Let me tell you something, when I came up with the idea of this column, I really did not think the Reds were about to have their worst start in history. I expected some ups and downs, of course. But this mess came out of nowhere. This was the week when I had planned to run my right track/wrong direction poll again, but that seemed pointless. So, instead, I ran this poll:
Are you at all hopeful about the rest of the season?
— Redleg Nation (@redlegnation) April 23, 2018
Well, the best thing I can say about that is that a .280 average will usually keep you in the majors. I answered “a little” for my part and let me tell you why:
Here is the list of current players on the Reds I fully and completely believe to be average or better major leaguers:
Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Tucker Barnhart, Jesse Winker, Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Sal Romano, Amir Garrett, Raisel Iglesias, Scott Schebler, Alex Blandino, Wandy Peralta
Here are the players for whom I have legit hope:
Jose Peraza, Devin Mesoraco, Brandon Finnegan, Michael Lorenzen, Jared Hughes, Scooter Gennett, Billy Hamilton (he’s walking, so I have hope).
And we haven’t even talked about Senzel.
Yes, there are some glaring omissions there. Would you believe, for instance, that Adam Duvall (65 wRC+) has been every bit as bad as Billy Hamilton (67) and Jose Peraza (65) with the bat since July 1? He’s also two years older than Hamilton and almost six years (6!!!) older than Peraza. And they play defense first positions. Anyway, we can argue about that in the comments. The point is I do think it’s time to move on from Duvall who was never a huge candidate to be part of the next winning team.
But I’ve gotten off track here. The point is that I think the Reds still have a good core. It’s a core that has slumped hard and kind of all at once. But it’s still there and I can imagine a quick turn around if ownership finally invests and patches some holes during the next offseason.
Basically, I’m trying to remember that baseball is weird and weird runs of good and bad play happen all the time. Would it be surprising if the Reds finished the season .500, for instance? Yes. Of course it would, but not shocking.
I do think the point has come when ownership needs to be held accountable for everything they can control (I’ll have a column touching on that in Cincinnati Magazine in a couple of days). They should be excused only when radical and unpredictable variations from reasonably expected levels of performance occur.
But I still like this core and I still think the Reds will play better going forward. So I’m a little hopeful. But we’ll see, of course. And hey, they’ve won 2 in a row.
Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.