What have we learned from the 2022 Reds Season. Part III

Today we have another positive. Two actually. Jonathan India and Tyler Stephenson.

In my book, the best thing you can say about any major leaguer is to call him a ball player. Jonathan India is a ball player. He plays hard, plays to win, and does what he has to in order to help his team win. He is not a great fielder, but he in good enough to turn the double play and make the clutch play to help win a game. He is not a great hitter (yet) but you want him up to lead off an inning or to drive in a run in the late innings.

India plays like he loves the game. He plays with enthusiasm. He has had a down sophomore season, but he is grinding through it. You can see he is still developing his game. He is still learning how to play hurt. He needs to learn how to play hard without getting injured. He has the look of a leader to me. He is someone you can start building a line up around. You can bat him anywhere in the order and he can perform. I like him in the second spot.

Stephenson is a catcher that can hit and drive in runs. He has a great approach at the plate. He gets on base, hits with runners on base and has growing power. You can bat him in the lineup numbers 2-5 and he will perform. I loved that Bell had him batting fifth this year. His presence there anchored the entire lineup. When he started at catcher the Reds had a winning record this year. Nuff said.

Now there are three questions about Stephenson that still need to be answered. First, can he stay healthy while playing catcher? The Reds need him to play 145 games. 125 starting behind the plate, 10 at first base, 10 as a pinch hitter and late inning replacement. Can a man his size stay healthy while being an everyday catcher? We will see.

Second, can he guide a young pitching staff through the ups and downs as they develop into big leaguers themselves? The Reds back up catcher selection will be crucial next year. Someone who can give Tyler a rest, while helping him develop as a good handler of pitchers.

Third, can he throw out enough would be base stealers to keep the Reds competitive. So far in his career Stephenson is throwing out 27% of base stealers. The Reds have thrown out only 21% this year, which is absolutely embarrassing. I know that most of this work has to be done with the pitchers, but it is nice to have a backstop that can bail you out with a great throw on occasion.

In a nutshell, two young good players that you can build a lineup and team around. Something to look forward to.