Thinking Inside the Box

Quarter-Season Round Up

We are about 1/4 of the way through the season now, and I thought I might be good this week to return to something I did early on and take a look at each spot in the lineup to see what kind of production the Reds are getting.

1. Billy Hamilton (.260/.300/.359) 80 wRC+
Of course, we all know the story with Hamilton. Since he got a tough first few weeks out of the way, he’s been excellent. His numbers here are something all of us would take, and if he keeps at his current pace, it will be much better soon.

2. Joey Votto (.257/.410/.449) 143 wRC+
Votto, of course, is hurt and his status is somewhat questionable right now. However, whenever he does come back, he will, as always, be the best hitter on the team, and not – not, I say – part of the problem.

3. Brandon Phillips (.276/.306/.400) 92 wRC+
Phillips was looking like a decayed cornhusk for a while, but he’s really come on lately. However, his high BABIP (.331) and low walk rate (4%) are both cause for concern. Still, hope abounds.

4. Jay Bruce (.216/.352/.363) 98 wRC+
Hurt and on the DL, one presumes Bruce will be a better hitter when he returns from the knee injury, but his power isn’t likely to be all the way there. I’m very nervous about Jay this season.

5. Todd Frazier (.268/.337/.490) 127 wRC+
A fair bit of ink has been spilled over Todd Frazier lately. He’s seeing more pitches. He’s swinging at balls out of the zone less often. He’s doing everything you want a player his age to do, and we just might be seeing his peak season, which is great. If Todd can keep his performance at Jay Bruce-type levels, well, happy days will be here. I don’t see any red-herrings in his numbers and he’s starting to make me a believer.

6. Devin Mesoraco (.450/.500/.753) 252 wRC+
Mes has lately moved up in the lineup. Good. Now, if he could just stay healthy enough to play five or six games a week. His line drive rate is simply insane right now. I don’t know what to think of him. Obviously, this level of production can’t continue, but the longer he keeps it up, the more he finds himself compared to really, really excellent players. Runs like this simply don’t happen very often, and when they do happen, it usually tells you that you have a very good or even great player on your hands.

7. Ryan Ludwick (.246/.326/.339) 85 wRC+
Ludwick isn’t hitting. I know he’s supposed to be a slow starter, but at this point, the Reds are probably better off starting Heisey or whatever other warm body they can find. If this is all Ludwick can give them, then he’s probably playing his last major league season. If the Reds want to contend, this is an easy spot to try and improve.

8. Zack Cozart (.206/.248/.284) 42 wRC+
I’ve always been a Cozart believer (where believer means I think his defense makes up for his bat), but this can’t continue. He’s improved somewhat lately and his BABIP still seems too low, but the Reds need more from their shortstop.

Primary Subs:

Brayan Pena (.261/.290/.420) 87 wRC+
Totally acceptable hitting from a number two catcher.

Chris Heisey (.236/.306/.348) 82 wRC+
He should be playing ahead of Ludwick because his defense and baserunning make him a better player. He’s still got no business playing every day for a contender, but he’s better than what they have.

Lineup Thoughts
You all know that I don’t really care about the lineup, but it is fun to argue about. Once everyone is healthy, this is the lineup I’d put on the field everyday:

1. Hamilton
2. Votto
3. Mesoraco
4. Bruce
5. Frazier
6. Phillips
7. Heisey
8. Cozart

If Mes and Frazier keep it up and everyone else hits as normal, that’s not a bad bunch. The bottom is a bit of a black hole, but it’s solid.

59 thoughts on “Quarter-Season Round Up

  1. I never actually thought of Mes as a three hole hitter, but I see it now that it is laid out. He protects Votto from getting balled to death and sets Bruce up to drive in a ton of runs.. Perfect. Now these buggers just need to get healthy and someone here needs to pitch it to Price.

    • Plays to JV’s strengths. Also, having BHam in front of him he will get more fastballs and that will help. Keeping my eye on two factors, as it relates to Votto:
      1) If Mes keeps stroking even close to his current pace, JV is going to see a lot
      of strikes and it will effect his OBP negatively and hopefully he can make it up in hits.
      2) If JV continues to see a reduction in his Slugging Percentage, he will like wise see the same in his OBP.

      Votto may not be the problem but he most certainly must be a large portion of the answer. Joey, we all wish nothing but great health and success because we need you more than ever.

      • Ah, obviously this assumes Mes batting third and Votto second. If not, strike all that I wrote.

  2. A catcher batting third? Who do you think the Reds are? The Oakland A’s? Wait, Oakland is in first place and the second best record in MLB. Run this lineup out on Friday night if they are all back and good to go.

    • Just asking, but do we actually have any evidence that BP would squawk at the change? To me, he has always struck me as a team guy, as much as anyone on the club.

      • Hard to say. In the past, he’s been asked to make changes that were more about role than talent. Hitting 6th says, “You aren’t as good as the first five.” Not, “You’re the one who can do this job.”

        BP definitely has an ego. At this point, I’m probably biased because of his various shenanigans. I’m tired of the guy. But you might be right. He might go along like we’d all want him to.

        • My inclination is not to assume the worst but obviously we would just have to see. Totally agree about the approach though.

          In general, I’m pleased with his season but would be much happier with him as a 7th hitter but given the current LF situation; I agree 6th is the best spot for him. IMO, the guy is playing GG defense still and if he had any speed left at all; his value would increase immensely.

          I guess I’m in the minority here but I really like BP. The energy he brings, the fun, the great smile, and the willingness to do what the team asks of him. Said many times before, BP is a complicated guy and I can appreciate opinions that differ than mine about him.

        • Maybe I am making some assumptions that I shouldn’t, although I was really trying to get opinions rather than state my own which wasn’t evident from my poorly worded post.

          I think I’m a bit jaded by his past shenanigans as well. I was fully team BP before his tirade on C. Trent last year, but that changed my thoughts a bit.

          I still think he’s a helluva player and has more in the tank.

  3. Frazier is one of those guy every good team seems to have. not flashy, flies a bit under radar, but can and often do have a positive impact game in, game out.

    Teams need bedrock guys like him, and if cozarts bat comes around even a little bit, he become a guy like that by way of his glove.

    Hopfully as the thunder and lightning return to the line up, the bedrock guys can just keep calm and carry on.

    • Really hope Todd can keep up the pace because I think he would make a great leader for this team. His upbeat and can-do attitude could be infectious. The young core of the everyday guys: Bruce, BHam, Todd & Mes all strike me as hustling hard working types that the Reds could build a very good team around. I’m not real bullish on the present but I could see a really, really good team in 2016 and beyond.

      A stat that I keep an eye on with all players but in particular, Frazier & Hamilton, is the K-rate. Both these guys are destined for great success if they can keep them down.

      • Nick Kirby had this about Frazier on twitter. Impressive. Where Frazier ranks with other MLB 3B: 1.9 WAR (2nd), 130 wRC+ (3rd), 8 HR (t-2nd), .491 SLG (3rd), .346 OBP (5th), .837 OPS (3rd).
        Very impressive. All-Star caliber.

  4. The thing that scares me about this roundup (with the caveat that everyone and their mother has been hurt, small sample, blah, blah) is out of the 10 guys you reviewed only 3 have a wRC+ above league average. And one of those claims that Meso is 152% better at creating runs than an average major league (I’ll go out on a limb here and call for some regression).

    The up side is that BHam isn’t THAT far below average in the category. Bruce was near average while playing injured and should go up. Cozart started abysmally and if you cherry pick just the month of May, he looks better than a 42 wRC+ (71 for the last 30 days).

    There’s reason for hope, but the wRC’s just highlight how abysmal this first quarter was for the Reds offense. Literally half of the guys who were league average or above (if you count Bruce’s 98) were injured for a significant portion of the quarter.

    Yet another reminder to be thankful for starting pitching.

        • I’m thinking about the other day when he reached on an infield hit and advanced to third, on the play, because of a throwing error. If it is only 3-5% of the guys in the league this would happen with, I say it needs to count it because of the unique skill required. If it a huge exception to the general rule, should allowances be made? Does the stat, or any stat, reflex the Hamilhits and the Hamilruns, as you call them?

      • No it doesn’t, but his speed alone isn’t worth 15 wRC. Especially since, so far, his SB% is below the cut-off for adding to your teams value. I realize that % will likely go up as he learns to use his speed more effectively.

        However, the other cases your referencing the “Hamilhits” are just singles. That single is worth the same as a Votto liner over the shortstop. It adds the same value of non-out+baserunner. The instances where his raw speed has allowed for a run that wouldn’t have happened if Brayan Pena was running hasn’t been a common enough occurrence to justify claiming that wRC+ doesn’t capture at least the majority of his offensive contribution.

        • Let me ask you than, if we were to count the one example I gave and change the single to a triple, what effect would that have on +wRC, if any at all?

        • Actually, his speed very nearly is worth that. Per FanGraphs, he’s been 1.5 runs below average on offense (hitting plus baserunning). That, effectively, is average. If we also take into account the forcing of errors and other stuff that doesn’t show, then Hamilton is, basically, an average offensive player so far. If we give him the benefit of the doubt with his early struggles, he’s well above average.

        • It wouldn’t be a triple, because of the error. But if we count it as a triple, citing Hamiton’s speed as a difference maker, his wRC+ would go up by less than 0.5 (unless my calculation, which was admittedly scrawled quickly on a piece of scrap paper) is wrong (and it very well could be, I would dig into this more, but the boss is out of his office and wandering about).

        • Thanks Jason and that is what it “feels” like watching day-in-day-out. Maybe it’s me but it appears nearly every game, if not all games, Billy is a positive in one way or another: hitting, stealing, general base running, or defense.

          There are only two stats that I concern myself with BHam: K-rate and runs. I’m glad you and others keep track of the others but as long as those two numbers are good, especially the K’s, I believe all else falls into place.

          The other is pop-ups and I don’t know if they are accounted for in any statistic. He has cut so far back on those that until I see a change, I’m not concerned. I am concerned with the recent rash of K’s though after his ~ 45 straight plate appearances without one.. Maybe it’s like a hitting steak, once it is broken, a guy might not get a hit in 7 of his next 10 games – human nature I would think.

        • Your choice of stats to pay attention to is telling. Usually, we pay attention to on base percentage for lead off hitters. And no measure of power means we’re writing off an entire group of positive contributions. Guys can cut their Ks way down by swinging early in the count (or bunting). For example, Zack Cozart is one of the lowest-K guys on the team, because he swings early in the count. You’re right that not striking out – in isolation – is good, but you can’t look at it in isolation.

          We can’t gloss over that his stolen base success rate is below the rate where it helps your team. Think about that.

          No power, no stolen base contribution, low on base percentage. Again, has our bar gotten so low that we’re satisfied with BH as a leadoff hitter?

        • Zag, in know it is not a “triple” but it has the same exact value. If I’m wrong, please point me in the right direction. Again, I base this on being a very unique skill that very, very few have, if any, in this particular instance.

          Another example might be when Heisey got caught in a rundown, against the Phillies, and Billy distracted the defense by diverting the action to him by coming off third base. All hands were safe and the inning continued. There is no way the subsequent 2 runs score without Billy making that move. If it was purposeful, it was pure genius.

        • I think I understand what your saying as far as it being a “triple.”

          Currently FanGraphs has his Infield Fly rate at ~10%. Given that some of his other fly-balls have also been “pop-ups” that just made it to the outfield, I’d say his pop-up rate is somewhere in the 20% range.

          Also, don’t get me wrong here since I’ve spent the last posts arguing that Hamilton isn’t an average contributor, I’ve been very impressed with what he has offered so far (which is far and away better than what I expected). I think the difference in what we’re seeing is that I’m leaning towards the thought that what the statistics don’t capture is a small, but appreciable portion of his offensive contribution (~5%). You guys are leaning towards the thought that the statistics are missing more than 15-20% of what he contributes. That’s a tough thing to quantify since the statistics are designed to capture the value of your average major league skill-set, and his skill set isn’t along those lines.

          It would be interesting to see a stat that is calculated similarly to wOBA, but that doesn’t remove errors. It’s simply, during this at bat, he ended up on 2nd base, even though it was a bunt with a throwing error. Some sort of weighted bases taken (wBT?) to quantify just what CNCRF is talking about.

        • Steve your missing my point about K-rate. Yes, Cozart has a low K-rate but he pops up a ton and can’t beat out infield hits. Again, I pay attention to the stats I value for a particular player. If Hamilton can hold his K-rate to less than 10%, he will easily be a .300 hitter and probably quite a bit higher. Power means little to me with Billy because his speed will provide a great deal of the same value. You can use my triple example as to my way of thinking. For team that scores very few runs, he has been scoring them at a very great clip in the last couple of weeks

        • Hamilton has a specific skill set, but we shouldn’t mythologize every positive thing that happens when he’s on base. Just last night, Denard Span bunted, the third baseman threw the ball into right field and Span got to third base. Just two nights ago, Brayan Pena and Todd Frazier pulled off a double steal. BH isn’t the only person who does those things. He’s fast. Lots of teams have fast players. Their fast players may also hit home runs or doubles. They may walk more.

          I’m not trying to rain on a parade. But we have to be clear-eyed when looking at what Billy Hamilton is providing as a lead-off hitter.

        • If Hamilton keeps his K% below 10% by bunting all the time, and he doesn’t improve his bunting, then he won’t bat .300. If his batting .300 is important (and that would be nice), then just look at his batting average. Don’t look at the one or two stats that you can use to rationalize his deficiencies.

          Hamilton’s numbers right now are eerily the same as his numbers at Louisville last year.

        • Steve – What about my numbers? Hamilton has been, by the best measures we have, an average offensive contributor. His OBP has been quite good since those first 10 or 15 games. His success rate with stolen bases is 73%, which I believe is above the needed threshold in the current run environment (the higher the scoring, the more often you need to be successful), but it might be a touch below. In any case, his baserunning as a whole has been a positive contribution.

          I wasn’t at first, but right now, yes, I am satisfied with Hamilton as a leadoff hitters. That might change with a few more months of games, but right now, he seems like someone who will yield an OBP of .330+ now that he’s settled in. That’s well above league average, and given his additional skill set, totally serviceable in the leadoff spot.

        • Steve brings up another point that goes along with what you guys are saying. Let’s say you guys are correct that he’s a league average offensive contributor. Is that good enough to justify a spot leading off for any team that hopes to contend? I mean, I don’t know who else would for this lineup… but all of my objections to BHam would be withdrawn if he wasn’t getting, quite literally, the most at bats of anyone on the team. I still think that even though he’s been above my expectations, he’s been below league average (based on the statistics), but even if he were league average… is that someone you want leading off?

        • If Hamilton can sustain a .330 OBP, that’s nice. But it’s pretty hollow if it comes with no power and no significant net contribution with stolen bases. You well know how tricky it is to start fooling around with endpoints. But yeah, a .330 or .340 OBP is nice, if he can do that.

        • And I’ll readily admit his defense has been outstanding on balls in front of him.

        • Zag – That depends completely on your view of his true talent OBP. SABR lineup construction says best hitters hit 2nd and 4th, with everyone else in descending order of OBP with power guys given preference toward the “middle” spots when OBPs are roughly equal.

          Given that I think (and I really don’t know as we haven’t seen enough games) Hamilton is a .330 OBP guy, first is a good sport for him, though one could certainly argue for any of the next four guys in my theoretical lineup.

          Also, I know this is cherry-picking end point, but since 4/15, Hamilton has a .350 OBP and a 112 wRC+.

        • Steve – You’re using stolen bases when you should be using baserunning. He is a positive contributor with baserunning. Significantly so.

        • If we go with a .330 OBP then I suppose I wouldn’t be opposed to that. I’d be happier with it if he increased his rate of turning singles into doubles (and the success rate of that affair). I’m not convinced that .330 is a realistic number for him to maintain, but it will be fun to watch it develop over the rest of the season (and his plate discipline has been better than expected).

          And with that, I’m off to lunch. Thanks for the civil debate, gents. And apologies for accidentally turning this into another BHam thread.

          Cheers,
          Zach

        • “Actually, his speed very nearly is worth that. Per FanGraphs, he’s been 1.5 runs below average on offense (hitting plus baserunning). That, effectively, is average. If we also take into account the forcing of errors and other stuff that doesn’t show, then Hamilton is, basically, an average offensive player so far. If we give him the benefit of the doubt with his early struggles, he’s well above average.”

          Jason,

          You are taking huge leaps here. Well, he’s kinda close to 0, so we’ll lump in a bunch of stuff that supposedly B-Ham creates but isn’t actually showing (despite UBR having a pretty good laundry list of stuff B-Ham does get credit for), and poof, suddenly he’s average. Also, let’s take out all the bad stuff that happened early on, and create an even smaller size, oh my gosh, B-Ham is an above average player! :)

          Oh by the way, that -1.5 runs below average puts B-Ham 241st out of all hitters with PA > 30. Chris Heisey has -1.8 and Ramon Santiago has -1.9,

          If anyone else besides B-Ham had his walk rate and peripherals, we’d say the Reds were crazy for batting him leadoff. I’m not saying you’re in this club, but the B-Ham faithful will basically grab ANYTHING that supports their premise. Nothing indicates that Hamilton will have an acceptable OBP. He’ll have to hit 0.290 to have an 0.330. Nothing he did in AA or above indicates he is capable of that.

        • Given the still relatively small seasonal sample sizes, -1.5 runs isn’t distinguishable from average. It just isn’t.

          But, if you want to talk actual value (including fielding), Hamilton has generated 0.7 fWAR this season. If that is prorated to 600 PAs, you get a 2.8 WAR season, which is above average.

        • So has Chris Heisey.

          Hamilton:
          Offense: -1.5
          Defense: 4.0
          WAR: 0.7

          Heisey:
          Offense: -1.8
          Defense: 5.5
          WAR: 0.7

          Chris Heisey for leadoff!

    • The thing that has stood out to me about Hamilton has been how bad he looks as a righty. He’s got a .711 OPS as a lefty and a .479 OPS as a righty.

      I know he’s a natural righty, but so far those ABs are killing him. I don’t think that Hamilton is a good leadoff hitter because his OBP is low, and speed in front of power makes less sense than speed in front of contact.

      That said, if he could put up a .711 OPS overall, he would be a totally useful piece batting 6th. He just needs to improve from the right side, or stop switch hitting.

      • Well, the scouting report on him says his approach has been better from the right side of the plate. We’re probably just seeing a SSS.

  5. I thought Ludwick would come back strong and produce effectively in 2014, making the decision to pick up his 2015 option a no-brainer, but Ludwick looks done…toast. As Jason observed, Heisey is not the answer for a contender. I guess the question that needs to be asked is ‘Are the Reds a contender?’

    The Birds are making a run on 1st place in the NLCD. The Reds are still 6 games behind the Brew Crew, certainly within striking distance, but both teams are floundering. The competition for the 2 wild card teams will be stiff and I can see the Reds getting squeezed out even if they catch and pass the Brew Crew. With just 25% of the season in the books, there is a lot of baseball remaining to be played and the Reds have yet to get healthy.

    WJ has fully demonstrated that he is completely comfortable just waiting for players to get healthy enough to play (not 100% healthy) and then just assuming the players will play at peak performance even if they are not completely healthy. I find that a very scary and ineffective way to manager a roster, but I’m not a GM with decades of experience.

    In another month, I expect the playoff picture to start shaking out regarding buyers and sellers. Looking at the roster of possible sellers, who might be available to help the Reds if WJ decides the Reds are real contenders in 2014 and need a LF to get them over the hump in 2014? I think the Reds are fully committed to Hamilton in CF and leading off for the remainder of this season and Cozart is locked in at SS for the remainder of this season. The rest of the positions, except LF, are filled and defined, assuming everyone is healthy. If poor health continues to plague the team, then 2014 is probably a lost cause.

    Assuming Mesoraco and Frazier continue to hit and hit with power, I don’t think the consideration for a RH or LH hitter to help in LF is a significant factor. The Reds would just need a LF who can hit effectively. I could only identify 2 players, who might be available from a potential seller as 2014 rentals without a significant payroll increase. Any players with multi-year commitments and/or significant payroll increase are probably not a fit for the Reds.

    Seth Smith,LH (Friars) [.325/.429/.593] FA in 2015 with ~$2MM owed for 2014
    Chris Denorfia, RH (Friars) [.297/.333/.414] FA in 2015 with ~$1MM owed for 2014

    Of course, if the Reds are falling from contention for a playoff berth over the next month or if an internal candidate for LF steps up over the next month, trading prospects for short-term help would be counter-productive and unnecessary.

    If the Reds fall from contention over the next month, they need to start planning for 2015 and beyond and that involves a hard look at LF and SS going forward. For 2015, the Reds have no potential prospects for SS. Multiple options exist for FA SS after 2014, but there are a LOT of big pocket teams looking for a FA SS or 2B after 2014, so signing a FA SS is probably not an option for the Reds. For 2015, Donald Lutz represents the only potential LF prospect for the Reds and he is now playing in AAA. Lutz may be a serious prospect if he continues to hit in AAA over the next month. At that time, a major league promotion and extended tryout at the major league level would be in order to determine if Lutz can fill the LF need for 2015. Otherwise, the Reds will need to look externally to fill the LF need in 2015 if they intend to contend next season. Maintaining the status quo again will not be an effective strategy for competing in 2015.

    • Stephen Drew re-signed with Boston. He is off the market for the rest of this year. Not really sure he was a viable option anyway. He’ll be extremely pricey this winter and out of the Reds budget.
      LF is the conundrum. Its a big piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is missing. It is also a big piece to helping out the offense.
      Do you think the Padres and Reds could get together on another trade? They are still stinging from the Latos trade. WJ is going to have to look elsewhere.
      Are the Reds contenders in 2014? Depends on who you ask. The Reds could actually be buyers AND sellers at this year’s trade deadline. Ludwick could have some value to an AL team. Broxton and Simon will have much more value and could help in landing a bonafide hitter and LF.

      • I the Reds are sellers, Broxton and Chapman would be the big trade chips with Chapman >>> Broxton. If the Reds feel confident about their young minor league starters, Simon could also be available, but his utility as a starter in 2014 will be pretty much exhausted so a team would need immediate bullpen help with an eye on a starter for 2015.

        I just don’t see any value in a trade for Ludwick, even as a simple salary dump. If he can’t hit for power in GABP, I’m not sure he adds value in any venue. If he comes back an starts hitting, then I think WJ would want to pick up his 2015 option to try and salvage something from signing him.

        • Broxton or Chapman should be the centerpiece of rebuilding the bullpen. Take one of them and LeCure, begin the rebuild and fill out the other 5 bp positions thru current players, promotions and trades. Marshall should be placed on the 60-day DL and let him get his shoulder operated on. Last night was hard to watch again on him.

  6. With a quarter down I think being 3.5 games behind the Cards is fairly decent considering the dugout should be labeled “Great American urgent care center”. The Brewers are starting to look like pretenders but will always be dangerous because they can get hot as we know. With that said were not in a horrible position considering were 20-24, hopefully we can win this and the card series and get to around 500.

    With that in mind our record is pretty similar to some good teams that have not been decimated by the DL
    Boston 20-24
    Tampa Bay 19-27
    Texas 21-24

  7. Alex Guerrero, the Cuban infielder the Los Angeles Dodgers gave $28 million this past winter, and Triple-A teammate Miguel Olivo were involved in a dugout altercation on Tuesday. Guerrero was taken to a local hospital. Olivo bit off part of Guerrero’s ear and Guerrero was having plastic surgery on his ear. Sources said Guerrero could miss five weeks.

    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/10961284/alex-guerrero-los-angeles-dodgers-involved-altercation-triple-teammate-miguel-olivo

    Geeeeeeeeez!!!

    • Yeah, as bad as things have been, at least the Reds aren’t dealing with that kind of crap in the clubhouse/dugout. What a freakin’ train wreck.

  8. I think our Left Field solution is right in front of us just like it was last year.

    Mesoraco needs to start in Left Field on days he is not catching. There is no way we can go entire games without his bat because he is a catcher.

    This team would be better with him full time in LF and Barnhart on the roster than we are with the 5th outfielder.

    We have seen what Meso’s bat means to this lineup. He needs 550 abs, not 400.

    If catching takes its toll on his body, let some one else catch and use him as your emergency catcher. This team needs his bat every day.

    • Tucker Barnhart is hitting .107/.138/.214 so far as a big leaguer. Brian Pena is a nice backup, but he’s a well below average hitter.

      I wouldn’t have a problem working Mesoraco in a few more days in left, on his off days as catcher, but there is no way they should stop putting him behind the plate.

    • Catchers need regular rest. Sometimes they can get it through use of the DH and in some cases, even at 1B. LF may work but depending on how many balls are hit to the OF and how much running he’d have to do, he may not be getting much rest out there. Then there’s the fact that Mes hasn’t played out there. I think he has the athleticism to not make a fool of himself in LF but we don’t know how he is on judging fly-balls, etc. Sure, in most cases, any MLB player can play just about anywhere on the diamond without looking terrible but can they play other positions at a Major League level? I don’t think you make a move such as putting Mes in LF during the season and I’m not sure playing LF gives him enough of a break from his catching duties when not behind the plate.

      • In college, Mike Leake played in the field when he wasn’t pitching. Players do it all the time in high school and colleague.

        Steve Yeager and Joe Ferguson played Outfield for the Dodgers so that they could both play every day.

        Mesoraco is so athletic, he could easily handle it. We need his bat daily

  9. The Reds without Votto and Bruce are a really bad offensive team. They just make so many outs. Injuries, talent, and organizational philosophy now have us playing 6 regulars with OBPs between .255 and .303.

    Only Frazier and Mesoraco are better.

    It’s not the only stat that matters, but it’s hard to score a lot of runs when you’re making that many outs. Add to that all the failed bunts and times caught stealing and it just looks worse.

    • Yes. Even ailing versions of Bruce and Votto have been better than their respective replacements.

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