Cincinnati Reds: Week 8 Player Power Rankings
After seven long weeks atop the Reds player power rankings, Johnny Cueto was officially lifted from the throne following a disastrous outing against the Washington Nationals. It was an odd sequence of events; the first two runs to cross the plate were unearned. By that time, Cueto had already been laboring, working nearly every full.
But on a night when the Reds' ace was less than perfect, the defense behind him was less than adequate, making for a beating at the hands of the Nationals and a new No. 1 in this week's power rankings.
No. 1: Alfredo Simon (Last Week No. 4)
Alfredo Simon officially sits atop the Reds' Iron Throne as the best Red in uniform, right now, following the exodus of King Cueto. After a night when the Reds ace was given a supplemental boost to his anemic ERA, Simon went out and tossed seven innings and allowed one earned run on five hits en route to a Reds win and much-needed series victory against the Washington Nationals.
It was the first series victory in Washington since 2010.
The question is becoming ever more imperative: When Mat Latos returns, what will the Reds do with this hidden gem?
No. 2: Mike Leake (Last Week No. 2)
Mike Leake turned in a really good effort last week in two starts worth of work. The young right-hander threw 6.2 innings in a no-decision against the Nationals, a game that the Reds would at least go on to win. He allowed just one earned run that game while issuing just one walk.
He wasn't so lucky in his next start. Despite surrendering just two earned runs on seven hits against the Cardinals, the Reds could not muster the run support, again, and Leake would go on to earn a tough-luck loss because of it. He pitched six innings that game and issued only two walks while striking out eight batters, tying the most strike outs he's had this year since the Pirates game in April.
No. 3: Todd Frazier (Last Week Unranked)
Roaring back into the power rankings this week is third baseman Todd Frazier. After a short exodus from the list, Frazier has returned all the way to the No. 3 spot. He had six RBI alone last week and is currently leading the team with 27 on the year.
Frazier was instrumental in several of the Reds victories last week, including a three-run bomb against the Cardinals and a two-run home run in the 15th inning against the Nationals.
This has been crucial in the prolonged absence of both Joey Votto and Jay Bruce.
No. 4: Brandon Phillips (Last Week No. 3)
Brandon Phillips only drove in two runs last week, but he's been pretty hot at the plate beyond RBI. Last week, Phillips had eight hits. He had a six-game hitting streak before going hitless in the last game of the Cardinals series.
One unfortunate thing about Phillips' week last week is that he struck out seven times and recorded no walks, but perhaps the eight hits make that trivial.
No. 5: Zack Cozart (Last Week No. 7)
Zack Cozart moves up two spots this week because of a hot bat. Cozart recorded 10 hits last week and has seen his average rise from .206 to .233 to begin this week (before the Dodgers game last night). He had one RBI, which came in a loss to the Cardinals.
Even more notable, Cozart struck out just one time all of last week, which perhaps indicates he's seeing the ball a lot better. His recent hot streak has allowed Price to utilize Cozart at the No. 2 spot.
No. 6: Brayan Pena (Last Week Unranked)
Brayan Pena returns to the Reds power rankings after a few weeks of absence. The backup catcher is seeing a considerable more amount of time than anticipated in the absence of Joey Votto.
Pena had seven hits last week, including two RBI. In the Cardinals series, Pena recorded an incredible diving stop with a back flip for an out that was worthy of time on SportsCenter.
No. 7: J.J. Hoover (Last Week No. 9)
Don't look now, but J.J. Hoover is climbing the ranks, moving up two spots in this week's power rankings. Hoover impressively tossed six scoreless innings of baseball last week against two formidable offenses and in overall tight situations.
In those six scoreless innings of work, Hoover struck out five batters, though he did walk three. Hoover has his ERA "down" to 6.27, but we're talking about an ERA that was once 10.03 in early May.
No. 8: Ryan Ludwick (Last Week Unranked)
Ryan Ludwick fell out of the power rankings last week but has returned following an impressive series with the Cardinals. Ludwick was out for most of the Washington series, but his presence was felt in the weekend series with St. Louis as he recorded four hits and an RBI.
While Ludwick is by no means knocking the cover off of the ball, he is quietly the Reds' third-best run producer, having driven in 17 runs thus far. While the Reds have certainly needed it, this also illustrates a glaring problem on the offensive side of the diamond.
No. 9: Skip Schumaker (Last Week Unranked)
Skip Schumaker joins several others on a return from power rankings exodus following a decent series with the Nationals. In that series, Schumaker recorded three hits, including two doubles and an RBI. He only played in two games against the Cardinals. He had one hit and and a walk in a game the Reds would eventually lose.
In a limited amount of work, Schumaker has his average at .240 with an OBP of .309. The Reds might try inserting Schumaker into more of a full-time role in Bruce's absence, as he is proving to be a difficult and often productive out.
He has the same amount of home runs and RBI as teammate Chris Heisey in less than half the appearances.
No. 10: Jonathan Broxton
The big man continues his stay in the power rankings by turning in a solid three innings of work and allowing no runs in the process. Broxton has been a breath of fresh air for an ailing bullpen that has been one of the worst (regarding ERA) in baseball.
Broxton has his own ERA down to a very respectable 0.64 and continues to be a serviceable bridge from setup to Aroldis Chapman. His WHIP is down to .63, making him a refreshingly stress-free pitcher to watch.
Dropped from Reds Player Power Rankings
Johnny Cueto (last week No. 1)
Devin Mesoraco (last week No. 5)
Joey Votto (last week No. 6) - DL
Billy Hamilton (last week No. 8)
Todd Frazier (last week unranked)
Johnny Cueto (last week No. 1)
On the Cusp
Billy Hamilton, Aroldis Chapman, Sam LeCure