Cincinnati Reds: Ranking the rookie performances of the 2020 season

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 27: Tyler Stephenson #37 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 27: Tyler Stephenson #37 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Jose Garcia #38 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on while waiting to bat.
CINCINNATI, OH – SEPTEMBER 01: Jose Garcia #38 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on while waiting to bat. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Which Reds rookie had the best performance in 2020?

Evaluating the Cincinnati Reds rookie class in a pandemic-shortened season will not be an easy task, but we’ll try it anyway. It’s debatable if we would have even seen the likes of José García and Tyler Stephenson had we had the normal slate of 162 games. But, with the season shortened to just 60 games, a greater emphasis was placed on winning now rather than exercising patience.

The Reds had four rookies make their debut in 2020. In addition to Stephenson, the team’s top catching prospect and the shortstop García, right-handed pitcher Tejay Antone and Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama made their big league debuts in 2020.

Antone was somewhat of a surprise addition to this year’s Reds team, but with the consistent absence of Cincinnati starters Wade Miley and Anthony DeSclafani due to injury, the right-hander was quite valuable.

While much was expected of Akiyama after many successful seasons in the Nippon Professional Baseball league, the halt to spring training really hampered his transition to the major leagues. It took Akiyama until the final few weeks of the season to really match the expectations of Reds Country.

So, as we head into the offseason, it’s safe to assume that all four rookies will play a prominent role on next year’s team. Will Stephenson suit up behind the plate on Opening Day? Will García be given the starting shortstop gig in spring training? Will Antone grab the final spot in the Reds starting rotation. We’ll hold off on answering those questions for now, but let’s see how this year’s rookies ranked.