by: Garret Heinrich (@GarretHeinrich)
[Editor’s Note: Garret has a bit of a man crush on Josh Reddick from all the days he played for Oakland A’s, Garret’s favorite team.]
The Houston Astros are on fire. They have the best record in baseball and don’t seem to show any signs of stopping. But the baseball season is a long one and there are a lot of things that can change week to week, month to month and day to day. When those changes come, it will come down to a few players to keep the team moving forward and progressing toward their goal of winning the World Series. It is my belief that the most important player for the Astros this season is Josh Reddick.
Yes, Jose Altuve is the spark plug. Dallas Keuchel is the Cy Young. Lance McCullers is the soon to be ace. Carlos Correa is the best pure player. But Josh Reddick is the key. He’s the guy who will be able to do what is needed for this team on and off the field. Here’s why he’s so important.
1. Clubhouse King
Nothing can propel a team to be their best like a tight, fun, enjoyable clubhouse. Josh Reddick is the straw that stirs the drink in the Astros Lockerroom. He brought in the Championship Belt that players compete for. He’s the guy who will bring the mood up if there is a tough loss and he’s the guy to keep it going when they are on a hot streak.
2. Been Here Before
Reddick isn’t Carlos Beltran kind of experience, but he’s been on a team a lot like this Astros team. The 2014 Oakland Athletics are remarkably like the 2017 Houston Astros.
Record Thru 41 Games –
’14 Oakland 25-16
’17 Houston 29-12
Both are being heralded as the best team in baseball with a mixture of breakout young stars and strong pitching mixed in with some veterans playing well. Both are in the third season of a rebuilding plan that saw success earlier than expected.
Reddick is on both of these teams. And the 2014 A’s had one fatal flaw. They were light in the pitching rotation. Billy Beane addressed that with trades to get Jeff Samardzija and Jon Lester to shore up the rotation. It wasn’t enough for the A’s to hold on to the division and won only 29 games after the All-Star Break. If the Astros start to show signs (which trust me, the A’s showed some signs) of falling off, Reddick will help keep them together. He knows you can fight back.
I’m also going to go on the record as saying this Astros team is better than that A’s team. Their bats are much deeper and more talented than the A’s team in 2014. They do need one more pitcher though I think.
Josh Reddick can really do it all. He’s a five-tool player. His defense is plus. His arm is plus plus. He can hit for average. He can hit for power. If he needs to, he can play first base. He can play all three outfield positions. This is a guy you want to have in the lineup as much as possible and he gives you the flexibility to do that. Also if he’s struggling with the bat a bit, he has value elsewhere.
4. Playoff Experience
Only Carlos Beltran has more playoff experience than Josh Reddick. Reddick has played in 21 playoff games in his career. In his five full seasons in the league, Reddick has had just one season where he hasn’t been in a playoff race (2015).
Some people hate it (Rangers). Some people love it (Ric Flair). We agree with the Nature Boy on this one. Wooston is an awesome, fun, entertaining trend that we can all thank Reddick for. Especially if other teams hate the “Woo!”, then we should never stop it.