3 Cincinnati Reds who could be the team's DH versus left-handed pitching

Cincinnati Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez (7) hits a home run.
Cincinnati Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez (7) hits a home run. / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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With the designated hitter becoming a permanent fixture in the National League during the 2022 season, the Cincinnati Reds have options. It stands to reason that Mike Moustakas will get the majority of reps as the team's DH, especially when a right-handed pitcher is on the mound. But what about a lefty?

For his career, Moustakas has hit right-handed and left-handed pitchers about equally, but the splits last season were very different. Moose struggled against southpaws to the tune of .087/.214/.114. An OPS of .329 isn't going to cut it, and unless Moustakas can prove otherwise, in no way can David Bell trot out the 33-year-old as the Reds' designated hitter when a lefty is on the bump.

So, that begs the question, what should the Cincinnati skipper do when left-handed pitchers like Eric Lauer (Milwaukee Brewers) and Wade Miley (Chicago Cubs) toe the rubber versus the Redlegs? Bell has a few options.

1. Eugenio Suárez should be the Cincinnati Reds DH versus LHP.

The first name that comes to mind is Cincinnati Reds third baseman Eugenio Suárez. The Venezuela native didn't put up great numbers at all the past two seasons, but a revival of sorts during the month of September is something the former All-Star can build on.

During the final of month of last season, Suárez hit .370/.460/.808 with eight home runs and 15 RBIs in 87 plate appearances. Throughout his career, Geno has hit .259 off southpaws with 52 of his 192 career round trippers coming versus left-handed pitching.

Perhaps the bigger benefit of slotting Eugenio Suárez into the Reds lineup as the DH when a left-hander is on the mound would be the likely addition of Kyle Farmer to the Cincinnati lineup. I'm of the mindset that Jose Barrero will be Cincinnati's Opening Day starter at shortstop, but if Geno becomes the team's DH on occasion, it would offer Farmer the chance to start at the hot corner.

Farmer's best asset is his defensive versatility, though he did show a penchant for swinging the bat last season as well. Supplanting Mike Moustakas with Suárez when a lefty is on the hill would improve the Reds infield defense.

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Aristides Aquino (44) flexes.
Cincinnati Reds right fielder Aristides Aquino (44) flexes. / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

2. Aristides Aquino is an option to be the Cincinnati Reds DH versus LHP.

I don't even know if Aristides Aquino will be on the Cincinnati Reds roster come Opening Day, but if he is, the designated hitter seems somewhat tailor made for The Punisher. While Aquino has struggled to find the same level of success he saw during August of 2019, a more defined role may help the slugger regain his swing.

Aquino's best asset is his power, but his bat has grown silent over the last two seasons, but a lot of that may be due to lack of opportunities. After replacing Yasiel Puig in right field during the last two months of the 2019 season, and looking like a lock to be Cincinnati's right fielder to begin the 2020 season, the Reds front office signed two outfielders during the offseason.

Now, in no way am I begrudging Dick Williams and Nick Krall for bringing in Shogo Akiyama and Nick Castellanos prior to the 2020 campaign. But, an already crowded outfield situation was all of the sudden bursting at the seams.

Jesse Winker and Nick Senzel, two former first-round picks, were sure to be part of the Reds everyday lineup in 2020, but the additions of Akiyama and Castellanos virtually guaranteed some type of platoon. The addition of the universal DH and Senzel's absence due to illness helped David Bell juggle his outfield a little bit.

But Aristides Aquino lost a good deal of playing time, and became a part-time player. That certainly didn't help his confidence, and a similar role was his last season. Perhaps a more clearly defined role (DH versus left-handers) will offer Aquino the ability to shine.

A career slugging percentage of .478 is nothing to sneeze at, and I can guarantee you that some team will pluck Aquino off waivers if he's released. This is the last chance The Punisher will have to remain part of the Cincinnati Reds roster.

Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson has a .799 OPS against right-handed pitchers.
Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson has a .799 OPS against right-handed pitchers. / Albert Cesare / The Enquirer via Imagn

3. Tyler Stephenson is the Cincinnati Reds best DH option versus LHP.

For my money, the best player to insert into the role of DH when the Cincinnati Reds face a left-handed pitcher is Tyler Stephenson. Last year's rookie hit .291/.357/.457 versus southpaws in 2021. Stephenson also posted just a 14.0% strikeout-rate versus lefties.

This scenario would give David Bell the best of both worlds. By moving Stephenson from his spot behind the plate to the designated hitter when a left-hander is on the mound, he'd be giving the former first-rounder a break from his catching duties and keeping one of his best right-handed bats in the lineup.

So who takes over behind the dish when Stephenson is the Reds DH? I'm glad you asked. There's likely two leading candidates at the moment; Mark Kolozsvary and Andrew Knapp. Kolozsvary is a right-handed batter and Knapp is a switch-hitter.

Kolozsvary was called up to the Cincinnati Reds last season, but never saw any action. He's currently part of the 40-man roster, but is more likely to debut at Triple-A Louisville next season. Knapp, the former Philadelphia Phillies' catcher, was signed to a minor-league deal this offseason.

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There's obviously other scenarios available. Bell could put Jonathan India in the DH role versus left-handers and allow either Nick Senzel or Kyle Farmer to get reps at second base. Jose Barrero could be the Reds designated hitter against lefties and Farmer could play shortstop. There's several options, but Mike Moustakas should not be one of them.