossoming they are, specifically the position players. According to FanGraphs, the non-pitching portion of the team has been the most valuable in all baseball to date.
If you’ve watched them at all this year, that shouldn’t come as too great a surprise. Zack Cozart and Eugenio Suarez have been offensive revelations, Joey Votto has been Joey Votto sans early season slump, the corner OF duo of Scott Schebler and Adam Duvall have been all we could’ve hoped for, Billy Hamilton’s been on a tear, and even Devin Mesoraco has shown he’s not toast. In reality, though, what’s propelled them to the top has been their team defense, which so far rates as the best in all of baseball by a wide, wide margin.
The first must-have sign a team can provide in a rebuild is promise, and what the Reds have shown so far this year certainly qualifies as having been promising. It’s a core that has most all parts under team control for years beyond (minus Cozart), and looks plenty capable of holding up its end of the bargain with bats and gloves.
Unfortunately, the pitching. Though, that’s always the case in Cincinnati. But with a trio of talented starters set to return within a month, perhaps those tides will turn for the better soon, too.
Props, Cincinnati Reds decision-makers.