Friday, June 9, 2023

The Reds Level Up


In the past month, the Reds, who have already looked pretty different going into 2023, have gone through even more drastic changes. Currently on the Major League squad are the entirety of Brandon Williamson, Matt McLain, Andrew Abbott and, yes, Elly de la Cruz. You can make the argument that these reinforcements wouldn't have come about if the team wasn't so injury-prone right now, losing Nick Lodolo, T.J. Friedl, Nick Senzel and Wil Myers to the IL. But at the same time, if Jose Barrero wasn't gonna be the answer, save for an errant grand slam last week, then Elly de la Cruz was gonna get the call eventually. 

And so here we are. The Reds' current infield is Steer-India-McLain-Elly, and the top aces are Greene and Abbott. Welcome to the future, Reds fans.

What makes this sudden reclamation by the Reds' youth movement so satisfying is the fact that it seems to be emerging in addition to the number of pieces that are already working and may just be injured. It's not like the Tigers, where they rip through so many great prospects that they reach the back of the fridge and have to start Tyler Alexander. The Reds are without Lodolo, Connor Overton, Justin Dunn and Vladimir Gutierrez, and yet they just have Williamson and Abbott hanging there in the minors, ready to do some MLB work. Williamson has admittedly been shaky in his first 5 starts, but he's struck out 21 and seems to be a solid innings-eater. Abbott was insanely impressive in his debut, and looks to build off of that. 

And at the same time you still have Hunter Greene healthy, he's sitting on 88 Ks and a 3.92 ERA. I think like Billy Hamilton less than a decade ago, Hunter Greene is gonna be one of those people that's so good at what he does that you just kinda have to watch him for a bit and let him be incredible. He throws smoke and keeps the rotation together, he's looking like a vet in only his second season, 

And then you have Elly de la Cruz, whose first two games were the stuff of MLB folklore, already hitting like a machine upon MLB pitching [and the Dodgers, no less], and cracking a home run the other night to secure the victory over one of the best teams in the majors. It's very clear why Reds fans are so excited about this guy, because he's an incredible hitter who completely annihilates the ball, and could be at this for years in Cincinnati. Granted, his third game yesterday was a little quieter, but he's still hitting insanely well at the start of his career, and making the fans extremely happy.

The Reds right now are 29-34, 5 games behind the Brewers and firmly in third place, in front of the Cubs and Cardinals. For the Reds to be ahead of the Cardinals in the standings after 2 months, yes a lot of things had to happen, but it's an outcome I'm pleasantly surprised by. I don't know if this team will make anything of this season past regulation, but all of these new pieces are fitting perfectly into place, and this could make the Reds a favorite going forward, which would be awesome.

Coming Tonight: An absolute RBI machine coming from a team whose sole purpose this year seems to be scoring a shit-ton of runs.

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