Barry Larkin was on MLB Network Radio on Saturday to talk about the future of the Cincinnati Reds. And he sounds like he’s a fan of last offseason’s pick ups of Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas after their first showing in Cincinnati.
“Those are some dudes. They are some great guys, with great attitudes,” said Larkin of the two pick ups from the last offseason.
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) October 3, 2020
“Of course there are going to have to be some tweaks that are going to have to be made, but I think the future’s going to be bright for Cincinnati,” said Larkin.
Larkin is not wrong that there need to be some tweaks that are going to have to be made. The offense couldn’t hit for anything resembling a decent average. They did draw plenty of walks, and they hit for power – but with a BABIP that was historically low, it led to historically low batting averages for a team as well as an reliance on home runs to produce runs as a whole. As we reported on Friday, President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams expects the entire coaching staff to return, so those tweaks are likely going to be coming from the same group that was around in 2020.
“It was frustrating this year because I think we expected that we were going to score runs, and we got the unexpected great pitching, and so hopefully there’s a combination of the two in the future.” Larkin said.
That’s an interesting comment given that while the offense certainly was expected to score runs (and a whole lot more than they did end up scoring), it was the pitching that was still expected to be the strength of the 2020 team with Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, and Trevor Bauer headlining the rotation. Those three, as a group, probably did perform far better than expected – led by Bauer’s Cy Young caliber season.
One of the issues about the combination of the expected offense and the great pitching is that Trevor Bauer is not likely to come back – but even if he does, the odds that he can repeat the kind of season he had in 2020 are unlikely (and they’re unlikely to anyone to repeat given just how good the season was). Of course, the Reds also got very little from Wade Miley, who spent much of the season on the injured list, and also saw Anthony DeSclafani struggle for most of the season. Overall, the pitching staff could probably come back and perform to a similar ERA that the 2020 staff did.
Barry Larkin, a Hall of Famer, is a special assistant in player development with the organization. It’s a role he’s been in for years, though he wasn’t always given that specific title. In the 2-minute clip he mentioned a few prospects – Hunter Greene, Jose Garcia, and Tony Santillan. Cincinnati is going to need to start seeing some younger players stepping into the Majors. They have come out of “the rebuild” and heading into the 2021 season, Nick Senzel may be the only every day player or pitcher on the entire pitching staff that is under the age of 26 when the season begins. Perhaps Jose Garcia, Tyler Stephenson, Nick Lodolo, or Tony Santillan can break into the big leagues and join Senzel in that under-26 club, but right now the team isn’t exactly on the young side of the ledger.