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Why Cincinnati Reds Fans Should Not Be In Panic Mode Yet

The Cincinnati Reds came into the 2024 season with high hopes. After an impressive 2023 campaign, where they missed the postseason by just two games, some picked the Reds as a dark horse team to win the NL Central. Unfortunately, this season has not gone well for Cincinnati. But I'm not sure it's time for fans to hit the panic button. Yet.

Inside The Cincinnati Reds Disappointing Season:

The Redlegs were hit with multiple injuries, mainly to their young core, before the season started. Standout second baseman Matt McLain injured his shoulder during practice in Spring Training and was scratched from the lineup the next day. Manager David Bell said he "should be fine." Turns out, he was not fine. McLain ended up needing surgery on his labrum. It was later announced the earliest he would return to the team was August. Not exactly what fans wanted to hear just before the season started.

The next blow also came in Spring Training. This time in the form of TJ Friedl. The outfielder broke his wrist and missed the first six weeks of the season. He has since come back but has struggled to stay healthy. He is on the 10-day IL with a right hamstring strain at the time of writing.

This was followed by yet another Spring Training injury. Starting pitcher Brandon Williamson suffered a shoulder injury and would not start the 2024 season with the team. While Williamson may not be as impactful as the previous two players, he was coming off a solid 2023 season and could have provided depth to a shaky pitching rotation. The left-hander made a few rehab starts but suffered a setback at some point in the minor leagues. He is currently on the Reds roster but on the 60-day IL.

The season started fine for Cincinnati. They went 15-13 in the first month of the season and there were some things to be excited about. Then May hit. They started the month by losing 11/12 games. During that streak, Christian Encarnacion-Strand went on the IL with a fractured wrist. While he was on the shelf, it was discovered he also had ligament damage.

CES was eventually cleared for physical activity, but he wanted to get another opinion. One opinion was he may require surgery to repair his injury. It was recently made official that, almost two months after sustaining the injury, he will undergo season-ending surgery. Another piece of the young core is on the shelf for 2024.

These injuries have led to a massive dip in offensive production. So far this season, the Reds are 19th in the MLB in OBP, 25th in batting average, and 28th in runs scored. They also have the 8th most strikeouts in baseball. In today's lineup against the Cardinals. Only one player has a batting average above .270. Nobody else has an average above .260. While this all paints a bleak picture for the future, I don't believe things are as bad as they seem now.

Reds Fans Do Not Need To Panic Just Yet.

It is actually a good thing that most of the Reds' problems this season are injury-related. It would be much worse if all their young players were healthy but just not producing. Both Spencer Steer and Elly De La Cruz have shown improvements. Steer is on pace for 38 doubles at the time of writing. That would have put him 8th best in MLB in that category last season. Elly already has more home runs than all last season in fewer at-bats and is a menace on the basepaths. He has shown big improvements on defense, as well.

If Friedl, McLain, and CES can get healthy and continue to improve after they return from injury the future could be very bright for the Cincinnati Reds. In a perfect world, the organization's biggest problem will be deciding which of their young players they will need to sign long-term. That could prove to end in disaster given how the organization has been run under the Castellini's ownership. But that's a problem for another day.

It's hard to predict what the second half of the Reds' season will be since the team will probably look pretty different in about a month. They will almost definitely be sellers at the trade deadline. Guys like Jonathan India, Frankie Montas, and Nick Martinez will probably be shipped off to the highest bidders.

The NL Wild Card race is about as wide open as it gets right now. As underwhelming as the season has been, Cincy still finds themselves just 3.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. But given the constant injuries, weak offense, and certain trades being almost inevitable, it is difficult to see the Redlegs making a serious postseason push.

While it may seem like the sky is falling now, there is still hope for the future of this young team. If they can all get healthy, their young core certainly has the talent to make the Reds a contender in the coming years. Keep the faith, Reds fans.

Read More MLB News From Stadium Rant Here: MLB News


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