#MLBPlayers411 | Eugenio Suárez
The continued emergence of Eugenio Suárez \AY-you-hay-nee-oh swa-rez\ – AKA Nicolle on #PlayersWeekend – has been a bright spot in an otherwise bleak season for the National League Central's last-place Reds.
The Venezuelan infielder took over third base in 2016 following Todd Frazier's trade to the White Sox the winter before and has just recently felt like he is becoming proficient defensively. Last season, he led NL third basemen with 23 errors. This year, he has just six errors and is second among NL third basemen with a .980 fielding percentage.
Suárez, who recently turned 26, had come up through the Tigers' system as a shortstop and played 81 games at the position as a rookie in 2014.
In the winter of 2014 he was part of the trade that sent Alfredo Simon from the Reds to the Tigers and became a regular for much of the 2015 season after Zack Cozart underwent knee surgery. He also turned heads with his bat, hitting .280 with 13 home runs and 48 RBIs over 372 at-bats.
Taking over at third in 2016, he batted .248 with 21 homers and 70 RBIs while learning to play his new position. He's been better so far this season, with a .261 average, .372 on-base average, 20 homers and 59 RBIs through 117 games. He's batting .282 with eight home runs and 15 RBIs since the All-Star break.
A few days ago, however, the Reds designated utility player Arismendy Alcantara for assignment and informed Suárez he should start taking groundballs at other infield positions, as well, with a depleted infield.
Suárez understands that working out with his smaller shortstop glove and maintaining his versatility can help his career. The rebuilding club's top prospect, Nick Senzel, is a third basemen and he's batting .348 with a .400 on-base average in Double-A, so he will demand playing time in the not too distant future, too.
“I feel good right now playing third base,” Suarez told Cincinnati.com. “If they need me at shortstop, I feel happy to be back at my position.”
Suárez, who is from Edo Bolivar, Venezuela, has been nothing if not obliging since joining the Reds. When the team's videographer was looking for volunteers during spring training, Suárez was happy to break out a few Salsa dance moves for the camera.
He didn't know exactly what the video would be used for until he saw himself on the giant scoreboard screen at Great American Ballpark during a rain delay. Like the Reds fans in attendance and his teammates, Suárez got a kick out of it.
“The first rain delay, I saw it and said, ‘What? These guys are using my video for THAT?'” Suarez told Cincinnati.com. “That's funny. That's a good moment to do something during the rain delay. I like it a lot.”
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