Reds: 3 players who must improve in order to make playoff push

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JULY 05: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates his three-run home run. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JULY 05: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates his three-run home run. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates his three-run home run.
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – JULY 05: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates his three-run home run. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

2. Reds infielder Eugenio Suarez must play better in the second-half.

Every time that Eugenio Suarez seems to be turning the corner, the Cincinnati Reds’ infielder inevitably falls back to earth. The fact that this team is even in contention with one of their best players struggling as bad as Suarez has is a testament to the job that David Bell has done and how much support this team has received from unexpected places (Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, etc.).

Did the position change negatively affect Suarez? Has Geno not fully recovered from his offseason surgery from a year ago? We can throw darts at a board all day long trying to figure out why Suarez isn’t playing up to his potential, but at the end of the day, Cincinnati needs Suarez to be better than a .175 hitter. Period!

This isn’t revolutionary. Geno’s already lost his spot in the batting order and is typically hitting sixth and sometimes even lower. In 2019, Suarez clobbered 49 home runs, but don’t forget that he led the league in strikeouts that season as well.

What we’re seeing from Suarez is not all that surprising. Geno has always been a free-swinger, but pitchers know that as well. For his career, Suarez has a 25.5% strikeout-rate, meaning that 1-in-4 when Geno steps to the plate, he’s going to go down swinging. This season, however, his strikeout-rate is hovering around 30%.

Geno needs to be more patient at the plate, reduce that strikeout-rate and increase his walk-rate back to his career norms. The most disturbing stat may be Suarez’s wRC+ which is sitting at a career-worst of 68. Even last year, Suarez posted a 104 wRC+.

Eugenio Suarez is one of the easiest players to root for in the game of baseball. His smile and positive attitude are contagious, and his teammates genuinely like him. However, Geno needs his bat to do the talkin’ in the second-half of the 2021 season. I’m predicting a big second-half for Suarez, and this team is going to need him to show up in order to make a playoff push.