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Reds: Eugenio Suárez’s 2021 performance boosted by September surge

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 01: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds in action. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 01: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds in action. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
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Wow! Were it not for another surge during the month of September, Eugenio Suárez would have received a failing grade for his 2021 performance. As it is, the Cincinnati Reds‘ third baseman still hit under .200, though he maintained a relatively high slugging percentage. Let’s put a grade on Geno’s 2021 season.

This is not going to be pretty. After barely hitting above the Mendoza line during the pandemic-abbreviated 2020 season, Suárez set an extremely high goal heading into this past season. Suárez predicted he’d break his own home run record and mash 50 homers in 2021. Geno managed to sent 31 long balls over the fence, but there were a lot of swings and misses along the way.

Eugenio Suárez offered a mixed bag for the Reds in 2021.

For starters, Eugenio Suárez began spring training as the Cincinnati Reds’ starting third baseman, only to be shifted to another spot on the infield following management’s half-hearted pursuit of an established shortstop last offseason.

It was painfully obvious to even the casual fan that Geno was not up to the task, but this was Cincy’s best way to get Jonathan India’s bat into the lineup. The infield shift saw Suárez return to shortstop, Mike Moustakas head to third base, and India find a home at the keystone.

Defensively, the Reds’ infield was a disaster. According to Baseball Savant, only Kyle Farmer, who eventually replaced Suárez as Cincinnati’s everyday shortstop, recorded better than zero outs above average. Geno scored -11 OAA while playing shortstop, but 2 OAA when he returned to third base midway through the season.

Offensively, the 2021 season saw Suárez struggle mightily. Geno posted a 29.8% strikeout-rate, the highest of his career. Suárez put forward a 9.8% walk-rate, his lowest since 2016. Geno’s .286 own-base percentage was putrid, but surprisingly, Suárez was still able to maintain sub semblance of power, posting a .428 slugging percentage.

There will be a constant debate all offseason about how the Cincinnati Reds handle the logjam at third base. All three potential starters (Suárez, Moustakas, and Nick Senzel) had a horrendous season in 2021, and there’s little reason to believe that next season will offer better results.

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The only positive that Eugenio Suárez has heading into 2022 is the fantastic month of September that he put together. Geno slashed .370/.460/.808 over the final month-plus of the 2021 season. There’s reason for optimism, but Suárez still receives a D for his performance this past season.

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