The 2019 Cincinnati Reds
Heading into the 2019 season, the Cincinnati Reds were a major underdog behind the contenders in the National League Central. The team managed to win eight more games than they did in 2018. Unfortunately, they finished fourth in the NL Central, which didn’t come as a surprise to many — the division was considered the most competitive in baseball. While it wasn’t what the team hoped for, there is plenty to take away from the season.
Acquiring Trevor Bauer
In the team’s 150th season, Red’s management made an impactful trade at the deadline. Cincinnati partook in a three-team deal involving the Cleveland Indians and San Diego Padres, where they most notably traded right fielder, Yasiel Puig. In return, they received veteran pitcher, Trevor Bauer. This was a huge acquisition for the squad to strengthen their rotation. It wasn’t enough to turn their season around at the deadline, but it did show that the front office wants to start playing winning baseball in the near future.
Many starters had incredible seasons for the Reds. They knew they’d have production out of 2018 All-Star, Eugenio Suarez, who has 156 hits and 49 home-runs — both career highs. What the team didn’t expect was for rookie sensation, Aristides Aquino, to perform as he did. He hit an MLB record thirteen homers in his first 100 plate appearances. In just 57 games, he recorded 19 HR and 47 runs batted in. If he were to average that through a complete 162 game season, he would’ve led the major leagues in both categories.
Another player that emerged as a special talent was, Luis Castillo. Castillo had one of the best starts to the season and emerged as the Reds ace early on. He made the All-Star team along with pitching counterpart, Sonny Gray. The second half of the season didn’t go as smoothly as the first for the 26-year old starter, but he managed to finish with 15 wins — which led the Cincinnati Reds rotation. It was his best season by far in his short major league career.
To round out the star power, it’d be a crime to not mention, two-way player, Michael Lorenzen. He was a fantastic utility player throughout the season, playing both outfield and pitching relief. His numbers don’t jump off the page, but he managed to excite the fan base throughout the year. From, his first-ever walk-off winner, to his ability to throw pitch speeds in the triple digits, Lorenzen was a bright spot for Cincinnati in 2019.
A Look Ahead
There’s no doubt that the team is still missing some pieces to the puzzle, but the talent they do have is promising. Cincinnati should have an elite starting rotation in 2020 led by Gray, Castillo, and Bauer — but the hitting is the main concern. Although newly hired hitting coach, Alan Zinter has been tasked to fix the Red’s batting struggles, quality batters may need to be added around Aquino and Suarez. The loyal fan base hopes for a better season out of long-time Red, Joey Votto. Their former MVP is a leader in the dugout and will play a huge part in the team’s future endeavors. Overall, the franchise will be looking for its first winning season since 2013, in the 2020 season. This year can be looked at as a stepping stone to future success.