It would probably be fair to say when Tyler Naquin signed with the Reds in February that nobody believed he'd be where he is today.
But, here the 30-year old veteran sits, firmly entrenched in the starting lineup as the team continues its playoff push in the second half of the season.
Tyler Naquin:How he became the Reds starting center fielder
After spending his first five years with Cleveland, and only once playing more than 100 games in a season, Naquin is fourth on the Reds in home runs (13) and RBI (49).
Here are three things to know about Tyler Naquin:
Let's set the whole Naquin pronunciation thing straight
“Tyler ‘knock-ann,’” Votto said. “I said that right, ‘knock-ann.’ Are you sure it’s ‘nay-quinn?’ I think it’s ‘knock-ann.’ I think it’s ‘knock-ann,’ if you ask him. It’s French, if I’m not mistaken. You can laugh all you want, but I think it’s ‘knock-ann.’ It’s French. I speak French. It’s ‘knock-ann.’ ”
Does it matter to Tyler?
“It was hard for people to say Naquin, so it’s like, ‘might as well just say it how it looks,’ and people still mess it up,” Naquin said.
Tyler Naquin gets to patrol the same spot as his childhood favorite player, Ken Griffey Jr.
Growing up in Texas, Naquin was a big Houston Astros fan. Craig Biggio was one of his favorite players, but the other one is a player also very familiar with center field in Great American Ball Park:
I really liked watching Craig Biggio and I also liked Ken Griffey, Jr. when he was with the Mariners. I had a jersey of Griffey.
Tyler Naquin was the Big 12 player of the year at Texas A&M
How good was Naquin's sophomore season at Texas A&M? Consider this: He had a 27-game hitting streak, reached base in 39-straight games and led the conference with a .392 batting average, 85 hits and 54 runs.
That was good enough to earn him the conference POY honor in 2011.
A year later, in 2012, Cleveland took Naquin with the 15th overall pick of the MLB Draft. A pick before that one, at No. 14, the Reds took high school pitcher Nick Travieso. He never made it to the Majors with the Reds and was released in 2019.
It wasn't a total bust of a draft for the Reds, though. That's the year they landed outfielder Jesse Winker.