Cincinnati Reds: Week 7 Player Power Rankings
The Reds are stuck in neutral. Their transmission is slipping upon acceleration, making for a loud, turbulent ride.
Many hypothesize that once the proper pieces are installed, the machine will function as normal and the Reds will motor back to the top of the NL Central.
That remains to be seen. Until then, all we can do is talk about who is currently pitching in.
Here are the top 10 Reds performers after Week 7.
All stats courtesy of ESPN.com
No. 1: Johnny Cueto (No. 1 last week)
The king of the Reds' power rankings keeps the throne yet again; he's been here all year.
Cueto turned in another phenomenal outing last week, going the distance against the San Diego Padres en route to a complete-game shutout. He struck out eight batters in that outing.
It should be noted that as of now, Cueto also sits atop the pitching throne in all of baseball. His 1.25 ERA gives him the undisputed No. 1 ERA in the game. His 72 innings pitched to this point are an MLB-best as well.
You'd have to go back to April 11 to find the last time this guy didn't toss at least eight innings. Cueto is also No. 1 in WHIP, making him the least stressful pitcher to watch in the game.
No. 2: Mike Leake (No. 3 last week)
Moving up one spot is right-hander Mike Leake, who has rallied back strong after falling completely out of the rankings two weeks ago.
Last week, Leake turned in eight innings and allowed just one run in a no-decision against the San Diego Padres, a game in which the Reds would eventually lose due to a Chase Headley home run off of closer Aroldis Chapman. Leake struck out five.
Leake has his ERA down to 3.09. He has thrown a quality start in five of his eight starts, making him arguably the second- or third-best starting pitcher on this team right now.
No. 3: Brandon Phillips (No. 7 last week)
Brandon Phillips was the undisputed workhorse for this team over the last seven days. He recorded six RBI and eight hits, which was the most of any Red last week. He also had a home run and three doubles in that time.
The timing is unfortunate: He has begun contributing like the Brandon Phillips of old without the help of fellow mashers Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, leaving the Reds' offense sputtering. Phillips was just one of four Reds who actually recorded an RBI last week.
No. 4: Alfredo Simon (unranked last week)
After getting lit up by the Colorado Rockies and their best offense in baseball, Simon was dropped from the rankings in loud fashion. He fell from No. 2 off the charts, but that's what happens when you only get one start in the week and go for five earned runs in just three innings.
But Simon wasted no time propelling himself back into the top 10, turning in a stellar performance in what has traditionally been a graveyard for Reds baseball. Simon's outing against the Philadelphia Phillies last Friday night is the lone reason the Reds didn't get swept over the weekend.
He tossed 7.2 flawless innings, allowing no earned runs and striking out eight in the process. The Reds would win, then allow 20 runs over the next two nights.
What will happen with Alfredo Simon upon the return of Mat Latos? At this juncture, is he more serviceable in this capacity while Homer Bailey is watching his ERA inflate like a giant hot air balloon? Or might he desperately be needed to aid the Reds' bullpen and its second-worst ERA (5.40) in the game?
No. 5: Devin Mesoraco (unranked last week)
There weren't a lot of notable contributors on offense last week for the Reds. Just four Reds recorded an RBI, but one of the contributors turned in the second-most RBI for the week in just two games played.
Devin Mesoraco comes bursting back into the rankings, jumping all the way to No. 5 from the previous realm of the unranked. In just two games, Mesoraco had five hits in seven at-bats, which included two doubles, a home run and four RBI.
That brings Mesoraco's average to a stellar .500 on the season. Numbers like this should provide hope to Reds fans that one day they'll see a lineup where Votto, Phillips, Bruce and Mesoraco bat consecutively.
For now, the Reds are No. 28 in runs scored, in front of just the Braves and the Padres.
No. 6: Joey Votto (No. 6 last week)
Joey Votto played three games last week and is still in the top 10, which should illustrate the state of the Reds' offense at the moment. Before staying behind for an MRI while the Reds took off for Philly, Votto was still productive to a degree.
He didn't drive in any runs and only recorded two hits, but his four walks gave him an impressive OBP of .500, which means plenty of people behind him had RBI opportunities.
I'd like to think that Votto will return to the No. 2 spot in the batting order once slugger Jay Bruce returns, as Joey's best numbers come from batting second; though to be fair, he has more games played batting second than anywhere else.
The Reds will hope to avoid DL-ing the former MVP for his strained distal quad, but as of Monday morning (May 19), there is still no word.
No. 7: Zack Cozart (unranked last week)
Returning to the rankings is shortstop Zack Cozart, who turned in a pretty good week by all accounts. He hit .316 in 19 at-bats, driving in two RBI and crossing the plate twice himself. He also had a double.
His six hits tied teammate Billy Hamilton's total and were bested only by Brandon Phillips, who had eight.
No. 8: Billy Hamilton (No. 8 last week)
Billy Hamilton had a mediocre week by all measures for a leadoff man. He hit just .240 and had an OBP of only .269. He did manage six hits, which allowed him to steal three bases and cross the plate four times last week, the most runs scored by any Red.
Hamilton also recorded a triple but struck out four times while just getting one walk, an uncomfortable ratio for a table-setter.
We have officially covered three of the four Reds to have an RBI last week. The fourth Red, Ryan Ludwick, simply did not do enough to crack the top 10, once again emphasizing the state of an offense missing the middle of its order.
No. 9: J.J. Hoover (unranked last week)
J.J. Hoover has finally graced the power rankings following an April in which many, including myself, expected him to be throwing in Louisville for the month of May.
Hoover didn't blow anyone away, and candidly speaking he makes the top 10 by virtue of being one of just two relievers not to allow an earned run last week.
In Hoover's two innings, he struck out three batters and registered a WHIP of zero. Considering the Reds' bullpen owns the 29th-best bullpen ERA in baseball, even a performance of two flawless innings is enough to make the ranks.
His ERA is now "down" to 8.56. It was 9.72 at the end of April.
No. 10: Jonathan Broxton (unranked last week)
Jonathan Broxton returns to the top 10 this week following one scoreless inning of baseball. He struck out no one but had a WHIP of zero, which made for a stress-free inning, something Reds fans are not used to from the bullpen in 2014.
The Reds' bullpen has the fewest strikeouts in baseball, which is probably why their opponent batting average is up to .260, the highest opponent batting average in the NL.
Dropped from Reds Player Power Rankings
Todd Frazier (last week No. 2)
Homer Bailey (last week No. 4)
Skip Schumaker (last week No. 5)
Ryan Ludwick (last week No. 9)
Manny Parra (last week No. 10)
Alfredo Simon (unranked to No. 4)
Todd Frazier (No. 2 to unranked)
On the Cusp