The Reds are in a bad place right now. I know it, you know it, and the front office knows it. The Reds’ starting pitching has been awful, their bullpen has been subpar, their defense has been anemic, and their offense has been atrocious. The Reds are last in all of baseball in run differential (by far at -48), last in team ERA, second last in runs scored, and 22nd in fielding percentage. To put it lightly, the Reds are one of the, if not the, worst teams in baseball at the start of this young 15 game season.

OK, enough negativity. Yes the Reds have been bad, but there have been some bright spots and some positive things going on with this team that are worth discussing. Without further ado, 5 positive things that I think are worth discussing:

1. Injuries – You may be wondering how injuries can be a positive thing, but hear me out. The Reds have been decimated by injuries to start the season. Two of the starting pitchers they were counting heavily on to begin the year wound up on the disabled list (Desclafani and Finnegan) and their bullpen has also been hit by the injury bug with Lorenzen, Shackelford, and Hernandez all on the DL. The disabled list goes on to include position players such as Suarez and Schebler and even Jesse Winker has missed games recently.

Look, the point is that the injuries have attributed to the Reds being bad. They are currently missing three of their position players and two fifths of their starting rotation. The injuries don’t give us an accurate representation of how this team is really performing. The Reds have looked bad, but they have looked bad because they aren’t playing with some of their best players.

2. Amir Garrett – Amir Garrett has been awesome out of the bullpen. He hasn’t given up a run, has looked confident, comfortable, and most notably…healthy. Although I think he has been somewhat underused to start the season, there will continue to be questions about whether or not he should be starting. Amir has definitely been a bright spot during the first 15 games of the year and I think by the end of the year he will make an impact on the starting rotation and be the single biggest positive to come out of 2018.

3. Jesse Winker – Jesse Winker is going to be a quality big league player. Albeit for a few hiccups in the field and for his ever improving defense, Winker has looked comfortable and in control in the lineup. The Reds finally have a guy they can bat leadoff and be confident that he’s going to give them a good at bat. Although durability is a new concern given his multiple stints on the DL over the past couple of years, Jesse Winker and his refreshing approach at the plate, especially as a leadoff hitter, is something to be positive about.

4. Homer Bailey – Homer Bailey is healthy and pitching…inconsistent. The biggest positive about this is that Homer Bailey is healthy. No matter your feelings about Homer, it’s a good thing when one of your front end starters that you’re paying around 17 million dollars for is actually pitching in games. He has looked pretty decent doing it as well. None of us expected Homer to go out and be a sub 2 ERA pitcher this year, but he is showing flashes and is putting together some decent games. Homer has had a long road coming back from injuries over the past 4 years. Him pitching and showing signs of improvement and contribution this year is something to be optimistic about.

5. Joey Votto has sucked – This is another attempt by me to spin a negative into a positive (like the injuries). Joey Votto has been really bad so far this season. He has been very, eh…un-Votto like and its taken a toll on the Reds’ offense. He’s hitting a measly .236 with an OBP of just .283 and and OPS of only .520. The good thing is is that this is Joey Votto we are talking about. There is no way on earth that he’s going to continue with that kind of production over the entire season. Joey will come back down to earth (or up to earth?) eventually and it will pay dividends on the offense.

The biggest thing for me to start this year is that it’s been the “perfect storm” so to speak. Between the injuries, lack of offense from proven players (eh hm…Joey!), and managerial decisions…I don’t think the Reds and their true talent (when healthy) are nearly as bad as their record indicates. Maybe this is why this year has been so frustrating, because we know these guys are better.

Give it time. Guys will get healthy, players will perform like they have for years, and things will level out.

26 Responses

  1. davy13

    I can hearing Olivia Newton-John singing in the background. 🙂

    I hope you’re right. Good post, good points, and good positive vibrations.

  2. Scott

    More great news….if they play 500 ball the rest of the year their record will be 74-88

    • Jeff Reed

      Only 14 games under .500 About what was expected for 2018 with the absence of activity from the front office in the offseason.

  3. Mike Adams

    Yeah, like someone said of Mr. Positive Outlook Tommy Lasorda of the Dodgers way back when.
    If Lasorda had been on the Titanic this someone said his comment would have been something like “no big deal, we’re just stopping for ice, don’t worry!”

  4. David

    Well, when the Reds are 15 games out of 1st place, Joey will probably start hitting.

    Today they are 9 games out of 1st place.

    SOON!

    Billy Hamilton has more Home Runs than Joey Votto. Wow! And they said Billy didn’t have any power.

  5. eric3287

    I’m more pessimistic by nature, but one thing I keep seeing is how the injuries to Shackelford and Hernandez are somehow devastating and I can’t figure out why. I mean I guess they replace Brice and Quackenbush? Does Reed go back to AAA to start and they release Floro (which, OK why did you designate Arial Hernandez for assignment just to get like 2 weeks of Floro?) Does Garrett go down to get stretched out too? If so, OK, good, but neither of those guys are going to be as good as he is. With the exception of Lorenzen, I think the bullpen essentially is what it is.

    Homer Bailey pitching well is nice, but it would be better if the Reds would be willing to trade him for whatever they can get. We all know selling high isn’t in the Reds’ vocabulary, so what they’ll probably do is keep him around for the entire year to “teach” the young pitchers; spend all off-season talking about how everyone knows they’ll trade Homer; not trade Homer. Let him walk after 2019 without getting anything in return, a la Cozart.

    • eric3287

      I guess I don’t have much confidence that Hernandez and Shackleford will be anything more than their own poop squad, only without the potential upside of a younger arm.

  6. scottya

    Homer’s performance is a big plus thus far as is Garret’s performance. Not having Desclafani is also a big deal as is the Suarez and Schebler injuries and missed games. This team with Hamilton, Peraza, Pennington, Ervin and the pitcher batting along with Votto struggling is a terrible team on offense.

    One other positive thing I’ve noticed is Billy Hamilton is walking a lot more than in the past, it’s too early to tell if this is a fluke/sample size thing. If he can keep that up and get his average up close to typical, that will be a significant improvement over his past performance. Hamilton also walked at a much higher rate than his career in Spring training. So there is reason to believe this is a real adjustment he is making.

  7. Mark Lang

    You think there’s anyway we can get a Ouija board and let Marge Schott own the team again?

    • Gonzo Reds

      And the ghost of Schottzie can poop on Votto’s shoe for good luck!

    • Jeff Reed

      Yes, a lot of controversy in those days but at least they made it interesting in contract to this group.

  8. Mike Kelsch

    I love the late 80s and 90 team as much as anyone, but the last thing we need is another owner quoting Hitler and polishing SS medals.

  9. Steve Barkley

    You look like a fine young man but I don’t think you know or knew the Reds when they were actually a major league team.

  10. Jack

    I start the game out positive. After that it’s all down hill.

  11. Scott Carter

    I can get through about an inning until the negativity takes over. I would like to be positive and in most things I am, but the past four years of following the Reds has extinguished that positivity. I believe that light at the end of the tunnel is a train.

  12. Stu Pididiot

    This team is more of the same- same excuses, same play, same results. I would love to drive 7 hours to see a good team play, but not this team again.

  13. SultanofSwaff

    OK, my pet peeve for a couple seasons has been the pitch sequencing, specifically the over-reliance on the fastball. I’ve looked at the game logs so far this year.

    18 HR’s came on fastballs, 4 on off speed pitches.

  14. Jeff Gangloff

    It would be great if the Reds could flip Duvall for some younger talent. That would require him to produce though, which he isnt close to doing right now. Lets hope he turns it around.

  15. bouwills

    I’m a devoted Reds fan & will continue to be, but please,asking to have hope for the hopeless is a step beyond fandom. Williams constructed this 2018 roster about the same as he did last year & Joketty the 2 years before that. Not addressing obvious flaws with ML caliber players, filling out the 25 man with marginal or “has-been” players, & not even committing to young prospects in many cases. Hasn’t worked, isn’t working, & won’t work in 2019 (dare i say “Bank it”). Take yesterday, there’s no getting around the fact that Duvall’s 9th inning lead-off HR & Barnhart’s “bunt-double” had the Cards reeling. Then your best position prospect is sent in to pinch run (because he can’t hit- sore shoulder) , you’re 2nd best position prospect Blandino can’t put down a 0 out bunt, & you’re 3rd best prospect Ervin can’t get the bat off his shoulder. They’re both probably no more than Kivlehan wantabees. When I see players executing ML skills ,when given the opportunity- I’ll be giddy with optimism.

    • Jeff Gangloff

      I am not saying that this team is without flaw, because it is. What I am saying is that I don’t think the current record and how they are playing is a completely true and accurate representation of this team. You are right though, they did go through the off-season without filling some holes on this team. That’s not the point of the write up, though.

  16. B-town Fan

    Cossack I agree with all that you said and there are better days ahead. One thing I will add though about Garret, and this goes to everybody wanting him to start. A poster over on Redsminorleagues said he was down on the field over the weekend and asked Garret why he wasn’t starting and he said that the Reds asked him where he would be most comfortable, bullpen or starting and he said bullpen is where he was most comfortable. So it doesn’t sound like he is pushing to be put in the rotation. Perhaps the Reds will try him there in the future but for now it looks like he is gonna be in the bullpen for awhile.

    • LL Cool

      The problem isn’t that Garrett is in the bullpen. It’s how Price uses him in the bullpen is the problem. He not using him in high profile situations and not mop up duty when the game is already out of control.

  17. JR

    I get the article Jeff, it was a nice effort. But it is what it is. The Reds are a train wreck,. Give me Marge and Leatherpants. The Reds front office is showing no sense of urgency. They’ll just plan another bobblehead giveaway and plod right along.