Thinking Inside the Box

Who Is This Reds Team, Really?

One of the things that is so hard about writing a column like this is that I, at least, don’t feel comfortable talking about numbers until I have at least half a season. I just don’t feel like I have a good sense for how much a run of luck is affecting a player and how much something has actually changed.

For this week, I decided to look at the totals for the numbers posted by the Reds’ primary players since the start of last season. I’m going to use that to segue into a brief discussion about the lineup. Here we are with what the lineup might be when everyone is healthy (OBP/SLG):

  1. Billy Hamilton (.292/.347)
  2. Joey Votto (.430/.483)
  3. Brandon Phillips (.306/.396)
  4. Jay Bruce (.326/.450)
  5. Devin Mesoraco (.312/.436)
  6. Todd Frazier (.322/.453)
  7. Ryan Ludwick (.319/.377)
  8. Zack Cozart (.280/.364)

These numbers are interesting because they really show us how certain players equate. In terms of OPS, Ryan Ludwick and Brandon Phillips have been equivalent. As have Cozart and Hamilton and, interestingly, Mes, Bruce, and Frazier. Votto, of course, is all alone at the top.

It creates an interesting tiered system, and you can make adjustments as you like. Maybe you think Bruce and Mes are better than these numbers or maybe you think Votto’s power isn’t even at this level anymore. But to me, they look about right.

Having those numbers, I did something I don’t normally do. I plugged that lineup right there into the baseball musings lineup tool. This is a dangerous step because, while baseball musings will provide optimal lineups (it agrees with Mr. Mancuso that Votto should leadoff), it drastically overstates the differences between lineups. The book tells us the difference between a “typical” lineup and the ideal lineup is 5-15 runs per season.

Baseball musings calculates that the above lineup will score 11 fewer runs than the ideal lineup over a full season. But, we have to account for the tool’s tendency to overstate things. If we do, we’re forced to say that the difference in lineup construction is likely worth less than one win (10 runs=1 win, generally). It’s something. The Reds are losing value by not sending out the perfect lineup, but it’s not much. Probably half a win.

And so, the point here is that on a nightly basis, it just doesn’t matter. It feels like it matters, but it doesn’t. If the Reds end up missing the playoffs by a game, sure we can maybe blame lineup construction, but that will probably be well down the list of ways the Reds could have won more (better bullpen usage, better bench, better use of funds). The Reds are an inefficient organization right now. The lineup is somewhat inefficient, but it’s not what we should most be getting lathered up about.

61 thoughts on “Who Is This Reds Team, Really?

  1. I think the Reds have proven to be exactly who we though they were so far this year. And, in doing so, have gone a long way towards answering the critics of Dusty Baker. My thoughts going into this season were that this was a team with very good starting pitching, an above average bullpen and a mediocre lineup. That is exactly how it has played out thus far, without Cincinnati sports fans’ favorite punching bag at the helm, this side of Marvin Lewis, in Dusty Baker.

    I am confident that IF the team ends up getting healthy over the last three months of the season they will finish at or near the top of the NL Central; But, that doesn’t change who they are and the fact that they’re simply lacking in a few areas. Which once again, as is being proven, has nothing to do with managerial expertise.

    • I do not know if you can say this bullpen is above average, outside of Broxton I am not sure you can say that about any of them, besides Chapman’s last few outings he is borderline average for a closer. Lecure has done some tightropw acts, but the bullpen was by far the worst in April and early May. This line-up is not mediocre aren’t the Reds one of the lowest scoring teams. Cingrani has had maybe 2 good starts alll season and Simon is winning with smoke and mirror. Price has done wonders with what he has got, Baker would have this team at Diamonback levels and probably would have been fired last week if he stayed.

      • Minus Choo and Arroyo this is basically the same team as last year. For you to say Baker would have this team at Dbacks levels luicrous to say the least. Remember we won 90 games or more the last three years behind Dusty Baker. many wanted him gone and got their wish. One question for you my friend. Are we better of now. The record syas otherwise.

        • you left off minus Latos & Chapman for half the season, and if you really want to count Votto and Bruce as basically the same as last year then it is pointless to have a legit arguement with someone who makes up facts and denies reality- let alone the Votto & Bruce he had the other 2 -90+ winning season-
          Every position player is substantially worse other than Frazier & Mes (and he has missed half the games
          Baker also had losing seasons half of his tenure- and he absolutely did nothing in the playoffs in the winning seasons.
          Maybe its debateable if Price is the answer, but Baker was not.

      • VicFerrari with the same ol’ unfounded argument about Dusty….

        As much as Cincinnati fans hated Baker, he faced roster and injury issues as manager just like Price has and was still able to get the Reds to the playoffs three out of the last four seasons. Last year they pretty much didn’t have Votto at all, no Ludwick, Cueto was out a lot of time and after the wrist injury, Phillips wasn’t the same. That team STILL won 90 games. How many times did the Reds win 90 games from 1996-2006? ONCE.

        Dusty is a good manager. Too conservative, but he has a feel for players and he himself is a winner. Baker is a winner as a manger and was a winner as a player. That does rub off on his teams. I thought his bullpen management, thus far, was better than what Price has done. Talking about sticking with guys who are ineffective. Dusty would banish guys like Ondrusek once they had proven to be too big of a risk to be putting in a winnable game. Price will run him back out there a couple days later to give up more runs.

        • “Last year they pretty much didn’t have Votto at all…”

          Joey Votto played 162 games last season and had a .926 OPS (his slugging % would still be #2 on the this years’ Reds after Mesoraco). Poor Dusty!

          The Dusty v. Price argument is a waste of time, but it’s disingenuous to say Dusty faced the same situation Price has this year.

        • Votto was a singles hitter last year. Pitchers still feared him, but he rarely made them pay the way the great sluggers of the game today are supposed to. He was not himself after that knee injury. That is not having an MVP in your lineup. That’s having another good player. Good players can’t carry teams with serious injury issues. 2013 was full of major injuries to the Reds.

          Dusty was put in so many bad positions during his tenure…you really don’t wanna go down that road, do you CP?

        • Votto hit 24 home runs last year, tied for 10th in the NL. Only three hitters in the NL had 30 or more home runs. The MVP last year, hit 21. The best single measure of overall hitting value is wRC+ and he was second in the NL in that category. Yes, he’s a different hitter than he was in 2010, but he was still immensely productive in 2013.

        • Dusty is a winner like Marvin Lewis is a winner. Props to them both for the regular season success, but has either man displayed the strategy to win a title? I’m happy Dusty is gone.

        • “same ol’ unfounded argument about Dusty’/
          Possibly the point of my arguement was not clear, but I think enough posters have pointed out the flaws in the others. Baker was never going to do anything with the team, he actually only had 3 winning season out of the 6, if he was such a winner why did he not make the 2008, 2009, and 2011 teams better? Funny how getting Chapman and Broxton back makes Prices bullpen management less questioned.
          I have said before the way Price manages in April will be a lot differnt than in a pennant race, maybe Price is not the long term solution but I see positives and the worst thing for the 2014 team would be to have Baker managing it as there would be constant distraction of when to fire him.

        • Votto was such a singles hitter, that his .491 SLG % was only 24th in all of MLB.

          His fellow singles hitters include:

          Evan Longoria (.498)
          Jose Bautista (.498)
          Adam Jones (.493)
          Carlos Beltran (.491)
          Matt Holliday (.490)

          Blah blah blah blah blah.

          Dusty was treated unfairly by fans, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a poor manager. Price will be treated unfairly by fans too, unless he wins championships. It’s the life cycle of being a MLB manager.

        • Vic, you make very good points. I did not fully understand where you were coming from at first, I’m sorry about that. I still think Dusty got a raw deal in Cincinnati, but I didn’t want him sticking around this season either. It was plain time to move on, and Dusty is probably a happier man nowadays knowing he doesn’t represent a fanbase that mostly disliked him being the boss and that he doesn’t work for a guy that won’t even go out and get anybody when a player is injured. Remember 2009 when Votto went on the DL and Ramon Hernandez played every day at 1B? He was crushing the ball and was a pretty good Red up to that point, but starting 18 out of 21 games in June sent him to the DL and pretty much ended his season. Ramon was getting up there, i know, but he was never the same after that knee injury. Jocketty is a terrible in-season GM.

  2. I think people tend to like talking about lineup construction because it’s fun and tangible, and a puzzle, and it’s thinks like this that got many of us into baseball in the first place. We recognize it’s not the most important questions. But it’s so FUN!

  3. If they can get Joey and Jay back in the lineup and productive, I got to think that lineup looks pretty good to me. I miss Mr. Choo and he has been hitting quite well for Texas, although I think he has been DH’ing some because of a leg injury.

  4. Numbers aside, the team lacks leadership and spark. They’re on a bit of a roll right now, but still, the guys who, by longevity at any rate, should be the leaders – Votto, Phillips – are not getting it done. No Rolen. A little early to expect Mesoraco to step up, but I think he has a chance to be that guy.

    • Frazier, Todd. That’s the best hope for a stereotypical “leader” on this team, I believe.

      Mesoraco/Cingrani seem to be the “follow my grit” sort of guys.

      Votto is the consumate professional that hopes guys follow his lead for patience and preparation.

      BP/Latos are the class clowns trying to keep guys loose.

      I dunno. That’s the way I see it. Either way, I don’t think it’s really a proven fact that a stereotypical leader must exist for a team to be successful. Baseball, more than any other sport, is an individual game. Players have to hit and pitch well for a team to do well. We can look at Hunter Pence’s rah-rah all we want, but I think it’s just coincidence. Baseball players can’t get “fired up” the same way NFL players can.

  5. Dusty would have screwed this up even worse. We’d have Schumacher in the lineup everyday and Pena as the primary C. The lineup would be something like Hamilton-Cozart-Votto-Phillips-Ludwick-Bruce or some such nonsense.

    • I am somewhat baffled as to why some of you continue to bash Dusty baker. He is no longer a Cincinnat Red and yet the stupid comments continue When i say stupid I mean making a comment with no foundation or factual basis. You speak as if the Reds are tearing up the league under the new management. We shall see how you guys feel at the end of the season.

      • James, I’m with you all the way. Dusty never got a fair shake in Cincinnati based on what uneducated Cubs fans said about him despite the reality of Baker getting a team that hasn’t won anything in a full century a step away from the World Series. I don’t know why people hate Baker so much. I would be naive to say that race doesn’t play some factor in all of the never-ending criticism and all-encompassing blame that Dusty receives.

        Sadly it happens in pro sports a lot where two coaches are receiving mixed results in the W-L column or in the playoffs, but the white coach is given his due credit for the team’s success and the black coach is seen as riding someone’s coattails. See Willie Randolph and Marvin Lewis…

        Back to Bryan Price – What’s he done to look any better than Dusty? I know he’s a rookie manager, but that’s what fans wanted. A younger manager with a different voice. Because of this, I can’t take the fans seriously who keep giving Price a pass for being new on the job. Those same fans were saying that anybody would be better than Baker, and that they would be an immediate upgrade, no grace period required.

        • Dusty would be a distraction if he were here, do you really believe this team is better with Baker managing?- it would be 2008 all of again- maybe 2011-
          Think about all the irrational post day in day out about why did we not fire DUsty after last season- I irrationally hope Price evolves into a good manager to lead a championship team, but I rationally believe Dusty would never do this because I watched the poor decisions day in day out over 6 seasons and I have no issues with Lewis and please do not bring race into it-(but I will give this might the motivation for ignorant to not like his managerial style)

        • Vic, the problem with looking at Dusty’s early seasons is that the talent on the squad was not good enough to come close to the playoffs. He was saddled with some really bad teams. When the talent level increased, so did the wins. It was Jocketty bringing in Willy Taveras and Jonny Gomes, not Baker.

  6. Interestin read. Large enough sample size to go on. I always looked at a baseball offense as tiered, and you lay it out there in black and white to see that it is so.
    Who is this Reds team? That is a good question, as we never know which Reds team will show up on a nightly basis. The team that can score 8 runs like last night and make the team with the best record look outmatched. Or the team that ran the minimum number of batters (27) up in a game last week at Arizona. This Reds offense keeps making ordinary pitchers look extraordinary at times. They should call this team the Sybil-Reds.
    The exceptionally sad thing I noticed with those numbers were that most of those players OBP numbers should really be where their Batting Averages should be. Pitiful.

    • I agree about the OBP/BA comment. It’s sad to look at an OBP under .300 in the major leagues. I still don’t understand how many major league players don’t understand the value of a walk.

  7. Again, we’re about a week from being whole again. This is a good team. I’ve been saying it all year. When you look at the impact players in the rotation and the newly added depth in the lineup thanks to Frazier/Mez/Billy, you can see this team matches up with anyone in the NL. I’ll say it again, this team could make it to the world series.

    • I agree Sultan. This rotation and lineup are pretty good on paper. Too bad Homer is a glorified #3 and Cingrani seems to have hit a wall that only Louisville can help him around.

      The lineup is strikeout-heavy, but chock full of power. Bruce isn’t my favorite player, but he hits the ball as hard as anybody in the NL. Mesoraco is the Reds’ best hitter and an MVP candidate if he keeps this up. Him and Frazier both have exceptionally quick bats and can get their wrists through the zone better than Jay Bruce can. Ludwick still has something left. I don’t like this bullpen at all, and Price has mismanaged this pitching staff very often, but it’s a good team that should make the playoffs.

      • You think Mesoraco is a better hitter than Votto? Just curious if you really mean that, or you mean “he’s currently the Reds’ best performing hitter.”

        Unrelated note…

        I did some looking into Mesoraco’s current batted ball profile now that he’s cooled down a bit (silly statement, right?) and his numbers aren’t nearly as insane as they were:

        .371 BABIP – While high, some folks have proven to be able to exceed the norm of .300. If Mesoraco has a .320 BABIP sort of year, we can expect his BA to drop to around .290-.300

        24%-32%-42% LD/GB/FB split. This is not out of whack at all and actually is a pretty average split for power hitters. (Stanton at 20-37-42)

        27.3% HR/FB ratio: This is also not out of whack too much, even though it’s 6th in the MLB. Every year, a few power hitters will be around the 30% mark.

        All in all, my opinion is that when any BABIP luck is evened out and Mesoraco hits a prolonged cold streak like every hitter has to endure just about evey year, he’ll shake out to be something like. 280/.320/.520, with 26-28 HR, which is very good considering what we thought we’d get from Devin this year.

    • Unitl I see both Mat and Votto on the field and playing and producing at a level of expectation we all have I don’t see the Reds as being whole.

  8. The Reds need Votto or Bruce to be their historic self. I don’t think they need both, but they need a left handed power bat to compliment the hitters Frazier and Mesoraco have become. I think it’s more likely Bruce adds the power and Votto adds the base clogging (in a good way).

    • I think this is pretty right. The Reds’ success starts and stops with the Votto-Bruce combo. They need both guys playing at 90% MVP (Votto) or 80% MVP (Bruce) levels for most of the season.

      Bruce’s start has been so bad that it’s unlikely his final stats will be impressive, but what he does from here on out is going to be more important than his season as a whole. The Reds are too far back to make a charge and they need Bruce (and Votto) to do it.

  9. With 2 months of data, Billy Hamilton has been pretty consistent in his offensive performance. His SO% for the 1st month was 18.6% & his SO% for the 2nd month was 20.2%. His OBP for the 1st month was .280 & his OBP for the 2nd month was .301. His fly ball rate for the 1st 2 months was 43.8%. Billy Hamilton will continue to be a defensive asset in CF, similar to Cozart at SS, irrespective of his offensive contributions.

    Hamiltons offensive numbers during the 1st 2 months reflect where Hamilton must make his improvements at the plate. Hamilton must reduce his SO% by 5%, minimum, and must reduce his fly ball rate by 15% minimum. If Hamilton can make those adjustments at the plate, he becomes a consistent offensive weapon. If he can’t make those adjustments at the plate, his offensive impact will be limited and inconsistent. Hamilton will have only limited control of his walk rate since pitchers will continue to focus on making him earn his way to 1B, but must increase his pitch recognition and plate discipline as a top-of-the-lineup hitter. Those are skills Hamilton would normally have improved at AAA but now must improve during on-the-job training at the major league level.

  10. Brandon Phillips is the same hitter he has been over the past few seasons. That’s not a negative statement about Phillips’ offensive capability, it just limits his effectiveness to specific roles. Phillips will always have a high amount of GIDP and a better hitting performance than on-base performance. Simply stated, Phillips is better at driving in runs rather than creating runs. That skill set lends itself to hitting lower in the lineup where his lack of on-base and run creation skills are comparatively minimized and his driving in run skills are comparatively maximized.

    • He’s the same kind of hitter, but worse at it. His strikeout rate is much higher this year than ever before. So is his infield popup rate. His walk rate is the lowest ever and his ISO continues to decline. His OBP is .293. And even that level is lucky – his BABIP (.325) is more than 30 points above his career average (.293). When that levels out, he’ll be hitting about .250 and getting on base at about .275. I don’t have time to look this up, but I’d be surprised if he wasn’t the worst #3 hitter in baseball. When Votto returns, BP is the right candidate to be batting sixth.

      • Steve, to reply to your comment above, Votto had one less extra base hit in 2013 than he did in 2012 (58) when he had 226 fewer PAs. Just look..

        2011 – 72 extra base hits
        2010 – 75
        2009 w/182 fewer PA’s than in 2013 – 64 extra base hits

        Now to address BABIP…I said this the other day on a thread but here it goes. A hitter’s BABIP can be affected by the hitter’s tendency to swing at certain pitches, thus getting certain results. A pitcher’s BABIP can be affected by the player’s inability to get his 2nd pitch over for a strike. The other team knows this and will sit on his fastball, occasionally tattooing it straight out the front door.

        Homer’s BABIP might be bad because hitters know his secondary pitches are pretty good but his fastball is often straight as a chessboard. They wait for that and boom, here comes the hard-hit balls. When Homer gets his fastball over a little better, hitters get impatient and swing at non-strikes, thus giving Bailey more outs and easier innings. Those kinds of things can bring a pitcher’s BABIP down. BABIP IS such an unscientific measure that I can’t trust it as an official law of averages.

        • You not trusting it doesn’t make it untrue.

          I get your point, though (I think). For example, “all ground balls are not created equal.” A tapper to the pitcher is hardly ever going to be a hit, where a sharp grounder up the middle will be a hit somewhat often. And you’re saying certain players will/won’t swing at pitches that turn into tappers to the pitcher or sharp grounders up the middle.

          However, over large sample sizes, all players tend to hit all kinds of balls off all kinds of pitchers. Every player will have their share of tappers to the pitcher and sharp grounders up the middle. That’s why, on average (IIRC), ground balls go for hits around 22% of the time. Speed is generally the one thing inscreasing a player’s GB BABIP. Given a large enough sample, all players of similar speed will have similar GB BABIPS (and LD and FB BABIPs, as well). There’s way too much data saying this is true to just ignore it and keep the view that some hitters just have that “knack” for hitting a grounder in the hole or blooping a single between the 2B and RF.

          Also, I don’t have data on it, but it makes sense that swinging at non-strikes, as you bring up, would likely only increase K% and how often you foul balls off. Most terrible pitches aren’t put into play and thus, wouldn’t affect BABIP.

          My two-cents.

  11. Todd Frazier is the true enigma of the lineup. Has Don Long and Frazier actually improved Frazier’s pitch recognition and plate discipline or is the 2014 sample size masking the problem so prevalent in 2013. His speed plays well at the top-of-the-lineup, but his power plays in the middle of the lineup. The Old Cossack’s heart pulls strongly for an improvement in Frazier’s approach at the plate, but the Old Cossack’s head can’t get past a strong ‘maybe’.

    • The numbers (pitch f/x calculation of o-swing) show he’s still swinging at fewer pitches out the strike zone than previous years (down from 35% to 32%). That’s about the best measure of plate discipline available, although not perfect. Frazier still has room for improvement, league average is 30.5%.

  12. Bryan has simply unleashed the beast in Devon Mesoraco. I think Mesoraco will be a perennial all-star and strong middle-of-the lineup hitter for many years (injury caveat inserted). Mesoraco can hit effectively anywhere from #3 to #5, depending on his supporting cast. I would like to see Mesoraco and the Reds work on another defensive option to keep his bat in the lineup every day, but not necessarily remove him from his role as primary catcher, but that would be an adjustment better addressed during the off-season. I really believe this team is transitioning to Mesoraco’s team every bit as much as the Birds transitioned to Neck Tats’ team.

    • As rough as I’ve been on Walt Jocketty for the last year, it was Jocketty who traded Ryan Hanigan this offseason, which was necessary to make the full transition to Mesoraco. That move may have been relatively obvious, but trading an established veteran catcher is never an easy decision to make for a GM. It was a move that obviously wasn’t made based on what we got in return. It was a changing of the guard.

      • I too have been giving Jocketty a lot of grief for inactivity. But that was a good Walt move. It may have been a little more than a changing of the guard. Even though Mesoraco was being looked at as the #1 catcher, by removing the old guard altogether so he isn’t there looking over the shoulder of the new guard has helped create a relaxed atmosphere for mesoraco that he has thrived in so far. This move benefited Mesoraco to give him room to grow and mature. The move helped Hanigan as he got a 3-year deal he was not going to get from the Reds and he doesn’t have to go through free agency this winter as an aging C. Hanigan is currently on the Ray’s DL. The Rays got an experienced C to handle their young pitchers; they didn’t have much in the C department. And the Reds benefit from mesoraco’s maturing and production. The Reds also gained in it allowed them to get Pena. His offense doesn’t need to be mentioned. But with pairing him with Cueto, you have to give Pena a smidgeon of credit in Cueto’s remarkable resurrgence this year.
        That was a move that had tentacles, so to speak. It had far-reaching benefits for the Reds.

      • Not only was that move important but the move he made to bring in a quality backup who accepted his role as the backup catcher was key.

  13. “The book tells us the difference between a “typical” lineup and the ideal lineup is 5-15 runs per season.”

    The thing is, the book doesn’t play the games. For instance, if a person prefers to bat 8th and knows nothing else but batting 8th, and bats 300/350 AB/OBP batting 8th, how is the book suppose to validate that this batter would still bat just as well in another spot in the lineup? It can be a huge difference between batting 8th and other positions in the lineup. The “ideal lineup” from the book is more like someone just running some numbers with different lineup and “what they believe would happen”, not what would happen.

    • Good point, I often wonder what the psychology of hitting 4th does to a hitter like Mes, his stats hitting 7 th are out of this world and hitting clean-up are pitcher- like

    • The way to refute this is to state that all major league players, by definition, are major league players. They were likely the best or 2nd best player on every single team they played on before getting to the big leagues.

      An 18-yr old player college ball likely experiences just as much, if not more pressure, than a 25-yr old professional who no longer has to worry about exams or money or whatever.

      Point being; all major leaguers are mentally tough and resilient, otherwise they wouldn’t have made it to the major leagues in the first place.

      Also, “the book doesn’t play the game.” Ok.

      The same math that enables The Book also enables the building you are in to not collapese and crush you. It enables the internet protocolos that allow us to participate on this lovely board. In short; math isn’t wrong and mathematicians are smart. :)

      • I forgot the punchline of my first 3 paragraphs:

        Basically, a major leaguer, given enough ABs in any spot in the lineup, should have equal production when looking at his rate stats. You can’t compare things like RBI, because those most definitely ARE lineup dependent.

        • Mostly agree, however in the 8-spot example used by Vicferrari, you’d need to take IBB out of the equation. That’s the one lineup spot that is a bit of an outlier due to the pitcher hitting behind it in the NL.

        • That’s just it, JDX. The book here doesn’t consider anything like how a batter may relish the opportunities to drive in runs. Move him to another spot in the lineup, he probably won’t get those opportunities to drive in runs, anymore, and, thus, not become as productive a hitter.

          In a similar case, last season, how did BP and Bruce drive in so many runs? Just look who they had in front of them, Votto and Choo. Why didn’t Votto and them drive in any runs the season prior? Look who Votto has in front of him for a majority of the season, Stubbs and Cozart.

          You don’t want to talk driving in runs. That’s fine. Just take any other condition. It’s all the same thing.

      • Definitely incorrect there, JDX. From a mechanical engineer, what you are referring to with the buildings, those can and actually do get tested all the time before, during, and after they are built. Thus, their findings can and are definitely validated. But, the book here? Nope.

        • It should be noted that The Book is capitalized for a reason. Google Tom Tango and you’ll se what I mean. That stuff has been tested rigorously. Those guys know what they are doing.

        • I don’t see how it can be tested rigorously, Jason. What team would open themselves up to this sort of testing to validate it? I would think none. The only testing I could think that would be done would be computer simulations, again programmed by people who assume things to happen, again who can’t take into account the human factors, some as have been mentioned above. Shoot, I could do that. But, that doesn’t mean it’s been tested; you need actual human and/or real-life subjects for that. That means I made a self-running video game out of it that I can run over and over.

        • It can be, and has been tested via observation. Lots of ballgames are played.

        • Via observation? That’s not a valid test. Where’s the setup, planning, preparation? For a valid test, you have to have a team, actually multiple teams, commit themselves to the experiment for multiple seasons. You would have to have experimental groups/teams and control groups/teams to make valid comparisons.

          Not to mention, what is the definition of the “ideal lineup”? That definition right there comes from a person’s decision, aka the human factor, that doesn’t take into consideration things like I described before, like a player’s preference to bat in a specific position in the order, a manager’s strategy in specific situations, etc.

  14. At this point given how recent he was moved to CF and it being his first season in the bigs full time, I am not sure how anyone can be even slightly disapointed in how Hamilton has performed as of now for the Reds this season. To me his grade would be an A+ given what my expectations were going into the season.

    • I honestly have no idea how you can reach that conclusion. I’m probably one of the few that shouldn’t be disappointed, but that is only because I thought he’d be very poor offensively.

      The defense stuff is expected, otherwise, he really shouldn’t be in the MLB.

      • That isn’t what I said.

        B-Ham is only a game changer when he gets on base. Sadly, he doesn’t do that very well.

  15. Hamilton is a game changer, HE alone had the greatest impact on last night’s game over any other player on the field. His talents are still raw, but to say he isn’t MLB material coulnd’t be more wrong in my option.

  16. Some good talk about Hamilton. When I grade, I have to consider the bottom line numbers. I can’t give any more than a C. However, that said, I have been just happy with him. Especially recently, he is really coming around, batting 286/319 in the last 33 games. But, it may help that I wasn’t looking at getting much from him anyhow. So, I am happy with what I have seen. Now, if these numbers are still here this time next year, with no change in his numbers, then that can be another story.

    And, the glove seems to have always been there. I haven’t seen his arm tested yet. Can anyone attest?

    He’s still got some growing and maturation to do. One can easily that growth and maturation should be going on at AAA. But, then, if not Hamilton, then who? Who would be just as good as Hamilton has been? Heisey hasn’t. And, Schumacher just got back off the DL. Schumacher is still only batting 247/295 himself for the season, numbers actually fairly close to Hamilton. Fact is, if not Hamilton, then this team either isn’t as good, or this team would have to try to cough up more money for a FA that mostly likely wouldn’t be there.

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