The Reds don’t get enough love sometimes.
It’s not unexpected; There team is currently sitting at 5th place in the NL Central for the 4th year in a row, and are undergoing their 3rd year in a row selling 55% or less of stadium seat tickets. They aren’t a very exciting, or successful, team, and so it goes without saying that the players on their team aren’t very good…
Join us in congratulating your three #Reds National League All-Stars!
⭐️ 1B Joey Votto (6th selection) ⭐️
⭐️ 2B Scooter Gennett (1st) ⭐️
⭐️ 3B Eugenio Suárez (1st) ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/EED7oaBini
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 8, 2018
Everyone knows about Joey Votto, the future Hall-of-Famer who in 12 years has played just 9 career playoff games. Yeah, he’s continuing to do Joey Votto like things, leading the league in OBP (.422) for the 7th time in the last 9 years.
But, most of you would probably be unable to name many more Reds players. I’m here today to shine some light on guys stuck in the shadow of Cincinnati’s 41-52 record.
The most underrated player in all of baseball right now is arguably Reds thirdbaseman, Eugenio Suarez. Shipped into Cincinnati from Detroit in a trade for Jonathon Crawford, Suarez was a guy who would have made a name for himself last season in a franchise like Boston or Washington. Instead his .828 OPS (10th among all 3B) and 4.0 fWAR (18th in NL) fell under the radar. This season, Suarez has elevated his game to another level, batting .316/.405/.582, all stats that rank top 4 in the NL. His incredible play has comprised for a league best wRC+ (161), wOBA (.414), and OPS+ (163), making him a legitimate threat for the MVP.
After 4 subpar years with the Brewers, 2B Scooter Gennett was released to the waiver wire. Milwaukee likely kicks themselves every day for that move, as Gennett’s career in Cincinnati has taken off. Over the last 2 years with the Reds, Scooter has batted .307 with 41 HR and an .875 OPS in 229 games. Since last year, Gennett ranks 2nd among all second baseman in BA, HR, OPS, wRC+, and wOBA. Even among all NL players, his BA ranks 5th, his SLG% 9th, his OPS 11th, and his wOBA 10th, all over the last 2 seasons. I know that’s a lot of numbers thrown in your face, but the point in short is that the dude has given himself a new name in Cincinnati, yet he’s still underappreciated.
Raisel Iglesias is a name who many fantasy players may recognize. The closer has compiled the 6th most saves of all relievers since 2016, while posting the 5th best ERA. His name comes up at times, but not enough in comparison to closers like Kimbrel and Jansen. His numbers match up with theirs, but playing in Cincinnati has left him hopeless of the respect he deserves.
Scott Schebler and Adam Duvall both hit 30 HR last season, but it’s unlikely that anyone really knew that. Duvall, one of the best defenders in baseball, already has double-digit Defensive Runs Saved this season. His 38 DRS since 2016 arethe most among any NL outfielder. Schebler on the other hand has upped his BA from a measly .233 to an eye-opening .279 this year, while maintain his consistent.480 SLG mark.
Jared Hughes has a 1.50 ERA and 3.03 FIP from the middle relief slot this season, both career bests. Since 2014, he’s got the 10th best ERA in baseball among relievers at 2.38. Even young starter Tyler Mahle has a 3.50 ERA over the last two seasons in 22 games started, yet he’s hardly even a household name in Cincinnati.
It’s a lot to take in, I understand. Some of these guys are all star level players, while others are just solid role players, but they all share one trait: They aren’t appreciated enough because of the team they play for. Hopefully this article opened your eyes to at least one player, and showed that even the worst baseball teams possess some studs.