It’s easy to get lost looking at the Reds dominating bullpen over the past few years. It’s also easy to think about the combination of Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Brandon Phillips at the plate. However, that would overlook the most consistent aspect of the Reds play over the past three seasons: their fielding. Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips have won multiple Gold Gloves, but the excellence moves beyond those two players.
It’s a shame he plays in the same league as Yadier Molina. He might lose time to Devin Mesoraco
One of the long-term contract first baseman is probably the best all-around one out there
They signed him long-term to keep the right side of the infield together for a long time.
The venerable third baseman enjoyed an underrated career. Todd Frazier will take over in 2013.
He made a relatively late debut in 2011 and will likely vacate for either Didi Gregorious or Billy Hamilton.
He is one of those players every playoff team needs. He isn’t spectacular but holds down the position.
The Reds have been trying to replace him two years and just might do it before opening day.
He quietly produces 30 homers and 100 RBIs a season.
The Reds are consistently among the top fielding teams in baseball.
This was supposed to be Devin Mesoraco’s job before the season ended, but Ryan Hanigan held him off again with his solid defense. In fact, solid wouldn’t be the right way to describe his defense as he would have deserved the Gold Glove had he played in the American League. He is solid offensively making him one of the most underrated catchers in baseball. Mesoraco might still beat him out sometime this season because he is that good with the stick.
Some people were surprised when Votto was signed to what will eventually be a twelve year contract. After all, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder get the headlines because of their prodigious offensive numbers. Consider this: Votto was on pace to surpass 60 doubles last season if it wasn’t for the time he missed (nearly six weeks). He nearly walked 100 times anyway. To make matters worse, he is the best defender of the mega contract first basemen.
I’ve always been one that thought that Phillips was overrated defensively. In most seasons, Chase Utley deserved his Gold Gloves, but he is a good fielder. He is also a good offensive player and when you are good at both you are actually very good overall. He and Votto will play together through until nearly the end of the decade.
Occasionally a player comes along who never gets appreciated for what he really is. Rolen was the heir apparent to Mike Schmidt’s legacy in Philadelphia and never quite lived up to the billing. Fans focused on what he wasn’t instead of what he was. Now, he is gone and waiting his turn to get on the Hall of Fame ballot. Todd Frazier isn’t Scott Rolen and will never produce the combination of fielding and hitting numbers, but he will be solid on both counts.
The Reds have the most enviable of problems. They have three shortstops and can only play one of them. Zack Cozart isn’t perfect but he is a plus defender and brings some pop to the position. Didi Gregorious might be the best combination of skills, but the entire baseball world has been mesmerized by Billy Hamilton. Hamilton broke the professional stolen base record last season in his combined performance. He may not have the range to play short though and could be moved to center field.
When general managers build their teams in their dreams they have a homegrown star at each position. Most GMs know that will never happen and so they must fill in some positions with journeyman types that can play good enough to hold down the fort. Ryan Ludwick does that for the Reds in left field as he should turn in another 20 homer and 80 RBI type of campaign.
Drew Stubbs was supposed to be one of those homegrown stars, but something has happened on the way to stardom. The Reds began looking for a replacement before the deadline and haven’t stopped to date. Michael Bourn hasn’t landed on the centerfield carousal yet and could land here if the price is right. If Bourn lands in Cincinnati you might as well cancel the NL Central race.
Jay Bruce is the secondary power threat in the Reds’ attack. Last year he surpassed 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. If he can do that consistently the Reds won’t care so much about his defense, but he has been decent enough anyway. If someone like Bourn comes to the Emerald City then it would take that much more pressure off of him.
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