Matt’s Take – Steering and Cruzin in the right direction


After bringing out the brooms for some Spring Sweeping, the Cincinnati Reds find themselves sitting at 9-6 with a series against the Mariners and Angels approaching. Two key players involved with getting this team back on track are none other than Spencer Steer and Elly De La Cruz. This dynamic duo has been a huge reason why Cincinnati is sitting with a winning record and they continue to impress the fans every single night. Let’s take a look at just how great of a start these two are truly having to begin the 2024 campaign:

Steer BA – .346 (13th in MLB)

Steer RBI – 18 (2nd in MLB)

De La Cruz SB – 6 (2nd in MLB)

Steer OPS – 1.150 (6th in MLB)

De La Cruz OPS – .962 (21st in MLB)

Steer OBP – .477 (3rd in MLB)

De La Cruz has reached base safely in all but one game to begin the season

De La Cruz – 450 foot home run along with an inside the park home run in the same game (From both sides of the plate)

Natural Outfielders

Over the weekend, I can’t say that I have ever watched a Cincinnati Reds outfield make more miraculous catches in a single series. Fairchild, Fraley, Benson, Steer, and Thompson all made magnificent plays throughout the entire series. I have to say that I thought this defense would struggle without Friedl in centerfield, but honestly, Benson somehow looks even better in centerfield than he does playing the corners. The “Next Man Up” mentality continues to shine through this young ball club and I am eager to see how they continue to play as the season progresses.

Lodolo is a Star

The return of Nick Lodolo, whether it was against the White Sox or not, was truly a sight to see. Lodolo ended with 10 strikeouts, 1 hit, and 91 pitches thrown. He truly was firing all of his best stuff and I believe his health is key to Cincinnati having a shot at winning the National League Central. His presence every five games gives Cincinnati a much better chance of competing against the likes of Imanaga, Keller, Peralta, and Steele who dominate within the division. If he stays healthy, I truly believe he is the best pitcher that the Reds can put out on the mound this season.

Quick Thoughts

Enough with the Fairchild slander. He is batting nearly .300, provides speed in the outfield, and has 5 stolen bases. I was once a doubter and I will surely be wrong again in the future.

Conner Capel has 6 home runs in AAA, has great speed, and an OPS of 1.224. It might be time to take a look at him over Bubba Thompson, as he has speed and a bat.

Stephenson made some great contact over the weekend and it was good to see him build some confidence at the plate. This team needs Stephenson to bat well to be successful long term.

While CES is batting just .185, I am not worried about him by any means. His slump started early, but with the power he provides at the plate, I believe these numbers will improve in a hurry.

Marte’s awful decision has forced me to watch Espinal get at-bats for a team with World Series aspirations, and I am not sure how I am supposed to get over that.

Candelario just recently got his first 2-hit game as a Red and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned with his play to begin the season.

This column appears in several newspapers in southwest Ohio.

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