Chicago Cubs: Making the case for each NL Central contender

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
3 of 5
Nicholas Castellanos / Chicago Cub
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Making the case for the Cincinnati Reds

Below the front-runners in the Central, you’ll find the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds. Cincinnati, who suffered at the hands of the Brewers on Thursday are still just a good road trip away from having the top seed in the division at their fingertips, as they sit just five games back of the Cubs and Brewers. Not to mention their high-powered offense featuring former Buffalo native Jesse Winker and and former Chicago Cubs fan favorite Nick Castellanos.

The Reds pitching has struggled thus far, it’s their bats that has kept them in games. Castellanos and Winker, coming into the season as solid players, are playing at All-Star levels right now. Castellanos ranks first in batting average (.357) and third in OPS (1.038). Winker’s right there with his teammate among the best in MLB, ranking second in batting average (.346), second in OPS (1.057) and tied for third in the league in homers (17). I think I everyone who reads this or follows the Reds would be in agreement that these guys are absolute animals at the plate.

I’ll put it to you this way as to how important Winker and Castellanos are to the Reds’ success. Whenever a team goes to Cincy to play these guys, at the top of the scouting report, you’ll see “CASTELLANOS” and “WINKER” in all caps, highlighted, underlined, you name it. Labeled with things like “don’t do (x) with this guy” or “Make sure we don’t do (x) with him”. If you get too cute with these guys, they can and will beat you.