3 Reds players who exceeded expectations through the first 81 games of 2023 and 2 who fell short

The Cincinnati Reds, through the first 81 games of the 2023 season, are in first place in the NL Central.
Cincinnati Reds center fielder TJ Friedl (29) dives into third base.
Cincinnati Reds center fielder TJ Friedl (29) dives into third base. / Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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The Cincinnati Reds, who've now won six of their past seven series, are atop the National League Central Division with half the season now in the rearview mirror.

That's right, Reds fans, we've reached the halfway-point of the 2023 season and Cincinnati is 43-38. The Reds did not win their 43rd game last season until August 6th. After a 100-loss campaign a year ago, this has to feel good.

With 81 games down and 81 games to go, let's take a look back at the first-half of the 2023 season. Which three Reds players exceeded expectations through the first-half of the season, and who fell short?

Reds reliever Alex Young has exceeded expectations through the 1st 81 games of the 2023 season.

I'm not sure what you were expecting from Alex Young after the Cincinnati Reds inked him to a minor league deal prior to spring training, but it certainly wasn't a 2.81 ERA and 33 punch outs in 32 innings of work.

This isn't to say that Young has been the best reliever in the Reds bullpen this season; that title belongs to Alexis Diaz, with Lucas Sims a close second. But what Young has done throughout the first-half of the 2023 season, as essentially the lone lefty, is quite remarkable.

Young has taken on all comers, and believe it or not, has had better success against right-handed hitters than his has against left-handed hitters. Right-handed batters are hitting just .219 against Young compared to lefties who are touching him up to the tune of a .274 batting average against.

Alex Young has also done a very nice job of keeping the Reds in games when they're trailing. The southpaw has allowed a slash line of just .207/.281/.379 when Cincinnati is trailing, which has inevitably helped keep the club within striking range for their 29 come from behind victories in 2023.