Reds: David Bell is clear frontrunner for NL Manager of the Year

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MAY 08: David Bell #25 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during the fourth inning. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MAY 08: David Bell #25 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during the fourth inning. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /
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Anyone ready to apologize to David Bell? Not yet. That’s okay, because the Cincinnati Reds skipper will just continue to prove you wrong. Bell has taken an enormous amount of flack since being named the Reds manager prior to the 2019 season, and yet he’s in the driver’s seat for NL Manager of the Year.

On June 1st, Cincinnati was sitting at 24-29 and 6.5 games behind the National League Central Division leading Chicago Cubs. Here we are on June 17th, and while we’re a long way from the finish line, the Reds have clawed their way back into contention and sit 2 games behind the Cubs and Brewers after having just swept Milwaukee on the road.

Reds skipper David Bell is the clear frontrunner for NL Manager of the Year.

It’s time to give credit where credit it due. Anyone who wants to criticize David Bell when the Reds fall to pieces needs to do an about-face and recognize the great work that he and his coaching staff have done in recent weeks.

The Reds’ bullpen is the worst in baseball, though recently the relief corps has been lights out despite the lack of spending on the part of the front office and ownership this offseason. The Reds relievers still rank dead last with a 5.53 ERA.

Amir Garrett, once thought to be the team’s closer, has fallen on hard times this season. We’ve seen a bit of revival from AG of late, but the southpaw is still carrying a painfully high 8.38 ERA and has seen seven balls leave the yard.

Bell has also seen his ace, Luis Castillo, struggle to begin the 2021 season. La Piedra is 2-8 with a 5.83 ERA. Sonny Gray has also seen two separate stints on the injured list this season, and Bell’s ace out of the bullpen, Tejay Antone, is currently on the IL as well.

Both Joey Votto and Mike Moustakas has missed over a month of time. Those are two of David Bell’s most potent left-handed bats and the duo was counted on to be key contributors this season for the Reds. Votto recently returned to action and seems to be riding a wave of emotion. Moose on the other hand is back in Cincinnati to get further evaluation on his injury.

David Bell has the Reds succeeding despite ownership’s shallow pockets.

This is also the chance to remind Reds Country that the front office failed to get Bell an adequate shortstop prior to spring training, and the team resorted to shifting Eugenio Suarez from third base to shortstop. The results have been underwhelming to say the least.

Not only has Suarez struggled defensively when manning his old position, but the Cincinnati slugger is nowhere close to where Bell or the Reds fanbase assumed he’d be as we’re at this point in the season. Geno is hitting a paltry .169 and has been bumped all the way to No. 6 in the batting order.

Despite everything thrown at the Cincinnati Reds skipper this season, David Bell has found a way to keep his team afloat and they’re on the winning side of scoreboard, only two games behind the division-leading Cubs and Brewers.

Gabe Kapler, manager for the San Francisco Giants, is the only skipper even remotely close to matching David Bell’s success this season. The Giants, surprisingly, are in first-place in the NL West despite the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres being favored to win the division.

Next. The Reds have found their leadoff hitter

While the Reds have put together the best offensive showing in the National League, the Giants aren’t far behind. San Francisco is 4th in the NL in OPS (.745), however, their pitching staff ranks 4th (3.23 ERA) in the league as well, while Bell’s Reds are currently 12th in ERA.