If you would have asked any Cincinnati Reds fan or baseball analyst before the season to predict players from the Queen City most likely to make the All-Star Game, the names would likely have been similar — Joey Votto, Aroldis Chapman, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce. However, interestingly enough the only one one of those names who made the roster was Chapman. Very few would have expected the other four to be in consideration, let alone actually make the team. Yet the presence of Todd Frazier, Devin Mesoraco, Johnny Cueto and Alfredo Simon is doing more than showing the surprising depth of the Reds roster; it is showing the heart of the organization.
While watching the Home Run Derby last night, one thing stood out to me (aside from the insane strength of Giancarlo Stanton); those Reds players were having the time of their lives. Every time ESPN turned their cameras to the National League side of the field, a different Reds player was goofing around with the biggest smile on his face. Need proof? Take a look below:
— #ASG (@MLB) July 15, 2014
Any fan who has watched the Reds this season knows this type of excitement and fun nature is nothing out of the ordinary for these young Reds. Arguably, it is that sense of excitement and energy that has kept the Reds from succumbing to injuries throughout the first half of the season.
It’s an interesting dynamic to see, and frankly it is one that fans are not accustomed to seeing in the Queen City. Aside from the fun antics of Phillips, the Reds have been void of such a personality. That is no knock on other players, as some just have different approaches to the game. However, these young Reds (including Billy Hamilton) have brought a new sense of energy to a team in much need of it.
Watching these Reds reminds me a lot of when Bruce made his big league debut; it was something that energized the team. However, the ability to have that type of spark come from five different players is something that can carry a team. It’s been fascinating to watch the Reds develop such a new personality — one that maybe would not have come to fruition without the onslaught of injuries. Time without players like Bruce, Votto and Phillips allowed for younger guys to step up and take the lead which has rejuvenated the club.
For some of the All-Stars in the league, the game is another exhibition they are forced to play and something that becomes a yearly tradition that seems to be like pulling teeth for some. However, these young Reds are relishing the opportunity and it shows. Whether it was celebrating with Frazier or Cueto bringing a refreshment to Stanton during a round, the personalities of these players are showing and it is incredibly fun to watch.