What this Reds rookie learned in 2022

September 28th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Mark Sheldon’s Reds Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Welcome back to the Reds Beat newsletter! Mark Sheldon has covered baseball for MLB.com since 2001, including the Reds since 2006.

When the Reds played the Rockies on Sept. 2, had the Major League debut any kid would dream of. In a 2-for-2 night during which he reached safely four times, Steer hit a home run for his first hit and scored the game-winning run in a 3-2 walk-off win.

Not surprisingly, every game since has been more challenging. Steer didn’t hit his second big league homer until Sunday, when his eighth-inning solo shot gave Cincinnati a 2-1 win over the Brewers. The time between homers has included a learning experience.

“It’s just another level up here,” Steer said. “Guys are just so consistent, and if they find a weakness, they’re going to go after it and try to expose you for it. Just trying to play that cat-and-mouse game, make that adjustment, so I can start hitting those pitches.”

In 22 games, Steer is batting .222/.333/.347. While adjusting to big league pitchers, he hasn’t made too many changes to his approach.

“I’m just trying to stay aggressive,” he said. “I’ve been a little passive here in these last couple of games, falling behind in counts. That last at-bat [on Sunday], I was just swinging and trying to be aggressive. Anything in the zone, [I] just try to put the bat on the ball. Being aggressive and at the same time, just trying to keep it simple. This game is already hard enough and you don’t want to make it harder on yourself.”

Reds manager David Bell recently told Steer he can tell that he knows what he’s doing and looks comfortable at this level. He likes how the rookie has handled himself.

“He's just going to keep getting better,” Bell said. “He's at a point in the season he's never been at before, and there's fatigue that sets in. There's all kinds of stuff he's dealing with. And he's just steady. I think players like that stay like that no matter what happens.”

Steer, who was acquired from the Twins in the Aug. 2 trade for starting pitcher Tyler Mahle, is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization’s No. 7 prospect.

“It’s definitely the latest into the year I’ve ever played, but I don’t feel like I have to empty the tank,” Steer said. “I feel like I’ve still got plenty left, so can’t really blame it on fatigue. It’s definitely a good experience playing this late in the year, for sure.”