The Cincinnati Reds are off to stellar start winning their first two series and boasting an early 4-2 record. What’s most impressive about the Reds’ fast start is that they have accomplished it against two of the best teams in all of baseball. The Los Angeles Angels and Washington Nationals are both favored to win their divisions and both teams threw their ace pitcher against the Reds.
So is there any key part of this Cincinnati team that you can attribute for most of their success? Well, I believe there is. The biggest difference in this Reds team and the one from a year ago is the bench hitters.
The Reds’ bench last year was more of a failure than Germany in both World Wars. Wilson Valdez and Willie Harris, the Reds main hitters off the bench last year, combined for zero home runs, 17 RBIs and both hit under .210. Harris, in fact, hit an atrocious .114 and only drew three walks on the year.
Compare that to this year and you’ll understand just why the Reds are so hot. The most used hitters this year are Xavier Paul and Jack Hannahan. Those two are both hitting over .370 and already have more home runs that Harris and Valdez from last year.
With Chris Hesiey being called up to everyday duty, the job these two have done off the bench cannot be over praised. Add into the mix the defensive prowess of minor league Gold Glove winner Derrick Robinson and the Reds have arguably the best bench in the league.
Vinny Carozza is a MLB/Cincinnati Reds writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @VinnyCarozza