2013 Reds

Redleg Nation 2013 Preview: The Rotation (?), Part 3 (?)

Mike Leake
2012 Pitching Line: 179 IP, 116 K, 41 BB, 4.58 ERA
2013 Projection: 190 IP, 130 K, 40 BB, 4.20 ERA

2012 WAR: 1.5
2013 Best Guess: 2.0
Projected Difference: +0.5
2013 Ceiling: 4.0
2013 Floor: 1.0

Aroldis Chapman
2012 Pitching Line: 71.2 IP, 122 K, 23 BB, 1.51 ERA
2013 Projection: 65 IP, 110 K, 20 BB, 2.10 ERA

2012 WAR: 3.3
2013 Best Guess: 2.5
Projected Difference: -0.8
2013 Ceiling: 4.0
2013 Floor: 1.0

Goodness knows enough words have been spilled over Aroldis Chapman lately, so let’s start with Mike Leake and give him a fair sounding.

Leake, I feel, has been a bit maligned recently. So, here’s a reminder: he is 25 this year. He has three full years in the big leagues already. And he’s been pretty solid. Not bad for a fifth starter.

How good you think Mike Leake is going to be depends on a couple of factors. The biggest is his HR rate. He’s always been well above league average in the percentage of his flyballs that turn into homers. Generally, though, that number tends to fluctuate. Certainly, his 16.7 percent rate from last year almost has to come down a little. If it does, we’re likely to see a lot more of 2011 Leake than 2012. Something I think we’d all be happy with.

And then there’s his age. He is still really young. I certainly forget that at times, and I bet some of you do to. For that reason, I’m erring optimistic with Leake. It’s certainly possible his numbers will be worse than I’m projecting, but you know, I think he has a lot more upside than downside at this point. In an ideal scenario, he starts morphing into Bronson Arroyo this year, which is cool with me.

Chapman, I don’t know. Relievers are hard to project and I’m giving him his own projection at this point only because he has such a high profile. His value stands to suffer because he’ll only be used in the closer’s role this year. Early last year, when Dusty Baker deployed him more creatively, he was much more valuable. I actually feel like that innings projections might be a little bullish. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him stay under 60 innings this year. In either case, he’s fun to have on the team, regardless of what he’s doing.

66 thoughts on “Redleg Nation 2013 Preview: The Rotation (?), Part 3 (?)

  1. Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey both had their breakout season at Mike Leake’s age, so maybe he can continue that trend. Buster Olney said (on March 13th) he “talked to scouts who are raving about work of Mike Leake this spring, about how he’s commanding four different pitches, throwing 92-93 mph.” I think his ceiling is a Bronson Arroyo-like career with an ERA around 3.80, but still good. Like Arroyo I think Leake will always be under-appreciated because he isn’t a big strikeout or a power pitcher.

    I don’t know about you guys, but I’m tired of discussing the other guy.

  2. Also, this spring has Mike Leake been doing his best to get guys out? Or doing his best to impress scouts by showing off all of his pitches, and showing that he can throw them over the plate? Despite his high ERA and BABIP this spring I’m not worried, I think it will come down considerably when he has the good fielders (including Votto, Phillips, Cozart, and Bruce) playing behind him and Hanigan or Mesoraco (rather than Olivo) calling the games.

  3. Thanks for this and all the other Projections Jason!

    They are a fun read and provide good food for thought!

  4. I like Leake and as a 5th starter he is a good player, providing a small benefit with his bat that other (5th) starters don’t.

    That said, I do feel that the organization chickened out on Chapman, much as they did last year. There was never a strong chance that Chapman as starter would work out, many pitcher fail as starters for a variety of reasons. This feels like punting on 4&1 from the opposing team’s 30-yd line.

    The possibilty remains that this is a one big long-con rope-a-dope, but I wouldn’t bet on that.

  5. Leake is probably a passable fifth starter, but I just don’t think he throws hard enough to ever be much more than that. The homer rate on fly balls, for him, is likely not “bad luck” but instead the reality that he has a hitting-speed fastball. Like Arroyo, when he leaves one out there to get hit, it gets squarely hit.

    When you hear a young pitcher compared to Maddux and Glavine, that means he has a lousy fastball. I remember seeing Jeremy Sowers in high school and not understanding the hype that caused both the Reds and Indians to draft him early. He just couldn’t throw hard enough.

    Leake can hit and run and field, though, so he can hold his own even with mediocre stuff.

    • @Big Ed: I don’t understand. Glavine and Maddux were very good pitchers who had lousy fastballs. Having a “Chapman-speed” fastball was never a requirement for pitching, especially a starter. It was hitting locations, like Glavine and Maddux use to do. It was only a help if you could do it at 96+ mph.

      Given that, if Leake doesn’t hit his locations better, he won’t be any better than a #5 starter.

      • @steveschoen:
        Maddux, indeed, through a lot harder as a young guy than people remember. My point wasn’t that you had to throw hard to be good; it was instead that comparing a guy with Leake’s stuff to Maddux or Glavine (as lefties are) is something of a cliche, and really means that the guy’s fastball is iffy.

        Leake also threw last year mostly to Mesoraco, who should develop into a better receiver this year. Leake kind of took one for the team by doing so, as that allowed Cueto and Latos to get the better receiver.

        • @steveschoen:Maddux, indeed, through a lot harder as a young guy than people remember. My point wasn’t that you had to throw hard to be good; it was instead that comparing a guy with Leake’s stuff to Maddux or Glavine (as lefties are) is something of a cliche, and really means that the guy’s fastball is iffy.Leake also threw last year mostly to Mesoraco, who should develop into a better receiver this year. Leake kind of took one for the team by doing so, as that allowed Cueto and Latos to get the better receiver.

          Maddux and Glavine never had great fastballs, correct. If anything, it was their deception of speed, the difference in speeds between their fastball and their other pitches that helped them keep the batters off pace, one of the things with Bronson’s success. But, their key to being effective was hitting their spots, their locations.

          I never did like the relation of Leake to Maddux, either, I do agree with that. Someone was doing it even after Leake’s first game. I would want to see a whole lot more than that before comparing a rookie to a HOFer. But, it would be correct in describing that if the pitcher is going to be successful, they have to hit their locations. And, correct, a catcher can have a lot to do with that.

  6. Good points on Leake. I just think he’s a poor fit for our ballpark and may not reach his potential as a result. An enterprising GM from the NL West would do well to trade for him. He stuff would play up in the big ballparks out there.

    I would temper the optimism that he still has some ceiling left with the comment that stuff-wise, he’s pretty much a finished product…..and has been largely since his first season. Any productivity gains would likely come from scouting/pitch selection/mental makeup, and not from learning a new pitch or improving command.

    And then there’s $$$. He’s looking at substantial arbitration raised coming up, and the cost/benefit starts to tilt in his favor.

    He is what he is. Between Corcino and Cingrani, I’d think either could replace his production for league minimum.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: I believe you are absolutely correct about the GABP factor. An astute GM from the big parks out west should be all over Leake and willing to pay the price. He would be a strong #3 starter for a long time and an innings eater like Arroyo for the right team.

      I think Bailey may also fall in that same category with the exception that he would be a strong #2 starter for the right team.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: “He is what he is.”

      This is the perfect assessment of Leake. Like you, I don’t look for any improvements and, on this staff, he fills the spot of 5th starter capably. I would also like to think that he could turn into a mini-Arroyo.

      • @Drew Mac: I entirely agree. Leake will have to do a better job of hitting his locations, study hitters, etc., if he is going to be more successful. Without that, “he is what he is”.

    • @Sultan of Swaff:

      Manager Bud Black announces Edinson Volquez as Opening Day starter

      And this is my point. If EV is the best they have , what would Leake or Bailey do to that rotation?

  7. Piggybacking on the previous comment, is it too early to nickname the Reds future rotation? Because it could’ve been 4C with Chapman (anyone get the reference? No?), and Latos.

  8. Since this thread is devoted to the last of the Reds starting pitching for 2013, I thought it might be the most appropriate place for this item…

    Per Jon Heyman‏ via twitter, Lohse to sign with brewers

    That looks like the near finishing touches on the NLCD rosters heading into opening day. It’s probably a good signing for the Brew Crew and I hope they paid a lot for a long time in addition to relinquishing the 17th pick in the upcoming draft along with the slot money.

      • @Matt WI: I disagree, in no way does Kyle Lohse help me to take the Brewers seriously. I think it’s another big bad investment, similar to Aramis Ramirez last year. The Brewers paid big money for a name rather than somebody who will help them to be competitive. I feel that after they lose players like Prince Fielder and Zack Greinke they feel compelled to spend the savings, with no regard for how wisely the money is being spent.

        I think the Brewers have now bought themselves another 3 seasons as a ~.500 team rather than a competitor. They even forfeited their first round draft pick as they continually ignore the rebuilding process that they desperately need. The Reds and Cardinals build through drafting, developing, and acquiring young players – even the Pirates are doing that with highly regarded young prospects who are nearly ready to enter their totation – while the Brewers are just treading water. The Brewers are choosing not to have a bright present or future.

        The Brewers have a few decent players, but I think they will have lost almost all of them to free agency long before the team becomes competitive again. I’m glad I’m not a Brewers fan. It seems to me like whether or not the NL Central remains a two-team race between the Reds and the Cardinals for the next few years is up to the Pirates… while the Cubs and Brewers compete for last place.

        • @redsfanman: Some of the reports suggest that Scott Boras went directly to the Brewers’ owner and the innocent GM was forced into signing Lohse. Ouch. So much for GMs having the final say in making decisions.

        • @redsfanman:
          The Brewers could be thinking that the downside is minimized, because they would have him as a trade chip at the trading deadline.

        • @Matt WI: I disagree, in no way does Kyle Lohse help me to take the Brewers seriously. I think it’s another big bad investment, similar to Aramis Ramirez last year. The Brewers paid big money for a name rather than somebody who will help them to be competitive. I feel that after they lose players like Prince Fielder and Zack Greinke they feel compelled to spend the savings, with no regard for how wisely the money is being spent.I think the Brewers have now bought themselves another 3 seasons as a ~.500 team rather than a competitor. They even forfeited their first round draft pick as they continually ignore the rebuilding process that they desperately need. The Reds and Cardinals build through drafting, developing, and acquiring young players – even the Pirates are doing that with highly regarded young prospects who are nearly ready to enter their totation – while the Brewers are just treading water. The Brewers are choosing not to have a bright present or future.The Brewers have a few decent players, but I think they will have lost almost all of them to free agency long before the team becomes competitive again. I’m glad I’m not a Brewers fan. It seems to me like whether or not the NL Central remains a two-team race between the Reds and the Cardinals for the next few years is up to the Pirates… while the Cubs and Brewers compete for last place.

          Um, Lohse apparently found something with the Cards pitching under Duncan, going 55-35 with a 3.90 ERA the last 5 years, 30-11 with a 3.11 ERA the last 2 seasons, and you don’t think this would help the Brewers? But, then, you do think Leake will have a “comeback” season this year? Alright. . .

        • Um, Lohse apparently found something with the Cards pitching under Duncan, going 55-35 with a 3.90 ERA the last 5 years, 30-11 with a 3.11 ERA the last 2 seasons, and you don’t think this would help the Brewers?But, then, you do think Leake will have a “comeback” season this year?Alright. . .

          Why do I listen to this?

          Yep, Lohse has had a great 2 years, I doubt it will carry over to Milwaukee though. Even if he does, I think the Brewers are much further than one good starter away from contention. I don’t think adding one of Justin Verlander or Johnny Cueto or Zack Greinke would make the 2013 Brewers a contender…. nor does Lohse.

          Kyle Lohse pitched under Dave Duncan for years with extremely mixed results – as recently as 2010 he put up an ERA of 6.55 – only after Duncan left for his ‘leave of absence’ did Lohse have his best year. I doubt he’ll get any more help from Dave Duncan while pitching in the NL Central. Lohse has reached his peak/prime at age 32 or 33 and how long he can keep it up is debatable… yet he’s now signed for 3 years. He’ll be in the Brewers’ rotation whether he repeats his 2010 season (6.55 ERA) or 2012 season (2.86). The contract reminds me of the Reds’ Eric Milton and the Brewers’ Jeff Suppan.

          Mike Leake is 25 and I think he’s yet to enter his prime. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we? Personally I’d rather have the younger and less expensive Mike Leake (under the supervision of Bryan Price) than the older and more expensive Kyle Lohse for the next three years.

        • Yep, Lohse has had a great 2 years, I doubt it will carry over to Milwaukee though.

          But, yet, Leake never has had a year as good as Lohse has had 3 of the last 5 years, and you think Leake can come back with a good year? Alright. . .

          Under Duncan with extremely mixed results? I wouldn’t quite say that, especially the last 2 seasons.

          “I don’t mean to imply that Aramis Ramirez did badly or failed to live up to his contract, but I think he does between little and nothing to make the Brewers a contender.”

          Dude, see, this is the way it works. If you go after good ballplayers, it puts you in a better position to win now. So what if the Brewers want to try to win now. If I had the money some of these owners had, I would possibly do the same thing. One player will hardly ever make a team a contender. That’s why it’s a team game. But, to say Ramirez and Lohse doesn’t make the team more competitive, to say going after good players doesn’t make a team more competitive, is ridiculous.

          Could the players regress? Sure. All players do, just like many players can continue to get even better with the years.

        • @steveschoen: Lohse has been successful in 3 of the past 5 years, Leake has only been a professional for 3 of the past 5 years. I’d rather bet on the 25 year old than the 34 year old, but you’re entitled to the opposite opinion.

          Dave Duncan was out on his ‘leave of absence’ last year, how much influence he had on Lohse’s 2012 season is debatable. With Lohse’s ERA of 6.55 under Duncan in 2010 the results have definitely been mixed, whether you choose to admit it or not.

          “Go after good ballplayers, it puts you in a better position to win now”. Tell that to last year’s Marlins. Or the Cubs. You can pay guys lots of money and still end up with a .500 team. If a team isn’t going to compete isn’t rebuilding with young players the logical option? Check out the Brewers’ farm system, they’re going into a rebuilding process eventually, it’s just a question of when they choose to embrace it.

        • @redsfanman:

          I think the Brewers have now bought themselves another 3 seasons as a ~.500 team rather than a competitor.

          I wonder how the Brew Crew feels about the Braun contract after 2015 and I wonder how Braun really feels about his long-term commitment to the Brew Crew, at a significant discount, considering the Brew Crew’s prospects going forward. It’s almost looking like the Reds with Griffey (before injuries took their toll) and no supporting cast.

        • @Matt WI: I don’t mean to imply that Aramis Ramirez did badly or failed to live up to his contract, but I think he does between little and nothing to make the Brewers a contender. Same story with Ryan Braun – I think the Brewers should trade them while their value is high and start rebuilding. Instead the Brewers seem to want to add a few other minor pieces to postpone an inevitable rebuilding process.

          Aramis Ramirez, Ryan Braun, and Gallardo are, in my opinion, the only players on the Brewers’ roster who are at least comparable to their Reds’ counterparts. I’d ask Aramis replace Frazier at 3b, Braun to replace Ludwick, and Gallardo to replace Leake.

          @Shchi Cossack: If Ryan Braun wants to play for a contender I think he should request a trade.

        • @redsfanman: Have you seen Lucroy hit?

          Yep, I’ve seen him hit against the Reds, but I don’t know much about his catching. He had a breakout season offensively in 2012. I’ve also seen Ryan Hanigan hit and catch. And I’m still optimistic about Devin Mesoraco. Personally I prefer the Reds’ options over Lucroy and Maldonado, but maybe that’s just me.

          The point was more along the lines of the Brewers being inferior to the Reds and Cardinals in many ways, to the extent that they have little chance of competing even with Kyle Lohse.

        • @redsfanman: Not for nothing: Aramis hit .300/.360/.540 with 27HRS and a 137 OPS+ for the Brew Crew. Played 149 games. I’d say he put a pretty big dent in replacing Prince for them. I would take that in a heart beat from anybody on the Reds. Votto is the only one that can top it.

        • @redsfanman: I echo the what in the world are you talking about crowd. Do you even know that the Brewers scored the most runs in the NL last year? Do you think about things like that before you say that Ramirez was a bad investment?

          A really high-scoring offense adding a solid #2 or #3 starter, and you think that’s somehow a bad idea? I really just have no clue what you’re talking about.

        • @al: It’s not last year, Corey Hart is out long term (mid-May, and who knows how he’ll do after), in the meantime he’s being replaced at 1b by Alex Gonzalez. Something we saw in the past decade with the Cincinnati Reds, with guys like Griffey and Dunn, is that you can still score lots of runs and do badly without good pitching.

          Gallardo and Lohse are two capable guys. Then some mix of Estrada, Fiers, Narveson, and Peralta. Their key reliever is John Axford, who is coming off the worst year of his career. Even with Lohse I have little to no confidence in the Brewers’ pitching staff, it looks a lot to me like a repeat of some of the Reds’ losing seasons.

          I guess we’ll have to wait and see how the Brewers do. I’d be shocked if they finish over .500.

        • @redsfanman: yes, we did see the Reds score a lot of runs and lose a lot of games. it would have been great if the Reds had gone out and gotten good pitchers then. that seems like what the brewers did today. it might not be enough for them to win, but it’s a step in the right direction in that they are definitely better now, and they’ve shown the ability to improve mid-season before.

          if lohse keeps them in it until the deadline, and they go for it, this signing could make the difference. why you insist on writing them off is beyond me.

        • @al: The Brewers took a step towards what? In what direction? Towards having a strong rotation? Towards being competitive? If it’s not enough for them to compete I think it’s a step in the wrong direction.

          The Brewers should choose to compete or rebuild. Instead they’re treading water.

          The 2007 Reds, with a rotation of Harang, Arroyo, Milton, Lohse, and Belisle, had a better pitching staff than this year’s Brewers. Lohse didn’t singlehandedly save the Reds’ pitching staff and he won’t save the Brewers’.

          Are you expecting any midseason trades by the Brewers? I’m sure not, those days are behind them. They traded most of their valuable prospects when they were in win-now mode. The Brewers will be sellers at the trade deadline, just wait.

        • @redsfanman: “another 3 seasons as a ~500 team”??
          You mean a team that’s been to the post season as often as the Reds over the last 5 years? In fact, the Reds and Brewers are remarkably similar.

          Reds WP (2008-2012): .457, .481, .562, .488 .599= 419 Wins, 2 playoff appearences
          MIL WP (2008-2012): .556. .494, .475, .593, .512= 426 Wins, 2 playoff appearences

          Go a year further back, Milwaukee was over .500 again and the Reds were not.

          They’ve been better than “ok.” And do well with the resources they have, while pulling in 3 Million fans a year. You make them sound like they are just this side of the Astros.

        • @Matt WI:
          The Brewers have had some successful seasons lately. Those included all-in seasons and big trades of the organization’s future/young talent for guys like Zack Greinke. I think trading away the future has caught up to them. If they had an era of success, it’s over now.

          I think the Brewers could be a contender in under three years if they’d trade the big names (like Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun) for valuable prospects, but instead they’re choosing to hang onto them – delaying being competitive for three years, the length of Lohse’s contract.

          I think the Astros have the right idea, bringing in a new GM with a history of drafting and developing players, their version of the Reds’ Dan O’Brien. The Astros are rebuilding from scratch, and that process, albeit painful, got the Reds to where they are today. Like when the Reds signed Eric Milton the Brewers are turning to mediocre veterans to patch up a horrible rotation and just delaying real improvements. The Brewers are trying to hang on, hoping they can out-slug a bad pitching staff – it didn’t work for the Reds and it won’t for the Brewers. The sooner they recognize that the sooner they can be competitive again, in my opinion.

          The Brewers aren’t rediscovering their recent success. It’s behind them. They’ll follow the Astros’ rebuilding example sometime, and I think they should get started sooner rather than later.

        • @redsfanman: For three (more) years the Brewers will be burdened with the contracts of Aramis Ramirez and Kyle Lohse. Those players can help a good team, but I don’t think they can turn a bad team into a contender by themselves.

          Also, fans buy tickets to see a winning team. That’s what many Brewers fans saw in the past few years. Unfortunately when teams struggle their attendance often drops. The difference I’ve personally seen in Seattle and Cleveland over a few years is fascinating. UC football even had a similar rise and drop in attendance. With this questionable Brewers pitching staff I think the team will struggle, attendance will go down, and the payroll will decrease. It’s just a matter of time.

        • @redsfanman: I for one have always taken the Brew Crew seriously. The had the number one offense in the league last year based on WAR and OPS+. It was their pitching that hurt them so I don’t see how adding Lohse could do anything but help them.

      • @Matt WI: Yes, Lohse makes the Brewers better. After losing Marcum and Grienke they needed to pay for a starter. I’m still kinda surprised that the Cards didn’t resign him. It makes me wonder if they know something other teams don’t. I am willing to bet that that Brewers sign him to a 1-year deal with an option. It’s probably for a big chunk of money with Boras as his agent. Though it does seem that Boras is costing some of his clients a lot of money lately by overvaluing some of his mid-tier clients.

        • @LWBlogger: Lohse makes the Brewers better but he doesn’t off-set the loss of Marcum or Greinke (although he does eat up much of the saved payroll). He certainly doesn’t push them into contention, he just pushes them out of last place. Not only do they give up their 2013 draft pick they should get a worse pick in 2014 (due to winning a few more games). The future doesn’t look any more bright for the Brewers than it did for the Reds around 2001.

          I think the Cardinals just had trust in younger pitchers like Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal and Joe Kelly, and they wanted to give them a shot, rather than risking a collapse by Lohse. Smart move, I think. Unfortunately the Brewers’ alternatives were much worse.

        • @LWBlogger: Lohse makes the Brewers better but he doesn’t off-set the loss of Marcum or Greinke .

          Agreed, but that’s not what you said. You said “The Brewers paid big money for a name rather than somebody who will help them to be competitive.” It’s more than obvious that Lohse does that. Now, if they think they can put together a team like the Yankees do, that’s fine. I’m not going to knock how they do it. Lots of ways to make a winner. And, at some point in time, you have to pay for the players, anyhow. Not everyone is Tampa Bay. The Reds are feeling the pay feeling right now.

        • Agreed, but that’s not what you said.You said “The Brewers paid big money for a name rather than somebody who will help them to be competitive.”It’s more than obvious that Lohse does that.Now, if they think they can put together a team like the Yankees do, that’s fine.I’m not going to knock how they do it.Lots of ways to make a winner.And, at some point in time, you have to pay for the players, anyhow.Not everyone is Tampa Bay.The Reds are feeling the pay feeling right now.

          I think we’re arguing the same point. I don’t think Lohse offsets the loss of Greinke and Marcum and as a result I don’t think the Brewers will be competitive. With or without Lohse I think they will be lucky to finish at .500.

          I agree that the Brewers are not the Yankees, but I think the Brewers are trying to approach their problems from the Yankees’ perspective. Buy buy buy. Need a 3b (Aramis Ramirez) or SP (Kyle Lohse) and they’ll buy one. Unlike the Yankees the Brewers don’t have enough money to buy a well-rounded team though.

          There are lots of ways to make a winner, but also lots of ways to make a loser. Spending a lot of money on a few pieces (like Dunn, Griffey, Eric Milton) and surrounding them with junk doesn’t look, at least to me, like a way to win.

        • I think we’re arguing the same point. I don’t think Lohse offsets the loss of Greinke and Marcum and as a result I don’t think the Brewers will be competitive. With or without Lohse I think they will be lucky to finish at .500.I agree that the Brewers are not the Yankees, but I think the Brewers are trying to approach their problems from the Yankees’ perspective. Buy buy buy. Need a 3b (Aramis Ramirez) or SP (Kyle Lohse) and they’ll buy one. Unlike the Yankees the Brewers don’t have enough money to buy a well-rounded team though.There are lots of ways to make a winner, but also lots of ways to make a loser. Spending a lot of money on a few pieces (like Dunn, Griffey, Eric Milton) and surrounding them with junk doesn’t look, at least to me, like a way to win.

          Not the same point at all. One player rarely replaces two players. But, to say Lohse and Ramirez didn’t help is ridiculous.

          How would you know how much money the Brewers have? Maybe their uncle simply decided to open their own wallets up even more. Shoot, all of these owners have money to burn. If the Brewers want to use their money like the Yankees do, so what. It hasn’t exactly made the Yankees a team of losers. They have been competitive each year, what you said doesn’t work. One man’s junk can be another man’s treasure.

        • Not the same point at all.One player rarely replaces two players.But, to say Lohse and Ramirez didn’t help is ridiculous.

          How would you know how much money the Brewers have?Maybe their uncle simply decided to open their own wallets up even more.Shoot, all of these owners have money to burn.If the Brewers want to use their money like the Yankees do, so what.It hasn’t exactly made the Yankees a team of losers.They have been competitive each year, what you said doesn’t work.One man’s junk can be another man’s treasure.

          Were the Brewers competitive in 2012? No. Lohse and Ramirez can help to keep the Brewers at a mediocre level of performance, around a .500 record, but they won’t make the team competitive.

          The Brewers aren’t the Yankees, the Yankees have almost twice as much money to spend. Former Reds owner Carl Lindner had ‘money to burn’, but he chose to spend it on schools and charities rather than player payrolls. Fine with me. Can the Brewers buy success? No.

          Oh well, if you want to root for the Brewers, you can do that. I think they’re extremely overrated (by the few people who think they’ll be any good) and headed for full-scale rebuilding.

        • @redsfanman: Don’t you think they were struck by a bout of bad luck? They got hit by injury pretty hard and under performance in general early. They were never as bad as they were the beginning, nor as amazing as they were at the end… but they were set to be as competitive as anybody in the Central. They just came off winning the division with basically the same team intact. Life happens, but it wasn’t preordained for them to struggle. Nobody saw the A’s coming last year, but they did….

          Once again, I think all anybody is looking for is some sort of ability on your part to acknowledge that there is no such thing as the certainty about this stuff as you present. You make statement of absolutes and refuse to acknowledge the logic another position. We’ve got a bunch of Reds fans sticking up for the Brewers for crying out loud. We’re glad they didn’t win, but it’s not unreasonable to respect ones opponents. It’s not the Brewers people care about so much as the way you argue your points. That’s what people mean when they throw around words like troll.

        • @Matt WI: Getting it down to $11-million/yr is good but man, a 3-year deal? Oh well, there is no doubt that Lohse makes them a better team this year.

  9. With the innings projection, I actually see Chapman getting more than that. Rule #83 in Baker’s book, “Closers get all save opportunities”. Chapman will probably get all save opportunities plus several more opportunities.

    I do think Chapman’s WAR will come down some, also, but not much, like you have it. Teams are going to be more prepared for him.

    But, you have their floor and ceiling the same. If we are talking “rotation” and starting, I would think Chapman’s ceiling is a lot higher as well as his floor is a lot lower, due to all kinds of little reasons like Leake has started on this level where Chapman hasn’t. That’s why I was interested in seeing what Chapman could do as a starter, but not wildly confident in him as a starter until he actually starts at this level and shows us what he can do.

  10. First and foremost I would like to thank the Jason for all the hard work he has done on a tremendous series of posts. That being said:

    I’m happy the Reds made the decision they did. I understand the sabrmetics behind he thinking of everyone who wanted him in the rotation. I really do, but here’s my take on it. Living outside of Providence, I see a lot of Red Sox games, even take the train to Boston a few times each season. If I hadn’t been a little league shortstop in love with Barry larkins game fifteen years ago, My Sox would probably be Red rather than my cap. I follow the team more closely than a casual fan, and in the last few years have watched the implosions of both Daniel Bard and the Yankees’ joba Chamberlain. Although neither threw 100, both pitched in the high nineties (96-98) and bard even came up with a wipeout slider. A similar debate broke out on bard last year with regards to him working in the rotation. the thinking is that even though it happened to a flamethrower on some other team, it could never happen to your own top young hurler. And then Bard flamed out in the rotation. Old control issues plagued him when he couldn’t rely on a 98 hour fastball (he was about 92-94 in the rotation) and Dan had to try and turn to underdeveloped secondary offerings. Even after moving back to the pen after this failed experiment, he just wasn’t the same pitcher. He had no confidence and and wasn’t effective. The Sox, however, didn’t have the rich rotation options our beloved reds do. Mike leake, in what will be probably considered a down year for him if he pitches like he did in 2011, managed a 1.5 war. He’s likely to improve on that, where most team are hoping to get even a win or so in that spot. This team is a contender as it is, an we don’t need to rock the boat too much. The only way I could see a huge improvement without possibility of failure was if we had someone else in the dugout who would use Chapman more creatively. Short of that, nothing else is really going to make a huge difference in whether we make it to October or not, and once you’re there the best team doesn’t always win anyways. That’s baseball.

    I just thinks solid SP Leake + dominant CP Chapman > a coin flip of Good SP Chapman + solid RP Leake (50%) / Solid SP Leake + busted SP chapman(25%) / Solid Leake + good-not-dominant Chapman (25%). But that’s just one humble observers story and opinion. If you’re still reading this, sorry for the long post.

    Fire away at me.

    • @cliff: Big picture: Replacing Bard in the Red Sox bullpen has been pretty easy. And set-up relievers are notoriously unreliable from one year to the next. There just isn’t that much value in a relief pitcher. Period. Same thing with the Yankees. Robertson, Soriano, next guy, next guy. Easy to replace Joba. Both teams made the right decision trying their pitchers out as starters. The upside is huge. Look at how both organizations are struggling to fill out their rotations.

    • @cliff: One more thing. It’s not even clear that Chapman will convert a higher save percentage than Broxton, Marshall, LeCure or Hoover would have. The incremental difference Chapman makes in the bullpen is trivial to the difference he could make in the rotation.

  11. The thing I don’t get is when people would talk about how moving Chapman to the pen made sense because he’s a headcase and doesn’t need too much spare time to get into trouble.

    Do people not remember that Mike Leake got arrested for shoplifting last year? I thnk Mike Leake is just as muchy of a headcase. Mike Leake has also whined when he’s been asked to pitch out of the pen and when he was sent to the minors (briefly). Talk about a guy not impressing.

    I also have no idea why anyone would feel optimistic about his chances this year, beyond just wishing. I think Mike Leake was successful when the league didn’t know him. Now the League has caught up. He’s always given up a lot of hits, one year he had a very low BABIP. So I guess we’re just hoping for that again?

    • @al: Mike Leake bought $60 of tshirts, learned they didn’t fit, and tried to swap them without asking. Silly thing to do, dumb mistake, but he accepted responsibility and did his community service hours. As far as I’m concerned that’s over now, and it’s a silly thing to hold against him. If he’s holding up stores, caught with drugs, or charged with domestic violence I would have a very different opinion.

      Compare that to a guy who got his drivers license suspended (and will still caught speeding with a suspended license)… and the girl in the hotel room. Yeah. There are lots of questions about Chapman’s personal life, but the Reds – including Dusty and his teammates – probably know more about them than we do.

      • @redsfanman: Leake doesn’t impress me on or off the field. Call it silly if you want, but I think it’s reasonable to hold against him if people think that Chapman can’t be a starter because of his off-feild issues.

        • @al: For the record I don’t think off-field issues or maturity are something being held against Chapman. Or against Leake. Neither of them are perfect, there are pros and cons, risks and rewards for both of them.

        • @redsfanman: If you think that’s what happened with Leake, you’re either awfully naive or just willfully distorting.

          Well, what happened?

    • @Steve Mancuso: The season starts next week. Let’s hope they get it together soon. They haven’t played well all spring and there are some teams in the Central that will give them a good fight. The Cards are the Cards and are going to be there at the end. The Brewers just got back in the conversation again by adding Lohse. If the Pirates can grow some legs they could actually make things interesting again too.

      • @LWBlogger: I think the Reds are still the best team in the Central, but I don’t think they are going to run away with the division like they did last year.

        The Brewers and Cardinals both have very good offenses, with pitching TBD. The Pirates were in first place before their collapse last year, and have a young team that could get better. I could see all three of those teams being bunched up right behind the Reds all season.

        Aside from the Cubs, and now without the Astros, I think the Central is going to be a pretty tough division.

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