The Cincinnati Reds (21-29) have fared better than most expected to begin the 2023 season. There've been some ups and downs, but overall, most fans like what they've seen from this scrappy bunch.
There's always preconceived expectations attached to teams and players before Opening Day, and the Reds are no exception.
Through 50 games, the Reds have a much better win-loss record than they did in 2022 (18-32). So which Cincinnati players have exceeded expectations so far this season and who has fallen short?
Reds OF TJ Friedl has exceeded expectations through 50 games in 2023.
While a stint on the Injured List certainly sucked the momentum out of the outstanding season that TJ Friedl had been having, there's no denying that the Cincinnati Reds centerfielder has exceeded expectations in 2023.
Friedl saw some time in the big leagues during the 2021 season and received a bump in his playing time last season while yo-yo'ing between the majors and Triple-A Louisville. But it was an adjustment to his hitting approach that really helped Friedl turn the corner in 2022.
It carried over to spring training, and early on in 2023, David Bell utilized Friedl as a platoon option in the outfield against right-handed pitchers. But as the season has progressed, Friedl and fellow left-handed hitter Jake Fraley have gained the confidence of their manager against both right-handers and southpaws.
TJ Friedl has shown power, speed, and a desire to create chaos on a regular basis. Friedl just returned from an oblique injury this week, but there's not reason to believe that the Reds outfielder won't return to that level of play he showed earlier this season. Friedl, perhaps more than any other player on the Cincinnati Reds roster, has exceeded expectations through the first 50 games of this season.