Reds offer reasons for hope in lost season

I have a confession to make.

This will sound silly now, but I was actually excited to watch the Reds this season.

In February at least.

Sounds crazy, right?

I mean, they’re more than 30 games out of first place, and being hopelessly buried in the standings is not a recent development.

But before they unpacked the balls and bats for this season, it had some promise. The promise of NEW(!).

RELATED: The good, the bad and the ugly from the Reds rebuild (so far)

That was a nice departure from the last couple of seasons when they were trying to compete with a team that had obvious flaws but maybe could win if everything went right.

Better to lose with prospects who could become great than former prospects who never became better than average, right?

Anyway, spring training injures marred this picture, shaking up the pitching staff badly. Then late April and pretty much all of May was a disaster.

RELATED: Advanced stats say Reds pitching staff historically bad

To make matters worse, a lot of the struggles in those early months were thanks to guys who quite frankly had already proven they aren’t any good, so it was easy to tune out by Memorial Day.

But a funny thing happened since school let out for summer.

The Reds got to be kind of almost respectable. I mean, it wasn’t, like, certain they would lose every game because the starter got blown up or more likely the bullpen imploded. (They’ve gotten at least one hit in every game the last three months too!)

And they’ve done some of that winning with some young guys. Prospects who might not turn into suspects.

RELATED: Assessing Billy Hamilton’s 2016 season

Veterans Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips have also had bounce-back years at the plate, which is significant because early season forecasts by most people likely included fretting those two would decline with age and become albatrosses in the rebuild. That could still happen next year, but their 2016s have to be encouraging.

And the Reds had this respectable second half without completely cleaning out their prospects list, either, so there is still more promise on the horizon even beyond the youngsters who flashed some potential in 2016.

And, hey, maybe they are due for some injury luck one of these years, eh?

Actually contending next year (especially in a division with the Cubs, Cardinals and Pirates) is still a pipe dream, but you’ve gotta crawl before you can walk.

So… how long until pitchers and catchers report for 2017?

About the Author