Cincinnati Reds 2018 season awards: Utility Player of the Year

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 11: Phillip Ervin #27 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a one run single in the ninth inning to tie the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on April 11, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 4-3. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 11: Phillip Ervin #27 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a one run single in the ninth inning to tie the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on April 11, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 4-3. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /
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As we pass out the Cincinnati Reds 2018 season awards, today we focus on the Utility Player of the Year. Once he came back midway through the season, Phillip Ervin proved that he belonged in the big leagues.

In 2018, the Cincinnati Reds received unexpected, strong contributions off the bench from the likes of Alex Blandino and Curt Casali.  However, it was the emergence of outfielder Phillip Ervin that provides the most hope for the future. Ervin takes home Blog Red Machine’s Utility Player of the Year for 2018.

Ervin, a first-round draft selection in 2013, had an immediate impact with the club following his  July 20th promotion from Triple-A Louisville.  Injuries to outfielders Jesse Winker and Scott Schebler led to ample playing time and the rookie from Samford University took full advantage of his opportunity.  Despite a slump to close the season Ervin slashed a respectable .252/.324/.404 with 7 homers and 31 RBIs.

During the month of August, Ervin put together his best stretch of quality play in his young career.  Bashing opposing hurlers to the tune of .278/.355/.468 throughout the month, the 26-year-old provided much needed pop at the plate for a depleted outfield corps.  The rookie led the team with 16 RBIs while smashing 4 homers and stealing 3 bases.

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Another hopeful sign for Ervin is that he produced an 8.1% walk rate, which is just below the 8.5% MLB average.  You have to believe with more experience Ervin will able to maintain an average to above average on-base percentage which can lead to more stolen base opportunities.  During the most recent campaign, Ervin swiped 6 bases in 7 attempts.  In his minor league career, Ervin has stolen 30 or more bases in a season three times.

Versatility also proved to be an essential part of Ervin’s game.  The speedy outfielder earned starts in all three outfield positions with the majority of those coming in the corner slots. He started 29 games in left field and 24 games in right.

The 2018 season proved Ervin is a major league player.  He has the potential to deliver the same spark off the bench as Chris Heisey did during his tenure with the Reds at the beginning of the decade.  Ervin’s skill set provides the Reds next manager with multiple weapons to employ.

2018 Reds Starter of the Year. Next

In addition to his ability to play all three outfield positions, Ervin provides pop at the plate as a pinch hitter and the speed necessary to be an outstanding pinch runner. Cincinnati Reds fans should see a lot of Phillip Ervin next year.