Eugenio Suarez (7) Days Until Cincinnati Reds Report to Spring Training


In just one week, the Cincinnati Reds will head to Spring Training, and we can all get down to the business of figuring out what the 2015 edition of the team will look like.  One player who hopes to play a role in taking the Reds back to contention this season is newcomer shortstop Eugenio Suarez, Number 7 on our Countdown Team.

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Suarez, originally signed as an amateur free agent by the Detroit Tigers in 2008, came to Cincinnati last December, along with pitching prospect Jonathon Crawford, in exchange for 2014 rotation member Alfredo Simon.    Baseball America ranks the 23-year-old Suarez as a utility man with pop, and maybe even a starting shortstop in the Majors, noting that he has improved in the field over the last couple of seasons.

Shortstop should be an interesting position for the Reds this Spring, because, although incumbent Zack Cozart is an all-world fielder, he has been putrid on offense, as last year’s .221/.268/.300 slash line indicate.  Cozart also offers little in the way of speed, so nearly his entire value to the team comes when he has a glove on his hand.

Suarez, on the other hand, didn’t fare much better in 85 games with the Tigers in 2014, posting a .652 OPS in 277 plate appearances, with just a little power (4 homers) and not much speed mixed in.  He was average in the field, so he holds no clear advantage over Cozart based on those numbers.

But Suarez was just 22 last season, and his minor league OPS stands at .775 in 2230 PA, including a .939 mark at Triple-A Toledo last season.  He has time to improve, while Cozart will turn 30 in August and seems unlikely to be much more than what we have seen in the past.

At the very least, Suarez should provide some competition for Cozart this Spring and some depth during the season.  It’s not out of the question that the youngster could emerge as Cincy’s starting shortstop before March roars into April.


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