After Opening Day, one can take several positive things from the Cincinnati Reds’ first game:
After day one, it is very evident that this year’s bullpen will be significantly better than last years. The acquisition of Drew Storen could put the bullpen over the top. Last year, Cincinnati was heavily reliant on Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen. The addition of Storen makes their bullpen legitimate. On top of that, Cincinnati didn’t even use Tony Cingrani, who was the primary closer last year. With those four in the ‘pen, the Reds could win some games strictly because of their bullpen. Not to mention, Blake Wood, who has a 97 MPH fastball and keeps his cool in pressure situations. One could even say that if the Reds are up after the sixth inning, it could be game over. Now obviously, it’s been only one game, but Reds’ fans can be hopeful for a much better bullpen in 2017.
Peraza had two hits Monday against Jeremy Hellickson, and as I said earlier this year, he could be the player to watch for the Reds this year. He has poise well beyond his years at that plate and knows when to deliver the clutch hit. He uses all parts of the field, making him very unpredictable at the plate as well. Being a natural center fielder turned second baseman, he looks pretty good in the infield. He has a pretty flashy glove and decent range. He’s not Brandon Phillips by any means, but he can play some defense. With the combination of his quick bat and decent glove, don’t be surprised if he is named an All-Star come July.
Fresh off his best year as a pro in 2016, Hamilton looks like he picked up where he left off. He had a triple Monday and drove in a run as well. It’s been a very long process with Hamilton, but it appears to be finally paying off for the Reds. On top of his emergence at the plate, Hamilton is arguably the best center fielder in baseball. Having virtually a limitless range, there is no ball he can’t get. It is still amazing he doesn’t have a Gold Glove yet, but this year he may finally get it. Unfortunately, he hasn’t played a full season with the Reds, which is a problem. However if he can stay healthy, he could be another one who helps the Reds be successful this year.
Now you might say this is pretty obvious and you’d be right. Votto is one of the best hitters in baseball and if Peraza and Hamilton get on base, he could win his second MVP award. He had 29 home runs and 99 RBI’s last year on a team that didn’t score very much. Once Devin Mesoraco comes back, this will be one of the most formidable lineups in the majors. Pitchers will have to pitch to Votto and he will benefit. Votto will have another great year as long as he stays healthy.
Cincinnati won’t win the NL Central or even the wild card, but with these four factors, they could be the surprise of baseball. The only thing Cincinnati can do now is go out and play.
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