The Reds are in a bad place right now. I know it, you know it, and the front office knows it. The Reds’ starting pitching has been awful, their bullpen has been subpar, their defense has been anemic, and their offense has been atrocious. The Reds are last in all of baseball in run differential (by far at -48), last in team ERA, second last in runs scored, and 22nd in fielding percentage. To put it lightly, the Reds are one of the, if not the, worst teams in baseball at the start of this young 15 game season.

OK, enough negativity. Yes the Reds have been bad, but there have been some bright spots and some positive things going on with this team that are worth discussing. Without further ado, 5 positive things that I think are worth discussing:

1. Injuries – You may be wondering how injuries can be a positive thing, but hear me out. The Reds have been decimated by injuries to start the season. Two of the starting pitchers they were counting heavily on to begin the year wound up on the disabled list (Desclafani and Finnegan) and their bullpen has also been hit by the injury bug with Lorenzen, Shackelford, and Hernandez all on the DL. The disabled list goes on to include position players such as Suarez and Schebler and even Jesse Winker has missed games recently.

Look, the point is that the injuries have attributed to the Reds being bad. They are currently missing three of their position players and two fifths of their starting rotation. The injuries don’t give us an accurate representation of how this team is really performing. The Reds have looked bad, but they have looked bad because they aren’t playing with some of their best players.

2. Amir Garrett – Amir Garrett has been awesome out of the bullpen. He hasn’t given up a run, has looked confident, comfortable, and most notably…healthy. Although I think he has been somewhat underused to start the season, there will continue to be questions about whether or not he should be starting. Amir has definitely been a bright spot during the first 15 games of the year and I think by the end of the year he will make an impact on the starting rotation and be the single biggest positive to come out of 2018.

3. Jesse Winker – Jesse Winker is going to be a quality big league player. Albeit for a few hiccups in the field and for his ever improving defense, Winker has looked comfortable and in control in the lineup. The Reds finally have a guy they can bat leadoff and be confident that he’s going to give them a good at bat. Although durability is a new concern given his multiple stints on the DL over the past couple of years, Jesse Winker and his refreshing approach at the plate, especially as a leadoff hitter, is something to be positive about.

4. Homer Bailey – Homer Bailey is healthy and pitching…inconsistent. The biggest positive about this is that Homer Bailey is healthy. No matter your feelings about Homer, it’s a good thing when one of your front end starters that you’re paying around 17 million dollars for is actually pitching in games. He has looked pretty decent doing it as well. None of us expected Homer to go out and be a sub 2 ERA pitcher this year, but he is showing flashes and is putting together some decent games. Homer has had a long road coming back from injuries over the past 4 years. Him pitching and showing signs of improvement and contribution this year is something to be optimistic about.

5. Joey Votto has sucked – This is another attempt by me to spin a negative into a positive (like the injuries). Joey Votto has been really bad so far this season. He has been very, eh…un-Votto like and its taken a toll on the Reds’ offense. He’s hitting a measly .236 with an OBP of just .283 and and OPS of only .520. The good thing is is that this is Joey Votto we are talking about. There is no way on earth that he’s going to continue with that kind of production over the entire season. Joey will come back down to earth (or up to earth?) eventually and it will pay dividends on the offense.

The biggest thing for me to start this year is that it’s been the “perfect storm” so to speak. Between the injuries, lack of offense from proven players (eh hm…Joey!), and managerial decisions…I don’t think the Reds and their true talent (when healthy) are nearly as bad as their record indicates. Maybe this is why this year has been so frustrating, because we know these guys are better.

Give it time. Guys will get healthy, players will perform like they have for years, and things will level out.

37 Responses

  1. davy13

    I can hearing Olivia Newton-John singing in the background. 🙂

    I hope you’re right. Good post, good points, and good positive vibrations.

  2. Scott

    More great news….if they play 500 ball the rest of the year their record will be 74-88

    • Jeff Reed

      Only 14 games under .500 About what was expected for 2018 with the absence of activity from the front office in the offseason.

  3. Mike Adams

    Yeah, like someone said of Mr. Positive Outlook Tommy Lasorda of the Dodgers way back when.
    If Lasorda had been on the Titanic this someone said his comment would have been something like “no big deal, we’re just stopping for ice, don’t worry!”

  4. David

    Well, when the Reds are 15 games out of 1st place, Joey will probably start hitting.

    Today they are 9 games out of 1st place.


    Billy Hamilton has more Home Runs than Joey Votto. Wow! And they said Billy didn’t have any power.

  5. eric3287

    I’m more pessimistic by nature, but one thing I keep seeing is how the injuries to Shackelford and Hernandez are somehow devastating and I can’t figure out why. I mean I guess they replace Brice and Quackenbush? Does Reed go back to AAA to start and they release Floro (which, OK why did you designate Arial Hernandez for assignment just to get like 2 weeks of Floro?) Does Garrett go down to get stretched out too? If so, OK, good, but neither of those guys are going to be as good as he is. With the exception of Lorenzen, I think the bullpen essentially is what it is.

    Homer Bailey pitching well is nice, but it would be better if the Reds would be willing to trade him for whatever they can get. We all know selling high isn’t in the Reds’ vocabulary, so what they’ll probably do is keep him around for the entire year to “teach” the young pitchers; spend all off-season talking about how everyone knows they’ll trade Homer; not trade Homer. Let him walk after 2019 without getting anything in return, a la Cozart.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Not Shackelford and Hernandez, Shackelford, Hernandez and Lorenzen. The bullpen has seperated into two divisions, the elite squad (Iggy, Peralta, Hughes & Garrett) and the poop squad (Brice Quackenbush, Reed, Weiss, Rainey & Gallardo). Ideally the bullpen is staffed by 7 relievers (Price insists on 8). Adding the 3 relievers from the DL to the bullpen completely elimiates the poop squad, leaving a very good bullpen. From that point it’s simply a matter of utilizing the bullpen effectively (uh…Price alert!) and the bullpen becomes a powerful tool at a good manager’s disposal.

      • eric3287

        I guess I don’t have much confidence that Hernandez and Shackleford will be anything more than their own poop squad, only without the potential upside of a younger arm.

  6. scottya

    Homer’s performance is a big plus thus far as is Garret’s performance. Not having Desclafani is also a big deal as is the Suarez and Schebler injuries and missed games. This team with Hamilton, Peraza, Pennington, Ervin and the pitcher batting along with Votto struggling is a terrible team on offense.

    One other positive thing I’ve noticed is Billy Hamilton is walking a lot more than in the past, it’s too early to tell if this is a fluke/sample size thing. If he can keep that up and get his average up close to typical, that will be a significant improvement over his past performance. Hamilton also walked at a much higher rate than his career in Spring training. So there is reason to believe this is a real adjustment he is making.

    • Tom Diesman

      Screams sample size as does his 30% SO rate

  7. Mark Lang

    You think there’s anyway we can get a Ouija board and let Marge Schott own the team again?

    • Gonzo Reds

      And the ghost of Schottzie can poop on Votto’s shoe for good luck!

    • Tom Diesman

      I’ll take Marge and Leatherpants over this train wreck every day that ends in y

      • Jeff Reed

        Yes, a lot of controversy in those days but at least they made it interesting in contract to this group.

    • Colorado Red

      At least Marge wanted to win.
      1995 Highest salary in NL.
      Not sure Bob does

  8. Mike Kelsch

    I love the late 80s and 90 team as much as anyone, but the last thing we need is another owner quoting Hitler and polishing SS medals.

  9. Steve Barkley

    You look like a fine young man but I don’t think you know or knew the Reds when they were actually a major league team.

  10. Jack

    I start the game out positive. After that it’s all down hill.

  11. Scott Carter

    I can get through about an inning until the negativity takes over. I would like to be positive and in most things I am, but the past four years of following the Reds has extinguished that positivity. I believe that light at the end of the tunnel is a train.

  12. Stu Pididiot

    This team is more of the same- same excuses, same play, same results. I would love to drive 7 hours to see a good team play, but not this team again.

  13. Shchi Cossack

    The injury issue is beginning to thaw. Finnegan has returned from the DL. Schebler played a rehab game on Sunday and is eligible to come off the DL today. Herhandez threw a bullpen session on Saturday and is tentatively scheduled to throw a simulated game on Tuesday. Lorenzen has been throwing off flat ground may be ready to begin throwing from a mound, pending the results of an MRI to confirm the healing status of his shoulder. Winker is still day-to-day. The reports on Suarez have been promising with a likely return in May.

    On May 1st last season, Votto was slashing .247/.333/.559. Through yeterday’s game, Votto was slashing .236/.283/.236. The one thing Votto was doing differently early in the season last year was pulling the ball for power. Votto needs to rediscover his power stroke on inside pitches and quit rolling over outside pitches. He looks very unVottoesque right now, but he will turn things around.

    While Senzel’s early season slash (.233/.283/.349) fails to impress, his recent performance (6-18 w/ 1-HR, 1-2B, 1-BB, 4-SO, 1-SB) looks like he’s ready to get on track offensively.

    Robert Stephenson has begun pitching like he did at the end of the 2017 season with 10-SO & 3-BB in 7.0 IP in his last game. New waiver claim Justin Nicolino has demonstrated surprising SO results in his 1st 2 starts at AAA. Those 2 starters could work themselves into the rotation discussion if the current starters on the 25-man roster continue to falter. I really expect Garrett and Stephenson to get a shot in the next month or two.

    In the bullpen, Jimmy Herget looks impressive at AAA with 5-SO & 1-BB in 4.2 IP. He may be the best relief prospect waiting in the wings, but never get a shot at the MLB level in 2018 if the bullpen at the MLB level pulls together and gets the weak links replaced.

    This will be a different team by June 10th. Hang in there Reds fans. Better days are coming

    • WVRedlegs

      ” He looks very unVottoesque right now, but he will turn things around.”

      What is with all the swinging at the first pitch Votto is doing this year? Most of the time it is a ball in play, but an out. That is certainly an unVotto-like approach. A very different Joey this season for some reason.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Actually, it’s not a new approach. Last season, Votto swung early and aggressively at the inside pitches, producing his power results. When pitchers got tired of wrenching their necks as Votto launched the ball to CF, RCF and RF, they adjusted and stopped pitching him inside. This season his swing doesn’t look as aggressive in trying to pull those inside pitches, he’s just swinging at them.

    • B-town Fan

      Cossack I agree with all that you said and there are better days ahead. One thing I will add though about Garret, and this goes to everybody wanting him to start. A poster over on Redsminorleagues said he was down on the field over the weekend and asked Garret why he wasn’t starting and he said that the Reds asked him where he would be most comfortable, bullpen or starting and he said bullpen is where he was most comfortable. So it doesn’t sound like he is pushing to be put in the rotation. Perhaps the Reds will try him there in the future but for now it looks like he is gonna be in the bullpen for awhile.

      • LL Cool

        The problem isn’t that Garrett is in the bullpen. It’s how Price uses him in the bullpen is the problem. He not using him in high profile situations and not mop up duty when the game is already out of control.

  14. Indy Red Man

    My boy Adam Duvall will hit 11 more HRs by Memorial Day and get traded to a contender. He’s too old to be on the next winning Reds ballclub. It might be a race between the Reds and dementia before I get to see the next winning Reds ballclub.

    • Jeff Gangloff

      It would be great if the Reds could flip Duvall for some younger talent. That would require him to produce though, which he isnt close to doing right now. Lets hope he turns it around.

  15. SultanofSwaff

    OK, my pet peeve for a couple seasons has been the pitch sequencing, specifically the over-reliance on the fastball. I’ve looked at the game logs so far this year.

    18 HR’s came on fastballs, 4 on off speed pitches.

    • Tom Diesman

      One of my new pet peeves the last few seasons is when we put on an extreme defensive shift to a batters pull side then the pitcher throws every pitch to the batters outside corner and the batter gets an easy hit to the opposite field. Really? Where did they think he was as going to hit those pitches? Baseball IQ. Get some.

  16. jreis

    WE HAVE TO look at sept/oct of 2017 to get a real picture of what this team can be at its best. we were healthy, we got good starting pitching, the weather was nice, votto was tearing the cover off the ball and guess what, ?

    we finished 11-19 for the month, including the last game that the cubs pulled their starters in the 2nd inning allowing us to “win ” the game.

    we just don’t have the talent to really compete right now even when at full strength.

  17. redsfan06

    I wish I could incorporate your positiveness into my outlook. But didn’t everyone in the universe question the likelihood of all three of Bailey, Finnegan and DeSclafani being healthy this year? Kind of hard to cry about injuries when that was the most likely outcome from that group.

  18. bouwills

    I’m a devoted Reds fan & will continue to be, but please,asking to have hope for the hopeless is a step beyond fandom. Williams constructed this 2018 roster about the same as he did last year & Joketty the 2 years before that. Not addressing obvious flaws with ML caliber players, filling out the 25 man with marginal or “has-been” players, & not even committing to young prospects in many cases. Hasn’t worked, isn’t working, & won’t work in 2019 (dare i say “Bank it”). Take yesterday, there’s no getting around the fact that Duvall’s 9th inning lead-off HR & Barnhart’s “bunt-double” had the Cards reeling. Then your best position prospect is sent in to pinch run (because he can’t hit- sore shoulder) , you’re 2nd best position prospect Blandino can’t put down a 0 out bunt, & you’re 3rd best prospect Ervin can’t get the bat off his shoulder. They’re both probably no more than Kivlehan wantabees. When I see players executing ML skills ,when given the opportunity- I’ll be giddy with optimism.

    • Jeff Gangloff

      I am not saying that this team is without flaw, because it is. What I am saying is that I don’t think the current record and how they are playing is a completely true and accurate representation of this team. You are right though, they did go through the off-season without filling some holes on this team. That’s not the point of the write up, though.

  19. JR

    I get the article Jeff, it was a nice effort. But it is what it is. The Reds are a train wreck,. Give me Marge and Leatherpants. The Reds front office is showing no sense of urgency. They’ll just plan another bobblehead giveaway and plod right along.