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30 in 30

The Turf’s 30 in 30: The Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have a lot of exciting prospects on the horizon, and are a dangerous team to watch.

Mr. Red Legs by Lee Burchfield is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Turf’s 30 in 30: The Cincinnati Reds


Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

2018: Record: 67 – 95

2018 Finish: 5th in the NL Central, 13th in the National League

Surprises in 2018

Eugenio Suarez

If someone had told me at the beginning of last season that Eugenio Suarez was going to become the future face of the Cincinnati Reds I would have laughed at them.

His 2018 season, however, proved his dominance on the team. The big change from 2017? He traded walks for home runs. By becoming less selective at the plate, his home run percentage went up from 4.1% to 5.6%. That’s a huge increase over the course of an entire season. This shift did mean, his walks went down over 2% overall. However, in today’s game, going for the big hit tends to have a big reward. Just look at last year’s Red Sox.

A simpler way to look at the uptick in offense: the good old fashioned average. Raising his slash-line across the board, Suarez’s average alone jumped 23 points, landing above .280 for the first time since the 2014 season.

Suarez’s improvement at the plate made many a smart fantasy baseball owner look like a genius in 2018, so look for his draft stock to rise in 2019.

Scooter Gennett

Scooter Gennett was selected by the Reds off waivers a day before the 2017 season began. What seemed like a normal roster filling move any team would make, no one saw the offensive display coming from the Sarasota native.

Scooter Gennett has now hit 20+ doubles, 20+ home runs, 90+ RBIs and 135+ hits in two consecutive seasons. And most notably in 2017, Gennett hit four home runs in a single game, the first Cincinnati Red to complete the feat.

Not bad for a waiver pickup.

You can’t take away from what Scooter Gennett was able to accomplish in 2018 given the shoulder injury he played through the entire season. Despite having to throw sidearm at times to account for the pain, he appeared in 154 games and was selected to the all-star game. Despite that, his injury past means the Reds aren’t willing to give him a long term deal. He signed a one year deal that means another year of having to prove himself. Hopefully his arm stays strong.

Raisel Iglesias

Okay, we’ll get to him in a second. But first? One of my favorite videos of his.

The amount of movement on that ball is actually disgusting.

Iglesias pitched in 72 innings last year in the closer role, recording 80 strikeouts. That’s pretty danged good. Add in that he only walked 25 people, and only allowed 22 runs? I’ll take those kinds of statistics any day from a closer.

Since moving to the bullpen Iglesias has blossomed into a more solid arm than his days as a starter. With his career ERA opening games sitting at 4.88, his career as a reliever has Iglesias posting a 2.42 ERA as a closer.

His career has trended upwards in each of his 4 seasons with the Reds, and that won’t stop next season. Look for him to Rise-el to an even bigger role in 2019.

Disappointments in 2018

Adam Duvall

Adam Duvall was supposed to help bring the Reds forward into the future with his powerful bat. The Reds invested a lot of time and money into the development of him as a team player.

In the end, he just wasn’t the right fit. The 2018 season saw Duvall post his worst statistics as a Red in his 4 seasons in Cincy, in almost every category. By the time July came around, they gave up, trading him away for three promising players.

For what its worth, in 33 games appeared in Atlanta, he didn’t turn anything around, going to bat 53 times and recording only 7 hits. So it’s possible the Reds knew the downturn was serious and decided to cut bait and run.

Nick Senzel’s Injury

The supposed future of the franchise took a huge step back when he injured his finger in June and had to miss the rest of the season. He came into the season the #7 ranked prospect, and was projected to be promoted to the major league squad. It remains to be seen what the Reds will do with him in 2019, but hopefully he’s back to his consistent self.

Looking Ahead to 2019

Sonny Gray

The Reds just received Gray in a trade with the Yankees. The trade had been held up due to an extension needing to be signed with Gray, however that has now been confirmed to be 3 years, $30.5M.

If he can turn things around and get back to his 2017 form? That’s a solid contract for the Reds, and possibly the steal of this offseason. If he continues his downward… well, let’s just hope he doesn‘t.

The beleaguered right-hander was a failed tenure in New York, after a promising start to his career in Oakland but perhaps a fresh city will him back. The Reds obviously think so, giving him the extension, but those numbers aren’t astronomical for a good pitcher.

However, in the rebuilding process, it’s not like Gray will have to earn his roster spot. Look for Gray to spend three years with the Reds then start asking for big money elsewhere.

Homer Bailey (or lack thereof)

Every team has it’s bad contracts.

The Mets have Bobby Bonilla, the Yankees have Jacoby Ellsbury, the Angels have Albert Pujols. The list goes on and on.

The Reds had Homer Bailey.

After going 1-14 last year with a 6.09 ERA (69 ERA+) in just 106.3 innings (That is TERRIBLE), Bailey found himself traded from the Reds to the Dodgers, and promptly released. Despite being terrible next year, will the Reds faithful miss him?

No.

Celebrate, Cincinnati. This one is good riddance.

Front Office Moves

Late last season there was a lot of Front Office changeups for the Reds. Chris Buckley, former vice president of amateur scouting, was named the VP of player personnel. 13 seasons with the Reds have seen his loyalty pay off. Jeff Graupe was also shifted from Player Development to Player Personnel. This change marks a departure from their previous scouting path, and look to a new, energized future.

I think it’s one to be excited for.

At the end of the day, here’s how the Reds have done this offseason:

IN: Tanner Roark, Yaisel Puig, Alex Wood, Matt Kemp, Kyle Farmer, and Sonny Gray.

Out: Tanner Rainey, Jeter Downs, Josiah Gray, Shed Long, Compensatory Pick, Homer Bailey.

Not bad at all.

Ned is an Actor, Stunt Coordinator, and writer based out of Brooklyn, New York. Originally from Portland, Maine, Ned is an avid follower of all things New England, be it sports teams, breweries, seafood, or Cumby's. He spends most of his free time playing board games, listening to podcasts, and gawking at dogs on the street. He's also a co-founder of the production company Charging Moose Media. You can learn more on his website, www.neddonovan.com

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