Our beloved Redlegs currently hold a Wildcard spot with a record of 55-46. After a massive sweep against a tough Arizona team, Cincinnati looks to continue their momentum against the division opponent who has gave them trouble all year, Milwaukee. While Cincinnati certainly has hopes of winning the National League Central, we also need to keep an eye on the Wildcard race as we scoreboard watch throughout the end of the season. Cincinnati and Milwaukee both have tough schedules ahead, but if Cincinnati really wants to show that they run the Central, then they will have to find a way to relax at the plate when facing a dominating pitching staff in Milwaukee. In terms of the National League Central, Cincinnati trails Milwaukee by just a 0.5 game and could end up in first place as early tomorrow night. The long road trip ahead for Cincinnati includes the Brewers, Dodgers, and Cubs. As the trade deadline is quickly approaching, the next week of baseball is highly important for everyone, especially Cincinnati as they look to strike a deal for some pitching without harming the future of this organization.
While a lot of focus has been placed on the excitement of our young rookies at the plate, this rotation deserves a lot of credit for keeping this team in the running of first place without Lodolo and Greene. With returns in the next few weeks for the above mentioned guys, along with possibly moving Weaver and Ben Lively to the bullpen as mid-relief, the Reds rotation could soon look like the following:
- Hunter Greene
- Andrew Abbott
- Nick Lodolo
- Graham Ashcraft
- Brandon Williamson
If Cincinnati finds a way to pull off a trade before the break, assuming Lodolo and Greene return soon, the rotation could get quite interesting if everyone is healthy. Many think Connor Phillips will also be in a Reds uniform towards the end of the season as well. This rotation has potential and I trust that Nick Krall won’t “give up the farm” for any one-year rentals. The bullpen has its woes, but overall it has been solid. If Antone plays to the potential of what he used to be, this bullpen could really turn the corner.
The Reds Best Categories
Throughout Reds Twitter, there is a debate on who is the “best at what” in many different categories for Cincinnati. I love the team that has been put together here and it’s exciting to watch each of them who have their own great attributes. Below is my current opinion on the Reds roster through July 23rd:
- Best Batter: Matt McLain. McLain holds a .305 average, while also leading the team in OBP. Cowboy said it best this evening, as he simply gave him the best compliment you can give someone, “That kid is a baseball player.”
- Most Consistent: Spencer Steer. Steer has been around the .280 mark all season and you know exactly what you’re going to get from him as he takes the field.
- Highest Floor: Elly De La Cruz. If Elly can continue to improve at the plate, he has the tools to truly become the best player in all of baseball.
- Biggest “Energy” Guy: Will Benson. He plays with emotion, has clutch hits, and is the best #9 batter in baseball.
- The Most Experienced: Joey Votto, of course. Joey’s stats speak for themselves throughout his career, but they really need number 19 to be himself during this road trip. He is the best batter to ever put on a Reds uniform in my opinion and this team needs him for a playoff run.
- Power Guy: Christian Encarnacion-Strand. While it’s early in his career, he has already proven to me that he is the biggest power hitter for this team. His routine fly-outs sound like they are leaving the ballpark and I expect him to start tallying up the homers as the season progresses.
- The Best Starting Pitcher – Andrew Abbott. His health, along with his dominant stuff on the mound has helped the Reds tremendously with injuries to 2 other starters.
- RISP Count-On Guy: Jake Fraley. With limited at-bats, Jake Fraley as a platoon player still leads the team in homeruns and RBIs. He takes advantage of each at-bat and has been a phenomenal piece to this roster.
- Bullpen Guy: Alexis Diaz. Our All-Star continues to impress and has been one of the best closers in all of baseball in his young career.
- Count-On Relief Pitcher – Alex Young. As the only lefty that we have in our bullpen, Alex Young has been a big part of the Reds success. Without his left-handed arm, I am not sure where we would be. At the beginning of the season, it was a question whether or not he would even make the roster. He has a 2.31 ERA, while being ready for his name to be called each and every night.