Cincinnati Reds: Three unexpected impact players in 2020 season

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 11: Kyle Farmer #52 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 11: Kyle Farmer #52 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds
CINCINNATI, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 21: Phillip Ervin #6 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Bryan Woolston/Getty Images) /

1. Reds outfielder Phillip Ervin will surprise in 2020.

Phillip Ervin is a gifted outfielder who has continually been casted aside in favor of other players. Be it Scott Schebler, Jesse Winker, Nick Senzel or Matt Kemp, Ervin has had to fight and claw his way into the lineup over players who, arguably, do not produce at the same level he does. Ervin is a former first-round pick, and may get more playing time than some fans realize.

The Reds outfielder is stacked. The aforementioned Winker and Senzel are sure to get plenty of reps in the outfield. Shogo Akiyama and Nick Castellanos signed for big money over the offseason, so expect to see both of their bats in the lineup on a daily basis. Don’t forget about Aristides Aquino. The Punisher showed exactly what he’s capable of, hitting 14 homers last August.

But, none of those players have the all-around game of Phillip Ervin. While his arm is a bit shaky, Ervin is a capable defender who’s above average speed helps him to track down balls in the outfield. Ervin also hits for average. For his career, the right-hander is a .262 hitter, though he put up a career-best .271 batting average last season.

More than anything else, Ervin dominated left-handed pitching in 2019. When a southpaw stepped onto the mound, it was a virtual guarantee that Phillip Ervin would be in the lineup, and I’d expect more of the same in 2020. Ervin slashed .349/.411/.628 against left-handers last year. David Bell will find a way to get Ervin in the lineup.