Doug Gray, Bill Lack, and I discuss the goings-on around Spring Training for the Cincinnati Reds. Topics include Devin Mesoraco, the bullpen situation, and what Cincinnati should do with uber-prospect Billy Hamilton. It’s the latest edition of Redleg Nation Radio. Enjoy!

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Many thanks to Friend of the Nation — and huge Reds fan — Freekbass for the bumper music. The music is from this album; he’s a talented guy, and highly recommended.

4 Responses

  1. TC

    If I’d known about the show I’d have called in with the follow question…

    “I’ve been surprised by some of the FA pitchers WJ picked up in the offseason, specifically Hensley, Galarraga and Parra. I’m on record as not being in favor of the Parra signing but so far so good. Considering they all have established themselves for what they are and really only Hensley has ever been consider a top pitcher at one point, who of this group has surprised you the most?”

  2. bhrubin1

    I’m intrigued by the discussion about Billy Hamilton’s lack of power, and its effect on his ability to keep pitchers honest. I would add two points to that, though.

    1) Power is not just power. Speed leads to extra bases too, as evidenced by Hamilton’s illogically high SLG from A+ and AA, despite the fact that he hits so few home runs. When a single is really a double, and a double is really an inside the parker (not to mention a routine grounder is actually an infield hit), wouldn’t that have the same effect of keeping pitchers on their toes? I recognize that minor league numbers don’t translate to major league pitching and defense, but they mean something. There is more to making yourself intimidating than just putting balls over the fence.

    2) What about the Votto bump? I know lineup protection is supposed to be a myth, but put yourself in a pitcher’s shoes. You know if this guy gets on base, he WIlL be in scoring position for the best pure hitter in baseball, and he WILL score from second on just about any kind of contact. That doesn’t make you nervous? Who was the 3-hole hitter in Pensacola. I don’t follow the minor leagues closely, but I’d wager it wasn’t anybody as scary as #19.

    He strikes out too much, and I agree that Dusty is making the situation worse by telling him to hack at everything, but I don’t know that a lack of traditional power is that great a handicap to a hitter who is going to have the middle of the Reds lineup coming up behind him. Besides, I thought doubles power was more important than home run power for a leadoff man, and Hamilton hits A TON of doubles, even if they look a little different than the doubles most players hit.

  3. TC

    I’m not sure Hamilton isn’t a line drive hitter. He may not have home run power, but he does hit line drives.

  4. redsfanman

    @TC: Manny Parra surprised me more than Hensley and Galarraga (and recently Mark Prior) in that he has a major league contract.

    @bhrubin1: If Billy Hamilton develops good pitch recognition I think pitchers will find that they’re better off throwing him strikes and hoping he hits the ball at a fielder (you know, that Batting Average on Balls In Play stat)… than trying to pitch around him. They don’t have to be worried about balls getting hit over the fence – it’s very different from facing, say, Joey Votto, who can crush a ball they misplace. Bronson Arroyo, who relies on deception and pitches to contact in hopes that a hitter will get himself out, I don’t know why he’d throw Hamilton anything other than strikes.

    2. The boost of hitting in Joey Votto was clearly shown by statistics last season, but some people believe it’s a myth. Oh well. No reason arguing.

    3. I don’t think Dusty told Billy Hamilton to hack at everything, I thought he said to not watch called strikes. Billy Hamilton won’t get many hits if he watches all the strikes he gets, and I think that’s what Dusty was getting at. Instead that was spun off as crazy old Dusty wanting Billy Hamilton to swing at miss at everything he he sees, whether it’s in the dirt or over his head.