2011 Reds / Minors

Enquirer’s Spring Training Preview

The Cincinnati Enquirer has their Spring Training Preview in today’s Sunday edition. I’ll include some of the things that I found interesting or discussion-worthy:

– Rotation: While discussing the Reds rotation and who will get left out (they believe that Bronson Arroyo, Edinson Volquez, and Johnny Cueto are sure things) between Travis Wood, Homer Bailey, and Mike Leake. Points out that Bailey is out of options and that Wood would be the only left hander in the rotation.

– Bullpen: Discussing the possible makeup of the bullpen, believing that Francisco Cordero, Nick Masset, Bill Bray, Logan Ondrusek, and Aroldis Chapman all have the team made. He said that Jose Arredondo really impressed the team in Instructional Ball and he’s got a leg up on a spot, if he remains healthy. Also, Jared Burton, Jordan Smith, Dontrelle Willis, Daniel Ray Herrera, Sam LeCure, and Matt Maloney will be in the running for the last couple of spots.

– Bench bat: Says that it’ll be tough to ask more than Chris Heisey gave them last year, but that Jeremy Hermida may have the advantage because he’s a LH hitter.

– Leadoff: Says the Reds signed Fred Lewis with the idea that he would bat leadoff, but to get him in the lineup, Jonny Gomes will have to be on the bench.

– There is an article specifically on the leadoff spot and Fred Lewis: Says that LF could be a platoon b/c Gomes murders LH pitching, combined with Lewis, who has a .348 career OBP and the speed that Dusty Baker covets at the top of the order. Lewis isn’t a youngster (he’s 30), but Walt Jocketty said Lewis still has “upside”.

– Fay makes roster predictions…(admitting that it’s a “risky proposition”):

Starting 8: Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Paul Janish, Scott Rolen, Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs, Gomes, Ryan Hanigan
Bench: Lewis, Ramon Hernandez, Miguel Cairo, Edgar Renteria, Hermida

Rotation: Arroyo, Volquez, Cueto, Bailey, Wood
BP: Cordero, Masset, Chapman, Bray, Ondrusek, Arredondo, Burton

Gives a list of 5 that “could break through”: Leake, Smith, Juan Francisco, Heisey, and Chris Valaika

Also gives a list of 5 players to watch:

Dontrelle Willis (Bryan Price has been impressed with Willis’ stuff in off season workouts)
Billy Hamilton (#2 prospect, stole 48 bases in 69 games and had an OBP of .368 last year in Billings, expected to play SS in Dayton this year)
Jeremy Hermida (trying to get his career back on track. Averaged 16 homers fro m’07-’09, but hit only .216 with 6 homers last year)
Todd Frazier (went into last season as #1 prospect in system, slipped to #9 after rough AAA, his versatility makes him very valuable)
Devin Mesoraco
(will likely start in AAA, but if he tears it up, Reds might be willing to trade Hernandez)

Less than 2 weeks until games start; anyone else starting to get excited?

11 thoughts on “Enquirer’s Spring Training Preview

  1. I’m not going to lie, that’s a good lookin team with a good lookin farm. I’m really cheering for Willis yo come out of the gate nasty. I know the Reds say they want Chapman to start long term but I’m worried that he’ll just stick in the pen. Cordero leaving after the season + limited innings on Chapman’s arm = a worried Ethan

  2. Did anyone else get disproportionately excited when they found out that the regular season was starting in March instead of April? A guy I worked with actually said “It’s just one day of difference!” As I was dancing in the doorway. Baseball fan-dom can be so embarrassing….

  3. Fay mentions somewhere that Baker doesn’t like platoons. I hope he decides to. Looking at the splits for Lewis and Gomes, it’s pretty stark. If there were ever a case for a straight platoon, this is it.

    On another note, Fay bugs sometimes with the lazy analysis. He claims somewhere that Gomes had a decent year last year. That may have happened in a parallel universe, but not in this one.

  4. @lookatthathat: Actually its a 4 day difference because the normal starting date is the first monday of April which this year is April 4th

  5. I’ll be shocked if one of the starters isn’t moved during spring training. Not that I want to see it happen, but Bailey seems to be the odd man out. I hope I’m wrong like I have been many times in the past. It is actually a good feeling going into spring training knowing the biggest complaints I have about the roster is the infield utility spot (Cairo) and the idea of Chapman being groomed in the bullpen. I would much rather see Frazier or Valaika be the utility player (both have shown multiple position capability and more upside than Cairo) and Maloney or LeCure in the bullpen seem to benefit the team on a long term basis more than having Chapman there.

    All in all, I’m looking for a fun season out of this team.

  6. I don’t understand why Leake is not penciled into the starting rotation. He was the best pitcher on the staff for 2/3rds of the season until his arm fatigued. He has to get a legitimate shot for the rotation- plus you get his bat. He hit better than half the team last year. I think people wildly overrate Volquez. Everyone points to his 17 win season, but I watched almost every game that season and Volquez was not dominant. He was the #4 starter, so he got some favorable matchups, and he rarely went deep into games, often hitting the 100 pitch mark in the 5th inning. In my mind, Leake was better last year. Anyone else see it that way?

    • I don’t understand why Leake is not penciled into the starting rotation. He was the best pitcher on the staff for 2/3rds of the season until his arm fatigued. He has to get a legitimate shot for the rotation- plus you get his bat. He hit better than half the team last year. I think people wildly overrate Volquez. Everyone points to his 17 win season, but I watched almost every game that season and Volquez was not dominant. He was the #4 starter, so he got some favorable matchups, and he rarely went deep into games, often hitting the 100 pitch mark in the 5th inning. In my mind, Leake was better last year. Anyone else see it that way?

      The Enquirer has an article on Leake today, pretty standard stuff, but they did break him down by months and it surprised me:

      April 2-0 3.25 ERA
      May 2-0 1.88 ERA
      June 1-1 5.22
      July 2-1 4.56
      August 1-2 8.56
      September DNP

      So, it’s safe to say he had two very good – good months, one average month, 2 bad to very bad months, and didn’t pitch in September.

      The other thing to consider is that these things often come down to who has options left, Bailey does not. I doubt that Volquez does either, though I do not know that for certain.

  7. @dave6408: I see things the same way Dave. I understand EV has a huge upside but other than a great half a season, all he has is the upside. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a big fan of his. If he does has a great year this year, I can’t see the Reds being able to afford his contract demands for next year and the years beyond.

  8. I understand that things usually come down to options and what not. But my question is: who gives the team the best chance to win? I think Travis Wood should have started Game 1 against the Phillies. If not for the unfortunate fly ball lost in the lights, we are headed back to Cincy at 1-1. My point is we gave away Game 1 pitching the guy with the best “stuff” instead of pitching the best pitcher. Leake was great- he fatigued over the course of the year and fell apart in that Pirates game after hitting a guy in the head, neither indicative of how he was overall. All things considered, I think he is one of our five best pitchers.

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