Reds Surprise Player of the Year


Sometimes, we see a player perform exactly as we had thought. Sometimes, we don’t. We don’t get what was expected. We are left feeling the proverbial “what could have been” for the season.

These five players gave us a little more (and in certain moments even more) than what the onset of the 2012 season had anticipated. They surprised Reds fans with the 2012 performances. Maybe even surprised those outside of Cincinnati, too.

1. Zack Cozart

When called up during the 2011 season, we saw the shortstop of the future. Too bad it was only for 11 games when a freak injury while fielding a throw ended Cozart’s campaign. The injury required Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow and his 2011 season was over.

As 2012 began, there was excitement with Cozart being the starter at short. While the bat was not what we had hoped for, the glove was the opposite. We knew Cozart could hit (and I believe next season, he will), but Cozart’s steady defense was a major bonus. In fact, Cozart ranked 3rd among NL shortstops in fielding percentage (.975) and 7th overall in defensive WAR (2.0).

We didn’t get what we wanted as far as the bat goes, but who honestly saw Cozart being teh defensive player he was?

(Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE)

2. Todd Frazier

From the All-Star break until the middle of September, a huge push was made for Frazier to be NL Rookie of the Year. A cool September may have changed that tide, but Frazier was a major contributor during the multiple absences of Scott Rolen and the extended absence of Joey Votto.

Even with his September being what is was, Frazier ended 2012 ranked 3rd in home runs (19), 2nd in RBI (67), 6th in batting average (.273), 8th on on-base percentage (.331), 2nd in slugging (.498) and 2nd in OPS (.829). He will receive some consideration for ROY.

What cannot be lost is his use of the Heimlich.

3. Ryan Hanigan

We know what Hanigan can do at the plate. We are well aware of the at part of his game. Over the past three seasons, Hanigan has evolved into one of baseball’s better defensive catchers. For 2012, Hanigan led all NL catchers in caught stealing percentage (48.5%) and total zone runs as a catcher (17). That total zone runs also ranked 3rd overall. Only Atlanta’s Michael Bourn (38) and Jason Heyward (21) were higher.

We knew Hanigan was solid behind the plate, but I do not honestly think we saw the defensive season he provided for teh Reds in 2012.

4. Ryan Ludwick

When the Reds signed Ludwick, the prevailing thought was that he would platoon the left field position with Chris Heisey. Started out that way as Ludwick struggled early on in the season. When the calendar hit June, business picked up.

Even including a June where Ludwick produced a slash of .253/.326/.582 with 6 HR and 13 RBI, from the beginning of June until the end of the season, Ludwick was one of the Reds best offensive players and emerged as a clubhouse leader. From June 1 through the end of the 2012 regular season, Ludwick’s triple slash was .298/.365/.578 with 21 HR and 60 RBI.

So much for a platoon, huh?

5. Alfredo Simon

Not a popular decision among the Reds fan base when Simon was added to the 25-man roster just prior to Opening Day. That move meant that Todd Frazier was headed to Louisville. The fanbase roared.

Then came Simon’s first three outings. One was good. The other two, not so much as Simon permitted three runs in only 1.2 innings of work and absorbed the loss in one of those games. From the date of that loss (April 12), Simon would be somewhat relegated to the role of long guy/mop-up duty. Did he ever perform.

For the remainder of the season (33 games), Simon posted and ERA of 2.34, snagged three wins plus a save while allowing only one home run in his final 57.2 innings of work.

Who would you select as your Reds surprise player of the 2012 season?

If you haven’t already, cast your vote for the following…

Reds Moment of the Year