The Cincinnati Reds stand 36-41, tied for last place in the National League Central with the Pittsburgh Pirates. With their 78th game of the season set to be played against the Los Angeles Angeles tonight in Anaheim, they’re almost to the exact mid-point of the 2019 season, and they’ve gotten there without a single PA from the player that lead them in fWAR in 2018, Scooter Gennett.
That’s set to change by Friday, however, as The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans documented earlier today. Gennett wrapped his rehab with an 0 for 4 performance for AAA Louisville in their game against Indianapolis on Tuesday, and has headed for Cincinnati to rejoin his big league brethren prior to their series opener in GABP against the Chicago Cubs on Friday night. And in doing so, he says he’s ready to play every day again, too.
“(I’ll play) every day at second base,” he said. “How things are coming together with the pitching, it’s going to be fun. I can’t wait to get in there every day and do my thing.”
That, of course, is something Grimey took a closer look at earlier in the week, since merely inserting Scooter back as the everyday 2B won’t exactly be a seamless process. The domino effect will be rather evident immediately, as it will take away most of the 2B reps from May superstar and team OPS+ leader Derek Dietrich, who will presumably have to be inserted into the lineup elsewhere more often. That’ll likely come in LF, which will mean either Jesse Winker sits or slides over to RF, which would render the red-hot Yasiel Puig sidelined. Not to mention that one of Jose Peraza or Phil Ervin will be optioned to AAA to accommodate Scooter’s promotion, with the other becoming the likely last man on the playing time totem pole alongside Kyle Farmer.
Having too many players is a good problem, obviously, but one that will test manager David Bell on a daily basis. It will also give him just over one full month with a full, healthy offensive roster to see if this club can make a climb out of the doldrums and into a chase for a playoff spot before the July 31st trade deadline could turn this roster completely haywire. Rest assured, Scooter’s going to be a big part of that happening if it does, but that may well happen while a few players who have established that they’re viable big leaguers get to spend a lot of time riding pine.
In other news, it appears TJ Friedl will join Taylor Trammell on the injured list at AA Daytona, as Doug Gray noted on the Twitterz earlier. That’s a rough stretch for the talented Lookouts OF, which also featured Jose Siri and Michael Beltre prior to Stuart Fairchild’s promotion earlier this week. Still, that’s easily the roster in the Reds system with the most talent, one that will only likely get bolstered when Jonathan India earns his call-up at some point in the very near future.
Over at Redleg Nation, Matt Wilkes took a deep dive into the surge in swings and misses on pitches thrown by Michael Lorenzen this year, breaking down his pitch mix to see what’s behind his increased K-rate. I’m already beginning to think the Reds are going to need to back up a Brinks truck to keep Derek Johnson around for awhile at this juncture.
Friend of the blog Dan Szymborski - hi, Dan! - has his mid-season ZiPS updates posted over at FanGraphs, and while the end-season projections for the Reds still don’t look nearly as rosy as we all would hope, Dan’s got some pretty positive points on the trajectory of this club, albeit while acknowledging just how penalizing their awful start to the season was.
Finally, Joey Votto’s dinger last night helped bring his season OPS+ back up to triple digits at a cool 100, which is beginning to make things look less and less disjointed on his BBRef page. He’s also back over 59 career bWAR at 59.1, making his climb to surpass 60 this season something that looks to be a lock, something that was not quite as easy to guarantee when he was check-swinging his choked-up bat while lost back in early May. Votto owns a .921 OPS in the month of June and an even 1.000 over his last 25 games, the latter a 107 PA stretch that has looked oh so much more like the star we’ve adored for the last decade.