Reds: Derek Dietrich's odd season
On February 19 the Reds signed Derek Dietrich to a minor league contract with a non-roster invitation to spring training. What followed has been one of the oddest individual seasons in franchise history.
He was one of two non-roster invitees to make the Opening Day roster. He became a fan favorite and the talk of the town with his swagger, gold chain, shenanigans and power display. He also drew the ire of opponents along the way. His season has been all or nothing:
First 52 games: 30 for 111, 17 HR, 35 RBI, 8 HBP, .254-.364-.720-1.085
Last 54 games: 17 for 120, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 17 HBP, .142-.322-.258-.581 (since 3 HR game May 28)
Consider the path his season has taken...........
Scooter Gennett's injury opened the door to playing in April.
April 7: Dietrich homer twice and drove in four runs vs the Pirates. He angered pitcher Chris Archer after admiring a blast he hit out of PNC Park. Archer threw behind Dietrich's back later in the game, resulting in a bench-clearing brawl.
A slow start to the season for Jose Peraza eventually gave Dietrich the starting job at 2B. He took off in May .304-.400-.841-1.241, 12 HR, 22 RBI.
May 3: Hit two homers and drove in six runs vs Giants.
May 5: He drew an eye-black and a mustache on his face during a game the Reds wore their 1911 throwback uniforms.
May 6: He donned bee keeper gear and came to the rescue when a swarm of bees at GABP delayed the start of the game vs the Giants.
May 7: He dressed up as a handyman during a power outage prior to the Reds game in Oakland.
May 28: He hit three home runs vs the Pirates and received a curtain call from the GABP crowd. His third homer of the night was his 17th of the season, establishing a new career-high. His 118th at-bats were the fewest by any player in Reds history to reach 17 HR.
June 21: He became the first Reds player since 1900 to be hit by a pitch three times in one game (Milwaukee).
June 22: Hit by two pitches, he became the first player to be hit by five pitches in a series since 1904.
July 13: Hit home run number 19.
August 5: He was placed on IL with left shoulder issues and missed nearly three weeks.
August 20: He was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat of his rehab assignment at Louisville.
Season stats: .197-.342-.487-.830, 19 HR, 43 RBI. Career high numbers in homers, slugging and OPS.
He's started at four different positions: 2B (43), 1B (13), LF (7), DH (2)
He's been hit by a pitch 25 times, one short of Shin Soo Choo's franchise record for a season (2013).
Since his last home run on July 13 he's 3 for 36 (.083) with 0 HR and 0 RBI.
He changed his swing and raised his launch angle this past offseason. He had a career run and captured the imagination of a city. Pitchers adjusted. He didn't. He hurt his shoulder. He can't regain regular playing time. So what's next?
Dietrich is making $2M this season and is arbitration eligible in the offseason. With 2B options that include Josh VanMeter, Freddy Galvis and Jose Peraza, it's possible Dietrich's time as a Reds will go from minor league contact/spring training invite in February to designate him for assignment in the offseason.
All or nothing. Dietrich's 2019 season with the Reds.