The Cincinnati Reds extended 3rd baseman Eugenio Suarez to a seven year, sixty-five million dollar deal in February. That being said, Suarez has made the Reds feel like they’ve struck gold. Since the start of the season, he’s batting .297 with 7 homers and 30 RBI. Oh, and he spent half the month of April on the DL with a broken thumb. Suarez is the newest candidate to rival both Manny Machado and Nolan Arenado.
He Can Swing it
In the offseason after 2014, the Cincinnati Reds traded Alfredo Simon to the Detroit Tigers for Suarez. That season, he had only hit .242, but if the Tigers had a crystal ball, they would’ve laughed at this trade. Since coming over from the Tigers, he has hit .331 with the Redlegs. Suarez also has provided a great pop of power, with an increase of homeruns each season. Eugenio earned his deal this past season after he played in 156 games, and hit .260 with 26 homers and 82 RBI.
A good comparison is Nolan Arenado, who broke in with the Rockies, and increased his power and production until he exploded in 2015 and ’16. Since that time, Arenado has dominated the batting titles for 3rd baseman. Playing at Coors Field definitely serves him well, as Suarez may only get to play there four times a season. Suarez gladly gets to call the homerun haven of Great American Ballpark home.
He Can Field it
Suarez is a natural shortstop, but when he was traded to the Reds, Zack Cozart manned the position. Soon thereafter, Suarez got his chance when Cozart tore his ACL. He struggled to start out, but soon settled in amongst the Reds infield. Suarez soon moved to third base, with the departure of Todd Frazier, with hopes he could match the lost production. He answered the bell, time and time again, asserting himself at the hot corner. Since coming to the Reds his fielding % is .991, which puts him only behind Arenado for the highest fielding % in that 4 year span.
Although Eugenio had his struggles with the glove early on in the everyday role, and after the move to third, he has really settled into his home at the hot corner. Getting used to the position change took little time, and proved to be fruitful for the Reds, as they moved Jose Peraza into the everyday shortstop role. The only mainstay in the younger, cheaper infield is perennial MVP candidate Joey Votto.
He’s a Positive Leader of the Future
Joey Votto is most likely on the back nine of his career, and it will be Eugenio who takes over as that main locker room presence when he retires. He already has garnered respect and love from the Cincinnati fans, and he also leads the other foreign, Spanish speaking players in the Reds clubhouse. Eugenio is from Venezuela, and so is Jose Peraza, who he sees as a younger brother. Eugenio also promotes Spanish in baseball by having segments in between innings to help brush up on your baseball Spanish. He also has shown us how to salsa, and how to just plain have fun.
Next time you’re in Cincinnati or the Reds come to your town, go catch a game, and look for #7. You can guarantee you’ll spot him with his platinum hair and million dollar smile. Pay good attention because you’re watching a premier up and comer in this league who’s bound to make noise for years.
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