Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Reasons why this Reds team is so fun to watch


by: Izsak Rapp
Staff Writer

The 2013 Cincinnati Reds campaign is one of the most fun to watch in a long time. It is finally the last month of the season, and anything could still happen. So much has happened this season; big wins, walk offs, great plays, the list could go on. With the Reds currently only three games back in the National League Central division, it will be interesting how it pans out.

One of the most exciting things to watch this season, as of any of the past few seasons, is the Reds defense. Brandon Phillips is nothing less than magical with a glove. Phillips is one of the most exciting players I have ever watched in my life. He is always capable of diving catches and extraordinary double plays. Phillips has been an absolute wizard on defense this season, but it doesn't stop with him.

Jay Bruce is quietly having a pretty solid defensive season in right field. I think opposing teams have finally learned not to run when Jay Bruce fields a ball. Bruce has a cannon; he has thrown out 12 runners this season, while only committing three errors. He is second in the National League this season in outfield assists. Lots of good things can be said about Bruce this season, especially defensively.

Switching gears, the rookie season of a few players has been fun to watch. Aside from getting hurt a couple weeks ago, and last night, Cingrani has greatly contributed to this pitching staff filling in for Johnny Cueto. Derek Robinson has flown under-the-radar, as well. I would expect to see Cingrani, if healthy, as a member of the post-season roster.

Player debuts are one of my favorite parts of baseball and are what make the game so exciting to watch. Let's start off with Donald Lutz. I personally thought Lutz would be a little better of a fit than he turned out to be. With limited opportunity, and being such a young student of the game, it was expected. Lutz, at times, showed some power. On the twelfth day of May, Lutz hit his first major league home run off of Wily Peralta of the Brewers. The monster shot hit off the right field foul pole. I expect his on-base percentage to be higher next season.

While on the subject of major league debuts, let's talk about the kid everyone waited all season to see, the speedster himself, Billy Hamilton. Hamilton was the team's number one prospect heading into this season. His debut was highly anticipated, even by others not in the Reds organization. MLB had him as the number five outfield prospect for the season. His first four games were not quite the level of Dodgers right fielder, Yasiel Puig's, however, were very timely. Hamilton's debut came against the division rival Cardinals. Hamilton swiped his first base on the game's best defensive catcher, Yadier Molina. He scored the only run of the game to get the win. Hamilton was the difference in a late inning game against the Dodgers, as well. Hamilton scored from second on a Todd Frazier single to Puig; and beat the throw from the highly regarded Puig to win the game. I think it's next to impossible to leave Billy off of the post-season roster.

With this close division race, it only adds to the excitement. The Pirates and the Cardinals have made this division so much fun to watch this season. As nice as it would be for the Reds to have a 10+ game lead in the division right now, it creates so much tension, and gives every baseball fan a reason to watch these games moving forward. With the final three games of the season being against the Pirates, it very well could come down to the final game of the season. Every out matters.

It would be hard to touch all the highlights of the season with out talking about Homer Bailey's no-hitter. I mean after all he "just f***in' walked a guy, man." No longer is Homer the prospect that never quite panned out. In what was one of the greatest pitching performances I have ever seen, Homer fanned 10 batters, while facing only 28.

This season is far from over, as much baseball is left to be played. Regardless of how the season ends, this has been a great season for the Cincinnati Reds. I think next year will be one for the books, as well. My clubhouse source says there has been lots of talk about Choo willing to take a hometown discount in order to stay in Cincinnati. Choo really likes it here and why not? With great fans, a beautiful ballpark, and a star-studded team, who wouldn't want to play here?

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