Two Key Players for the Cincinnati Reds Offense in 2015


The offseason chatter surrounding the Cincinnati Reds has been mostly about the left field situation, and rightfully so. After the Reds traded for Marlon Byrd, many fans didn’t like the deal and the chatter turned to the topic of whether or not Byrd would be able to contribute with some measure of success.

However, for this team, Marlon Byrd isn’t the one who needs to step up offensively for this team to win in 2015. (Zack Cozart is also not that player). It’s Joey Votto and Jay Brucethey are the catalysts for the Reds offense.

Votto’s performance on the field has been a hot topic in the past year. I’m one of the folks who will defend him. I have never been able to understand why people can’t see that getting on base and not making outs is a good thing. That being said, Votto did not have a good year in 2014. The injury was a factor, but I think, even before he got injured, he was swinging and missing at more balls than he usually did. Whether or not that was because of pressure from the fans and certain broadcasters, we’ll never know. What we do know is that over his eight year career, Votto’s slash line is .310/.417/.533, with a .950 career OPS. That’s excellent.

Some fans want Votto to be a bona fide power hitter. If it’s more home runs you want him to hit, forget it. Aside from his MVP season, Votto’s never been a home run hitter. Even in the minor leagues, he didn’t hit for power. The most home runs he ever had in one season at the minor league level was 22. He’s always been a player to hit for average and get on base.

I think Votto’s MVP season happened so early in his career that now people only compare him to what he did in 2010. Yes, his numbers that year were ridiculously impressive, but his numbers in 2012 and 2013 were closer to what type of player Votto really is. In 2013, an All-Star year for him, he played all 162 games and hit .305 with 24 home runs, 30 doubles and 73 RBI. 2012 might have been his best year though. In only 111 games, Votto hit 44 doubles and had 56 RBI. He only struck out 85 times and walked 94 times for an astounding .474 OBP. And, oh yeah, his OPS was 1.041. If Votto does anything close to that in 2015, the Reds will be better than last season.

As for Bruce, the Reds just need him to be the 30 home run, 80-90 RBI player he can be. Last year was just dreadful for him, and it was dreadful to watch. It’s not tough to see, Bruce came back from the knee surgery too quickly and it affected his swing for the rest of the year. But subtract last year from the equation and he has improved upon his game every single year.

In Bruce’s seven year career, his slash line is .251/.323/.467, with a .790 OPS. He does strike out a lot, but he’s a power hitter, he’s going to have a high strikeout rate. Arguably his best year was 2013. He played in 160 games and hit .262 with 30 home runs, 43 doubles and 109 RBI. (How he wasn’t an All-Star that year boggles my mind.) Obviously his numbers were helped immensely from Votto and Shin-Soo Choo hitting in front of him. But unlike in other years, he took advantage of those players getting on base.

This team has a chance to contend for the NL Central and the NL Wild Card throughout the entire season, but Votto has to play in the majority of games in 2015 and Bruce has to have a bounce back year from 2014. As these two players go, so go the Reds.