Not a single Cincinnati Reds regular finished the 2022 season with an OPS+ over 100. Brandon Drury did, of course, but was shipped to San Diego mid-year. Tyler Stephenson did, too, but logged just 183 PA before being sidelined with broken everything.
Joey Votto got hurt. Jonathan India got hurt. Nick Senzel got hurt. Donovan Solano got hurt. Jose Barrero got hurt. Mike Moustakas simply was.
For a baseball club whose storied history has always, always leaned on its offense, it was perhaps the most dismal year with the bats in memory. That they were tasked with doing so without Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker mid-rebuild made it all the more painful, too.
The flushing of the past calendar year cannot be any more thorough if the fates tried. Flush it all, flush it well, and hope the pipes carry it to the furthest reaches of the planet.
The sad part about this, I think, is that despite all that cull and frustration, the next time we watch the Cincinnati Reds gather still won’t feature the future as the now, either. Elly De La Cruz and Noelvi Marte look the part of Bats On Whom We Can Depend™, but the 20 and 21 year olds, respectively, have yet to really sniff the upper minors. We’ll watch them from afar, track their progress, and continue to bide our time waiting, but waiting seems to once again be the mantra for Reds fans as the New Year turns.
That’s not to say there’s no hope here, though. We played the What If game earlier this week, noting that the team’s young pitching - spearheaded by Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene, and Graham Ashcraft - gives the 2023 big leaguers at least something on which to build each day. The injured could be healthy. The bullpen’s returnees could still have something left. Elly could emerge by mid-year, in a perfect world, and - my god - the club could actually function like a goddamn competent one and actually augment the big league club at the trade deadline should the perfect scenario emerge.
Rest on that as the baseball world slumbers through the end of the holiday season, and enjoy ripping that final page of your calendar off the wall.
Happy New Year from Red Reporter dot com.