Pretty good so far, eh?
The first-place (FIRST-PLACE!) Cincinnati Reds are now two weeks into the season, and what a fortnight it has been: A record of 8-5, including a sterling 5-1 away from Cincy, and with the Cardinals sitting in last place, if you needed more reason to smile.
With an abundance of new players joining some familiar faces in the Reds clubhouse, this seemed like a good opportunity to craft a comprehensive Reds Player Power Rankings. (H/T The Boston Globe.) Let’s count ‘em down!
- Bronson Arroyo, P: It was a fun story, but Arroyo has been a disaster to this point: 0-2, 9.90 ERA in two starts. At most, Arroyo will get a couple more starts to prove if he still has what it takes.
- Arismendy Alcantara, OF: At least Arroyo is a future Reds Hall of Famer; Alcantara has no such cache, and his start to the season has been equally brutal. The 25 year-old is hitting .083/.154/.083, and he’s made a couple of ugly errors in the field, actively hurting his team. (But he still has loads of potential, versatility, and pop in his bat.)
- Homer Bailey, P: Still not throwing off a mound. Likely won’t return until late June, if everything goes well. And everything hasn’t gone well for Bailey in a long, long time.
- Anthony DeSclafani, P: 60-day disabled list, and won’t return anytime soon.
- Jesse Winker, OF: Hope Winker enjoyed his cup of coffee. The next time he returns to Cincinnati, he’s probably here to stay.
- Devin Mesoraco, C: Has had no setbacks, and could be back from the disabled list later this week.
- Stuart Turner, C: Probably the odd man out when Mesoraco returns, but the Reds are likely to try to hang onto him. Has lived up to his reputation as an all-glove, no-hit catcher in limited action.
- Barrett Astin, P: Has been living on the interstate between Cincinnati and Triple-A Louisville. Hasn’t allowed a run in his two innings with the big club.
- Tim Adleman, P: Pitched well in his single relief appearance, and his struggle to get to the big leagues is an inspiring story. But if Adleman is giving you lots of big league innings, it means something has gone wrong with your pitching staff.
- Patrick Kivlehan, IF/OF: This year’s Kristopher Negron/Ivan DeJesus Jr./Jack Hannahan-type. Okay, whatever.
- Jose Peraza, IF: Including spring training, Peraza has now gone 118 plate appearances without drawing a walk in 2017. When he’s not making hard contact—and right now he’s not, to the tune of a .240 average—he’s a distinct liability in the 2-hole of the lineup.
- Sal Romano, P: Romano was pumping in high-90s fastballs in the first inning of his MLB debut on Sunday. Unfortunately, he walked four hitters and couldn’t make it to the fourth inning. Better things are ahead.
- Rookie Davis, P: On the 10-day disabled list after being hit by a pitch on his throwing arm. He has looked good at times, and has looked lost at times. The very definition of a Rookie pitcher.
- Blake Wood, P: He is what he is: A usually reliable reliever.
- Billy Hamilton, OF: Hamilton’s defense has been spectacular, once again, and that’s the only thing keeping him from dropping down nearer to the bottom of these rankings. Thus far, he’s been unable to replicate his on-base heroics from the second half of last year. I still think he’s going to be an All-Star this year.
- Robert Stephenson, P: Struggled mightily in his first outing, then something seemed to click. If he has truly rediscovered command of his fastball, Stephenson can be scary good. Has the filthiest stuff of any Reds pitcher this side of Raisel Iglesias.
- Tony Cingrani, P: He collected 17 saves last year, and now he may be the fifth relief option. That’s not a statement about Cingrani—he has looked good this year—it’s a statement about this much-improved bullpen.
- Scott Feldman, P: This may be the high-water mark of the year for Feldman in these rankings. After a rough outing on Opening Day, Feldman has improved somewhat. Best-case scenario is that he’s an older Dan Straily-type in 2017. He’s already mimicked the Straily beard; now he needs to mimic the ERA.
- Brandon Finnegan, P: Finnegan was brilliant against the Cardinals in the season’s opening series, throwing seven innings of one-hit, shutout baseball. In his two starts since, Finnegan has lasted a total of three innings, and now he’s on the disabled list with a strained left trapezius muscle. Has all the upside in the world, but it has been a rollercoaster couple of weeks.
- Drew Storen, P: Has done everything asked of him, and the former Nationals closer even picked up one save for his efforts. Six appearances, 6.1 innings, 1.42 ERA. Welcome home, Drew.
- Wandy Peralta, P: Hey, what about this guy? Almost an afterthought on the Opening Day roster, the lefty Peralta has made six appearances with a 1.69 ERA, striking out seven while walking only two. If he has actually improved as much as it appears (over this small sample size), then the Reds bullpen quickly becomes even more formidable.
- Joey Votto, IF: Votto outside the top ten? For now. The Greatest Hitter On Planet Earth™ is off to another slow start, hitting only .208/.291/.458, but the eye test tells me Votto is about to break out big-time. He’s hitting the ball hard—and does have three home runs—but has had some bad luck; his BABIP is only .175, nearly 200 points lower than the last couple years. More anecdotal eye-test mumbo jumbo: Votto appears to be much improved defensively so far in 2017.
- Cody Reed, P: He looked like the same old Cody Reed when he walked four in two innings in his season debut. Since then, he’s been the Cody Reed that everyone heard tales about as he shot through the minor leagues—five perfect innings, six strikeouts, no walks. In a word: dominant. Reed needs to be back in the starting rotation ASAP, please and thank you.
- Scott Schebler, OF: He’s only hitting .205, but don’t let that deceive you. Schebler is being patient at the plate (5 walks), and he’s hitting with power (3 home runs, an excellent .282 ISO).
- Tucker Barnhart, C: He’s been required to step up in the absence of Mesoraco, and he’s done just that, hitting .281/.343/.344. His defense has been as good as ever, and he’s thrown out 50% of would-be base-stealers. He won’t remind anyone of Johnny Bench, but he’s completely adequate.
- Michael Lorenzen, P: He can do it all. Lorenzen can hit, he can close out games, he can enter in the third inning with bases loaded and no outs and put out the fire immediately. Plus, he wants to be a starting pitcher, and Cincinnati’s decision not to give him that chance is as baffling as it is short-sighted.
- Scooter Gennett, IF/OF/Walking Demigod: Scooter is becoming a genuine folk hero in this town, and it isn’t just because of his name. He’s been productive. Gennett may never again be back in the top ten of the Reds Player Power Rankings, but are you going to bet against a guy who ate Skyline for at least three days in a row upon returning to Cincinnati?
- Raisel Iglesias, P: This is not hyperbole: I really believe that Iglesias is the most talented pitcher in the Reds organization, and perhaps in all of baseball. His shoulder likely won’t stand up to the rigors of starting, but if he can handle the workload of being a multi-inning reliever—and kudos to manager Bryan Price for using him in creative ways so far—Iglesias will be the most valuable reliever in baseball, by a long shot.
- Adam Duvall, OF: Duvall wants to go back to the All-Star Game, doesn’t he? He’s hitting .267/.340/.511 with three homers and his typical reliable defense in left field. Something interesting to watch: Duvall is demonstrating some patience this year. If he can keep from swinging at bad pitches, he stands a decent chance of not regressing after last year’s breakout performance.
- Eugenio Suarez, IF: The Reds are third in the majors in runs scored, and Suarez is a big reason why. The 25-year old has been almost perfect thus far: he’s hitting .364/.440/.705, he’s swinging at better pitches, and his defense has been remarkably good (especially when you consider how it looked at this time last year). Frankly, Suarez has a good case to be #1 on this list.
- Amir Garrett, P: The rookie lefty began his MLB career with 12 shutout innings, the first Red to accomplish that feat since Wayne Simpson in 1970. Garrett is the real deal.
- Zack Cozart, IF: Cozart has been brilliant in what may be the first fortnight of his last Reds season. So far he’s hitting .432/.488/.730, leading the majors in triples (3), and second in batting average and OPS.
Hey, maybe the Reds should keep this guy around for a while?
Chad Dotson is a contributor to Nuxhall Way, ESPN’s SweetSpot blog, and the founder of Redleg Nation. You can follow him on Twitter at @dotsonc.