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The Cincinnati Reds Vibrant Future
Why Great American Ballpark will be jam packed on summer nights for years to come.
Despite missing out on a chaotic Major League Baseball Postseason in 2023, the Cincinnati Reds finished 82-80, a smooth 20-win difference from their abysmal 100-loss team just a year ago.
The club’s win totals weren’t the only steady increase. Their attendance followed the train. Cincinnati averaged over 25,000 fans a night; the club’s highest mark since 2015. This was a staggering jump from an average of just over 17,000 in 2022, their lowest tally since 1981.
Even the casual baseball fan will tell you that it’s extremely hard for a Major League Club to increase their win total by 20 games over a year’s time. So what happened?
This is the Cincinnati Reds people. An organization with the 5th lowest payroll in all of baseball. It’s not the Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, or New York Yankees. They can’t exactly just go out and sign superstars to jumpstart a rebuild.
Elly De La Cruz. Matt McLain. Spencer Steer. Will Benson. Hunter Greene. Andrew Abbott. Graham Ashcraft. Brandon Williamson. Christian Encarnacion-Strand. Noelvi Marte.
All 10 of those players have many things in common. They are all 25 years or younger, they all played pivotal roles in the Reds 2023 campaign, and all were either rookies this season, will be next season, or the year before.
If this doesn’t seem like an outstanding foundation for winning seasons to come, I don’t know what is.
When the Reds called up top prospect De La Cruz, a switch had flipped. The club won 13-of-15, proving that he was an amazing spark.
The Dominican Republic native slashed .307/.358/.523 in his first month of big league action and casually threw a ball 99.7 mph from the field.
From that point on, he didn’t just grab the attention of the Reds faithful, all of Major League Baseball had eyes on him. To be fair, he’s 6-foot, 5, 200 pounds. He’s a hard guy to miss.
During this freak month of June, when Cincinnati went 18-9, other young studs stepped up as well.
23-year-old Matt McLain, who had been up since mid-May, posted an OPS of .881 with 5 HR and 19 RBI. McLain would finish with the club’s second-highest fWAR at 3.2.
Spencer Steer, another rookie, was punishing balls in June, collecting 5 HR and 20 RBI himself. Traded from the Twins in 2022, the utility man finished the year with 23 HR, 86 RBI, and a 133 OPS+.
Towering lefty bat, Will Benson, provided a spark of his own when he delivered clutch moments like his walk-off home run on June 7th, the first of his career. The rookie had a 130 OPS+ along with 11 bombs.
Young southpaw, Andrew Abbott was also excellent during spring last month, striking out 30 over 29+ innings with a 1.21 ERA. You guessed it. Another rookie.
You get the gist. The young kids can play.
I could go on and on about how Noelvi Marte should be the 2024 NL Rookie of the Year, or how Hunter Greene could strike out 200. But, I’ll save you the time.
The point is, with a weak NL Central, Reds baseball is here to stay. Who knows, that magical month of June could have kickstarted a few World Series Titles in their future.
Either way, baseball is fun, and so are the Reds again.
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