Reds First Month Awards
It’s been a season of peaks and valleys in Cincinnati thus far. A 6-1 start has been canceled out by a seven-game losing streak, giving the Reds an 11-13 record on the last day of April. However, there have been a few players to be happy with after the first month of baseball.
Here are the first month awards for the fourth-place Reds.
MVP - Nick Castellanos & Jesse Winker (TIE)
We’re bending the rules a bit here, but it’s not as if there haven’t been co-MVPs in real life. So rather than trying to compare and contrast Castellanos and Winker, we’re saying both have been equally valuable for the Reds.
Starting with Castellanos, Cincinnati’s big free agent acquisition from a year ago has been the team’s most consistent hitter. Nick leads the Reds with seven home runs, six doubles, and 57 total bases. He has also provided some emotional sparks (see Woodford, Jake) that helped fuel the team during their six-game winning streak early on.
Then there’s Jesse Winker, who has been an up-and-down role player for the Reds dating back to 2017. This season, Winker has multiple hits in 10 of his 19 games played, giving him a team-high .377 batting average. He also has a team-leading .422 OBP, .701 slugging, and 29 hits, just one more than Castellanos.
The two corner outfielders are neck and neck in multiple categories but equally important to the lineup thus far. As a result, both Castellanos and Winker are sharing the early honor of team MVP.
Cy Young - Tejay Antone
This might be a surprise to some, considering the impressive numbers that Tyler Mahle has put up through five starts. But so far, it’s the 27-year old Tejay Antone who has been the best pitcher for Cincinnati.
Serving as one of the main bullpen arms, Antone has been dominant in 2021. He has been asked to go multiple innings several times, totaling 13.2 innings over the course of seven games. But he has been more than adequate in those outings, giving up just one run on four hits with 20 strikeouts, giving him a 0.66 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 13.2 K/9.
Considering the early-season struggles of Amir Garrett, Lucas Simms, and Sean Doolittle, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Antone get more save opportunities as the year goes on. But so far, manager David Bell has used him successfully in stretches of long relief, where he has become the best pitcher on the team through the first month.
Rookie of the Year - Jonathan India
This was an award between India and Jose De Leon, just purely because of De Leon’s ridiculous strikeout rate. However, India has been the obvious best choice as Cincy’s top rookie in 2021.
The 24-year old is a true rookie, skipping Triple-A and earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. India made the most of his opportunity, beginning his career with a six-game hitting streak, with multiple hits in three of them. While his average has cooled a bit to the tune of .239, his two triples have shown his speed, while his 14 RBI shows his ability to hit with runners on base.
India is just one of five players on the team with more than 63 at-bats, so they are wasting no time in getting him chances. It speaks to the level of trust they already have in their young rookie, making him the easy choice for the top first-year player in Cincy.
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