3 players who need to step up to keep Reds in contention

Injuries have crippled the Reds down the stretch, but they're still in the playoff hunt.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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3. Will Benson needs to step up to keep the Reds in contention.

There was a stretch for about a month this season where no player, outside of Shohei Ohtani, has hotter than Will Benson. After that monumental home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers back in June, Benson went on a tear.

From June 6th through the end of July, Benson was hitting .322/.431/.652 with a wRC+ of 183 according to FanGraphs. It was Benson's world and we were all just living in it.

But the Reds outfielder has come crashing back down to earth since the calendar flipped to August. Over the last month-plus, Benson has looked a lot more human. The 26-year-old it hitting .225/.329/.338 with a wRC+ of 82 and strikeout-rate of 37.8-percent.

All those Reds fans who were clamoring for Benson to be moved up in the batting order are staying remarkably silent at the moment. Just like Elly De La Cruz, however, it must be stated that Benson is essentially playing in his first major league season, and you're going to witness ups and downs.

But, the Cincinnati Reds could certainly use a boost from their left-handed hitting slugger over the final few weeks of his 2023 campaign. With the additions of Hunter Renfroe and Harrison Bader, Benson's playing time may take a hit over the final month of the season. But when he gets opportunities, the Reds need him to cash in.