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.
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.
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:
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.