How about a little positivity in this realm of Reds? Things have been a bit bleak lately, so lets keep these Reds thoughts positive with the weekend morning coffee. After all baseball is fun.
The Reds are 17-13 in blowout games (run differential of 5+) this season. As much as the most recent blowout losses have stung, from 2014-2019 the Redlegs’ record in blowouts stood at 92-147. It’s a thin silver lining, I get that, but it’s just another small sign that the Reds are taking the small steps out of the rebuild and onto better things. Speaking of Reds positive signs, how about a player who came from nowhere to set all the home run records?
Watching Aristides Aquino punish the ever loving stuffing out of the ball never gets old…
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) August 17, 2019
There’s been a lot of “enjoy the ride” talk with Aquino, which is all well and good, but there’s real potential here. If you’ve read anything about The Punisher and how he has reinvented himself with the help of Donnie Ecker, he shows a real teachability and propensity to adapt – something other players could stand to imitate. His fielding ability, on top of his bat, shows the kind of raw talent that could possibly do some positive performing for the 2020 Reds. Something to keep an eye on for the remainder of the season is his slash line. If it’s around a .300/.440/.500 line, it would be hard to give anyone else the starting right field job come March 26, 2020.
Speaking of Opening Day next year, the Reds will have plenty to do this offseason to get ready for it. With names like Didi Gregorious and Yasmani Grandal being bandied about and no clear target, one thing is abundantly clear: if Francisco Cordero remains the Reds most prolific free agent signing after the 2019-20 offseason, the front office has failed. They’ve built a lot of trust with the moves they’ve already made but they can wipe that all out with an offseason of maintaining this roster instead of improving it.
It’s always Sonny…
Probably the most significantly positive Reds move the front office has made that has built that trust up is the acquisition of Sonny Gray. The mandate last December was “get the pitching” and Gray is the pitching. He has the 12th best ERA in baseball (2.98) in 132.2 innings pitched with a 4.2 bWAR. His strikeout rate is at a career-high of 10.4 and so is his ERA+ of 154. Much was made about him being a castoff from the Yankees, but he has shown to be the second part of the Reds one-two punch at the top of the rotation.
Castillo’s rough patch
Joining him at the top of that rotation is the man who just got shellacked by the Cardinals, Luis Castillo. Don’t let Friday night’s game sully your image of La Piedra because the dude is a stud. That was just the second instance all season in which he’s given up more than five earned runs. The other time was June 26 against the Rockies (six earned runs allowed). In 18 of his 25 starts, Castillo has allowed two earned runs, or less. His ERA now sits at 3.10, which is the highest it’s been all year. You can look at that one of two ways, but I choose to see it as he’s pitched really stinking good.
One final thing
This last bit has nothing to do with the first bits, but quick shoutout to Billy Hamilton. Say what you will, and I still firmly agree in the objectivity to let him go last year, but my fan heart misses him. I remember watching him in Double-A beating out grounders to second base. The excitement he brought was never something that would lead to championships, but it was darn good fun to watch. Here’s to hoping he lands on his feet as a bench player on a playoff team.