Seven Games Played & Seven Observations

Feb 16, 2013; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds right fielder Shin-Soo Choo (17) poses for a photo during photo day at the Reds Spring Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds stand alone atop the NL Central at 5-2 after seven games so far this season.

After watching this club take the field for the first seven games of the 2013 season, I offer these seven observations.

1. Shin-Soo Choo

Choo has been everything we expected. Offensively and defensively. The fanbase was told that he will be a drastic uptick batting leadoff over former centerfielder and whiff-meister Drew Stubbs. We were also told to be realistic about the fact that the Reds were making a defensive concession at the position but the offensive gain would more than make up for it. Today’s 13-4 throttling of the St. Louis Cardinals was a perfect example of the double dynamic. Choo dropped two balls in center leading to three unearned runs but also went 2 for 5  with 3 RBI. He essentially negated what he allowed. Today was a wash; in a big park. He will only improve defensively given time and half of his games are within the friendly confines of Great American Small Park. I love this dude’s game. The whole dynamic of this team feels different with Choo atop the order. He’s batting a measley .379. That’ll do Choo…that’ll do.

2. Todd Frazier

Flava Fraz entered yesterday’s game at 11 for 22. At the close of business today, he strolled off the field with a jaw-dropping batting average of .414 and an OBP of 1.278 in tow. Frazier is playing a man posessed and garnering national attention. I don’t see any sophmore slump on the horizon for Frazier. ESPN’s Buster Olney shared on Twitter.

 

3. Aroldis Chapman

Chapman has been all but perfect so far this season and continues to keep hitters off balance and own the ninth inning. The Cuban Missle has been nuclear every outing so far. I had the chance to watch him fan Bryce Harper on Saturday at GABP from a seat much closer than my paycheck would normally allow. It was so nasty that Harper exited the batter’s box with this eyes on the ground and shaking his head. The starting rotation experiment was the point of much contention during Spring Training and I personally found myself on the fence at times over whether or nor Chapman should start but there is no denying that he is absolutely dominant as a closer.

4. The Bullpen

Outside of J.J. Hoover‘s mishaps, the Reds bullpen has been fantastic. Marshall, Broxton, Chapman? Good luck with that. Sam LeCure is probably the most under-rated reliever in the National League. I still believe in Hoover’s stuff despite his getting shelled early this season. Chicken Alfredo Simon and Manny Parra round out the ‘pen. Still the best in the league if you ask me.

5. Xavier Paul

The X-Man has been an X-factor so far this year. I’m so glad this dude made the cut. He’s an enormous and capable left-handed bat in the linup and kudos to Dusty for not being afraid to cram him into the lineup early. Paul is 3 for 8 so far this season with 5 RBI and 1 HR, a stunning grand slam during the 15-0 routing of the Nationals Friday night.

6. The Lumber

The Reds have scored 40 runs since Friday. Choo on that. See what I did there?

7. The Confidence

This team has a confidence now that feels different from last year. Almost a swagger. It’s like they finally got the killer instinct that they lacked last year. When being asked about taking the first two series from two powerhouse teams, Jay Bruce dropped the best line of the season so far (paraphrasing) when he said that they [Angels and Nationals] were playing one of the best teams in the league too, referring to his Reds.

I know that we are only 1/23 of the season deep but this feels like the year…

Topics: Cincinnati Reds

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  • Josh Bresser

    Todd Frazier’s leading the MLB in WAR so far, and it isn’t even really close.

    • http://www.facebook.com/scott.kelly.731572 Scott Kelly

      The Toddfather owns!

  • sezwhom

    Nice article. Lots of agreement. Give Choo time to learn NL ballparks. He’ll get there defensively but him leading off is like a revelation. I’m so used to our leadoff hitters stinkin’ up the joint it’s a pleasure finally having a productive person batting first.

    • http://www.facebook.com/scott.kelly.731572 Scott Kelly

      Couldn’t agree more. I’m glad you liked the piece.

  • metalhead65

    agree with everything you said. if they could get anything from hannigan then they would be unstoppable. maybe now would be a good time to play mesoraco, he can’t do any worse and imagine the experience he could gain by actually playing in a game.yes I know that hanigan brings allot more than hitting but again how is mesoraco going to learn how to handle a staff and throw out runners if he is not out there doing it? and he needs more than 1 game a week.

    • http://www.facebook.com/scott.kelly.731572 Scott Kelly

      Mesoraco will get more playing time as the season progresses. Especially after the numbers he put up in
      Goodyear.

      • metalhead65

        I hope so but if they wait to long he may not be able to build on those numbers he put up in goodyear and will have a repeat of last year when he was not used right.

        • JD Rentz

          I have to agree wholeheartedly. Mes deserves at least a shot at more playing time while Hanigan is showing plate struggles. Give him at least a couple games back-to-back to see what happens.

  • beeker

    I may get roasted by some for saying this, but there is one thing the Cardinals do well that I wish the Reds did just as well: foul off pitches.

    I am convinced that is why they are the offensive team that they are. A number of their guys spoil the pitcher’s pitches and wait for the pitcher to get frustrated enough to make a mistake. Hopefully that will develop within the Reds’ hitters as they mature.

    • http://blogredmachine.com/ Steve O’Red

      I won’t roast you as I completely agree. Increasing a starter’s pitch count is a strategy many teams implement. Wish the Good Guys did the same.

  • beeker

    Who is in charge of printing up the “I ‘Choo’-se to be a Knucklehead” posters for people calling for Choo to be moved to LF and/or pining for Drew Stubbs? I would like to donate.

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