2013 Reds

Reds (Bailey) take on KC Royals at 3:05 EST

The Reds play the Kansas City Royals in today’s Spring Training matchup in Goodyear, AZ. For what it’s worth (and it’s worth nothing), the Royals are still undefeated in Cactus League games this spring.

Homer the Lion Killer returns to figuratively slaying humans in his second start of 2013. In his first start, he threw 15 pitches in a scoreless inning against the Padres.

Here is today’s lineup:

Billy Hamilton is leading off, playing CF. So far this spring he’s hitting .154, with seven strikeouts in 15 PA. He does have two walks, raising his OBP to .267. His manager wants to see him swinging the bat more. “He has no chance to do anything when he strikes out,” Dusty Baker said, according to Mark Sheldon. “Probably half of those have been looking. Anytime he puts it in play, there’s a chance of something happening.”

Don’t worry (yet) about the continued absence of Shin-Soo Choo (quadricep) or Ryan Hanigan (oblique). Mark Sheldon reports that neither is seen as serious. Baker says he’s most concerned about Choo learning his teammates.

“He (Choo) has to get used to who he’s playing beside more than anything. He has to get used to Ludwick and Bruce and Ludwick and Heisey. He has to get used to our second baseman going out as far as he does, Brandon Phillips. He has to get used to how far Cozart goes so you don’t have any collisions. These are things where you have to get to know each other.”

Devin Mesoraco, who has two home runs this week, catches Bailey, per usual.

Baker is risking total protonic reversal, with three left-handers batting in a row in the middle of the line-up.

Hamilton 8
Cozart 6
Votto 3
Paul 7
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Donald 4
Mesoraco 2
Robinson DH

Bailey 1

66 thoughts on “Reds (Bailey) take on KC Royals at 3:05 EST

    • Sheldon quoting Dusty:

      “He (BHam) has no chance to do anything when he strikes out,” Baker said. “Probably half of those have been looking. Anytime he puts it in play, there’s a chance of something happening.”

      I find this to be a disturbing statement by Dusty, especially after he spent three years forcing Stubbs into a leadoff role that he was totally unsuited to fill. The statement about striking out cancelling any opportunity for a positive contribution is absolutely spot on, but why this epiphony now? Then the second part of the statement reenforces the classic Dusty hitting philosophy, swing the bat early and often, completely discounting the benefit of working the count and the base on balls.

      BHam has had a difficult ST, no disputing that fact. BHam has stuck out way too much during ST, no disputing that fact. By my count, BHam as 3 called SO, all three on 0-3 counts and all called strikes, but two of those occured in his 1st game. Anyone who thinks he is not under extraordinary pressure from all the hype this ST is simply fooling themselves. Since that 1st game, almost all his SO (still too many) have been swinging strikes with at least 3 on 0-3 counts and all swinging strikes. He also has 2 BB in addition to his 3 called SO. That’s a .400 OBP when working the count (terribly small sample size noted) and that’s getting the job done for a leadoff hitter. My biggest concern is the swinging strikes, not the called strikes. Here I absolutley agree with Dusty, when BHam swings the bat, he needs to make contact, but he doesn’t necessarily need to swing the bat more, just make better contact when he does swing the bat.

    • Ok, I open this thread and RIGHT out of the gate:

      Hank Aarons Teammate: I want Hamilton walking as much as humanly possible.

      seat101: I would prefer Hamilton to run.

      This started a laughing fit.

    • @Steve Mancuso: As a separate issue, why is Baker commenting on 17 plate appearances?It’s meaningless.

      I think Dusty is commenting because interviewers are bugging him to answer questions about what he thinks of Billy Hamilton.

  1. Wait, the kid has struck out almost half of the time, so Dusty wants him to swing more? Shouldn’t he be working on major league pitch identification (if that’s possible) before enrolling in Flailing at Pitches 101?

    “He has no chance to do anything when he strikes out,” Dusty Baker said, according to Mark Sheldon. “Probably half of those have been looking. Anytime he puts it in play, there’s a chance of something happening.” …. OK, Dusty, let’s give him some time. That quote fits another guy, Drew Stubbs, who got quite a lengthy audition, more than 15 plate appearances.

    • Wait, the kid has struck out almost half of the time, so Dusty wants him to swing more? Shouldn’t he be working on major league pitch identification (if that’s possible) before enrolling in Flailing at Pitches 101?

      “He has no chance to do anything when he strikes out,” Dusty Baker said, according to Mark Sheldon. “Probably half of those have been looking. Anytime he puts it in play, there’s a chance of something happening.” …. OK, Dusty, let’s give him some time. That quote fits another guy, Drew Stubbs, who got quite a lengthy audition, more than 15 plate appearances.

      Exactly. But, Dusty, a former hitting coach, obviously knows what he’s doing, since he has a history of being a hitting coach and a rep of being such an offensive genius (being sarcastic obviously)

      • I think that Dusty is right that Billy Hamilton needs to swing at pitches and be an aggressive hitter to be successful – putting balls in play is key for him reaching base. They’re not going to pitch around somebody much who lacks power and whose main talent is stealing bases. Maybe that bothers some people… but oh well.

        Billy Hamilton isn’t Drew Stubbs – Stubbs had a lot more power – ideally Hamilton is more like Juan Pierre, the pesky contact guy who averages 35 walks and 35 strikeouts per season. Watching called strikes isn’t great for Pierre or Billy Hamilton.

        • I think that Dusty is right that Billy Hamilton needs to swing at pitches and be an aggressive hitter to be successful – putting balls in play is key for him reaching base.They’re not going to pitch around somebody much who lacks power and whose main talent is stealing bases.Maybe that bothers some people… but oh well.

          Billy Hamilton isn’t Drew Stubbs – Stubbs had a lot more power – ideally Hamilton is more like Juan Pierre, the pesky contact guy who averages 35 walks and 35 strikeouts per season.Watching called strikes isn’t great for Pierre or Billy Hamilton.

          Amazing to me how much a former hitting coach doesn’t understand about hitting. And, you agree with him? Dude, a hint, the surge doesn’t always work. Doing the same thing over and over again expecting the different results is the definition of insanity.

          Bottom line, for Hamilton to be successful offensively, he needs to use his speed, just like Stubbs. Stubbs could never do that, probably because of Baker’s ideology. For Hamilton to use his speed, he needs to get on base any way he can. Shoot, I will take 4 walks from him in a game any day of the week if the other team will do it; why swing at the pitching and get on base twice and K twice if the other team will walk you each time. For, with his speed, he could easily steal 2nd and 3rd, scoring on a sacrifice fly from BP or Votto (provided BP stays patient enough to let Hamilton try to steal some). Hamilton is good enough to score a run and never have to swing at the ball. The only time he needs to swing, when the ball is in the K-zone.

        • I think that Dusty is right that Billy Hamilton needs to swing at pitches and be an aggressive hitter to be successful – putting balls in play is key for him reaching base.They’re not going to pitch around somebody much who lacks power and whose main talent is stealing bases.Maybe that bothers some people… but oh well.

          Billy Hamilton isn’t Drew Stubbs – Stubbs had a lot more power – ideally Hamilton is more like Juan Pierre, the pesky contact guy who averages 35 walks and 35 strikeouts per season.Watching called strikes isn’t great for Pierre or Billy Hamilton.

          So you’d be happy if Billy Hamilton was Juan Pierre?

          Just like Mancuso said, it’s VERY hard to be a guy who doesn’t walk much and has a high OBP, and *your exact example of Juan Pierre shows why*.

          Look at Pierre’s OBPs over his career. His career OBP is .346, but he’s had a lot of years of OBPs that are pretty low; completely governed by his batting average (likely, a good bit of luck there one way or the other).

          I would like Billy Hamilton to be *better* than Juan Pierre, and that’s most likely to happen if he displays strike zone judgment, not if he just is an aggressive hitter. I guess if you are ok with a .330 to .340 OBP, then the Pierre comparison is ok. I’m not ok with that OBP. I’d like to see Hamilton around .350 to .370. Already Hamilton’s profile is better than Pierre’s profile in terms of taking walks (when comparing their minor league numbers—Hamilton walks a pretty good amount; Pierre did not). What I don’t want is Baker screwing with his current profile.

  2. What I don’t like about Baker’s public statement (surely he could have conveyed this message to Hamilton privately) is that it signals every player in the organization who isn’t totally already secure in their role is that the way to their manager’s heart is free swinging.

    If you’ve got the stomach for it, compare Baker’s public advice to what Joe Maddon said Friday about Desmond Jennings – the Rays young lead-off speedster. Maddon constantly emphasizes the value of getting on base. It trickles down to his players.

    http://www.tampabay.com/sports/baseball/rays/rays-key-on-getting-desmond-jennings-on-base/1277139

  3. More fuel to the fire…

    With a free swinging, all or nothing hitting veteran catcher, Dusty positions him up in #7 hole of the lineup, apparently ignoring his own advise that the catcher must hit 8th:

    Heisey 8
    Phillips 4
    Votto 3
    Ludwick 7
    Bruce DH
    Frazier 5
    Olivo 2
    Phipps 9
    Izturis 6

    With Meso catching, Dusty again positions the catcher in his obligatory #8 hole within the lineup:

    Hamilton 8
    Cozart 6
    Votto 3
    Paul 7
    Bruce 9
    Frazier 5
    Donald 4
    Mesoraco 2
    Robinson DH

    I know it’s ST and the first minor league roster assignments have yet to be made, but some of the things Dusty does, just boggles my mind. I want the Reds to succeed and I want Dusty to succeed, but sometimes, Dusty’s idea of success seems very contrary to the Reds’ success.

  4. Homer slays the Royals’ 1-2-3 regular starters in the first. Two strikeouts.

    “Where Homer has made the adjustments has been with his fingers and hand placement.” – Brantley

  5. @redsfanman: The problem with giving up on walking is that even the best slap hitters won’t average more than .300 or so over a career. That’s not enough of an OBP to have value even with plenty of SB. Remember, these players aren’t contributing power, so they aren’t driving themselves or others in. If a player like Billy Hamilton doesn’t bring a strong OBP with him, he’s just not that valuable.

    • @redsfanman: The problem with giving up on walking is that even the best slap hitters won’t average more than .300 or so over a career. That’s not enough of an OBP to have value even with plenty of SB. Remember, these players aren’t contributing power, so they aren’t driving themselves or others in. If a player like Billy Hamilton doesn’t bring a strong OBP with him, he’s just not that valuable.

      @Steve Mancuso: Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but I hope Hamilton doesn’t develop into a slap hitter. He has been a line drive hitter which.

  6. I don’t disagree with learning to work a count and taking a walk if it is there. However looking back at Stubbs as an example, he was actually capable of running a count out when he chose to. His issue was doing something with the 2 strike pitch. In the end, end he looked at a lot of cookies for called K’s and chased a lot of bad sliders for swinging K’s.

    So if Hamilton is in the same place at this juncture, what he should be do? Well, we always said “bunt” to Stubbs; and if a person is going to bunt, especially one with 2 strike issues, that pretty much means on the first buntable pitch.

  7. @Steve Mancuso: I think you may be reading too much into Dusty’s quote by saying he wants Hamilton to “give up on walking.” In Dusty’s quote he specifically mentions Hamilton striking out looking as the problem. Meaning Dusty doesn’t want him looking at strikes in the zone, meaning he may well be thinking more of pitch recognition than just swinging more. I found the quote you refer to on Sheldon’s blog, and nothing there supports your statement that “His manager wants to see him swinging the bat more.” The quote, without your editorializing, just says Dusty wants Hamilton to strike out less. That’s it.

  8. Marty says that Dusty claims none of the guys are seeing ball well. That may be true but the only thing we know for certain, they sure ain’t hitting it real well. Oh well, obviously it’s far more important that they are hitting the ball the first week of April than the first week of March. But it is hard to listen to game after game.

  9. @AndyS: Judging that statement in isolation, there is perhaps some question about what Dusty meant. In the context of several other comments he’s made during his tenure here, less so.

  10. @RC: I suppose that’s true. After all, if you’re determined enough to hate Dusty, then you can read anything you want into anything he says.

    • @RC: I suppose that’s true.After all, if you’re determined enough to hate Dusty, then you can read anything you want into anything he says.

      @AndyS: We go through this every year: just because someone doesn’t agree with some or all of DB’s managerial tactics, he is somehow a “hater”. It reduces your argument to being totally ineffective. Try arguing the point not the pointer.

    • @RC: I suppose that’s true.After all, if you’re determined enough to hate Dusty, then you can read anything you want into anything he says.

      It’s not too hard of a stretch to consider, if Baker says he doesn’t want a player to K looking, then the player better be swinging.

      If anything Hamilton would need to be working on, just like Stubbs and others, recognizing when a pitch is going to be a strike or not, when he can get the bat onto it or not.

  11. @CharlotteNCRedsFan: There’s a pretty big difference between someone not agreeing with some or all of Dusty’s tactics and reading intent into a quote that just isn’t there. There is nothing in what Dusty says here that suggests he wants Hamilton to swing the bat more or to give up on walking. There just isn’t.

    • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: There’s a pretty big difference between someone not agreeing with some or all of Dusty’s tactics and reading intent into a quote that just isn’t there.There is nothing in what Dusty says here that suggests he wants Hamilton to swing the bat more or to give up on walking.There just isn’t.

      That is a better argument than someone’s a hater. You have a good point and happy you have made it.

      Because honestly, I would bet my bottom dollar that no one hates Baker or anyone else associated with the Reds, on this Blog.

  12. I’ve only been able to listen to a few innings of spring training so far. Someone please tell me: Are the Reds really as bad their spring record shows?

    • I’ve only been able to listen to a few innings of spring training so far.Someone please tell me:Are the Reds really as bad their spring record shows?

      Actually, they really haven’t played as well as their record would indicate.

  13. I’m amazed and slightly pleased by the three lefties in a row.. but still confused as to why if he’s going to put lefties in a row, he can’t just put Bruce at 4.. where he should be, seeing as how he’s led the team in HRs and was second in doubles in 2012.

    Also a little surprised that the whole Dusty encouraging people to swing away point wasn’t brought up when that Heisey article was posted earlier. How Dusty likes him because he’s so aggressive at the plate. Also why I think Cozart will end up being ruined. He looked so good at first.. before Dusty/Jacoby got their hands on him.

  14. @RedZeppelin: Not even a little bit. Most of the runs against them have been scored on pitchers that aren’t likely to be anywhere near the 25 man roster this year. Beyond that, spring training wins and losses are so meaningless, especially this early in the spring, that there’s no reason to even keep track of them.

  15. Amazing how someone who thinks people are reading to much into Dusty’s statement read so much into mine. Oh well.

    And, no, if you look at who has played, the spring training record is meaningless.

  16. @AndyS: My reference to “giving up on walking” was in response to the comment immediately before mine from redfanman (which is why I used the reply function for that). He was basically saying that he didn’t expect Hamilton to walk much because pitchers wouldn’t be afraid of his power so they would pitch to him rather than give him a free pass on base. I said if that’s true (and he might be right) then it confirmed my general feeling that one-dimensional SB-only players are overestimated in value.

    My initial comment about Baker was in relation not to his complaining about Hamilton striking out, but that he singled out Ks where Hamilton didn’t swing. Baker wasn’t making the point about striking out as much as he was about taking called third strikes. That’s why I specifically quoted that part of what Baker said exactly. There is *zero* doubt that Baker was encouraging Hamilton to swing the bat more.

    Your rhetoric about anyone hating Dusty Baker is ridiculous. And is either an indication you don’t want to be taken seriously or you’re on the wrong blog.

    • @AndyS:

      My initial comment about Baker was in relation not to his complaining about Hamilton striking out, but that he singled out Ks where Hamilton didn’t swing. Baker wasn’t making the point about striking out as much as he was about taking called third strikes. That’s why I specifically quoted that part of what Baker said exactly. There is *zero* doubt that Baker was encouraging Hamilton to swing the bat more.

      I’ll concede the point about the walking thing. However, on the strikeouts, your complaint seems to be that you disagree with Dusty’s position that Hamilton isn’t swinging at strikes in the zone. How is Dusty wrong there? Those are pitches he should be swinging at, aren’t they?

    • My initial comment about Baker was in relation not to his complaining about Hamilton striking out, but that he singled out Ks where Hamilton didn’t swing. Baker wasn’t making the point about striking out as much as he was about taking called third strikes. That’s why I specifically quoted that part of what Baker said exactly. There is *zero* doubt that Baker was encouraging Hamilton to swing the bat more.

      This is almost a rewind of how he approached Stubbs. That didn’t work out so well. The other day, during a spring broadcast, I believe it was Flynn and Kelch, outright said Dusty has been emphasizing more swinging on strikes early in the count and not taking as many pitches. Swing at strikes. Got it, Skipper, thanks.

      I understand the gist behind it, and if a guy is truly just being tentative, that might be the right thing… but in so many ways it appears Dusty doesn’t fully appreciate what gifts he has in Votto, Hanigan, and now Choo(!), for working an at-bat. Like some private part of him is annoyed that Joey gets on base by walking and isn’t hitting more. That frightens me.

  17. @RedZeppelin: No. Spring training statistics have almost zero correlation to regular season performance. The Reds main goal this year is to stay healthy. Period. They might have some sorting to do in the bullpen, but I’d be shocked if there was any doubt in Jocketty/Baker’s minds about who was going to play for the Reds. Many of the runs scored against the Red are vs. pitchers who will be in AAA or lower.

    • @RedZeppelin: No. Spring training statistics have almost zero correlation to regular season performance. The Reds main goal this year is to stay healthy. Period. They might have some sorting to do in the bullpen, but I’d be shocked if there was any doubt in Jocketty/Baker’s minds about who was going to play for the Reds. Many of the runs scored against the Red are vs. pitchers who will be in AAA or lower.

      @Steve Mancuso: My memory is frail, at best, but it seems to me the Big Red Machine didn’t exactly light it up in ST. Teams like the Royals are probably trying to establish a winning attitude and I don’t blame them. The Reds need to focus like a laser-beam on the 2013 regular season. Outside of Utility men, a spot or two in the pen, and possibly back-up catcher, what jobs are even being contended? Without a doubt it has been bloody out there for a week and a half but it means zero in the big picture.

      • My memory is frail, at best, but it seems to me the Big Red Machine didn’t exactly light it up in ST.

        The fact that none of us remember is probably enough evidence to make our point.

  18. @AndyS: I think we’re getting closer to a mutual understanding, but not quite. I wish that Baker’s point was as subtle as you imply. That all he really cared about was Hamilton swinging at pitches in the zone. If he’d use the words “plate discipline” occasionally, or ever, then your nuanced reading of his quote might be right. But he has a pretty long track record of disparaging walks, deprioritizing OBP and pushing swing, swing, swing.

    He is, after all the guy who said, “Have you ever heard the Yankees talk about on-base percentage and walks? You ain’t going to walk across the plate. You’re going to hit across the plate. That’s the school I come from. It’s called hitting, and it ain’t called walking.”

  19. @Steve Mancuso: Fair enough, and I’m well aware of the quote you provided, and the “clogging the basepaths” stuff as well. I’m going to try to phrase this as carefully as possible, because I don’t want to come off like I’m accusing you or anyone of “haterism.” But I feel like many of the writers and commenters on this site are very quick to assume the worst about anything that comes out of Dusty’s mouth. That’s more of what I was reacting to in bringing up this issue (as well as when I commented that you can read anything into anything he says). Yes, he has his frustrating tendencies, and they are well documented. But there’s not much reason to pay much attention to anything he says to the media.

    • But I feel like many of the writers and commenters on this site are very quick to assume the worst about anything that comes out of Dusty’s mouth.

      That’s a valid concern and one I try to guard against in my own thinking/writing. I honestly think I would really like Dusty Baker in person if I ever got to spend some time with him. He has many great qualities. I love his sense of humanity and history, for example.

      All that said, there’s plenty to criticize. When he says or does something frustrating, I’m not going to hold back. I was clear as the NLDS was unfolding that I thought he wasn’t managing with enough sense of urgency – and that continued right through Game Five. And that concerns me about post-season appearances in the future.

      Given that, I suppose the balance has to come from writing more positive things when they are appropriate. I did have a reasonably long quote from him in the original post about Shin-Soo Choo, that I thought was perceptive and interesting.

    • But I feel like many of the writers and commenters on this site are very quick to assume the worst about anything that comes out of Dusty’s mouth.That’s more of what I was reacting to in bringing up this issue (as well as when I commented that you can read anything into anything he says).Yes, he has his frustrating tendencies, and they are well documented.But there’s not much reason to pay much attention to anything he says to the media.

      I think that’s part of being a public figure, whether it’s a politician or MLB manager. Everything Dusty does or says is under scrutiny. Some people hope to dig up dirt to justify their longstanding disapproval, and they’ll interpret his words to fit their goals, in my many cases not worrying about things like context and timing. Oh well.

  20. @Hank Aarons Teammate: I hope Billy Hamilton is better than Juan Pierre was in his prime but there’s no guarantee of that and I think strong similarities between Juan Pierre and Billy Hamilton are there, whether people choose to recognize them or not. Maybe Billy Hamilton will be better, maybe not, but I believe that swinging and making contact is vital to both guy’s success. Yes, strike zone judgment is important, including swinging at (rather than watching) strikes over the plate – I got the impression that Hamilton watching strikes was the issue Dusty was addressing.

    HAT – you seem to have high expectations for Billy Hamilton, for a .350-.370 OBP. Keep in mind that there’s no guarantee that he’s going to live up to that. As far as his walks in the minors, I’m skeptical that he’ll be able to keep it up against MLB pitching.

  21. @redsfanman: Of course there’s no guarantee of that. That is my hope.

    Pierre and Hamilton are similar in terms of their minor league profile in that neither had/has much power. However, the walk rates are 6.2% and 10.3%, respectively, which is a large difference. I think you are ignoring their differences. I don’t believe there are “strong” similarities, but rather modest similarities.

  22. @Hank Aarons Teammate: Pierre and Hamilton are similar in that both have somewhere between ‘little-to-no’ and ‘absolutely no’ power and they both rely on their speed to get on base. They have no power to keep pitchers ‘honest’ or whatever, and I think he’ll get a ton of strikes in the majors, especially if he can identify (and hold off on swinging at bad) pitches. If he keeps walking in AAA in 2013 I think he’ll see even fewer pitches outside the strikezone when he’s with the Reds. I really doubt he’ll keep up his minor league walk totals for that reason – pitchers throwing him more strikes in hopes that he gets himself out

    Being able to make contact with balls over the plate is important, and watching strikes down the middle is silly for him, he’s not looking to drive anything. Slapping the ball, bunting, whatever – I think he should be aggressive with balls over the plate. Overall I think Pierre and Hamilton will find that they have similar approaches to the game at the MLB level. Hopefully Hamilton does even better.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Pierre and Hamilton are similar in that both have somewhere between ‘little-to-no’ and ‘absolutely no’ power and they both rely on their speed to get on base.They have no power to keep pitchers ‘honest’ or whatever,

      You never needed “power” to keep a pitcher honest. You needed to be able to simply hit the ball when it was a strike, not swing when it was a ball. All the power they would need is enough to get it out of the infield at times. You never did need “power” to get on base.

  23. @redsfanman: There is zero reason to believe what you are claiming.

    Let’s consider the case of Brett Butler, who was an extremely effective leadoff man for multiple teams over a 16 year career. Butler had a career OBP of .377—and a career SLG of .376 (and he batted .290). Why didn’t pitchers just throw him strikes?

    I don’t care who the hitter is, outside of a pitcher hitting. Pitchers do not just throw strikes in the way you are suggesting. Honestly, I think you are just making up a scenario where Hamilton walks a lot at AAA this year and pitches at the MLB level, when he comes up, will throw him pipe fastballs all day.

    That’s not to say that hitting hittable pitches isn’t important. But walking is extremely important for someone like Hamilton.

    • @redsfanman: There is zero reason to believe what you are claiming.

      Let’s consider the case of Brett Butler, who was an extremely effective leadoff man for multiple teams over a 16 year career.Butler had a career OBP of .377—and a career SLG of .376 (and he batted .290).Why didn’t pitchers just throw him strikes?

      I don’t care who the hitter is, outside of a pitcher hitting.Pitchers do not just throw strikes in the way you are suggesting.Honestly, I think you are just making up a scenario where Hamilton walks a lot at AAA this year and pitches at the MLB level, when he comes up, will throw him pipe fastballs all day.

      That’s not to say that hitting hittable pitches isn’t important.But walking is extremely important for someone like Hamilton.

      This is a great comment.

      Walking a lot means you have to comfortable with 2 strike counts. The great walkers aren’t afraid of getting behind. Even the slappy hitters like Brett Butler took a ton of walks. See Butler’s 1991 season where he led the NL in walks with 108 walks. Joey Votto only had 110 in his MVP season. Wow.

      Judging by Hamilton’s minor league numbers, he doesn’t have Butler’s contact skills, but he’s better at other things (speed, gap power).

      I’m not necessarily worried by Dusty’s comment, it seems innocent enough. I am always worried that his philosophies rub off in ways that are hard to spot, i.e. hitters be over aggressive in certain spots, 2-0 counts and swinging at mediocre pitches.

      I also find comfort in the fact that it’s extremely difficult to change a hitter’s habits once he reaches the majors. Not only is it difficult, if not impossible, to turn a hacker into someone who walks a lot, the same truth generally holds true for the opposite types of hitters…

  24. By reading all the comments, it seems like some believe that Dusty would prefer one of his batters go up to the plate and its swing and miss, “strike 1.” Swing and miss, “strike 2.” Swing and miss, “strike 3 take a seat.”
    Rather than hearing “Ball 1, ball 2, ball 3, ball 4, take your base.” A manager would have to be a very poor manager to take a strikeout over a free baserunner.
    A hitter can still be aggressive at the plate and still have “plate discipline.” The Reds just don’t teach that. Just lay off the slider that is down and away with two strikes on you. You know its coming. Lay off that pitch.

    • Will Billy Hamilton turn into the next Willy Taveras, the next Juan Pierre, or the next Billy Butler? Or the next somebody else? Big question.

      As far as Brett Butler, I never saw him play, he retired a long time ago.

      By reading all the comments, it seems like some believe that Dusty would prefer one of his batters go up to the plate and its swing and miss, “strike 1.”Swing and miss, “strike 2.”Swing and miss, “strike 3 take a seat.”
      Rather than hearing “Ball 1, ball 2, ball 3, ball 4, take your base.” A manager would have to be a very poor manager to take a strikeout over a free baserunner.
      A hitter can still be aggressive at the plate and still have “plate discipline.”The Reds just don’t teach that.Just lay off the slider that is down and away with two strikes on you. You know its coming. Lay off that pitch.

      If Dusty would prefer a swing and miss over a called strike I wouldn’t blame him. I think that wish for Hamilton to avoid called strikes has been then spun off and misportrayed as Dusty wanting Billy Hamilton wildly swinging at unhittable pitches in the dirt and over his head – that statement would only reinforce Dusty’s critics and set up Dusty as the guy to blame if Billy Hamilton doesn’t meet expectations. So far this spring it seems like the main thing Dusty has heard with Billy Hamilton batting has been “strike!” In my opinion so far it’s been a disappointing spring from Billy Hamilton (2 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts in 15 ABs) that should make us even happier that Shin-Shoo Choo was acquired.

      • @redsfanman:

        As far as Brett Butler, I never saw him play, he retired a long time ago.

        Google Brett Butler pitching whiffle ball to his son. Thats always good for a laugh or two. And a wince.

  25. Homer Bailey is pitching in March like he did in Septmeber. He and Chapman will make a good #1 and #2 starter combo. Whoa wait, Bailey and Chapman are the Reds #4 and #5 starters.
    Wow. What a starting rotation.

  26. I’m not *overly* concerned by Dusty’s statement, because it’s old news. Although some apparently feel it’s unfair to judge something the manager says in light of what he’s said before, the approach he pushes has been well documented. I don’t like it, and I especially don’t like it in terms of young Mr. Hamilton, but it’s no surprise.

    I think what bugs me the most, though, is that he keeps saying it *out loud*. Pitchers read this stuff, too. If they know Reds’ hitters are looking for juicy strikes early in the count, why would anybody aver throw them one?

  27. @RC: What’s also funny is that it is the Reds stated philosophy pitching wise (and I agree) to get after strike one. Huh. So if you’re pitching, you’re supposed to get it by the guy for strike one. If your team is hitting, you’re supposed to hit that same pitch and get on base. Hm. Ok Dusty.

  28. Called strike 3 vs. swinging strike 3? I’m not sure I care all that much. But *if* being two strike agressive cuts down on his walk rate, and thereby his OBP, then it’s a really bad idea. It should be even more obvious that for a guy you want to create havoc on the basepath, OBP is *way* > AVG.

    If that means a few extra called third strikes, so be it. He’s had elite OBPs in the low minors – that should be the focus of getting him ready for the bigs.

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