2012 Reds

A lineup thought experiment for the Nation

Since all is well in Redsland these days, how about a little thought exercise about the future. JoeyMVP’s return to the lineup, say around September 1, will present Reds’ manager Dusty Baker with a difficult playing time dilemma. With Votto playing first base every day, two line-up spots (left field and third base) remain for three players: Scott “Fountain of Youth” Rolen, Ryan Ludwhack and Super Todd Frazier.

For this hypothetical exercise, assume Rolen, Ludwick and Frazier will only play those two positions — no cheating by the Bruce haters and moving Ludwick to RF. And further assume that all three stay healthy for the remainder of the season. In September, the Reds play six games per week, thanks to days off.

Here’s the question, Nation: How many times would you play those three players each week?

Some stats to help you decide. First, slash lines for all of 2012 (batting average/on base percentage/slugging percentage):

  • Frazier .286/.343/.541
  • Rolen .245/.323/.410
  • Ludwick .268/.335/.552

Seems easy, right? Not so fast. Here are the numbers in the month since the All Star break:

  • Frazier .300/.339/.518
  • Rolen .366/.459/.606
  • Ludwick .324/.383/.695

Frame your opinion on playing time with the number of games adding up to twelve (two positions times six games/week) in parentheses, like this:

Frazier (4), Rolen (4), Ludwick (4)

Since Dusty loves advice about the lineup, maybe he’ll take a look at this comments section for some insight.

18 thoughts on “A lineup thought experiment for the Nation

  1. This is an easy one:

    Frazier (24)

    He plays both positions each day. Also, his slash line should be
    .286/.343/.541/1.000 for the year ((batting average/on base percentage/slugging percentage/lives saved).

  2. I think Baker gives Votto a day off per week, returning from injury, so I go:

    Votto (5)
    Ludwick (5)
    Rolen (5)
    Frazier (3)

    That’s assuming Rolen is FULLY heathy. To keep him fully healthy, you may need to go Rolen (4) and Frazier (4).

  3. I agree with Greg for Votto (5), Ludwick(5), Rolen (4), and Frazier (4) – I think we can expect Rolen to get extra time off just to keep him healthy. If the Reds keep their lead in the NL Central there’s no problem with giving Votto days off.

    Comparing to Frazier to Rolen, I have more faith in Rolen’s ability to identify weird breaking pitches but more faith in Frazier’s ability to catch up to fastballs. What kind of pitcher they’re facing might factor in.

    When Votto returns it should be tough for Dusty – any decision of who to sits is the wrong one. How can you rest the former MVP after he’s been out for so long? Or Scott Rolen when he’s hit so well? Todd Frazier, a day off could deprive him of the Rookie of the Year! I didn’t buy a ticket so see Ludwick on the bench!

  4. Why limit Frazier to two positions? He can play virtually any fielding position. I would be playing Frazier everywhere to get him reps. Let him play once a week at SS and RF too to give the starters a break.

  5. But if I had to go with the stated rules:

    Votto (5)
    Ludwick (5)
    Frazier (5)
    Rolen (3)

    The only reason I put Frazier above Rolen is I want Rolen healthy and fresh for the playoffs.

  6. I agree with the above thoughts on giving Votto a day or two of rest per week when he’s back unless we need wins. And having the first seed is not really a prize, as that team will start on the road against the wild card winner. Second best record is ideal. I’m not sure how first seed vs. wild card might change the rules (Washington/Atlanta?)
    I also agree on the games played as above by Spongey and Fanman. Next (and just to jump way ahead), which player sits in the playoffs? I’m a Rolen fan, and I think his value extends past numbers (with apologies to the advanced stat guys) but both Ludwick and Frazier are in running for Team MVP, IMHO.

  7. Rolen has delivered and played in 22 out of what, 32ish games. Rolen playing 2 of 3 nights seems like a formula for success to me.

    Rolen 4 (closer to 3.5), Ludwick 4 (he is 34 years old after all), Frazier 4

    Now, to think that Stubbs gets 5.5 of 6 (and the other .5 goes to Valdez) while those three are maxing at 4 makes me a little sick to my stomach.

  8. PS What ever happen to Chris Heisey is he relegated to Paul Janish bat boy duties?

  9. Can division winner play within division in first round? That was the Atlanta/Washington reference above.

  10. BTW, the following games are Sept. day games after night games, which Rolen almost never plays:

    SUN SEP 2 @HOU
    WED SEP 5 PHI
    SUN SEP 9 HOU
    SUN SEP 16 @MIA
    THU SEP 20 @CHI
    SUN SEP 23 LAD
    THU SEP 27 MIL
    SUN SEP 30 @PIT

    You can assume that Frazier will start most or all of those games. In the week where there is only one day game, Frazier could give Votto a rest. If you sit Ludwick a couple times, Frazier is now up to no fewer than three starts a week.

  11. Great idea for discussion. Strictly going by the parameters as you present them, Frazier 5, Roles 4, Ludwick 3.

  12. I really think Dusty is going to do a lot of playing matchups and doing the other types of things that some managers love. I think the framework of the discussion is over-simplifying things a bit as I think everyone will get a little more time off going down the stretch. Going by the rules of the discussion I’d say: Rolen (4), Frazier (3), Ludwick (5).. I personally would do 4, 4, 4 if they all continue to play well.

  13. Seems like the Reds need a DH. I guess the next time we’ll get to use one is in the World Series.

    Right now I’d be happy with a 4-4-4 split between the main three. If Votto needs a day, Frazier can step in their too. Then you have Heisey, who should start in CF against tough righties.

  14. Yes, the best record gets the wildcard play-in winner. Teams in the same division can now play each other in the first round…so Washington could play Atlanta.

  15. I can see Votto (5), but I also believe you have to include Bruce (5) into that equation. That provides 14 spots for 3 players. I see Rolen no more than 4, which makes Ludwick (5) and Frazier (5). If Rolen (3), either of Ludwick (6), Frazier (6), or even Votto (6).

  16. This is one reason why I believe either Rolen will be out after this year or someone fans like won’t be here next year. For, I can’t see going with a lineup like this for the entire year, when we could use a player or two to fill holes.

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