Yes. I’m still here. You haven’t gotten rid of me yet.
Last time, I laid out my thesis that this year should be about the Cincinnati Reds trying as hard as possible to: 1. Be fun, 2. Be good as soon as possible, and 3. Appreciate Joey Votto.
So far, so good.
We’re a handful of games into the the spring season so far. And, if it’s true that spring training stats don’t matter (it is true), then it’s extra true for early spring training stats. But there is one stat that can be telling at this point, especially on a team like the Reds where roughly half of the every day spots are up for grabs. That stat is plate appearances. Right now, the players with more than a couple of plate appearances are either established regulars or very young. The only exceptions are Henry Ramos and Chad Pinder, who no one thinks have a chance to be anything but bench pieces (and who may have one of those opt out clauses that older vets sometimes have in spring training).
The shortstop job, it seems, is Jose Barrero’s to lose. And the Reds would prefer that he lose it to another prospect if he does.
You can’t ask much more than this from a team that should be trying to be interesting.
Now, on the be good soon level, we have to give points to Jonathan India. I know there’s been some grouching about him trying to be a leader when he hasn’t been around for that long, but I appreciate the noise that’s come from him, Tyler Stephenson, and Votto that amounts to, “we’re not going to take it for granted that we stink.” This team did not have a lot of energy this year, and I’d much rather they come into the season acting like they’re being taken for granted or whatever. Young teams will sometimes surprise and it sure is nice to have the players providing some energy.
Now, as for Joey, I don’t know that we can say too much. He hasn’t made it to the field yet, but is apparently ready to tour the universe.
As the season progresses, I’m sure I’ll get more opinionated, but for now, I don’t find much to complain about. In another couple of weeks, we’ll probably start to get a sense of who might be in the bullpen and who the leaders are for various starting spots. I look forward to it.