Cincinnati Reds: Top 10 Reds of Week 13
After taking two out of three vs. the Chicago Cubs and sweeping the San Francisco Giants, the Cincinnati Reds occupy one of the NL's two wild-card slots. While the offense has been prolific, the Reds' pitching staff is once again living up to its high-profile billing.
The last nine Reds victories have been seen the pitcher record a quality start. The rotation has the MLB's fourth-best ERA in baseball, and only three other teams have posted more quality starts than the Reds.
As of Monday, the Reds are sitting on a five-game winning streak.
Here are the top 10 Reds most instrumental in inserting the team back into the NL playoff picture.
10. Aroldis Chapman (Last Week: Unranked)
One blown save is normally enough to take a guy right out of the top 10, but all things considered, it was a great week for flame-throwing left-hander Aroldis Chapman. He recorded three saves on four opportunities, one against the Chicago Cubs and the other two against the Giants.
Chapman was then asked to save a fourth consecutive game, marking only the second time ever in his career that he made appearances in four straight days. After making quick work of batters in his previous three outings, he struggled initially in the last outing.
Though he blew the save after Buster Posey got him for a double, what Chapman did next was remarkable. The tying run crossed with no outs and runners occupying third and second. One fly ball to the outfield would have ended the Reds' run and prevented a sweep. However, the runs never crossed, and the Reds would go on to take the game in extras.
Chapman worked 3.2 innings of work in four games, struck out five (keeping his consecutive strikeout streak alive) and surrendered four hits and one walk.
9. Homer Bailey (Last Week: Unranked)
Homer Bailey turned in a disappointing start against the Cubs but rebounded strong with a complete-game shutout against the Giants. In total last week, he pitched 14.1 innings, surrendering four earned runs, seven hits, three walks and 13 strikeouts.
Bailey broke a skid of three consecutive poor outings in which he failed to record a quality start. He ended that in a big way with a masterful outing Sunday, an outing that was just a few innings short of a no-hitter.
8. Brandon Phillips (Last Week: No. 8)
Brandon Phillips stays in neutral after a decent week that included some enormous home runs. He only played in four games last week due to a bruised heel, but he managed to make his presence felt in San Francisco.
In just four games, Phillips recorded four hits, two of them home runs, four RBI and a walk.
7. Mike Leake (Last Week: No. 5)
Mike Leake falls to No. 7 this week through little fault of his own. He pitched in just one game last week, but it was a stellar outing. Leake was the starter for the first game of the Giants series, and he set a tone by pitching eight innings of one-earned-run baseball.
Leake struck out a career-high 12 batters last Thursday, making the outing one of his best ever. He is breaking out of a small skid to start June in which had three consecutive bad outings and gave up at least four runs.
Since those bad outings, though, Leake has pitched against two first-place teams, going eight innings against both and only allowing the Toronto Blue Jays and the Giants one earned run.
6. Devin Mesoraco (Last Week: No. 4)
Devin Mesoraco turned in a productive week at the plate by recording six hits, with a double, two home runs, six RBI and three walks. His OBP for the week was an impressive .423.
Mesoraco was one home run shy of breaking an MLB record of hitting a home run in six straight games. He got to five but failed to get the sixth in the final game of the Cubs series.
With 40 RBI, Mesoraco is second on the team in runs batted in.
5. Johnny Cueto (Last Week: No. 2)
Johnny Cueto drops a few spots this week because of only having one start, but he made it count.
Cueto fell just short of a complete game but was lifted in the ninth after allowing a baserunner. He exited the game after tossing 8.1 innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs and striking out three.
4. Billy Hamilton (Last Week No. 3)
Billy Hamilton continued a streak of significant productivity at the plate. Last week, he recorded 11 hits in 32 at-bats, including four doubles, five RBI and three stolen bases. He has been a staple of the Reds' offensive revival.
In the last 30 days, Hamilton is leading the team in batting average at .333 with an OBP of .353. He also has 18 RBI in that time, just one fewer than Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips, who have 19.
3. Alfredo Simon (Last Week: Unranked)
Alfredo Simon did not record a single win last week, but he did record two ultra-quality starts. He pitched 17 innings of one-run ball against the Cubs before going seven innings against the Giants, allowing just one earned run in that game too.
Simon struck out nine batters and walked just two, and though he didn't record a win in those two starts, the Reds eventually went on to win both games.
2. Jay Bruce (Last Week: No. 7)
Jay Bruce has climbed the highest he's ever been this season on this list.
Bruce is on fire. Last week, in 28 at-bats, he recorded 11 hits, six doubles, five RBI and a stolen base. His OBP for the week was .414.
Bruce was riding a nine-game hitting streak before breaking it in Sunday's finish, but he hit .393 for the week. He took his batting average from .225 to start the week to .246 to end it.
1. Todd Frazier (Last Week: No. 1)
Todd Frazier enjoys his sixth consecutive week atop this list after another prolific week at the plate. He's just one week short of catching teammate Johnny Cueto for most No. 1 appearances on the year. Cueto began the year with seven straight No. 1 appearances.
This week, Frazier had 11 hits in 30 at-bats, including a triple, two RBI and two walks. He also turned in a whopping four stolen bases, one more than teammate Billy Hamilton in the same time span. Frazier's OBP for the week was .406.
Dropped from the Rankings: Zack Cozart (last week No. 10), Ryan Ludwick (last week No. 9), Joey Votto (last week No. 6)
Biggest Jump: Alfredo Simon (last week unranked)
Biggest Drop: Joey Votto (last week No. 6)
On the Cusp: Mat Latos, Skip Schumaker, Chris Heisey, Jonathan Broxton