3 Reds who've exceeded expectations through 50 games and 3 who've fallen short

Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson
Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
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Reds C Tyler Stephenson has fallen short of expectations through 50 games in 2023.

If you're concerned about Tyler Stephenson 50 games into the 2023 season, you're not alone. Of all the Reds players on Cincinnati's roster who may be deemed "struggling", Stephenson's shortcomings are the most concerning.

Stephenson is supposed to be a cornerstone of the Cincinnati Reds franchise for years to come. There's even been whispers of Stephenson being a possible contract extension candidate. Unless the Reds are able to get the backstop on a steal of a deal, the front office should abort any plans to offer Stephenson an extension anytime soon.

It hasn't just been Stephenson's bat that's let him down. Though hitting under .250 and posting a strikeout-rate of nearly 30-percent definitely reveals an issue with Stephenson's swing.

However, his defense has just not been up to par. After gunning down over 27-percent of would-be base stealers in 2022, Stephenson is just 3-for-15 (20-percent) when it comes to nabbing runners this year. Stephenson's framing, which has long since been an issue, hasn't gotten better. And the Reds catcher has -2 defensive runs saved according to FanGraphs.

With Joey Votto readying for a return and Christian Encarnacion-Strand slugging away in the minors, a move to first base seems unlikely. There's not much the Cincinnati Reds can do other than to ride out this storm, but Stephenson has underwhelming through the first 50 games of 2023.