This week’s respondents are Chad Dotson, Wes Jenkins, Jason Linden and Steve Mancuso. Plus, making a return to the pages of Redleg Nation is our guest, Nick Doran, who wrote a terrific weekly column during the 2015 season.
Our Daily Reds Obsession: Which Reds player are you most excited to watch in 2018?
Nick: Joey Votto. Seeing the master at work will never get old. The smartest, most cerebral hitter of our generation. He isn’t flashy. He isn’t an elite athlete — but no man alive knows more about hitting than Joey Votto. Not only is he the best hitter in the National League, he is the most unique hitter in the league as well. This is the player you’ll tell your grandkids about. He’s a future Hall of Famer and squarely in the conversation about the best players the Reds have ever had.
Chad: I know that I’m supposed to say Billy Hamilton here, but in an effort not to become a caricature of myself, I’m going to say Nick Senzel. This, of course, presumes that Senzel — who hasn’t yet played a game at a level higher than Double-A — does well enough early in the season to earn a promotion to Cincinnati. It also presumes that his issues with vertigo don’t cause him further problems that might delay his much-anticipated debut. I’d be willing to bet, however, that Senzel will be wearing a Reds uniform at some point before he turns 23 at the end of June. In his first two seasons in the Cincinnati system, Senzel has mashed the ball with great regularity, to the tune of .315/.393/.514. I can’t wait to see that bat in the Reds lineup every single day. Where will he play defensively? Well, you’ll have to wait for the next edition of the Daily Reds Obsession to find out my answer to that.
Wes: I cannot wait for Nick Senzel to be called up and hit three absolutely seismic doubles in his Major League debut. The Reds’ marketing team can rebrand the Bash Brothers for Senzel and Joey Votto except make it doubles themed, so maybe the (Almost) Bash Brothers or Two + Two = Four Brothers or the This is What Happens When You Ban PEDs Brothers. I don’t know — they’re the ones getting paid to do this, but I’m excited to see what they come up with.
Jason: Luis Castillo. It’s tempting to put Votto or Suarez here but with how bad the pitching has been lately, I have to go with Castillo. I think he’s something special. If his stats were extrapolated to a full season, he would be one of the top-20 pitchers in the league. Of course, things can always go wrong, especially with pitchers, but I am the most excited to watch Castillo morph into the first genuine front-line starter the Reds have had for a full season since things fell to pieces.
Steve: Christian Yelich. No? How about Jesse Winker. He hit .298 with a walk-rate of 11%. His isolated power was .231. That’s a wRC+ of 135. Those are exciting numbers for a first season. I’m looking forward to seeing if Winker can keep that pace up over an entire season. I love the way he looks confident at the plate. Winker’s approach is similar to Joey Votto’s. He swung at the second-fewest pitches out of the strike zone among Reds hitters — by far. He gives the Reds another player, along with Votto, Suarez and Barnhart, to grind out at bats. Winker doesn’t mind hitting with two strikes. It’s imperative that Winker get regular – as in everyday – playing time to develop. Anything short of that is a big mistake by the Reds.