Zack Cozart Is Only Star in the Cincinnati Reds' Dreadful Offensive Start

Cliff EasthamSenior Writer IIApril 10, 2012

Zack Cozart is firing on all eight cylinders.
Zack Cozart is firing on all eight cylinders.John Grieshop/Getty Images

Zack Cozart is the only position player on the Cincinnati Reds to be batting over .300. Allow me to qualify that statement: the only one with more than one game played.

The rookie shortstop is hitting .500/.563/1.000 in the first four games and has hit safely in all of them.

The big average he is carrying is not unusual or extraordinary for this juncture of the season. The rest of the team, however is far below what anybody would have expected.

In being thumped by division rival and defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals 7-1 Monday night, the Reds managed only three singles against the Cards’ fifth starter, Jake Westbrook.

They are currently 23rd out of 30 MLB teams with a collective batting average of .218. By contrast, the NL-leading Cardinals are batting at a torrid .317 pace. Everyone was concerned about how they would do with three top people gone from the squad...Albert who?

Cozart, 26, has already enjoyed two multihit games this season and has played flawlessly on defense.

Former MVP Joey Votto has been especially disappointing. After becoming richer than Montgomery Burns on The Simpsons, much is expected of the Canadian-born first baseman. He is batting only .154 with one home run, but his team high six strikeouts are more distressing. He is presently being fanned at a 46 percent clip.

Jay Bruce has hit with power when he has hit, but is only flashing a .267 average at the moment. He continues to lead MLB with three home runs.

Joey Votto's strikeout rate is 46 percent.
Joey Votto's strikeout rate is 46 percent.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Other than Opening Day starter, Johnny Cueto, the Reds' starting pitching has been less than stellar. It is not the pitching that is keeping them from winning however; it is the paltry batting deficiencies.

The left-field tandem of Chris Heisey and Ryan Ludwick are batting just .200 in the young season.

Rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco is hitting .333 but has appeared in only one game thus far.

Since Juan Francisco‘s departure on that midnight train to Georgia, the Reds have no decent bench bat from the left side. Oh sure, there is Willie Harris, but there certainly isn’t "game-changer" written on the back of his jersey.

The highly touted pitching staff has come up short as a unit, with only six teams in MLB having a higher ERA than their 4.75

This leads to a deep question. Have the opposing pitchers been that tough, or have the Reds’ bats just been that quiet?

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