This week’s respondents are Jason Linden, Wes Jenkins, Bill Lack, Grant Freking, and Chad Dotson.
Our Daily Reds Obsession: Excluding Joey Votto, who will be the Reds MVP in 2018?
Jason: I can’t pick between Eugenio Suarez and Luis Castillo, so I’m going to say both. I think Castillo more or less keeps on doing what he’s already done and gives the Reds their first 15-game winner since 2014. I see no reason to think he’ll take a step back and I’d expect his control to be a good deal better this year. I even think it’s possible he contends for the Cy Young Award. Or, at least, gets some down-ballot support.
As for Suarez, he’s the second-best player on the team until somebody proves he isn’t. I’ve said before and will say again that, with his climbing walk-rate, he could easily become and MVP-caliber player. Especially if he has a good BABIP year. By WAR, he was won of the top-20 position players in the NL this year, so he’s not that far away now. We’ll see, I suppose.
Wes: Ideally, I would say Nick Senzel, but realistically, Eugenio Suarez. My only request for 2018 is for Nick Senzel to light the Major League stage on fire, torching the campaigns that Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger put down this year as the Rookie gauntlet. I want Senzel to play all 162 at second base, hit .305 with a dozen dingers, and race Votto to see who can end the year with more doubles. I want this reality so badly I will become Nick Senzel’s campaign manager and go door-to-door getting Ohioans to sign a petition for a his call-up to the big league squad. However, it’s unlikely to happen, so I expect Eugenio to keep crushing and build on his fantastic 2017 with an even-better 2018.
Bill: I’d love to say it’ll be Nick Senzel. In my dreams, he’s slotted at 2B coming into camp, has a great camp, wins the job, has a big year, wins the ROY (narrowly beating out Jesse Winker). But more realistically, it’s Eugenio Suarez, who already is the second-best player on this team and he’s only 25. He’s continued to improve offensively and his defense went from a liability to outstanding in the course of a season. I see no reason to believe he won’t continue to improve. If I were the Reds, I’d be working on a contract extension with him, before it becomes cost prohibitive. My only concern is that the Reds decide to shift his position again and it affects his offense. I’d leave him alone and find somewhere else for Senzel to play.
Grant: Eugenio Suarez. I expect Suarez’s star to continue to rise, but unfortunately for Geno, he shares the same position with Kris Bryant, Anthony Rendon, Justin Turner and Nolan Arenado, so an All-Star appearance remains unlikely. And yet, the 26-year-old should further cement himself as a cornerstone of this club with his blossoming two-way play. It’s also quite possible that Jesse Winker or Luis Castillo emerge as the Reds’ second-best player, too.
Chad: Billy Hamilton. Obviously. (I don’t care what everyone else says!)