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Reds Mid-season review: Hitters

This year has been full of ups and downs for the reds. Here's my take

The Infield

Eugenio Suarez is having what i can only call a frustrating season. I was reminded that he had shoulder surgery in January 2020. Which could be a reason for his struggles, or maybe the fact he can't hit offspeed, or the SS experiment, or he took a page from Votto and said I know I'm a good hitter, but I want to walk more instead of hitting the ball in play with runners on. Either way I hope he turns things around as a fan favorite we are all rooting for him to play like 2018 and 2019 again. E.A. Suarez get in the game. .173 .256 .365 19HR 54RBI 123SO

Joey Votto the 37 year is closing in on the end of his stupid long contract and has outplayed the likes of Pujols, Fielder, Miggy, and Chris Davis, but still no ring. My displeasure of bad contracts aside He's having a great year and I think he's realized he's better when he swing the bat. (Side Note I think they are grooming Tyler Stephenson at first for the future while also catching if needed. Based on who they've drafted and his playing this year.).271 .366 .523 17HR 53RBI

Jonathan India is looking like a Strong Candidate for National League Rookie of the Year. Trevor Rogers on the Marlins has pitched good but is hurt so hopefully that helps his case. Jack Sparrow is a pretty awesome nickname and fact he's been hit by pitch 16 times this year shows his toughness. I love watching him play and think the Reds have one part of their keystone for the future. .278 .402 .418 8HR 39RBI 16HBP team leading 7SB

Kyle Farmer started rough but is getting better. He himself has said he is not an everyday SS, but he has made the most of it recently. In July he's hitting .345 .424 .655 with 4HR 6RBI while having a good glove at short. He is a great guy and an even better utility player who has stepped up with injuries this year. We'll see what happens when Senzel and Moose come back, but expect him to still see playing time. .248 .318 .388 9HR 32RBI 14HBP

Nick Senzel and Mike Moustakas both are hurt and both are nearing a return hopefully sometime in August. Senzel has been taking groundballs and flyballs in his rehab so he could see time at SS possibly. When Moose comes back I'm not sure what the plan is we may see Geno on the bench more. I just don't see them moving India around with the way he's played unless he's comfortable playing some SS as well. As long as Geno is at SS I think we'll be ok. Wish we still had the DH.

Alex Blandino, Mike Freeman, Max Schrock and Alejo Lopez. Blandino looks like a backup in the future possibly and being a former 1st round pick they'll give him every chance to make the team. Freeman feels like an extra coach to me. He's been around a while and can field well just the light hitting bat held him back from getting a chance at everyday play. Max Schrock hit great in spring training and it would have been interesting to see what he could of done if he hadn't got hurt. I think Freeman stays when everyone is healthy. Alejo Lopez can hit. I was not happy that he got called up and then sat on the bench while Geno has hit so poorly. I wish they would have let him play more and I’m exited to see his future.

Catchers

Tucker Barnhart truthfully coming into the year I really doubted whether Tucker’s Gold glove justified him being the lineup with how poor he hit the past couple of years. His bat started off hot, but has cooled down recently. The glove is still there though and he has the trust of the pitching staff which has prolonged so many catcher’s careers. His caught stealing is down to 21% from last year’s 36% but the season is still long and the end of the year base runners tend to lose a step. I do expect the Reds to pick up Tucker’s option. .261 .336 .389 4HR 29RBI

Tyler Stephenson is clutch no doubt about it. No moment is too big for him. I don't know how many times I've watched him in the box and just got the feeling 'this is our guy, he's got this.". Tyler will be right behind India in the Rookie of the Year race. Like I said earlier I do think he ends up at 1st base long term, but he is more than capable behind the plate albeit to a lesser extent than Tucker. .281 .370 .407 5HR 28RBI 16%CS

The Outfield

Nick Castellanos MVP candidate, All-star, Bash Brother, I hope he doesn't leave at the end of the year. That issue aside let’s get to the real questions, did the Brewers throw at him on purpose when he got his wrist hurt?, Was that one of the greatest flexes on Ryan Helsley and the Cardinals? Why wasn't Yadie also suspended? And finally, will he stay? He is just fun to watch and I can only imagine if the Reds still had Puig and Dietrich how much swagger we'd have along with India. I think Tatis and DeGrom have an edge, but I'm excited to see if he can keep his league leading .329 BA in the MVP conversation when he returns from the IL. 18HR 59RBI .329 .383 .582

Jessie Winker MVP candidate, All-star, Bash Brother; Winker has shined this year. This is the first year he hasn't been platooned and while he still struggles to hit lefties to the tune of .180 BA .291 OBP with 2 HR and 9 RBI's He has destroyed righties .342 BA .410 OBP with 19 HR and 48 RBI's making it tough to take him out. I see Jessie as a key piece at the top of the lineup for Reds going forward. .304 .382 .539 20HR 56RBI 29 multi-hit games

Tyler Naquin has been a blessing for the Reds this season. When they got him on a minor league contract I was shocked. This dude was a huge part of the playoff runs the Indians made and even with injuries this guy has always shown the ability to ball out. With the injury to Senzel he was given the reins out in center and hasn't disappointed. Like so many others we'll see how the playing time is divided up when everyone is healthy which is definitely a good problem to have. .247 .310 .428 13HR 55RBI

Aristides Aquino "The Punisher" back from injury recently he has done well in his return. Ultimately bound to be a fourth outfielder he's a great bat to have off the bench à la Chris Heisey or Wily Mo Pena. I think he has the potential to play every day at some point if can keep his strikeouts down and if he does let’s hope for another homerun tear like in 2019. .246 .366 .580 6HR 10RBI

Shogo Akiyama In the shortened season last year I thought he showed potential, but was concerned with the lack of power. Those concerns still hold true as this year has been rough for Shogo. Starting the year with a hamstring caused him to miss the playing time that Naquin absorbed when Senzel went down. Upon his return things haven't been much better. There's not a lot of room for light hitting outfielders in today’s game unless they have Billy Hamilton speed. I question whether he'll make it through the 3 year $21 million contract he signed 2 years ago. .187 .254 .224 0HR 8RBI

Triple-A guys who could make an impact

As previously noted 2B/3B Alejo Lopez puts the ball in play. I recently heard the story about his path to where he is today and it's always cool to hear people’s life story especially when it's so different from what's perceived as the normal path. It terms of baseball though he started at AA batted .362 in 25 games got bumped to AAA batted .333 in 28 games so far and got a cup of coffee with the Reds. The infield is crowded, but if he performs they'll find a place for him. Between AA and AAA .347 .421 .474 2HR 30RBI 24BB to only 19SO

SS Jose Barrero (formerly Garcia) played last year in the bigs tore it up at AA to start the season got bumped to Louisville struggled for a little and has found his groove. He should be the starting SS before too long so all the people calling for the Reds to trade for Trevor Story reel it in, we'll be alright. AA & AAA .293 .374 .486 11HR 46RBI 11SB

OF TJ Friedl In 2016 the Reds got a steal when they signed him as an undrafted free agent because he didn't know he was draft eligible becoming the highest paid undrafted player with a signing bonus of $732,500. He doesn't have a ton of power, but he can hit and probably profiles best as a 4th outfielder. AAA .265 .377 .409 5HR 16RBI 9SB 34BB 41SO

Overview:

Besides for the struggles on the left side of the infield top to bottom the Reds have one of the best hitting teams in baseball. If Barrero comes up and can make an impact and Geno turns things around the Reds will have a pretty good argument for the best lineup in baseball.


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