Twitter was a buzz when rumors swirled of Eugenio Suarez playing at SS in a spring game. After the game, David Bell announces it would happen, followed up by reports that the Reds have been working with Suarez at SS and plan to use him there in the regular season. This news sent fantasy baseball Twitter a buzz. Buzz, for a good reason as Suarez, will gain SS/MI eligibility and many other moving pieces. The thing about Suarez moving to SS, it is not all great. There will be some downsides as well. Let’s discuss all the good and bad ramifications of Eugenio Suarez taking over as the Reds’ everyday SS.

Eugenio Suarez

First things first, let’s talk Suarez. Suarez was a SS in his earlier days, so the move is not super crazy, more so a little crazy. A bigger player than he was when he played SS and, more importantly, is just a year, maybe not even a whole year, removed from a serious shoulder injury. His defense up the middle could hurt the Reds pitching staff as a whole, but we will discuss it a bit later. For now, it is pretty cool to get another SS to add to the player pool, right?

So many SS, but Suarez slides in as a top 10 shortstop with 35+ home run upside. When looking at the BAT X projections, there are only two SS with over 30 home runs (Tatis 36/Seager 31), and there is a chance Suarez could hit over 40. This is great if you are looking for power from SS, but the most significant impact when I look at the change would be Suarez gaining that SS/MI eligibility. Positional flexibility is enormous in the current fantasy landscape we play in, which would boost Suarez up even more this season.

Mike Moustakas

With Suarez moving to SS, the initial move would be Moustakas to 3B. Moustakas was already an excellent fantasy asset as he had 1B/2B eligibility, but adding 3B could be solid as well. Moose disappointed in 2020, hitting .230 with an increased K% to 22.1%. His xBA was .240, and many of his statcast metrics look similar to 2019. Moose’s most significant changes in 2020 were a little less contact, more line drives, and more balls hit to the center of the field. If Moose can make a bit more contact in 2021, he should be okay with his 40% hard-hit rate and near 10% barrel rate. Throw in return to his original position of 3B, and Moose is ready to be a vital fantasy asset yet again. In the month of March, Moose is the 13th 1B and 11th 2B in NFBC online drafts. I would have Moose just outside the Top 10 at 3B, which would be an excellent addition to the position.

Jonathan India

India is the name many are excited about, with Suarez to SS and Moose to 3B. I am not as enthusiastic as most, but that is usually the case when it comes to prospects who haven’t knocked my socks off. India was the first-round pick for the Reds in 2018, and they have been working him at 2B instead of his 3B from time to time when Suarez appeared to be locked into the position. Side note, why not just keep Moose at 2B and play India at 3B, but India at 2B is the rumor that has surfaced. India has not blown up in the minors like many hoped he would, like his draft mate Alec Bohm has. 

He had a combined 11 home runs and 11 stolen bases in his 121 games between A+/AA in 2019. This is not bad, but expectations were much higher for India. Perhaps last season at the alternate site, he impressed the Reds, leading to this rumor. Based on his spring numbers, an improvement at the alternate site makes sense. He is hitting .348 with three XBH and a steal. He also has a .500 OBP and has shown excellent OBP skills in the minors. Through the 45 online drafts since March 1, India has yet to be drafted. He is still a long shot, but the rumor is enticing, and if the Reds do start India at 2B to start the season, he needs to be on a fantasy team. He has a Tommy Edman feel with Cavan Biggio upside, so the intrigue is real with India. 

Nick Senzel/Shogo Akiyama

Early in spring, the Reds were already all-in on Senzel, so not a significant change here when it comes to fantasy. I thought he could move to the infield in this scenario as he has played there most of his career, but outfield, it is with the Shogo Akiyama injury. The biggest thing to watch for Senzel is when Shogo returns. If the Reds are still using Suarez at SS, then maybe Senzel slides to 2B giving Senzel more positional flexibility and give Shogo regular playing time in the outfield. It would be a nice boost for both.

There is potentially more fallout from the Reds “experiment,” but this should do the trick for now. One of the biggest takeaways is more positional flexibility for a handful of Reds, which cannot be overlooked. Another potential takeaway is the Reds may call on India a little sooner than expected, opening up some later-round draft upside. Lastly, the major downside for this “experiment” is the defense taking a massive hit up the middle. The Reds pitchers cannot be overly thrilled with this move, and time will tell just how much it hurts some of their groundball pitchers. The situation is still very much worth monitoring but could be a big one.