2013 Reds / Spring Training

57 thoughts on “On JJ Hoover

  1. Note the pitcher listed just below Hoover. The Reds have traded some significant relief pitching talent in the past year+ and are still overstaffed with more relief pitching than they can carry on the 25 man roster.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Overstaffed with middle relief pitching, IMO. After Chapman, Broxton, Marshall, and LeCure, the Reds have Arredondo, Ondrusek, Simon, Parra…those 4 all making around a $1 million each.

      That’s 8 relievers before you get to Hoover, the only player left with options. I’m not sure why they inked Arredondo, Ondrusek, Simon, and Parra to guaranteed deals. Hoover is one of the 5 best relievers, IMO, let alone top 7, so we’ll see how the Reds let it play out. They did let Frazier start the year in AAA last year, so my guess is that (barring injuries) one of the 4 will be released and Hoover will start the season as Louisville’s closer.

      • @Greg Dafler: Earlier this spring I thought Hoover would be optioned, but I no longer think that’s likely.

        Parra, I said all along that he wouldn’t make the Reds and I still believe that. I don’t think Jocketty will have trouble finding another team (maybe the Astros?) willing to take him and his $1m contract.

        I still want to know what they can do with Alfredo Simon, Dusty said he was set-back by the World Baseball Classic, in which he wasn’t allowed to pitch much. They can’t put him on the DL and send him to extended spring training because of the WBC, if he’s not hurt, can they? Are the only options keeping him on the 25 man active roster or designating him for assignment?

        Jose Arredondo and Logan Ondrusek remain interesting guys to watch. I think Arredondo has an edge for getting lefties out.

        @CP: Today the Reds have to decide if they want Miguel Olivo to stay in the organization. They didn’t release him yet (so he qualified for a $100,000 bonus) but it seems clear that he’ll report to AAA. After that he can opt-out of his contract in June, I believe.

        @Matt WI: Trading Juan Francisco opened the door for Todd Frazier and JJ Hoover. What a brilliant win-win move.

    • Note the pitcher listed just below Hoover. The Reds have traded some significant relief pitching talent in the past year+ and are still overstaffed with more relief pitching than they can carry on the 25 man roster.

      Agreed. Donnie Joseph is one I would have kept, IMO. Left handed pitchers are just so hard to get, especially affordable ones, especially affordable ones who are good. And, Joseph was doing well even before this ST.

      I can’t help thinking options are going to play into some of this. But, I still believe there is going to be a trade sometime involving at least one reliever. Of course, I have been saying that since last mid-season. And, look what we have without making a trade involving a reliever.

      I did say last year in deciding on Harris, “You don’t carry a left handed bat on the bench just for the sake of carrying a left handed bat.” That’s why I would have chosen Frazier over Harris. Here, I can’t help thinking, to a less degree, “You don’t move a player down just because they have options.” I can’t help thinking, if they deserve it, they deserve to be up here. Now, with how the things work, even if Hoover does start in Louisville, again, I can’t help thinking that’s only because a trade would be brewing involving a reliever, where then Hoover will be the first one called up.

      But, boy, isn’t this some good talk? Compared to what it had been years past, when we were wondering which of the bad players to keep, we are now talking about what to do with which of the good players.

  2. Today’s the day the Reds have to make a decision on Olivo, correct?

    Crossing my fingers the Reds make a correct decision. The “correct decision” is a 2 parter: if they keep Mesoraco in a MLB uniform, they need to give him more reps and occasionally let him catch Cueto/Latos. He doesn’t need to get the majority of the playing time at catcher, but at some point Dusty needs to expose the future catcher to the above average pitchers. What the heck happens if Hanigan gets hurt?

    • @CP: More to the point, Mez can’t go 3 days in a row without playing. If that means someone doesn’t get their personal catcher, so be it. Hanigan isn’t the first guy they’ve thrown to, nor will he be the last.

      • @CP: More to the point, Mez can’t go 3 days in a row without playing. If that means someone doesn’t get their personal catcher, so be it. Hanigan isn’t the first guy they’ve thrown to, nor will he be the last.

        I have to agree. Like I said before, when will our “future” become our present? Nothing again Ryan or Devin; I am a fan of both. But, I just don’t think you can be having both on this team. If you are going to keep Ryan starting 3-4 of every 5 games until the day he retires as a Red, which could still be years, I say trade Devin off. But, if you are going to take Devin’s development seriously, you have to be giving him more playing time.

        • @steveschoen: Its Devin’s decision. He can play his butt off, as he has done, and make the team behind Hanny or he can get sent down and “develop”
          Now that he is here he can make his case with 1-2 games per rotation, or go back and develop.

          If the kid can knock off Dusty’s veteran he is headed for the All Star game.

        • @localboy: So basically, Devin must do well in spite of Dusty. Successful organizations do not treat their young elite prospects this way. Mes doesn’t need to be given the job, but getting stuck with the bottom 2 pitchers, and playing a couple games every 4 or 5 days, is a recipe for failure. Teams like the Rays & the Cards are always planning for the future AND maximizing their chances of winning. They don’t force guys like Desmond Jennings to learn to be bench player before a starter…they get them semi-consistent at bats.

          If this scenario holds up, the only guy I can even compare Mes’ situation to is Brandon Belt’s treatment by Bruce Bochy. Bochy’s handling was probably even worse tbh…he was playing a veteran whose performance had dropped off a cliff over an obviously superior elite prospect.

        • @steveschoen: Its Devin’s decision. He can play his butt off, as he has done, and make the team behind Hanny or he can get sent down and “develop”Now that he is here he can make his case with 1-2 games per rotation, or go back and develop.If the kid can knock off Dusty’s veteran he is headed for the All Star game.

          Putting it short, this is simply incorrect. Baker always decides who plays, period. Routine can be very important to these guys. There is no substitute for actual playing time. Telling a player to go out there 1-2 games per rotation and say, “Perform”, that’s treating anyone like a dog; that’s no routine. These people aren’t dogs. What are they suppose to do? When they pinch hit, hit a homerun on command, and that would be the only way to get playing time? Heisey was pretty good at that 2 years ago, and he still isn’t getting any playing time.

          Devin has nothing else to learn at AAA. He went from being “the regular everyday man” at AAA to riding the bench. Riding more pine isn’t going to help him at all. Would the Reds really look to waste two talented #1 draft choice catching prospects they had in Devin and Grandal, especially when both of them have shown they have nothing else to learn in the minors? Don’t get me wrong, like I said, I like both Ryan and Devin. But, there just isn’t enough time for both of them. If we wait until Ryan retires (hopefully as a Red), then we will be missing most of Devin’s prime as well. Any development Devin needs now, it’s actually playing at the big league level. If he is doing anything else but that, we are wasting Devin’s talent.

  3. At present, Hoover really is a steal from what Atlanta got in the deal. Does anybody miss Juan Francisco? What a fortunate turn of events last year.

    • @Matt WI: Skyline Chili and Larosa’s Pizzeria misses Juan, but that’s about it.

      I actually think he’ll throw up some decent numbers for the Braves this year. He’ll never be a well rounded player, but he fits into the Braves lineup pretty well.

      Which makes Hoover v. Francisco kind of weird, doesn’t it? Hoover seems like he would capable of much more, but he could start the season in AAA. Francisco, deeply flawed, is the starting 3B for a team likely to make the playoffs.

    • At present, Hoover really is a steal from what Atlanta got in the deal. Does anybody miss Juan Francisco? What a fortunate turn of events last year.

      but then we also sent Horst to Philly for Valdez. Phillies fans are happy with that exchange.

      My point is that you see alot of trade involving bench players/middle relief that seem lopsided but it somehow get to be neutral in the end.

  4. The idea of Parra and Ondrusek in the same bullpen scares me. Both walk more batters than they should. I could see Simon earning higher leverage situations this season. Looks like he’s finally pared down his repertoire and increased his effectiveness as a result.

    The team we think we have going north may not be the team that actually does. Walt could swing a deal this week.

  5. Now that Chapman is in the pen, and Dusty will go back to using Marshall as a LOOGy, it’s hard for me to imagine them keeping Parra (another wasted million from the Chapman indecision).

    I was surprised they re-signed Ondrusek, he seemed like a pretty good non-tender candidate to me. Simon looked better to my eyes, and the numbers like him more, so he’d be one of my picks for middle relief. Hoover also looks like he’s the real deal, and while giving him another chance to start would be my first choice, I’d rather have him with the Reds than in AAA.

    So then it would come down to Arredondo v. Ondrusek. I guess if I had to pick I’d guess that Ondrusek is a better bet in the long run because Arredondo is losing his fastball, probably because he throws the splitter so much. It seemed like by the end of the year last year he wasn’t very effective because all the hitters new they didn’t have to look for the fastball very much.

    Chapman, Broxton, Marshall, Lecure, Hoover, Simon, Ondrusek. I think that’s who I’d take.

    • @al: I think the Reds see something in Ondrusek that some of the numbers really aren’t showing. They seem to overvalue him for some reason. That said, I’d try to move Parra if I were the Reds and would go with the bullpen as you suggested in your post.

      • @al: I think the Reds see something in Ondrusek that some of the numbers really aren’t showing. They seem to overvalue him for some reason. That said, I’d try to move Parra if I were the Reds and would go with the bullpen as you suggested in your post.

        Logan does seem to do well at the beginning of the seasons, then regresses as Baker keeps using him more and more, instead of pacing out his pen.

        I could understand letting Parra go, though. I still say something is going to go on in relation to letting players go somehow.

  6. Leake has options.

    Simon was a better pitcher than Leake last year.

    Of course who cares about keeping the best pitchers and what role they play this year.

    Why don’t we ask Logan and Simon what they would like to do and we can build our roster based on their feelings

    • @reaganspad: While I’m as peeved with Mike Leake’s role on this team as anyone, it’s not really fair to say that Simon was just better than him last year.

      Simon was obvioulsy only pitching one inning at a time, and often in the least important parts of a game, facing the bottom of a lineup in a blowout for example.

      Leake was throwing to the same heart of the order two and three times, and getting more tired each time through.

      Just take a look at what Sam Lecure has done as a starter and as a reliever in his career and you can see what a difference this makes.

    • Why don’t we ask Logan and Simon what they would like to do and we can build our roster based on their feelings

      Slam. Lol.

    • @al: Parra won’t be $1m wasted if another team trades for him or claims him off waivers, which I think will happen.

      Arredondo vs Ondrusek is the only one of your projections that I disagree with. The advantage that Arredondo has is that he’s so successful at getting lefties out, while Ondrusek’s role seems harder to determine – presumably it’d be filled by Hoover. I’d pick Arredondo to make the team, even if he’s ‘losing his fastball’ because he offers something different (an ability to retire lefties) that the Reds might need.

      @reaganspad: Simon struggled as a starter for years, like Sam LeCure, before emerging as a reliever. I don’t think it’s fair to compare them to Leake or the other starters. It’s clear from his time with the Orioles that Simon isn’t a capable starter and his career has taken him down another path.

      I know you’re joking about asking Simon and Ondrusek for their feelings, but if either of them complained about their role they’d be cut – the Reds try to build around some guys, their ‘young nucleus’, (including Chapman, Leake, Votto, Bruce, and so on) while others (like LeCure, Simon, Arredondo, Ondrusek) have to adapt to the more important guys.

      • @redsfanman: Small correction to your above post. If a team trades for Parra, then unless the Reds give up money in the deal, the other team is responsible for Parra’s salary. If a team claims Parra off waivers, then that team only needs to pay the waiver fee and the Reds are still responsible for the contract on Parra. In addition, Parra would likely receive a new contract from the claiming team.

  7. The case for Hoover ahead of Ondrusek is overwhelming. Even if it weren’t for Hoover, Ondrusek shouldn’t make the team.

    Last year, Ondrusek had a 6.42 K/9 and 5.10 BB/9 – that’s almost the same number of Ks and BBs. His FIP was 5.44 (which is a better predictor of future ERA than ERA). His walk rate has continued to climb over the past three seasons, from 3.07 to 4.11 to 5.10.

    In contrast, last year Hoover had a 9.10 K/9 and 3.82 BB/9. His FIP was 3.19.

    This spring, the contrast could not be greater. Ondrusek has an ERA of 7.27 and more BB than K. He’s give up 14 hits in 8.2 innings.

    Hoover has 16K to go with 1BB and a 2.00 ERA. He’s given up 9 hits in 9 innings.

    If spring training was a competition, it really was no competition in this head-to-head. Hoover has been flat dominant and should make the club.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I agree, Ondrusek is a below average pitcher and shouldn’t make the team regardless. But Hoover had a lot of help being dominant:

      FIP 3.19 yes, but his xFIP was 4.20.
      His 4.7% FB/HR ration is worrisome.
      His 1.95 BABIP scares the absolute hell out of me.

  8. Chapman, Broxton, Marshall, Hoover, LeCure, Simon, and Arredondo. That’s who I’d take, with Arredondo being used as a lefty specialist. And that’s what I’m predicting the Reds will do. Unless they find justification to put Alfredo Simon on the DL.

  9. Al,

    Simon gave up 2 HR’s last year. Leake 26. Simon’s ERA is 2 runs per game less. Yes Simon pitched only 61 innings to Leake’s 179, but my point is that if reverse those 2, you would improve Leake’s numbers by using him in relief. I would like to see what Simon could do over 6 innings.

    You make a case that Leake has to go through the order. The issue last year was that he couldn’t get through the second time and gave up a lot of crooked numbers in innings 4, 5, 6… he rarely got to the 7th.

    Simon is too good to leave off this team.

    And LeCure gave up fewer hits than inning pitched and teams hit 221 off of him. He have up 3 HRs in 57 innings.

    Leake gave up 26 HRS in 3 times more innings. and teams hit 287 off of him, 22 more hits 201 thank IP 179.

    And Simon and LeCure help themselves by striking out 1 per inning, twice the rate that Leake does.

    I don’t care if Leake can hit, I care about his pitching

    • @reaganspad: you’re just missing the point. you’re comparing apples and oranges. it’s not just that leake pitched more innings, it’s that in doing so he was doing a much harder thing, and thus has worse results.

      it’s possible that lecure or simon could do better as a starter, but just look at their numbers. as a starter lecure’s ERA is 4.83 as a reliever it’s 3.28. for simon, his ERA as a starter is 5.15 and as a reliever it’s 4.07.

      it’s just an obviously false comparison to say that because their numbers look better in relief, that they are definitely better than leake as starters.

  10. Both Sheldon & Fay are reporting

    Olivo was offered the $100,000 retention bonus to report to AAA Louisville. He’s deciding. It means Mesoraco has made the team.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Reading Sheldon’s report, Dusty doesn’t seem thrilled. His “contractual blah blah blah supersedes, precludes what you wanna do” nonsense tells me he’d rather have Olivo than Meso, and then acts as if he has to JUSTIFY Meso being the choice with his, “It isn’t like Devin didn’t earn it.” Olivo hit .1 something and Devin mashed all spring.

      Even if I’m picking up on all the wrong signals, Dusty Baker rubs me the wrong way every time.

      • @hermanbates: I read the same comments from both Sheldon and Fay and had the same reaction. Dusty is simply set in his ways and completely inflexible. He will always favor his veterans and the players he knows over younger, more deserving players. Apparently that approach is OK with Reds management, so there isn’t anything we can do but just accept it and hope for the best.

      • @hermanbates: Man, I didn’t even notice that. That’s just depressing… but I suppose Dusty is Dusty. Who needs young talent when you can get some good ‘ol Veteranyness. I bet you if Mesoraco wasn’t hitting 1.036 OPS in spring, and was hitting more like .800-.850 which I would still take in a heartbeat, there’d be a lot more discussion from Dusty on Olivo staying.

        Maybe he’s a little sad he used up his one public temper tantrum to the media on Chapman, and now doesn’t have it saved for Olivo. Who knows.

        • @hermanbates: Man, I didn’t even notice that. That’s just depressing… but I suppose Dusty is Dusty. Who needs young talent when you can get some good ‘ol Veteranyness. I bet you if Mesoraco wasn’t hitting 1.036 OPS in spring, and was hitting more like .800-.850 which I would still take in a heartbeat, there’d be a lot more discussion from Dusty on Olivo staying.Maybe he’s a little sad he used up his one public temper tantrum to the media on Chapman, and now doesn’t have it saved for Olivo. Who knows.

          Just read Baker’s quote. “contractual things supersede. They preclude what you want to do.”. Sounds like Baker wanted Olivo over Devin to me. Olivo played terrible all summer, and Baker only says good things about him. Devin’s been playing awesome all summer. And, Baker talks of mostly of a lack of maturity from Devin.

        • @steveschoen: I saw this statement right away. It is wrong, wrong, wrong on so many levels and sends so many wrong messages it’s crazy. It makes me questions if Baker tries to make managing a team more complex than it needs to be. He seems to lose site of the big picture getting mired in the details.

          Note to Dusty: It’s about WINNING! And winning begins with having the best team on the field.

      • @hermanbates: It seems to me like Dusty Baker is being supportive of the veteran who has been cut rather than celebrating that he’s gone. That’s part of why he’s a Player’s Manager, and why players like him, and why more players will want to audition/compete for Dusty’s teams in the future. Nobody can argue that Miguel Olivo wasn’t given a fair shot.

        The most important thing is that Mesoraco made the team.

        • @redsfanman: Good point….and the fact that ex-players do not speak ill of him. Prior, case in point.

          He is left coast, feel good….and we can win with him.

        • @redsfanman: Good point….and the fact that ex-players do not speak ill of him. Prior, case in point.He is left coast, feel good….and we can win with him.

          What’s Prior going to do, talk ill of the manager who very well holds his future in his hands? That would easily be called “sucking up”, also.

        • @hermanbates: It seems to me like Dusty Baker is being supportive of the veteran who has been cut rather than celebrating that he’s gone. That’s part of why he’s a Player’s Manager, and why players like him, and why more players will want to audition/compete for Dusty’s teams in the future. Nobody can argue that Miguel Olivo wasn’t given a fair shot.The most important thing is that Mesoraco made the team.

          Why not support the player who is actually going to be on his squad? That’s the first person he has to be aware of. Todd and the others are exactly correct. This is the Bakerman prefering his veterans for their veteraniness. I wouldn’t be surprised if I hear, “We have to get him going”, in relation to Olivo? Why do we have to get him going?

          Bottom line, if there is no other choice Baker has, he’s always going to go with the veterans over the young studs. Some like to argue things like, “Look at Bruce.” Look at Bruce. If not him, who steps in, still youngsters. Baker had no choice but to go with a young stud there. But, then, when he had a choice between Rolen and Frazier in last year’s playoffs, who did he pick? Rolen. When during the season when Rolen was going through some injuries, it was between Harris and Frazier. Who did Baker pick? Harris. For both when Frazier was outperforming both of them. Heisey or Gomes? It was Gomes, the veteran. One that was probably justifiable, Ryan and Devin? They both performed well. But, even with that, at some point in time, our catching “future” has to become our catching “present”. If not, we should be getting rid of the catching “future”, preferably to fill another hole or for some prospects.

        • @redsfanman: There has never, ever, been an instance in which Dusty Baker has made a mistake.

          One need not speak ill of Olivo. However, Baker’s quotes can easily be read as being unsupportive of the guy who’s going to be his “B” catcher this year. The way I read the quotes is that Olivo would have been the catcher except for contractual issues. “They preclude what you want to do”. What did Baker want to do? Keep a third catcher? I don’t think so.

          Baker’s quotes would have made some sense had Mesoraco struggled and Olivo had a hot spring. Given it was the opposite, why is Baker lamenting that Mesoraco is the B catcher? And why is the great players’ manager telling the world, through the media, that Mesoraco is immature? Maybe he is immature, but wouldn’t a players’ manager protect the player and keep it in house?

  11. Per Sweeny Murti of WFAN via Twitter

    The Yankees have released infielder David Adams to make space on the team’s 40-man roster for Vernon Wells.

    Adams is an intriguing minor league player. The downside is he’s 25 and has only reached AA ball, but he plays solid IF defense and is an on-base machine with good doubles power. This might be a good pickup.

    • Per Sweeny Murti of WFAN via Twitter

      Adams is an intriguing minor league player.The downside is he’s 25 and has only reached AA ball, but he plays solid IF defense and is an on-base machine with good doubles power.This might be a good pickup.

      Good pickup for what role? A utility infielder? And do you mean to fill in the minor league roster or to compete with Jason Donald, Cesar Izturis, and Emmanuel Burriss?

      • @redsfanman: I agree completely w your seven bullpen arms and how they should be used.

        @redsfanman: re: Adams, either or both. They could use some middle infield depth, even if its at AAA for now.

      • @redsfanman:

        Good pickup for what role?

        For minor league IF depth. The major league roster will work itself out this year with the 3 IF you mentioned.

  12. I don’t want to seem like a contrarian regarding Hoover, but in his 30 inning last year his xFIP (4.40) shows that he was the beneficiary of some pretty stellar defense. This is further demonstrated by his 1.95 BABIP. He left a career high 84.6% base runner on base while pitching for the first time in the majors. Odd that he would do the best ever while at the big club. He also had an extremely low 4.7% HR/FB ratio so either he is good at causing hitters to pop-up, or he has been very fortunate those flyballs translated into outs rather than home runs, or this says nothing because of a small sample.

    But that’s just it, we’ve only seen Hoover in a short sample. And while his results were great, how he got those results show he may (MAY)have be been more lucky than good. His minor league numbers are very good, but not dominate either. While I agree that Hoover may be a really good relief pitcher, I don’t know that he’s earned his way on to this club over anyone else. I certainly don’t trust Spring numbers to help make that decision.

    On the other hand, Ondrusek is a below average relief pitcher. All his numbers show it, and the predictive indicators are 5×5; right where they should be to indicate his poor numbers were not a fluke or result of chance.

    • @TC: I think he’ll be good, I just think this ‘closer of the future’ stuff that I hear about him sometimes might be a little premature. The Reds have gone through lots of ‘closers of the future’.

        • @TC: I agree as well. But it is cool that we are at the point of trying to sort through some pretty good arms at this point instead of years past just praying for some lightning in a bottle or for some unkown to have a break out season. These certainly aren’t the worst problems to have.

    • @TC: It’s possible that Hoover isn’t as good as he looks. His walk rates are a little high to be considered elite.

      xFIP is a great piece of the puzzle, but it’s possible Hoover is just one of those rare pitchers who can have an above average fly ball rate, and a below average homerun rate.

      (The small sample size is the most likely culprit though)

      I put very little weight on spring training performance, but you have to put a little…Hoover pretty much had the best spring training performance you could possibly ever have.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s