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Cincinnati Reds Mid-Season Recap

Katy Stratman / USA TODAY Sports

One of the more impressive teams so far in the 2023 Major League Baseball Season is the young Cincinnati Reds.

With one of the youngest rosters in the Majors, the Reds are proving to be an exciting team to watch. The Reds are one of the teams near the top of the heap in a rather weak National League Central division.

Similarly, they are performing well above preseason expectations. Through the midway point of July, the Reds are a respectable seven games above .500. They also sit just a game behind the Milwaukee Brewers for the NL Central lead.

For more on Back Sports Page’s MLB Mid-Season Recaps, take a look at the latest article on the San Francisco Giants.

But how have the Reds made it to this point with the youth and excitement? Let’s take a little bit of a deeper dive into the surprising Reds…

Young Offense is Electric

With an offense average age of just over 27 years old, the Reds are quite dynamic. Of course, the most exciting player on this year’s roster is 21-year-old infielder Elly De La Cruz. The June call-up is already toting a .306 average, four home runs, sixteen RBIs, and sixteen stolen bases. De La Cruz is most notable for his blazing speed.

Elly has one of the top moments from the first half when he stole second, third, and home in the same two-pitch sequence.

Another player who is putting together a nice rookie season for the Reds is shortstop Matt McLain. Through 52 games, McLain has the third-best average on the team at .291, along with a team-best .495 slugging mark. A first-round pick in 2021, McLain is showing that he can be a healthy candidate for Rookie of the Year.

Meanwhile, one other guy who is putting together a breakout campaign is outfielder Jake Fraley. The fifth-year pro is currently posting career-highs in batting average (.270), on-base percentage (.364), OPS (.824), stolen bases (16), and RBI’s (52). On the other hand, Fraley has dealt with health problems, thus he hasn’t played more than half of a full season.

Conversely, talking about statistics the Reds rank second in the Senior Circuit with a .334 on-base percentage, fifth with a .744 OPS, and tops in the NL in stolen bases (113) and triples (19).

The Reds also have scored the third-most runs (454) and racked up the sixth-most total bases (1292).

With such a young group, the Reds are ready to prove that they are an explosive group that will be hard to deal with.

Reds Pitching

What the offense has, on the other hand, the pitching seems to struggle with.

While the bullpen has the second-most saves (34) in the NL, the staff as a whole holds the third-highest ERA across the National League (4.81).

However, there have been a couple of bright spots in this year’s group. One, in particular, is June call-up Andrew Abbott. The left-hander is already showing signs of becoming a premier career starter.

Though his first eight starts, Abbott is holding a 4-2 record with a steady 2.45 ERA. Abbott also averages more than a strikeout an inning, with 51 K’s to only 16 walks in 47.2 innings.

Meanwhile, looking at the bullpen, the Reds have one of the more reliable closers in Alexis Diaz. Now in his second year serving as the teams closer, Diaz is putting numbers worthy of his All-Star recognition. Diaz has converted 26 out of 27 save opportunities and has a sub-2 ERA. That makes him one of the dominant back-end arms to today’s game.

Another bullpen arm who is putting together a nice season is left-hander Alex Young. The 29-year-old lefty through 41 appearances is currently 3-0 with a healthy 2.45 ERA, 35 K’s, and only 13 walks in 36.1 innings pitched.

While pitching might not be a strong suit, the Reds are still winning games.

Defensive Outlook

Taking a look at the Reds defense, they have one of the top units in the National League. The organization ranks fourth-fewest in the NL in errors committed (43) and fourth-best in fielding percentage (.987). Out of the totals, second baseman Jonathan India and corner infielder Spencer Steer each have the most on the team with six.

The Biggest or Statement Win/Worst Loss

To this point, in the fifty wins the Reds have accumulated, there’s one particular win in early June that sticks out. The Reds were down 8-3 to the Los Angeles Dodgers early on June 6th but rallied through out the game including a three-run ninth to clinch the comeback win.

Conversely, the worst loss of the season came back on May 7. That day, the Reds got thumped by the Chicago White Sox by an ugly-looking final count of 17 to 4.

Final Thoughts

To this point, the Reds are one of the more surprising teams in the 2023 MLB season. The team is more than exceeding preseason expectations, and look to be on the cusp of snagging an NL Central division crown, which would be their first in over a decade. The youth movement approach is alive and well with Ohio baseball teams. And this could lead to a surprise playoff appearance by the Reds if they keep up their hot play down the stretch.



Nate Powalie is a contributor for Back Sports Page. A 2022 graduate of Ashland University (Ashland, Ohio), Nate has five years of sports writing experience, and has gotten the chance to call sporting events for radio and live stream. Nate can be found on Twitter (@PNate22) and Facebook (Nate Powalie).

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