Mid-Season Reds Report: The Offense Has Been Surprising, The Pitching Has Been Nauseating
By: Craig James
Well folks, we find ourselves at the All Star Break of the 2017 MLB season and our Cincinnati Reds are in last place in the NL Central. Long story short: the 2017 Reds are not good. Coming into the All Star Break the Reds are 39-49 and 9.5 games out of first place in the weak NL Central. There have been some highlights thoughout the first half of the season, though.
Zack Cozart and Joey Votto were both named to the National League All Star Team. Which ultimately leads us to the biggest highlight/headline of the 2017 season: the purchase of a donkey for Zack Cozart via Joey Votto.
Joey has told us he’s been in contact with his black market donkey dealer recently. When the biggest headline of the year is your star player buying a donkey for another star player, you know the product on the field has been subpar to say the least. Let’s take a look at the mid-season report card for the Reds.
The Reds offense has not been the issue in the first half of 2017. They’re above the league average in runs and hits per game. Joey Votto, Scott Schebler and Adam Duvall find themselves among the leaders in National League in home runs. Votto is tied for first, Schebler is seventh and Duvall is tied for eighth. So, there is not a power outage in Cincinnati this year. The offensive numbers that Votto and Cozart have put up so far this year are impressive, I can’t say it enough – Joey Votto does not get enough credit or attention for what he is doing this season and in his career.
Marty Brennaman said Votto is the best hitter in Reds history.
That is a STRONG Statement from the man who has seen more Reds games than just about anyone, a statement from a man who has seen Pete Rose, Tony Perez and Joe Morgan all the play the game. Joey Votto is putting up MVP numbers. Will he win the MVP? Probably not because the Reds are one of the worst teams in baseball. Should he win the MVP? Yes, the numbers speak for themselves.
When Votto won NL MVP in 2010 he wasn’t first in any Triple Crown category. At the midway point, Votto ranks 4th in runs, 8th in hits, 15th in doubles, tied for 1st in home runs, 3rd in RBI, 2nd in walks, 8th in average, 3rd in OBP, 1st in slugging, and 1st in OPS in all of baseball. The dude is flat out getting it done night in night out.
Votto has a spray chart unlike any other player in baseball. He hits to all fields and does it like a magician. It’s a thing of beauty when Votto steps in the batter’s box. It’s art.
Joey Votto wakes up, rakes and buys donkeys. That’s what Joseph Daniel Votto does. The fact Joey Votto isn’t starting in All Star Game shows All Star voting shouldn’t just be up to the fans.
Zack Cozart was named to his first All Star Game, and he will be the starting shortstop for the game in Miami. More importantly he now becomes a donkey owner. Cozart is batting .316, which is good enough for 6th in the National League, and first among NL short stops. He’s also first among NL short stops in slugging and OPS. A career year for Cozart and well deserved All Star nod. Cozart is one of the most sure handed short stops in all of baseball, cool to see him make his first All Star Game. More importantly, he’s letting Reds country pick the name of his donkey.
Reds offensive grade = B-
Reds pitching…where do we start with this group? Sad *Donald Trump voice*. Reds pitching has been atrocious at times this season. They enter the All Star break with 781.2 innings pitched and 331 walks. For you folks keeping score at home, that is unbelievably bad. This pitching staff comes in ranked with the second worst team era at 5.05. We have pitchers falling off boats tearing their non- throwing shoulder labrums (Brandon Finnegan).
We have rookie starting pitching bouncing back between Cincinnati and Louisville seemingly every week. We have Bronson Arroyo on the 60 day DL and pretty much retired, Anthony DeScalfani has yet to throw a pitch this season and is slated for an August return. The best starting pitcher, Scott Feldman, has an era just below 4.00. Not a recipe for success. One bright spot among Reds pitchers has been Raisel Iglesias, the guy has been lights out so far this season. Having a great closer on a last place team usually means a trade is imminent, as a playoff contender will likely overpay for Iglesias’ services. He’s been linked to the Nationals as a potential trade partner.
Reds pitching grade = F-
First half overall grade = D
In baseball you’re only as good as your starting pitching… and the Reds’ group isn’t good. A last place finish in the NL Central seems likely. Will they lose 100 games? I vote no.
My 2017 record at Reds games isn’t the greatest. 3-6 on the year, with 3 pizza games.
Craig’s first half grade= C-
I need to step my game up in the second half of the season.