2. April 2016 18:33
A quick summary of Spring Training.
GOOD NEWS: HITTING
The Reds as a team hit .284/.350 for the spring. That's good stuff.
Guys who are heading north who hit at least the team average .284 (in order):
And here's Joey's slashline for the spring: .455/.529/.636/1.556. Holy cow.
BAD NEWS: PITCHING
There is almost nothing good to say about the pitching. Cingrani had a really good spring. Hoover's was decent. That's about it.
Injuries everywhere. Pulling in leftovers off the waiver wire. Ugh.
1. How did Drew Hayes not make the bullpen cut? Don't tell me it's because he's not on the 40-man roster. That's not a valid excuse when the bullpen is this bad. He had a lights-out spring but got sent down before they broke camp. Pitched a scoreless inning today in Indy. No runs, no hits, two strikeouts. What gives?
2. What is Price thinking batting Cozart leadoff? I'm okay with moving BHam down, but do you know that Cozart has a worse lifetime OBP than Billy? And that he had a worse spring than Billy? And that he's 0-7 with five strikeouts since Price moved him to leadoff two games ago? And that he SUCKED at the top of the lineup a couple of years ago under Dusty? And that he's coming off a MAJOR injury? I would bat ANYONE on the team in the leadoff slot ahead of Cozart. How about BP, who did well there last year and had a killer spring?
9. March 2016 18:57
Greetings from Goodyear where it's sunny, 80 degrees, and life is good. Even an 11-5 buttwupping from the Rangers today can't harsh my mellow. Bad baseball is better than no baseball at all.
Random reflections on the day:
--No batting practice on the back fields today because the team returned from Scottsdale after midnight last night. Did get to see pitchers loosening up on the field. Said hello to Jon Lamb and Drew Hayes. Also saw Cozart fielding grounders.
--I know this is a first-world problem, but the cost at the gate for a lawn ticket was $9 instead of the normal $8 because it was purchased the day of the game. Silly surcharge by my way of thinking.
--Small crowd, so I sat where I wanted in the shade behind the plate.
--All the Reds runs came in the 9th inning from the C squad. By that time I was sitting right behind the dugout. Fun to watch the youngsters rally.
--No Reds pitcher looked good today. Mattheus and Cotham in particular got waxed.
--Nice throw from Yorman in right field to get Choo out trying to take third.
--Speaking of Choo, he got warm pre-game greetings from Bruce, Votto, and Price. So did Adrian Beltre (not sure of the connection there) and Drew Stubbs.
--Speaking of Stubbs, he chased and missed two high pitches in a row and then caught up with the third one, launching it for a long home run which landed....(wait for it...) at the base of the light tower. I'm not making this up.
Okay, that's about it for today. I'll keep this thread running while I'm in AZ and will add to it tomorrow after I return from watching the Reds battle the Rockies at Salt River Fields. Looking forward to some good eating in Scottsdale tomorrow, too. (BTW, we went to Raul and Theresa's last night for a great meal--I know Amy and Champ enjoy that place too.)
1. March 2016 07:20
Hooray for March! It sure took its time getting here.
Today is the first game of Spring Training. Cleveland will be the home team in Goodyear this afternoon. First pitch at 3:05 ET.
Today's game, and tomorrow's as well, will be broadcast up here on FSO. I'll miss the first inning but hope to catch most of the rest of the game. I'll probably post a few comments along the way.
Here is the lineup, via Mark Sheldon:
20. February 2016 18:27
We timed out even with only a few messages on the last thread, so here is new one.
I saw a tweet from John Fay that was somewhat encouraging where he said that Devin Mesoraco caught as many sessions as any other catcher. Hope he does not encounter any setbacks.
28. March 2015 10:21
Let me say up front that I offer this post just for friendly discussion. I don't think my recommendations will be followed by the Reds, and I'm guessing many on this board will disagree with me. I'm just tossing it out there to promote some conversation the week before the season starts.
I give you two players:
Player #1: 29 years old
Slashline #1: .271/.331/.479/.810
Slashline #2: .304/.373/.543/.916
Slashline #3: .405/.468/.619/1.087
Player #2: 29 years old
Slashline #1: .221/.268/.300/.568
Slashline #2: .172/.213/.276/.489
Slashline #3: .258/.258/.290/.548
Those of you who know me can probably guess where this is going. Player #1 is Kris Negron; Player #2 is Zack Cozart. The slashlines are from last season, last September, and Spring Training 2015.
Of course the sample sizes of Slashlines #2 and #3 are small, and of course they represent mostly meaningless games. The larger trend I'm trying to note is that Cozart was an early bloomer who is fading, while Negron is a late bloomer who is rising. The two players are about the same age (Negron is actually a few months younger), but they are heading in diametrically different directions.
Cozart's batting stats have gone down each of the last three years--precipitously. Last season was so bad that he had the lowest OPS of ANY REGULAR PLAYER IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES. Look it up. At .568, his OPS was #146 out of 146, nearly 20 points below M. Dominguez of Houston, whoever that is.
So this is the point where everyone yells, "But Cozart's an outstanding fielder who saves us games with his glove." To which I say, "I agree." I love watching Zack Cozart play shortstop. But you know what? I've seen Kris Negron play the infield and he's excellent. Good glove, soft hands, good range, strong arm. Check his minor league stats at SS and you'll see they're almost the equivalent of Cozart's. I'm not saying Negron is Cozart's equal in the field--few in MLB are--but he's not far off.
I'm not stupid--I know full well that Negron's role on this team is supersub off the bench. I get it. I also know that if Cozart went down with an injury this season, it's likely they'd call up Suarez to start in his place. In the Enquirer today, it was noted that Suarez hit only.242/.316 with 4 HR in a brief stint with Detroit last year. That doesn’t sound all that promising--until you realize that Cozart hit .221/.268 with 4 HR last year, in more than twice the ABs.
Many of you will say, "Cozart's the least of our problems. If he bats 8th and fields well, we can play around him." To which I will once again say, "I agree." But noting that he's the least of our problems doesn't mean he's not a problem. It's a problem when a guy's offense diminishes dramatically during three prime years of his career. It's a problem when he has the lowest OPS in the major leagues. And it's a problem when there is a guy on the bench who is blooming while Cozart is fading.
I'm not silly enough to believe that Negron could be anywhere close to an All-Star shortstop. But I honestly believe he could put up numbers equal to or better than Cozart's 2012 or 2013 numbers, with little dropoff in the field. And c'mon, you gotta love Negron's hustle, attitude, and game.
All of this is rather pointless because we saw last year that Cozart has the longest leash of anyone on this team. He stunk on toast at the plate all season and still got 543 PAs. I honestly hope he turns things around this year. I'm not rooting against him; I would be delighted to see him rebound. But if he keeps grounding out to the left side, popping up to right, and/or striking out (his three favorite options), I hope they'll give Negron some of his innings. And if Suarez is lighting it up in Louisville and takes Cozart's place, Zack might be out of a job--because he's nowhere near as valuable on the bench as Kris Negron.
26. March 2015 10:43
Last offseason, I was really high on Bryan Price. I was excited because it sounded like he would take a more advanced approach to managing the team.
I wrote the following:
“With Bryan Price sitting in the driver’s seat, the Reds are poised to step into the modern day of more progressive baseball strategy. In his own words:
You have to use statistical analysis to understand certain themes and certain percentages and certain matchups. That’s definitely a growing part of the game. In the same respect, you have to understand the ability of your team and the guys that you’re using in those situations. What are we asking somebody to do? Is it something they can do well or are we just going to play the numbers game of whether to bunt or take or matchup pitching, etc. I will say this: of all the things I didn’t like doing a great dealing was when we had a lot of situational pitchers, matchup guys. I never really enjoyed the matchup game with relief pitchers. (<a href=”http://marksheldon.mlblogs.com/2013/10/22/price-old-school-or-new-school/””Price: Old School or New School?”</a>)”
Last season was a struggle because of the sheer volume of injuries, so I’m going to give Price a small-ish leash and trust that he will do better this year with a full season under his belt and more tools at his disposal.
That being said, a lot of the discussion about the lineup this offseason has worried me. BP batting 3rd? BHam leading off? Are these the most productive uses of these players?
I wanted to revisit Tom Tango, Mitchel Lichtman, and Andrew Dolphin’s <i>The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball</i>. While their conclusions ultimately show that optimizing a batting order really only leads to, on average, about one win over the course of a season, this team needs all the help they can get. The Cardinals just re-upped their contract with Beelzebub. The Pirates continue to loot and pillage the NL Central. Kris Bryant won’t stop hitting home runs. The Brewers could get drunk and go streaking at any time. It’s a more competitive NL Central, top to bottom, than any in recent memory
Given the Reds’ current pool of talent, we’re going to make certain assumptions about who makes the 25-man if no players are added. Two of the keys to constructing an optimized lineup are understanding who your top 3 and top 5 hitters are on the team. For the sake of this article, I’m going to order them in this way based on historical performance and 2015 projections:
So, based on wisdom from <i>The Book</i> and summary provided by <a href=”http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2009/3/17/795946/optimizing-your-lineup-by”>this article</a>, here we go.
Your lead-off hitter, as many of us know, should be a high-OBP/light power guy. He doesn’t have to steal a lot of bases, but he should be one of the 3 best hitters on the team. Between Votto, Frazier, and Bruce, Votto and Frazier fit the bill for this position better than Bruce. While Votto might be ideal to get the most ABs in a season, I’m giving this spot to Frazier because he has some great baserunning instincts and can literally hit a home run without holding the bat.
Best choice: Todd Frazier
Runner-up: Joey Votto
The two-hole should be managed by another one of your top three hitters, and since he hits with the bases empty a lot, he should also be more of a high-OBP/light power guy. This is where Joey Votto should be hitting.
Best Choice: Joey Votto
Runner-up: Todd Frazier
The third spot in the lineup is traditionally where you position your best pure hitter. He drives in the guys in front of him with copious doubles/HRs/etc. But the data shows a different reality. He comes to the dish with fewer runners on than the 4 and 5 hitters, and he often comes to the plate with 2 outs and empty bases. This spot is not very important, it turns out, so use a leftover here from among your top 5 hitters, but make it someone with a little pop.
Best choice: Marlon Byrd
Clean-up hitters are the big boppers, but the new school says this shouldn’t just be an Adam Dunn with no batting average. This should be one of your three best hitters, but the one with the most power. This spot belongs to Jay Bruce on the current Reds team, but it could quickly shift to Mesoraco if last season’s numbers carry forward to 2015.
Best Choice: Jay Bruce
Runner-up: Devin Mesoraco
This guy should be the next best hitter after the 1,2, and 4 hitters. He comes to bat in as many important situations as your number 3 hitter, but he’ll probably have a little less power. Right now, I think this should go to Mesoraco, but I think he and Bruce could switch spots very easily.
Best Choice: Devin Mesoraco
Runner-up: Jay Bruce
Your six through nine hitters are your leftovers, and they are typically penciled in in descending order of effectiveness. The Book says that your base stealer should hit in front of your singles hitters, so slide him into the number 6 slot. After that, there’s not much else to do. Hitting your pitcher eighth, although blasphemous in Cincinnati due to LaGenius’ infamy, gives you about two runs over the course of the season.
Best Choice: BHam, Phillips, Cozart, pitcher
So, this is how we’re looking for 2015 with our current projected roster:
What do you think? Would this ever happen? Will Phillips put his ego aside and bat wherever he’s needed (which he was more than happy to do at leadoff or cleanup)?
20. March 2015 15:32
Not much to say, but the prior thread was getting to be a long scroll on mobile devices, hence a new thread.
Go Spartans! (just in case anyone was wondering who I am rooting for to take it all in the tournament. Very up and down today against Georgia
And here is Saturday's lineup (must be an off day for most regulars)
15. March 2015 08:05
I was going to write a starter this morning about the guys I think will make the 25-man roster--and then I opened the Enquirer and found that John Fay made the exact same picks. I might quibble with the order of his lineup (I think Mes bats higher), but not with any of his choices to make the team.
So here it is: http://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2015/03/14/cincinnati-reds-baseball-projected-roster/70302400/
For any who may not be able to open it, here are the lists without commentary:
Billy Hamilton CF
Joey Votto 1B
Todd Frazier 3B
Jay Bruce RF
Marlon Byrd LF
Devin Mesoraco C
Brandon Phillips 2B
Zack Cozart SS
10. March 2015 14:35
Here are the cuts that Mary posted on the last thread:
John Fay @johnfayman 29m29 minutes agoDuran to optioned Pensacola, Rodriguez to Lville. Crawford, Guillon, Howard, Stephenson, Travieso, Soto, LaMarre, Winker to minor camp #reds
Doc - hope you are enjoying your Spring training games.
Gene - have not seen you are lately. I know you are busy but let us know you are ok.