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Cincinnati Reds

VanMeter, Aquino, O’Grady – What They Bring Now and in the Future

Theis trio of guys who have come out of nowhere, in 2019, now have a shot to stick on for the years of contention.

Clay Snowden

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© David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

As spring training 2019 rolled around you were likely excited to see the Reds new slugger Yasiel Puig. Maybe you kept tabs on Sony Gray and his bounce back from a not so ideal year. Other prospects and veterans such as Derek Dietrich and Jose Iglesias were intriguing to watch as you tried to find out how the Reds would work the few extra pieces into the opening day roster. Three names probably not on your radar were Josh VanMeter, Brian O’Grady, and Aristides Aquino. Those three names are now getting a chance to prove their talent while also trying to earn a 2020 spot on the roster.

Josh VanMeter was left off the Reds “Top 30 Prospect” list this year. He had played well in 2018 for the Bats and started the year in Louisville where he found his stroke. .348 BA 14 HR 43 RBI .429 OBP. Not bad for what many had written off as a good minor league player and not much more. What I have noticed with his time in the show is his versatility and approach at the plate. He can play a few different positions and we all know how much David Bell values versatility. VanMeter has already drawn 14 walks in 88 104 PA (take note Peraza). He had 8 steals with the Bats but has already swiped 4 bags in his time with the Reds. The trade of Scooter shows the Reds will be looking for a new second baseman next season and VanMeter will have a shot to compete to be just that.

Aristides Aquino looked like he might have gone down as one of the obscure former Reds (@ObscureExReds) after getting one at-bat last season and striking out. Removed from the 40 man roster after 2018 returning to the Reds did not look likely. Signed on a minor league deal, he returned to Louisville to show he was still the sought-after prospect he once was. A change in approach and a slight change in his swing led to Aquino having a monster season with the Bats. .299 BA was up from his .227 career average in AA. 28 HR caught the eyes of many fans calling for him to get another chance. Since being called up he has made the most of his opportunity. Only 13 PA but he does have 4 hits and a home run. Being able to cut down on strikeouts have always been his flaw. The new approach seems to be working. A strong finish to 2019 would set Aquino up well for 2020 to be an option. He has been mostly a right fielder but did appear in 5 games in center for the Bats.

Brian O’Grady is a great story. An “older” prospect at 27 many might not have had him on their radar after he hit only .185 in 2017. 2018 looked much more promising as he bounced back in a big way to hit .306 in Louisville. 2019 has shown just how far he has come since 2017. .277 BA 27 HR 70 RBI 27 doubles while also stealing 16 bags. He hasn’t made his debut yet after joining the Reds yesterday (8/5) but his skill set will help this team now and hopefully in the future. In Louisville he played mainly first and center but also logged innings at third and left. With Dietrich injured O’Grady will step in and fill his void. A lefty bat off the bench who can play multiple positions.

While none of these three players are guaranteed a roster spot in 2020, I would imagine each will get his shot. Two are lefty bats that have stolen some bases and can play multiple positions and the other is a corner outfielder with a strong arm and pop. They will have to show they belong in spring training, but their auditions have already begun.

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Cincinnati Reds

The Moose Stops Here

The Reds have reportedly signed Mike Moustakas to a four-year deal, per Ken Rosenthal from The Athletic

Jeff

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© Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

How we looking, Reds fans? I, for one, can’t stop randomly yelling “YES!” in my apartment. My neighbors may be calling the cops as you read this.

Or maybe I should be yelling “Moooooooose!”

The Reds began their offseason of acquisitions by signing Mike Moustakas to the largest contract in franchise history. The Moose is coming to Cincinnati for four years, $64 million dollars. He compiled 3.2 bWAR last year and had a 113 WRC+.

The big key is that he will be the Reds second baseman. Per Baseball Reference, the group of players who combined to shoulder the second base duties in Cincinnati put together a -0.6 WAR. Clearly it was one of the most important positions to upgrade during the offseason and the Reds have done that.

There are two ancillary considerations from this move. One is that Nick Senzel will remain in center field in 2020. One can figure from this move that the Reds have complete faith in his ability to rehab his surgically repaired shoulder. The other is a possible Plan B at first base as Moose has shown an ability to play all infield positions with some degree of aptitude. Now, that’s not to say there are rumblings of Joey Votto retiring or going anywhere, but it does not hurt to have a plan B.

All this is to say, I am excited. I also believe this is just the start. More to come from this front office that is clearly putting money to their words. For now, get ready to chant “Mooooose” all summer long!

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All-Decade Team

Reds All-Decade Team: Everyday Eight

Introducing the blog post about the Locked On Reds All-Decade Team!

Jeff

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We are coming to the end of the 2000-teens. Weird, isn’t it? This decade started with a lot of success for our Redlegs and ended with lots of questions. Maybe they can regain their winning form as we head into the 2020’s, but for now let’s look at the players that made the past ten years what they were.

To set only a few parameters, this will be based on impact and not necessarily longevity. For example, based on their time on the Reds and performance, my thought on the best center fielder, for the past 10 years, is Shin-Soo Choo. Now, I get it, he was only here a year, but that what I mean when I’m looking at the All-Decade Reds. Who had the greatest impact during his tenure with the Reds from 2010-2019?

I also want this to be interactive. Comment, tweet (@lockedonreds), and call/text the Locked On Reds Line (513) 549-0159. This post will be finished on December 31, 2019.


Locks

Joey Votto

I don’t know why anyone would argue this. He is the Reds Player of the Decade, and arguably the National League’s Player of the Decade. If you don’t believe me, look at this.

Brandon Phillips

Dat Dude was electric at second and a constant stand-in as an argument to everyone’s favorite Red, at the time. I forgot to mention him as a lock on the first All-Decade podcast, so that’s a bit embarrassing, but no second baseman deserves it more. He could hit anywhere in the lineup, and perform well to boot. There was no other second baseman that was better from 2010-2019 in Cincinnati.

Jay Bruce

Few Reds have provided such iconic moments as was Clinchmas which got this past decade started off with a bang. Beyond that, Bruce was a constant force in the middle of the lineup. His arm was a lethal and gunned down anyone foolish enough to try and run on him. No outfielder eclipsed him and he is definitely a lock for this All-Decade team.

Zack Cozart

Cozart could do it all. He had a good bat, a great glove, and the ladies loved him. Find another Reds shortstop from this past decade and I’ll tell you why they aren’t as good as Cozart was.

Leans

Shin-Soo Choo

Your first thought on this is going to be “but he only was a Red for a year?” Here’s the thing, no centerfielder had a better year. Does he get a bump because he may not have been here long enough to leave a bad taste in our mouthes? Sure. Did he absolutely kill it his one year and is still talked about? Absolutely. If I’m building an everyday eight that is the best of this past decade, he’s on that team.

Devin Mesoraco

The options at catcher are Tucker Barnhart, Ryan Hanigan, and Mez. Maybe you include Ramon Hernandez for the two halfway decent years at the start of the decade. This is a position that can be hotly debated, but I am throwing my hat in the ring for Mez. When he was healthy and got regular at-bats (2014) he was the best Reds catcher this decade. I’ll take those numbers he posted that year and pretend that he isn’t injured when named to the All-Decade Team. A healthy Mez was worth slotting 5th or 6th in the lineup. That’s not something I’ve never said about Tucker.

Ryan Ludwick

My rationale behind this is two-fold. Unless they were just absolutely amazing (like the next lean) then I’m looking at the playoff teams. Ludwick had a great first year as a Red. His final two years soured some fans to remembering him, but he was money in 2012. When faced with the options, I lean Ludwick.

Eugenio Suarez

This one took some thinking because I really liked Scott Rolen, but I think Suarez has outperformed him. He has the misfortune for playing on the bad Reds teams, but he has become the face of the franchise, heading into 2020. The thing that keeps him from being a lock, to me, is there is an argument for Rolen over Suarez…but I will argue Suarez is the Reds third baseman of the decade.

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All-Decade Team

Reds All-Decade Team: The Pitching

Here’s the blog post accompanying the idea of the Reds All-Decade Team, the pitching side of things.

Jeff

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We got things started with a blog post about the everyday eight, now let’s start thee pitching. For this, we’ll do a starting five, a closer, and two relievers. I’m not sure we have any locks, but we have some really strong cases, here. Okay, maybe one lock. Johnny Cueto is a super lock for the rotation, maybe the Reds Pitcher of the Decade.

You know the drill, comment, tweet (@lockedonreds), and call/text (513) 549-0159. We’ll finalize it on December 31, 2019.

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