The Cincinnati Reds have a star in Eugenio Suárez and his monster 2019 season continued to prove that he is only getting better.
Ever since the Cincinnati Reds acquired Eugenio Suárez from the Detroit Tigers for pitcher Alfredo Simón prior to the 2015 season, he has turned into, arguably, the best player on the team. This season, Suárez became one of the more underrated stars in all of Major League Baseball.
Heading into 2019, Suárez was coming off a 2018 season where he hit for a .283 with 34 home runs and drove in 104 RBIs. He finished 2018 with a .366 on base percentage and an OPS+ of 136. This was a breakout season for Suárez and elevated his status to that of an All-Star. Geno was rewarded for his 2018 performance with a trip to the Midsummer Classic.
Suárez followed up a breakout 2018 with a fantastic 2019 season. First and foremost, his power numbers stood out. Suárez hit a staggering 49 home runs, just two shy of George Foster’s season mark of 52. Geno hit 20 home runs in the first half of the season and an amazing 29 in the second half. He also broke Andrés Galarraga‘s record for most home runs for a Venezuelan-born player.
Not only did Suárez hit for power, but he put together a great offensive season all around. In addition to the 49 home runs, Suárez slashed .271/.358/.572 with 103 RBIs, an OPS of .930 and a 134 OPS+. Suárez’s 4.5 WAR was the highest among all Reds position players.
Geno played in 159 games, despite having several balls find their mark, including a scary moment against the St. Louis Cardinals that saw a fastball hit Suárez in his left hand forcing him to leave the game. In order to be an impact player, one must avoid the injured list and stay on the field.
Suárez finally began to garner the national attention that he truly deserves. During the second half of the season, fans and media started to notice Geno and his pursuit of Pete Alonso and the major league lead for home runs. If that didn’t do it, Suárez won the National League Player of the Month in September to cap off a tremendous 2019 season.
Although this season was a great one for Eugenio Suárez, the increased number of strikeouts are concerning. Geno struck out a major league-leading 189 times in 662 plate appearances. That was easily a career high passing the 147 he accumulated during the 2017 season. However, I can live with the strikeouts if Suárez produces offensively like he did this season.
Eugenio Suárez has come a long way since he made his Cincinnati Reds debut in 2015. It seems as though Geno keeps getting better every season, which is a scary thought. It would not surprise me to see Suárez as an MVP candidate in the coming years. The Reds have a star player in Suárez and his 2019 season certainty backed that up.