The Reds are 18-15 through their first 33 games. It has been a very exciting start to the 2017 season. The bullpen has been terrific. The Reds beat up rotation has somehow managed to pitch well enough to keep the team afloat. All that said, the main reason for the Reds success so far has been the big time production from the offense.
The Reds offense currently ranks third in the MLB in wins above replacement (fWAR) at 7.3, and are fourth in team OPS .792. We are only about 1/6 of the way through the 2017 season, but there are lots of good signs that the Reds actually have a legit starting lineup for the first time in several years.
The Reds currently have two players in the top 10 in the NL in wins above replacement in Suarez and Cozart, while Votto sits at 15th, Duvall at 19th, and Schebler at 26th. That is 63% of the starting lineup in the top 26 in wins above replacement. Hamilton isn’t too far behind, at just 0.2 wins shy of Schebler’s mark.
Suarez and Cozart’s hot starts have been impressive, but looking at their high BABIP (batting average on balls in play) shows they are likely due for some regression, especially Cozart. However, Votto, Duvall, and Schebler all have below average BABIP numbers, yet have still produced well.
The Reds have even got great production in small sample size off the bench from Alcantara, Kivlehan, and Gennett. Devin Mesoraco has shown great plate discipline (14.3 BB%) in his recent return.
Jose Peraza stands out as the most challenged at the plate, but don’t forget that he is just 23 years old. The plate disciple has to drastically improve for him to be successful, but there is a lot of talent there and he is certainly MLB ready defensively.
Oh, and how about the defense? The Reds lead the MLB with 17 defensive runs saved, and the guy leading the way was thought of as a defensive liability a year ago. Eugenio Suarez is second in the entire MLB with 8 defensive runs saved.
It’s only May 12th, but there are lots of encouraging signs from the Reds young offense. They’ve got help too coming with Winker and Senzel. One important thing to remember for the doubters is that the Reds offense had the 6th best OPS (.759) in the MLB in the second half of last season (3rd best in NL, ahead of the Cubs). That was basically the same offense then that you are seeing today.