By Tyler Grote
After a promising first series against the Cincinnati Reds will look to establish significant territory in the NL Central standings. Their next 19 games will feature NL Central opponents, and 22 of their next 26 games in total.
That offers plenty opportunity for players on the roster to establish themselves quickly in what aims to be one of the more competitive divisions in baseball. There are certain players whose emergence shouldn’t be unexpected, while others may be a pleasant surprise.
The following is a short list of the top candidates to enjoy a breakout season in 2015…
Should anything happen to Bruce, Billy Hamilton or Byrd, the Reds, in my opinion, are well equipped to address the void. Furthermore, should either one of the three significantly underperform, they could have competition.
It may sound like an exaggeration, but grabbing Brennan Boesch was a very calculating move by Walt Jocketty. Yes, he had a ridiculous spring training. He slashed .361/.359/.607 in 61 at-bats, while also leading the team in home runs at four and RBI at 14. While impressive, it’s just spring training.
But consider his most recent professional body of work. Yes, it was Triple-A, but he slashed .332/.381/.636 in 407 plate appearances.
Boesch was released from the Detroit Tigers because of battling thumb and oblique injuries. But he showed real potential. Take it from his…bio:
“Boesch won the American League Rookie of the Month Award the first two full months he was in the major leagues. He was the starting right fielder for three years with the Detroit Tigers during their dominance of the AL Central, and then with the New York Yankees in 2013 until being sidelined by a shoulder injury.”
Cincinnati is a fan base that can attest to how crippling injuries can be. But the stars may have aligned for the Reds to grab a very talented player at a bargain price.
When Boesch was called back up to the Los Angeles Angels in August after being demoted in April and then getting another shot in September as a regular guy, he hit in seven of his final 14 games, three of which were multi-hit games.
Who knows what he’ll ultimately do for this team? But he’s trending way up, and the bottom floor is getting crowded on this guy.